RPM, Volume 19, Number 49, December 3 to December 9, 2017

The Consolations of God: The Night Watches

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

By John MacDuff

"Comfort, comfort my people, says your God." Isaiah 40:1

God's people are prone to be discouraged because of the difficulty of the way. In the bitterness of their spirits, they are often apt to say, with desponding Zion, "The Lord has forsaken me;" or with the faithless prophet, "It is better for me to die than to live."

But the Christian has his consolations too, and they are "strong consolations." The "still small voice" mingles with the hurricane and the storm. The bush burns with fire, but the great God is in the bush, and therefore it is indestructible! "The Lord lives, and blessed be my rock; and may the God of my salvation be exalted." Earthly consolations may help to dry one tear, but another tear is ready to flow. God dries all tears. There is no need in the aching voids of the heart that He cannot supply.

Is it mercy to pardon? I can look up to the throne of the Most High, and see Holiness and Righteousness, Justice and Truth, all bending, in exulting harmony, over my ruined soul, exclaiming, "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptance, that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners!" Is it grace to help? I can look up to that same throne, and behold, seated thereon, a Great High Priest; no, a mighty Prince, having power with God, and prevailing-prayer without ceasing ascending from His lips in behalf of His people. When Satan seeks "to sift" them, His upholding power protects them in heaven. When temptation assails them in their earthly conflicts, the true Moses on the Mount, with hands that never "grow heavy," makes them "more than conquerors." When trial threatens to prostrate them, He identifies Himself with the sufferers- He points to His own sorrows, to show them how light the heaviest of earth's sorrows are. Even over the gloomy portals of the grave He can write, "Blessed are the dead!" He alone felt Death's substance. His people only see "the shadow." He makes it a Valley of Achor, through which "the two spies, Faith and Hope," fetch back Eshcol-pledges of the true Land of Promise!

Reader, are you now weary, or desponding? Is some cross heavy on you- some trial oppressing you- some thorn in the flesh sorely lacerating you? Be still! He will make his grace sufficient. If He has allured you into the wilderness, it is that He may speak comfortably unto you. He has an antidote for every bosom- a balm for every wound- a comfort for every pang- a solace for every tear. "When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul."

Tis my happiness below
Not to live without the cross,
Out the Savior's power to know,
Sanctifying, every loss.

Trials must and will befall;
But with humble faith to see
Love inscribed upon them all.
This in happiness so me!

Trial make the promise sweet,
Trials give new life to prayer.
Trials bring me to His feet,
Lay me low, and keep me there!

"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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