SURREY TABERNACLE PULPIT.
A SERMON – by Mister JAMES WELLS
PREACHED ON SUNDAY Morning, 18 September 1870
Volume 12 - No. 619.
“Let them that love him be as the sun when he goeth forth in his might. And the land had rest forty years.’’—Judges 5, 31.
WHEREVER there is in the soul saving faith, there is sure also to be love, because saving faith centers in the Savior, centers where there is love, where there is mercy, where there is forgiveness, where there is the blotting out of all our sins, where our sins are cast, as it were, into the depths of the sea, where they are forgotten, where the voice comes rolling down, to the delight of our souls, “I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions, and will not remember thy sins.” It is in Christ that the faith of the saints in all ages, whether of the Old or New Testament, has centered; and herein they have learned the love of God, that goodness of the Lord of which he speaks when he said, “My people shall be satisfied with my goodness.” This principle of love to God is a more living, a much more noble principle, than duty love. It was the duty of Adam before the fall to love God with all his heart, and mind, and strength; but he was but a creature, and there was nothing in him to make his love infallible; whereas here, by faith in Christ Jesus, it is the spirit of the Lord that dwells in the people, and it is the Christ of God that is with the people; the eternal and blessed God throws open to them his eternal counsels, and so they love him not merely from a principle of conscience or of duty, but from a higher and a nobler feeling; —they love him because he first loved them; so that when his love to them shall fail, then will their love to him fail, and not before. That love that waxes cold was never true love. We read that “the love of many shall wax cold, and iniquity,” false systems, systems of error, “shall abound,” by which their minds are perverted. But. where there is this true love, this true knowledge of Christ, they go on to love God, because God hath first loved them. Here it is, then, that his love is in them as a well of water, springing up unto everlasting life. And can we have anything so noble at the foundation, at the basis, of our religion? We have this great subject not only as the foundation and the mainspring of action both with God and us, but we have it also as the ultimate object; the ultimate object is to be perfect in love. When mortality is swallowed up of life, and the soul shall be immersed in the infinite and eternal love of God, it may then well be said that God wipes away all tears from their eyes; and this is the ultimate declaration of his amazing love. “Let” then, “them that love him be as the sun when he goeth forth in his might. And the land had rest forty years.”
I notice first the object, —“them that love him;” secondly, the request, —“let them be as the sun when he goeth forth in his might;” thirdly, the repose, —“the land had rest forty years.”
First, the object; “Let them that love him.” There is chiefly one aspect of the Lord’s character that I shall try to set before you this morning, wherein and whereby he endears himself to the people; and I must leave you to judge as I go along whether the Lord is dear to you in those respects in which I will endeavor to set him forth. First, then, it is that of majestic and most glorious interposition, and it will be for us to see whether the knowledge of this wonderful interposition has the same effect upon us that it had upon Moses, and Deborah, and Habakkuk. I mention these three because they are all one in that kind of representation of divine interposition which we have in this chapter. We will begin with Moses, and a knowledge of God’s majestic and solemn interposition; the effect it had upon Moses was to bring him into the love of God, and into the great doctrine of the safety of the people. Moses speaks of the Lord in his terrible majesty; but then that majesty is on behalf of the people. “The Lord came from Sinai.” Kitto suggests that the successive clauses there appear to have an allusion to the gradual rising of the sun unto the perfect day; and so Geddes renders the successive clauses thus: —“Thou camest from Sinai.” Bless the Lord for this; he came from Sinai by his dear Son, and thereby brings us from Sinai, so that the law has done with us, and we have done with that; that is dead to us, and we are dead to that; and we are brought under another law, a new law, a law which has in it the power of an endless life. “Thou camest from Sinai, thou dawnest from Seir; thou shinedst forth from mount Paran unto them; and he came with ten thousand of his saints;” meaning, of course, all the saints, for all the saints, as well as others, are, in their fall in Adam, at Sinai, themselves under the law, under sin, and under the curse; but by Christ Jesus they are all brought away thus from Sinai; the Lord dawns upon them, then shines upon them, and shows them the perfect day. “From his right hand went a fiery law for them not a fiery law against them, but a fiery law for them. God never manifests his wrath so terribly, he never manifests his indignation so fearfully, he never throws his thunderbolts with such vengeance, he never scatters his lightnings with such tremendous, effect, as when he is avenging the objects of his everlasting love; therefore it is that “he,” in any age, or place, or manner, “that toucheth them toucheth the apple of his eye;” and so the Lord goes forth for their protection, for their defense, and to avenge them, in all the burning and tremendous majesty of his eternal law. “From his right hand went a fiery law for them.” What an infinite mercy it is to be brought into that light that we have this morning to speak of, and to be brought out of that malice and enmity, blindness and ignorance, under which we all are by nature, and to be brought to see the Lord as these three I have named saw him; and thereby for his love to be shed abroad in our hearts. Now this brought Moses to see the love of God. “Yea, he loved the people,” or else he would not