From the moment the birds herald the dawning day, the earth stirs with anticipation. The long night is past. The warmth of the sun cuts through the brisk twilight. The colors of life brighten upon the flowers. All of creation initiates the trill of excitement—a new day has begun.
So it is in our lives, we rise up to golden opportunities and refreshing glows of blessings all around us. It is easy to voice our praise to God during the day. When things are fresh and new, when we are healthy and able, and when we are filled and content, we can sing the tunes of thanksgiving. It’s wonderful when God leads us along through times like these.
“In shady, green pastures, so rich and so sweet, God leads His dear children along; where the water’s cool flow bathes the weary one’s feet, God leads His dear children along.”
This song was written by George Young. As the hymnologist tell us, George was a faithful preacher and his wife an ardent supporter of their ministry together. While they never lived lavishly, they saw the Lord provide. After years of penny-pinching, they saved enough money and resources to build their own home. These were the times of refreshing. Every plank sawed by George’s hand. Every doily and knickknack placed carefully by his wife. The fruit of their labors became a reality.
“Sometimes on the mount where the sun shines so bright, God leads His dear children along; sometimes in the valley, in the darkest of night, God leads His dear children along.”
Almost as abruptly as this verse hinges on a moment, George’s story changed. While he was away preaching in another town, some lewd fellows who were antagonistic to the gospel message George preached, set fire to his home. His family returned to find their precious, simple home only a pile of ashes.
“Some thru the waters, some thru the flood, some thru the fire, but all thru the blood; some thru great sorrow, but God gives a song, in the night season and all the day long.”
It is said the verse from scripture which comforted George Young during this tragic, yet materialist loss was Job 35:10, “Where is God my maker, Who giveth songs in the night.” George wrote the final verse of this song with strength and confidence.
“Tho sorrows befall us and Satan oppose, God leads His dear children along; thru grace we can conquer, defeat all our foes, God leads His dear children along.”
My friend, anyone can sing a song during the day while the blessings fill our homes and warm our hearts. It is in the night we must strain our ear to pick out the celestial tune echoing in the cold mountain pass. “Through grace we can conquer.” Can you hear it? “We know that all things work together for good to them that love God…Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us” (Romans 8:28, 37).
The human mind is a treacherous place. Here, all sorts of evil notions are concocted. If some of our thoughts were revealed, we would be sent to the dungeon. It is hard to keep one’s mind pure in this day and age. An old preacher said that evil thoughts, like birds, flyover our heads and warned us not to allow them to nest on our heads. David gave a perfect illustration of this by his actions with Bathsheba in 2 Sam. 11:2-3, “And it came to pass in an eveningtide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king’s house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon. And David sent and enquired after the woman. And one said, Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?” Most know the remainder of the story with its acts of infidelity and murder.
Enter Psalm 51 with David calling out to God in anguish. The hounds of hell are nipping at his heels. Unconfessed sin will do that to us. We may look well, but we are fully aware of a “Payday Someday,” as Andrew Murray’s sermon was entitled. Prior to my salvation, I ran hard with the world and I am not proud of that. I paid a dear price for my wickedness. Like David, I knew I would not get away with my sins. Thank God the day came when the dawn of Heaven erupted into my soul, I repented of my sins and asked Jesus into my life.
We all tend to focus on the obvious in this Psalm, but I would like to focus on the not so obvious. This Psalm speaks to eternal security with the Father. In God’s eyes there is no grading of sin. Through human eyes, David’s sins were horrifying. Yet he acknowledged his sins, asked for forgiveness and was restored to a right relationship with God. David did not lose his “salvation” but went on being used and known as a “man after God’s own heart” (Acts.13:22). David is one of the most revered humans of the Bible. When a true believer fails, God never forsakes-He restores!
