Handfuls On Purpose By James Smith


Handfuls On Purpose
By
James Smith
For
Christian Workers and Bible Students
Outlines, Readings, Studies, Thoughts,
Illustrations, Hints.
Book I.
GUIDE TO THE CONTENTS
OF THE VOLUMES OF
* HANDFULS ON PURPOSE.” Series 1 to 8.
Main Portions of Books studied are indicated, but
selections from various other books will be found in
each series. –
OLD TESTAMENT STUDIES.
BERnIS
Genesis, . . . . . 1 II. Kings, . . Exodus, . . . . Exodus, . . . . ::
1 I. Chronicles, 2 I I . Chronicles,
I,evi ticus, . . . . . . 3 1 Ezra,
Numbers, . . . . . . 3 Nehemiah, : : Deuteronomy, . . . . 4 Esther, . . Joshua, . . . . . . 4 Job, . . Jndges, Ruth, :: :’ ::
4 I~salm 1 to 4i 5 Psalm 33 to l.fO,
1. Samuel, . . II.Samuel,.. 1: 1: 5 Proverbs 1 to 9, Ecclesiastes, I. Kings, . . . . . . Song of Solomon,
THE TABERNACLE AND P R I E S T H O OD, . . . .
NEW
Matthew, . . . . Mark, Mark 12 to ii, : : Luke, Luke 1 and 2: : : Luke3to11, . . Luke 12 to 24, . .
TESTAMENT STUDIES.
SLRIES
. . John, . . . . a John 10 to 21, . . 3 Acts, . . Iiomans, 1: . . i: Ephesians, . . . . 4 1 Timothy, . . 5 Hebrews, . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . .
SERleS
. . 6
. . e . . 6
. , 6
. . 6
. . . . 7” . . 7 . . 5 . . R . . 8 . . 8 ., 1,2
911Rll’ i
. . 3,ti
. . . . 2.:
:: 3: :: ‘ 3 3,4
The General or TITULAR INDEX will readily show what portions
of the Book are dealt with.
The TEXT INDEX will at once indicate the text or portion forming
;> “Handful.”
In addition to the above Extentlcd Studies each Volume contains
many Bible Readings, Gospel Outlines, Seed Thoughts, Apt
Illustrations, and Helpful Hints. Sac Indrx at front of each Vof~~nze..PREFACE.
I
T is with deep thankfulness to the Giver of every
good gift that we send forth this SEVENTH Series of
“Handfuls on Purpose. ” It is very gratifying to u5
that the interest taken in them has been steadily growing
since the first ; and as they have been the means of leading
many C!xistian workers into a closer study of the Word
for thenm~lve~, we rejoice,as this was one of the chief
objects of their publication.
We hoped at first to publish, perhaps, four volumes of
thcsc Outlines Studies, thinking that they might be quite
suficient to cover the whole Bible in the manner in which
we had purposed to deal with it. But this is now Volume
.%wz, and we have only mmaged to get about half through
the Book. Although WC have made some gallant attempts
to get over the ground more quickly, yet, somehow, the
further WC go, the attractions to linger becomes growingly
powcrf711.
U-c should like, if the Lord will, to issue other three
volumes, and so complete the blessed task that has been
on our heart to do unto His Name. But perhaps this
mill depend on whether our many friends, who havLt
hitherto received them gladly, will care to continue their
iavour to such an extent. For the many grateful expres-sions
that reach us of the helpfulness of these books, we
seek to praise Him, from whom all blessings flow..INDEX OF S U B J E C TS.
EXPOSITORY OUTLINES.
OLD TESTAMENT.
STUDIES IN JOB. , ‘ We
Job’s Character, . . 9 Job’ s .4dversary, . 13
Job’ s Trials, . . . 16
Jell’s Comforters: I’ liphaz, 20
Job’ s Comforters : Bildad, 25
Job’ s Comforters : Zophar, 29
The Work of the Devil, . 34
Terrible Prospects, . 37
Light in Darkness, 41
The Wicked Man’ s Portion, 44
‘ l‘ hc Prayer of the Wicked, 47
.4cqunintsncc with God, . . SO
The Outskirts of God’ s Ways, 54
Priceless Wisdom, . . ,57
The Man in God’ s Stead, 60
The Lord Answered, 64 The Blissful End, . . . (37
STUDIES IN l-H& PSALXlS.
The Happy Man, . . ,. 71
T h e T r i u n e Testimony, 7s
A Song of Salvation, ‘ 79 Wholesome Words, 82
Prayerful Purposes, 86
Powerful Pleas, . 89 I In the Face of the Foe, 90 The Excellent Kamc. . . 91
1 \I’ ill, for Thou Ffast, . 93
Characteristics of the
Wicked, . . 94
A Blessed and Sorrowful ’
C o n d i t i o n , . . . 96
Help, Lord, 98 How Long, Lord ? . . 100
General Corruption, . . 102
The Heavenly Citizen, 103
A Goodly Heritage, 1 04
l’ .nlnw- (‘ wltil. Paagc
l’ rayer a n d ‘ l‘ ehtimony. 106
The God of Salvation, 1 09
The Great I)eliverance, . 1 Ifi
The God of 1)elivcrances. . . 112
‘ l‘ he \Vorcl of God, . 114
Intercession and Confidence, 115
The Joy of Salvation, 1 17
His Sufferings and Glory, 1 19
The Almighty Shepherd, . 121
The Ascent of Man, . 123
Elements of Successful
Prayer, , 125
Features of a Whole-hearted
Christian, 127
Threefold Cords. 128
A Striking Contrast, 1 30
The Powerful Voice. . 132
A Song of Salvation, 1 34
T h e 13lasscd Life. 136
S a v e d a n d Kept, 138
Rejoice in the Lord, 1 40
Jubilation, . 142
in Experienced Teacher, . 143
‘ alse Witnesses, . 1 45
Jnder His Wings, . . 147
‘ ounsels for- Christians, 149
;even Characters, and tlrcir
Portion, . . 150
The Righteous Xan, ,. 151
Gin’ s Miseries, and the Vl‘ ay
of Escape, . 1 53
i‘ ake Heed, __ . . ., 1 3 3
javed and Satisfied, . 157
Ressianic Features, . . 158
The Ulessedness of Con-sidering
the Poor, . 161 The Sufferings and Conso-lations
of the Saint, 161.vi INDEX OP SUBJECTS-Continued.
EXPOSITORY OUTLINES,
NEW TESTAMENT.
STUDIES IN JOHN.
T h e Slicpherd, . . . 163
The (&Id Shephcrtl. 166
The Safety of the Sheep, . 169
Lazarus, 172
Jesus, . . 175
A Supper Scene, . . 1 78
D e a t h , I,ifc, and Scrvicc>. 1%)
The Light of the W’ orld, . . 183
Christ’ s Last Token of Lo\e, 185
Self-Er;colnlllunicatcd, 197
An Infallible Cum for Heart
Trouble, 189
Christ and the Fatlu~r, . 192
I,ove’ s I~eward, 1 96
Fruit-Hearing. 199
I3ranchcs, Disciples,
F r i e n d s, . “02
I and You, 203
The Great Helper, 2 07
A L i t t l e W h i l e, 310
Christ’ s Gifts to His Own, 213
Christ’ s Petitions for llis
Own, . 2 15
The Christian’ s Relation-ship
to the World, 218
Revelations in the (&~lcn, 221
Christ’s Sufferings at the
Hands of Men, . 2 23
Mary Magdalene, 2 25
Doubting T~OIKLS, 227
How Jesus Sho!vctl I I in1
self,
If I Will, 1: 1: 22-a
2×2
BIBLE READINGS.
Ready, . . . . 70
Great Needs, 70
Ile H e l p e d Me, 2 34
Transforming Grace, 234
llible Keadings–Coiltd. t’ age
The Church, which is His
Body, . . . 235
\Valk Worthy of the Lord. 238
I’ or Christ’s Sake, . 2 42
Your Master, . 2 44
Hindrances to Prayer. ‘2 47
Lifted, . . . . . 249
The Tabernacle of God, 251
B a c k s l i d i n g, . 253
GOSPEL OUTLINES.
The (;rcat Salvation, 251
D e c i s i o n. 2 55
Conversion, . 25X
Assurance, . 260
The New Creation, 26 1
Gricvc Not the Holy Spirit, 263
I Obtained Mercy, . . 265
Darkness and I)awn, 2 67
Rescue Work by Angels, 269
The True and the F&c
Refuge, . . 270
:;od-Shim, 2 72
4 Dreaded Blrssing, 2 74
4 1)ivine Complaint. 27(i
<priug lip, 0 Well ! 27s
Ihc Divine Visitor, . 2 79
Christ tlw End of the I,aw. 281
‘ ullcd Out of the Fire, 2 83
\sk for the Old I’ aths, 2X5
In Olxu Door for YOII. . 2R7
The Death of Christ, . 2 89
llrc Asl)ects of Salvation, 290
_.
SEED THOUGHTS.
)bedicnce. 1 99
\Ietaphors of Reliel~ers, 2 92
Fellowship with One An-o
t h e r, . 292
seven Great Facts in John 3, 291
.‘ hrist’ s Sevenfold Prayer
for His People, “ 4:+7.INDEX OF SUBJECTS-Continued. \‘ ii
Seed Thmphts-CoaLd. Page Illustrations-Coiild. I’ age
Divine Thoughtfulness, . . 293 Disappointed Workers, . . 296
COUK3@, . . . 2% Self-Approbation, . 296 The Christian’ s Environ- Crabbed, . 2 97 merits, . . . 294 The Enchantment of ;\Tcar-
The \Vay to God, . . . 294 ness, . 2 97 The Saving Call, . 2 94 Perfect Soundness, 2 97 I:aith, . . . . 295
Conditions of I~ellowship, 295 Conversion, . 298
. 298 A Great Opportunity, 2 95 J,ost Opportunit!,~,
Faith and Sight, . . 295 The T\Trw l,ife, . . 298
Power of Circnnlstances, . . 299
R e g e n e r a t i o n , .
ILLUSTRATIONS. Sham Professors, .
S i n, 1 62 A Warning to Idlers,
Falx awl lieal, : 162 Imaginary (Greatness,
INDEX OF T E X TS.
GENESIS. Page
12. 4, 293 19. 1, “69
Bxonus. 40. 17-35, . 251
SUMBERS.
21. 17, . 278
1 l<INGS. 18. 21, . 255 18. 41, . 2%
XEHEMIAH.
5. 19, . . 293
JOB. 1. l-10, . 9 1. 6-22, . 13 1. 13-22, 16 2. l-10, ‘ i3, 16 4. -7. . . 20 8. -10. . . 25 Il.-14. . . 29
J OB.
16. 7-14, 18. 5-1s. IS. 2,527, 20. 29, 21. 14, 15, 22. 21.30, 22. 24 24. 15: 26. 6-14, 28. 12-28,
33. .’ 38. 1,
40. I-5, 42, .
1’ SALM.
1, . .
;, 4; :: . . 5. l-8, 6 7: ::
Pa jie
34 37 . 41 . . 44 47 50 249 274 . 54 . 57 60 ,. 64 ,. 64 . . 67
. 71 . . . 2 . 82 86 ,. 89 so . 91 . . 93
PSAIAI.
IO.
11,
12 .
13, .
14, 15, 16. <i-ii, 17. 1-x. 15, 106 18. l-3, 18, 4-20, 18. ‘ ji-39 _. I.
21: ;; 1: . .
;T, .’ 24: 3-6,’ 25. l-11, 26, . . 27, . . 28, . ,
E: ::
;a; : 1
109 110 112 . 114 ., 115 117 119 121 . . 123 125 127 128 130 132 . 134 . . 136 . . 138.“,,I INDEX OF TEXTS-Conti~lwti.
33. I-12,
34. l-10.
34. 11-22.
35,
36. 5-9,’
37. 1-9,
37. IO-37
37. 10-34,
38, . .
39, 40. 1-5,’
40. 6-10.
41. 1-3.
41. 4-13,
57. 4.
63. I.
80. 18. 19,
116. 3-9,
119. 33-37,
. . 14:
:: 14; 14:
. 145
1%
151
. 15:;
13::
15;
15E
161
. 161
394
. 294
70
234
. . 238
15, ” . . 291
19. 5. . 29.
24. 29, . . 29:
JOHN.
3. 16-21, . 29:
10. l-10, . . 16:
10. 11-18, . 16f
10. 22-30, 16E
11,
l-8,’
172, 175
12.
12. 20-26, ::
17F
180
12. 44-50, . 182
13. 1-17, !85
13. 21-30, 187
14. l-4. 189
14. 6-21, 193
14. 21-24. . 196
14. 23, 24, . 199
15,
15. l-8.’ ::
202
199
15. 12-26, 205
16. 7-15, , 207
16. 16-23. . 210
1 CORINTHIANS. Pa@
13. 9, 10, . . 231
2 CORINTHIAXS. 3. 3, . . a._ 090
4. 6, . . 272
4. 18, , . 29b
5. 17, ,. 261
EPHESIANS.
1, 09 __(_, “3 . . 235 .
4. 30, . . 263
4. 32, . . 24’ 1
PHILIPPIANS .
2. 13, ,. 2%
Istd~rI
1. 3.
27. 13,
28. 17.
32. 2,
53. 10, II,
55. 6,
JEREMIAH.
6. 16,
MATTHEW.
4. 16,
18. 3,
23. S.
:: 276 70
. . 270
. 270
269
295
. . 285
267
258
1: 244
I
17, 213, 219. 218.
293
18,
l-ii, ::
223
18. 221
20. 1-18, . 225
20. 24-29. . 227
21. l-14, . ‘ L29
21. 15-2”‘ . . 232
i Then it is not for the clay to resist the wonder *.Old Testament Outlines. 29
working hand of the Divine Potter. He will not reduce the clay to dust ; the potter cannot fashion dry dust into a useful
vessel. When we have been brought low by the weight of
affliction, so low that we feel as if we had been brought
back to that condition of soul in which we were at first,
when God, by His Spirit, began to operate upon us. Let
us believe that His purpose is to make us into “another
vessel” more meet for His service; or in other words, when
God’ s vessels are reduced again to clay it is that they might
be refashioned for higher and more honourablc work. Job ‘ S
latter days is an evidence of this.
7. “I AM FULL O F C O N F U S I ON, T H E R E F O R E S E E T H OU
MINE AFFLICTION” (v. 15). This is an honest confession:
he cannot understarid the meaning of this terrible tragedy.
He is covered with shame, yet his conscience is clear, but
he makes his appeal to the eye of the Omniscient, “See
Thou mine affliction. ” My light is turned into darkness,
I cannot see, but see Thou. There is no confusion in the
mind of God, no matter how perplexing and inexplicable
His providence toward us may be. In the realm of spiritual
things, human reasonings can only end in confession.
Saul was full of confusion when he said, “What wilt Thou
have me to do ? ” (Acts 9. 6). So were many on the Day
of Pentecost, when they cried, “Men and brethren, what
shall we do?” God who commanded light to shine
out of darkness, can still bring order out of confusion.
Commit thy way unto Him. ’
JOB’ S COMFORTERS-ZOPHAR.
JOB 11-14.
The Speech of Zophar. Like the others, he is fully
convinced that Job is suffering because of his sins, and like
Bildad, he opens his address with some biting questions.
He cannot bear to hear Job justifying his “doctrine as.30 Handfuls on Purpose.
pure” and his life as being “clean in thine eyes” (chap.
11. 4). So he says, as in an agony of soul, “Oh. that Goa
would speak ! ” He is sure that if God would but speak, he
and his friends would be justified in all that they said, and
Job’s secret sins revealed, and all his arguments con-founded
and put to shame. They found it otherwise
when God did speak (chap. 42. 7). We may know much,
but let us remember that we don’t know everything. He
that exalteth himself shall be abased. But Zohpar goes
on to say, “Canst thou by searching find out God ? Canst
thou find out the Almighty unto perfection ? ” A perfec-tion
that is “high as Heaven, ” “deeper than Hell, ” “longer
than the earth and broader than the sea. ” The soul makes a
great find when it finds God, although it may never be able
to search out the fathomless depths of His infinite per-fections.
This is eternal life, to know Him and Jesus
Christ whom He hath sent. The closing part of his speech
contains wonderful words and might be called-A
HOMILY ON THE WAY OF LIFE.
I. The Needed Work. He mentions three things that
are essential to salvation:
1. „PREPARE THINE HEART” (v. 13). The heart needs
preparation, for it is deceitful above all things. The one .
good thing found in Jehoshaphat was that he “prepared
his heart to seek God” (2 Chron. 19. 3). The best way
to get the heart prepared is to yield it unto the Lord
(Prov. 16. 1).
2. “STRETCH OUT THINE HANDS.” Let the hands of
prayer and supplication be stretched toward God. He only
can bring about the great deliverance so much needed.
He is able to save to the uttermost. Stretch out thine
empty, helpless hands to Him, whose mighty hands are
outstretched in mercy for the uplifting of the poor and the
needy..Old Testament Outlines. 31
3. “PUT AWAY INIQUITY” (v. 14). Let the wicked
forsake his wicked ways, and his unrighteous thoughts
about God, and let him turn, and the Lord will have mercy
upon him. “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper. ”
Those who would draw nigh to God must confess and
forsake their sins. Then, what follows ?
II. The Blessed Result. Such heart preparation, and
stretching out of hands, will certainly be answered in a
copious, soul-satisfying measure. Zophar mentions eight
privileges that will be enjoyed.
1. “Thou shalt LIFT UP THY FACE without spot” (v. 15).
Thou shalt have confidence before God, and a clean
countenance. All the boil spots of sin and suffering
will be taken away (1 John 3. 19).
2. “Thou shalt be STEDFAST.” Established as a house
built upon the rock. Taken from the fearful pit, and the
feet established in the ways of truth and righteousness.
3. “Thou shalt FORGET THY MISERY” (v. 16). Like
Joseph, in the day of his exaltation and glory, thou shalt
forget all the toil of the past (Gen. 41. 51). In the joy of
the new life in Christ, the wretchedness of the old life of
sin is forgotten.
4. “Thou shalt SHINE FORTH.. .as the morning” (v. 17).
Thou shalt not only be illumined, but shall also become
a guiding light to others. This new light is not of thine
own kindling, but, like the dawning of the day, it is the
gift of God-the brightest and the best.
5. “Thou shalt be SECURE, because there is hope” (v. 18).
Thou shalt have such a hope as will make you and all
your higher interests perfectly secure-a hope that maketh
not ashamed.
6. “Thou shalt take thy REST IN SAFETY. ” Thou shalt
have such a rest as cannot be disturbed by the turmoils of
earth-a God-given rest (Matt. 11. 23)..32 Handfuls on Purpose.
7. “Thou shalt lie down, and NONE SHALL MAKE THEE
AFRAID” (v. 19j. Thy salvation will be so perfect that
thou shalt be fearless in the face of men or of devils. This
is the blessing wherewith the Lord shall bless all those who
put their trust in Him.
8. ‘%fANY WILL ENTREAT THY FACE” (V. 19, I,lU~~i~).
The face that has been lifted up to God, and cleansed and
brightened, is always attractive.
Job’s Reply. His answer to Zophar occupies three
chapters, and has reference to the unanimity of his three
friends in condemning him through a false judgment of his
case. “No doubt but ye are the people, and wisdom will
die with you” (chap. 12. 2). Perhaps if they had prayed
more and argued less, they’ all would have come sooner to a
better understanding of the whole case. As long as they
trusted their own wisdom, and depended on the skill and
force of their own reasonings, they were all “physicians of
no value” (chap. 13. 4). Their prescriptions were worth-less,
because their diagnosis was wrong. In this world of
mysteries we cannot judge moral principles by physical
symptoms. Job’s well-known saying in chapter 13, verse
15, expresses the true attitude of the soul in the midst of
such a storm of bewildered suffering, “Though He slay
me-or is slaying me-yet will I trust-or wait for Him. ”
Knowing as we do the Divine purpose in Job’s calamities,
it makes it much easier for us to say, like the Psalmist,
“Yea, though I walk in the shadow of death, I will fear
no evil” (Psa. 23. 4), or with the apostle, “I am persuaded
that neither death.. .)ZOY any other creature shall be able to
separate me from the love of God” (Rom. 8. 38, 39). In
the last part of his speech the patriarch deals with mnn in
general (chap. 14). This portion might be fitly entitled-WHAT
IS MAN?
It has been said that “man was made to mourn. ” This.Old Testament Outlines. 33
chapter begins with “man” and ends with “mourn. ” But
hear the voice of this man of sorrows.
1. Man! he “is FULL OF TROUBLE” (v, 1). His troubles
are so numerous that he is brimful of them. “He is as
a rotten thing” (chap. 13. 28). Who can bring a clean
thing out of this ? (v. 4). Who is able to prescribe for such
a complication of troubles as man’s? What a bundle of
miseries God has to deal with in saving man.
2. Man! HE tiFLEETH ALSO LIKE A SHADOW’) (V. 2). As
the cloud shadows rush along the hillside like breathless
spectres, so man hurries on from the mystery of birth to
the mystery of death. Here he has no continuing city.
He cometh forth like a flower, to be seen and felt by a few,
and cut down.
3. Man1 HIS DAYS AND MONTHS ARE NIJMBERED (v. 5).
The limit of his life has been fixed by God. He knoweth
not when the end will be. He has not even authority for
saying, “I will a0 so and so to-morrow. ‘,’
4. Man! HE “DIETH AND WASTETH AWAY” (v. 10). He
soon becomes insensible to the pains or pleasures of earth,
his mental and physical powers speedily waste away. He
has scarcely attained maturity when the wasting process
begins.
5. Man ! HE “GIVETH UP THE GHOST, AND WHERE IS HE ? ”
(v. 10). He yield&h up his spirit as one who cannot keep
it longer, but where has he gone ? Where is he ? He must
be somewhere. The where depends on the character of that
spirit (see Luke 16. 22, 23).
6. Man! HE “ LIETH DOWN, AND RISETH NOT T ILL T HE
HEAVENS BE NO MORE” (v. 12). When he lieth down it is
till the dawning of the new heavens (Isa. 65. 17). This
seemed a long way off to Job, but it is not so far away
now (1 Thess. 4. 14-16).
7. Man! “ IF HE D IE, SHALL HE LIV E ATTAIN? ” (v. 14)..34 Handfuls on Purpose.
“There is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will
sprout again” (v. 7), and how much better is a man than
a tree I Job was not without the hope of immortality ;
he knew that after his body had been destroyed by worms,
that he would yet-in another body-see God (chap. 19.
25, 26). This question tinds its perfect answer in Rev.
20. 12: “I saw the dead, small and great, stand before
God. ” –
THE WORK OF THE DEVIL.
JOB 16. 7-14.
IN this book we see much more than “the patience of Job, ”
we are face to face with the dreadful deeds of the Devil; for
just now Job is in the hand of Satan, but with this Divine
limitation, “Save his life” (chap. 2. 6). The upright
patriarch would fain see the hand of God in it all, and this
constrains him to say something about God, that coming
from other lips would be sheer blasphemy ; but God
graciously overlooks it all. He knows that His servant is
entirely in the dark as to the purpose and cause of his
sufferings. By the Lord’s permission, Satan was the cause
of all his sorrows. Job, in the midst of his hopeless misery,
is a finished specimen of the Devil’s workmanship. His
purpose and business is to kill and to destroy. It is a
terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living Devil. The
“god of this world” is also a “consuming fire. ” Our God
consumes the chaff and the dross, but this god would burn
up the wheat and the silver. The Lord delights to g&e,
but Satan glories in fakiq away. Note here some of his
devices-I.
He Separates from the Best Company. “Thou
hast made desolate all my company” (v. 7). His family
was cut off, and even his wife became strange to him. The
fellowships in which he formerly delighted had all been
broken up by the hand of the enemy, and his new friends.Old Testament Outlines. 35
were all miserable comforters. This is what happens when
any child of God falls into the condemnation of the Devil
through yielding to sin. Christian fellowship is made
desolate, and the company that he keeps, in his back-sliding
state, are miserable hclpcrs in his time of need.
Satan is a professional schismatic. Beware of him in the
church and in the family.
II’. He Disfigures the Face. “Thou hast filIed me
with wrinkles” (v. 8). The joy and peacefulness that used
to beam in the countenance of Job has now given place to
gloom and discontent. Those who walk in fellowship with
the Lord have their faces transfigured with the heavenly
light, but those in the power of the Devil have often his own
dark image stamped upon their faces. The Devil will so
mar and blacken the face that the man is ashamed to lift it
up unto God. This satanic change has often been observed
in the countenance of backsliders. The wrinkles of sullen
despair and God-deliance are easily seen. That face that
should be illumined with the glory of God, becomes an
index of the darkness of death.
III. He Brings Leanness into the Life. “My leanness
beareth witness to my face, ” No wonder the face gets
wrinkled and disfigured when the soul is being starved to
death. When the Devil gets a man out of touch with God
he will soon get him out of touch with His Word. The
Devil’s corn is all bran, and his wheat nothing but chaff.
His dupes mistake quantity for quality; they may eat
much, but still leanness “riseth up in them. ” No servant
of sin can know anything of the soul-satisfying fullness of
the Lord Jesus Christ.
IV. He Takes Advantage of the Helpless. “He
teareth me in his wrath; he hateth me; he gnasheth upon
me with his teeth” (v. 9). This language is highly figura-tive,
but most terribly expressive. Satan can show no.36 Handfuls on Purpose.
mercy, the weaker we are the better for him. Job has been,
for the time, handed over to him to be tested, and he makes
it his business to pile on sorroiv ~qxm sorrow and agony
after agony. If he gets possession of a boy he will tear
him and cast him into the fire and into the waters (Mark
9. 22), he hath no compassion ou t!ic helpless lad. If he
even gets hold of the helpless swine, he will hurl them out
into the sea. To be without Christ is to be tit-hout power
and without a defence against the wiles and wrath of the
Devil. Tears h;que no effect on him (v. 16).
V. He Breaks Asunder, and Shakes to Pieces (v. 12).
Job “was at ease” in his prosperity, like a ship at sea with
a fair wind, but suddenly the ship was overtaken with a
crushing tempest, and driven furiously on the rocks, and
broken asunder, and shaken to pieces by the violence of the
waves. Whenever Satan gets hold of the helm of the life
he seeks to make a shipwreck of the faith. He will break
the soul asunder, separating all fi can get of it from
God and spiritual things, and shake in pieces the future
prospects of his victims.
VI. He has Many Helpers. “His archers compass me
round about ” (v. 13). The Devil has many angels, or
demons, waiting his bidding to surround the soul, guarding
every way of escape, aiid ready to shoot their fiery darts at
every attempt made for liberty and salvation. It is no
easy matter for some to escape out of the hands of this Giant
Despair. His archers are sharp-eyed, and have had long
practice in dealing with fugitives. They know when and
where to hit to be most effective. Men and women that are
likely to do damage to his kingdom arc specially watched.
His most zealous servants usually prove, when delivered,
his bitterest enemies. No garrison of demons can hinder a
soul for a moment when the overcoming blood of Christ is
trusted..Old Testament Outlines. 37
VII. He Uses Powerful Tactics. “He runneth upon
me like a giant” (v. 14). He does not trifle with his oppor-tunities.
When hc sees a chance of overcoming any upright
man, he runnctlz like one in haste to catch a felon, and grips
at once with a giant hand. Hc lingers about the gates of
the soul, with luiing temptation and bewitching entice-ment,
until he gets a gate open, then hc rushes in like a
giant, to overthrow the citadel. He is a strong one, and
seeks to get possession of the goods of man’s soul, and then
make peace, a peace that means certain death and destruc-tion.
But a stronger than he has come to spoil him of his
goods, establish a new order of things, making peace and
inaugurating the Kingdom of Heaven. “Resist the Devil
and he will flee from you. ” Job longed for “One that might
plead for a man with God. ” To LIS, Jesus Christ is that
One (v. 21).
TERRIBLE PROSPECTS.
JOB 18. S-18. .
B ILDAD begins his second speech, if anything, more
exasperated than the others at the reasonings of Job. His
wickedness must be very great he thinks, when he still
persists in justifying himself in their eyes, and maintaining
his integrie in the sight of God. The Shuhite’s description
of the dreadful calamities that are sure to come upon the
wicked, and those that “knoweth not God” (v. 21), is
most graphic and appalling in its fullness and truthfulness,
but utterly wasted on the innocent patriarch. Still, we
feel thankful to Bildad fo? these burning words. As a
description of the condition and prospects of those who are
living in lawlessness toward God, it is one of the most
powerful within the compass of the Bible. The key-note
of this terrible speech is found in the last sentence of it:
“And this is the place (portion) of him that knoweth not
God” (v. 21). See what this portion is. It implies-.38 Handfuls on Purpose.
I. Darkness. “The light of the Zn~less shall he put out,
and the spark of his fire shall not shine” (v. 5). The light
of the ungodly is of their own making; it is but the sparks
of the fire which they themselves have kindled, and which
shall no2 shine when abiding light is needed (Isa. 50.10, 11).
This light is in their own eyes, and when their eyes grow
dim, and faint, and blind, their candle is put out, and
darkness settles down in the tabernacle of the soul. HOW
different it is with the man of faith! He can say, “The
Lord my God who hath lit my candle, He will enlighten
my darkness” (Psa. 18. 28).
II. Disappointment. “The steps of his strelzgtlz shall
be straitened, and his own cozrnsel shall cast him down”
(v. 7). The confidence of the self-righteous and the ungodly
is in their strength and their wisdom, but both shall
utterly fail to bring them into their desired haven, The
steps ‘of his strength shall be suddenly shortened and hin-dered,
so that he will be compelled to give up the objects
of his pursuit, and sink down like a weary exhausted
traveller who has lost his way and finds it impossible for
him to reach his home. “His own counsel shall cost
him dear. ” His boasted wisdom shall turn out to be his
confusion. The counsel he has given to others shaIl cover
his own face with shame, when he staggers and falls under
the burden of his own folly and failure. “He that trusteth
in his own heart is a fool. ” By the wisdom of this world
God is not known,
III. Danger. The position of the ungodly is so fraught
with dangers that the fowler’s vocabulary is exhausted in
describing them. “His feet in a net. . . the gin shall take
him by the heel.. . the noose (R.v.) shall prevail against
him.. . the .s+tnYe is laid for him.. .a trap set for him in
the way” (vv. S-10). Satan uses every possible means to
prevent that man who “knoweth not God” from escaping.Old Testament Outlines. 39
out of his hands. But it is with “his own feet” that a man
walks into the Devil’s net. It is when he yields to tempta-tion
that the noose “prevails against him. ” He falls
into the snare of the Devil, because he walks in the
Devil’s territory. If he neglects the salvation of Jesus
Christ, there is no escape for him; but by trusting Him
the snare will be broken, and his soul shall escape like
a bird.
IV. Dread. “Terrors shall make him afraid on every
side” (v. 11). He may say peace, peace, but the time will
come when terrors shall break in upon him from every side.
Terrors behind him, and terrors in front of him ; the past,
the present, and the future, all full of dread. Terrors
crowding in upon him, and “chasing him at his heels, ” like
so many bkasts of prey (v. 11, R. V. ), What an awful
experience, to go into eternity and up to the Judgment
Throne of God, chased by the sins and iniquities of
a God-neglected life. The terrors of the Lord must
follow close upon the “heels” of the sinner. The guilty
man’s feet are never swift enough to outrun the pursuing
justice of God.
V. Desolation. “The firstborn of DEATH shall devour
his strength, root up his confidence, and bring him to the
king of terrors” (w. 13, 14). What a sorrowful plight to
be in : strength devoured, confidence rooted up, and face to
face with the king of terrors. The firstborn of death is like
that disease, or physical disorder, which is the forerunner
of death, and is gradually eating up the strength, and
tearing the hope of health up by the roots, and bringing
the life under the dominion of temporal death. Spiritually
the firstborrc of death is wnbelief, that forerunner of
eternal separation from God and Heaven, which
devours all strength for the service of Christ, roots up
all real confidence before God, and brings the soul.40 Handfuls on Purpose.
into the bondage and dread of the king of terrors
(Mark 16. 16). After death the j tldglilent. The Lord,
the righteous Judge, upon the great White Throne will
be the King of Terrors to all who have rejected His
redeeming grace (Rev. 6. 1517).
VI. Despair. “His roots shall be dried up:. . .his
remembrance shall perish:. . .hc shall 3Je driven from
light into darkness, and chased out of the world” (vv. 16-
18). Could words present a more dismal picture than
this? The “place of him that know&h not God” is
indeed the place of dispair. I-lis roots shall be dried up,
because they are not in God, but in the barren wastes of
self and the world (Mal. 4. 1). His remmbrance shall
perish, because his name is not written in the Lamb’s book
of life. He sl1a.11 be driven from._& light of the Gospel
into the darkness of hopeless despair. He shall be cZtased
out of the world as unworthy to live in it, as one unfit for
the Kingdom of Heaven, and as one who is as loath to leave
this world as Lot’s wife was to leave Sodom.
VII. Destruction. “Destru&on shall be ready for his
halting” (v. 12, R.V.). All that destruction means is
here personified as n powerful enemy. Keeping step with
the man that knows not God, watching, and waiting for
that moment when death shall cause him to halt, that he
might have the opportunity of accomplishing his dreadful
work. To the ungodly, death mcr)ns destruction. It is
the destruction of all his coveted ‘fellowships, of all his
boasted possessions, of his joy, of* that false peace with
which he comforted himself, of his hope for time and
eternity. It is the destruction of all the faculties of his
soul for the seeing or enjoying of those ,pleasures which
are at God’s right hand. His god was his belly, his glory
was his shame, and his end is destruction..Old Testament Outlines. 41
LIGHT IN DARKNESS.