have brought them from Sinai, he would not have dawned upon them, he would not have shined upon them; if he had not loved the people he would not have called them saints; —“with ten thousand of his saints.” Why did he call them saints? Not because they were so by nature; certainly not because they were saints by anything they could do; but he called them saints for the reasons I rejoice to know you are well acquainted with—that he had by eternal election made them one with Christ and imputed all their sins to him. This is one reason why he called them saints— “sanctified by God the Father, preserved in Christ Jesus, and called.” Secondly, the Savior, “that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate,” and thus put away all their sins; this is another reason why he calls Them saints. Thirdly, he regenerates their souls, makes them one with Jesus, reconciles them unto himself, forms them for himself; this is another reason why he calls them saints. Fourthly, he will raise them from the dead at the last great day, from all their corruptions, for “the creature shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God:” this is another reason why he calls them saints. Fifthly, because as the word “saint” means “holy one,” they shall be presented at the last great day as free from sin as is the Son of God himself; this is another reason why they are called saints. And these reasons the people are brought to understand and to receive, and to see God in this attractive and lovely light; and to rejoice that while at Sinai in God is darkness, and in him is no light at all, at Zion God is light, and in him is no darkness at all; Christ is the morning without clouds; here eternal sunshine must settle on their heads. Now, said Moses, if this be it, if he has a fiery law for them, if he goes forth on their behalf in his tremendous judgments, if he would drown a world, or burn the cities of the plain, or overturn the Egyptians, Amalekites, and Canaanites, if he would thus give people for them, and also men for their life, what will he not do? and what confidence is it perfectly right for us to have in such a God as this? “He loved the people;” what people? Why, those that are brought to understand this coming from Sinai. Is not that a very sweet truth, that by the sacrifice of Christ you come away from the law and its terror, that by the righteousness of Christ you are brought to the end of the law, and to the beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ; and there is no end to the gospel of Jesus Christ, for it is an everlasting gospel, that puts an end to everything that is against us, contains everything that is for us; and thus the saints are brought from Sinai into this saint-ship, where the love of God is. “All his saints” said Moses, “are in thy hand;” and you know what the New Testament says about this—that they never can he plucked out of his hands. Bless his dear name! we keep in his truth, through his mercy, with a good deal of care and anxiety, and walk on and serve him with a good deal of care and anxiety; but it all amounts to nothing in comparison of the care he exercises over us. “All his saints are in thy hand; and they sat down at thy feet; every one”—every one of those in Peter’s vision, however ugly by nature, whether wild beast, four-footed beast, creeping viper, bird of prey; let them be what they may by nature— “everyone shall receive of thy words.” So said the Savior, “I have given them the words which thou gavest me, and they have kept them,” and so profited by them as to know that thou hast sent me; and “I pray for them; I pray not for the world, but for them whom thou hast given me; for they are thine; and all thine are mine, and mine are thine, and I am glorified in them.” That is the effect it had upon Moses; this knowledge of divine interposition led him to see the love of God, the safety of the people, and the certainty of their all coming to the knowledge of the truth, according to Isaiah 54— “All thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children.” Come then, are we got thus far; Are we brought to see that by the work of Christ, and that only, we could come from Sinai? And the Lord, having brought us from Sinai, adopts another ruIe by which to deal with us namely, his love, and the mediatorial work of his dear Son; these are the rules by which he deals with his people. “So speak and so do as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.” That is the effect it had upon Moses; so that if you believe Moses is in heaven, and you are led to see the necessity of your being brought by the work of Christ from Sinai, and brought to see something of the majestic interposition of the Lord on behalf of his people, and how terrible he is to all his enemies—hence the preceding clause to our text, “So let all thine enemies perish, O Lord; but let them that love him be as the sun when he goeth forth in his might;” —if we are brought thus to see the love of the Lord, the security of the people, and the certainty of God's truth, then we have the same faith that Moses had, the same spirit, the same gospel, the same God, I like downward experiences, at least I do not like the experience of them, because they are painful, but I like to notice them and enter into them; still I must say there is another way sometimes of your evidences being brightened up; there is such a thing as beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, until you are changed by the contemplation of what he is into the same image, from glory to glory, from one degree of glorying in the Lord to another, even as by the Spirit of our God. Therefore, don’t look upon your troubles as the only evidences you have. For the soul to be without knowledge is indeed, as the wise man said, not good; and where there is no understanding there is no sign of mercy; but as soon as you come to have an understanding of the necessity of Christ to bring you from Sinai, and of the Lord interposing for his people, and you see his love, and the certainty of his truth, then you are brought to where Moses was.
