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The Lord has been mindful of us. Psalm 115:12
On October 14, most of our churches in Canada had their Thanksgiving Day. The second Monday in October is the day which the Government has appointed for that purpose.
In our country it is always the fourth Thursday in November. We have to appreciate that also our Government has set apart such a day. It behooves the whole nation, and each and every one, to commemorate God’s benefits in the midst of His temple. It should be our prayer that God’s Spirit might influence our hearts thereto, and grant us, out of free and sovereign grace, a broken heart and a contrite spirit, which sacrifice alone is well pleasing in His sight through faith in Christ Jesus.
Lipwork can not please God, for he looks after truth in the inward parts. To that end, may He grant us together the spirit of grace and supplication, but also the spirit of Thanksgiving.
Indeed, the Lord has been mindful of us. God’s mercies and goodness are great and manifold toward us and our families, the congregations, and our nation, far above our merits and worthiness.
The Lord has spared us and provided for us in a bountiful measure. If He had entered into judgment with us and regarded our iniquities, our place would be vacant upon His footstool and we would be in the place of eternal misery. May our hearts be truly humbled, and the goodness and mercies of God lead us to repentance for the first time or by renewing, and to the knowledge of the Triune God Who is the life of His people. In this knowledge there is eternal life. The blessings which God gave us in the realm of nature were great, for we were blessed with fruitfulness and a plentiful harvest. There is still seed for the sower, and bread for the eater. Several states were beset with various calamities; the hand of the Lord was heavy with floods and earthquakes, tornadoes and other strange diseases and disasters, but it ought to be a wonder for all of us that we are not consumed by the holy wrath of God. God’s hand was stretched over us in goodness, notwithstanding the provoking sins and the terrible hardness of heart in the evil of sin in heart, home, church, and nation. Although dark clouds hover above our heads on account of the threatening judgments of God, and although God speaks powerfully in the signs of the times, still this is not regarded. God permits His word to be brought unto us, but the barrenness is great, and who takes it to heart? Who is grieved over his condition?
We do not have to go very far to seek this, but let each one examine himself, and surely we shall find so much guilt that, with the publican, we dare not raise our eyes to heaven because of shame. That we might truly become guilty before God. Then there would be hope, even though the future looks very dark. The Lord testifies in His word: When My people shall own their guilt and shall seek my face, then shall I remember my covenant. Everything proves that the coming of the Lord draws nigh. Blessed is he who may find peace with God and is sheltered in Christ as the Ark of Safety. United by faith with Him, then, and then only, shall we be able to flee from the wrath of God. If this may take place in our life, it is nothing else than that the Lord was mindful of us.
In this text man is not placed in the foreground, but the Lord; Jehovah, the true and living God. He is the source of all blessings. The Lord has been mindful of us. When God permits the full light to fall upon this truth in the hearts of His people, they may behold the basis thereof which lies in eternity. Even in eternity the Lord had thoughts of His people. Jehovah declares this himself in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord. Thoughts of peace and not of evil to give you a latter end.”
From all eternity God was moved within Himself not over all mankind, but only over a part of the children of men, according to His sovereign good pleasure. The cause of election and rejection does not lie in the creature. All motives or conditional causes outside of God are entirely impossible.
In the word “think” or “mindful” in the original language lies the meaning of power and strength, namely, the ability or power of the soul to retain something in remembrance, or to permanently retain someone in his thoughts or affections. It is obvious that this also includes thinking of somebody. It is a power and strength of the soul in this respect, that we retain someone in our thoughts and affections. And although this virtue is defective with men, nevertheless it is perfect with God. With men it is so often: “Yet did not the chief butler remember Joseph, but forgot him “,Genesis 40.
In the good sense of the word, then, it certainly strengthens our life when we are not compelled to live alone. John Bunyan made the remark, “After man’s fall, there remains a dejected world.” And indeed this is correct. How encouraging it is to know that here and there someone is still thinking of us, especially when we are in trouble. This is especially true when there is a covenant, such as between David and Jonathan. But still we shall experience that here upon earth everything is defective and temporal. No one can give us anything: not even the dearest child or servant of God, for we are all poor and needy creatures. In order to be able to pray or sigh for each other it must be granted from above. And when death comes and separation is made in the world, it is confirmed that “Abraham knoweth us not and Israel has no remembrance of us.”