Verse 11 is used by naysayers as proof against eternal security. During David’s time there was not a “personal” in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit as in New Testament times. What he is referring to is 1 Sam. 16:14, “But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul…” (lost his anointed kingship). David was concerned God would do him likewise; take away his Spirit anointed kingship; not salvation. Verse 12 is the absolute key. “Restore unto me the joy of “thy” salvation (many misquote this to read “my”). David did not ask God to restore his salvation. David never lost anything; so, there was nothing to return. On Christ the solid Rock we stand!
Imagine David’s euphoria at this climax in his life. After the disappointment at Perezuzzah, it seems David searches Scripture and sought the face of God. As he drew near to God, God drew near to David. The celebration, as the ark of God came to Jerusalem, thrilled David’s soul. The people left praising God because he took on the gracious nature of God. David had favor with God and with men. He had rest from his enemies. He was dwelling in a beautiful home. He was as a child before God, full of devotion and delight. The cherry is carefully placed on top when God promises to make David an eternal dynasty. Echoes of the Abrahamic covenant swell through God’s promise to David. David would not be able to put into words his elation and wonder at God’s blessing. He worships God privately and exclaims, “Do as thou hast said…and let thy name be magnified forever” (2 Samuel 7:25-26).
Give all diligence to make your calling and election sure, Believer. For to you, God has given “exceeding great and precious promises” (2 Peter 1:3-4). They are such because he is just. All that God does is balanced with equity. He does not bless on a whim nor recant on a whisper of a thought. If you confess your sin you have a promise, He will forgive you because He is just and righteous. His promises are great and precious because He is gracious. It is by his grace you are saved. Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound. Come boldly before the throne of grace in any time of need. The value of His promises is esteemed because of the purity of His character. He speaks the truth which God, who cannot lie, promised before the world began. The guarantee of His promises renews each morning. Great is His faithfulness. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and comes down from our Father with whom there is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
May sincerity of heart saturate your worship, for God has given unto you exceeding great and precious promises.
Do you remember the first time you met your best friend? Sometimes after spending time with one another, you almost feel like you never knew what life was like before you had met.
The same thing can happen to us in our Bible reading. We become so familiar with some fabulous people in Scripture, we overlook their introduction. It says in Exodus 17:9, “And Moses said unto Joshua…” His name appears many more times, but this crucial figure suddenly bursts on the scene in the Bible with a monumental task—defeat Amalek. Take note of the powerful moments which fashion this young man into a courageous leader.
Joshua had to learn to worship. In a few chapters, Moses encounters the Lord palpably in the Tabernacle. They speak “face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend” (Exodus 33:11). Then Moses turns to go his way in the camp, but Joshua lingers. He wanted to sear his memory with this signature moment. He may have only been a spectator of a crucial conversation, but he craved the same access to God Moses had.
Joshua had to learn to work. In Exodus 24, Moses conferences with the Lord on Mount Sinai, and Joshua, his attendant, travels with Moses part of the way. Moses is up on the mountain for forty days and nights, while Joshua seems to wait in the wing the entire time. Do you think Joshua could have found better things to do for forty days and nights? He certainly could have ventured a few alternatives, but faithful service was his task.
Joshua had to learn to war. This is where we are introduced to Joshua, and in God’s development program this is where we all must begin as well. The enemy wanted to route the Israelites. They had already taken advantage of the weak and feeble. Now they were going in for the kill. Someone needed to lead the novice army into battle. This was not a task for the faint of heart. Moses taps Joshua.
In your life, God is training you through worship, work, and war. Worship is more than attendance on Sunday. It is the desire of your heart to linger with the Lord a little longer. Work is not your nine-to-five, bringing-home-the-bacon work. No, our work is to do the will of the Father. We may have to carry on indefinitely, but our objective is faithfulness. War is more than active combat. It involves preparation, too. It means taking advantage of every opportunity to sharpen your skills as you lead your family. It means living soberly and circumspectly knowing the enemy desires to sift you like wheat. It means prioritizing the best things which train up your loved ones and yourself in the things of the Lord instead of the frivolous things of the world.
Where have all the leaders gone? Where are the modern-day Joshua’s? Too many believers flunk out of God’s leadership training. Will you learn to war, work, and worship?