Now this same acquaintance with the interposition of the Lord for his people brought Habakkuk into the spirit of prayer, and into the spirit of unbounded confidence in God. He said, while looking at these things, and understanding that it was God’s work, and how easily God could do it, “O Lord, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid.” Well, that is a mercy. What are you afraid about? Why, I was fearing whether it is for me or not; will he, thus interpose for me? am I one of the happy people brought from Sinai, where the curse is, to Mount Zion, where there is no curse? Am I one of the happy people for whom Christ is the end of the law for righteousness? “I was afraid.” Well, what will you do? The usual remedy; the Lord has given me this fear and trembling, and now I will pray. “O Lord, revive thy work;” that is the secret; just touch my soul with the finger of thy love; just send a seraphim, a minister, with a live word, that is a live coal, from off the altar, where the sacrifice is, where mercy reigns, that it may touch my lips; then I shall know that mine iniquity is taken away, that my sin is purged, that I am forgiven, that all is well. “Revive thy work in the midst of the years; in the midst of the years make known; in wrath” -that wrath, as though he should say, which I deserve; I feel I deserve eternal wrath, I confess that I deserve it, yet I may plead, for thou art the God of Abraham Isaac, and Jacob in the new covenant, therefore, I may plead—“in wrath remember mercy,” and so the Lord did. And then he goes on to show the majesty of his interposition. “God came from Ternan and the Holy One from Mount Paran. His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of his praise.” Here is a revelation of Christ. “His glory covered the heavens” might as well be rendered “his glory filled the heavens;” and so it will be the glory of Christ that will fill the heavens; “and the earth,” which I take there mystically to be the church, “was full of his praise.” And so, this knowledge brings us into the spirit of prayer, brings to see that Christ is the fulness; he fills the temple, he fills heaven with his glory, and thereby the people are full of his praise; they seem to have nothing else to praise but their covenant God—full of the eternal Spirit of God, full of the grace of God, the salvation of God, and the love of God. “And his brightness was as the light;” so it is; Christ Jesus is that brightness; “he had horns,” or rays, “coming out of his hand; and there was the hiding of his power.” The heathen could not see where his power was; there he was in the cloud, there his brightness was as the light to the true Israelite; and so, he shines by his cloud of witnesses, the holy prophets, unto our souls. There was the hiding of his power, and so there is now. As he hid his power from the Egyptians in that cloud, so he hides his power now from the world in the cloud of eternal truth. The world has not the least idea of the power that is in God’s truth. I never knew anything of the power that was hidden in the Bible until God made that book cut me up root and branch, until God made that book lay me low in the dust; and when that blessed book, or some word therefrom, lays the sinner low, there, like Saul of Tarsus, he must remain until the Lord comes to lift him up. There is the hiding of his power, He will not conceal that power from his own; the Israelites knew what was in the cloud; so, the saints of God know what there is in the truth of God. But then comes the next step to which it brought Habakkuk; not only into the spirit of prayer and into the light of eternal truth, but it brought him to see how easily and majestically the Lord would give them what he promised to give them; and if we can understand it in its final application, it is very beautiful. Here are a great many things in the way—the Amalekites, the Midianites, and the great tribes of Canaan; so that ten out of the twelve spies fainted and said, “We are not able to take the land,” Thus they got away from the Lord, and placed their faith in themselves instead. Habakkuk looks at it and says, You want the Lord to appear for you, and he has promised to appear. Do you ask how he appears! I will just tell you, as though the prophet should say, “He stood and measured the earth:” took account of it, marked out the promised land; “he beheld, and drove asunder the nations.” There were thirty-one nations that came against Joshua; the Lord beheld and drove them asunder. And no doubt those thirty-one nations and thirty-one kings thought it was a monstrous thing on the part of Joshua to lead a handful of Israelites against them. It was not the Israelites, it was not the Israel of God, but the God of Israel that did the work. “He stood and measured the earth; he beheld and drove asunder the nations; and the everlasting mountains,” the kingdoms which those people supposed would last forever “were scattered” before the gentle movements of his power; “the perpetual hills,” establishments they thought perpetual, “did bow; his ways are everlasting.” Thus, we see the kingdoms of this world become as the chaff of the summer threshing-floor before the power of that mighty substitutional living stone cut out of the mountain without hands. Some of you that are tried, look at it; God stands and looks at your difficulties and trials, the things that would destroy you; he looks at the impossibility of your doing what is needful