Moreover, in the way of discovering, God breaks down and causes us to lose everything. Such ways are bitter for our flesh and blood, but they are necessary in order that Christ may have the highest place in our hearts. God alone remains as the strength of our heart and the support of our soul. To be comprehended in the eternal thoughts of God surpasses everything. It is everything to experience this in our life; that God knew us from eternity and that we are never out of His thoughts, but that He is ever mindful of us. God being mindful of us is that He is unchangeable in His being, in His attributes, and in His virtues, but also in the manifestation of His attributes and virtues. So that in respect of His people, He is always mindful of them in love, for they are the object of His love and good pleasure, and his delights were with the children of men from all eternity. He is mindful of His covenant with them. He is mindful of them in Christ, Who was given for a covenant of the people, which is the fruit of His eternal good pleasure, and this pleasure of the Lord shall prosper through Christ. And those whom He has loved were loved with an eternal love, and He shall love them unto the end. Whatever may fall away here upon earth, or whatever disappointments we
meet with, the firm foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal: The Lord knoweth them that are his. Nevertheless, the devil, the world or sin can undermine or move away this foundation. The salvation of God’s church and people lies secure in God from all eternity. At times God’s people may lament: “The Lord has forgotten me, and the Lord has forsaken me”, but this is never the case for He has graven them in the palms of His hands, and their walls are continually before Him. He is ever mindful of them and the experience of this fact gives them strength, courage, and happiness. Yes, there are times when they are unable to express in words their wonderment that such a lofty, glorious, righteous, and holy God is mindful of them. They sink away in adoration when they consider that God’s face is turned to them in favor and that He loves them with all the love of His heart, even though they are nothing else but miserable, guilty, and damnable creatures. That He was moved with compassion over them: that He was willing to reveal and glorify Himself in them, by His love and that He included them in the eternal covenant of peace. Well-ordered in all things and sure He gave His only Son, which was the dearest He had: yes, He granted them His Holy Spirit to dwell in them, and Who would constantly remind them what Christ had spoken to them. O, that we all could say, “How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, “O God”. Psalm 139. That would be everything.
If there was more space in our paper we would write more about this text, but I have to stop for the present time.
The Lord has been mindful of us. We have abundant reasons to take it over outwardly for our person, family, country, nation, and people. If God had not been mindful of us we would have been consumed and swept away by His justice. That it might fill us with wonder and amazement that God still bears with us. God has been mindful of us in nature. The covenant made with Noah has again been confirmed. The heavens still showered blessings upon us so that nothing was lacking. If we might have a deep impression of this in our hearts we would cry out on this Thanksgiving Day: “What is man that Thou art mindful of him and the son of man, that Thou visitest him.” Would we then not be willing to bow into the dust if our eyes and hearts were opened to the greatness of this God Who granted this all out of pure grace. But my friends, we become aware of the fact that through our deep fall we have lost our attentions. Of ourselves we tread and trample on the benefits and forget God who gave them. Let us question ourselves at this time, how often during the past season our hearts were humbled when we beheld the precious green fields and the fully laden orchards. When we saw the cattle in the pastures. Must we not admit with shame that our heart is as a stone, and that we live as though we are entitled to these? Also in this respect have we sunken deeper than the rational creatures. Let us confess sincerely that our life by nature is nothing else but departing from God, forgetting God, and forsaking God. The true thoughtfulness is not found in us. God must place us by the benefits and his spirit must lead us to that God, Who also in this past season was mindful of those who have forgotten Him. And let us never think that this will ever change for the better, but rather that it will diminish until there is nothing left. Without Christ we can not observe Thanksgiving Day. He is the only sin offering, but also the thank and praise offering that is acceptable to God. To be united through faith with Christ is essential shall it be well with us for time and eternity. May the Lord strengthen also those among us for whom this year was a year of calamities and disappointments. For some it was a hard year. They lost much, but, my dear friends, may the Lord give you to bow in true humility under the Lord and His dealings with you, that it bears fruit for your eternal welfare. May the Lord humble us together and give us to declare: “The Lord hath been mindful of us”.
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Bekijk de hele uitgave van vrijdag 1 november 1968
The Banner of Truth | 20 Pagina's
Bekijk de hele uitgave van vrijdag 1 november 1968
The Banner of Truth | 20 Pagina's