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Lord’s Day 42, 2005

I reioyced, when they sayd to me, We wil go into the house of the Lord. Psalms 122:1, (Geneva Bible)

HYMN 2, C.M.
The death of a sinner.
by Isaac Watts
(1674-1748)

My thoughts on aweful subjects roll,
Damnation and the dead;
What horrors seize the guilty soul
Upon a dying bed!

Ling’ring about these mortal shores,
She makes a long delay,
Till, like a flood, with rapid force
Death sweeps the wretch away.

Then swift and dreadful she descends
Down to the fiery coast,
Amongst abominable fiends,
Herself a frightful ghost.

There endless crowds of sinners lie,
And darkness makes their chains;
Tortured with keen despair they cry,
Yet wait for fiercer pains.

Not all their anguish and their blood
For their old guilt atones,
Nor the compassion of a God
Shall hearken to their groans.

Amazing grace! that kept my breath,
Nor bid my soul remove,
Till I had learned my Savior’s death,
And well insured his love!

From The Psalms and Hymns of Isaac Watts. Hymns and Spiritual Songs. Book II. Composed on Divine Subjects.

Psalme 132 (Geneva Bible)
To him that excelleth. A Psalme of Dauid.

1 O Lord, thou hast tried me and knowen me.
2 Thou knowest my sitting and my rising: thou vnderstandest my thought afarre off.
3 Thou compassest my pathes, and my lying downe, and art accustomed to all my wayes.
4 For there is not a word in my tongue, but loe, thou knowest it wholy, O Lord.
5 Thou holdest mee straite behinde and before, and layest thine hand vpon me.
6 Thy knowledge is too wonderfull for mee: it is so high that I cannot attaine vnto it.
7 Whither shall I goe from thy Spirite? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?
8 If I ascende into heauen, thou art there: if I lye downe in hell, thou art there.
9 Let mee take the winges of the morning, and dwell in the vttermost parts of the sea:
10 Yet thither shall thine hand leade me, and thy right hand holde me.
11 If I say, Yet the darkenes shal hide me, euen the night shalbe light about me.
12 Yea, the darkenes hideth not from thee: but the night shineth as the day: the darkenes and light are both alike.
13 For thou hast possessed my reines: thou hast couered me in my mothers wombe.
14 I will praise thee, for I am fearefully and wonderously made: marueilous are thy workes, and my soule knoweth it well.
15 My bones are not hid from thee, though I was made in a secret place, and facioned beneath in the earth.
16 Thine eyes did see me, when I was without forme: for in thy booke were all things written, which in continuance were facioned, when there was none of them before.
17 Howe deare therefore are thy thoughtes vnto me, O God! how great is ye summe of them!
18 If I should count them, they are moe then the sand: when I wake, I am still with thee.
19 Oh that thou wouldest slay, O God, the wicked and bloody men, to whom I say, Depart ye from mee:
20 Which speake wickedly of thee, and being thine enemies are lifted vp in vaine.
21 Doe not I hate them, O Lorde, that hate thee? and doe not I earnestly contend with those that rise vp against thee?
22 I hate them with an vnfained hatred, as they were mine vtter enemies.
23 Try mee, O God, and knowe mine heart: prooue me and know my thoughtes,
24 And consider if there be any way of wickednes in me, and leade me in the way for euer.

Today’s Exposition
is brought to us by
Charles Spurgeon
(1834-1892)

Psalm 139:7-12

Verse 7
Here omnipresence is the theme, - a truth to which omniscience naturally leads up. “Whither shall I go from thy spirit?” Not that the Psalmist wished to go from God, or to avoid the power of the divine life; but he asks this question to set forth the fact that no one can escape from the all-pervading being and observation of the Great Invisible Spirit. Observe how the writer makes the matter personal to himself - “Whither shall I go?” It were well if we all thus applied truth to our own cases. It were wise for each one to say - The spirit of the Lord is ever around me: Jehovah is omnipresent to me. “Or whither shall I flee from thy presence?” If, full of dread, I hastened to escape from that nearness of God which had become my terror, which way could I turn? “Whither?.... Whither?” He repeats his cry. No answer comes back to him. The reply to his first “Whither?” is its echo, - a second “Whither?” From the sight of God he cannot be hidden, but that is not all, m from the immediate, actual, constant presence of God he cannot be withdrawn. We must be, whether we will it or not, as near to God as our soul is to our body. This makes it dreadful work to sin; for we offend the Almighty to his face, and commit acts of treason at the very foot of his throne. Go from him, or flee from him we cannot: neither by patient travel nor by hasty flight can we withdraw from the all-surrounding Deity. His mind is in our mind; himself within ourselves. His spirit is over our spirit; our presence is ever in his presence.