JOB 19. 25-27.
JOB’S soul was sorely vexed with the words of his would-be
comforters. “These ten times have ye reproached me, ”
he says. Anybody with enough hardness of heart can
easily reproach another in the day of their downfall. “If
ye will magnify yourselves against me, ” he continues then,
“know now that God hath overthrown me” (vv. 5,6). The
overthrowing was the work of the Devil, and it was complete,
permitted by God, as was the crucifixion of Christ, yet the
work of “wicked hands. ” It is most interesting to notice
that it was after Job had experienced the weakness and
deceitfulness of all earthly kinshi$s, that the vision of the
kinsman-Redeemer came upon his desolate spirit. Surely
this is the work of the Spirit of God, it is absolutely true
to the manner of the Holy Spirit in New Testament times.
The unsatisfactory nature, the insufficiency and inability
of all earthly friendship to meet the needs of a sinful,
sorrowful soul, must be fully realised, ere the glories of the
kinsman-Redeemer can be fully appreciated. “I know
that my Redeemer liveth” (v. 25). Who but the Lord
Jesus Christ was ever able to record such a melancholy
list of broken friendships as Job does in this chapter.
Hear what he says about them: “My brethren are far from
me.. . mine acquaintance arc estranged from me.. . my
kinsfolk have failed, my familiar friends have forgotten
me.. . my maids count me a stranger.. . my servant gave me
no answer.. . my breath was strange to my wife.. . all my
inward friends abhorred me” (vv. 13-19). There was not
one arm of flesh left on which he could lean, when this
new light dawned upon him constraining him to say,
“I know that my kinsman-Redeemer liveth, ” and that
apart from my flesh I shall have God on my side (R.v.).
We are cautioned by some commentators not to read.42 Handfuls on Purpose.
too much into these words, but we are bound to take
them as they stand, and believe they mean all that they
say. The teaching of the Spirit of God,& not limited to
the conditions and circumstances of men. The language
of Job here is full of prophetic meaning, and is rich in
spiritual consolation. We can at least easily read into
these words-I.
The Fact of Redemption. “My Redeemer liveth. ”
What a relief for the oppressed and bewildered soul to
turn from the failing kinships of earth to the unfailing
Kinsman above, who ever liveth to make intercession for
us. Yes, Job, out of all your troubles this Kinsman-Redeemer
will yet deliver you. He shall redeem thy life
from destruction, and crown thee with lovingkindness and
tender mercies. He vindicates the cause of all who put
their trust in Him. He who redeems and purchases the
soul by His own blood lives for the salvation and vindi-cation
of His own. That HE, the eternal Son of God,
should condescend to be our Goel (kinsman) is the mystery
and marvel of infinite grace.
II. The Joy of Personal Assurance. “I know. ” He
knew that all his earthly friends had forsaken him, but he
also knew that his Kinsman in Heaven, the living One
would ultimately prove Himself to be good and faithful.
There were some things Job did not know. He knew not
the reason why he had been so suddenly stripped of every
earthly comfort, and crushed down to the dust with a load
of sorrow, but he knew and believed that “my Redeemer
liveth, ” and liveth to make all things work together for
good to them that love Him. He could scarcely talk now
of my brethren, my kinsfolk, my friends, my servant, for
they had all forsaken him, but he could say “MY
REDEEMER. ” When heart and flesh fail, God will be the
portion of the believing soul. It will still be sweet to say,.Old Testament Outlines. 43
“my Redeemer, ” when all the joys and friendships of this
world have to be left behind.
III. The Prospect of His Appearing. “I know.. .
that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth. ” All
that this meant to Job we cannot say, but he surely
believed in the personal appearing of his great Kinsman-Redeemer
on the earth. Now we know that this prophecy
hath been fulfilled, and that the Redeemer hath come, and
by the sacrifice of Himself has put away sin-the seed of the
woman hath bruised the serpent’ s head-and by His own
blood hath provided a ransom price for the souls of men.
The earth needed Him, and He hath identified Himself
with its sins and sorrows by standing on it and dying for
it. To us these words are still prophetic, and we look for
the appearing of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ,
who shall yet as King of kings stand in the latter day upon
the earth.
IV. The Hope of a Beatific Vision. “Though worms
destroy this body, yet without my flesh shall I see God”
(R. v., margin). The flesh is the veil that hides the vision
of God from the spirit of man. Even the Redeemer’ s flesh
had to be rent asunder as a veil, ere the new way of entrance
could be made for us (Heb. 10. 20). Paul’ s way of putting
it is, “Absertt from the body, present with the Lord”
(2 Cor. 5. 8). When He shall appear we shall be like Him,
for we shall see Him as He is. “The pure in heart shall see
God. ” If there be no God to see, why should the purest
of hearts have this longing and hope strongest within them ?
It surely does not follow, that because a man is good and
upright, he is in greater danger of being deluded and
deceived in the most important of all questions-that of
future hope.
V. The Confidence of Final Satisfaction. “Whom I
shall see on my side.. . and not as a stranger” (v. 27, R.v.,.44 Handfuls on Purpose.
~~~~i+z). God’s present dealings with Job are to him full of
mystery and contradictions, All things seem to be against
him, but when apart from his flesh he sees God, he knows
that he will find that God all along has been on His side,
making all things work together for his good. He will not
see Him as a stranger, but as a faithful Kinsman-Redeemer.
Here “we see through a glass darkly, but then
face to face. ” What we know not now we shall know
hereafter. Our present circumstances may be as perpIexing
to human reason as Job’s was to him ; but with the vision
of our Divine Kinsman before us, we are assured that in
love He is doing all things well. “I shall be satisfied
when I awake” (Psa. 17. 15) in the presence of His likeness.
THE WICKED MAN’ S PORTION.
JOB 20. 29.
ZOPHAR winds up this speech, which is full of the horrors
which belong to a life of ungodliness, with these words:
“This is the portion of a wicked man from God” (v. 29).
It is interesting to find that this is the view of wickedness
held by these wisest of men, away back in times before the
law was given. The word “wicked” here is lawless, and
refers to those who are not restrained in any way through
the knowledge or fear of God. The description still holds
good of the man that obeys not the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
I. His Triumph shall be Short (vv. 5-7). He does
triumph in a way; he has “joy, ” he has “excellency, ”
and his head seems to “reach unto the clouds. ” His
success is of such a nature that failure and ruin looks
like an impossibility. But his triumph is short, his
joy is but for a moment, his excellency shall perish like
his own dung. Like the Egyptians, these lawless ones say,
“I will pursue, I wiCI overtake, I will divide, my lust shall.Old Testament Outlines. 45
be satisfied; but God shall blow upon them, and they shall
sink like lead in the mighty waters of death and destruc-tion”
(Exod. 15. 9, 10). Permanent victory only belongs
to those who “Overcome by the blood of the Lamb. ”
II. His Sin shall Abide with Him. “His bones are
full of the sin of his youth, which shall lie down with
him in the dust” (v. 11). David dreaded this terrible
experience when he prayed, “Remember not the sins of my
youth” (Psa. 25. 7). SIN is a most uncomfortable bed-fellow
to lie down with in the grave. No human power
can shake it off. It seeks to cling to the soul in death, in
resurrection, in judgment, and in eternity. To die in sin
is to die out of Christ, and to meet Him with a sin-stained
resurrection body.
III. His Moral Appetite shall be Vitiated. “Wicked-ness
sweet in his mouth.. .yet the gall of asps within him”
(vv. 12-14). He finds that sweet to his taste which he
knows shall prove bitter to his conscience. Through
practice and force of habit he now clings to the things
which, in his innermost nature he condemns. His moral
senses are so blunted and perverted that he calls bitter
sweet, and sweet bitter. The lie of Satan is more pleasant
to him than the truth of God. He loves darkness rather
than light, and prefers the broken cisterns to the Fountain
of living water.
IV. His Precious Things shall all be Disgorged.
“He hath swallowed down riches, and he shall vomit
them up again” (v. 15). Many a valuable thing he hath
swallowed for the satisfaction of his own lust and passion.
Much goods have been laid up for the future, as a gourmand
would stuff his stomach against coming want, but he shall
vomit them up again, as one who is sickened by them, and
finds himself unable longer to keep them. The things
which formerly delighted him, and in which he trusted.46 Handfuls on Purpose.
for future strength and succour, will suddenly become
soul-sickening and turned into a vomit. The riches of
Christ will never be so parted with.
V. His Abundance shall not Satisfy. “In the
fullness of his sufficiency he shall be in straits” (v. 22). No
matter how much a man may have of the world’ s riches and
honours, ke shall still be in straits if the “one thing
needful” is lacking-personal acquaintance with God.
Sufficiency of perishing things cannot meet all the needs of
an imperishable spirit. The rich man mentioned in Luke
12 was in straits when he said : “What shall I do ? ” But
he was in a greater strait when God said unto him: “This
night thy soul shall be required of thee ; then whose shall
these things be ? ”
VI. His Treasures shall be Found to be Darkness.
“All darkness is laid up for his treasures” (v. 26, R. V. ).
What an inheritance this is, reserved for those who die
rebels against the grace of God. Darkness laid up for
him-all darkness, nothing but darkness-as the reward of his earthly life and labours. Complete disaster is secretly
lurking in the future for him. His treasures are not in
Heaven, and outside the light of God’ s presence there is
nothing but the blackness of darkness. He loved the dark-ness
of a godless life rather than the light of a godly life.
Now all is darkness ! The seed sown has brought forth its
harvest of blackness.
VII. His Iniquity shall be Revealed. “The Heavens
shall reveal his iniquity” (v. 27). Even “the earth shall
rise up against him. ” The heavens and the earth shall
combine to carry out the unerring word of God. “The
Lord will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and
will make manifest the counsels of the hearts” (1 Cor. 4. 5). “There is nothing covered that shall not be revealed” (Luke
12. 2). Every unforgiven sin and crooked thing shall be.Old Testament Outlines. 47
made manifest by the searchlight of Heaven ; then who that
have died without Christ shall be able to stand when He
appeareth as the Judge of the quick and the dead ? No
Achan will ever he able to bury his sins deep enough that
the eye of God will not see them. The portion of the
wicked (lawless) is indeed a miserable portion, but, thank
God, it may be exchanged for a better portion, if, like
Mary, he will choose now the “better part” (Luke 10. 42).
THE PRAYER OF THE WICKED.
JOB 21. 14, 15.
IN Job’s reply to Zophar’s last speech, he shows that
material prosperity is not sufficient evidence that a man is
morally righteous, for the wicked “become old and are
mighty in power. ” But in these verses he lays bare the
secret thoughts of the ungodly and lawless soul by putting
this prayer into their mouth. The godless man of the
world would not perhaps audibly dare to use these words,
but nevertheless they are practically the sentiments of his
every-day life. Look at-I.
The Meaning of It. It reveals a-l.
DREAD OF GOD’S PRESENCE. “They say unto God,
Depart from us. ” Their carnal mind is enmity against
God. They fear His presence as the owl does the approach
of the sun, or as the thief dreads the daylight. As a
gracious Saviour, they may say to Him, “Depart, ” and He
may leave their coast, but, as a Judge, they will yet hear
Him say, “Depart from Me. ”
2. DISLIKE AT GOD’S WAYS. “We desire not the
knowledge of Thy ways. ” They are wedded to their own
ways, and are not willing to forsake them (Isa. 55. 7). The
knowledge of God’s ways would make them more miserable
in their own sinful ways. They cover their heads with the
mantle of ignorance, and say darkness is better than light..48 Handfuls on Purpose.
Though His ways are pleasantness and His paths peace,
their minds are so blinded by the god of this world, and
their spiritual appetite so vitiated, that they have no desire
for them.
3. DENIAL OF GOD’ S CLAIMS. “What is the Almighty,
that we should serve Him ? ” They do not even say,
“Who, ” as Pharaoh did, but “What, ” as if He were a
creation of man, instead of the Creator of all. The
Almightiness in their estimation is in the “we. ” What is
He that we should serve Him. This exalting’ of self above
all that is called God is the essence of Satanic opposition.
Those who make it their business to serve themselves are
morally unfit for the service of God. “Ye cannot serve two
masters. ”
4. DISBELIEF IN GOD’ S LOVE. “What profit shall we
have if we pray unto Him ? ” They have no faith in God
as a loving Father ready and willing to answer the cry of
the needy. They have no consciousness of real need, and
so have no faith in prayer. Like the Laodiceans, they
have “need of nothing, ” not even of Him who stands
knocking outside their door. They also said in their own
way, “Depart from us, for we desire not the knowledge of
Thy ways, ” by keeping the door closed against His
entrance. “Ye have not because ye ask not. ” Men
ought always to pray and not to faint.
II. The Cause of It. “Therefore they say unto God, ”
etc. The occasion of it is found in the foregoing verses.
In their worldly prosperity they had many marks of the
goodness of God, yet they said unto God, “Depart from us, ”
etc. (R.v.). This lawless spirit manifests itself in the
grossest ingratitude and thanklessness. The prosperity of
the wicked is a mystery to those who know not that “the
wicked have their portion in this life. ” Observe the nature
of that prosperity as it appeared to the afflicted patriarch..Old Testament Outlines. 49
I. THEIR INFLUENCE IS GREAT. “The wicked become
old, yea, are mighty in power” (v. 7). Long years after
this the Psalmist said the same thing, “I have seen the
wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green
bay tree ” (Psa. 37. 35). The godly man seeks to spread
the knowledge of God, but the godless, selfish worldling
spreads himself. The world loves its own, and admires
the man who is able to spread himself like a green bay tree,
although he should starve to death all the lesser plants
that seek an existence beneath his shade.
2. THEIR AFFLICTIONS ARE FEW. “Their houses are
safe from fear, neither is the rod of God upon them” (v. 9).
They don’ t seem to be afflicted as other men. Grey hairs
don’ t seem to come so quickly upon their heads. They
are quite unaccustomed to the yoke of discipline. The rod
of Divine chastisement does not visit them because they
are not harnessed to the will of God, but are, like the wild
asses, doing their own pleasure. They have a liberty, but
it is the liberty of the lawless, the freedom of the rebel.
The rod and staff of the Great Shepherd does not guide
them, so they rush on comfortably to destruction. “Whom
the Lord loveth He chasteneth. ”
3. THEIR POSSESSIONS ARE MULTIPLIED. “Their bull
gendereth, and faileth not; their cow calveth, and casteth not her calf” (v. 10). “Behold the ungodly.. . they increase in riches ” (Psa. 73. 12). They add house to house, and
land to land, and offer sacrifices to their own genius (Hab.
1. 16). The rich fool had not where to bestow his goods.
The meek shall yet inherit the earth, but meanwhile it
seems to be largely the portion of the godless.
4. THEIR CHILDREN ARE HAPPY. “Their children dance
. . .and rejoice at the sound of the organ” (vv. 11, 12).
Well, God bless the “little ones, ” why should they not be
happy? They have not yet become positively lawless by.50 Handfuls on Purpose.
actual transgression. They are in ignorance of the enmity
that lurks in the heart of that father to the being and grace
of God. But they are in great danger of following in the
steps of their world-deluded parents, by setting their
affections on the things of earth and neglecting the eternal
treasure. This picture of the ungodly is very attractive to
many. No wonder the Psalmist said, “I was enva’ozcs at the
foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked (they arc
not in trouble as other men. . . their eyes stand out with
fatness; they have more than heart could wish).. .UNTIL
I went into the sanctuary of God and saw them in the light
of His presence ; then understood I their end” (Psa. 73.
3-17). They who said, “Who is the Almighty, that we
should serve Him ! ” “shall drink of the wrath of the
Almighty” (v. 20). What an awful cup awaits those
who refuse the cup of salvation. The rich man died,
and in Hell he lifted up his eyes. Better far to lift
them up now.
ACQUAINTANCE WITH GOD.
JOB. 22. 21-30.
IN closing his third speech, Eliphaz talks like a New Testa-ment
prophet. The phraseology is, of course, old, but the
teaching is up-to-date, and the moral order in which the
truths are presented are almost apostolic. His words
suggest-I.
A Great Need. “Acquaint now thyself with Him,
and be at peace” (v. 21). Acquaintanceship with God is
the first step toward peace. A theoretical knowledge of God
cannot satisfy the heart. Acquaintanceship implies a
personal intimacy. After Adam, through sin, had
separated himself from God, a new acquaintanceship had
to be formed. Divine friendship had to be set up on a new
basis (Gen. 3. 15). Sin implies separation and enmity;.Old Testament Outlines. 51
acquaintanceship implies reconciliation and peace. No
man now can be said to be acquainted with God who is a
stranger to the Lord Jesus Christ, who bore the combined
image of God and of man. He who was God manifest in
the flesh, hath made peace by the blood of His cross.
Kiss the Son lest He be angry with thee, and ye perish in
the way. “This is life eternal that they might know Thee,
the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent ”
(John 17. 3).
II. A Plain Way. The way back into the favour and
fellowship of God is very simple and easy to the willing
heart. It is stated here in two words : “Receive ! ”
“Return ! ” “Receive the law from His mouth,. . .and
return to the Almighty” (vv. 22, 23). Receive into thine
heart the word that has come from His mouth, believe what
He hath said about sin and salvation, and return to God by
yielding your will to Him, and resting your soul upon His
finished redemption. We can now read into the words of
Eliphaz a much deeper meaning than he could at that time understand. Receive the word of the Gospel and return,
not to a creed or a church, but to the living God.
III. A Manifold Result. To be closely acquainted
with any great personality will certainly affect our manner
of thinking and acting ; how much more when we are
acquainted with GOD. There will be-1.
A RENEWAL OF THE NATURE. “Thou shalt be built
up” (v. 23). The spiritual nature of man has been so
broken down by sin that it is a complete ruin. Apart from
the knowledge and grace of God, he can never build himself
up as a temple of God. It is when we come into the light of
His presence that we get rebuilt, and made new creatures.
“If any man be in Christ he is a new creature. ” “We are His workmanship, created (anew) in Christ Jesus. ” Return
unto Him just as you are, and He shall build thee up..52 Handfuls on Purpose.
2. GREAT RICHES. “The Almighty shall be thy trea-sure”
(v. 25, R. V. ). The gold of Ophir is but the dust of the
earth compared with the riches that are in Him. Material
things cannot meet the needs of an immaterial spirit. Our
eternal spirits need the adorning of the eternal God. Your
little life shall be filled up out of His infinite fullness.
When you get truly acquainted with Him, you will find
that Himself is sufficient for thee. To know God is to be a
spiritual millionaire. “My God shall supply all your
need,” (Phil. 4. 19), not only with His gifts, but with
Himself. We have this treasure in the earthen vessel
when we are filled with the Holy Spirit.
3. UNFAILING JOY. “Then shalt thou have thy delight
in the Almighty” (v. 26). Only the pure in heart who see
God can find their delight in Him. The unrenewed in
nature will still seek after the world’ s broken cisterns,
which cannot hold water enough to quench the thirst of the
soul. Those who find their delight in God have the purest
of all pleasures from a source which can never fail. “We joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have
received the reconciliation. ”
4. BOLDNESS OF ACGESS. “And shalt lift up thy face
unto God. ” When we become the childrert of God through
faith in Jesus Christ, it is but natural that we should lift up
our faces unto our Father. The consciousness of unforgiven
sin hinders many from lifting UP’ their faces unto God
(Luke 18. 13). Those who see no beauty in Him who
was the Man of Sorrows, hide, as it were, their faces
from Him. The open face turned to God is the evidence
of a soul at peace with Him. “Our fellowship is with
the Father. ”
5. ANSWERED PRAYER. “Thou shalt make thy prayer unto Him, and He shall hear thee” (v. 27). What a
privilege! The ear of the Almighty God always at your.Old Testament Outlines. 53
lips to hear thee when thou speakest unto Him. Speak out
the desires of thy soul, and wait patiently on Him. “If
we know that He hear us, whatsoever we ask, we
know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him ”
(1 John 5. 15).
6. FRUITFUL TESTIMONY. “Thou shalt also decree a
thing, and it shall be established unto thee” (v. 28). The
word of thy testimony in His Name shall be made to stand
firm. His word shall not return unto Him void. New eyes
will be given thee to see wondrous things, and thy tongue
shall speak forth things which God will make to come to
pass (Jer. 23. 28).
7. WALKING IN THE LIGHT. “The light shall shine upon
thy ways. ” Thou shalt not walk in darkness, for the
guiding light of His presence shall be with thee. His Holy
Spirit will guide thee into the truth, which always illu-mines
the heart and mind. Just now Job was enveloped
in thick darkness, but, by yielding Himself unreservedly
to God, light would arise, and he would yet walk with a light step in the sunny paths of peace.
8. ABILITY TO HELP OTHERS. “When men are cast
down, then thou shalt say, There is lifting up” (v. 29).
We must be lifted up ourselves before we attempt to lift
up others. There be many who are “cast down” through
sin and shortcoming, disappointment and failure, many
who need this cheering message, “There is lifting up. ”
When crushed and broken spirits are saying, “Who will
show us any good ? ” it is; the privilege of those whose
faces have been lifted up to God to carry the uplifting Gospel of Jesus Christ, who was “lifted up, ” that
He might draw men to Himself. The man of God is
the only man that has the real message of hope for fallen
humanity..54 Handfuls on Purpose.
THE OUTSKIRTS OF GOD’ S WAYS.
JOB 26. 6-14.
JOB’ s three comforters said much, and did the best they
could, but their remedies never touched the disease. They
were as blind men seeking to lead a blind man. In the
previous chapter, Bildad, whose great arguments have all
been already spent in vain, has his last little say which
closes the whole case for him and his friends. Now when
they have exhausted themselves, Job begins his great and
final oration, which occupies the following six chapters.
These wonderful words bear ample proof that although
Satan had brought such ruin and desolation upon Job, he
had no power to touch his living spirit within. His mind
remained clear, which doubtless made his anguish all the
more keen. In brief but striking language we have here
parts of His ways set before us. If these are but the
“outskirts” (R.v.)-the ripple on the shore of the Divine
doings, what must it be to get into the centre of the
operations of God. What, then, are these merely out-lying
acts of the great Creator of all ? Here they are-I.
“Hell is naked before Him” (v. 6). Sheol, or the
shady world of spirits, lies uncovered before Hisgaze. His
eyes pierce the gloom of that awful abyss called “the
bottomless pit. ” If I make my bed in Hell (Sheol) Thou art
there-there in justice and judgment. No darkness, no
matter how dense, can cover a human soul from the holy
eye of God (Psa. 139. 8-11). If Hell is naked before Him,
so is your heart and mine. There is many a human heart
that is little else than a miniature Hell, yet it, with all
other things, is naked and opened unto the eyes of Him
with whom we have to do (Heb. 4. 13).
II. “He Hangetb the Earth upon Nothing” (v. 7).
Some seem to be afraid lest we should read into these words
more than was meant by the afflicted patriarch, lest we.Old Testament Outlines. 55
credit Job with knowing more about astronomy than he
really did. He surely meant what he said when he said,
“He hangeth the earth upon Izothz’ rtg. ” He could not mean
that He hangeth the earth on somethirtg. The statement is
scientifically accurate, although made thousands of years
before the fact was discovered by science. But the point
is, this wonderful balancing of worlds in space is but one
of the outworks of this wonder-working God. Job may not
know anything about the law of gravitation, but, if moved
by the Spirit of God, he speaks worthy of God. The Spirit
of truth is always in advance of the discoveries of men.
III. ‘ *He Bindeth up the Waters in His Thick Clouds”
(v. 8). The seemingly fickle clouds are God’ s He binds
them together with invisible bands so that they cannot be
rent to pour out their treasures until He unties them.
How often have we seen those great water-carriers rolling
along the heavens, and piled up at times like huge bales
of wool. “Great and marvellous are Thy works, 0 Lord. “
IV. “He Closeth in the Face of His Throne” (v. 9.
R.V.). Behind all the laws and forces of nature, Job sees
the throne of God. The whole visible creation is as a veil
spread over the face of His eternal throne, but the glory and
majesty of the Divine Personality, who ruleth over all,
shines through this cloudy covering. The material world is
like the pillar of cloud in the wilderness. God is in the
midst of it. Clouds and darkness are round about Him
(Psa. 97. 2).
V. “He Describeth a Boundary upon the Face of the
Waters” (v. 10, R. v. ). The waters of the great deep are in
the hollow of His hand, and by His infinite wisdom He has
marked out that line which we call the horizon, where the
sea and sky seem to meet and kiss each other. God sets
His limitations to every earthly thing. So far, but no
farther; but the Spirit-taught soul looks beyond to the.56 Handfuls on Purpose.
things which are eternal and lie hidden in the depths of
eternity.
VI. “He Stirreth up the Sea with His Power” (v. 12,
R. V. ). The same mighty hand that pushed back the rolling
flood and made “dry land” that the Israelites might pass
over, still controls the restless billows (Psa. 74. 13).
VII. “He Smiteth through Rahab” (v. 12, R. v.).
Rahab stands for pride and arrogance. By His understand-ing
is human pride smitten through. The wisdom and power
of God, even as seen in the visible creation, ought to pierce
the arrogance of man. But how much more ought the
wisdom and love of God, as seen in the Cross of Christ, stay
the enmity of the carnal mind. Rahab is condemned
already.
VIII. “He hath Garnished the Heavens by His
Spirit” (v. 13). The same Spirit who beautified the
heavens now beautifies the soul in whom He dwells. “The
Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. ” His
moving is always for the glory of God, whether it be in the
heart or in the heavens. Bildad said, “Yea, the stars are
not pure in His sight. ” But Job takes a different view of
that work which at the beginning was pronounced “good. ”
When the beauty of the Lord our God is put upon us, we
are clean and beautiful in His sight. The Spirit of God is
a wonderful artist. He who beautified the heavens can
beautify thy life.
IX. He hath Subdued the Swift Serpent (v. 13,
R. v. ). Whether this swift fleeing serpent is the Devil, or
the forked lightning-flash, it matters not, both are under
His control. Neither of them can fly so fast that God can-not
at any time pierce them through with His arrow.
The forked lightning is an apt emblem of the movements
and terrible character of Satan, but he is a conquered foe.
What a mighty God our God is, when THESE are but the.Old Testament Outlines. 57
outskirts of His ways, part of the fringe of the great
garment of His works. In these parts of His ways, Job adds, we hear but “a small whisper of Him” (v. 14, R.v.).
From the visible creation there comes an unmistakable
“whisper of Him, ” which any attentive ear may hear.
The voice may be “small, ” but it is the voice of God. In
creation, we hear the small whisper of the goodness of God ;
but in Christ, the loud cry of an agonising heart of love.
This God who in times past whispered into the dull ears of
men, through the marvellous works of His hands, now
speaks with a loud voice through the death of His Son.
“God in these last days hath spoken unto us by His Son”
(Heb. 1. 2). “To-day, if ye will hear His voice, harden not
your hearts. ” Consider the two cries of Christ : John 7. 37 ;
Matthew 27. 46.
PRICELESS WISDOM.
JOB 28. 12-28.
IN this chapter Job continues his wonderful parable. He
has just been showing that there is a place where gold and
silver and precious stones can be found (vv. I -6), and
how that men by searching and digging and overturning
(vv. 9, 10) bring these hidden treasures to light, but as
these can never meet all the needs of a human heart, he
goes on to ask this great question of world-wide interest,
“But where shall WISDOM be found ? ” (v. 12). A man
may be loaded with the treasures of earth and yet be a fool
(Luke 12. 19,20). The soul of man cannot find its perfect
satisfaction even in the very best that this world can yield
it. Wisdom is the chief thing; with all thy getting, get
wisdom.
I. Its Nature. Wisdom is not something we can put
on like a garment. Wisdom is character; it is the quality
of being wiise; it is a condition of heart, and has to do with
E.58 Handfuls on Purpose.
our relationship to God. It begins with fearing the Lord
(v. 28), and grows as the knowledge of God increases.
If Job had not “Christ, the wisdom of God” in his mind
when he spoke these beautiful and far-reaching words,
doubtless the guiding Spirit of God had, for they are
brimful of New Testament meaning to all who are wise
in Christ. Men have no difficulty in finding the wisdom
of this world, which is foolishness with God, but a man
is not truly wise until he becomes a partaker of the
wisdom of God.
II. Its Unearthliness. “Where is wisdom to be
found ? and where is the place of understanding ? ” Where
is this knowledge of God to be got? this wisdom of heart
that enables a man so to act before God and men that it
will bring satisfaction to his own soul, good to his fellows,
and glory to God. Where ? It is not found “in the land of
the living” (v. 13). This barren wilderness of human
beings cannot produce it. “The depth saith, It is not in
me; and the sea saith, It is not with me” (v. 14). No
created thing, or one, can offer to a thirsty soul this
satisfying gift. Out of the land, and the depths, and the
sea, men have brought multitudes of valuable things, but
the wisdom that maketh wise unto eternal life has never yet
been found there, although generation after generation
have followed in diligent search. These are all as broken
cisterns which cannot hold this heavenly water. Is there
no answer to this cry of Job, “Where is the place ? ” Yes,
that place is called Calvary, where Christ the wisdom of
God is offered to a world perishing for lack of knowledge.
III. Its Preciousness. The language here concerning
wisdom is sublimely graphic, if we read it with our eye on
Him who is the wisdom of God.
1. IT CANNOT BE PRICED. “Man knoweth not the price
thereof” (v. 13). What man on earth would dare to.Old Testament Outlines. 59
attempt to reckon up the value of the Lord Jesus Christ?
“In Him are hid all the treasures of wisdom and know-ledge”
(Col. 2. 3)-“unsearchable riches. ”
2. IT CANNOT BE BOUGHT. “It cannot be gotten for
gold” (v. 15). All the wealth of the world could never
purchase the wisdom of God. It would be an insult to
God, even if man had the power, to offer Him a whole
world of gold as a price for His Son. Even the gold of
man’s rigkteousness is as filthy rags when offered as a
recompense to God.
3. IT CANNOT BE EQUALLED. “The gold and the crystal
cannot equal it” (v. 17). “The price of wisdom is above
rubies ; the topaz of Ethiopia shall not equal it ” (vv. 18, 19).
The world’s best cannot be compared with this gift of
God. The joy of finding rubies and diamonds cannot
equal the joy of finding the wisdom of God in Christ Jesus.
4. IT CANNOT BE EXCHANGED. “The exchange of it
shall not be for jewels of fine gold” (v. 17). Nothing can
take its place. There is no substitute or equivalent for
heavenly wisdom. Nothing will ever stand in Christ’s
stead.
5. ITS POWER CANNOT BE DOUBTED. “Destruction
and death say, We have heard the fame thereof” (v. 22).
We have here the testimony of wisdom’s enemies. The
fame of this wisdom is that it saves from “destruction and
death. ” They have heard the tidings to their cost.
IV. Its Discovery. Another question is asked,
“Whence then cometh wisdom? ” (v. 20), and the answer
is, “God understandeth the way thereof, and He knoweth
the @ace” (v. 23). The way is the way of love and mercy,
the +lace is the place where Christ was crucified. Only
God could understand how the deep eternal need of man
can be fully met. He only could unveil the secret of
everlasting bliss. He alone knew where this soul-satisfying.60 Handfuls on Purpose.
treasure could be found. Deliver from going down to the
pit, I have found the Ransom. It will put a new meaning
into verse 27 if you read “Him” instead of “it. ” “He
did see Him, and declare Him ; He prepared Him, yea, He
searched Him out. ” Then “unto man He said, Behold, the
fear of the Lord, that is wisdom ; and to depart from evil
is understanding” (v. 28). To be made a recipient of
this wisdom, we must so fear the Lord that we shall submit
ourselves entirely to Him, and so hate evil that we shall
depart from it. Foolishness and evil go together ; wisdom
and holiness are twin sisters. “Whence then cometh
wisdom?” Christ is made of God unto us wisdom,
which is accompanied with righteousness, sanctification,
and redemption. “With all thy getting, get wisdom”
(Prov. 4. 7).
THE MAN IN GOD’ S STEAD.
JOB 33.
AFTER the words of Job were ended, and the three men
had ceased to answer him, Elihu-God is He-broke forth
in holy wrath at the manner, or spirit, in which the great
controversy had been carried on. Job had been more
inclined to justify himself than God, and his three friends
had condemned him without discovering a cause (chap. 32.
l-3). Elihu had evidently been a silent listener during the
whole debate ; but now, though young, he would unburden
his soul before them all. This young man was not one of
the “three friends” who came to comfort Job ; he is an
independent witness-an outsider, so to speak-specially
fitted by God to throw fresh light upon the mystery
of the whole case, or, at least, to put a new emphasis into
some of the phrases commonly used. This is what the
“man of God” always does. He does not speak a new
language; he does not coin ear-tickling sentences ; he speaks.Old Testament Outlines. 61
plain words with a new power. Elihu, then, comes before
us as a typical Spirit-filled man, and as such we shall
look at-I.
His Character. This apostIe of the Old Testament
will compare favourably in many ways with the great
apostle of the New Testament. Of course, in judging
Elihu by the light of New Testament teaching, we must
never lose sight of the fact that we are putting a meaning
into his words that perhaps Job or his friends or himself
could not understand. But it is a wonderful evidence of
the consistency of the Holy Spirit’ s work and words all
down through the ages. He never contradicts Himself. If
the Spirit of God fashioned and taught Elihu, He must, in
some measure, reveal the same features of a Spirit-filled life
to-day. Light is light, although it is 3000 years old.
