Tuesday, August 1, 2017

My Summer with Psalm 119 #9

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 11 (Psalm 119:10)

  • Seeking of God implies three things:— 1. There is a more general seeking of God, for relief of our sin and misery by nature. 2. More particular, upon special occasions. 3. There is a constant seeking of God in the use of his ordinances.
  • Adam, when a sinner, ran away from God; and therefore all our business is now to seek him, that we may find him again in Christ Jesus. The general address that is made to God for pardon and reconciliation, it is often called a seeking of God in scripture; so it is taken Isa. 55:6, Seek ye the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near;’ that is, get into favour with God before it be too late. So Amos 5:6, Seek the Lord, and ye shall live.’ This notes our general address for pardon and reconciliation.
  • There is a more particular seeking of God; that notes our addresses to God either in our exigencies and straits, or in all our business and employment.
  • And so we are said to seek God when in doubts we seek his direction, James 1:5; when in weakness we seek strength; in sickness, health; in troubles, comfort. 
  • In all our businesses and affairs God must be sought unto, and we must ask his leave, his counsel, and his blessing.
  • It is one thing to serve God, another thing to seek God; one thing to make God the object, another thing the end of our worship. To seek God only in our necessity, and not to seek God in his ordinances, argueth a base spirit.
  • Well, then, let us be more in seeking of God. If we would find him in heaven, we must seek him on earth: Heb. 11:6, He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.’ They that seek his favour, that often resort to him, carry on a constant communion with him; those that are waiting for his power and presence in his ordinances, these are the men God will own. We are not fit to receive so great a blessing as God’s favour if we will not look after it with diligence.
  • Observe, those that seek God aright, must seek him with their whole heart. But how is that? Besides what hath already been spoken of it in the second use, it noteth three things— 1: Sincerity of aims. 2. Integrity of parts. 3. Uniformity of endeavors.
  • Many pretend to seek God, but indeed they do but seek themselves.
  • If there be anything sought from God more than God, or not for God, we do not seek him with the whole heart, but only for other uses.
  • It is not enough to see food that is wholesome, but you must eat it. Nor is it enough to understand the gospel, and believe that it is true, but we must embrace it; it must be accepted, else we do not believe with the whole heart. The word is propounded to man as true.
  • Now, there are many that look upon the gospel as good and profitable, because it offereth pardon and eternal life; such comfort to the conscience, and such good to our whole souls. We may be affected with it as a good doctrine. Naturally, man hath not only a sense of religion, but he hath a hunger after immortality and everlasting blessedness. Therefore, since the gospel doth so clearly promote happiness, it may be greedily catched hold of by those whose hearts are affected, while they look upon it under these notions; and they may be so far affected that they may for a while not only profess it out of danger, but when some danger doth arise they may defend their opinions with some care. Yet this is not with all the heart. Why? As soon as any great danger doth arise, out of which there is no escape, as gibbets, fires, racks, ignominy, and utter loss—as soon as persecution arose, saith Christ, all this ardour and heat of spirit which they did formerly seem to have, comes to nothing. What is the reason it vanisheth? Because they receive the gospel rather upon those notions of interest and profit, than of duty and holiness; and the impression of the profitableness of the gospel, as a doctrine of happiness, was not so deeply rooted in them, not so durable, that the hope of the future good would be prevalent over the fear of present evil and danger. There may be some desires of heaven in a carnal breast, but they are easily blotted out by worldly temptations; but the true desires of holiness are lasting, and will prevail over our lusts.
  • Believing with all the heart implies uniformity of endeavours. Oftentimes the soul may be strongly moved and affected for the present, and carried out to the gospel under the notion of holiness; but it is but the lighter part of the soul that is so moved, not the whole heart, therefore it is not durable.
  • The more a man is exercised in obedience, the clearer is his light and understanding, both to God and the will of God.
  • It is God alone that can keep us from wandering.
  • Man is a restless creature, that loveth shifts and changes. For weakness they are compared to children, Hosea 11:3, and for wandering compared to sheep, Isa. 53:6. There is no creature so apt to go astray as sheep, and so unable to return. This is the disposition of men by nature. And mark, much of the old nature remains still with the saints.
  • You see, then, what need we have of a guide and shepherd, and of constant dependence upon God. Of all titles, this is the title given to the saints; they are a flock, and the sheep of God’s pasture;’ and Christ is called the shepherd of souls,’ 1 Peter 2:25. There is no creature of such a dependence as sheep. Dogs and swine can roam, abroad all the day, and find their way home again at night, but sheep must have a guide to keep them in the fold, and to reduce them when gone astray, Luke 15. The good shepherd brought him home upon his shoulders. Lord, saith Augustine, I can go astray of myself, but I cannot come back of myself. We need often to put up this request, Oh, let me not wander from thy commandments.’

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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