Verse 8
If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there.” Filling the loftiest region with his yet loftier presence, Jehovah is in the heavenly place, at home, upon his throne. The ascent, if it were possible, would be unavailing for purposes of escape; it would, in fact, be a flying into the centre of the fire to avoid the heat. There would he be immediately confronted by the terrible personality of God. Note the abrupt words - “Thou, there.” “If I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.” Descending into the lowest imaginable depths among the dead, there should we find the Lord. Thou! says the Psalmist, as if he felt that God was the one great Existence in all places. Whatever Hades may be, or whoever may be there, one thing is certain, Thou, O Jehovah, art there. Two regions, the one of glory and the other of darkness, are set in contrast, and this one fact is asserted of both - “thou art there.” Whether we rise up or lie down, take our wing or make our bed, we shall find God near us. A “behold” is added to the second clause, since it seems more a wonder to meet with God in hell than in heaven, in Hades than in Paradise. Of course the presence of God produces very different effects in these places, but it is unquestionably in each; the bliss of one, the terror of the other. What an awful thought, that some men seem resolved to take up their night's abode In hell, a night which shall know no morning.

Verse 9
If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea.” - If I could fly with all swiftness, and find a habitation where the mariner has not yet ploughed the deep, yet I could not reach the boundaries of the divine presence. Light flies with inconceivable rapidity, and it flashes far afield beyond all human ken; it illuminates the great and wide sea, and sets its waves gleaming afar; but its speed would utterly fail if employed in flying from the Lord. Were we to speed on the wings of the morning breeze, and break into oceans unknown to chart and map, yet there we should find the Lord already present. He who saves to the uttermost would be with us in the uttermost parts of the sea.

Verse 10

Even there shall thy hand lead me.” We could only fly from God by his own power. The Lord would be leading, covering, preserving, sustaining us even when we were fugitives from him. “And thy right hand shall hold me.” In the uttermost parts of the sea my arrest would be as certain as at home, God's right hand would there seize and detain the runaway. Should we be commanded on the most distant errand, we may assuredly depend upon the upholding right hand of God as with us in all mercy, wisdom, and power. The exploring missionary in his lonely wanderings is led, in his solitary feebleness he is held. Both the hands of God are with his own servants to sustain them, and against rebels to overthrow them; and in this respect it matters not to what realms they resort, the active energy of God is around them still.

Verse 11
If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me.” Dense darkness may oppress me, but it cannot shut me out from thee, or thee from me. Thou seest as well without the light as with it, since thou art not dependent upon light, which is thine own creature, for the full exercise of thy perceptions. Moreover, thou art present with me whatever may be the hour; and being present thou discoverest all that I think, or feel, or do. Men are still so foolish as to prefer night and darkness for their evil deeds; but so impossible is it for anything to be hidden from the Lord that they might just as well transgress in broad daylight.

Darkness and light in this agree;
Great God, they're both alike to thee.
Thine hand can pierce thy foes as soon
Through midnight shades as blazing noon.

A good man will not wish to be hidden by the darkness, a wise man will not expect any such thing. If we were so foolish as to make sure of concealment because the place was shrouded in midnight, we might well be alarmed out of our security by the fact that, as far as God is concerned, we always dwell in the light; for even the night itself glows with a revealing force, - “even the night shall be light about me.” Let us think of this if ever we are tempted to take license from the dark - it is light about us. If the darkness be light, how great is that light in which we dwell! Note well how David keeps his song in the first person; let us mind that we do the same as we cry with Hagar, “Thou God seest me.”

Verse 12
Yea,” of a surety, beyond all denial. “The darkness hideth not from thee;” it veils nothing, it is not the medium of concealment in any degree whatever. It hides from men, but not from God. “But the night shineth as the day'” it is but another form of day, it shines, revealing all; it “shineth as the day,” - quite as clearly and distinctly manifesting all that is done. “The darkness and the light are both alike to thee.” This sentence seems to sum up all that went before, and most emphatically puts the negative upon the faintest idea of hiding under the cover of night. Men cling to this notion, because it is easier and less expensive to hide under darkness than to journey to remote places; and therefore the foolish thought is here beaten to pieces by statements which in their varied forms effectually batter it. Yet the ungodly are still duped by their grovelling notions of God, and enquire, “How doth God know?” They must fancy that he is as limited in his powers of observation as they are, and yet if they would but consider for a moment they would conclude that he who could not see in the dark could not be God, and he who is not present everywhere could not be the Almighty Creator. Assuredly God is in all places, at all times, and nothing can by any possibility be kept away from his all-observing, all-comprehending mind. The Great Spirit comprehends within himself all time and space, and yet he is infinitely greater than these, or aught else that he has made.

Heidelberg Catechism for Lord’s Day 42 from CoffeeSwirls.

Grace and peace to you this Lord’s Day.

2005-10-16 at 12:01 AM MT | |