What are some of these features ?
1. HE IS A SPIRIT-MADE MAN. “The Spirit of God hath
made me ” (v. 4). This may be true, in a general sense,
of all men, but it is true, in a very special and unique sense, of the real “man of God. ” He is born by the Spirit-quickened
by the Spirit into a new life. He is a new
creation after the image of God by the Holy Ghost. God
needs sew vessels for the new wine of His Gospel.
2. HE IS A SPIRIT-INSPIRED MAN. “The breath of the
Almighty hath given me life. ” This also may be true, in a
measure, of every man, but it is a marvellous description
of the new life in God. Those dead in sin need the breath
of God to put new life into them (Ezek. 37. 9). Those
quickened by the Spirit of God are possessed by Him and
inspired, as by the very warmth of the breath of the
living God dwelling in them. They can say: “I live, yet
not I, but Christ, who is the life of God, liveth in me; the
breath that I now breathe is the breath of the Almighty;
the spirit that I now have is animated by the Spirit of God, ”.62 Handfuls on Purpose.
Christ breathed on them and said: “Receive ye the Holy
Ghost. ”
II. His Position. Job longed for a “Daysman”
(9. 33). Elihu is bold enough to say: “I am according to
thy wish in God’ s stead” (v. 6). It was a great statement
to make, but the man who is appointed by God to stand in
His stead ought surely to know it, and should not be
ashamed to confess it before men. Did not the Apostle of
the Gentiles say: “We are ambassadors for Christ, as
though God did beseech you by us : we pray you in Christ’ s
stead, be ye reconciled unto God ? ” The man in God’ s
stead is “an interfweter, one among a thousand, to shew
unto man what is right for him” (v. 23 R. V. ). He himself
is an example and interpretation of the invisible God. His
business is to seek first the Kingdom of God and His
righteousness, and to exhort others to seek these first. He
knows nothing about flattering men with self-pleasing titles
(chap. 32. 22), the claims and character of Him whose he is
and whom he serves are ever before him. An interpreter
of God’ s mind and will must first be a partaker of that mind
and will. We must drink deeply of this water of life, if
we would become springs of living water for others. Every spirit-possessed man is an interpreter for God, and such
interpreters are needed, for “the things of God knoweth no
man, but the Spirit of God ” (1 Cor. 2. II). A man may
have all the wisdom of the world, and yet be unable to
interpret the things of God. “The natural man receiveth
not the things of the Spirit of God” (1 Cor. 2. 14).
III. His Message. He it is who can say with the
utmost confidence, “God speaketh” (v. 14). He knows
in his own soul that God hath spoken to him, and that He
can still speak in divers ways to the slumbering spirits of
men, that He may draw man away from his evil and
delusive purpose (vv. 15-17). This is a comforting truth.Old Testament Outlines. 63
to those who seek the salvation of others, that God in
answer to prayer can speak to men “in dreams and visions
of the night. ” Even then He can open the ear, and seal
instruction in their hearts. So, the man of God is a man
of faith and hope. But he has also a very definite message
to deliver. What is that message? There is in it-1.
REDEMPTION. “Deliver him from going down to the
pit: I have found a ransom” (v. 24). God hath found
the ransom-the atoning sacrifice in the Man Christ Jesus
(1 Tim. 2.5,6), so He calls upon all those who stand in His
stead to say to that man going down to the pit of darkness
and death, “There is deliverance.” He, as it were,
commands His servant and interpreter to “deliver him”
who is on the way to the pit, on the ground that He hath
found and provided the Ransom. Apart from the power
and virtue of the Cross of Christ, there is no message of
salvation from the pit to give. “The Son of Man came.. .
to give His life a ransom for many” (Matt. 20. 28).
2. REGENERATION. “His flesh shall be fresher than a
child’s (v. 25). This may be figurative language, but
it expresses most forcibly the radical change which is
wrought by God’s redeeming power. Like Naaman-after
he had dipped himself seven times in Jordan-he was made
a new creature. What the waters did for the famous Syrian
captain, the atoning blood of Christ now does for those who
believe Him-makes clealz. The redemption that is in
Christ Jesus not only “satisfies thy mouth with good, ” but
also “thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s” (Psa. 103. 5).
3. FELLOWSHIP . “He shall pray unto God, and He shall
be favourable unto him ; and he shall see His face with
joy” (v. 26). After redemption and regeneration comes
the privilege of praying and rejoicing in the favour of God.
Yes, the pure in heart shall see God’s face and rejoice-that
face of love and mercy which has been unveiled to us.64 . Handfuls on Purpose.
in Jesus. “We joy in God through our Lord Jesus
Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement. ”
“Our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son”
(1 John 1. 3).
4. TESTIMONY. They who would preach redemption to
others should themselves be examples of its regenerating
power. The words here are full of evangelical fervour and
personal experience, “He s&get/z before men, and saith,
I have sinned and perverted that which was right, and it
profited me not; He hath redeemed my soul from going
into the pit, and my life shall behold the light” (vv.
27, 28, R.v.). His past life was $wofa’ tless, because it was
one of perversion ; but now, being redeemed, he lives in the
light of the truth. This man who is as one in “God’s
stead” was once a sinner like others, but by grace was he
saved. “Such were some of you, but ye are washed. ” The
personal element must have a place in the preaching of
the Gospel.
THE LORD ANSWERED.
JOB 38. 1 ; 40. I-5.
“MAN’S extremity is God’s opportunity. ” It was when
the words of Job and his friends were ended that the Lord
answered Job out of the whirlwind. God’s answer is
always final. There is no appeal. The book of Job, like
the books of the Old Testament, closes with the Theophany
-the appearance of God. Here, as when He sent His Son,
God’s last plea was the manifestation of His own character.
Although God answered Job out of the whirlwind, we need
not infer that the voice was like a roaring, uprooting
tempest, but that the arguments used had a whirlwind
effect upon the spirit of Job, completely lifting him out of
his present condition of mind into a better way of thinking.
I. Job’s Prayer. “Answer Thou me. How many are.Old Testament Outlines. 65
mine iniquities and sins ? Make me to know my trans-gression”
(chap. 13. 22, 23). He was set on maintaining
his own way. He had lived, no doubt, in all good
conscience before God, but there was now a tendency to
boast of his integrity, as if it were something independent
of the grace of God. If I have sinned, he says, make
me to know the number and nature of my transgres-sions.
God’ s answer to Job reveals the fact that his
iniquities lay in a different direction than what he
supposed. He is not charged with actual transgression,
but he is overwhelmed with a sense of his own ignorance
and impotency. His self-co@ide?zce has been rebuked
and withered up.
II. God’ s Answer. “Then the Lord answered Job ”
(chap. 38. 1). God’ s answer comes in the form of an
avalanche of questions. There are fifty-seven in chapters
38 and 39 alone. Every question seems to bring with
it a flash of self-blinding light. Each interrogation is
in itself a revelation and an education to the wavering
patriarch. All His “hast thous” and “canst thous” are
evidences of what HE has dotie and can do. These questions
are so many revelations of God’ s wisdom and power-of
His perfect control of “the ordinances of Heaven” (chap.
38. 33), or of what we call natural phenomena. Those who
would find fault with the providence of God should study
this divine declaration. The Lord’ s first question is
enough to take Job’ s breath away : “Where wast thou when
I laid the foundations of the earth 1” (v. 4). His word is
truly as a “hammer and a fire. ” Think of these burning
inquiries : “Hast thou commanded the morning ? ” “Hast
thou entered into the springs of the sea ? ” “Hast thou
walked in the secret of the depth? ” “Hast thou entered
into the treasures of the snow ? ” “Canst thou bind the sweet
influences of Pleiades ? ” “Knowest thou the ordinances of.66 Handfuls on Purpose.
Heaven ? ” “Canst thou lift up thy voice to the clouds ? ”
“Can& thou send lightnings, that they may go and say unto
thee, Here we are ? ” The wisdom of man is but foolishness
with God, as the brightest of earth’ s lights is but a black
spot in the face of the sun. So man at his best is but a
vile speck in the presence of the glory of God.
III. Job ‘ s Confession. “Behold, I am vile: what
shall I answer Thee ? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth.
Once have I spoken ; yea, twice ; but I will proceed no
further” (chap. 40.4,5). Job’ s boasted greatness, like the
tower of Babel, ended in utter confusion when God
appeared. As long as we compare ourselves with men like
ourselves there may be occasion for glorying, but let God
speak, then the hand is laid upon the mouth. “Behold, I
am vile,” for this mouth of mine has been speaking the
God-dishonouring thoughts of my mind, but I will “pro-ceed
no further“ along this way of seIf-confidence and self-assertiveness
. I will lay mine hand upon my mouth, and bow in silent submission to the word and will of the Lord
my God. The Lord is in nature as in a holy temple; let all
the earth keep silence before Him. God who at sundry
times, and in divers manners, spake unto the fathers by the
prophets, and to Job through the whirlwind of natural
phenomena, has in these last days spoken unto US by His
Son. The voice is the same, but the revelation is vastly
different. What have we to say for ourselves in the
presence of the Cross of Christ? Here every boastful
mouth must be stopped. Although in self justification,
T have spoken once, yea, fifty times, “but I will proceed
no further” when I see sin in the light of the sufferings and
death of the only begotten Son of God. “Behold, I am
vile ; ” my righteousness, in the glare of His light, has
turned out to be but “filthy rags.” “God be merciful to
me a sinner. ”.Old Testament Outlines. 67
THE BLISSFUL END.
JOB 42.
THE storm-tossed soul of Job has got anchored at last in
the harbour of God’s manifest goodness. As a traveller he
has been passing through a dark and dreary desert, hearing
anon the howling of ravenous beasts, but is now entered
into the light and joys of home. Through much tribulation
he entered into this new kingdom of honour and blessing.
All great spiritual attainments are reached through
suffering. It was so with Moses, Abraham, Joseph,
David, Daniel, and Christ. The disciple is not greater
here than his Master. “If we suffer, we shall also reign. ”
Now the great climax of Job’s history has been reached,
but there is about it more of the quietness of a birth than
the shock of a revolution. The storm of words is over; the
calm of His “Peace be still” has settled upon the troubled
waters. In the closing act of this powerful drama there is-I.
Confession. Job began his brief answer to the
Divine appeal by saying, “I know that Thou canst do
everything, and that no thought can be withholden from
Thee. ” Thou canst do everything, and Thou dost see
everything. Thou art omnipotent and omniscient. The
whole universe, visible and invisible, is under Thy control,
and naked and bare before the eyes of Him with whom we
have to do. As man is to be judged by his works, so may
the Lord be judged by His. By His works ye shall know
Him. “The heavens declare His glory, and the firmament
showeth forth His handiwork” (Psa. 19. 1). But what does
the Cross of His Christ declare ? What handiwork does the
firmament of His infinite love and mercy shew forth? In
the matter of salvation, as well as creation and govem-ment,
“I know that Thou canst do everything. ”
II. Revelation. “1 have heard of Thee by the hearing
of the ear, but now mine eye seeth Thee” (v. 5). It is.68 Handfuls on Purpose.
one thing to hear another speak about God; it is a very
different thing to see Him by the revelation of His own
word, spoken personally to the heart, as Job had now seen
Him. The sum of the LORD’s answer to Job was a ma&-festation
of Himself through His word. The voice of
God brought the vision of God to the patriarch’s faith.
He saw God by the hearing of faith. “Believe, and thou
shalt see” (John 11. 40). “The Word of God is quick and
powerful,. . . and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of
the heart” of man, and is also a revealer of the thoughts and
intents of the heart of God. This is the mystery of the
incarnation. “The Word which was God was made flesh
and dwelt among us,. . .full of grace and truth. ” Christ, the
Word of God, was to a suffering world the revelation of
God. You may have often heard of Him, but has your
eye yet seen Him?
III. Humiliation. “Wherefore I abhor myself, and
repent in dust and ashes” (v. 6). Self-abhorrence is the
natural consequence of coming face to face with God.
When Isaiah saw the Lord upon a throne high and lifted
up, he also abhorred himself, saying, “Woe is me !. . .
because I am a man of unclean lips” (Isa. 6. 5). Oh, these
lips! It was Job’s lips that had been acting as traitors in
the cause of God. But the lips are only the instruments of
the heart and will. Where is boasting when the truth of
God comes home to the heart? It is excluded. Saul of
Tarsus found this out when the light of the exalted Son
of God fell upon him on the way to Damascus. Then he
abhorred himself and repen ted.
IV. Intercession. “My servant Job shall pray for
you; for him will I accept” (v. 8). Job’s friends did
all that human wisdom and eloquence could do for a man
overwhelmed by the power of the Devil, and that was
nothing. This kind goeth not out but by prayer and.Old Testamerit Outlines.
. .
69
sacrifice. “My servant,” sweet words to the perplexed and
bruised sufferer . It is easy for us to thrash others with
our scourge of words, whose prayers we need to save us
from our s$ns. What a privilege and responsibility rests
upon the servant of the Lord: “Him will I accept. ” What
an encouragement to those who have found favour with
God, to plead for others. This ministry belongs to every
one who has been reconciled to God. In this Job is a type
of our Lord Jesus Christ, who maketh intercession for us,
and whom God heareth always, and in whom we are
accepted (Heb. 10. 10-14).
V. Emancipation. “The Lord turned the captivity
of Job when he prayed for his friends” (v. 10). To
Job’ s “miserable comforters, ” and to himself, praying was
much more effectual than arguing. Is it not always so ?
His friends had misjudged him, but he had all the more
need to pray for them. In so doing, the Lord loosed him
from the bondage and power of Satan, and made him once
more a free man. The Devil had him chained as with iron bands, but God honoured prayer as the means of deliver-ante
. Praying for his friends implied a willingness to
forgive them and a readiness to return blessing for cursing.
Such an attitude of soul, and such a work of grace, cannot
but bring greater liberty and blessing into the life of the
suppliant. “First be reconciled to thy brother, and then
come and offer thy gift” (Matt. 5. 24).
VI. Satisfaction. “The Lord gave Job twice as much
as he had before…The Lord blessed the latter end of
Job more than his beginning” (vv. 10-17). Satan has been defeated, and the mercy and truth of God hath
triumphed. James said, “Ye have heard of the patience of
Job, and have seen the end of the Lord, that the Lord is
very pitiful and of tender mercy” (James 5. 11). Yes, the
the end of all God’ s dealings with us is mercy. While the.70 Handfuls on Purpose.
number of Job’ s sheep, camels, oxen, and asses was
doubled, it was not so with his sons and daughters. He
had but the same number that he had before, perhaps
implying that his former family were not lost, but only
“gone before”-still his, although on the other side of the
Jordan of death. If Job was seventy years old when he
lost all, his years were also doubled, for he lived after this
“an hundred and forty years” (v. 16). The Lord’ s mea-sure
is always “heaped up and running over. ” Those to
whom He shows His salvation will be satisfied with long
life, yea, eternal life (Psa. 91. 16). No one would covet
Job’ s sufferings. but who would not say, “Let my last
end be like his. ” Judge not before the time. If God hath
begun a good work in you, He will carry it on till the day
of perfection. Comfort one another with these words.
READY.
1. Some are Ready to Perish (Isa. 27. 13).
2. God is Ready to Pardon (Neh. 9. 17).
3. Be not Ready to Halt (Psa. 38. 17).
4. Be Ready to Speak (Isa. 32. 4).
5. Be Ready to Go (Luke 22. 33).
6. Be Ready to Work (Titus 3. 1).
7. Be Ready to Testify (1 Peter 3. 15).
8. Be Ready to Suffer (Acts 21. 13).
9. Be Ready for His Appearing (Matt. 25. 10).
-.
GREAT NEEDS.
PSALM 80. 18, 19.
1. Life, . . . . “Quicken us. ”
2. Faith, . . . . “We will call upon Thy Name.”
3. Consecration, . . “Turn us again, 0 Lord. ”
4. Fellowship, . . “Cause Thy face to shine.”
5. Full Salvation, “We shall be saved. ”.Handfuls on Purpose. 71
STUDIES IN THE PSALMS.
._.._- . ––
THE HAPPY MAN.
IQLM 1.
THIS First Psalm is a fitting introduction to the sacred
Psalter. It constitutes almost a perfect epitome of the
whole book. Like the sermon on the mount, it begins with
the word “Blessed. ” The word is in the plural, and has
been rendered, “0 the happinesses of the man, ” etc. He is
not only blessed, but blessed with all spiritual blessings.
This happy man comes before us in a twofold aspect :-1.
His Negative Character. There are some things
that he will not do ; not because law and judgment dares
him to do them, but because he has got something better to
enjoy, and a positive hatred in his heart for ways and things
that are at enmity with the mind and will of God.
1. HE DOES NOT WALK IN THE COUNSEL OF THE UN-GODLY.
He knows that “the way of the ungodly shall
perish, ” and he keeps out of it. The counsel of the ungodly
is to walk in the broad way that leadeth to destruction.
His manner of life is not directed by the wisdom of this
world, but by that wisdom which cometh from above.
2. HE DOES NOT STAND IN THE WAY OF SINNERS. The
ungodly may mean those who live in ignorance of God, but
sinlzers are those who deliberately transgress against the
light. To abide in their way of doing things is to show an
attitude that is more at home with the way of sinners than
merely walking in the counsel of the ungodly.
3. HE DOES NOT SIT IN THE SEAT OF THE SCORNFUL.
Those who begin to walk in the counsel of the ungodly are.72 Handfuls on Purpose.
in danger of ending in the seat of the scornful. This seat
is the chief seat in the kingdom of Satan. There is no
promotion beyond this. In a few hours, the Apostle Peter
ran through all this experience, from walking in the
counsel of the ungodly to the seat of the scornful. He sat
by the fire and denied the Lord with oaths and curses, but
when he was converted he strengthened his brethren.
Those who scorn at the things of God and His Christ walk
after their own lusts (2 Peter 3. 3).
II. His Positive Character. He is-1.
JOYFUL. He has many blessings, but “his delight
is in the law of the Lord” (v. 2). The Christian life is
not one merely of giving up this or that, but it is entering
into a new and happy inheritance in the Word of God.
True, the prodigal had to give up some things ere he could
possess the best robe and enter into the joys of a happy
home. But what were they? The swine troughs and his
rags. The Word of the Lord is a land flowing with milk
and honey. “Here everlasting streams abide, and never
withering flowers. ” It is indeed a “delightsome land.”
All who love the Lord will find delight in His Word.
2. THOUGHTFUL. “In His law doth he meditate day
and night. ” In the day of prosperity, and in the night of
adversity, he makes the Word of God the man of his counsel.
Meditation on the word of truth is as needful to our spiritual
health and strength as mastication is for the physical.
Like Elijah’s servant, we may need to look again and again
before we see the cloud like a man’s hand. “What think ye
of Christ ? ” The Lord expects us to think deeply into these
things which He hath caused to be written for our learning.
There is no book in all the world that yields such a harvest
of blessing to the humble student as the Bible. The
testimony of Thomas B Kempis was, “I have no rest, but
in a nook, with the Book. ”.Studies in the Psalms. 73
3. HOPEFUL. “He shall be like a tree planted by
the streams of water” (v. 3, R.V.). He is full of expec-tation,
because his circumstances are so very favourable.
He is “like a tree that spreadeth out her roots by the river. ”
While other trees are being starved and stunted by drought,
his roots are being fully satisfied; buried in the streams of
God’ s truth, and mercy, and grace. He has a meat to eat
that others know not of. All whose delight is in the law
of the Lord are as trees planted by streams of living waters.
The roots of faith and love feed in these life-giving streams.
4. FRUITFUL. “That bringeth forth its fruit in its
season. ” The fruit is according to the character of the
tree, and is always in season. Men do not gather grapes of
thorns. His roots being in the rivers of God, he has
abundance of life, so that fruit-bearing is the natural and
simple result. Being filled with the Spirit, the fruit of the
Spirit is manifested (Gal. 5. 22, 23). The man who is
ready, as opportunity offers, to bear testimony for Christ,
will bring forth fruit in his seasolz. Being filled out
of the river of life, he will be filled with the fruits of
righteousness (Phil. 1. 11).
5. BEAUTIFUL. “Whose leaf also doth not wither. ”
There is a vital connection between the root and the leaf.
Dry roots soon bring the dry rot into the leaf. Men cannot
see the roots of the Christian character, but they can see
the leaf, and the hidden condition of the roots may be
judged by the outward appearance of the leaf. The out-ward
life will be fresh and green when the inward life is
pure and full. Withered leaves are signs of a withered life.
When our testimony for Christ and His truth loses its
freshness and power, we may be sure that there is some-thing
wrong with the roots, for the streams never run dry.
It is the Spirit’ s purpose to put the beauty of the Lord our
God upon us.
F.74 Handfuls on Purpose.
6. SUCCESSFUL. “Whatsoever he doeth shall prosper ; ”
or, whatsoever the tree produceth shall come to maturity.
The bud, and the blossom, produced by the Spirit of
life, will come to perfect fruition. “All cry and no
wool,” does not belong to the sheep of His pasture. The
purposes of God begotten in the heart of Joseph, ripened
into perfection, for the Lord was with him and made it to
prosper (Gen. 39. 23). Our Lord could say, “I have
finished the work Thou gavest me to do. ” And He has left
us an example that we should follow His steps. If it be
God who worketh in us both to will and to do, then what
soever we do shal1 prosper, for He who hath begun the
good work will carry it on, until the day in which it is
perfected.
III. The Contrast. “The ungodly are not so” (v. 4).
No, they are far from it. The ungodly are the lawless ones
who have no delight, or reverence for the law of the Lord ;
They are a law unto themselves, and the fruits of their own
character and deeds shall be reaped by them. They are
not likened to a tree planted, but to chaff driven. They
have neither root, nor life in themselves. Chaff had once
a close connection with the wheat, and may, in its outward
aspect resemble it, but it is a dead worthless thing, to be
burned with unquenchable fire (Matt . 3. 12). “The way of
the ungodly shall perish” (v. 6). The chaff has no power
to resist either the wind or the fire. The lawless, like
chaff, are driven about with every wind of doctrine,
popular opinion, or worldly success; they have no connec-tion
with, or capacity for receiving of those streams of life,
that flow so copiously in the hidden Kingdom of God. They
shall not stand accepted in the judgment nor be numbered
with the congregation of the righteous (v. 5). Only “he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever” (1 John 2. 17).
How helpless the empty chaff is before the driving force of.Studies in the Psalms. 75
the wind. There is no refuge for it. “The wicked is driven
away in his wickedness ; but the righteous hath hope in his
death. ” “Every plant which My heavenly Father hath not
planted shall be rooted up” (Matt. 15. 13). The way of
the ungodly must perish, because it is the way of pride,
pleasure, unbelief, and Christ rejection. It is the way
that seemeth right unto a man, but the end is death. “He
that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath
of God abideth on him.”
THE TRIUNE TESTIMONY.
PSALM 2.
IN the book of the Acts, Peter and Paul both quote this
Psalm as having reference to David, and also to the Lord
Jesus Christ as the exalted Son of God. Paul refers to it
as the Second Psalm (Acts 4. 25; 13. 33). Undoubtedly
a greater than David is here. This Psalm is separated into
three divisions, and these different sections contain the
testimony of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit ; the declaration of God the Ruler, God the Mediator, and God the
Comforter. Let us hear them-I.
The Voice of God the Sovereign. In verses
1 to 6 it is God who speaks. His words reveal the attitude
of the nations toward Himself, and His attitude toward
them as rebels against His law and His Son. These words
of the Lord contain an exhibition of-1
HUMAN ENMITY AND FOLLY. Why do the nations
rage, and their representatives-kings and rulers-take
counsel together against the Lord and His Anointed ?
There can be no denial of this, for the charge is made by
Jehovah Himself, who judgeth not by the outward appear-ance,
but who looketh upon the heart. Man, in all his
madness and folly, never imagined a more “vain thing”
than when he thought by breaking the tJa?LdS of His law and.76 Handfuls on Purpose.
casting away the cords of His love, he could enjoy liberty
and prosperity. To cast off His yoke which is easy, and
His burden which is light, is to put on the iron shackles of
diabolical rule and eternal despair. God anointed Jesus
of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power, that He
might deliver us from all our enemies, Why rage against
the Lord and His Anointed ? Because the carnal mind is
enmity against God. They will not have this Anointed
One to reign over them. These words also reveal-2.
DIVINE DERISION AND DEFIANCE. “He that sitteth
in the Heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in
derision. ” Jehovah, as the Ruler of the world, is at rest
in the highest Heaven. The rage of a tumultuous people
can no more hinder Him in the fulfilrnent of His purpose
than the howling of dogs can arrest the progress of the
moon. “Yet,” despite all their wrath and rebellion, He
has set His King upon His holy hill of Zion. With wicked
hands men crucified the Lord’ s Anointed, but God raised
Him from the dead and enthroned Him at His own right
hand in the Heavens. The resurrection of Christ is God’ s
derisive answer to the rage and hatred of men against His
Son. As the waves of the sea put to defiance the silly
mandate of King Canute, so shall the irresistible purposes
of God roll over the proud purposes of men, and “vex them
in His sore displeasure” (v. 5). It is a fearful thing
to fall into the hands of the living God, as Pharaoh’ s host
fell into the Red Sea. In derision He shall laugh at them ;
in wrath He shall s$eak to them ; and in His sore displeasure
He shall vex them. Who shall comfort those whom God
hath purposely vexed? The policy of Mr. Blatchford was
“to fight and defeat the churches, ” but He that sitteth in
the Heavens shall laugh, and have all such in derision ; for
until He is defeated the gates of Hell shall not prevail
against His Church..Studies in the Psalms. 77
II. The Voice of God the Son (vv. 7-9). H e ar
now the language of the Anointed One who shall reign
until all His enemies are put under His feet. In David,
these words were not fulfilled in their literal and complete
sense, but in David’s Lord they shall be perfectly accom-plished.
This statement from the lips of Him who is the
Mediator between God and man is full of deep significance.
The meaning may be summed up under these four words.
1. REVELATION. “I will declare the decree.” The
decree may here stand for the covenant, or the purpose of
God in His Son, with relation to the ungodly nations. In
Christ the Word of God was made flesh and dwelt among
us ; the Only Begotten of the Father hath declared His
mind and will, for the law of God was written in His heart.
2. SONSHIP. “The Lord hath said unto Me, Thou art
My Son. ” Sonship, in a very unique sense, is emphatically
taught, but there is no attempt to explain the mystery.
Jehovah never said to any of the angels, “Thou art My
Son, this day have I begotten Thee” (Heb. 1. 5). What
“this day” may mean is difficult to understand. But it
surely points t,o the fact that this relationship of Father-hood
and Sonship was entered into for the definite purpose
of redemption. These words are referred to by Paul, as
being fulfilled when God raised up Jesus from the dead
(Acts 13.33). Spoken as they are in this Psalm by the Son,
they may be prophetic of that notable day when He would
be begotten from the dead, declaring Him to be the Son of
God with power (Rom. I. 3, 4).
3. TRIUMPH. “I shall give Thee the heathen for Thine
inheritance,and the uttermost parts of the earth for Thy
possession. ” The Son of God did not come into this world
on a matter of speculation. He had the promise of God
the Father that a people would be given Him, and finally,
as King of the nations, He would have dominion from sea.78 Handfuls on Purpose,
to sea, and “from the river unto the ends of the earth”
(Psa. 72. 8). The prophet Daniel saw the ANCIENT of
Days giving Him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom,
that all people, nations, and languages should serve Him.
“The pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand. ”
SureIy our interests aIso are safe enough in His hands.
4. JUDGMENT. “Thou shalt break them-lawless
nations-with a rod of iron ; Thou shalt dash them in pieces
like a potter’s vessel” (v. 9). When He comes, whose right
it is to reign, He shall put down all ungodly rule and
authority. In judgment will He establish righteousness
in the earth. The kings and rulers of the earth take counsel
together against the Lord and against His Anointed. But
the Lord shall have them in derision, for “the kingdoms of
this world shall become the Kingdom of our Lord and His
Christ” (Rev. 11. 15). Christ is the Man Child brought
forth to rule all nations with a rod of iron (not in grace, but
in unyielding righteousness), and has now been caught up
unto God, and to His throne (Rev. 12. 5). This same
Jesus shall come again.
III. The Voice of God the Spirit. In verses 10 to
12 we have a different tone. It is more like the voice of
wounded love and entreaty. It is the Holy Spirit’s work
to convince of sin, and to guide into all truth. “To-day, if
ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts. ” He says-1.
BE W I SE. “Be wise now therefore, 0 ye kings”
(v. 10). Seeing that the Son of God will bring you into
judgment, be wise now, while the day of your trial lasts.
“Behold, now is the accepted time. ” Submission to God
and His Son is the highest wisdom. They are wise who
build on this rock.
2. BE INSTRUCTED. “Be instructed, ye judges of the
earth. ” The wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.
Don’t be so puffed up with pride as to refuse Him who.Studies in the Psalms. 79
speaketh from Heaven. Be willing as a child to sit at the
feet of the Son of God and learn of Him. Receive the word
at His lips. “Search the Scriptures. ” Gregory the Great
said, “The Bible is God’s heart in God’s words. ”
3. BE RECONCILED. “Kiss the Son, lest He be angry. ”
To Kiss the Son is to lay hold of Him in an act of love and
devotion. He who so kisses the Son kisses the Father also
(John 5. 23). The Holy Spirit does not speak of Himself,
but pleads with foolish, ignorant men to be reconciled to
God lest they “perish in the way” (R.v.). Be reconciled to
God, for God hath made Him (Christ) to be sin for us.. .
that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.
4. BE HUMBLE. “Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice
with trembling” (v. 11). Having given the Son the kiss
of confession, and received from Him the kiss of forgive-ness,
we should serve the Lord with holy fear all the days
of our life (Heb. 12. 23). Rejoice in His forgiving grace,
but tremble at the thought of falling back into the law-lessness
of the self-life. Serve the Lord with that holy
reverence which fears lest it should offend Him in any way.
Be obedient to His word, ready to do whatever your Lord
may appoint. “Grieve not the Holy Spirit “ (Eph. 4. 30).
A SONG OF SALVATION.
PSALM 3.
THE historical ground-work of this Psalm is found in the
fifteenth chapter of Second Samuel. David’s beloved son,
Absalom, steals the hearts of the men of Israel, and then
rebels against his father. It is a most humbling and
distressing experience to discover that your own flesh,
whom you had nourished and cherished, has become your
most deadly enemy. What Absalom became to David,
self or the carnal mind, will sooner or later become to us,
if, like him, we fall into temptation and sin. The flesh.80 Handfuls on Purpose.
warmth against the Spirit. This Psalm may profitably be
read with the Seventh of Romans. The PsaImist here
suffers the agonies and joys of a soul passing from death
into life ; or from the power of the enemy into the liberty
and gladness of God’ s salvation. Several things may bc
noted :-1.
His Enemy. They were numerous. “Many are
they that rise up against me” (v. 1). They were exultant.
They said, “There is no help for him in God” (v. 2).
That soul is in a sad plight indeed, that is shut out from
the “help of God. ” But sin-blinded men are incapable
of forming a right judgment of such a case as this. They
threw the same taunt in the teeth of our Lord while He
hung helpless upon the Cross. “He trusted in God: let
Him deliver Him now, if He will have Him. ” What looks
like failure and defeat, in the eyes of our enemies, may be
but God’ s method of leading us into a larger experience of
the riches of His grace.
II. His Faith. “But Thou 0 Lord art a shield about me ; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head” (v. 3, R. v. ).
While the unbelievers are saying, “There is no help for him
in God, ” the believer is rejoicing in the consciousness that
God is round about him as a shield of defence, and that he is
even now in God. Being in God, God becomes his glory,
and the Lifter up of his head. My Shield, my Glory, my
Lifter. He endures, like Moses, by seeing Him who is
invisible. The heart that trusteth in Him will be heZ$ed
(Psa. 28. 7).
III. His Testimony. “I cried unto the Lord, and He
heard me ; I laid me down and slept ; the Lord sustained
me ” (vv. 4, 5). Selah. This is a comforting word. He
prayed, the Lord heard him, and so delivered him from all
his fears and anxieties, that he was able to lie down and
sleep peacefully, because the Lord sustained him. The.Studies in the Psalms. 81
prayer of faith shall save the fearful as well as the sick.
The apostle James says, “Is any among you afllicted? let
him pray” (5. 13). He shall be kept in perfect peace whose
mind is stayed on the Lord (Isa. 26. 3). This “Selah”
at the end of verse 4 is most significant, when contrasted
with the one at the end of verse 2. The word is supposed
to be a musical sign, a pause, and used here to arrest
attention. The word occurs in the Psalms 73 times. The language of verse 4 contradicts and belies the statement in
verse 2. So these “Selahs” should be solemnly emphasised.
Christian experience gives the lie to infidelity.
IV. His Courage. “I will not be afraid of ten
thousands of people that have set themselves against me
round about ” (v. 6). Why should he fear the forces of
evil which surrounded him, while he knew that Jehovah
was about him as a shield. The man of holy vision is a
man of courage. The servant of Elisha was full of fear
when he saw the Syrian host encamped round about them,
so he cried, “Alas my master, how shall we do? ” But
confidence and courage came into his heart after his eyes
were opened (2 Kings 6). Joshua “feared not” after the
“Captain of the Host” revealed Himself to him. As an old writer has said : “It makes no matter what our enemies
may be, though for number, legions; for power,
principalities; for subtilty, serpents; for cruelty, dragons;
for vantage of place, a prince of the air; for maliciousness,
spiritual wickedness. In Christ Jesus our Lord, we shall
be more than conquerors. ” “If God be for us, who can
be against us?” (Rom. 8. 31).
