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Not A Resting Ground, But A Pleading Ground

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Not A Resting Ground, But A Pleading Ground

9 minuten leestijd

How often the child of God seeks to create a resting place in what the Lord has given. Then we try to find rest in this experience. But what a blessing when what the Lord gives may become a pleading ground rather than a resting place.

It is precious for David in the last part of Psalm 138, when he says, “The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me.” What a firm trust we may hear from his mouth. When he looks back, life has not been easy. The enemies were always there seeking for a way to overcome him, but the Lord delivered time after time.

Is this not the experience of all God’s children? The enemies within and without can be so strong. Without, when it seems as if all avenues of deliverance are being closed. Within, when that voice out of the pit of darkness is busy making God’s child afraid.

He says, “Is it not all of yourself? Has it ever been really true in your life?” But what a wonder the God of David is still the same today. He is a God who with His left hand removes the enemy, and with His right hand upholds His people. He delivers them out of all their oppressions. There are then given moments when we may say with David, “The Lord will perfect that.”

And when they say the word “that,” it means all that the Lord has worked in their hearts. They may then look back and see where the Lord has begun. How important in our day when we hear much about the preciousness of Christ Jesus!

But in Psalm 138:8, David says, “The Lord will perfect that.” He may know that the beginning of the work of grace in his life was from above. He never asked for the Lord, but the Lord asked for him. It was the Lord who worked that missing in his life, who caused that inward sorrow to go out unto Him. It was the Lord who opened his eyes for a way outside of himself. It was the Lord who spoke unto his hungering and thirsting heart, that for such a one there is a way in the blood of the Lord Jesus.

And when he may look back, then he must say that it is the Lord who comes back upon His own work time after time. Listen to him, “Though I walk in the midst of trouble, Thou wilt revive me, Thou shalt stretch forth Thine hand against the wrath of mine enemies, and Thy right hand shall save me.” He places against the enemy a God-given weapon, the shield of faith.

Here I may trust my entire life in the hands of my God. The Lord will make it well. I ruin it every time. From my side there can be no expectation. But what He has begun in my life, that will be finished by His hands.

Here the child of God may sing, ‘Through Thee, through Thee alone, because of Thine eternal good pleasure.” Certainly the days of darkness are many. The Lord did not promise that it would always be light. But — the word “but” is a connecting word. But has the Lord ever let you stand alone? Has He not cared for you until this very moment?

David says, ‘That which concerneth me the Lord will perfect.” And not only for David, but for every child of God. It is possible that you find yourself in great difficulty, that you experience that the Lord is breaking down what He has built. But through it all He will maintain His own work.

No, not because of anything in your life. Here all of self may fall away. Here there is no resting ground in tears, in prayers. If that were possible, grace would not be grace. Here you may fall completely outside; your nothingness will not be a hindrance. Because here faith may say, “Thou wilt perfect that which endureth forever.”

What a solid foundation David may see here. He says, “Thy mercy, O Lord, endureth forever.” He points away from himself to the foundation of God’s church. That gives hope and comfort to a people who have looked inward and can find no hope for eternity. Here by the grace of God, they may see that their salvation is anchored in the free and sovereign love of God; that this God was moved from all eternity from within Himself, and for such hell-worthy creatures He has thought out a way by which they can be saved. For in the Lord Jesus Christ mercy and righteousness have met each other, and at Golgotha they have kissed each other.

Now God’s Zion can be delivered. That is the solid foundation to which David points. Thy mercy, O Lord, is from everlasting. Therefore, a holy and just God can say, “I have loved thee with an eternal love.” Therefore have I drawn thee with cords of love. He has accepted them in His grace, and now they may share in His favor. For those people the enemies can be fierce, the days of darkness many. Their faith is often weak. Their cries are often fervent. Oh, that Thou would establish the works of Thine hands in my life! Many are the days that they miss the sealing power of the Lord upon His own work.

But that is a people who can never fall out of grace. The mountains may depart, the hills may be removed, but my mercy for those people can never fail. For that mercy endureth forever. True, if the Lord would do according to what we deserve, if He did acccording to our unfaithfulness, then all would be lost.

How the devil uses this when he comes and points to a life in which there is never any good! And says, how can that be consistent with what you have spoken of in days gone by? Then the child of God must agree with him. He sees nothing in himself, but he may look outside of himself.

Lord, it is Thy mercy, Thy free and one-sided work. For that people He is the same yesterday — that was when He stopped them, drew them; today, when He continues to uphold them in the midst of all their strife.

Forever the Lord will perfect that which concerneth me because His mercy is from everlasting. Reader, may you know that it is His mercy which causes you to hope upon His eternity? Or do you stand outside of all this? How terrible it will be to meet God outside of His mercy! Then it will be forever too late. But today it is His mercy that He still comes to you with His most serious admonishment. Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and all these things will be added unto you. Today the door is not yet upon the night latch. It is still the acceptable time.

May it be your prayer, “Lord, that Thou would begin Thy work in my life. Bestow upon me that salvation which has found its beginning with Thee.” David may see what the Lord is for His people. And seeing it, he closes with the prayer, “Forsake not the works of Thine own hands.” We would almost say: Is that not a strange prayer? Is he after all this not certain of what the Lord is, and will be, for him? Is he doubting, is he wavering? Is he not sure that the Lord will perfect that which concerneth him?

The richest experiences in the life of God’s child many times are followed by the deepest darkness. So soon, that what the Lord has given is brought through the sieve of Satan. Today they sing; tomorrow they are affrighted. Think of Elijah — how strong his faith was standing upon Carmel; he did not doubt the almighty power of his God. Soon he is under the juniper tree and says, “Lord, it was all in vain.” Peter, seeing Christ by faith, walks upon the water. The next moment he looks upon the waves and experiences that there is no bottom under his feet. David says, “Forsake not the works of Thine own hands.”

Here the child of God may stand in the strength of faith. The life of faith is not an idle life. When by faith we may rest upon God’s faithfulness, that is not a resting place, but a pleading ground. God’s work always brings us upon our knees. There the voice of faith is born. There the child of God may say amen upon whatever is God’s way in his life. There he may be one with his Lord, and the Lord can do no wrong.

Here he may plead, “Lord, it is all grace, therefore, it can also be for me.” He may look up unto God’s mercy. He may plead upon His mercy, “Do not forsake the works of Thine own hands.” Else I will fall back into eternal condemnation. But, no, that cannot be. The blood of the Lord Jesus is without repentance. For God’s people the price has been paid. That blood has opened a way when there was no way.

And now the smallest one in grace, when he is surrounded with trials and oppression, may say, “The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me.” And then he may fold his hands, and with this childlike prayer pray, “Lord, forsake not the works of Thine own hands,” and draw nigh unto God.

It is God’s work, therefore, it concerns God’s honor and your salvation, child of God. Therefore, fear not; the Lord promised that not a hoof shall be left behind. Reader, may you have such a firm trust? The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me. May you have such a solid foundation, “Thy mercy, O Lord, endureth forever”? May you end with such a childlike prayer, “Forsake not the works of Thine own hands”?

Rev. J. Den Hoed is pastor of the Netherlands Reformed Congregation of Rock Valley, Iowa.

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Bekijk de hele uitgave van woensdag 1 april 1987

The Banner of Truth | 28 Pagina's

Not A Resting Ground, But A Pleading Ground

Bekijk de hele uitgave van woensdag 1 april 1987

The Banner of Truth | 28 Pagina's

PDF Bekijken