41 Let your steadfast love come to me, O Lord,
your salvation according to your promise;
42 then shall I have an answer for him who taunts me,
for I trust in your word.
43 And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth,
for my hope is in your rules.
44 I will keep your law continually,
forever and ever,
45 and I shall walk in a wide place,
for I have sought your precepts.
46 I will also speak of your testimonies before kings
and shall not be put to shame,
47 for I find my delight in your commandments,
which I love.
48 I will lift up my hands toward your commandments, which I love,
and I will meditate on your statutes.
Sermon 48 (Psalm 119:42)
- Observe three things:— 1. The ground of David’s comfort, I trust in thy word. 2. The enemy’s insultation thereupon, intimated in these words, him that reproacheth me. They scoffed at his trust in God, as if he would not bear him out in his strictness. 3. The request of the Psalmist, that God would confute and stop their mouths by making good his promises to him, so shall I have wherewith to answer him.
- Points:— Doct. 1. It is our duty to trust God upon his word. Doct. 2. Those that do so must look to be reproached for it. Doct. 3. God making good his promises confuteth their reproaches and insultations. Doct. 4. God will therefore make them good, and his people may expect and beg deliverance to that end.
- Doct. 1. It is our duty to trust God upon his word. The act of trust is spoken of with respect to a twofold object—the word and God; the one more properly noteth the warrant of faith, the other the object.
- To trust in God without his word is a foolish and groundless presumption, and the word without God is but a dead letter.
- First, What is this trusting in God? Ans. An exercise of faith, whereby, looking upon God in Christ through the promises, we depend upon him for whatsoever we stand in need of, and so are encouraged to go on cheerfully in the ways wherein he hath appointed us to walk. It is a fruit of faith, and supposeth it planted in the heart, for an act cannot be without a habit.
- Our necessities lead us to the promises, and the promises to Christ, and Christ to God, as the fountain of grace; and therefore we put these bonds in suit; we turn them into prayers; and then we have free leave to challenge him upon his word.
- Herein is the nature of trust seen, in dependence and reliance upon God, that he will supply our wants in a way most conducible to his glory and our good. Now, this depending on God must be done at all times, especially in a time of straits and difficulties.
- Whatever our condition be, our dependence must be on God.
- It is as certain that we ought not to be faithless and full of cares about these outward supplies:
- As we ought not, on the one hand, to think God will supply our lusts, nor, on the other hand, distrust his care of necessaries, so we cannot be absolutely confident of particular success in temporal things; for they are not absolutely promised, but with exception of the cross, and as God shall see them good for us.
- Good is not determined by our fancies, but God’s wisdom. Well, then, we cannot expect a certain tenure of temporal happiness-; there is great danger in fixing a deceitful hope; much of the subtlety of Satan is to be seen in it, who maketh an advantage of our disappointments, and abuseth our rash confidence into a snare and temptation to atheism and the misbelief of other truths.
- The dependence we exercise about these things lieth in committing ourselves to God’s power, and referring ourselves to God’s will. He is so able that he can secure us in his work, so good, that we should not trouble ourselves about his will, but refer it to him without hesitancy, which, if we could bring our hearts to it, it would ease us of many burdensome thoughts and troublesome cares.
- Reasons why it is our duty. 1. Trust, as it implieth recourse to God in our necessities, is necessarily required in the fundamental article of the covenant, in the choice of God for your God. 2. Else there can be no converse with God. Truth is the ground of commerce between man and man; so our dependence, which is built upon God’s fidelity, is the ground of commerce between God and us. Man fell from God by distrust, by having a jealousy of him; and still the evil heart of unbelief doth lead us off from God. 3. Consider whose word it is. God’s word is the signification of his will who is merciful, able, true. (1.) There is benignity and goodness, by which he is willing to help poor creatures, though we can be of no use and profit to him. (2.) His truth and fidelity is laid at pawn with the creature in the promises. (3.) He is able to make it good; his word never yet found difficulty: He spake the word, and it was done.’