V. His Victory. “Thou hast smitten all mine enemies
upon the cheek bone ; Thou hast broken the teeth of the
ungodly” (v. 7). The Lord never smites a man behind
his back. The cheek that was burning with pride and
arrogance, will be made to burn with shame and dishonour..a2 Handfuls on Purpose.
The teeth of the ungodly are often sharp and merciless,
seeking to tear the character of the godly man to pieces:
but the Lord can break their teeth, so that they become
perfectly harmless. The salvation of God’ s people
belongeth unto the Lord (v. 8). We are ready to forget
this, and to cease to work out in our daily life, that which
God the Spirit hath wrought in us. It is ours to trust, it
is His to smite. Vengeance belongeth unto Him. The
enemy may count us, as they counted Christ, sheep for
their slaughter; and though for His sake we are killed
all the day long, yet are we “more than conquerors through
Him that loved us” (Rom. 8. 37). Thanks be to
God who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus
Christ
WHOLESOME WORDS.
PSALM 4.
THIS psalm is dedicated to the leader of those who use
stringed instruments. It is indeed a psalm of life. There
are in it notes that speak of sadness, gladness, and madness,
The various conditions, or seasons, of the life year are here,
in a way, represented. We shall try and gather up the
truth taught as having reference to three classes of
individuals.
I. Words of Encouragement to the Believing.
This testimony of the psalmist should be an inspiration to
every child of God. What God did for him He can still
do for those who put their trust in Him. What was that ?
1. HE MADE HIM FREE. “Thou hast set me at large
when I was in distress” (v. 1, R.v.). Through fear and
distress, he had been like one in a prison, but the Lord
set him at liberty. It is when men are at their wit’ s end,
that they are made to see the salvation of God. We are.Studies in the Psalms. 83
shut up to faith that we might be brought out into a large
place. To be set at large by the saving grace of God is
a great deliverance.
2. HE MADE HIM GLAD. “Thou hast put gladness in my
heart” (v. 7). The gladness of a harvest time is not to
be compared with the gladness of a great spiritual
deliverance. “Corn and wine, ” the richest of earth’ s
blessings, come far short of the “joy of the Lord. ” God
put gladness in the heart, by the manifestation of His
grace and power on our behalf. Although we see Him
not, yet believing, we rejoice, with joy unspeakable and
full of glory.
3. HE MADE HIM SAFE. “Thou Lord makest me dwell
in safety” (v. 8). He could lie down, and sleep the sleep
of peace ; for the Lord gave him that sweet assurance of
His protecting care, that all fear fled. “The beloved of
the Lord shall dwell in safety by Him” (Deut. 33. 12).
Free, Glad, and Safe, is the condition of all, who by faith
have received the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. They
are set apart by the Lord as His own peculiar, personal
treasure (v. 3).
II. Words of Rebuke to the Unbelieving. There
are three things those “Sons of men” were guilty of, and
for which the psalmist rebukes them. Three sins which
many of the unbelieving “sons of men” in our own day are
guilty of.
1. PRACTISING RIDICULE. “How long will ye turn my
glory into dishonour ? ” (v. 2, R.v. ). The glory of David was in that he trusted and hoped in the Lord (Psa. 3. 3).
Any fool may mock at faith, as he may mock at sm. The
man must be morally mad who would attempt to make
confidence in God appear to be a dishonourable thing.
Yet some do it..84 Handfuls on Purpose.
2. LOVING VANITY. “How long will ye love vanity ? ”
They love vanity who love that which is worthless to
satisfy, that which is uncertain, that which has the
appearance of being what it is not-the world. The
experience of Solomon stands as a warning and a rebuke
to all who set their hearts on earthly things. Anything
and everything that occupies the place Christ should have,
is vanity (1 John 2. 15).
3. S EEKING F ALSEHOOD. “How long will ye.. .seek
after falsehood” (v. 2, R.V. ). One does not need to go
far in search of falsehood. He will find it in his own
heart. To seek falsehood, for its own sake instead of
the truth, is a positive proof of a mind at enmity with
God. The false and deceitful heart seeks food convenient
for it. Christ is the truth; true and honest hearts will
seek Him. “Without are dogs.. . and every one that loveth
a lie” (Rev. 22. 15, R.V.).
III. Words of Entreaty to the Anxious. Let us
now hear as with trumpet tone, a call to-1.
STAND. “Stand in awe, and sin not” (v. 4). Stop,
before you go any further in sinful unbelief, and consider
where, and what you are. Stand in awe at the thought of
disobeying God’ s Word (Psa. 119. 161). Stand in awe at
the thought of the wages of sin (Rom. 6. 23). Stand in
awe at the thought of opportunities lost, the uncertainty of
life, and the certainty of judgment. Stand in awe as you
think of the infinite love and mercy of God towards sinners,
in the sufferings and death of His Son. Stand in awe, lest
ye should resist the gracious stirrings of His Holy Spirit
and die in your sin.
2. COMMUNE. “Commune with your heart upon your
bed, and be still. ” Have a quiet time with your own heart.
Examine yourself. “If we would judge ourselves, we should.Studies in the Psalms. 85
not be judged” (1 Cor. II. 31). The heart is deceitful.
Commune with it, find out its motives, search into its
desires, and cross-question its purposes. In the solitude of
the bed-chamber, and in the stillness of the night, there is
a favourable opportunity of finding out the true character
of our own hearts. “Prove your own selves” (2 Cor. 13. 5) _
The bed and the heart are fields in which many startling
discoveries have been made, many great battles fought,
and many victories lost and won-bloodless battles, whose
issues reach away into the depths of eternity.
3. SACRIFICE . “Offer the sacrifices of righteousness”
(v. 5). As the result of standing and communing, there are
sure to be revelations. Things to be given up, or offered
unto God as sacrifices. Then let the sacrifice be righteous.
Let there be a willing and whole-hearted surrender to the
will of God. There are sacrifices, like Absalom’ s which are
not righteous, but only a hypocritical performance, to blind
the eyes of the God-fearing, and secure some personal
advantage (2 Sam. 15. 12). Your reasonable service is to
present yourselves unto God, “for ye are not your own, ye
are bought with a price. ” Let us not forget Him, who did
offer unto God the sacrifice of righteousness, when He
offered Himself without spot. He hath left us “an example
that we should follow His steps. ”
4. TRUST. “Trust in the Lord. ” Trust and obey,
there is no other way. The standing in awe, and the
communing with the heart should lead to faith or it
will end in failure. TYZ.& is a very simple and sweet
word, associated as it is with the greatest of all names,
JEHOVAH, and the most precious of all privileges and
blessings. Any child can understand it, but does any
man, or angel in Heaven, understand to the full all the
possibilities that lie within it, as the link that binds the
soul to the Eternal God ?.86 Handfuls on Purpose.
PRAYERFUL PURPOSES.
PSALM 5. 1-8.
THOSE who believe in set forms of prayer can find no
justification for such a practice in the Book of Psalms.
There is throughout the whole book a blessed disregard for
all such mechanical and stultifying conventionalities,
because the prayers of the psalmists are the utterances of
burning, agonising hearts. Every variety of form is
adopted, according to the varied needs of the soul. We
shall note-I.
His Requests. There are four definite petitions.
He prays-1.
That his WORDS may be attended to. “Give ear to
my words, 0 Lord.” We don’t always wish the Lord to
mark our words, they are at times such poor vehicles of our
soul’s desires. But the psalmist mead every word that he
uttered in the Divine ear. Beware of vain words. We are
not heard for our much speaking.
2. That his MEDITATION may be considered. “0 Lord,
consider my meditation. ” There may be abundance of
eloquent words where there is no real exercise of soul, no
true spirit of prayer. The Lord hath said, “Come, let us
reason together. ” Surely to reason out a matter implies
serious and deliberate thinking. Our prayer-words should
be the outcome of solemn meditation on the whole inner
condition and circumstances of the soul. God not only
heareth the words, but He looketh upon the heart. It has
been said that “Prayer without fervency is like hunting
with a dead dog. ”
3. That his CRY may be heard. “Hearken unto the voice
of my cry, my King and my God” (v. 2). These are
three expressive “Mys. ” “My Cry, My King, My God.”
The meditation is the source, the words are the channel, but
the cry is the force with which the stream of prayer rushes.Studies in the Psalms. a7
on. It is possible to have correct words, and deep thinking,
and yet no real intensity of heart, no agony of soul. It was
when God heard the “Cry of the Israelites” that He sent
deliverance (Exod. 3. 7). The cry is unto Jehovah, as his
King and God, as his Ruler and Creator. As He who
fashioned his being, and governs his life. This conscious-ness
of subjection and ownership gives intensity and
hopefulness to the cry of need. It was with kindred, but
deeper feelings, that Christ cried on the Cross, “My God,
My God. ”
4. That in RIGHTEOUSNESS he might be led. “Lead me, 0
Lord, in Thy righteousness, because of mine enemies”
(v. 8). Newberry reads it, “because of mine observers. ”
We need leading into the righteousness of God because of
those who are watching our words and our ways, that they,
seeing our good works, may glorify our Father in Heaven.
This He is willing to do for His Name’ s sake (Psa. 23. 3).
“In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy
paths” (Prov. 3. 6).
II. His Resolutions. Earnest praying will lead to
earnest acting. Our Lord said, “He that heareth and doetlc
these sayings of Mine, I will liken him unto a wise man”
(Matt. 7. 24).
The psalmist resolves that-1.
IN THE MORNING HE WOULD PRAY. “My voice
shalt Thou hear in the morning” (v. 3). Let each
opening day be met with an open heart. God hears
the voice of the bird in the morning, why not thine ?
Morning by morning let the keys of your life be put
into the hands of your Lord and Master. The morning
voice must be specially sweet to Him, who, “in the
morning, rising up a great while before day, went into
a solitary place, and there prayed. ”
2. IN EXPECTATION HE WOULD LOOK. “Inthe morning.88 Handfuls on Purpose.
will I order my prayer unto Thee, and will keep watch”
(v. 3, R.v.). Like Daniel, he would open his window and
look toward the Holy City. He woulcl order his prayer, as
Elijah ordered the sacrifice upon the altar on Carmel, and
kept watch for the coming fire ; or as when he prayed
for the rain, and told his servant to go again and watch
for the cloud like a “man’ s hand. ” We direct our letters
to our friends at a distance, and “keep watch” for the
postman. In the well-doing of praying and watching be
not weary, “for in due season ye shall reap if you
faint not. ”
3. IN GRACE HE WOULU COME. “Rut as for me, in the
multitude of Thy lovingkindness I will come into Thy
house” (v. 7, R.V.). The praying spirit longs for closer
fellowship with God. He believes, that through the great
lovingkindness of God, he would yet have the joy of
fellowship and service in His house. He does not look upon
this privilege as being the result of any merit of his own,
but all according to the goodness of God. The house of God not made with hands, can only be entered through the
mercy and grace of Him who is the Way, the Truth, and
the Life (John 14. l-6).
4. IN FEAR HE WOULI) WORSHIP. “In Thy fear will I
worship toward Thy holy temple. ” The earthly temple
had not yet been built, but David would worship toward
the throne of His Holiness. Worship is the highest
possible form of service. Praying, serving, worshipping.
We first pray in the outer court, at the altar of sacrifice.
We serve in the holy place, but in the holiest of all we
worship. The voice of testimony should frequently give
place for the silence of adoration. In His strength we
serve, in His fear we worship. What Satan asked of
Christ, Christ expects from us. “Worship Him” (Matt.
4. 9) and the Kingdom shall be thine..Studies in the Psalms. 89
POWERFUL PLEAS.
PSALM 6.
THE chief reason why the Psalms are so full of praise is
because they are so full of prayers. In this Psalm we have
a troubled soul using some powerful arguments with God,
giving us an example of prevailing importunity. He
mentions-I.
The Anger of the Lord. “0 Lord, rebuke me not in
Thine anger. ” His sensitive soul is deeply alarmed at the
thought of the awfulness of God’s anger, and the hotness of
His displeasure (v. 1). He is terrified at the possibility
of deserving his chastening in wrath. Serve the Lord with
fear.
II. His Own Weakness. “Have mercy upon me, 0
Lord, for I am weak”. (v. 2). A real consciousness of our
own impotency will give urgency and point to our pleadings.
III. His Own Sorrowfulness. “My soul is sore vexed,
but Thou, 0 Lord, how long ? ” (v. 3). His was no mere
lip-praying; the depths of his soul were stirred up; there
was agony in his cry.
IV. The Mercies of God. “Oh save me for Thy mercies’
sake” (v. 4). This is a mighty plea in the eyes of Him
whose Name is the Lord God “Merciful. ” He who
“delighteth in mercy” will not be deaf to this cry.
V. The Profitlessness of Death. “In death there is
no remembrance of Thee, ” etc. (v. 5). This is true of those
spiritually dead. Plead for quickening that ye might be
saved from a God-forgetting state of soul.
VI. The Significance of Tears. “I water my couch
with my tears” (v. 6). Jesus also wept, and God can never
forget the value of such pure heart-drops of grief and silent
witnesses of love.
VII. His Own Hatred of Iniquity. “Depart from me
all ye workers of iniquity” (v. 8). He further pleads his
G.90 Handfuls on Purpose.
separateness in spirit from the ways and methods of the
ungodly.
VIII. His Own Faith in God. “The Lord hath heard.. .
the Lord will receive my prayer” (vv. 8-10). The answer
had come into his heart; he believed the message, and
rested on the faithfulness of God. “Go thou and do
likewise. ”
IN THE FACE OF THE FOE.
PSALM 7.
LEARN from this Psalm how to behave when face to face
with wicked men, and the principles and forces of
unrighteousness.
I. Trust. “0 Lord my God, in Thee do I put my trust ”
(v. 1). Keep the shield of faith ever bright with constant
use. “Happy is He who hath the God of (wayward) Jacob
for his help” (Psa. 146. 5).
II. Pray. “Save me from all them that persecute me”
(v. 1). Call upon God to arise, and to lift Himself up
for your defencc (v. 6). It is His prerogative to execute
righteousness and judgment for the oppressed (Psa. 103. 6).
HI. Search. Search yourself and your ways, lest this
trial may have come upon you because of iniquity (vv. 3, 4)
Let God also search your heart and your hands, lest there
may be some hidden hindrance to His help (Psa. 66. 18).
IV. Testify. “The Lord shall judge the people ” (v. 8).
Don’ t be afraid to speak out and declare His righteousness,
even when His providence seems most against thee, for the
Lord doth reward us according to the cleanness of our
hands (Psa. 18. 20).
V. Confess. “My defence is of God, which saveth the
upright in heart” (v. IO). Although the enemy may say, “There is no help for Him in God, ” make full confession
of Him as your present and all-sufficient Saviour..Studies in the Psalms. 91
VI. Warn. “God is angry with the wicked every day,
if he turn not He will whet His sword” (vv. 11, 12). Don’ t
be intimidated by their threatenings or scorn. Warn them
that the axe is laid at the root of all fruitless trees (Matt.
3. 10). The sword of the Lord is never sharpened in vain.
VII. Praise. “I will praise the Lord according to His
righteousness, and will sing praise to the Name of the Lord
Most High” (v. 17). Fearless trust is sure to end in
fullness of praise, “Blessed are all they that put their trust
in Him. ”
THE EXCELLENT NAME.
PSALM 8.
“How excellent is Thy Name in all the earth. ” These
are the first and last words of this Psalm, and may be taken
as the keynote. His NAME stands for all the riches and
glory of His character. The glory of it is “above the
Heavens, ” although the Heavens are a reflection of it (Psa.
19. 1). This wondrous glory, the glory of infinite grace, can also manifest itself through such weak things as “babes
and sucklings” (v. 2; Matt. 11. 25). God hath been
pleased so to choose weak things that the might of the
worldling might be confounded (1 Cor. 1. 27). But the
glory of this Name, which is seen in the “moon and the
stars”–the work of His fingers (v. 3)-finds its chief
manifestation in “man, ” insignificant as he is, when con-trasted
with the greatness of the material heavens. “What
is man that Thou art mindful of him?” (v. 4). See
how the excellency of His Name is revealed in His dealings
with man. It is seen-I.
In the Character of Man. “Thou hast made him a
little lower than God” (v. 5, R.v. ). Made after His image, but a “little lower. ” How near God has come to
man in imprinting His own likeness in Him. What.92 Handfuls on Purpose,
ravages sin hath wrought that this holy temple should be-come
the workshop of the Devil. Grace restores to sonship.
II. In His Mindfulness of Him. “What is man that
Thou art mindful of Him?” The mindfulness of God is
another manifestation of the excellency of His character.
He is mindful of man in all the arrangements of His
material creation and providence. This gracious mindful-ness
began before the foundation of the world, when in His
purpose the Lamb was slain. What is man that his highest
interests are for ever in the mind of God?
III. In the Honour given Him. “Thou hast crowned
him with glory and honour ; Thou madest him to have
dominion over the works of Thy hands” (vv. 5, 6). All
things were put under him, till sin entered, then the crown
fell from his head, and had to be given to another, even
Jesus, who was made for a little while lower than the
angels ; who, after the sufferings of a substitutionary death,
was crowned with glory and honour (Heb. 2. 8, 9). How
excellent is the Name of Him who sought to put such glory
on the head of man!
“How poor, how rich, how abject, how august,
How complicate, how wonderful is man. ”
IV. In His Sacrifice for Man “What is man.. , that
Thou visitest him?” In a very deep and real sense, God
hath visited man in the Person of His only beloved Son.
Man, in his sin and shame, could not visit God in peace,
but in the excellency of His Name, and at an awful cost,
He hath visited man. Visited him in his hopeless distress,
bringing with Him and offering to him a perfect remedy
for all his sins and sorrows. “Lord, what is man that Thou
shouldest set T/tine heart upon Him ? ” (Job 7. 17).
“WHAT IS MAN ? ” (vv. 4, 5).
1. “That Thou art milzdful of him ? ” Merciful CON-SIDERATION,.Studies in the Psalms. 93
2. “That Thou visitest him ? ” INCARNATION.
3. “That Thou hast made him a little lower than God? ”
REGENERATION.
4. “That Thou hast crowned him with glory ? ” GLORIFI-CATION.
I WILL, FOR THOU HAST.
PSALM 9. l-10.
IT is good when ouur “I wills” find their motive power in
the “Thou hasts” of God. In this Psalm there is-I.
A Joyful Purpose, This purpose was-1.
To PRAISE GOD. “I will praise Thee, 0 Lord ” (v. 1).
Praise is surely the expression of a full and satisfied heart.
The salvation accomplished for us by Jesus Christ is such
as demands continual praise (Heb. 13. 15).
2. To TESTIFY FOR GOD. “I will shew forth all Thy
marvellous works. ” His wonderful works of grace are well
worthy of being shown forth by the lips and lives of all
who have experienced the power and riches of them.
3. To REJOICE IN GOD. “I will be glad and rejoice in
Thee” (v. 2). This gladness is something deeper than that
produced by the mere increase of corn and wine (Psa. 4. 7).
It is the joy of the Lord, because it is joy in God (Phil 4. 4).
II. A Powerful Reason. This reason, like the purpose,
is threefold.
1. Because of His FAITHFULNESS. “Thou hast main-tained
my cause” (v. 4). It is His to maintain the cause
of the afflicted and the poor in spirit (Psa. 140. 12). When
our cause is the cause of God, it will be stoutly maintained
by Him.
2. Because of His POWER. “Thou hast rebuked the
heathen” (v. 5). All the pride and possessions of the un-godly
“shall flow away in the day of His wrath” (Job. 20.28)..94 Handfuls on Purpose.
Heathenish thoughts and practices are rebuked in the
presence of the Lord.
3. Because of His MERCY. “Thou Lord hast not for-saken
them that seek Thee“ (v. 10). God, in all the riches
of His grace and power is ever within the reach of the
whole-hearted seeker (Jer. 29. 13). The great Deliverer
of the past, is the same Deliverer for the present and the
future.
III. An Inspiring Hope. This is-1.
The Hope of ENDURANCE. “The Lord shall endure
for ever” (v., 7). The blessings of God’s grace are as
lasting as God Himself. As long as HE endures, His
redeemed ones will be enriched with the Divine life and
fullness. “Ye are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s ”
2. The Hope of RIGHTEOUSNESS. “He shall judge the
world in righteousness” (v. 8). Unrighteousness, the
fruit of the mystery of sin, is ever with us, but “He hath
appointed a day, in the which He will judge the world in
righteousness, by that Man whom He hath ordained” for
this purpose (Acts 17. 31). “Shall not the Judge of all the
earth do right ? ”
3. The Hope of SALVATION. “The Lord shall be a
refuge for the oppressed” (v. 9). For those oppressed with
inward sin or outward trouble. “God is our refuge and
strength, a very present help in time of trouble. ” They are
safely kept whose life is hid with Christ in God.
*
CHARACTERISTICS OF THE WICKED.
PSALM 10.
WHEN God, as the light of His people, hides Himself
(v. I), the ungodly owls of darkness are sure to manifest
themselves. They are-I.
Boastful. “The wicked boast& of his heart’s.Studies in the Psalms. 95
desire” (v. 3) ; although that desire is for things forbidden
of God and destructive to his own soul. Even the man that
boasted in his lawful riches was branded by God as a fool
(Luke 12. 20). “The desire of the wicked shall perish”
(Psa. 112. 10).
II. Perverse. “He blesseth the covetous, whom the
Lord abhorreth ” (v. 3). They honour men according to the
amount of their possessions, instead of the pureness of their
lives. They call light darkness, and darkness light. Like
Balaam, they love the wages of unrighteousness.
III. Proud. “The wicked, through the pride of his
countenance, will not seek after God “-will not require it
(R. v., v. 4). In his pride and self-confidence, he has no
sense of his need of God. The natural man receiveth not
the things of the Spirit of God.
IV. Godless. “God is not in all his thoughts” (v. 4).
Every day he plays the fool, by practically saying, “There
is no God. ” No matter how much God in His providence
may be doing for him, in his own soul and character he is
utterly godless, guilty, and hopeless.
V. Blind. “Thy judgments are far above out of his sight” (v. 5). He is so short sighted, that he cannot
see the marvellous workings of God in nature or in
grace. Like the man with the muck rake, the crown
of glory is out of his sight, because he is blinded by the
love of this world.
VI. Self-confident. “He saith in his heart, I shall not
be moved” (v. 6). Because sentence against unbelief and
evil workers is not executed speedily, they imagine them-selves
secure. But while they say, Peace and safety,
sudden destruction cometh upon them. In wrath God shall move them-move them out of their very graves, into a
hol~cless eternity (Iicv. 20. 12, 13)..96 Handfuls on Purpose.
VII. Deceitful. “Under his tongue is mischief.. . he
lieth in wait as a lion to catch the poor.. . he humbleth
himself that the helpless may fall” (vv. 7-10, R.V.). The principle of righteousness is not in him. His smooth words
have under them the poison of sinful lust. If he croucheth in lowliness, it is that he might devour as a lion. His
heart is deceitful, and his life can be nothing else.
VIII. Deceived. “He hath said in his heart, God hath
forgotten; He will never see it” (v. 11). But “God hath seen it, for He beholdeth mischief and spite, to requite
it with His hand” (v. 14). In deceiving others, he
deceives himself. “Be not deceived, God is not mocked,
whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap”
(Gal. 6. 7).
A BLESSED AND SORROWFUL CONDITION.
PSALM 11.
THE state of the righteous and the wicked are set before us
here in striking contrast.
I. The Condition of the Righteous. They are-1.
TRUSTFUL. “In the Lord put I my trust” (v. I).
Their confidence is not in themselves, but in the Lord,
and, though He slay them, yet will they trust in Him.
They knew the NAME of the Lord as a strong tower, they
ran into it, and are safe (Prov. 18. 10).
2. DESPISED . The ungodly deride them, saying,
“Flee as a bird to your mountain” (v. 1, Psa. 9. 9). Yes, thank God, they have a mountain to flee to ; but where
will they ilee to when the wrath of God is revealed from Heaven against all ungodliness ? They may bend their bow
now and “shoot at the upright in heart” (v. 2), but where
shall they flee when God whets His sword and bends His
bow? (Psa. 7. 12)..Studies in the Psalms. 97
3. TRIED. “The Lord trieth the righteous” (v. 5).
It is because that He is righteous that He trieth the
hearts of men (Psa. 7. 9). He tried Abraham, and the
blessedness of the man that endureth temptation came
upon him (James 1. 12). Wood, hay, and stubble are never
put into the fiery furnace of trial (Dan. 6. 23).
4. LOVED. “The righteous Lord loveth the righteous”
(v. 7). The compassionate eyes of the Lord are ever
over the righteous, and His ears open unto their prayers
(1 Peter 3. 12). Loved with an everlasting love, a love
that is stronger than death, and that the many waters of
this world’ s sins and sorrows cannot quench.
II. The Condition of the Wicked.
1. THEY SECRETLY OPPOSE THE RIGHTEOUS. “They
make ready their arrow upon the string, that they may
privily shoot at the upright in heart” (v. 2). “They shoot
their arrows, even bitter words, that they may shoot in
secret at the perfect” (Psa. 64. 3,4). Their carnal minds are at enmity against God, and all that is Godlike in His
people. But every hidden thing shall be revealed.
2. THEIR ACTS ARE SEEN BY THE LO RD. “His eyes
behold, His eyelids try the children of men” (v. 4). Their
secret purposes are naked before Him with whom they have
to do. Even now they suffer for their evil-doing, for “the
face of the Lord is against them” (Psa. 34. 16). All that
the “face of the Lord” stands for is set against their
principles of life.
3. THEIR MANNER OF L IFE IS H ATED BY THE L O RD.
“The wicked and him that loveth violence, His soul
hateth” (v. 5). God loved a world of sinners, but the
Cross of Christ is the expression of His infinite hatred
of sin. To love wickedness and hate righteousness is
to be in league with the Devil, and become a fit subject.98 Handfuls on Purpose,
for the wrath of God. God is angry with the wicked
every day.
4. THEIR FINAL PORTION IS FEARFUL. “Upon the
wicked He shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an
horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup”
(v.6). The wider the cup of iniquity, the greater the
portion of curse. This rain of snares will entrap every
guilty foot, and this fire and tempest will search out
every hidden thing (Psa. 75. 8).
HELP, LORD.
PSALM 12.
IN this psalm we have a loud cry to the Lord for help in
backsliding times. To whom can we go, when the tongues
of pride and vanity are clamouring so loudly that the testi-mony
of God’ s people can scarcely be heard. Our help
cometh from the Lord, He giveth power to the faint. The
psalmist gives us many reasons for thus calling upon the
help of the Lord. “Help, Lord–
1. For the Godly Man Ceaseth” (v. 1). Godliness
has never been popular amongst men. In proportion to
the fewness of their number, and the weakness of their
character, will wicked men and the powers of darkness
prosper. “Ye are the salt of the earth ; if the salt lose His
savour, wherewith shall it be salted ? ”
II. “For the Faithful Fail.” In such times of testing
and general backsliding, the faithful are in great danger
of letting go their grip of God and drifting down with the
polluting stream. To fail in our faithfulness to God and men, in such adverse circumstances, is always a great temptation. Then is the time to cry “Help, Lord. ”
III. For Vanity, Flattery, and Deceit are Pre-valent
(v. 2). This is a threefold cord that can only be.Studies in the Psalms. 99
broken by the help of God. In the absence of godliness,
vanity, flattery, and deceit, are the natural outcome of
the unrenewed heart (Rom. 5. 9).
IV. For Men’ s Confidence is in Themselves. They
say, “With our tongue we will prevail ; our lips are our
own ; who is lord over us ? ” (v. 4). Con a f’ dence, was never
put to a baser use than this. The tongue is a mighty
weapon, but when ungodly men hope to prevail by it,
it is but an “unruly evil, full of deadly poison. ” “He
that trusteth in his own heart is a fool. ” Such self-confidence
is sure to lead to the denial of the Lordship
of Christ.
V. For Thou hast Promised. “For the sighing of
the needy, now will I arise, saith the Lord” (v. 5). The
promises of God are always a powerful plea for help. The
ungodly are “strangers to the covenant of promise, ” but
let us see that we don’ t act as if we were strangers to them.
His promises are given that they might be claimed.
VI. For Thy Words are Pure (v. 6). There is no
possibility of corruption and deceit in them. His words
are “as silver tried in a furnace 012 the earth, purified seven
times” (R.V.). The words of the Lord are pure, enlightenirtg
the eyes (Psa. 19. 8). The eye-sparkling power of the
Word of God is being constantly proven. Every answered
prayer, every promise received, has an eye-enlightening
effect. “He is faithful that has promised. ”
VII. For without Thy Help, Wickedness shall
Prevail. “The wicked walk on every side, when vileness
is exalted among the sons of men” (v. 8, R.v.). The
world loves its own. The power of the presence of God,
in His people, and with them, is a standing rebuke to all
vileness. All our efforts, apart from this, will be utterly
useless. “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,
saith the Lord. ” “Help, Lord ! ”.100 Handfuls on Purpose.
HOW LONG, LORD?
PSALM 13.
THE preceding psalm is a cry for help: to the psalmist
this help seems long in coming. One has to learn
to wait as well as pray. Such varied experiences are
needed for the discipline of the soul. The language of
this psalm is-I.
The Language of Anxiety. He is concerned about-1.
THE DIVINE FORGETFULNESS. “How long wilt Thou
forget me, 0 Lord ? ” (v. 1). God is mindful of His
people, but sometimes His dealings with us may seem as if
He had forgotten. Prayers are long in being answered,
and the supernatural may for a time have disappeared from
our lives.
2. THE FELT WANT OF HIS PRESENCE. “How long wilt
Thou hide Thy face from me ? ” Those who never miss the
absence of the face of God are more to be pitied. It may
be our own iniquities and sins that hide him from us
(Isa. 59. 2); but, if not, though He hide His face for a
moment, we are still assured of His everlasting kindness
(Isa. 54. 7, 8).
3. HIS OWN IMPOTENCY. “How long shall I take
counsel in my soul ? ” (v. 2). Cast upon his own
resources, he finds them altogether unavailing. Even
the best and wisest of men, when left to themselves,
are poor indeed. He longs to get out of himself into
the wisdom and strength of God. To be fruitful, we
must abide in Him.
4. THE POWER OF HIS ENEMY. “How long shall mine
enemy be exalted over me ? ” The absence of the power of
God, implies the presence of the power of the enemy.
How long shall mine enemy triumph ? Just so long as the.Studies in the Psalms. 101
face of God is unseen. Thy face Lord will we seek; that
face revealed to us, in the face of Jesus Christ.
II. The Language of Intercession. He now pleads
for-1.
THE CONSIDERATION OF HIS CASE. “Consider and
hear me, 0 Lord my God” (v. 3). There is a holy
familiarity about this request. He who said, “Come, let
us reason together, ” condescends to deal with us as a man.
The case that is stated fully will by Him be considered
carefully.
2. ENLIGHTENED EYES. “Lighten mine eyes, lest I
sleep the sleep of death” (v. 3). The influence of Divine
light is to awaken from death (Eph. 5. 14). The absence
of spiritual light, like the natural, means barrenness and
death. The eyes of our understanding need to be enligh-tened
ere we can know what is the hope of His calling, the
riches of His inheritance, or the exceeding greatness of His
power (Eph. 1. 18, 19).
III. The Language of Confession. He makes con-fession
of his-1.
FAITH. “I have trusted in Thy mercy” (v. 5).
What else can any needy soul trust. Having trusted His
mercy in the past, we will trust it still. It is a mercy that
His mercy is available.
2. HOPE. “My heart shall rejoice in Thy salvation. ”
“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the
morning. ” He rejoices in hope, at the remembrance of His
past mercies, saying, “I will sing unto the Lord, because
He bath dealt bountifully with me” (v. 6). The God who
hath delivered will yet deliver, so faith may sing, even
while it seems, in the providence of God, as if He had
forgotten. Yet, how long, Lord ?.102 Handfuls on Purpose.
GENERAL CORRUPTION.
PSALM 14.
ALTHOUGH this Psalm is by no means the most popular, it
has the unique honour of appearing twice in this book
(Compare Psa. 53). The utter failure of man, in the sight
of God, needs to be emphasised. See here-I.
Human Folly. “The fool hath said in his heart,
there is no God. ” Humanity as a whole is that fool ; it is If
practically atheistic. The word “fool, ” it is said, comes
from a term which means the act of z&her&g. The sin-withered
deceitful heart of unbelief departs from a living
God, and would seek to justify self by saying, “No God. ”
II. Divine Scrutiny. “The Lord looked down from
Heaven, ” etc. What for ? To see if there were any seeking
the advancement of science, art, or phiIosophy 7 No, to
see if there were any that did understand their true
condition, and seek God (v. 2). The chief concern of God
about man is, that he seeks not Himself. “Seek ye the
Lord while He may be found. ”
III. Universal Failure. “They are all gone aside (all
grown sour), all together become filthy: none that doeth
good, no, not one” (v. 3). Sour and filthy; like savourless
salt, good for nothing. This is a terribly sweeping indict-ment,
but it is a Divine one. God here speaks of what He
saw; we may pretend to see something different, but His
judgment will stand (Rom. 3. 10-12).
IV. Practical. Ungodliness. “Have all the workers of
iniquity no knowledge ? who eat of My people, and call not
upon the Lord” (v, 4). Even in the midst of general,
moral corruption, God has never been without a witness.
