A prayer-meeting address by Mr. G. Rose, of Croydon.
The Word of God gives us a description of how things are in the sight of God, and none but God’s Word can do that. That is the true perspective of our condition; not what man thinks of us, if he does not get his information from God, nor view us in God’s light with a spiritual mind, but that which matters is how God looks upon us. He can only look upon us with pleasure and approbation as we have His Spirit.
Verse 1: ‘Blessed.’ The first word is a permanent word with a spiritual meaning that never could be used of any person but for the grace of God. The word ‘blessed’ belongs to God, it belongs to the godly; it does not belong to anyone else. And the blessing of the Lord enriches. You cannot make a rich man rich, you can only make him richer. But the Lord’s blessing comes to the poor, those who are sensibly poor and sensibly unworthy, but who have a desire for God’s blessing, the blessing of His grace more than anything else. My friends, can you say you prize the blessings of God’s grace even more than the mercies of His providence? We know that if we are blessed with union with Christ that is a permanent blessing. It is a blessing that will deliver us from the reign of sin, from the dominion of Satan, from the curse of the law, from the sting of death, from the power of the grave, and it will bring us to heaven at last.
It is a blessing to character. There is always a negative and a positive in real religion, ‘Blessed is the man, that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly.’ Who are the ungodly? They are the lawless, those who do not acknowledge God’s Word or God’s ways. They cast all His words behind their back, they desire not the knowledge of His ways, and they say: ‘Are not our lips our own, and who is Lord over us?’ Where there is grace, I know there is a daily knowledge of sin and an experience of it. Every day of our lives, more or less, we have to know and feel that in our flesh there dwelleth no good thing. But the child of God prays for the grace of God to super-abound over the aboundings of sin. Now, my dear friends, do you pray for that? Knowing and feeling you are sinners, do you pray that God, by His Spirit, will make His grace super-abound over the aboundings of your sin? Then you will find that you will not walk Â— to walk is to follow after, and carry out Â— you will not walk after the counsel of the ungodly. Each of us has to do more or less with the ungodly. But do you not find that grace makes a difference? There is a different tendency and desire and prayer in your heart which those that have no fear of God before their eyes have not. You cannot go with them in their ungodliness, and be one with them altogether, though you know it is grace makes you to differ, and you will say: So did not I because of the fear of the Lord. You will not attribute that to yourself; you will say.
If I differ, if my feet are restrained, and I refrain from walking in the counsel of the ungodly, it is because God, by His Spirit, has made me to see the evil of sin against Him, and the end of it; for sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
`Nor standeth’ Â— that is, to loiter Â— ‘in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful;’ that is, where they rest, where they are at home, at ease. And where are the ungodly most at ease? Chiefly in sinful pleasures. God’s people cannot sit at their comfort and rest in the pleasures of ungodliness.
But there is always a positive where there is a negative. There is something that grace has brought from and something that grace has brought to.
Verse 2: Tut his delight’ Â— that is where you want to be. It is not ‘his duty,’ or ‘that which is required of him,’ but ‘his delight.’ Where there is delight, there is always a nature suited to that in which we delight. Have not you sometimes said, when the Word of God has been made sweet to you by the Spirit: ‘I have esteemed the words of thy mouth more than my necessary food’? I think I referred a few Sundays ago to one time when the Lord so favoured me that, though I uncovered my dinner, I did not have a mouthful, because I had meat to eat that the world knows not of; and I did not feel to need my dinner, I did not want it. You might say: That is rather foolish and extravagant. My friends, I would be willing to go without any meal if the Lord would give me His word and speak it with power and grace in my heart. That is more to me than anything beside.
`And in His law doth he meditate.’ I daresay you find, as I do, that it is good to have the Word of God in the mind, by the Spirit, so that we can think about it, and-for it to yield profit. It is a great mercy to be quiet in our minds, and to have the Word of God there by His Spirit yielding us instruction, profit, reproof or comfort.
Verse 3: ‘He shall be like a tree.’ He is planted. If you are in a gracious position, God has put you there. You have never planted yourself. ‘He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water.’ What are the means of grace to God’s people? What is the Word of God to God’s people? Is it not like water to nourish your roots? Do you not receive silently and quietly, and yet really, what the Lord makes His truth to you in secret between Himself and your soul?
`That bringeth forth his fruit in his season.’ This word was a very great help to me once. It was my trouble, that I did not seem to always have fruit. Oftentimes I felt to be very barren and in a wintry state, and I thought: Why should I be thus if I am a child of God, if I am planted by the rivers of water; why should I know winter? But it was shown to me that there is only one season of fruit-bearing out of the four, and it is ‘He shall yield his fruit in his season.’
Verse 4: ‘The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind
driveth away.’ Chaff is worthless if it is separated from wheat. There is no profit in ungodliness at all. There is profit in grace, in the Lord’s blessing; but there is no profit in sin, it yields no profit to sinners, and they cannot stand the wind of God’s judgment. What is there in the end of the life of a person who has lived a life of sin against God? It is worthless. It is a solemn thing not to have grace, to live a life of sin and ungodliness, to be without God. Such are like the chaff, they cannot resist the wind of God’s judgment. No sinner will ever be able to withstand judgment. They have gone after sin, but judgment will follow them. If you follow sin and nothing else, then the judgment of God will drive you at the last. ‘Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.’ I had this very solemn thought in the vestry about this last clause: The happiness of the righteous will increase, but the way and the happiness of the ungodly shall perish. You see there will be no picture palaces in hell, no card parties, no ballrooms in hell, no dances in hell; the way will have perished. They will not be able to carry on as they have carried on. Whereas with the godly who desire to serve God, and love God, and worship Him, they shall love God in eternity, they shall serve God in eternity, they shall praise and worship God in eternity. Their way will not perish, it will increase; but the way of the ungodly, the way of their pleasures, of their sinfulness, it shall perish and come to an end.
As the sunshine puts out the fire, so does the fear of God the fire of lust.
The growth of grace is the best evidence of the truth of it; things that
have no life will not grow. Thomas Watson.
The right manner of growth is to grow less in one’s own eyes.
Whatever God’s purposes be, (which are secret) I am sure His precepts
are plain. Joseph Alleine.
If the end of one mercy were not the beginning of another, we were
undone. Philip Henry.