- From the benefits of this trust. [1.] This fixeth and establisheth the heart against all fears, which so often prove a snare to us: [2.] It allayeth our sorrows, and maketh us cheerful in the midst of all difficulties and discouragements: [3.] It quiets the heart as to murmurings and unquiet agitations of spirit, to wait God’s leisure. [4.] It banisheth and removeth far from us distracting cares and fears; these are a great sin, a reproach to our heavenly Father: [5.] It keepeth us from warping and turning aside to crooked paths.
- The first use is to persuade us to trust in God upon his word. I will direct you— 1. As to the means. 2. The nature of this trust.
- 1. As to the means. If you would do so—[1.] Know him: Ps. 9:10, They that know thy name will put their trust in thee.’ If God were better known, he would be better trusted: 2 Tim. 1:12, I know whom I have believed.’
- [2.] Get a covenant interest in him. If our interest be clouded, how can we put promises in suit?
- [3.] Walk closely with him:
- [4.] Observe experiences, when he maketh good his word:
- Shame, fear, and doubts do always follow sin.
- Doubts are the fumes of sin, like vapours that come from off a foul stomach.
- 2. As to the nature of this trust. Let me commend to you— [1.] The adventure of faith: Luke 5:5, At thy word we will let down the net.’ At thy command; when we cannot apply the promise, venture for the command’s sake; see what God will do for you, and what believing comes to.
- [2.] The waiting of faith, when expectation is not answered, and you find not at first what you wait for; yet do not give God the lie, but resolve to keep the promise as a pawn till the blessing promised cometh:
- [3.] The obstinacy and resolution of faith.
- [4.] The submission and resignation of faith:
- [5.] The prudence of faith. Settle your mind against present necessities, and for future contingencies leave them to God’s providence:
- [6.] The obedience of faith. Mind duty, and let God take care of success. Let God alone with the issues of things, otherwise we take the work out of his hands.
- Use 2. Do we thus trust in the Lord? All will pretend to trust in God, but there is little of this true trusting in him in the world. 1. If we trust God we shall be often with him in prayer, Ps. 62:8, Trust in the Lord at all times; pour out your hearts before him;’ 2 Sam. 22:2-4, The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer, the God of my rock; in him will I trust; he is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my Saviour; thou savest me from violence; I will call on the Lord, who is worthy to be praised; so shall I be saved from mine enemies.’ 2. It will quiet and fix the heart, free it of cares, fears, and anxious thoughts.
- 3. A care to please, for dependence begets observance. They that have all from God will not easily break with him.
- Doct. 2. Those that do trust in God must look to be reproached for it by carnal men. 1. There are two sorts of men in the world ever since the beginning— contrary seeds: Gen. 3:15, I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed.’ Some born of the flesh, some of the spirit; the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent; some that live by sense, some by faith: ever it will be so. And there is an enmity between these two, and this enmity vented by reproach: Gal. 4:29, But as he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the spirit, even so it is now;’ that persecution was by bitter mockings. So Ishmael: Gen. 21:9, Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking.’ 2. The occasion, from their low condition; hence they will take liberty to mock at their interest in God, and to shame them from their confidence, as if the promise of God were of none effect. Carnal men measure all things by a carnal interest; and therefore the life of those that live by faith is ridiculous to them; those that trust in a promise are exercised with delay and distress.
- Use 1. Not to count it strange when it is our lot to be exercised with reproaches because of our trust; so was Christ.
- Use 2. Since there are two parties in the world, they that trust and they that reproach them for their trust, consider in what number you are. It is needful to be far from the disposition of the seed of the serpent, and not to have your tongues set on fire of hell, to be far from the disposition of those that are governed by sense and carnal interests.
- Doct. 3. That these reproaches are grievous to God’s children, and go near their hearts; therefore David desires God to appear for him, that he may have somewhat to answer them that reproached him.
- Doct. 4. God making good his promises, confuteth these reproaches and insultations.
- Use 1. Prayer is necessary. Desire God to appear and right himself, that he may confute the perverse thoughts of men, and wrong applications of his providence, that carnal men may see your hope and confidence in God is not in vain. You may beg deliverance on this ground, that the mouth of iniquity may be stopped.
- Use 2. Wait.