RPM, Volume 19, Number 50 December 10 to December 16, 2017

The Paths of God: The Night Watches

Psa 63:6; 130:6; 42:8

By John MacDuff

"All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth unto those who keep his covenant and obey his decrees." Psalm 25:10

"All the paths." It is no small effort of faith to say so, when blessings are blown upon, and schemes crossed, and fellow-pilgrims, (it may be beloved spouses in our spiritual joys) are mysteriously removed, to say, "All — ALL is mercy! All — ALL is well!"

But they are "the paths of the Lord" — His choosing; and, be assured, He will "lead His people by a right way." It may not be the way of their own selecting. It may be the very last they would have chosen. But when He leads His sheep, "He goes before them." The Shepherd portions off our pasture-ground. He guides the footsteps of the flock. He will lead them by no rougher way than He sees needful. Does a father give his child his own way? If he did, it would be his ruin. Will God surrender us to our own truant wills, which are often bent on nothing so much as wandering farthest from Him? He knows us better! He loves us better!

Believer, it is the loftiest triumph and prerogative of faith to have no way — no path of your own — but with childlike simplicity and reliance to say, "Teach me Your paths." "Undertake for me!" Lead me however and wherever You please. Let it be through the darkest, loneliest, thorniest way — only let it bring me nearer Yourself.

Oh, tell me, O life and delight of my soul,
Where the flock of Your pasture are feeding;
I seek Your protection, I need Your control;
I would go where my Shepherd is leading.

Oh, tell me the place where Your flock are at rest,
Where the noontide will find them reposing!
The tempest now rages, my soul is distrust,
And the pathway of peace I am losing.

Would that we could keep our eye not so much on the path, as on the bright wicket-gate, which terminates it. When standing at that luminous portal, we shall trace, with adoring wonder, the way in which our God has led us; discerning the "need — be" of every teardrop — and to the question, "Is it well?" to which often on earth we gave an evasive answer, ready with an unhesitating, "It is well!" What a light will then be flashed on these three often mysterious words, "God is love!" Then, at last, shall we be able to add the joyful comment — "We have known and believed the love which God has to us."

Meanwhile, Reader! if you are treading a path of sorrow, consider, as an encouragement, that your Lord and Master trod the same before you. Behold, as He toils on His blood-stained journey, how submission to the Divine will forms the secret of His support. "Even so, Father!" "Not my will, but Yours be done!" The True David was strengthened with what sustained His typical ancestor in a dark and trying hour: "O Lord, you are My God!" Believer, if it is your God in covenant who is leading you, what more can you require? "His ways are truth and judgment." He will guide you, while you live, by His counsel, and afterward receive you into glory. My God! if such be the design of your dealings and discipline — "I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety." Psalm 4:8

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