The characteristics of the workers of iniquity are the same
to-day as of old: ignorance of God; hatred of His people;
unbelief-“they call not upon the Lord. ” To reject the
knowledge of God is to be rejected by Him (Hosca 4. 6)..Studies in the Psalms. 103
V. Salvation Needed. “0 that the salvation of Israel
were come out of Zion, ” etc. (v. 7). Backsliding Israel,
like the sinners of to-day, needed to be “redeemed out of all
his troubles” (Psa. 25. 22). The Deliverer, who is able to
turn away ungodliness, must come out of Zion (Rom.
11. 26)-out from the presence of God, and the place where
His eternal honour dwelleth. “God so loved the world that
He gave His only begotten Son. ” “Grace and truth came
by Jesus Christ. ”
THE HEAVENLY CITIZEN.
PSALM 15.
THIS Psalm might be called “The Song of the Sojourner. ”
A question is asked, “Lord, who shall sojourn in Thy tent ?
Who shall dwell in the hill of Thy holiness ? ” In the
answer given we have the characteristics mentioned which
must belong to the spiritual pilgrim, who would abide in
the fellowship of God (Rev. 7. 14, 15). He must be-I.
Upright in his Walk. “He that walketh uprightly. ”
“He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also so to
walk, even as He walked” (1 John 2. 6). They must walk
by faith who would walk uprightly in the midst of a wicked
and perverse generation. God can have no fellowship with
unrighteousness.
II. Truthful in his Heart. “Speaketh the truth in his
heart” (v. 2). Their hearts must be clean who would
abide in the tabernacle of Him who “looketh upon the
heart. ” “The pure in heart shall see God. ” When the truth
is not in the heart, the lips are prone to be deceitful.
III. Charitable to his Neighbour. “He backbiteth
not with his tongue.. .nor taketh up a reproach against his
neighbour” (v. 3). A truth-loving heart never uses a
backbiting tongue. He cannot help hearing reproaches
against his neighbour, but he does refrain from “taking.104 Handfuls on Purpose.
them up. ” If evil reproaches were but let alone by God’s
people they would soon rot.
IV. Careful of his Company. “In his eyes a vile
person is contemned, but he honoureth them that fear the
Lord” (v. 4). Like Mordecai, he can offer no respect to the
vile and haughty Haman. He is a companion of all them
that fear the Lord. He who walks with God, as Noah and
Enoch did, will be separate from sinners.
V. Faithful to his Promise. If he swears or gives his
solemn promise to do a thing, he will do it, even to his own
hurt, and change not (Judges 11. 35). This faithfulness
is but a faint imitation of the faithfulness of Him, “who,
for the joy that was set before Him, endured the Cross”
(Heb. 12. 2). “Having loved His own, He loved them unto
the end. ”
VI. Merciful in his Dealings. “He taketh no reward
agahst the innocent” (v. 5). He will not seek to take
advantage of the ignorant or the poor; he will not be
guilty, as some Iawyers are, of taking a reward against the
innocent. To him bribery is robbery. He will not wear
Christ’s livery and deny Him honest service (Num. 22. 18).
VII. Stablished in his Character. “He that doeth
I~KSZ things shall never be moved. “ The storms and floods
of earth cannot move him out of his place, because his life
is rooted in the will of God. He is like a tree planted by
rivers of water; ye shall not know when drought cometh.
This is the man who abides in the tabernacle of God’s
service, and who dwells in the holy hill of His presence.
A GOODLY HERITAGE.
PSALM 16. 5-11.
“THE Lord is the portion of mine inheritance, and of my
cup.. . yea, I have a goodly heritage. ”
I. The Nature of It. It is-.Studies in the Psalms. 105
1. LARGE. “The Lord is the portion of mine inheri-tance.
” The infinite wealth of the character of God
Himself is the portion of the believer’ s cup. No wonder
that he has to say, “My cup runneth over. ” “The Lord
is my portion, saith my soul” (Lam. 3. 24) ; “I know whom
I have believed, ” saith the apostle (2 Tim. 1. 12).
2. PLEASANT. “The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant
places” (v. 6). Experiences that would otherwise have
been desert wastes, have, by the presence and goodness of God become “pleasa.nt places. ” In this portion we are
made partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.
These are the ways of pleasantness and the paths of peace.
3. ETERNAL. “The LORD is the portion of my cup” (v. 5).
It will take all eternity to dip up this river of pleasure with
the little cup of our life. The portion is divinely suited to
the needs of the eternal spirit of man. God’ s gift of etgrnal
life is the gift of Himself.
II. The Effect of It. The conscious possession of
such a goodly heritage must powerfully influence the life. There will be-1.
PRAISE. “I will bless the Lord who hath given me
counsel ” (v. 7). All who have been counselled by His
Holy Spirit, and constrained to believe in, and yield them-selves
to God, have very much to bless Him for. “Ye have
not chosen Me, but I have chosen you” (John 15. 16).
2. FELLOWSHIP. “1 have set the Lord always before me
. . He is at my right hand. ” “Always before me. ” What
an inspiration and comfort in the midst of all the trials
and turmoils of life ! What a source of restfulness of spirit, with regard to all that was before him! If the miser, or
prosperous man of the world, loves to set his possessions
before him, so does the man of God; but how different their
nature and results.
3. Stability. “Hecausc l-lc is at my right hand, 1 shall 1~.106 Handfuls on”Purpose,
not be moved. ” The man who always sets the Lord before
him is little likely to be moved away from the hope of the
Gospel. All the popular winds of adverse doctrine cannot
move him. His heart is fixed, trusting in the T,ord.
4. Gladness. “Therefore my heart is glad, and my
glory rejoiceth” (v. 9). His heart is glad, because it is
healed and satisfied. This is not an attempt at rejoicing,
like many of the world’s “get-ups”; it is the natural or
inevitable consequence of a certain condition or attitude
of soul. “We joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ”
(Rom. 5. 11).
5. GUIDANCE. “Thou wilt shew me the path of life”
(v. 11). Though this holy path of life may be narrow,
the trusting soul is confident that He will reveal it moment
by moment, and step by step. The path of the high
Chr’ tian life is the path of continual faith and continual
obea ience. Day by day we need to be shown the path He
would have us follow.
6. HOPE. “In Thy presence is fullness of joy; in Thy
right hand are pleasures for evermore” (R.v.). Although
now the sons of God, “it doth not yet appear what we shall
be, but we know that when He shall appear, we shall be
like Him. ” Although His presence is with us now, we have
not yet passed into the fuIIness of the blessing of His
presence in the glory-land. He holds in His right hand,
reserved for us, “pleasures for evermore. ” “Blessed
Hope !” (Titus 2. 13).
PRAYER AND TESTIMONY.
PSALM 17. l-8, 15.
THERE must always he a vital relationship between prayer
and testimony. Those who are most powerful in prayer are
most likely to give the most powerful testimony. The
songs of David are just about c:qualLcd with his prayers..Studies in the Psalms. 107
Influence for God springs out of influence with God.
Observe here-I.
The Things Asked from God. David prays for-1.
DIVINE ATTENTION. “Hear the right, 0 Lord, attend
unto my cry” (v. 1). It is for the glory of His Name
that He attends to the r$$teozcs cry of His children. God
has a quick ear to “hear the right. ” No mother or
physician can give such close attention to our need as our
heavenly Father.
2. DIVINE UPHOLDING . “HoId up my goings in Thy
paths” (v. 5). He knows that it is not in man to direct his
steps (Jer. 10. 23). By the help of His gracious hand we
are kept from stumbling. Our footsteps will slip when we
cease to lean upon His strength. He is able to keep the
feet of His holy ones (1 Sam. 2. 9, R.V.).
3. DIVINE MANIFESTATION. “Shew Thy marvJlous
lovingkindness” (v. 7). He pleads for a further
revelation of God’s character in His kindness, loving-kindness,
marvellous lovingkindness. It is so excellent
that it constrains men to put their trust under the
shadow of His wings (Psa. 36. 7). This marvellous
lovingkindness finds its perfect manifestation in and
through Jesus Christ.
4. DIVINE PROTECTION. “Keep me as the apple of the
eye; hide me under the shadow of Thy wings” (v. 8).
They will surely be securely kept who are hidden beneath
His wings, and guarded as the apple of the eye. His
pinions are long and powerful, and one is more jealous of
the eye than any other part of the body. The strength and
the carefulness of God are more than enough to save from
our “deadly enemies ! ”
XI. The Testimony Given for God. We are assured
by the Psalmist that God had-1.
PROVE11 HIM. “Thou has proved mine heart” (v. 3)..108 Handfuls on Purpose.
The /heart, that is so prone to be deceitful, must first be
dealt with. The good seed is only fruitful in a “good and
honest heart ” (Luke 8. 15).
2. VISITED HIM. “Thou hast visited me in the night”
(v. 3). The heart is proven that it might be visited
in mercy and grace. He visits in the night of quiet rest-fulness,
in the night of darkness and sorrow. He knows
when to visit, and what to bring. “Behold, I stand at the
door” (Rev. 3. 20).
3. TRIES HIM. “Thou hast tried me, and findeth no evil
purpose in me ” (R. V. , margin). The trial of your faith is
precious; when perfectly sincere, it will be to His praise
and glory (I Peter 1. 7). When our hearts or secret pur-poses
condemn us not, then have we confidence towards
God.
4.. SUSTAINED HIM. “By the word of Thy lips, I have
kept me from the ways of the violent” (v. 4, R. v. ). By
taking heed to His Word, any young man may cleanse his
way (Psa. 119. 9). We are kept by the power of God through faith-faith in His word. Man shall not live by
bread alone, but by every word of God. The prayer of our
Great High Priest was, “Sanctify them through Thy
truth: Thy word is truth” (John 17. 17).
5. ANSWERED HIM. “I have called upon Thee, for Thou
wilt answer me, 0 God” (v. 6, R.v.). He testifies that
the reason why he prays is because God answers Him.
“Let your requests be made known unto Him” (Phil. 4. 6).
6. SATISFIED HIM. “I will behold Thy face.. . I shall
be satisfied when I awake with Thy likeness” (v. 15).
Such a glorious prospect is enough to make the heart sing
for joy, even now, when WC but see through a glass darkly.
God’ s Zikertess is His best and greatest gift. The more
like Him we become now, the deeper will our soul
satisfaction be..Studies in the Psalms. 109
THE GOD OF SALVATION.
PSALM 18. 1-3.
FROM the heading of this Psalm we learn that it was
written as a song of DELIVERANCE . The first three verses
contain a manifold revelation and a manifold obligation.
I. The Revelation. This is a revelation of the
character of Jehovah as a Saviour. In verse 2 eight terms
are used that are suggestive of so many aspects of His
saving grace-1.
For REFUGE, He is My Rock. The unchangeable
Rock of Ages.
2. For PROTECTION, He is My Fortress. “His Name is a
strong tower; the righteous nmneth into it and is safe. ”
“The Lord encampeth round about them that fear Him”
(Psa. 24. 7).
3. For OPPRESSION, He is My Deliverer. “Deliva us
from evil, for Thine is the Kingdom, and the power”
(Matt. 6. 13).
4. For WORSHIP, He is My God, It is written, “Him
only shalt thou worship. ”
5. For WEAKNESS, He is My Strength. They that wait
upon the Lord shall exchange strength. “My strength is
made perfect in weakness. ”
6. For DEFENCE, He is My Buckley. Put on the whole
armour of God, and over all the buckler, or shield of faith.
7. For.POWER, He is My How. “All power is given unto
Me ; go ye therefore. ” Who shall resist Him?
8. For PROSPECT, He is My High Tower. Those seated
in heavenly places have got a delightful view. From their
high tower they can see the land that is “fairer than day. ”
II. The Obligations. Such marvellous privileges of
grace have also gracious responsibilities. What are they ?
To-1.
LOVE HIM. “I will love Thee, 0 Lord” (v. 1). The.110 Handfuls on Purpose.
first and great commandment was: “Thou shalt love the
Lord thy God. ” Surely such manifestation of His love
should constrain us. Let it be also a thing of the will
(1 Cor. 13. 13).
2. TRUST HIM. “In Him I will trust” (v. 2). God
has done everything for us, and is willing to bc everything
to us, but when there is no heart trust, the door of the soul
is barred against Him.
3. PRAISE HIM. “Who is worthy to be praised” (v. 3).
Those who “call upon the Lord” are most likely to praise
Him. He is worthy. Think of all He hat11 done, and of
His long-suffering mercy. “Worthy is the Lamb, to
receive glory and honour. ”
THE GREAT DELIVERANCE.
PSALM 18. 4-20.
THIS most majestic Psalm was sung by David, not as a
king, but as “the servant of the Lord. ” The key-note is
struck loudly at the beginning. “I will love the Lord.. . I
will trust the Lord.. . I will call upon the Lord.. . so shall
I be saved. ” Love, trust, prayer, assurance. If there are
great heights here, there are also terrible depths. To lift
from the deepest depth, up to the highest height, is the
glory of the grace of this Deliverer. While this Psalm
records the experiences of a soul passing from death unto
life, it is also prophetic of the sufferings, the death, and
resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.
I. The Need. His need ‘was great for He was com-passed
about with the-1.
“SORROWSOFDEATH” (v. 4). To asoulwithouthope
these sorrows are most pungent. It is the sorrow of losing
every earthly blessing, of entering into the darkness of
despair. The Philippian jailer felt the pangs of them.
(Acts 16. 30)..Studies in the Psalms. 111
2. SORROWS OF MEN. “Floods of ungodly men made
me afraid. ” In times of soul conviction, the enemy is sure
to come in like a flood. The world’ s mind and ways arc
against the purpose of his heart.
“SORROWS 01; HELL” (v. 5).
we:e round about me” (R.V.).
“The cords of Sheol
Fearful cords that would
drag the soul down to eternal death. The joys of Heaven
are best known by those who have felt the “sorrows of
Hell. ”
II. The Confession. “In my distress I called upon
the Lord, and cried unto my God” (v. 6). He was in
real distress, and so his prayer was unfeigned, and his
confession wholehearted. When a man’ s distress is as
keenly felt as this, he has no hope of saving himself by any
work he can do, or by anything he can give. The sorrows
of Hell make sin-convicted souls feel that only the power
and grace of almighty God can meet their need.
III. The Deliverance. In answer to this cry of distress
he says that-1.
“HE CAME DOWN” (v. 9). To do this, He had to bow the Heavens. The language here is prophetic of the
coming and sufferings of Christ. There are always signs
and wonders wrought when He comes down in answer to
the agonising cry of human need (vv. 7, 8).
2. “HE TOOK ME, He drew me out of many waters”
(v. 16). If we are to be drawn out of the many waters of our
sins and sorrows, He must take hold of us, and we must be
perfectly submissive to His drawing power. Resist not the
grace of God. When He does take hold, it is unto a perfect
salvation.
3. “HE DELIVERED ME from my strong enemy” (v. 17).
Your adversary, the Devil, is a strong enemy, but a
stronger than he has come to seek and to save (Heb.
2. 14, 15)..112 Handfuls on Purpose.
4. “HE BROUGHT ME forth also into a large place”
(v. 19). Whom the Lord sets free are free indeed. Out from
the power of Satan, into the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus
Christ. This is indeed “a large place,” for it stretches into
the ages of eternity. It takes a large place to meet all the
aspirations of an immortal spirit. Resurrection ground.
5. “HE DELIGHTED IN ME” (v. 19). He delivers because
He delights in saving the objects of His love. “He loved
me and gave Himself for me. ” His is no mechanical, or
perfunctory salvation. He “delighteth in mercy. ” Our
trust in Him delights His soul.
$$@. “HE REWARDED ME” (v. 20). “He is a Rewarder of
them that diligently seek Him, ” He never said to any,
“Seek My face in vain. ” A clean heart, and clean hands, the
Lord will recompense (v. 24). “0 taste and see that the
Lord is good” (Psa. 34. 8).
THE GOD OF DELIVERANCES.
PSALM 18. 25-39.
I. His Manner of Working. He reveals His-1.
MERCIFULNESS TO THE MERCIFUL (v. 25). “With the
merciful Thou wilt shew Thyself merciful. ” The merci-fulness
of men can never rise to the mercifulness of God.
Human mercy is to be measured by the Divine.
2. PERFECTION TO THE PERFECT. “With the perfect
man, Thou wilt shew l‘ hyselj perfect” (R.v.). The
perfection of men is to be seen in the light of the perfection
of God, The man with the “upright heart” desires this,
“Shew me Thy glory. ”
3. PURITY TO THE PURE. “With the pure Thou wilt
shew Thyself pure” (v. 26). The pure in heart shall see
a God that is infinitely purer. The desire after holiness
is thus encouraged by this promise.
4. FROWARDNESS to the PROWARD. “With the froward.Studiea in the Psalms. 113
Thou wilt shew Thyself froward. * The f~owa~dnm (lit. )
of man, turning away from God, will be met with the
frowardness of God. If man chooses to be perverse
toward God, then they have the perversity of God to
deal with.
5. PURPOSE IN so DEALING WITH MEN. “For Thou wilt
save the afflicted, but the haughty Thou wilt bring down”
(v. 27, R. V. ) . If there is in us a mercifulness, a perfec-tion,
or a purity that is unreal, then the manifestation of
His character is to rebuke pride and lead to repentance.
His purpose is to save honest seekers, and to bring down
the proud boasters.
II. His Manifold Mercies. All God’s gifts are
deliverances.
1. He gives LIGHT. “Thou wilt light my lamp.. .My
God will lighten my darkness“ (v. 28). In Him was life,
and the life was the light of men.
2. He gives COURAGE. “By Thee I have ran through a
troop ; and by my God have I leaped over a wall” (v. 29).
Troops of troubles and walls of difficulties need not hinder
the man of faith.
3. He gives STRENGTH. “It is God that girdeth me with
strength” (v. 32). Loins girded with the Word of God
will be strong to do exploits.
4. He gives STABILITY. “He maketh my feet like
hinds’ feet” (v. 33). The hind is sure-footed, and can
walk and leap with safety in slippery places.
5. He gives WISDOM. “He teacheth my hands to war”
(v. 34). We war not with flesh and blood, but with
principalities.. . and wicked spirits. For this battle
Divine wisdom is needed.
6. He gives PROTECTION. “Thou hast given me the
shield of Thy salvation” (v. 35). The salvat ion of God is a
shield as long as our life, and as broad as our need..114 Handfuls on Purpose.
7. He gives HONOUR. “Thy gentleness has made me
great. ” The gentleness of almighty grace brings wonderful
promotion to the whole nature of the spiritual man.
8. He gives VICTORY. “Thou hast girded me with
strength; Thou hast subdued under me those that rose
up against me ” (v. 39). “Thanks be unto God who giveth
us the victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ. ” “Great
deliverance givcth He” (v. 50).
THE WORD OF GOD.
PSALM 19.
WHILE the Heavens declare the glory of God, the Bible
declares His will. The speech of the Heavens is silent,
“their voice is not heard” (R.v.). But even His eternal
power and Godhead can be understood by the things that
are made (Rom. 1. 19, 20). We have to come to the
written and Incarnate Word for the doctrine of God. In
verses 7-9 six different terms are used to express the
fullness and preciousness of His word.
I. It Converts the Soul, because it is perfect (v. 7). It
takes a perfect instrument to accomplish such delicate and
powerful work as this. The soul needs conversion: the
sword of the Spirit can do it (James 1. 18).
II. It Makes Wise the Simple, because it is sure
(v. 7). It is sure because it is given by inspiration of God
(2 Tim. 3. 15). It makes wise unto salvation all who are
simple enough to believe it.
III. It Rejoiceth the Heart, because it is right (v. 8).
It is the right thing for all the needs of the heart, so the
heart rejoices in the receiving of it. The poor, hungry
soul that finds great spoil (Psa. 119. 16). “Thy Word was
the joy of my heart” (Jer. 15. 16).
IV. It Enlightens the Eyes, because it is pure (v. 8)..Studies in the Psalms. 115
As the weary Jonathan had his eyes enlightened by
partaking of the honey, so doth new light and vigour
possess us when we taste the pure honey of His Word. The
eyes are opened to see wondrous things. “Every word of
God is pure. ” “Thy Word is a lamp” (Psa. 119. 105).
V. It Endureth for Ever, because it is &as (v. 9). It
is the very thing a young man needs to cleanse his way
(Psa. 119. 9). It is uncorruptible, and so endureth for
ever. It does, and can, offer everlasting life, because the
word itself is everlasting.
VI. It is Altogether Righteous, because it is trzttlz
(v. 9, margin). It is altogether right-right in its every
warning and demand, counsel and promise. It is not only
true, it is the TRUTH, and, therefore, cannot possibly be
wrong on any point.
VII. It is Most Desirable, because it is better than
gold, and sweeter than 32oney (v. 10). It is better than the
best, and sweeter than the sweetest of all earthly things.
VIII. It is Most Needful, because it both zm~ns and
rez~a~ds (v. 11). It warns both servants and sinners of the
danger and doom of unbelief. It assures the obedient of a
glorious reward. It is both a law and a Gospel, a hammer
and a fire, a beacon light, and bread from Heaven.
INTERCESSION AND CONFIDENCE.
PSALM 20.
WHILE it is good to pray for ourselves, it is gracious to pray
for others. A powerful incentive to intercessory prayer is
a satisfied and thankful heart.
I. An Example of Intercession. Here are seven
requests that the Psalmist would put into prayerful lips.
A sevenfold blessing which God is able to bestow.
1. “The Lord HEAR thee” (v. 1). It is a wonderful.116 Handfuls on Purpose.
privilege to have the God of Heaven bending His ear like a
fond mother to the confidential whisperings of a child.
2. The Lord DEFEND thee (v. 1). To be defended by
“the NAME of the God of Jacob, ” is to have power with
God, and to prevail (Gen. 32. 28).
3. The Lord HELP thee. “Send thee help from the
sanctuary” (v. 2). Help from the place of His holiness
is sanctifying help. Provision was made for this (1 Kings
s. 44, 45).
4. The Lord STRENGTHEN thee. “Strengthen thee out of
Zion, ” by the supplications of the people of God. Perhaps
the oneness of the body of Christ may be suggested here.
5. The Lord REMEMBER thee (v. 3). “Remember all
thy offerings, ” all thy gifts, and sacrifice for Him. May He have thee in everlasting remembrance. “I know thy
works and labour of love. ”
6. The Lord SUPPLY thee. “Grant thee thy heart’s
desire” (v. 4, R.V. ). To obtain this, there must be a
delighting in the Lord (Psa. 37. 4). “The desire of the
righteous is only good” (Prov. 11. 23).
7. The Lord FILL thee (v. 5). They are truly filled
who have all their petitions fulfilled. “He filleth the
hungry with good. ”
II. An Example of Confidence. A confidence-1.
In the SALVATION of God. “We will rejoice in Thy
salvat ion ” (v. 5). It is a salvation worth rejoicing in,
because of its greatness, its costliness, and its fullness.
2. In the CAUSE of God. “In the Name of our God we
will set up our banners. ” The banner of truth (Psa.
60. 4), of victory, of progress. His Kingdom cannot be
moved.
3. In the FAITHFULNESS of God. “Now know I that the
Lord saveth His anointed” (v. 6). Blessed are they that.Studies in the Psalms. 117
know this joyful sound, This is experimental knowledge
of Divine faithfulness.
4. In the NAME of God. “Some trust in chariots, but we
will remember the Name of the Lord” (v. 7). To remember
His Name is to remember His revealed character, and this
is all sufficient to faith (2 Chron. 32. 8).
5. In the POWER of God. “They are brought down..
but we are risen” (v. 8). He cast&h down the proud, but
the lowly in heart He lifteth up. Hold fast the confidence
which you had at the beginning, Pray and trust.
THE JOY OF S,QLVATION.
PSALM 21.
THE prayers in the preceding Psalm seem to find their
fulfilment in the first nine verses of this Psalm. The one
appears to be the perfect complement of the other, when
compared verse by verse. “In Thy salvation, ” he says,
“how greatly shall he rejoice” (v. 1). Note then-I.
The Joys of the Saved. In this state of blessedness
there is the joy of-1.
HEART SATISFACTION . “Thou hast given him his
heart’s desire” (v. 2). God’s great salvation is for the
heart. He only knows to the full its nature and its need.
2. ANSWERED PRAYER. “Thou hast not withholden the
request of his lips. ” What a privilege to ask and receive of
Him who is the Creator of the universe, and the Father of
our spirits.
3. PROVIDENTIAL GOODNESS. “Thou preventest (goeth
before) him with the blessings of goodness” (v. 3). The
God of goodness goeth before him with his blessing, and
goodness, and mercy followeth after him (Psa. 23).
4. CROWNED WITH HONOUR. “Thou settest a crown of
pure gold upon his head. ” All the glory of this wor.ld.118 Handfuls on Purpose.
cannot be compared with the pure gold of Divine favour
(Matt. 4. 8).
5. ETERNAL LIFE. “He asked life of Thee ; Thou
gavest him length of days for ever and ever” (v. 4). “The
gift of God is eternal life. ” His gift, like Himself, belongs
to the eternal ages.
6. DIVINE FEI.LOWSIIIP. “Thou hast made him exceed-ing
glad with Thy countenance” (v. 6). This is the
presence that brings fullness of joy (Psa. 16. 11). The
reconciled countenance of God is the most soul-gladdening
vision that man can ever have. Our fellowship is with
the Father, etc.
7. PERFECT ASSURANCE. “Through the mercy of the
Most High, he shall not be moved” (v. 7). He knows in
whom he has believed, and is persuaded that He will keep.
8. SONGS OF PRAISES. “So will we sing and praise Thy
power ” (v. 13). His saving and satisfying power is
worthy of our loudest song, for it will be our longest, for
as the God of salvation we shall praise Him for ever.
II. How this Salvation is Received.
1. BY ASKING. “He asked life of Thee, and Thou
gavest it” (v. 4). “If thou knewest the gift of God, ye
would ask of Him ” (John 4. 10). “Ask and ye shall
receive. ”
2. BY TRUSTING. “The king trusted in the Lord”
(v. 7). Without faith it is impossible to please Him
(John 3. 36).
III, The Miseries of the Unsaved. They shall be-1.
FOUND OUT. “Thine hand shall find out all Thine
enemies” (v. 8). Those who reject His Word of mercy
will be apprehended by the knnd of justice.
2. SORELY TROUBLED. “Thou shalt make them as
a fiery oven in the time of Thine anger” (v. 9). Despised.Studies in the Psalms. 119
and rejected love must be met with fury and indignation.
The “wrath of the Lamb” awaits those who tread under
foot the “blood of the Lamb. ”
3. MISERABLY DISAPPOINTED . “They intended evil.. .
they imagined.. .which they are not able to perform”
(v. 11). In different ways, men still command that the
sepulchre of Christ be made sure, but all such devices
result in wretched failure No matter how often men,
by their wicked works and ways, crucify and bury Christ
God will raise Him from the dead. No wisdom or counsel
can stand that is against the Lord (Prov. 21. 30). “The
wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6. 23).
HIS SUFFERINGS AND GLORY.
PSALM 22.
THIS is a prophetic declaration of “The sufferings of Christ
. and the glory that should follow. ” It is not only “The
Psalm of the Cross, ” but also of the Crown and the King- dom. These sufferings cannot be David’ s, Who “pierced
his hands and feet ?” Who “parted His garments, and
cast lots upon His vesture ? ” (v. 18). These words are the
tender breathings of the Holy Spirit, through this holy
man of old. Here the Spirit testifies beforehand the
sufferings of Christ.
I. The Nature of His Sufferings. He was-1.
DESERTED. “My God, My God, WHY hast Thou
forsaken Me ? ” (vv. 1, 2). This is a mysterious and awful
~Jay. The question of sin and judgment is in it. He was forsaken of God because “He was made a curse for us. ”
2. REPROACHED. “A reproach of men, and despised of
the people” (v. 6). Although God hid His face from Him,
there was no reproach on His part. The reproach and the
scorn came from wicked men, for whom He suffered..120 Handfuls on Purpose.
3. DERIDED. “Commit thyself unto the Lord. ., let
Him deliver Him, seeing He delighteth in Him” (v. 8, R. v. ).
They mocked at His faith in God as a vain thing. They
laughed at His weakness, as an evidence of failure and
presumption.
4. EMPTIED. “I am poured out like water” (v. 14)
He emptied Himself and became of no reputation. He
poured out His soul unto death. He gave all that He had.
5. HUMBLED. “Thou hast brought Me into the dust of
death” (v. 15). He was brought to the dust, through
His own voluntary humility. “He humbled Himself, and
became obedient unto death. ”
6. PIERCED. “They pierced My hands and My feet”
(v. 16). They nailed Him to a Cross. They crucified
the Lord of Glory.
7. SHAMEI). “I may tell all my bones,. .They part My
garments among them. ” The death of the Cross was the
most painful and shameful of all deaths (John 19. 23, 24).
They put Him to an open shame. “He suffered for us, the
Just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God”
(1 Peter 3. 18).
II. Th,e Glory that was to Follow.
I. T HE DECLARATION OF HIS NA ME. “I will declare
Thy Name” (v. 22 ; see Heb. 2. 12). “Wherefore, ”
because of His sufferings and death, “God hath highly
exalted Him, and given Him a Name that is above every
other name. ” The preaching of His Name is the preaching
of His holy and wondrous saving characters.
2 . TWE ASURANCX OF HI S GRACE. “He hath not
despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted” (v. 24).
“The meek shall eat and be satisfied” (v. 26). Grace
and truth came by Jesus Christ. “My grace is sufficient for
thee. ” “Hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which
is good, and let your soul delight in fatness” (Isa. 55. 1, 2).Studies in the Psalms. 121
3. THE TRIUMPH OF HIS CAUSE. “All the ends of the
world shall remember and turn to the Lord.. .for the
Kingdom is the Lord’ s, and He is the Ruler over the
nations” (vv. 27, 28, xv.). The rejected King shall yet
rule over the earth (Zech. 14. 9). “The kingdoms of this
world shall become the Kingdom of our Lord and of His
Christ” (Rev. 11. 15). He died for us, that He might
be Lord both of the living and the dead. “Thine
is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever”
(Matt. 6. 13).
THE ALMIGHTY SHEPHERD.
PSALM 23.
AMONG all the Psalms, the twenty-third is the “pet lamb”
of the flock to many. Beecher called it the “Nightingale
Psalm, small, and of a homely feather, singing shyly out
of obscurity ; but, oh ! it has filled the air of the whole
world with melodious joy. ” After the Psalm of the Cross
comes the Psalm of Life, and fullness of blessing. The path of this pilgrim is like the shining light that shineth more
and more till the day of perfection. Let us follow him
step by step. There was-I.
Decision. “The Lord is my Shepherd. ” His
personal choice was made as to whom he would follow.
He would not follow his own heart nor the blind reasonings
of men; he would claim Jehovah as his Saviour and Guide
and not be ashamed to say so.
IL Assurance. “I shall not want. ” The godless,
although strong as young lions, do lack and suffer hunger,
but they that seek the Lord shall not want any good. “My
God shall supply all your need. ” He has his Shepherd’ s
promise, and he believes it.
III. Rest. “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures, and beside the waters of rest” (maqi’ n). ‘Tht..122 Handfuls on Purpose.
rest of faith in the Lord is a rest that is calm and refreshing.
He does not say “rest, ” without leading into the best place
where it can be found-in His love-green pastures.
IV. Restoration. “He restoreth my soul. ” If
through self-confidence, or discontent, we should stray
from His paths of greenness, He is gracious enough to
forgive and restore. He, only, can restore the backsliding
soul (1 John 1. 1).
V. Guidance. “He leadeth me in the paths of
righteousness. ” The paths that are right may not always
be the paths that seem easiest. Bunyan’s pilgrims found
it “easy going” over the stile which led to the castle of
Giant Despair. His leading is for His own Name’ s sake.
VI. Courage. “Though I walk through the valley of
the shadow of death, I will fear no evil. ” The shadow of
death is a dreadful thing to the man whose portion is in
this life. But there is no evil to fear when the Shepherd
is near (Isa. 43. 2).
VII. Fellowship. “Thou art with me. ” The heavenly
pilgrim is always in good company. The Lord stands by
when all men forsakes (2 Tim. 4. 16, 17). His presence is
always sufficient at all times.
VIII. Comfort. “Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort
me. ” The club and the crook of the shepherd were the
instruments of defence and deliverance. What they were
to the sheep, the Word of the Lord is to us. It is a club
to beat off our enemies, and a crook to guide or lift those
who have fallen into a pit or ditch. The sword of the
Spirit doth comfort me.
IX. Provision. “Thou preparest a table before me in
the presence of mine enemies. ” He knows when and how
to feed His flock. We have a meat to eat that they know
not of.
X. Enduement. “Thou anoint& my head. ” This.Studies in the Psalms. 123
anointing, or unction from the Holy One, is significant of
authority and power. Kings and priests were anointed.
Ye are a kingdom of priests unto God (Acts 1. 8).
XI. Satisfaction. “My cup runneth over. ” The God
of grace gives good measure, pressed down, shaken
together, heaped up, running over. The holy anointing
must go before the overflowing (see John 7. 37, 38).
XII. Prospect. “Surely goodness and mercy shall
follow me.. , and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for
ever. ” Goodness to supply, and mercy to forgive, all
the days of this life; and a mansion is prepared beyond
this life, where we shall be for ever with the Lord
(John 14. l-3).
PSALM 23 (again).
1. Beneath me, “green pastures. ” 2, Beside me,
“still waters. ” 3, With me, “my Shepherd. ” 4, Before
me, “a table. ” 5, Around me, “mine enemies. ” 6,
Upon me, “anointing. ” 7, After me, “goodness and
mercy. ” 8, Beyond me, “The house of the Lord. “-Selected.
