Notes of a sermon preached by Mr. R. J. Morris on March 14, 1954 at Gower Street Memorial Chapel, London.
So he bringeth them unto their desired haven. Psalm 107. 30.
If these people are brought into harbour, then they must have first come through the seas to reach it. And if they make this voyage by sea, then they must leave the land. And if they leave the land, it is because the Holy Ghost awakens them to see their dire peril and need. They could not stay where they were. They were shown that their native country is appointed to utter destruction. Hence it is, as the Psalmist puts it, “They … go down to the sea in ships.”
Jesus, at thy command.
I launch into the deep:
And leave my native land,
Where sin lulls all asleep.
– being driven forth, the eyes opened to see that all else must perish, that sinners are under God’s curse, as it is written, “Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.”
Here are persons that are brought to feel they can never satisfy God’s holy law and its requirements. That searching question fills their heart, “How should man be just with God?” But God by His grace separates them; separates them to seek Him, to take this spiritual voyage, that they may come at last to the port of bliss.
It is said of these people that they do business in great waters. Some of you, my friends, can look back to those early days when you did business in great waters. O the searchings of heart, the distress of soul, the convictions of sin, the fears of being lost, and lost for ever! This was to do business in great waters. By divine grace you were brought out of the world that you might cry to God in your soul’s peril and need. I shall only touch upon these things because my text is the theme of God’s people in heaven to all eternity. You cannot expect me to say but little in a few moments, seeing these blessed people will be occupied to all eternity as they “sit around their Master’s feet. and tell the wonders of His love.” It is a common thing amongst mariners, more especially years ago, to rehearse what they had experienced by the way, to tell of the storms, the wonders they had seen, the things they had experienced. Thus it will be when God’s dear people get to heaven. Throughout eternity they will be occupied in praising and blessing God and in recounting His mercies to them by the way. They see the works of the Lord, His great work in His plan of salvation. Did you ever see anything of it? How that God has eternally loved His people, how that He sent His own dear
Son to die for them, to be a propitiation for their sins; how that the Spirit of God quickens the sinner and reveals his need and reveals Christ to him? Those words addressed to the Holy Ghost are very apt:
“The Father sent the Son to die;
The willing Son obeyed;
The witness Thou, to ratify
The purchase Christ has made.”
These are the works of the Lord, that the way should ever be opened whereby a poor sinner may escape the wrath to come. They see also God’s wonders in the deep. I do not know whether you have ever seen them, or whether all your religion is in your head, and you have got nothing at all in your heart. God knoweth. But these people of whom I speak see the Lord’s wonders in the deep. The wonders of His electing love; the wonders of His rich grace; the wonders of His sovereign mercy known and felt in their hearts. But it is a solemn thing to but seem to have. “Whosoever hath, to him shall be given;
and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have,” But all these living characters, these saved sinners that see God’s wonders in the deep, that see His works, that see His wonders of redeeming love, and who are accepted in the Beloved Â— God gives them sooner or later an earnest of heaven, the sealing of the Spirit. And O how wonderful these things are to them. “What, Lord, canst Thou so love a sinner like me? Are my sins put away by the blood of Thy cross? Hast Thou promised to bring me through these stormy waters and land me safe on yonder shores of heaven?” These are God’s wonders. Who can speak of them as they should be spoken of Â— the wonders of God’s grace and love to sinners?
Then the Psalmist speaks of the storms, through which these tried people must go. It is a trying experience when at times they mount up to heaven and go down again into the deep, when their soul is melted because of trouble and they reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits end. I remember once having a little touch of this literally on board ship. Coming up through the hatchway, and the storm not having abated, one was thrown down immediately on the deck Â— fearful of falling overboard, and glad to grasp whatever was in reach. But all this is nothing compared with what the Lord has led me through in spiritual experience. I have indeed reeled to and fro and staggered like a drunken man, and been at my wits end. O the bitterness of it, the sorrow of it, the pain of it, Â— the Lord only knows! Yet I am not without a hope that through His infinite mercy I am bound for this desired haven. God has given me an earnest of it, and I shall have the possession by and by. But O the storms, the tempests, through which
these people pass; troubles, temptations, afflictions. Sometimes their hopes rise heaven-wards. Sometimes their fears bring them down again to the depths. Brought into a place of utter helplessness, their soul is melted because of trouble. That may be the sorrowful experience of some poor heart here this morning Â— melted because of trouble, all your strength gone, unable to stand against these things, brought to your wits end, reeling to and fro in secret before God. staggering like a drunken man. Strange characters these, the world thinks, yet they are destined to come to heaven to be for ever with the Lord.