to be done for your own welfare; he beholds, he marks out the inheritance he has for you; and whatever obstacles stand in your way, he scatters them until they become as chaff; you shalt beat them and thresh them small, the whirlwind shall carry them away, and you shall rejoice in the Lord, and glory in the Holy One of Israel. “Let them that love him be as the sun.” What an interposer is the blessed God, thus bringing us from Sinai into the knowledge of his love and the certainty of his truth, thus bringing us into the spirit of solemn prayer to him and bringing us to acknowledge the majestic interposition of his power. I could not but look at you and think of you just now, while you were singing the second hymn; I looked round at the building, and reflected upon what had been done, and if I did not see it with my eyes I should not have thought such a position as we are in now ever would have been possible. But it was because the Lord took it in hand; it was because the Lord of Hosts was with us, it was because the God of Jacob was our refuge. Let us apply the same principle to yourselves personally, in your business, in your families. You may have some wayward things in your family, and your house may not be with God as nature would desire; but cease not to pray, cease not to beseech the Lord, cease not to sigh before him, cease not to bear your family on your breastplate, as it were, before God and if he does not hear today he will tomorrow; -yours sighs and your groans may not be answered even in your lifetime, but they shall be answered afterwards. You know what I have often said, and it is one of the most encouraging circumstances in the Bible to Christian parents, —I mean that of the awful character, Manasseh. He was about twelve years old when his father died, and his father had lodged, no doubt, many petitions at the footstool of mercy for the welfare of his only son. What a character he turned out to be! Living as he did so many years, to be nothing, as it were, but an awful murderer! Yet by and by—wonder O heavens, and be astonished, O earth—he is carried away to Babylon, put among thorns; there God sends the arrow of conviction into his conscience, bringing him on the knee of prayer; he becomes a praying man, gets back to Jerusalem, and does all he can, the few days he has left, to destroy idolatry, honor the God of his father, and glory in the God of Israel. Let us, therefore, never give up. “He stood, and measured the earth; he beheld, and drove asunder the nations.” Let us measure all our troubles not by what we are, but by what the blessed God is; let us measure all our perplexities not by our wisdom but by his infinite skill; let us measure our difficulties and burdens not by our weaknesses and disabilities, but by what the blessed God is; and the more we can rise into this confidence, the more we shall love him, and see his hand in guiding us hither and thither in that way which he from eternity ordained we should go, for his counsel must stand, and he will do all his pleasure. If we had ten million times more troubles than we have, God could manage them; he will bring everything right; “he bears, the groans of his elect, and hates to put away.” See what full confidence it led Habakkuk into. He looked around, and gives us to understand that though all the earth were desolate, so that there should not be even any herd left in the stall, yet here was his confidence: —“I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.” How is that? Why, because “the Lord God is my strength,” by his interposition he is my strength; “and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places;” he will still keep me standing upon the elevations of Zion, these eternal hills, these everlasting mountains, for his ways are everlasting. What unbounded confidence he had in a covenant God. I would be one of the last in the world if knew it to build any one up in false confidence; but those that know their need of Christ to bring them from Sinai, and are led into the knowledge of saint-ship, wherein it consists, an into the knowledge of God’s love, and the certainty of his truth, that are led into the spirit of prayer, and into the knowledge of the majesty of his interposition, and into an acknowledgment of the truth that he is well able to make his promise good, “ Thy shoes shall be iron and brass, and as thy days thy strength shall be;” such poor, trembling, broken-down creatures cannot have too much confidence in God, because their confidence in him will be entirely by the Lord Jesus Christ, and by the precious promises that God himself hath given. It was the sworn promise of his eternal love by Christ Jesus that gave the three patriarchs and all the after prophets such confidence in God when they travelled about among the nations; the terror of God was upon the cities round about, so that they were obliged to obey what God had said— “Touch not mine anointed and do my prophets no harm.” I feel ashamed of my poor, feeble representation of a subject so majestic and so great; but my meaning is that if we are brought into a clear knowledge of the way in which God interposes, it will increase our confidence, we shall love him more and more, and thus will the apostle’s prayer be answered, “That your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; that ye may approve things that are excellent;” and if these eternal mercies are not excellent, then I know not what excellency is.
