Thursday, August 31, 2017

My Summer with Psalm 119 #18

As a few of you know, I love, love, LOVE Psalm 119. I thought it would be great to spend a summer focusing on that psalm and what others have had to say about it. I'll begin with Thomas Manton's Exposition of Psalm 119. It may take all summer to read all 158 sermons. But they're so GOOD, so RICH, I think it will be worth it.

Sermon 25 (Psalm 119:24)

  • First, Let me speak of the first benefit, Thy testimonies are my delight.’ Doct. That a child of God, though under deep affliction, finds a great deal of delight and comfort in the word of God. What manner of delight this is that we find in the word. 2. What the word ministereth or contributeth towards it. 
  • This delight is a real joy. It is a cordial joy. It is a great joy. It is a joy that ends well. But now, the more of this delight we have, the more we delight ourselves in the word of God, the more we love God, the better the heart is. It is a delight that overcomes the sense of our affliction, and all the evils that do befall us; and therefore it is said of the heirs of promise that they have strong consolation.'
  • Carnal joy makes a loud noise, and therefore it is compared to the crackling of thorns under a pot;’ but this is that which goes to the heart, that fills it with serenity and peace. Carnal joy is like the morning dew, which wets the surface; but godly joy is like a soaking shower that goes to the root, and makes the plant flourish. They that indulge false comfort rather laugh than are merry. But now he that is exercised in the word of God, and fetcheth his comfort out of the promises, he is glad at the very heart.
  • It is not a joy that perverts the heart. Carnal comforts, the more we use them, the more we are ensnared by them.
  • Secondly, How do we find it in the word? His testimonies are my delight.’ The word requires this joy in troubles, and the word ministers it to the soul.
  • We are not only with patience to submit to God’s will, but also to rejoice in it.
  • A true believer, that hath received the word of God as the rule of his life and guide of his hopes, he can not only be patient, but cheerful, glory in his tribulation. A carnal man is not so comfortable in his best estate as he at his worst.
  • Again, it gives us matter and ground of joy. God speaks a great deal of comfort to an afflicted spirit. It was one end why the scriptures were penned: Rom. 15:4, That we through patience and comfort of the scripture might have hope;’ and Heb. 12:5, Have you forgotten the consolation, that speaks to you as children?’ The great drift of the word is to provide matter of comfort, and that in our worst estate.
  • The scripture gives us ground of comfort from the author of our afflictions, who is our Father, and never manifests the comfort of adoption so much as then when we are under chastening.
  • Cordials are for those that are fainting. In time of trouble we have most sensible experience of God’s love.
  • He that can find Christ in his afflictions, and can see heaven beyond it, needs not to be troubled.
  • Let us exercise ourselves in the word of God, and let all his promises be as so many cordials to us. To this end get an interest in these promises, for the heirs of promise have strong consolation.'
  • There is strong, great, real, and pure comfort, but it is to the heirs of promise. So Rom. 5:4, Not only so, but we rejoice in tribulation.’ Who are those? Those that are justified by faith in Christ, ver. 1. To others, afflictions are the punishments of sin, and an occasion of despair, not of rejoicing. Ay! but when we are interested in reconciliation with God, then we take this comfort out of the word of God.
  • For the clearing of this, let me lay down these propositions— 1. That our great interest is to keep in with God, or approve ourselves to him. 2. Whoever would keep in with God needs counsel and direction in all his ways. 3. The only good counsel we can have is from God in his word. 4. The counsel God hath given us in his word is sufficient and full out for all our necessities.
  • God, being our chiefest good, must be our last end; therefore in every action there must be a habitual purpose, and in all actions of weight and moment there must be an actual purpose, to please God.
  • Every ordinary affair must be carried forth in the strength of the habitual purpose, but in all actions we would make a business of there must be an actual purpose. And because his authority alone can sway the conscience, which is under his dominion, therefore it concerns us in all things to exercise ourselves that we may have a good conscience, void of offence both towards God and man,’ Acts 24:16. And again, we are to approve our ways to God, and to keep in with him, because to him we are to give an account, 2 Cor. 5:9,10. There will a time come when every action of ours shall be taken into consideration, and weighed in the balance of the sanctuary, with all our principles and ends; therefore we strive, we are ambitious (so the word signifies); our great ambition should be, living or dying, to be accepted with God. Again, surely it should be our business to approve ourselves to God in every action, because all the success of our actions depends upon his concurrence and blessing.
  • Whosoever would keep in with God, he needs good counsel and direction in all his ways. Both in regard of the darkness of his understanding, his corrupt affections, and inordinate self-love, man is not able to rule and govern himself, but needs counsel: Prov. 12:15, The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.’ When a man engageth in any action, such is the darkness and perverseness of man’s heart that he should not be over-confident of his own apprehensions, or of his own inclinations, but should hearken after counsel;
  • Blind affections usually govern a man’s life; and all sinners have an evil counsellor in their bosom, some lust or other, and therefore need to be directed.
  • The only good counsel that we can have is from God in his word: Ps. 73:24, Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterwards receive me unto glory.’ We have it from God, and we have it from his word; for there is a guide and a rule.
  • Man is so weak and so perverse that he needs both a guide and a rule. The guide is the Spirit of God, and the rule is the word of God: thou shalt guide me, but by thy counsel. By these two alone can we be led in the way to true happiness.
  • The Spirit he is a sure guide; and the word, that is a clear rule. We are dark, but the scriptures are not dark.
  • The counsel that God hath given us in his word is sufficient and full out to all our necessities.
  • We are full of darkness and error; but as we follow the direction of God, it is a lamp not only to our path, but to our steps, to our feet; not only to our path, to our general course, but it directeth us in every particular action.
  • When you live in a constant dependence upon God, then will the Lord undertake to direct and guide you.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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