RPM, Volume 20, Number 1, December 31, 2017 to January 6, 2018

The Night Watches: The Favor of God

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

By John MacDuff

"In Your favor is life" Psalm 30:5

How anxious are we to stand well with our fellow-men, and secure their favor! Are we equally so to stand well with God? The favor of man, what is it? A passing breath, which a moment may alienate, a look forfeit, and which, at best, a few brief years will forever terminate. But the favor of God — how ennobling, constant, and enduring! In possession of that favor, we are independent alike of what the world gives and withholds. With it, we are rich, whatever else we lack. Without it, we are poor, though we have the wealth of worlds beside. Bereft of Him, we can truly say with aged Jacob, "I am bereaved." Nothing can compensate for His loss, but He can compensate for the loss of everything!

You are, O God, the life and light
Of all this wondrous world we see;
Its glow by day, its smile by night,
Are but reflections caught from Thee!
Where'er we turn, Your glories shine,
And all things fair and bright are Thine.

Reader! are you living a stranger to this favor, under the cheerless sense of alienation from God? Sin uncancelled — peace unpurchased — all uncertainty about the question of your eternity? Who need ask, living thus, if you are satisfied, or happy? Satisfied? Impossible! Nothing can satisfy your infinite capacities but the infinite God. Nothing can fill up the aching voids of your immortal being, but Him "who only has immortality." Happy? Impossible, also! There can be no happiness with sin unforgiven — the conscience unappeased — imperishable interests hanging overhead unsettled and unadjusted — death, and judgment, and eternity, all unprovided for. Living at this "dying rate," peace must be a stranger to your bosom!

Seek to make up your peace with God. Covet His life-giving favor. What a blessed fountain of unsullied joy has that soul which can look up to Heaven and say, "God is mine!" That word — that thought — wipes away every tear-drop, "My Father!" What though the perishable streams be dried, if you are driven to learn the truth, "All my springs are in You." He may empty your cistern, but the Fountainhead remains. Job was the sorest of sufferers, but he could bear patiently to be bereft of all, save One — "Oh that I knew where I might find Him!"

"Go," said Chrysostom, exulting in this favor of the King of kings, when an earthly princess tried to shake his spirit — "Go, tell her that I fear nothing but sin." Blessed state of conscious security!

If You are mine, eternal God!
Let fraud or malice, storm or flood,
Bear all besides away;
The soul's best treasure lies too deep
For spoiler's arm, or fortune's sweep
Or time's more sure decay!
"Death, that all 'lower bliss' destroys,
Robs not the spirit of its joys;
And if his stroke can sever
The fleshly seal, 'tis but to bring
The living waters from their spring,
And bid them gush forever.

The same mighty consolation which supported Jesus in His season of humiliation, forms the solace and rejoicing of His true people — "Because He is on my right hand, I shall not be moved." Blessed Jesus! Oh encompass me this night with Your favor are with a shield, and then — "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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