And see what it brought Deborah to—what confidence she had, even before they set out; but I will not enter into any of that, pass by all that; but when she testifies, “The stars in their courses fought against Sisera. The river of Kishon swept them away, that ancient river, the river Kishon;” she stands amazed at her faith, she stands amazed at God’s interposition, and she says, “O my soul,” feeble as you are, benighted as you often are, bound as you often are, and cannot come forth unto the house of the Lord; shut up and cast down as you often are; yet here is such a display of eternal power and love that “O my soul, thou hast trodden down strength.” There she stood upon the ruins of the adversary, there she stood upon the rock of eternal ages, wrapped in the eternal God, as happy as a soul could be on this side of Jordan. “So,” in deep solemnity, “let all thine enemies perish;” then, springing as in a moment from the contemplation of wrath to that of love, “but let them that love him be as the sun when he goeth forth in his might.”
“The stars in their courses fought against Sisera.” I do not pretend to understand what is precisely meant by the stars fighting against Sisera. I think when we meet with a scripture of that kind, and cannot clearly understand it, we should then seek if we can find some scripture at all analogous to it, and that throws any light upon it. Therefore, what I am going to say you must take merely as my humble opinion, don’t take it as anything infallible; but my opinion is that God gave an unusual brilliancy to the stars; and you know in some oriental parts of the world the stars shine brighter than they do here; and some of you, that have been there, could even take up my little Bible and read a chapter by starlight. So, I apprehend the meaning is that God gave an unusual brilliancy to the stars; so that while the enemies thought they could take shelter in night, God gave the stars a sunlight brightness, and the Israelites could see to pursue their adversaries until the victory was complete. My reason for thinking this is because this view of it is analogous to Joshua 10; “Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon;” and so the sun and the moon stood still about a whole day, until the victory was complete; just to show that the God of light—for he is a God of light to his saints; darkness to the Egyptians, but light to Israel—will stand by his children until the victory is complete, until the last enemy is destroyed, even death itself; for the lamp of salvation with all its brilliancy shall accompany you into the valley of the shadow of death, until the last great day, when you shall rise. God will thus stand by his people until the victory is complete. I should think that was the meaning, but still I do not pretend to be infallible. The river Kishon represents the turn that will take place on earth. Here is Haman. Well, Haman, you have a hundred and twenty-seven provinces against these poor Jews. Yes. But suppose the tide should turn; suppose the river Kishon should run the other way, and begin to swell out and to swell up? And sure, enough the tide did turn, and ran quite the other way; and that very circumstance by which Haman meant to carry away the Jews carried him away, and left the Jews with light and gladness, left Mordecai next unto King Ahasuerus, great among the Jews, accepted of the multitude of his brethren, seeking the wealth of his people, and speaking peace to all his seed. Oh, my hearer, if we love this interposing God, he will interpose for us; our love to him is the sure pledge of that.