THE ASCENT OF MAN.
PSALM 24. 3-6.
IN the twenty-second Psalm we have the Lord’s sorrowful
descent to man. Here is the way of man’s ascent to the
Lord.
I. The Goal. “The hill of the Lord.. . His holy place. ”
The hill of the Lord is the holy place of His presence.
Mount Zion stands for the tabernacle or habitation of
God (Psa. 55. 1). The highest ambition of the soul should
be the fellowship of God-the fellowship of Him to whom
the earth belongs, and the fullness thereof (v. 1).
II. The Way. “Who shall ascend ? “ The way of sin
and impurity is downward, but the way of holiness is ever.124 Handfuls on Purpose.
ufiward. The ascent of this mount is the ascent of every
faculty in man. No one can climb this hill without having
their own moral, spiritual, and intellectual being in-vigorated.
III. The Pilgrim. The characteristic features of this
hill-climber are given :-1.
His HANDS must be clean. “He that hath clean
hands. ” Not hands washed in water, like Pilate’ s, but
washed in innocency, like David’ s (Psa. 26. 6). We
cannot ascend to Him with the lie of a deceitful motive in
our right hand. Let the wicked forsake his ways, and let
him return to the Lord. The Iaver stood outside the door
of the tabernacle, at which the approaching priest must
wash his hands.
2. His HEART must be pure (v. 4). Holiness is some-thing
that has to do with the heart, and without holiness
no man shall see the Lord. “The pure in heart shall see
God. ” It is with the heart that man believeth z&o right-eousness.
It is when the seed of the Kingdom falls into an
“honest heart” that it brings forth fruit.
3. His SOUL must be humble. “Who hath not lifted up
his soul unto vanity. ” When vanity, or spiritual pride,
gets into the soul, then there is an end to growth in grace.
If we would ascend into the holy hill of the Divine
likeness, there must be no vain lifting up of ourselves.
IV. The Attainment. “He shall receive the blessing
from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his
salvation. ” The blessing of perfect rightness with God
is a crown of life within the reach of every spiritual pilgrim.
Tlze blessing of the Lord embodies every needful and
desirable thing.
V. The Application. “This is the generation of them
that seek Him” (v.6). This is the character and attitude.Studies in the Psalms. 125
of the true seed of Abraham-the father of the faithful.
This is the generation that belongs to the ye-generation.
These are the marks of the children of God, who climb
the hill of holiness into the Father’s house.
ELEMENTS OF SUCCESSFUL PRAYER.
PSALM 25. l-11.
THE Psalms have been called by Dr. A. Murray “The
prayer book of God’s saints. ” In this book, the spirit of
prayer, and the spirit of praise are twin spirits; they are
indivisible. This psalm would teach us how to pray.
I. Elements of Prayer.
1. WHOLEHEARTEDNESS. “Unto Thee, 0 Lord, do I
lift u$ my soul” (v. 1). What is the use of lifting up our
voice, or our eyes, unto God, if the soul is not in them.
God’s ear is not to be charmed by such soulless music.
We find Him when we seek Him with the whole heart.
2. FAITH. “0 my God, I trust in Thee. ” We cannot
taste the goodness of the Lord by mere talk ; the tongue of
the soul must touch Him. Faith is the hand that lays
hold of His promise.
3. DESIRE FOR H IS W A YS. “Shew me Thy ways, 0
Lord; teach me Thy paths” (v. 4). This implies a
forsaking of our own ways (Isa.58. 6), and a readiness to
follow His footsteps. “Yield yourselves unto God. ”
4. DESIRE FOR HIS TR U TH. “Lead me in Thy truth,
and teach me” (v. 5). This must be the longing of that
heart in which the Holy Ghost is, for “when He, the Spirit
of truth, is come, He will guide into all truth” (John 16.13).
A craving after the mind and will of God, is a powerful
factor in prevailing prayer.
5. DESIRE FOR H IS H O N O UR. “For Thy goodness’
sake, 0 Lord” (v. 7). “For Thy Name’s sake, 0 Lord”
(v. 11). To plead His Name is to plead His nature. His.126 Handfuls on Purpose.
goodness stands for His character (see Exod. 33. 18, 19;
34. 5,6). When He “sanctifies His great Name among the
heathen” (Ezek. 36. 23), He makes Himself known as
the Lord God, merciful and gracious. “If ye ask anything
in My Name I will give it. ”
6. PATIENCE. “On Thee do I wait all the day” (v. 5).
Let your requests be made known unto God, but let patience
also have her perfect work. There is no virtue in waiting,
unless we are waiting ati HIM. “They that wait upon the
Lord shall renew strength. ”
7. CONFESSION. “Remember not the sins of my youth,
nor my transgressions” (v. 7). There must be no hiding of
sin; no glossing over the trangressions of earlier days.
Those who would deal with a holy and righteous God must
be perfectly honest in the purposes of their heart. “God is
not mocked. ”
II. Encouragements to Prayer. “Let your requests
be made known unto God. ”
1. Because He is GOOD AND UPRIGHT (v. 8). God is
love, and God is light. The goodness of a Father is here
associated with the uprightness of a righteous sovereign.
2. Because He TEACHES SINNERS (v. 8). What conde-scension
: the Almighty God willing to become the sinner’ s
teacher. His desire is to lead us in His way. He teacheth
savingly and to eternal profit.
3. Because He GUIDES THE MEEK (v. 9). He does not
guide a man because he is rich, or learned, for all cannot
attain to these, but any man may be meek, and learn
heavenly wisdom.
4. Because “ALL THE PATHS OF THE LORD ARE MERCY
AND TRUTH unto such as keep His Word” (v. 10). Mercy
and truth, constitute the daily need of the heavenly
pilgrim. Mercy, to forgive, and to cleanse ; truth, to
guide, to strengthen, and to satisfy. To get out of the Lord’ s paths, is to get out of the channel of supply..Studios in the Psalms. 127
FEATURES OF A WHOLE-HEARTED CHRISTIAN.
PSALM 26.
I. He Desires to be Tested by God. “Judge me, 0
Lord.. .Examine me, 0 Lord” (vv. 1, 2). It is a small
matter to him, to be judged of men, who seeks the judg-ment
of God. He who can pray, “Search me, 0 God, and
know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts, ” lives
above the fear of man (Acts 23. 1).
II. He has Faith in God. “1 have trusted also in the
Lord, therefore I shall not slide” (v. 1). God has become
the greatest reality in the world to his soul, and in Him he
hath put his trust. His heart condemns him not, because
he has confidence toward God (1 John 3. 21).
III. He Adheres to the Word of God. “I have walked
in Thy truth” (v. 3). To walk in His truth is to walk in
His way, and so walk in the light. He chooses the will of
God as revealed in His Word, rather than the imaginations
of his own heart.
IV. He Separates Himself from the Enemies of
God. “I have not sat with vain persons, neither will I go
in with dissemblers” (v. 4). The evil communications of
the worldling corrupt the good manners of the child of
God. “Wherefore come out from among them and be
ye separate. ”
V. He Offers Sacrifices unto God. “I will wash
mine hands in innocency : so will I compass Thine altar,
0 Lord” (v. 6). The sons of Aaron washed their hands at
the laver ere they compassed the altar of incense (Exod. 30).
The man that had to leave his gift at the altar and be
reconciled to his brother was taught to first wash his hands
(IMatt. 5. 23). “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit. ”
VI. He Testifies for God. “That I may publish with
the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all Thy wondrous
works ” (v. 7). He is most thankful and willing to tell of.128 Handfuls on Purpose.
that most wonderful work of God in his own heart and
experience. “Great and marvellous are Thy works, 0
Lord ; ” Thy works of mercy and grace in the sinful souls
of men ; Thy work of redemption by the Cross of Thy
beloved Son.
VII. He Loves the House of God. “I have loved the
habitation of Thy house, and the place where Thy glory
dwelleth” (v. 8, R.v.). He loved the house because of
Him who dwelt therein. When his soul thirsts for the
“courts of the Lord” it is because he was thirsting for the
“living God” (Psa. 84. 1, 2). They are idolaters who love
the habitation of God rather than God HIMSELF.
VIII. He Praises God. “In the congregation will I
bless the Lord” (v. 12). He is not ashamed to praise the
Lord with his &ale heart (Psa. 3. 1). He has often asked
the Lord to bless him, but he does not forget to “bless the
Lord. ” “Whoso offereth praise glorifieth Me” (Psa.
50. 23).
THREEFOLD CORDS.
PSALM 27.
THE thoughts in this most precious Psalm seem to run in
triplets.
I. A Threefold Need (v. 1).
1. LIGHT. “The Lord is my light. ” The world needs
light. Christ is the light of the world. Satan bath
blinded the minds of men.
2. SALVATION. “The Lord is.. .my salvation. ” He
took me from a fearful pit.
3. STRENGTH. “The Lord is the strength of my life. ”
He established my goings. This threefold need is met only
in the Lord (Phil. 4. 19).
II. A Threefold Desire iv. 4).
1 . ‘To “!AvEI_I. ill ihc honor: of the. l,orti. ” ‘10 dwell in.Studies in the Psalms. 129
His house is to “Abide in Him. ” It is an expression of holy
affection for the Lord Himself.
2. To “BEHOLD the beauty of the Lord. ” This was the
good part that Mary chose, when she sat at the feet of
Jesus. To learn of Him is to behold His glory.
3. To “INQUIRE in His temple. ” If any man lack
wisdom, let him ask of God. The temple door of the Holy
Scriptures is always open to inquirers. Counsel not with
the ungodly (Psa. 1. 1).
III. A Threefold Privilege (v. 5).
1. HIDDEN IN HIS PAVILION. In the time of trouble,
sheltered in the great pavilion of His special providence
(Rom. 8. 28).
2. SECRETED IN HIS TABERNACLE. In the secret of His
presence, as well as His power, doth He hide from the pride
of man. The life that is hid in God can never be found out
by His enemies.
3. SET UPON A ROCK. His feet, or ways, are established
on a sure foundation. His life is not built up on the
shifting sands of human theories.
IV. A Threefold Assurance (vv. 8-10).
1. OF H IS F A CE. “When Thou saidst, Seek ye My
face; my heart said unto Thee, Thy fact, Lord, will I
seek. ” The pure in heart shall see the face of God in His
Son, in His Word, and in His Providence.
2. OF HIS FELLOWSHIP . “Thou hast been my help;
leave me not. ” He hath said, “I will never leave thee, ”
so that we may boldly say, “The Lord is my Helper”
(Heb. 13. 5, 6).
3. OP HIS FAVOUR. “When my father and mother
forsake me, then the Lord will take me up. ” The Good
Shepherd carries the weary, or forsaken lambs in His
arms. Those who forsake their father, the Devil, will find ’
favour with the Lord (Has. 14. 3)..130 Handfuls on Purpose.
V. A Threefold Prayer (vv. 11, 12).
1. FOR TEACHING. “Teach me Thy ways. ” His ways
are ways of pleasantness. He teacheth savirtgly.
2. FOR GUIDANCE. “Lead me in a plain path, because
of mine enemies. ” We are best able to use “plainness of
speech” when our feet are walking in a plain path. We
walk by faith, and not by sight.
3. FO R D E L I V E R A N CE . From “The will of mine
enemies. ” As David has his Doig, and Christ His Judas,
and Paul his Coppersmith, so every true servant of God
may have those from whom he needs deliverance.
VI. A Threefold Encouragement (vv. 13, 14).
1. To BELIEVE. “I had fainted unless I had believed. ”
Troubled on every side, yet not distressed (2 Cor. 4. S-lo),
because our faith is in God. Peter fainted while on the
water because he doubted.
2. To WAIT. “Wait on the Lord. ” Wait on Him
because the expectation of faith is from Him (Psa. 62
l-5). All who truly wait on Him will yet be abIe to say,
“Lo, this is our God” (Isa. 25. 9).
3. To WORK. “He shall strengthen thine heart, be of
good courage. ” “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do
it” (Eccles. 9. IO), for His strength is made perfect in
weakness.
A STRIKING CONTRAST.
PSALM 28.
THIS Psalm opens with a strange request, “Be not silent
to me : Zest” (vv. 1, 2). It is not every one who dreads
the miseries of a silent God. They must have had deep
experiences of God who get so alarmed at His silence.
Alas, for those who interpret His silence as meaning peace.
Note the contrast here-I.
The Character of the Wicked. They are-1.
MISCHIEVOUS IIV THEIR NATURE. “They speak peace.Studies in the Psalms. 131
to their neighbours, but mischief is in their hearts”
(v. 3). They may have fair lips, but the poison of asps
is under their tongues. Their hearts are deceitful. “Full
of wounds.. and putrifying sores. ”
2. FOOLISH IN THEIR ACTIONS. “They regard not the
works of the Lord, nor the operation of His hands” (v. 5).
They are indifferent to their highest and best interests.
They heed not the voice of God in creation and in grace.
The operation of His hand in providence, and in their
own individual lives is systematically disregarded. “A
brutish man knoweth not” (Psa. 92. 5, 6).
II. The Character of the Godly. They are-1.
PRAYERFUL. “He hath heard the voice of my
supplications” (v. 6). God is not silent for ever to the cry
of His people. Although at times He may answer “never
a word, ” yet the pleading saint knows that He hears every
word. “Pray without ceasing. ”
2. BOASTFUL. “The Lord is my strength and my shield.. and I am helped” (v. 7). He is full of boasting, but not in himself, his boast is in God. He will glory in the
Lord, because He hath done great things for him.
3. TRUSTFUL. “My heart trusted in Him. ” The heart
of man finds its true refuge and source of supply in the heart
of God. It is the sum of all blessedness when our hearts
answer to the heart of our Heavenly Father. With the
heart man believeth unto righteousness.
4. JOYFUL. “My heart greatly rejoiceth. ” The
trusting heart is sure to be a joyful heart. Faith in God
produces joy in God. A happy heart is a continual feast.
5. PRAISEFUL . “With my song will I praise Him. I’
The Christian’s hero is Christ. His song shall be
of Jesus. This is the “new song” put into the heart and
lips of those redeemed by grace.
6. HUMBLE. “He is the saving strength of His anointed”.132 Handfuls on Purpose.
(v. 8). HE is. What have we that we have not received ?
It is because of what He is, not because of what we aye,
that we glory in the Lord. All is yours, for ye are Christ’s
and Christ is God’s
7. HOPEFUL. “Save Thy people, and bless Thine
inheritance, feed them, and lift them up” (v. 9). They
confidently expect that all God’s people will be saved,
blessed, fed, and lifted. What an encouragement this is
for others to trust in Him. There will he a great lifting up
when the Redeemer and Bridegroom appears (1 Thess.
4. 17).
THE POWERFUL VOICE.
PSALM 29.
In the preceding Psalm David speaks of the “operation of
His Ran& ; ” here, amidst the terrors of a thunderstorm, he
sings of the voice of the Lord. The Psalmist does not con-found
nature with the personality of God. He “gives unto
the Lord the glory due unto His Name” (v. 2). The voice
of the Lord is not a mere noise, it is a message. This voice
we hear in all the riches of its majesty and glory in the
person of His Son. “God hath in these last days spoken
unto us by His Son. ” This voice of the Lord, in its
“breaking, ” “making, ” “dividing, ” “shaking, ” and
“discovering” power may prefigure the influence and
effects of the voice or Word of Jesus Christ. It is a–
1. Universal Power. “The voice of the Lord is upon
the waters“ (v. 3). Metaphorically, these waters may
represent the nations of the earth. The voice of God’s
word is for every people, tribe, and tongue. “Go ye into
all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature. ”
II. Majestic Power. “The voice of the Lord is full of
majesty” (v. 4). There is a God-like dignity about the Bible
which belongs to no other book, it is full of majesty. The
Gospel of Christ is the power of God to every one that.Studies in the Psalms. 133
believeth. The word of God asserts its own majestic
character by being “quick and powerful. ” Jt has all the
nobility of “Spirit and life. ”
III. Breaking Power. “The voice of the Lord
breaketh the cedars” (v. 5). The strongest of nature’s
growths are bowed and broken by its pressure. “Is not
My Word a hammer? ” Saul in Jerusalem, was like a
cedar in Lebanon, but on the way to Damascus he was
broken down.
IV. Separating Power. “He maketh them (cedar
branches) to skip like a calf” (v. 6, R.v.). His Word can
not only break down, but can also break into pieces ;
separating branch from branch, tearing them away from
their roots. A storm of Divine truth makes havoc with
old associations and conservative habits and manners.
V. Dividing Power. “The voice of the Lord divideth
the flames of fire” (v. 7). Every word of God is a flame
of fire, and He can divide them as the lightning flashes are
divided. He can make His tongue of flame to rest upon
every holy head (Acts 2. 3). God’s Word makes great
distinctions. It is a divider of soul and spirit, of sinners
and saints. The voice of the Lord is a terror to some, it is
heavenly music to others.
VI. Shaking Power. “The voice of the Lord shaketh
the wilderness” (v. 8). Yes, the wilderrtess, in all its
desolation, barrenness and hopelessness; whether that
wilderness is your heart, your home, or your city, the
power of the Word of God can shake it, and make it to
tremble into a transformation (Isa. 35. I-7).
VII. A Life-giving Power. “The voice of the Lord
maketh the hinds to calve” (v. 9). Because of the awful-ness
of God’s thunderings, the hinds, through terror, were
made to calve. It is when God’s Word thunders and
lightens most, that Zion’s travail for the birth of souls.134 Handfuls on Purpose.
becomes greatest. It is by His mighty Word of truth that
souls are still being “born again. ”
VIII. Stripping Power. “The voice of the Lord.. .
strippeth the forest bare” (v. 9, R.v.). The hidden
depths of the heart of the forest are laid bare by His
discovering voice. The Word of God is a discerlzer of the
thoughts and intents of the heart. The fig-leaves of man’s
covering cannot stand this storm.
IX. God-glorifying Power. “In His temple every-thing
saith glory” (v. 9, R.V. ). Every iota in the great
temple of nature saith “glory. ” So doth every thing in
the temple of His revealed Word–Jesus Christ. So
ought every thing in the temple of these bodies, which are
His. “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and
we beheld His glory. ” Not one thing of all that He hath
spoken shall fail, everything shall say “glory. ”
A SONG OF SALVATION.
PSALM 30.
“THOU hast lifted me up” (v. 1). This may be regarded
as the key note of this Psalm, sung at the dedication of the
house of David. The salvation of God is fitly expressed by
a lifting up ? He was lifted up-I.
From the Power of his Enemies. “Thou hast
raised me up, and hast not made my foes to rejoice over
me” (v. 1, R. v. ). The grace of God that bringeth salvation
to all men, lifts up the believing soul out of the kingdom
of darkness and tyranny, into the Kingdom of light and
liberty. More than conquerors, over self and sin through
Him who loved us.
II. From all his Diseases. “Thou hast healed
me” (v. 2). Only He who forgiveth all our iniquities,
can heal our diseases (Psa. 103. 3). A nature that is
morally unsound can only be cured by moral and.Studies in the Psalms. 135
regenerative influences. “The Blood of Christ cleanseth
from all sin. ”
III. From the Place of Death. “Thou hast brought
my soul from the grave” (v. 3). Sheol was the abode of the
dead. Speaking figuratively, he had by the grace of God
been delivered from a state of spiritual death. There are
many souls that are as dead to the things of God as if they
were in their graves. It is the Spirit that quickeneth.
IV. From Going Down to the Pit. “Thou hast kept
me alive, that I should not go down to the pit” (v. 3). Or,
“Thou hast separated me from among them that go down
to the pit” (see R.V., vzargin). He was saved from the
company and influence of them that were perishing in their
sins. Deliver from going down to the pit, for T have found
the ransom.
V. From Weakness and Failure. “Lord, by Thy
favour Thou hast made my mountain to stand strong”
(v. 7). By God’s grace the mountain of his faith had been
mad? to stand strong. His strength had been made perfect
in weakness. Unbelief says, ” I shall die in my nest”
(Job. 29. IS), but faith says, “My mountain is strong. ”
VI. From Sorrow and Sadness. “Thou hast turned
my mourning into dancing. Thou hast loosed my sack-cloth,
and girded me with gladness” (v. 11, R.v. ). Our
God transforms the inner life of Zion’s mourners, by
giving them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning,
and the garment of praisrx for the spirit of heaviness
(Isa. 63. 1).
VII. From Praiseless Silence. “To the end that my
glory may sing praise to Thee, and not be silent” (v. 12).
There arc those who profess to know God, but they glorify
Him not as God, neither are they thankful (Kom. 1. 21).
He hath saved us with a great salvation that our praises
may abound unto Him, and not be silent (Eph. 5. 19, 20)..136 Handfuls on Purpose.
THE BLESSED LIFE.
PSALM 31.
THERE are bright rays of light, and dark gloomy shadows
here. But the blessed life can be lived in the midst
of “nets, ” “lying vanities, ” and “lying lips. ” It is
in circumstances like these that we can best prove
the saving grace of God. Let us try and catch some of
the features of the life of faith as revealed in this song.
There was-I.
Confidence. “In Thee, 0 Lord, do I put my trust”
(v. 1). The blessed life must have its source in God, who
is blessed for evermore. We do not begin to live till
we trust in Him (John 3. 36). To receive by faith the
life-giving One is to receive the right of Sonship (John
1. 12).
II. Committal. “Into Thine hand I commit my spirit.
Thou hast redeemed me, 0 Lord God of truth” (v. 5). The redeemed spirit must be entirely committed to the
Redeemer. “Ye are not your own, for ye are bought with
a price. ” The life of faith is a life of continual and unre-served
surrender to the will of God. Self-sacrifice in the
will of God is a very different thing from self-sacrifice
outside that will.
III. Confession. “Have mercy upon me, 0 Lord, for
I am in trouble,. . . my strength faileth.. .I am forgotten
as a dead man, I am like a broken vessel” (vv. 9-12). It is no new thing for a man to feel nothing but weakness,
and worthlessness, after he has solemnly and heartily given
himself to God. It may be very painful to discover that,
instead of strength and fullness, there has come the con-sciousness
that we are but as dead men, and broken vessels !
Rut these are the first evidences that the consecration has.Studies in the Psalms. 137
been real and effectual. Crucified with Christ, having the
broken and contrite heart.
IV. Petition. “My times are in Thy hands, deliver me
. . . make Thy face shine upon Thy servant” (vv. 15, 16).
Having committed his spirit and his “times” into the hand
of God, he now pleads for the shining of His face. God
requires perfect honesty of heart, in confession and in
prayer. The shining of HIS FACE is the perfect remedy for
those who are “forgotten as a dead man. ” The longing of
every holy heart is for the “light of His countenance”
(Psa. 4. 6).
V. Adoration. “Oh, how great is Thy goodness” (v. 19). Those who are wholly yielded to God will find I
their soul’ s satisfaction in the goodness of God. The ripest
fruit of faith is adoration. The goodness of God in His Son
Jesus Christ is so great that we must admire and adore.
VI. Praise. “Blessed be the Lord: for He hath shewed
me His marvellons kindness” (v. 21). Although the
tongue can never express the overwhelming sense of God’ s
goodness, that at times fill the soul, yet it cannot remain
silent. Bless the Lord, 0 my soul, Praise Him, praise Him
for His marvellous works of love and mercy. Join now in
the new and everlasting song, “Worthy is the Lamb that
was slain. ”
VII. Exhortation. “0 love the Lord, all ye His saints.
. . Be of good courage ” (vv. 23, 24). The heart that is full
of the goodness of God will eagerly long for others to love
Him, trust Him, serve Him, and to /cope in Him. 0 ye
separated ones, love the Lord, and let love lead to courage
in His service, and He shall strengthen your heart. The
blessed life is a life of faith in God for ourselves, and of
faith in His Gospel for others. X.138 Handfuls on Purpose.
SAVED AND KEPT.
PSALM 32.
‘rHIS well-known Psahn might be studied in the light of the
ninth chapter of the Acts. It describes the experiences of
a soul passing from the sorrows of conviction into the joys
of salvation, There is-I.
The Need of Salvation.
1. SIN IMPLIED. “Transgression.. .sin.. . iniquity” (vv.
1, 2). Three words that describe three different phases
of guilt. Those who would reckon with God must face
the question of sin. All have sinned. iii1 have gone
astray (Isa. 53. 6).
2. SIN DISCOVERED . “Day and night Thy hand was
heavy upon me ; my moisture was changed as with the
drought of summer” (v. 4, R.V.). He tried to keep
silence, but the heavy hand of God made him “roar all the
day long. ” It is hard to kick against the pricks of God’s
goading truth. The moisture of the natural man quickly
dries up when the convicting breath of God’s Spirit comes.
3. SIN CONFESSED . “I acknowledged my sin unto Thee“
(v. 5). As long as the prodigal son tried to cover his sin,
he did not prosper, but when he cried, “Father, I have
sinned, ” he found mercy. “If we confess our sins, He is
faithful and just to forgive us” (1 John 1. 9).
4. SIN FORGIVEN. “Thou forgavcst the iniquity of my
sin” (v. 5). Now he has entered into the “blessedness of
the man whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is
covered. ” God’s forgiving grace goes deep down, .aking
all guile out of the spirit (v. 2). Not only forgiven, but
renewed in the inner man.
II. The Blessedness of the Saved. They are–.Studies in the Psalms. 139
1. HIDDEN. “Thou art my hiding place” (v 7). God
Himself becomes their refuge and hiding place. Hidden
from the strife of the foolish and poisonous tongues of men,
and from the day of His wrath, against all ungodliness,
your life is hid with Christ in God.
2. TAUGHT. “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the
way which thou shalt go” (v. 8). The forgiven ones are
to be all taught of God, who teacheth snvivz~, from the ways
of error, and topvofit, both for this life, and that which is
to come. Ye have the anointing of the Holy One, and need
not that any man teach you (1 John 2. 27).
3. GUIDED. “I will guide thee with Mine eye. ” Sweet
promise, as it implies that His eye is to be always upon us
for good, so that we may see His face and enjoy His
fellowship. We are not to be guided like the ignorant
horse, or stubborn mule, with bit and bridle, but like
obedient children, who can read the mind of God, in the
eye of His Word.
4. GUARDED. “He that trusteth in the Lord, mercy
shall compass him about” (v. 10). “Thou shalt compass
me about with songs of deliverance” (v. 7). Compassed
about with mercy and solzgs of deliverance ; what a blessed
environment. The heart garrisoned with forgiving mercy
and songs of triumph. What a contrast to the “tribulation
and anguish” that surrounds the soul of the evil doer
(Rom. 2. 9).
5. GLADDENED. “Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice. . .
and c’ ,out for joy” (v. 11). Not unto us, but unto THY
Name, be all the glory. He begins by taking us up out of
the fearful pit of sin, then puts the new song in our mouth. Praise to our God ! “Rejoice in the Lord alway, for He
changcth not. ”.140 Handfuls on Purpose.
REJOICE IN THE LORD.
PSALM 33. 1-12.
THERE are abundant reasons here why God’s people should
“Shout for joy in the Lord” (Newberry). It is a blessed
choice to leave the doubters and join such shouters. The
source of the believer’s joy is not in the world, nor in
themselves, but in the Lord. They sing unto Him a “new
.song” (v. 3), because they have been made new creatures,
who enjoy new delights. They rejoice in the Lord because
of-I.
His Word. “The Word of the Lord is right” (v, 4).
It is the right thing for the souls and lives of men, because
of its converting and enlightening power (Psa. 19. 7, 8).
The Word of God is powerful, for by it the Heavens were
made (v. 6). It is the incorruptible seed that endureth
for ever.
II. His Works. “All His works are done in truth”
(v. 4). Every stone built by Him is perfectly plumb.
All His works are perfect. All His works in grace, as well
as in creation, are done in truth. He is a just God, and a
Saviour. If Christ is the way and the life, He is also the
truth. To be saved by grace is not to be saved at the
expense of truth, for “grace and truth came by Jesus
Christ” (John 1).
III. His Lovingkfndness. “The earth is full of the
lovingkindness of the Lord “ (v. 5, R. V. ). Everywhere, to
those who have eyes to see, the tokens of His goodness may
be seen. But it is in Ghrist Jesus that His marvellous
lovingkindness finds its fullest manifestation. Yet in the
earth, the outer court of His temple, “He maketh the sun
to rise on the evil and on the good, and send&h rain on the
just and on the unjust” (Matt. 5. 45). “God loved the
world” (John 3. 16)..Studies in the Psalms, 141
IV. His Power. “Let all the earth fear the Lord.. .for
He spake, and it was done, He commanded and it stood
fast” (w. 8, 9). Man may make void God’s word, but
He never speaks in vain. What He hath promised,
He is able also to perform. Power belongeth unto
God, and He giveth power to the faint, therefore, rejoice
in the Lord.
V. His Knowledge. “The Lord bringeth the counsel
of the nations to naught. He maketh the thoughts of the
people to be of none effect” (v. 10, R.V. ). It is a joy of
God’s children, that He knows all about the secret desires
of the ungodly, and that He taketh the wise in their own
craftiness (1 Cor. 3. 19). “Ye thought evil against me,
but God meant it for good” (Gen. 50. 20). He can sanctify
adverse things to the fnrtherance of the Gospel (Phil.
1. 12, 13).
VI. His Faithfulness. “The counsel of the Lord
standeth for ever, the thoughts of His heart to all genera-tions”
(v. 11). The tJ~~@ts of His heart, revealed in His
Word, shall stand for ever. Man is famous for his “vain
thoughts, ” but precious are Thy thoughts, 0 Lord,
because they are infinitely great, and good, and true,
and faithful.
VII. His Grace. “Blessed is.. . the people whom He
hat/z chosen for His own inheritance” (v. 12). Grace is
not an after-thought with God, it belongs to His eternal
character, it is an essential attribute of His nature, for we
are chosen in Him, before the foundation of the world, and
now blessed with all spiritual blessing in Christ (Eph.
1. 3, 4). The grace that hath chosen us is to be made
sufficient for us, therefore rejoice in the Lord, and again I
say, rejoice..142 Handfuls on Purpose.
JUBILIATION.
PSALM 34. I-10.
IN the original, the verses of this Psalm begin with the
letters of the Hebrew alphabet, indicating, perhaps, that
special care has been bestowed on its composition. The
occasion of it-when David played the fool before
Abimelech-was anything but creditable to the king.
Nevertheless he would joyfully praise the Lord for His
great deliverance. These words seem to be the expression
of a soul in an ecstasy of delight. The more keenly we
feel our own foolishness and guilt, the more loudly shall we
praise the God of our salvation. About this exuberant joy,
note-I.
The Nature of It. It is-1.
SPIRITUAL. “I will bless the Lord” (v. 1). God
is a spirit, and the spirit that finds its highest and deepest
delight in “blessing the Lord, ” has something infinitely
better than natural riches.
2. CONTINUAL. “I will bless the Lord at all times,
His praise shall continually be in my mouth. “ At all times
and in all circumstances He is ever the same, so that our
praises should never cease. Even the earth yields its
increase to a praising people (Psa. 67. 5-7).
3. UNSELFISH. “0 magnify the Lord z&z me, and let
us exalt His Name together” (v. 3). The praiseful heart
longs for others to join in, and share the happy service.
II. The Causes of It, He had experienced Divine-1.
INTERPOSITION. “I sought the Lord and He heard
me” (v. 4). Another testimony to the power of prayer.
The God of law is also the God of grace.
2. SALVATION. “Delivered me from all my fears.. .
saved out of all his troubles” (vv. 4-6). We must needs
be saved from all our sins to be saved from all our fears..Studies in the Psalms. 143
The salvation of God goes down to the “uttermost” of
human need, and lifts to the “uttermost” of Divine grace.
3. PROTECTION . “The angel of the Lord encampeth
round about them that fear Him” (v. 7). As the mountain
was full of horses and chariots to the opened eyes of
Elisha, so doth the power of God encompass His people as
with a tabernacle (Psa. 27. 5).
III. The Influence of It. This holy joy constrains–
1. To INVITE. “0 taste and see that the Lord is good”
(v. 8). The sweetness of the Gospel of God, like the
sweetness of honey, is best explained by tasting it. Those
who have proved its preciousness, long for others to share
its blessedness.
2. To AFFIRM. “Blessed is the man that trusteth in Him
. . . They that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing”
(vv. 8-10). They confidently testify to the goodness and
faithfulness of God, because of their own experience.
3. To E X H O RT. “0 fear the Lord, ye His saints.. .
Come ye children hearken unto Me” (vv. 9-11). The note
of warning must be sounded, as well as the notes of invita-tion
and personal testimony. It is as needful for saids to
fear the Lord as for children to hearken to the voice of those
who know Him and can teach the way of life (v. 12).
AN EXPERIENCED TEACHER.
PSALM 34. 11-22.
“COME, ye children, hearken unto Me ; I will teach yotl
the fear of the Lord” (v. 11). To teach the fear of the
Lord is to teach how to know the Lord, and live in the
enjoyment of His favour and presence. As children then,
let us sit down at the feet of this great teacher and learn
what he has to say about the way of life and blessedness..144 Handfuls on Purpose.
As a man of experience, he sets forth the trnth in order.
He speaks-I.
About Desire. “What man is he that desireth
LIFE” (v. 12). The anxiety of the soul must be after the
right and proper object to begin with. The heart that longs
to “see good” has come to the gate of the narrow way.
II. About Evil. “Keep thy tongue from evil.. . depart
from evil” (vv. 13, 14). Those who would seek life must
be ready to be separated from all their sins. To run this
race every weight and sin must be laid aside (Heb. 12. I).
