December 30: The Lord Our Bulwark

“The Lord is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?” Psalm 118:6

God must be on the side of His people, since He has, in an everlasting covenant, made Himself over to be their God. In an especial manner, and in the highest degree, He is the God of His people. In the most comprehensive meaning of the words, He is for us. His love is for us—His perfections are for us—His covenant is for us—His government, extending over all the world, and His power over all flesh, is for us.

There is nothing in God, nothing in His dealings, nothing in His providences, but what is on the side of His people. Enshrined in His heart, engraved on His hand, kept as the apple of His eye, God forms a mighty bulwark for His church. “As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the Lord is round about His people from henceforth even forever.” In Christ Jesus, holiness, justice, and truth, unite with mercy, grace, and love, in weaving an invincible shield around each believer. There is not a purpose of His mind, nor a feeling of His heart, nor an event of His providence, nor an act of His government, that is not pledged to the happiness, the security, the well-being of His people. What Joshua said to the children of Israel, trembling to encounter the giants of Anak, may be truly said to every believer in view of his foes, “The Lord is with us, fear them not.”

Not the Father only, but the Son of God, is also on our side. Has He not amply proved it? Who, when there was no eye to pity, and no arm to save, undertook our cause, and embarked all His grace and glory in our salvation? Who slew our great Goliath, and rescued us from Pharaoh, discharged our debt, and released us from prison? Who extinguished the fires of our hell, and kindled the glories of our heaven? Who did all this by the sacrifice of Himself? Oh, it was Jesus!

Need we further proof that He is for us? Who appears on our behalf within the veil? Who sits for us as a priest upon His throne? Whose blood, first shed on Calvary, now sprinkles the mercy-seat? Who pleads, and argues, and intercedes, and prays for us in the high court of heaven? Whose human sympathy flows down in one continuous stream from that abode of glory, blending with our every trial, and suffering, and sorrow? Who is ever near to thwart our foes, and to pluck our feet from the snare of the fowler? Oh, it is Christ! And there is not a moment of time, nor a circumstance of life, in which He does not show Himself strong in behalf of His people.

And so of the Holy Spirit. Who quickened us when we were dead in trespasses and in sins? Who taught us when we were ignorant, enlightened us when we were dark, comforted us when we were distressed; and when wounded and bleeding, and ready to die, led us, all oppressed with guilt and sorrow as we were, to Jesus? Who inspired the first pulsation of life, and lighted the first spark of love; who created the first ray of hope in our soul, and dried the first tear of godly grief from our eye? Oh, it was the eternal Spirit, and He, too, is for us.

Survey the record of your own history, dear reader. What a chequered life yours, perhaps, has been! How dotted the map of your journeyings, how many-colored the stones that have paved your path, how varied and blended the hues that compose the picture of your life! And yet, God constructed that map, God laid those stones, God pencilled and painted that picture. God went before you, God is with you, and God is for you. He was in the dark cloud that enshrouded all with gloom, and He was in the sunshine that gilded all with beauty. “I will sing of mercy and of judgment; unto You, O Lord, will I sing.”

Who has carried forward the work of grace in our souls—checking our feet, restoring our wanderings, holding up our goings, raising us when we had fallen, and establishing our feet more firmly upon the rock? Who has befriended us when men rose up against us? Who has healed all our diseases, and has filled our mouths with good things, so that our youth has been renewed list the eagle’s? It was the Lord who was on our side, and not one good thing of all that He has promised has failed.

April 5: Who Can Be Against Us?

“If God be for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31.

With such a Father, such a Friend, and such a Comforter, who can wage a successful hostility against the saints of God? God Himself cannot be against us, even when the clouds of His providence appear the most lowering, and His strokes are felt to be the most severe. “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him.” The law cannot be against us; for the Law-fulfiller has, by His obedience, magnified and made it honorable. Divine justice cannot be against us; for Jesus has, in our stead, met its demands, and His resurrection is a full discharge of all its claims. Nor sin, nor Satan, nor men, nor suffering, nor death, can be really or successfully against us, since the condemnation of sin is removed, and Satan is vanquished, and the ungodly are restrained, and suffering works for good, and the sting of death is taken away. “If God be for us, who can be against us?”

With such a Being on our side, whom shall we fear? We will fear nothing but the disobedience that grieves, and the sin that offends Him. Fearing this, we need fear nothing else. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear.”

Listen once more to His wondrous words: “Fear not; for I am with you: do not be dismayed; for I am your God: I will strengthen you; yes, I will help you; yes, I will uphold you with the right hand of my righteousness.”
Would we always have God for us? Then let us aim to be for God. God deals with us His creatures by an equitable rule. “The ways of the Lord are equal.” “If you walk contrary unto me, their will I walk contrary unto you.” Is not God for you? Has He not always, since He manifested Himself to you as your covenant God, been on your side? Has He ever been a wilderness to you, a land of darkness? Has He, in any instance, been unkind, unfriendly, unfaithful? Never.

Then be for God- decidedly, wholly, uncompromisingly for God. Your heart for God, your talents for God, your rank for God, your property for God, your influence for God, your all for God; a holy unreserved consecration to Him, all whose love, all whose grace, all whose perfections, all whose heaven of glory is for you.

Trembling Christian! God is on your side; and “if God be for us, who can be against us?”

Thy Rod & Thy Staff: Protection For The Flock (5 of 7)

The shepherd’s “Rod” is for protection. It is a weapon of defense with which the flock are shielded from the prowling beasts of prey. There is not a moment that danger is not near, and not a moment that Christ’s Rod is not outstretched in our defense. There is not a being in the vast universe more exposed to assault, nor yet one more divinely and safely kept, than a saint of God. Loved with a love that passes knowledge- redeemed with the precious blood of the Shepherd- and made a temple of God through the Spirit, is it possible that he can ever perish?

Listen to the Shepherd’s declaration of this truth- “I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, who gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.” Take comfort from this, O my soul! You do often tremble at the prowling beasts of prey, causing the forest to shake with their roar- yet more do you dread the veiled and subtle foe- the sin that dwells in you- ever present, never slumbering, treacherous and strong, and therefore the more dangerous and dreaded, often extorting the cry, “I shall one day perish by my enemy!” Do not be dismayed! Every sheep and lamb of the flock is kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation; and shall be delivered from the mouth of the lion, the paw of the bear, and the fangs of the serpent.

Thy Rod & Thy Staff: Protection For The Flock (5of 7)

The shepherd’s “Rod” is for protection. It is a weapon of defense with which the flock are shielded from the prowling beasts of prey. There is not a moment that danger is not near, and not a moment that Christ’s Rod is not outstretched in our defense. There is not a being in the vast universe more exposed to assault, nor yet one more divinely and safely kept, than a saint of God.

Loved with a love that passes knowledge- redeemed with the precious blood of the Shepherd- and made a temple of God through the Spirit, is it possible that he can ever perish? Listen to the Shepherd’s declaration of this truth- “I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, who gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.” Take comfort from this, O my soul!

You do often tremble at the prowling beasts of prey, causing the forest to shake with their roar- yet more do you dread the veiled and subtle foe- the sin that dwells in you- ever present, never slumbering, treacherous and strong, and therefore the more dangerous and dreaded, often extorting the cry, “I shall one day perish by my enemy!” Do not be dismayed! Every sheep and lamb of the flock is kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation; and shall be delivered from the mouth of the lion, the paw of the bear, and the fangs of the serpent.