Secondly, the request; —“let them be as the sun.” I think the chief doctrine here intended is that of infallibility. First, the sun is a faithful witness in heaven; it is spoken of as a witness; and three times the sun has stepped out of its way to sympathize with the people of God, which circumstances we must accept as miracles. I am always grieved when I hear learned men say. “Oh, the ancients did not know much of science, for they spoke of the sun standing still, and of the sun going back ten degrees; whereas, say they, the sun does not move, and I don’t know what all. Now, the Bible was never intended to teach science; the great object of the Bible is to show to sinners that they are sinners, and then to bring them to Jesus Christ, and give them a knowledge of God; and so, the Bible speaks of things in their natural appearance; and when we read of these circumstances, we accept them as the acts of Omnipotence. I know very well that there is no principle in nature or process that we can scientifically understand why water should be turned into wine; but it was an act of divine power—that puts all criticism at an end. Let us, then, personify the sun for a minute or two to set forth these blessed things. Joshua was a lover of Jehovah. “As for me and my house, we will serve Jehovah;” you may serve other gods if you like, we serve this one God. Joshua, you want a little more light; so the sun stops, and says, “Now, Joshua, you go on, and I will stand still till I see the last enemy conquered; till I see the five kings in the cave, till I see your feet upon these kings, and your victory complete; and when you have done this I will start again.” So, it was a faithful witness, so it abodes by him; let that be a symbol of the Lord abiding by us. Then, secondly, here is an individual of no more importance individually than any other. Ah, I shall be cut off; I shall never go to the house of the Lord again; here is this deadly wound, and this thing and the other; it is all over with me; “I have cut off like a weaver my life;” the shuttle goes very fast, and my life is going as fast. “What is the sign?” says Isaiah; Come, don’t despair like that; don’t cast away your confidence. But what is the sign that I shall go up to the house of the Lord? Well, that the sun shall go back ten degrees on the sundial of Ahaz. Well, that will do to represent the Lord Jesus Christ stepping out of his way to shine upon all the ten commandments and fulfil them. That may be fanciful, perhaps; but I never can help thinking there of the ten commandments; the ten degrees and the ten commandments. It is my infirmity, I suppose; but so, it is. Now, Hezekiah, just so sure as I have stepped out of my way and gone back ten degrees, so sure you shall be healed; and he was; there came the lump of figs, and he got well, and went up to the house of the Lord. What do you say now, Hezekiah? Well, I will first say what I did say, and then what I now say. “Behold, for peace I had great bitterness; but thou hast in love to my soul delivered it from the pit of corruption; for thou hast cast all my sins,” past, present, and to come, “behind thy back.” “Therefore, we will sing my songs.” I could have joined very well with you, Hezekiah, for I am sure they were free grace songs therefore, we will sing my songs all the days of our life in the house of the Lord never get weary of such a God as this. So, the sun was a faithful witness in both cases; and so, the people of God shall be faithful witnesses, though I do not contend for a moment that that is the meaning of our text. But there is one more instance in which the sun stepped out of the way to bear witness to the Messiahship of Christ. Said the sun, It is not befitting in me to be throwing my brightest rays abroad while the Son of God is shrouded, as it were, in the sins of the people, while the Son of God is entering into all the darkness of the penalty of sin. I therefore, will show my recognition of his Messiahship by hiding my glory, drawing the curtain, taking away the brilliancy, and will show my sympathy with him by, as it were, a corresponding darkness. Oh, there is something in this! That is the way in which there was a sympathy shown with Christ. At the death of no other person did the sun ever thus shroud its glory; at the death of no other person did the sun come into such a position towards the earth as that. There was darkness over the earth from the sixth until the ninth hour—three hours. And then, as soon as ever Jesus said, “It is finished.” the sun broke forth in all its usual splendor, to denote that, by the finished work of the dear Redeemer, the light of the great God should break forth to all eternity, “as the light of seven days, when the Lord maketh up the breach of his people, and healeth the stroke of their wound.” It was at the same time a solemn testimony against the Jews crucifying Christ. So, the sun in all these was a faithful witness. Oh, my hearer, what will not our God do? Do not let us talk and think as though our God was out there, millions of miles from us: he is here; he is with his people. Were they in the wilderness? So was he. Had they to go through the Jordan? He went in first, and there he stopped till they were clean over; he was not somewhere else. And yet he was too, because he is everywhere; but he was with them. Just so now; the Lord is never out of the Bible, he is never out of the church, he is never out of your heart. We do not always see him, but he always sees us; we do not always think about him as we could wish, but he is always thinking about us. “O Israel, thou shall not be forgotten of me.”
I see I cannot get to the end of my text this morning, so we will just have another word or two on this clause, “Let them be as the sun.” I think, this means infallibility. The sun has never failed yet; and never can fail. “When he goeth forth in his might.” I cannot do better than take God’s word to guide us in this part of the subject. The sun going forth in his might represents, of course, the Lord Jesus Christ going forth in his might; and the people are to be in oneness with the sun—that is, in oneness with Christ. The sun is only the figure; Christ is the object, of course, that is meant. The Scriptures are clear that the people are all predestinated to be conformed to the image of Christ; that what he is, they are to be. Did not Jesus Christ go forth in his might in his humiliation; and does he not also go forth in his might in his exaltation? Let us hear. “The sun is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,” the chamber of eternity; “the sun ariseth” in eternity—that is, this mystic sun, Christ; and the sun goes down at Calvary’s cross; “and hasteth to his place where he arose.” He came from God and ascended back to God; there he lives and reigns forever.