Let the wicked forsake his way, etc.
III. About Peace. “Seek peace” (v. 14). He does
not teach us that we should make peace, but seek it. Christ
hath made peace by the Blood of His Cross. Seek the peace
of God, and follow peace with all men (Heb. 12. 14).
IV. About Prayer. “The eyes of the Lord are upon the
righteous, and His ears are open to their cry,. . .the
righteous cry and the Lord heareth” (vv. 15-17). Apart
from the Lord Jesus Christ no man is better able to instruct
in the art of prayer than David. God and prayers were
tremendous realities to him. “Ask and ye shall receive. ”
V. About Nearness. “The Lord is nigh unto them that
are of a broken heart” (v. 18). Let us give special heed
to this teaching. Broken-heartedness is a condition of
true fellowship with God. He knoweth the proud afar off.
“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit” (Psa. 51, 17).
The Holy One that inhabiteth eternity dwells with him
that is of a contrite and humble spirit (Isa. 57. 15).
VI. About Affliction. “Many are the afflictions of the
righteous; but the Lord delivereth him out of them all”
(v. 19). The Lord’s people are not saved from afflictions,
but saved in them, as Daniel was in the den of lions, and
the Hebrews in the furnace of fire. “In the world ye shall.Studies in the Psalms. 145
have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the
world. ” Troubled on every side, but not distressed
(2 Cor. 4. 8).
VII. About Perseverance. “None of them that trust
in Him shall be condemned” (v. 22, R.V.). None shall
pluck them out of My hand, He is able to keep from
stumbling all those that trust in Him. By faith we are
saved from guilt and sin, by faith are we kept day by day
from the condemning influences that arc ever about us and
within us. “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life”
(John 14. 6).
FALSE WITNESSES.
PSALM 35.
IF any man would live godly, he must suffer persecution.
I. His Cowardly Enemies. “False witnesses did
rise up; they laid to my charge that I knew not; they
rewarded me evil for good (vv. 11, 12). In mine adversity
they rejoiced” (v. 15). In this he became a partaker
of the sufferings of his Lord (Matt. 26. 59-61). Even
because of love, some will become our adversaries (Psa.
109.4). Those who are out of sympathy with Jesus Christ
will be out of sympathy with His faithful followers.
II. His Attitude Towards Them. “But as for me,
when the?/ were sick, my clothing was sackcloth…and
my prayer returned into mine own bosom” (v. 13). All
those, so called, imprecations in this Psalm shouId be read
in the light of this statement. He who fasted and prayed
for his enemies, when they were in trouble, was not likely
to pronounce curses upon them. As Newberry points out,
these “texts” should be read in the future tense. “They
shall. ” Well David knew what the future would be of
those who raised false charges against God’s people. and.146 Handfuls on Purpose.
who rejoiced at their halting (v, 15, R.V.). Our Lord’s
command is, “Love your enemies, bless them that curse
you,… and pray for them that despitefully use you, ” even
although your prayer should “return into your own
bosom, ” as it sometimes does.
III. His Petitions to God. “Strive Thou, 0 Lord,
with them that strive with me.. .and stand up for mine
help” (w. 1, 2, R.v.). He pleads for-1.
DIVINE ADVOCACY. “Strive tho~c with them. ” The
servant of Christ must not strive, seeing that he has an
advocate with the Father who is Jesus Christ the Righteous.
Vengeance belongeth unto the Lord; commit thy ways
unto Him. GOD is our refuge.
2. DIVINE DELIVERANCE. “Lord, how long.. .rescue my
soul from their destructions” (v. 17). He who is our
Redeemer and Lord will not fail to rescue the souls of His
trusting ones from all the destructive plans and purposes
of His and our enemies. His Name was called Jesus
because He shall save.
3. DIVINE JUSTICE. “Judge me, 0 Lord my God,
according to Thy righteousness” (v. 24). Those who have
found refuge in His mercy will find strength in His
righteousness. “It is a righteous thing with God to
recompense tribulation to them that trouble you”
(2 Thess. 1. 6).
IV. His Joyful Resolution, “My soul shall be joyful
in the Lord…All my bones shall say, Lord, who is like
unto Thee” (vv. 9, 10). “My tongue shall speak of Thy
righteousness, and of Thy praise all the day long” (v. 28).
When we make our appeal to God, we must in confidence
leave the matter in His hands, rejoicing that He is able,
and praising because He will. Those who are joyful in the
Lord are best able to speak of His righteousness..Studies in the Psalms. 147
UNDER HIS WINGS.
PSALM 36. 5-9.
THE Psalmist begins here by laying bare the secret thoughts
and intents of the wicked man’ s heart. “There is no fear
of God before his eyes ; he flattereth himself in his own
eyes“ (w. 1, 2). Does the denial of God not always
spring from the desire for self-flattery? How different it is
with those who are joyfully resting beneath the shadow of
His wings. Note the-I.
Attitude Mentioned. “Under the shadow of
Thy wings” (v. 7). They are there because they have
“put their trust ” in the Lord their God. There is no other
way of getting under the saving, protecting power of God
but by faith. It was because Ruth believed that she found
refuge under the wings of the Lord God of Israel (Ruth
2. 12). The feathers of God’ s wings are the words of His
Gospel. “His truth shall be thy shield” (Psa. 91. 4;
Matt. 23. 37).
II. Reasons Given. “Therefore” (v. 7). This word
suggests the wherefore-1.
“Thy MERCY is in the Heavens” (v. 5). Being in
the Heavens, it is high enough to overtop all the altitudes
of human guilt. “As far as the Heavens is high above the
earth, so great is His mercy toward them that fear Him”
(Psa. 103. 11).
2. “Thy FAITHFULNESS reacheth unto the skies” (v. 5,
R.V.). The clouds may come and go, but the sky, in all its
purity, remains eternally the same, so with the faithfulness
of God. He is faithful that hath promised, and that
faithfulness will not fail till the objects of it reacheth the
skies (1 Cor. 1. 9).
3. “Thy RIGHTEOUSNESS is like the mountains of
God” (v. 6, R.V.). The righteousness of God! Who.148 Handful8 on Purpose.
can rise up to it? It is like the great mountain top
that pierces the clouds, where no human foot has ever
trod. Who can by searching find out God ? But He
hath made Christ to be unto us Righteousness, even
the righteousness of God, which is unto all and upon
all them that believe.
4. “Thy JUDGMENTS are a great deep” (v. 6). If His
righteousness is as high as Heaven, His judgments are as
deep as Hell. “0 the de$tlz of the riches both of the
wisdom and knowledge of God ! ” There is no escape from
His justice but under the wings of His mercy.
5. “Thy LOVINGKINDNESS is precious” (v. 7, R.v.).
Precious indeed is the lovingkindness of God, who in the
Person of His Son hath spread the wings of His proffered
grace over a perishing world. “Herein is love. ”
III. Blessings Enjoyed. All those who are under
His wings are in the place of-1.
ARUNDANT SATISFACTION. “They shall be abun-dantly
satisfied” (v. 8). The Hebrew word is “watered”
(R.v., mzrgitz). The provision of His grace will be found
amply sufficient for those who hide in Him. He shall make
them to drink of the viver of His own pleasure (v. 8, l.c.).
“At His right hand there are pleasures for evermore. ”
Jesus cried, “If any man thirst let him come unto Me and
drink. ” To come to Him is to come to the “fountain of
life” (v. 9; John 4. 14).
2. CLEARNESS 0F VISION. “In Thy light shall we see
light” (v. 9). In the light of His presence we see clearly
the light of His truth. To trust in Him is to pass out of
darkness into His marvellous light. In His marvellous
light, we see light, on sin, on self, on death, on
immortality, and eternal life (John 8. 12)..Studies in the Psalms. 149
COUNSELS FOR CHRISTIANS.
PSALM 37. 1-9.
IN Newberry’s “Englishman’s Bible” there are seven
words in these verses printed in heavy letters, indicating
that they are emphasised in the Hebrew. Those words
stand out as stepping stones into the blessed life of faith
and fullness. Here they are-I.
Fret Not. “Fret not thyseIf because of evil-doers”
(v. 1). Be not envious at the foolish, when you see the
prosperity of the wicked (Psa. 73. 3). Be content with
such things as ye have. Knowing that “all things work
together for good to them that love God. ” All things
are yours, for ye are Christ ‘s.
II. Trust. “Trust in the Lord, and do good” (v. 3).
To be content, without trusting in the Lord, is no virtue, it
is imbecility or madness. God’s amen is given to our faith,
“T/erily thou shalt be fed.” Faith is an active grace,
therefore be not slothful, but followers of them who
through faith and patience inherit the promises (Heh.
6. 12).
III. Delight. “Delight thyself also in the Lord: and
He shall give thee the desires of thine heart” (v. 4). We
may well question our trust, if it does not lead to “delight
in the Lord. ” We cannot delight in Him, unless we
believe that He is the chief and perfect good of the soul.
IV. Commit. “Commit thy way unto the Lord.. .and
He shall bring it to pass” (v. 5). Where there is perfect
trust and delight in the Lord, there will surely be a
perfect committal of ourselves, and all our ways and
purposes unto Him. The life that is wholly committed
will be free of all anxious thoughts (Matt. 6. 25). We are
encouraged to cast all our care upon Him, for WC car&h
for us (1 Peter 5. 8)..150 Handfuls on Purpose.
V. Rest. “Rest in the Lord” (v. 7). This rest is the
result of a whole-hearted committal. In this quietness and
confidence ye shall find your strength (Isa. 13. 15). Rest
in the Lord, for the battle is not your’s, but His.
VI. Cease. “Cease from anger and forsake wrath”
(v. 8). If your trust is in the Lord, cease from self and
from man. Wrath and strife are the works of the flesh
(Gal. 3. 19, 20). “He that hath no rule over his own
spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without
walls” (Prov. 25. 28).
VII. Wait. “Wait upon the Lord” (v. 9). “Wait
patiently for Him” (v. 7). This word is most needful.
After having committed all to Him, and ceased from our
will and way, there is a danger of growing weary in well-doing.
Wait, “Ye have need of patience, that after ye
have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise”
(Heb. 10. 36). They that wait upon the Lord shall have
such manifestations of Himself as shall renew their
strength.
SEVEN CHARACTERS, AND THEIR PORTION.
PSALM 37. 10-37.
IT is what men are, not so much what they think, say, or
do that determines their character, relationship, and
portion in the sight of God.
I. The Evildoer: he shall be cut off (v. 9). “Bloody
and deceitful men shall not live out half their days” (Psa.
55. 23). Like chaff, the wind shall drive them away.
II. The Meek: he shall inherit the earth; and delight
himself in the abundance of peace (v. 11). The meekest
Man the world ever saw “had not where to lay His head, ”
but He and His followers shall yet judge the world.
III. The Lawless: the Lord shall laugh at him (vv.
12, 13). Those who refuse to obey the call of God’s grace,.Studies in the Psalms. 151
and cast away the cords of His commandments from them,
shall be rewarded with the laugh of His derision (Psa. 2).
IV. The Righteous: the Lord shall uphold him (v. 17).
Those who bear the image of the Heavenly Father shall be
upheld with His everlasting arms.
V. The Good: the Lord shall order his steps, and
delight in his way (v. 23). The walk that is ordered by the
Lord will be a delight to His heart. The “good man”
seeks to get the highest good,and to do the greatest good.
VI. The Saint: he shall not be forsaken ; he shall be
preserved for ever (v. 28). God can never forsake His
holy ones, since the Holiest One of all was forsaken on
their behalf. They shall be preserved for ever, for they
are the heirs of eternal life (1 Peter 1. 5).
VII. The Perfect: his end is peace (v. 37). His end
shall be perfect peace, because the peace of God already
rules in his heart. The peace of God which passeth all
understanding can never pass away. In these leading
words we may easily trace a gradation of experience in the
Godly life. The meekness of contrition, the righteousness
of faith, the goodness of grace, the saintship of holiness,
and the pcpfectiorz of glory.
THE RIGHTEOUS MAN.
PSALM 37. 10-34.
AS compared with the “righteousness of God,” by nature
“there is none righteous. ” The truly righteous man is the
man whose iniquities are forgiven, whose moral nature has
been “made straight” and who now lives the upright life.
The blessedness of such a man is here beautifully portrayed.
I. His Little is Blessed. “A little that a righteous
man hath is better than the riches of many wicked” (v. 16).
Although there is but little meal in his barrel, it never.152 Handfuls on Purpose.
goes done. With. his little, he has always the blessing
of the Lord which maketh rich, and addeth no sorrow
(Prov. 10. 22).
II. He is Upheld by the Lord. “The Lord upholdeth
the righteous” (v. 17). His strength is not in himself, but
in the faithful and strong hand of his God (Isa. 41. 10).
He is upheld upon the sinking billows, like Peter, where no
faithless feet can clver go. “I have prayed for thee that
thy faith fail not” (Luke 22. 3!!). He maketh my feet like
hinds’ feet, to stand in slippery places.
III. His Inheritance is Everlasting. “The Lord
knoweth.. . the upright ; and their inheritance shall be for
ever” (v. 18). If he has little on the earth, he has “an
inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth
not away, reserved in Heaven ” (1 Peter 1. 4). Being an
heir of God, he is an heir of the eternal joys and glories that
belong to Him ; pleasures that are at God’s right hand for
evermore.
IV. He is Merciful and Gracious. “The righteous
sheweth mercy, and giveth” (v. 21). He has learned by
the example and Spirit of his Lord, that “it is more blessed
to give than to receive. ” He has had mercy and grace
shewed him, and as he has freely received, he freely gives.
V. He is Never Forsaken. “I am old, yet have I not
seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread”
(v. 25). This old man’s testimony is most precious and
encouraging; he had never seen the righteous forsaken nor
his seed in destitution. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ
and thou shalt be saved and thy house” (Acts 16. 31).
VI. He is Endowed with Heavenly Wisdom. “The
mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom.. . the law of his
(;od is in his heart” (vv. 30-32). When the Word of God
is hid in the heart, then out of the good treasure of the heart.Studies in the Psalms. 153
he can bring forth good things (Matt. 12. 35). “It is not ye
that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which is in you. ”
VII. The End is Peace. “Behold the upright, for the
end of that man is peace” (v. 37). He does not need to
pray, like Balsam, “Let me die the death of the righteous, ”
for he has already peace-the peace of God-and the
blessedness of the peacemaker is now his; he is a child of
God (Matt. 5. 9). “My peace I give unto you” (John
14. 27).
VIII. His Salvation is All of God. “The salvation of
the righteous is of the Lord…because he trusts in Him”
(vv. 39, 40). He is saved by grace, through faith. There
is nothing in himself to boast of; his life-long salvation is
the result of his life-long trust in the mercy and power of
his God and Saviour. As Daniel was “taken out of the
den, with no manner of hurt found upon him, because hi
believed in his God” (Dan. 6. 23) so will He save us from
this present evil world, because we trust in Him.
SIN’ S MISERIES, AND THE WAY OF ESCAPE.
PSALM 38.
THIS Psalm of “Remembrance” which reminds us of a
boiling pot, in which there are many unsavoury ingredients,
is in marked contrast to the preceding Psalm. We may
partly misunderstand David, if we forget that he acted not
only as king of Israel, but also as Israel’s national poet.
This is the language of one who remembers the horrors of
the pit out of which he has been dug. It fitly describes-I.
The Miseries of Sin. Sin, when it is finished
bringeth forth death. See here how it operates in the
awakened sinner. There is-1.
CONVICTION . “Thine arrows stick fast in me” (v. 2).
It is not at the sinner God shoots at so tllllch as iii_ his sins.
L.154 Handfuls on Purpose.
His arrows are sharp and pierce to the core of the evil.
The Word of God is a discerner of the heart.
2. DISORDER. “There is no soundness in my flesh ”
(v. 3). His whole moral nature was discovered to be
diseased, and out of order. This is a most humbling
revelation. The heart has been found out as a deceitful
traitor, and all its actions discovered to be polluting
and disorderly.
3. UNREST. “Neither is there any rest in my bones
because of my sin ” (v. 3). The strongest features in
his character were shaken and troubled at the thought of
sin. The whole fabric of his moral nature was disturbed.
Real conviction of sin is as an earthquake in the soul–
universal disturbance.
4. OPPRESSION . “Mine iniquities are.. .as an heavy
burden they are too heavy for me” (v. 4). TOO heavy
for me? yes, but not too heavy for Him, who bore our sins
on His own body to the tree. What can a man do with a
burden that is too heavy for him, and who cannot cast it
off ? 0 wretched man ! who shall deliver ?
5. CORRI:PTION. “My wounds stink and corrupt
because of my foolishness” (v. 5). This is no exaggerated
figure of speech; it is the sober statrment of one who has
seen and felt sin in its true character and effects. There
is no balm in Gilcad, no physician on earth that can heal
those deep-seated festering wounds.
6. HELPLESS. “I am feeble and sort broken” (v. 8).
His whole nature was completely benumbed, and powerless
to throw off the foul malady. “Without strength” is the
condition of all under the torpid blight of sin.
7. DARKNESS. “As for the light of mine eyes, it has
gone from me” (v. 10). All the light of hope he had
before has died out. Darkness covers the face of his deep..Studies in the Psalms. 155
II. The Way of Escape.
1. CONFESSION. “I will declare my iniquity” (v. 18).
A full declaration is needed. He that covereth his sin
shall not prosper, but “if we confess our sins, He is faithful
and just to forgive. ”
2. CONTRITION . “I will be sorry for my sin” (v. 18).
This is the godly sorrow that worketh repentance to
salvation. The confession that does not spring from
contrition of heart is mockery. It is he that confesseth
and forsaketh his sin that finds mercy.
3. FAITH. “In Thee 0 Lord do I hope : Thou wilt hear,
0 Lord my God” (v. 15). “Believe on the Lord Jesus
Christ and thou shalt be saved” (Rom. 10. 9, 10).
TAKE HEED.
PSALM 39.
THIS resolution of the psalmist to “take heed to his ways”
is a note of reminder to us. Let him that thinketh he
standeth take heed lest he fall. Mark those things which,
like David, we should give special attention to. I will take
heed to-I.
My Ways (v. 1). I will scrutinise my motives, my
habits and manners. I will not think them right because
they are my ways. I will search out whether they are in
harmony with God’s word and ways.
II. My Mouth. “I will keep my mouth with a bridle
(muzzle) while the wicked is before me” (v. 1). God
is often judged by the ways and mouths of His poeple,
therefore there is need at times for the muzzle. The man
that offends not in word is a perfect man (James 3. 2).
Walk in wisdom toward them that are without (Psa.
141. 3).
III. My Heart. “My heart was hot within me” (v. 3)..156 Handfuls on Purpose.
Blessed arc the hot in heart where the holy fire burns while
they muse on the things of God, for their tongues shall
speak of His praise. Take heed lest there be in any of you
an evil heart of unbelief, or a lukewarm heart of indifference.
IV. My End. “Lord make me to know mine end”
(v. 4). What shall my end be? is a most important
inquiry. Balsam desired that his last end may be like the
righteous, but he did not take heed to his end, so he fell
numbered with the enemies of God.
V. My Days. “Behold Thou hast made my days
(lifetime) as hand-breadths” (v. 5, R.V.). As our lifetime
is made up of a few hand-breadths, we have need to take
heed to each one of them ; to “number them that we may
apply our hearts unto wisdom” (Psa. 90. 12).
VI. My Hope. “My hope is in Thee” (v. 7). Take
heed that your hope is in the Lord, and not in yourself or
your circumstances. We are saved by hope, but hope that
is seen is not hope (Rome. 8. 24). Those whose hope is
in God will be filled with all joy and peace in believing, for
He is the God of hope (Rom. 15. 13).
VII. My Transgressions. “Deliver me from all my
transgressions” (v. 8). To transgress is to backslide; to
fail to take heed to it is to fall from grace, and allow sin to
have dominion over us (Rom. 6. 14). Although we may
fal1, we may rise again for the Lord is the Deliverer of His
people.
VIII. My Prayer. “Hear my prayer, 0 Lord, and give
ear to my cry; hold not Thy peace at my tears” (v. 12).
Take heed to your prayers, see that they are the sincere
expression of your inmost heart, and that they are offered
in no cold and formal manner. They are all the better of
being soaked with teaus..Studies in the Psalms. 157
SAVED AND SATISFIED.
PSALM 40. l-5.
THE first few verses of this favourite Psalm give us the
experiences of a soul passing from darkness into light-from
the miseries of a lost condition into the joys of a full
salvation. He was-I.
Distressed. In “an horrible pit” and “miry clay”
(v. 2). Our sins are the cords by which we are let down
into the dismal darkness to sink in the mire. It is an
horrible awakening when one makes the discovery that this
is their condition. The pains of Hell get hold of such.
II. Heard. “He inclined unto me, and heard my cry”
(v. 1). What a mercy that this pit is not bottomless,
and that the gracious ear of God is still within reach.
Jonah cried out of the belly of Hell and was heard.
III. Saved. “He brought me up” (v. 2). His arm is
not shortened that it cannot save, it is long enough and
strong enough to lift the penitent sinner, “up out of” the pit of horrors and the treacherous mire. athers may
divert and amuse the imprisoned soul, God only can bring
him out.
IV. Established. “He set my feet upon a rock, and
established my goings” (v. 2). It is a mighty debverance,
from the sinking miry clay of our own thoughts to the
rock of God’ s eternal truth, and to have our ways so
established that we are kejt from falling back into our
former condition. The Lord thy keeper.
V. Gladdened. “He put a new song in my mouth, even
praise unto our God” (v. 3). This new song belongs to
the new life of faith. It is a song of praise unto the Lamb
who is worthy, for He was slain and has ?,tdeerned us to God
by His blood (Rev. 5. 9). He puts this song only into the
mouths of those whose feet lie has set ~qxn~ the rock..1.58 Handfuls on Purpose.
VI. Used. “Many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust
in the Lord” (v. 3). The change is so great that many
can’ t help seeing it ; it is so manifestly of God, that they
will be led tofear and to trust in the Lord. The testimony
of a sound, happy, consistent life, must be fruitful.
VII. Satisfied. “Blessed is the man that trusteth in the
Lord.. .Thy wonderful works.. .Thy thoughts to usward.. .
if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than
can be numbered” (w. 4, 5). He is satisfied that the man
who trusts in the Lord has entered into the blessed life.
He finds that the works, and thoughts of God, on his
behalf, are so wonderful and numerous, that they are
unspeakable. When the eyes of our understanding have
been enlightened, then we may know what is the hope of
His calling, and the exceeding greatness of His power to
usward who believe (Eph. 1. 18-20).
MESSIANIC FEATURES.
PSALM 40. 6-10.
THERE is much in this Psalm that might have been fitly
spoken by the Lord Jesus Christ. Some of these state- ments can hardly be applied to David (vv. 6-S). Surely
the Holy Spirit, the Revealer of Christ, rested upon the
Psalmist when he uttered these prophetic words. There
are here some-I.
Features of His Character. In him there was the-1.
OPENED EAR. “Mine ears hast Thou opened”
(v. 6). When the slave had his ear bored it was a token
of entire submission to his master’ s will (Exod. 21. 6).
The Lord God bored the ear of His Son, and He was not
rebellious, neither turned He back (Isa. 50. 4, 5). This
figure is used to denote the entire devotion of the Son to the
Father’ s will..Studies in the Psalms. IS!’
2. SURRENDERED LI FE. “Burnt offering and sin
offering hast Thou not required ; then said I, Lo, I come”
(vv. 6, 7). When there were no more sacrifices required at
the hands of the *Jewish priesthood, then Christ came. He
came, not to offer sacrifices for sin, but to give Himself, an
offering unto God. His life was yielded to God for the
purpose of redemption. He is “the end of the law for
righteousness” (Rom. 10. 4).
3. FULFILLED WORD. “In the volume of the book it is
written of me” (v. 7). All that was written in the law
of Moses, and in the Prophets and in the Psalms concerning
the Messiah, found their perfect fulfilment in Him (Luke
24. 44). So ought His Word to be fulfilled in us.
4. EMBODIXI> Law. “Thy law is within my heart”
(v. 8). He not only obeyed the law, but the law of His
God was so deeply engraven in his heart as to constitute
His very nature. His meat was to do the will of Him that
sent Him (John 4. 34). This is what the Holy Ghost
seeks to do in us, by making us partakers of the Divine
nature.
5. J OYFUL SERVANT. “I delight to do Thy will, 0 my
God” (v. S). It is a delight to do His will, when His
Word is hid in the surrendered heart (Rom. 7. 22). This
is the secret and character of the “holy life,” when the
self-will is lost in the delightsomeness of the will of God.
6. F;AITHFUL PI~EACHER. “I have preached righteous-ness
: I have not refrained : I have not hid : I have declared :
I have not concealed” (vv. 9, 10). As a faithful witness,
He kept back nothing that was profitable. Having the
Spirit of the Lord upon Him, He preached the Gospel to
the poor (Luke 4. 18, 19). He was manifestly declared to
bc an epistle of God..160 Handfuls on Purpose.
II. Aspects of His Ministry. Christ’ s life and
teaching was a revelation of the-I.
RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD. “I have published
righteousness” (v. 9, R.V.). The law and the prophets
wikessed to the righteousness of God, but Jesus Christ
alone can irnj~~rt it to all them that believe (Rom. 3,21,22).
2. FA I T H F U L N E S S O F G OD. “I have declared Thy
faithfulness” (v. 10). Every miracle that Christ per-formed,
every prayer that He uttered, was a declaration of
the faithfulness of His Father to His Son, and to His Word.
He walked by faith, and received from God all that He
needed, thereby proving His faithfulness.
3. SALVATION OF G OD. “I have declared.. .Thy
salvation” (v. 10). Salvation through the grace of God
was the cenztral theme of our Lord’ s ministry. This salva-tion
which began to be spoken by the Lord: how shall we
escape if we neglect it ? (Heb. 2. 3).
4 . LOVINGKINUNESS OE‘ GOD. “I llave not concealed
Thy lovingkindness” (v. 10). God is love, and His love
and kindness had a new zrnveiling in the gift of His Son.
Jesus Christ never concealed the fact that Himself was the
expression of the lovingkindness of the Father to a perish-ing
world. “Last of all He sent His Son.” Herein is
love.
5. TRUTH OF GOD. “I havt: not concealed.. .Thy
truth ” (v. 10). The truth as it is iu the character of
the Father has been manifested to us in the character of
the Son. No essential feature belonging to the nature of
God was concealed by Him. He is the Truth ; ueither more
nor less c;~n bc S;lid of Him than what is said of God: “I
and My Father are one. ” Let us thank God that He who
is the I‘ vuth, is also the Clip and lhch Qfc..Studies in the Psalms. 161
THE BLESSEDNESS OF CONSIDERING
THE POOR.
PSALM 4 1. 1-3 (see next Psalm).
T HE word “blessed” here is in the plural, “Oh, the
blessednesses” of such.
I. He will be Delivered in time of trouble (v. 1).
II. He will be Preserved and kept in life (v. 2).
III. He will be Blessed upon the earth (v. 2).
IV. He will be Saved from his enemies (v. 2).
V. He will be Strengthened in time of weariness (v. 3).
VI. He will be Comforted in time of sickness (v. 3).
THE SUFFERINGS AND CONSOLATIONS
OF THE SAINT.
PSALM 41. 4-13.
According to the Hebrew divisions, this Psalm ends the fivst
Book.
I. His Sufferings. He suffers from-1.
Evx SPEAKING. “Mine enemies speak evil of
me” (v. 5).
2. EVIL THINKING. “When shall he perish ? ”
3. EVIL WHISPEKING. “They whisper together against
me” (v. 7).
4. EVIL PLOTTING. “They devised my hurt. ”
5. EVIL WORKING. “Lifted up his heel against me”
(v. 9)..162 Handfuls on Purpose.
II. His Consolations. He is comforted with the-I.
KNOWLEDGE OF GOD. “But Thou, 0 Lord” (v. 10).
2. FAVOUR OF GOD. “1 know that Thou favourest
me” (v. 11).
3. FAITHFULNESS OF GOD. “Mine enemy doth not
triumph over me.”
4. POWER OF GOD. “Thou upholdest me” (v. 12).
5. PRESENCE OF Gou. “Thou settcst me before Thy
face” (v. 12).
SIN.
THE juice of the manchineel tree is said to be so poisonous
that when it touches the blood it works death with awful
rapidity. Yet its appearance and fruit look most beautiful,
Outwardly, it is very attractive; inwardly, it is a deadly
poison. How like sin this is! Its very attractiveness is
its greatest danger. It beguiles by promising much; it
ends in destruction. “Sin, when it is finished, bringeth
forth death.” ___-FALSE
AND REAL.
PROFESSOR Robinson once found a plant growing most
luxuriantly in a coal-mine. Its form and qualities being
quite new to him, he had it removed to his garden and
carefully attended. But the plant soon languished and
died, but from its roots there sprang up a new, fresh form
of life, which he easily distinguished as the common tansy.
The pit-life of the tansy was unreal and deceptive, as the
lives of all are who are living in the pit of spiritual dark-ness.
Not until we get transplanted into the light of the
Kingdom of God do we become really true to the deeper
instincts of our nature. “He took me from the fearful pit. ”.Handfuls on Purpose. 163
EXPOSITORY OUTLINES.
New Testament.
THE SHEPHERD.
J OHN 10. l-10.
“Now, the training strange and lowly,
Unexplained and tedious now:
Afterward-the service holy
And the Master’ s “Enter thou. ”
-4. R. H AVERGAL.
THESE “Verily, verily’s” of our Lord, which might be
rendered, “In most solemn truth, ” never seem to be used at
the beginning of a discourse, but always to illustrate, or
emphasise some preceding statement ; so that the last part
of chapter 9 is closely connected with the opening verses
of chapter 10. Those hirelings, who cast the man out
because he said that Christ opened his eyes, are here
contrasted with the true shepherd, who cares for the sheep.
The alIegory of this chapter, Iike the parable in the
fifteenth of Luke, is given to us in three different sections.
We have (1) the sheepfold and the (under) shepherd (vv.
l-10) ; (2) the Good Shepherd giving His life for the sheep
(vv. 11-18) ; (3) the safety of the sheep (vv. 25-30).
I. The Sheepfold. This was an enclosure, into which
the sheep were put for safety during the night (v. 1).
This may have reference to the old theocracy, that position
of privilege, which belonged to the Jews as God’s chosen
and protected people, and into which no man could
honourably enter, but by the door of birth–the seed of
Abraham; or it may represent that new provision of security
which Christ Himself was about to establish for His sheep,.164 Handfuls on Purpose.
through the giving of His life for them. It is a sheefifold,
there is no mention of goats here.
II. The Entrance. There is an entrance, but only one.
“I am the Door of the sheep” (v. 7). It is through Him
who died for them that they enter into the safety and quiet
of this spiritual and heavenly fold. “He that entereth in
by the door is a shepherd of the sheep. ” The sheep and
the true shepherds all enter in by the same door. There is
none other Name whereby we can be saved (Acts 4. 12).
He is no shepherd of the sheep who has not, first of all,
appropriated Christ for himself, as the Way, the Truth,
and the Life. If he enters not by this door into the sheep-fold
ministry, “the same is a thief and a robber, ” and those
sheep which have entered by the door will not follow him.
Christ is the only open door into the salvation of God, and,
praise Him, it is open for all. “I am the Door: by Me if
uny ma% enter in, he shall be saved” (v. 9).
III. The Porter. “He that enter&h by the door…
to him the porter openeth” (v. 3). It is a marvel to us
how commentators should ignore or belittle the porter, lest
they should press the allegory too far. In point of fact, the
porter is second in importance to Him who is the Door, and
undoubtedly represents the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
Who abode with the sheep, and was their only comforter
during the weary hours of night ? The porter. Who could
take the Door (Christ) and open it and close it at His will ?
The porter. Who alone had the power to admit a shepherd
into the fold ? The porter (Acts 13. 2). All who would
enter in by the door shall have the porter’s help and
encouragement. It is the Spirit who takes the things of
Christ and shows them to the seeking soul.
IV. The Shepherd. “He that cntereth in by the door
is a shepherd of the sheep” (v. 2, R.v., gaargin). The
reference here is to the under shepherd, who has the liberty.New Testament Outlines. 165
of the porter (Spirit) to go in and out, and to lead, and feed
the sheep. The hirelings in chapter 9. 34, cast out the
true sheep of Christ’s flock. They know not the voice of
strangers. It is important to note the nature of the
shepherd’s work and influence as stated here. It is-1.
PERSONAL. “He calleth his own sheep Sy name. ”
There is no mistaking the purpose of a true shepherd when
he comes into the sheepfold. He has not thought of
thrashing or amusing the sheep, his chief object is to call
them out into a larger place of blessing. To this end he
deals with them definitely and personally. All the faithful
under-shepherds of Christ’s flock rightly divide the Word ;
they call the sheep by their proper names, and seek their
individual good.
2. PROGRESSIVE. “He leadeth them out. ” It is not
enough that the sheep are safe and at rest in the fold, they
have to be lead out into fresh healthy pastures. The fields
at the disposal of the shepherds are as broad, far reaching,
and as rich as the whole Revelation of God. But those who
have not examined those rich pasture lands will not be
likely to lead the sheep into them.
3. EXEMPLARY. “He goeth before them. ” The true
shepherd leads by example, as well as by precept. He does
not say, “Go, ” but “Come. ” He goeth before them in
doctrine and in practice (Titus 2. 7). Not as lords over
God’s heritage, but as examples of the flock (1 Peter 5. 3).