O, the bitterness of the troubles: “Lord, shall I ever come through this storm? Shall I ever survive these trying things? My heart so ashamed and guilty Â— wilt Thou take pity upon a poor worthless worm? Help me. Lord, in my trouble. Thou Who didst cross the stormy waters of the Sea of Galilee, and still them with Thy command. Lord, speak Thy peace into my heart. Give me to feel that Thou art with me, that I shall never, concerning faith make shipwreck, that I shall never be lost, notwithstanding all that threatens me.” It is said in this Psalm, “He commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind.” “O,” you say, “I have not been looking there. I have been looking at this cause and the other cause, forgetful that it is God Who commands and raises the stormy wind.” All comes from Him. He has control of all the troubles and distresses of these spiritual mariners.
“The wildest storm His will obeys.
His word its rage restrains.”
The proud conceited, self-righteous Pharisee may go on in his quiet, undisturbed way, while the poor child of God encounters such dreadful storms. Temptations, grievous temptations, afflictions, losses, trials, disappointments, the devil oftentimes thrusting at him, and sometimes speaking to him as he did to the man of God, “God hath forsaken him: persecute and take him; for there is none to deliver him.” A dreadful word to get in a storm is that. The great adversary takes advantage of your deep trials, and says there is no help for you in God.
In the next place it is said that these people cry unto the Lord in their trouble. I told you they were spiritual mariners, praying souls. And blessed be God that they should ever have been brought to call upon His name. They called upon Him in their first distress. “Lord, save me, or I perish.” So now they call upon Him in their trouble and seek unto God for help. Do you do that? “Ah”, you say, “not as I would, and not as I ought.” How backward to pray, how slow to call upon God. How weak, often, your prayers and mine. Nevertheless, we cry unto God in our troubles; how many times I have done that.
Sometimes things seem impossible. Some of your matters may seem impossible to you this morning. Certainly you cannot put them right, and others cannot put them right for you. But all power is with Christ in heaven and in earth.
They call unto the Lord in their trouble. In our folly we speak unkindly sometimes of these people. Could we but see them before their God in secret, groaning to Him in their trouble, our hearts would be moved for them; how we should weep with them that weep;
how we should wish to bear their burden and to pray for them. They call unto the Lord in their troubles. Some of you may be doing that now; in your poor faltering way laying your case before the Lord. “Ah”, you may say, “I am so tried about my prayers because I seem to ask for the same thing time and again. It seems to be in the same words.” And why not? If there is that you have need of before God, you will ask in the same words. The devil tempted me about it once, till I remembered Gethsemane’s garden, where the Son of God prayed to His Father. “He went away again and prayed the third time, saying the same words.”
The Lord in answer to this cry sent them a calm, and they were glad when they were quiet. It takes our minds back to this place and the other place in this spiritual ocean, where the Lord, in answer to our poor cries, sent us this calm, this quietness. How often some of you have found this quietness in the house of God, even where you are now. The storm has been hushed, the tempest for a while has ceased, the winds have no longer blown, the Lord has whispered peace to your troubled heart, and you have said; I shall get through; the Lord is with me; He graciously hears my prayer.
Jesus o’er the billows steer me.
Be my Pilot in each storm.
“So He bringeth them unto their desired haven.” There are three things in this word “so”. First of all it declares the faithfulness of God. “So He bringeth them”. No storms, no tempests could ever thwart the purposes of a faithful God. They are not lost by the way. His eternal purpose of love is not and never could be thwarted. No matter what these people are called upon to pass through, nothing, nothing can frustrate their coming into the desired haven.
The second thing is that this word “so” is expressive of the manner of their voyaging and of their entering into the haven. “So”. It is not on smooth seas, but in stormy waters, mounting up, at times to heaven, going down into the depths, reeling to and fro, staggering like a drunken man, being at their wits end Â— “so He bringeth them .unto their desired haven.” In that manner. It is through much elation we must enter the kingdom. If your course is smooth and easy and calm, look well to it. This is not the way these mariners go.
Bless God indeed for His temporal mercies, but may they not be a snare to you, to take you off from being diligent to make your calling and election sure. God grant that this may be the thought of your heart if your passage seems smooth and unruffled, with no exercise before God;
“More the treacherous calm 1 dread
Than tempests bursting o’er my head.”
This word, too, is expressive of God’s power. “So.” His almighty power put forth for the help of weak and helpless men. “So.” These things, will be spoken of in heaven for ever and ever. “Their desired haven.” It is ever before them. Their desire goes out towards that heavenly country. But O to have a sweet glimpse of it, to see it afar off, and have a sure persuasion that you will reach it! This haven is before the people of God Â— a desired haven. O, my friends, to get a glimpse of the shore of that peaceful country, to have a sweet hope Â—
“Yea. I shall soon be landed
On yonder shores of bliss.
There, with my powers expanded.
Shall dwell where Jesus is.”