Paul wrote to Timothy: “Be thou an example of the
believers in Word, in conversatio?z, in charity, in s$irit, in
faith, in picrity. ” To the Corinthians he said: “Be ye
followers of me, even as I also am of Christ. ” The she$herd
leads into green pastures, and by the still waters, not into
the howling wilderness of that “higher criticism,” which
offers onIy doubt and perplexity to a hungry soul.
3, PR07-ECTIVE. “A stranger will they not follow.. .for.166 Handfuls on Purpose.
they know not the voice of strangers” (v. 5). The true
sheep know the voice of a true shepherd, and will not be
led away by the call of a stranger, who has climbed up by
some other way. Some religious teachers have the form of
godliness, but deny the power thereof (Holy Spirit) ; from
such turn away. The sheep that have a faithful shepherd
are too well taught to become the followers of any hireling,
or thief, who may don the shepherd’ s attire.
V. The Intruders. “He that entereth not by the
door, but climb&h up some other way, the same is a thief and
a robber. ” It does not matter much what that “other
way” is, so long as it is another way, it is an ignoring and a
denial of Him who is the Door-and of Him who is the
Porter–a denial of Christ, and of the Holy Spirit. Those
who will not enter by the door of grace into this Kingdom
will have some climbing to do, and in the end rewarded
only as thieves and robbers. The “other way” that some
prefer is the way of legalism, or learning, human works, or
human wisdom. They will climb away for years to get into
the fold, rather than subrnit to enter by the door. But all
such climbers arc, in their hearts, at enmity with the
Shepherd and the sheep, and seek only their own base and
selfish ends. “The same is a thief. ” There is no other
wa.y for a sheep, or a shepherd, for salvation or service, but
by the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Door. “I am the Door:
by Me if any man enter in, he shall be saved. ”
THE GOOD SHEPHERD.
JOHN 10. 11-18.
THE Lord Jesus Christ is the good or perfect Shepherd.
All that ever came before Him -4~ His stead–or that shall
yet so come, arc thieves and robbers. There is only one
Good Shepherd who can lay down His life for the sheep
Lmd fnfir if agair!. (v. 18). Tlitrr is perhaps no image of.New Testament Outlines. 167
Christ that has so powerfully appealed to the imaginations
of men in all ages as the “Good Shepherd.” Let not the
familiarity of the term rob us of the great sweetness and
depth of precious teaching that it reveals.
I. “He Giveth His Life for the Sheep” (v. 11). This is
the outstanding characteristic of the Good Shepherd. He is
not only ready to sacrifice His life in defence of the sheep,
but has a command from the Father to lay down His life for
the sheep (v. 18), that the sheep might have life through
Him in abundance (v. IO). The scope of the teaching
cannot be limited to the mere metaphor. The metaphor is
used to help us to grasp the fullness of the truth. That
Christ taught redemption here is surely beyond doubt,
when He said, “Therefore doth My Father love MC, because
I lay down My life that I might take it again” (v. 17; Heb.
13. 20). The Father loved the Son because He willingly
obeyed this command to lay down His life for the salvation
of all who would enter in at this door into the sheepfold
(1 Peter 2. 25).
II. His Sheep Hear His Voice. “They shall hear My
voice” (v. 16). Every soul who would follow Christ must
individually hear His voice. That voice may be heard
through the written Word, or in the preaching of the
Gospel, but it will be recognised as His voice and His call
to a new and separate life. Christ’ s first message was to
the Jewish flock, but He had other sheep-multitudes of
them-which were not of that flock, but which belonged to
every kindred and tongue, and people, and nation, “them
also, ” He said, “I must bring, ” for the death that He was
about to die was to be “the propitiation, not only for our
sins (Jews), but also for the whole world” (1 John 2. 2).
This present dispensation is the time of the bringing in of
the “other sheep” which He has, as the gift of the Father;
and they arc hearing HIS voice, through the preaching of.168 Handfuls on Purpose.
the Word, and following Him. To Him is the gathering of
the people to be.
III. He Knows His Sheep. “I know My sheep”
(v. 14). As to the extent or limit of this knowledge,
it is impossible, except by sheer presumption, to define.
He knows their name, their nature, and their need. The
Lord does not judge as man judgeth, by outward appear-ance
; He judgeth the heart. He discerns the hidden
spirits of men, whether they are merely carnal or Christ-like.
All His sheep have a love for, and a disposition like
the Shepherd Himself. “If any man love God, the same is
known of Him ” (1 Cor. 8. 3), The Good Shepherd does not
judge His sheep by their cry, for many will say on that day,
“Lord, Lord, ” to whom He will say, “I never knew you. ”
IV. His Sheep Know Him. “And am known of
Mine” (v. 14). This knowledge is akin to that which exists
between the Father and the Son (v. 15). This affinity
is the deepest and most sacred of all relationships. We may
know Him as we know the sun that shines in the Heavens,
and yet know but little of Him. The sheep know the
Shepherd because He has manifested Himself to them, so
we “know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us
an understanding that we may know Him that is true”
(1 John 5. 20). “I know whom I have believed” (2 Tim.
1. 12). This is eternal life, to know Him and Jesus Christ
whom He hath sent.
V. His Sheep are Owned by Him. “He who is an
hireling, whose own the sheep are not” (v. 12), is here
contrasted with Him who laid down His life for the sheep,
as an evidence that they are His own. The flock of God
hath been purchased by His own blood (Acts 20. 28).
Jesus was speaking as the Good Shepherd when He said to
Peter, “Feed My lambs.. .Feed My sheep” (John 21).
“Ye are not your own ; ye are bought with a price. ”.New Testament Outlines. 169
VI. He Cares for His Sheep. “The hireling fleeth
because he careth not for the sheep, ” but the true Shepherd
is very careful over His sheep (v. 13). The wolf-like Satan
finds his greatest enemy in the Shepherd of our souls. It is
the privilege of the sheep to be without carefulness, for
“He careth for you,” therefore cast all your care upon Him
(1 Peter 1. 7). The Shepherd is most careful about the
safe(y and su~$$ of the sheep-about their defence and
their food. His wisdom and His power are being con-tinually
exercised on their behalf. “Lo, I am with YOU
alway, even unto the close of the age. ”
VII. His Sheep shall all be Gathered into one Flock.
“There shall be one flock and one Shepherd” (v. 16).
Meanwhile, His sheep are in every clime and country,
speaking almost every language under Heaven, and divided
by many sectarian folds, but all have heard His voice, and
know Him, and are known by Him, having by one Spirit
been baptised into one body. But when the Chief Shepherd
shall appear, those who are still living on the earth shall
be caught up with those who have gone to sleep, and so
shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore, comfort one
another with these words (1 Thess. 4. 16-18). In the ever-green
pastures of the Heavenly Kingdom He shall lead His
flock, and they shall follow the Lamb whithersoever He
goeth. “The Lord is my Shepherd.. .and I shall dwell in
the house of the Lord for ever” (Psa. 23. 1 and 6).
THE SAFETY OF THE SHEEP.
JOHN 10. 22-30.
IT was winter, and Jesus was walking in the porch of the
temple called “Solomon’s, ” when the Jews, who were
bewildered about the character and doings of Jesus, came
about Him, saying, “How long do you mean to keep us in
suspense? If Thou be the Christ tell us plainly” (v. 24).
a4.170 Handfuls on Purpose.
He had been telling them all along by His words and wmks,
but they believed not (v. 25). Never man spoke more
plain than He, but to those who are wilfully or judicially
blind, such evidence is of little value. “Ye believe not,”
said Jesus, “because ye are not of My she@” (v. 26). By
their persistent unbelief they proved themselves unfit
to enter the sheepfold of His chosen ones. “They could
not enter in because of their unbelief” (Heb. 3. 19). This
question of the Jews gives Him an opportunity of explain-ing
more fully the relationship and privilege of His sheep.
I. Their Relationship. They are His by-1:
SOVEREIGN GRACE. “My sheep hear My voice, and I
know them” (v. 27). “All we like sheep have gone
astray; we have turned every one to his own way. ” The
Lord might have passed LIS by in our waywardness and
misery, but in love and in mercy He spoke. If He did not
speak, the sheep would never hear His voice, and never
follow Him. “My voice ! ” There is no other voice like
His. To hear it is to turn and live, or die in sin. „By grace
are ye saved through faith. ”
2. DELIBERATE CHOICE. “They follow Me. ” They hear
Him, believe Him, and folIow Him. They choose to obey
His voice, rather than the voices of the world, or the
whisperings of their own heart. To follow Christ is to
renounce self and forsake all that would hinder the soul
from abiding in His presence and obeying His Word.
II. Their Security. They are perfectly safe, because-1.
T HEY H AVE E TERNAL L I FE. “I give unto them
eternal life” (v. 23). The verb is in the present, and might
be read, “I am giving them the life of the ages. ” This life
is the gift of Him who laid down His life for the sheep-a
gift that is continuous, running on into the endless ages of
futurity. Who but the Eternal One could make such a.New Testament Outlines. 171
promise and bestow such a blessing ? “The gift of GOD is
eternal life” (Rom. 6. 23).
2. THEY ARE THE GIFT OF THE FATHER. “My Father.. .
gave them Me” (v. 29). The sheep of Christ are the “elect
according to the foreknowledge of God the Father” (I Peter
1. 2). “Ail that the Father hath given Me shall come to
Me” (John 6. 37). They are secure because they are
possessed with a life suited for the ages of eternity, and
because they are the chosen ones of the Father “before the
foundation of the world, that they should be holy and
without blame before Him in love.. .to the praise of the
glory of His grace” (Eph. 1. 3-6). It was for such Christ
prayed when He said, “Holy Father, keep through Thine
own Name those whom Thou hast given Me. ”
3. THEY ARE IN CHRIST’S HAND. “Neither shall any
pluck them out of My hand. ” Of them which Thou hast
given Me have I lost none (John 18. 9). His ha& stands
here for the almightiness of His power-a power as gentle
as a mother’s touch, as strong as the eternal God. No foe
is able to wrest us from His hand. The sheep are saved by
the gift of Divine life, and by the grip of Divine power.
They are made partakers of a new nature and the subject
of a new environment. They are in His heart of grace and
in His hand of safety.
4. THEY ARE IN THE FATHER’s HAND. “None is able to
pluck them out of My Father’s hand” (v. 29). “My Father
is greater than all. ..I and My Father are one. ” The
sheep are in the all-embracing power of the Son, as the
Son is in the all-embracing power of the Father. “The
glory which Thou gavest Me I have given them, that they
may be one, even as We are” (John 17. 22). The security
of the Son is virtually the security of the sheep. As He is
in the hand of the Father, so are we in the hand of the Son..I72 Handfuls on Purpose.
Accepted and kept in the Beloved, the olaeness of the Son
with the Father is a powerful guarantee (v. 30).
5. THEY HAVE HIS PROMISE. “They shall never perish. ”
The negative here is doubly strong, and might be rendered,
“They shall never, NEVER perish” (v. 28). The infallible
Word of the eternal Son stands like an adamantine wall
between the heIpIess sheep of His fold and perdition. The
breaking of that Word would be the breaking down of His
own character. One “jot or tittle” of His Word cannot
possibly fail. Thus we have strong consolations who have
fled to Him as the Refuge and Shepherd of our souls.
LAZARUS.
JOHN 11.
TNE Hebrew form of the name Layus is Eliezer-God my
Helper. Surely a fitting name for one who was so mightily
helped by God. The history of Lazarus is, in a spiritual
sense, the history of all who have passed from death unto
life. Note the various stages in his remarkable experience.
There was-I.
Sickness. “A certain man was sick” (v. 1). “He
whom Thou lovest is sick” (v. 3). Loved by the Lord,
yet smitten with sickness. Through some cause or other,
soul-sickness is almost invariably the prelude to enlarged
and deeper spiritual blessing. When Jesus heard of it, He
said, “This sickness . . .is for the glory of God” (v, 4).
Yes, blessed be His Name, for that sickness which brings us
down to the place of death, that the Son of Man might be
glorified in doing a marvellous work in us and for us. The
Holy Spirit must convince of sin before He quickens into
newness of life.
II. Death. “Jesus said unto them plainly, Lazarus is
dead” (v. 14). This sickness was not unto eternal death,.New Testament Outlines. 173
but unto that death which in a very singular way made
Lazarus a fit subject for the resurrecting power of the
Son of God. Real sin-sickness is only unto the death of
self-love and self-will, that the power of Christ might be
manifested. Sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
When the Spirit convinces of sin, of righteousness and of
judgment, it is the passing of the sentence of death upon
the sinner. All hope of salvation from any other source
had to be abandoned. “Sin revived, and I died” (Rom.
7. 9).
III. Life. “He that was dead came forth” (v. 44).
The life-giving power of Jesus Christ could only be mani-fested
in the case of a dead man. If Lazarus had only been
in a swoon, or in a sleep, there would have been no glory to
God in his awakening. Christ Jesus came into this world
to save sinners. It would bring no glory to Him to give
life or salvation to those who did not need it. Before the
Apostle Paul could say, “Now I live, ” he had to say, “I am
crucified. ” Resurrection life can only come where there
has been death. We must die to self if we would live unto
God. To share with Christ His resurrection power, we
must needs go to the Cross and the grave with Him. If
we refuse to die, we refuse to enter into the new and
fruitful life. “Except a corn of wheat die, it abideth
alone ” (John 12. 24).
IV. Liberty. “Jesus said, Loose him and let him go”
(v. 44). It ill becomes one who has been raised from the
dead by the power of God, to be in bondage to any man,
or the customs and habits of men, especially those manners
and customs that belong to the dead. As in nature, so in
grace, where there is a fullness of life there will be the
bursting open and a breaking forth from the old dead forms
and habits. All that we can do for our dead is to bind
them and bury them, but how different when, with a loud.174 Handfuls on Purpose.
voice, the Son of God speaks to them. The man that has
been liberated from death and the grave, must not be
hindered by any fashion of grave clothes. Whom the Son
of God makes free are free indeed. The relatives of those
saved by Christ may do much to bind or loose their lives for
His service. The Lord’s command to the friends of Lazarus
was, “Loose him and let him go” (John 11. 44). What a
crime in His sight if they had refused to obey. See that
ye refuse not.
V. Communion. “Lazarus was one of them that sat at
the table with Him” (chap. 12. 2). What a blessed
privilege to company with Him who has given us to know
in our own experience that He is the “Resurrection and the
Life. ” To those who have passed from death unto life
there is no fellowship to be compared with His. As like
draws to like, so must the resurrected spirit draw to Him
who is the Resurrection. Every time we sit down prayer-fully
to study His Word, we are sitting at the table z&k
Him, listening to His voice, and receiving food for our
souls. Are you one of those who sit at this table with Him ?
VI. Testimony. “By reason of him, many of the Jews
went away and believed on Jesus” (chap. 12. 11). The
power of his testimony lay, not so much in what he was
able to say, as in what he was. The fact that he had been
raised from death and corruption by the word of Jesus
Christ, was in itself a most convincing witness to His
Divinity and Messiahship. The greater the work of grace
wrought in us by God’s mighty power, the greater will
be the force of our testimony for Him. The influence of
Christ’s risen life in us should be the leading of others to
“believe on Jesus. ”
VII. Suffering. Because of the converting power of
this new life in Lazarus “the chief priests consulted that
they might put him to death” (chap. 12. 10). His old.New Testament Outlines. 175
life brought no persecution, but now he has the happiness
of those who are reproached for the Name of Christ (1 Peter
4. 14). It is beyond the power of the enemy to kill or
destroy the resurrection life. Your life is hid with Christ
in God. “If any man suffer as a Christian, let him not
be ashamed, but let him glorify God on this behalf”
(1 Peter 4. 16).
JESUS.
JOHN 11.
T HE Gospel of John is like the r( uding of the veil, it
opens up the way for us into the Holiest of all. Much of
the personal glory of the Son of God will be unseen by us,
if we fail to discern what His sayings and doings reveal
concerning Himself. In this chapter we have several bright
glimpses of this inner glory, glimpses such as we have
everywhere throughout the Gospels.
I. His Divinity. When Jesus heard of the sickness
of Lazarus, He said, “This sickness is not unto death, but
for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified
thereby” (v. 4). This prophetic language is full of
meaningless mystery if Jesus Christ was nothing more than
the “best of men. ” Although He emj&d Himself as the
Divine One, that He might live and die for us, He was
still Himself, the eternal Son, in the bosom of the Father.
He knew that this sickness had come that He, as the Son
of God, might be glorified thereby.
II. His Love. “Now Jesus loved Martha, and her
sister, and Lazarus” (v. 5). While Jesus Christ was
Divine, He was also perfectly and purely human. He
loved all with that love of God which is the love of pity
and compassion, for even those who are His bitterest
enemies, but the Marthas, the Marys, and the Lazaruses
are the special objects of His affection and delight. He.176 Handfuls on Purpose,
can only delight with His whole heart in those whose
hearts are opened with delight toward Him. It is not
possible for such love as His to rejoice in iniquity.
III. His Faith. “Are there not twelve hours in the
day?” etc. (vv. 7-9). These very suggestive words were
spoken to His disciples, in answer to their alarm at His
proposal to cross over from Perma, where the Jews of late
had sought to stone Him. There were to be twelve hours
in His working day, and but eleven had passed. He must
work the works of Him that sent Him while it is day
(John 9. 4). He did believe that His life was “immortal
till His work was done, ” and so He would walk in the day
that He might stumble not. Faith in God never leads to
laziness or fatalism. He that believeth shall not make the
haste of flurried excitement, but they shall make steady
progress, despite all the oppositions of the forces of Hell.
“Are there not twelve hours in the day ? ”
IV. His Joy. “I am glad” (v, 15). The conjunction ’
here is most remarkable. “Lazarus is dead, and I am
glad; glad for yotbr sakes to the intent that ye might
believe. ” He was glad that He was not there to save
Lazarus from dying, that He might have the opportunity
of raising him from the dead, that they might see His
glory and believe in Him. Mark the secret of Christ’s
gladness–glad to have the chance of manifesting His
power that others may believe in Him, so that they might
be blessed by Him. This was the joy that was set before
Him when He endured the Cross. The nature of Christ’s
gladness is totally different from that which is sought
for by the sinful sons of men.
V. His Indignation. “When Jesus saw her wailing,
and the Jews also wailing, He was moved with indignation
in the Spirit” (v. 33, R.V., margin). Why all this wailing
noze’ that HE had said, “Thy brother shall rise again, ” and.New Testament Outlines. 177
that “I am the Resurrection and the Life ? ” In the face of
His words and in His presence, this wailing was surely to
Him the wailing of unbelief. He groaned in Spirit with a
holy anger because of their slowness of heart to believe all
that He had said unto them.
VI. His Compassion. “Jesus wept” (v. 35). Those
tears were as “drops of grief” from the loving heart of our
Great High Priest, who is touched with the feeling of our
infirmities (Heb. 4. 15). What a contrast between the
hypocritical tears of those would-be mourners and the tears
of the pure-hearted Son of God. The voice of these tears
seems to have spoken louder than His words, for, “The%
said the Jews, Behold how He loved Him. ” If these tear-drops
were pearls of love, what shall we say of those blood-drops
wept in the Garden of Gethsemane ? “Greater love
hath no man than this. ” There is a way through Christ’s
tears, as well as through His words, to the heart of God
the Father.
VII. His Power. “He cried with a loud voice, Lazarus i come forth, and he that was dead came forth” (vv. 43, 44).
This was the cry of Him who is “the Resurrection and the
Life. ” “Resurrection, ” one has said, “is not an impersonal
fate, but a personal effect. ” It is not the natural result of
any known law, but the supernatural outcome of a Divine
personal act. In Christ was life, and the life was the light
of men. He speaks and it is done. As when Christ, who
was the Life, appeared at the grave of Lazarus, Lazarus also
appeared with Him, through the power of His Word; so
“when Christ, who is our Life, shall appear, then shall we
also appear with Him in glory” (Col. 3. 4). While on earth
our Lord had to do with death in three different stages:
the child on the death-bed, the young man on the bier, and
the man in the grave. It was only in this last stage that
He spoke with a loud voice. The raising of Lazarus was a.178 Handfuls on Purpose .
manifestation of that power that shall one day with the
voice of a trumpet awaken the dead, and as the vile body
of Lazarus was changed (v. 30), so shaI1 it be in the
resurrection (Phil. 3. 20, 21). This corruptible must put
on incorruption. He that heareth His Word now, and
believeth on Him . . . is passed from death unto lift (John ._
5. 24). ~.
A SUPPER SCENE.
JOHN 12. 1-8.
ACCORDING to Matthew and Mark, this supper which
“they” made for Jesus, was in the house of Simon, who had
been a leper, and may have been a united effort, with the two
families, to do honour to Jesus and His disciples because
of the raising of Lazarus from the dead, and, perhaps, the
healing of Simon. It took place six days before the pass-over,
which meant six days before His death and burial.
lt must have been a hallowed time. Let us think of-I.
Mary, the Sacrificer. While others rejoice to sit
at the table with Jesus, and learn of Him, Mary, who had
before sat at His feet, feels impelled by the love of her
heart to embrace this opportunity of proving her faith and
affection by personal sacrifice. To her, at that time, it was
more blessed to give than to receive. There surely must
be seasons in our lives when we shall find it more blessed
to sacrifice than to seek, to give than to take, to praise
than to pray. See the Nature of it. “Mary took a pound
of ointment of spikenard, very costly. ” Judas reckoned its
value at “three hundred pence”–more correctly, shillings.
As money goes now, it would mean probably about ;660.
The costlier the better for Mary’s deep purpose of love.
Hypocritical worshippers are content to give the Lord the
lame and the blind, the odd coppers and the spare moments.
They never cross the threshold of the sanctuary of self-sacrificing
service..New Testament Outlines. 179
See the manner in which it was given. She “anointed
the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. ” It is
possible to give even a costly gift in such a way as to sting
the soul of the receiver. The Lord loveth a cheerful giver.
Mary not only offered Him her precious treasure, but her
personal glory was also laid at His feet and surrendered to
His service, The ointment was all the more precious to the
Saviour because the soul of the offerer was in it. See the
influence of it. “The house was filled with the odour of the
ointment. ” Such a self-sacrificing act could not pass
without being felt by all who saw it. Such costly offerings,
made for such a sacred purpose, are sure to betra.y them-selves
(Prov. 27. 16). A consecrated life has always a
sweet odour to Christ and His faithful disciples.
II. Judas, the Criticiser. The only one who did not
appreciate the holy deed of Mary was Judas. The “odour
of the ointment” poured upon the Son of God had no sweet
savour to him, “because he was a thief, ” and would rather
have had the “three hundred shillings” in his bag for his
own advantage. His hypocritical plea was, that it might
have been sold and the money given to the poor. “Not
that he cared for the poor. ” Surely the Saviour of sinners
was more interested in the poor than he was. He who
was rich, for our sakes became poor. “To what purpose
is this waste ? ” (Matt. 26. 8). Judas, the son of perdition,
could not see that the breaking of this alabaster box, and
the pouring out of the fragrant treasure upon the Person of
Christ was the consecrating of both to the greatest possible
service. It is noteworthy that the word “waste” used by
Judas is literally the same word used by our Lord in
referring to him as the “son of perdition. ” Where the
spirit of self-seeking is there is blindness to the honour and
glory of the Lord Jesus Christ. Mary’s vision of Jesus
was such that it constrained her to surrender all. Judas.180 Handfuls on Purpose.
could not see beyond the black shadow of his own sinful
self-interest.
III. Jesus, the Justifier. “Then Jesus said, Let her
alone; against the day of My burying hath she kept this. ”
He understood the full significance of this singularly solemn
service, and always puts the highest value upon such gifts.
The costly offering was in no sense wasted on Him. TO
His soul, in view of His death and burial, it had a sweet
savour . “Let her alone. ” The Son of God who sacrificed
Himself for sinners will never put any hindrance in the way
of a believing, grateful heart showing its devotion to Him
to the fullest extent. He knows that such love and sacrifice
will have its corresponding reward (Mark 14. 9). “Let
jeer alone. ” Well He knew that there are so few who care
to go this length in honouring Him. She broke through
all the forms of etiquette, and gave to Christ exceeding
abundantly above all that they would have asked or thought
of. Such a spontaneous outburst of self-sacrificing affec-tion
was to Jesus the principal part of the feast. Love
feasts on love. Here He had a meat to eat that others
knew not of. “The poor, ” he said, “always ye have with
you, but Me ye have not always. ” But those who reckon
it waste to pour out wealth for the cause of Jesus Christ will
not be likely to break their treasure boxes in behalf of the
poor. The best friends of the poor have always been those
who are the most devoted friends of Jesus Christ. The
love of Christ constraineth us.
DEATH, LIFE, AND SERVICE.
JOHN 12. 20-26.
PROBABLY these Greeks who desired to see Jesus came from
the same city as Philip and Andrew, and may have been
personally known to them. Philip and Andrew did what
they could to bring about an interview, but seemingly.New Testament Outlines. 181
failed. The closing words in verse 36 are very significant
in this connection. “These things spake Jesus, and
departed, and did Izidc Himselffrom them. ” But while He
hid Himself from them, the things which He spake were in
themselves a new and fuller revelation of the Christ which
He wished them to see. He who would “see Jesus” as God
desires Him to be seen, must see Him as “a corn of wheat
falling into the ground and dying, and bringing forth much
fruit. ”
I. Death. “Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground
and die, it abideth alone. ” A corn of wheat in the process
of dying is here alluded to. As applied to His own
preparation for the Cross, the reference is full of solemn
suggestion. As a corn of wheat must fall into the groud
before it will die, so He had to condescend to come into the
place of death before He could reap the fruits of resurrection
life. When Christ came into this world He came into the
place of death. His coming was the falling of the corn of
wheat into the ground, but exce;bt it die, it abideth alone.
A seed that had lain in the hand of a mummy for 3000
years, remained alone, but when, by another hand, it fell
into the ground and did die, then it brought forth fruit.
The process of dying is the process of yielding up every-thing
to those forces that are opposed to stationary barren-ness.
Just as the buried seed slowly surrenders its all, so
is its new capacity created for fruitfulness. The life of
Jesus Christ, which ended in the shameful death of the
Cross, was like the life of the corn-seed in the ground-there
was no reserve, no keeping back, the treasures of His
marvellous nature were wholly surrendered. “He came not
to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life. ”
He died for us. What was true of the Christ as “a corn
of wheat” is also true of the Christian, except he die-to
the old self-life-he abideth alone. It is by being “alway.182 Handfuls on Purpose.
dclivcrcd unto death for Jesus sake, that the life also of
Jesus is made manifest in our mortal flesh” (2 Cor. 4. 11).
II. Life. “But if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. ”
The life that is yielded up by the dying seed conditions and
prepares the way for another and more fruitful life. Christ
died, and therefore did not abide alone. The life that He
vielded up has been abundantly fruitful in an ever-increasing
harvest of resurrected souls. The possibilities
of Jesus Christ as seed-corn dropped, as it were, from the
hand of the Heavenly Father into the soil of humanity, are
the possibilities of GOD. He shall see His seed, because His
soul was made an offering for sin. Christ died, but like a
corn of wheat, He was born anew-begotten again in
resurrection fruitfulness. In this new life, in Him and in
us who have died unto sin, there is the abiding power of
eternity. Herein is My Father glorified, that ye bear
much fruit, but “that which thou sowest is ?zot quickened
except it die” (1 Cor. 15. 36). If the seed refuses to die, the
quickening power refuses to act. The Holy Spirit, the
Quickener, can only work this newness of Life where there is
death. This new Divine life, begotten out of the death
of the self-life, is the life that glorifies God in bearing
much fruit. He that soweth to the flesh shall out of the
flesh, as out of poisoned soil, reap corruption.
III. Service. “If any man serve Me, let Him follow
Me.” To follow Hine is the highest and holiest of all
service. To follow Him is to go on continually denying
self. We cannot be following Him in His life of perpetual
self-denial unless we are prepared daily to lose our own
life. He that loveth his (own) life shall lose it, and he that
maketh his own life of no account shall keep it unto life
eternal (v. 25). Christ loved not His own life, but yielded
it, day by day, unto the will of the Father, and so served
Him by following Him. Our service must be of the same.New Testament Outlines. 183
nature, as we have, through grace, been brought into the
same privilege, Now are we the sons of God. In essence,
then, this service is self-&&Z for the sake of Jesus Christ.
But think of the blessedness of it. “If any man serve Me,
him will My Father honour. ” The Father honoured the
Son for such a service; He will also honour all who so follow
His footsteps. They will be honoured with His presence,
His peace, and His power, and “where I am, there shall
also My servant be. ” “If any man will come after ME, let
him deny kimself” (Matt. 16. 24). To go after a self-denying
Christ is impossible without the denial of self.
We must deny our own thoughts, will, power, intercsts-everything
that would hinder His will, power, and interests
from being accomplished in us and by us.
THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD.
JOHN 12. 44-50.
OUR Lord’s ministry on earth was first prophetic, then
priestly. John’s reference to the lament of the prophet
Isaiah, in verses 38-41, may be regarded as the close of
Christ’s work as a Prophet, and here the beginning of His
work as a Priest.
I. His Relationship to the World. “I am come a Light
into the world.” In Him was no darkness at all. The
purity and power of ineffable light was in Him, to meet
the needs and solve the problems of a guilty and benighted
world. “I am come.” There is no other light powerful
enough to scatter the darkness of a world. He comes, not
as’s citizen to share our sorrows, or as a patron to protect
our rights, but as a Light to reveal. This was the world’s
first great need.
II. The Nature of this Light. It was the light of the
great Heavenly Father’s will revealed in the Son. “I have
not spoken of Myself,” He says, “but the Father which.New Testament Outlines. 183
nature, as we have, through grace, been brought into the
same privilege, Now are we the sons of God. In essence,
then, this service is self-&&Z for the sake of Jesus Christ.
But think of the blessedness of it. “If any man serve Me,
him will My Father honour. ” The Father honoured the
Son for such a service; He will also honour all who so follow
His footsteps. They will be honoured with His presence,
His peace, and His power, and “where I am, there shall
also My servant be. ” “If any man will come after ME, let
him deny kimself” (Matt. 16. 24). To go after a self-denying
Christ is impossible without the denial of self.
We must deny our own thoughts, will, power, intercsts-everything
that would hinder His will, power, and interests
from being accomplished in us and by us.
THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD.
JOHN 12. 44-50.
OUR Lord’s ministry on earth was first prophetic, then
priestly. John’s reference to the lament of the prophet
Isaiah, in verses 38-41, may be regarded as the close of
Christ’s work as a Prophet, and here the beginning of His
work as a Priest.
I. His Relationship to the World. “I am come a Light
into the world.” In Him was no darkness at all. The
purity and power of ineffable light was in Him, to meet
the needs and solve the problems of a guilty and benighted
world. “I am come.” There is no other light powerful
enough to scatter the darkness of a world. He comes, not
as’s citizen to share our sorrows, or as a patron to protect
our rights, but as a Light to reveal. This was the world’s
first great need.
II. The Nature of this Light. It was the light of the
great Heavenly Father’s will revealed in the Son. “I have
not spoken of Myself,” He says, “but the Father which.184 Handfuls on Purpose.
sent Me, He gave Me a command what to say, and in what
words to speak” (v. 49). The body of Jesus Christ was
as a lantern, the light that was in Him was the Light of
God, the manifestation was through His words and works.
These words and works reveal infinite love and mercy, hand
in hand with infinite power and holiness. The shining was
perfect, for He could say, “He that seeth Me, seeth Him
that sent Me” (v. 45).
III. The Purpose of the Light. “1 am come not to
judge the world, but to save the world” (v. 47). The purpose
of every lighthouse is salvation. Light is a great saviour
from death and destruction. There were those who were
opposed to gas light, -when first introduced in 1807, but it
was declared that the new light had done more for the
reduction of crime than all the laws of Parliament since the
days of Alfred. The light of Christ is sin’s greatest enemy.
To see a Father’s love in the life and death of His beloved
Son is to see our own need and God’s only remedy. He
has not come as a light to shine out judgment, and con-demnation,
but that the world throug/z Him might be
SAVED (John 3. 17).
IV. How this Light is Received. “Whosoever
believeth in Me shall not abide in darkness” (v. 46). This
heavenly and saving Light shines into the hearts of those
who with the heart believe in Him. This faith cometh by
hearing. “If any man hear My words,” etc. Hear His
words, believe them, yield to them, and the light of life
will possess the soul. While ye have this light, believe in
it, obey it, follow it, trust it. It is as real and as free as the
light of the sun. Having believed in Him as the Light of
your life, confess Him, and be not hindered by the fear of
man, or the desire for their praise (see vv. 42, 43; Heb.
11. 27). To believe in Christ is to believe also in Him
who sent Him (v. 44). We honour the Father when by.New Testament Outlines. 185
faith we receive the salvation, which is Christ Jesus
(John 6. 40).
V. The Consequences of Rejecting the Light. If
those who believe in Him “shall not abide in darkness, ”
then those who believe not are abiding in darkness. Light
has come into the world, yet men love darkness rather than
the light, because their deeds are evil. To abide in darkness
is to abide in death. To reject this light is rebellion
against the will of God. They shall lie down in sorrow who
prefer the sparks of their own kindling to the light of eternal
truth. But although men reject those illuminating words,
or message of God in Christ, and cling to the delusions of
darkness, they are not done with this light, they must
face it again in its more fierce and withering form, for He
says, “The word (message) that I have spoken, the same
shall judge him in the last day” (v. 48). The light that
has been rejected, lest it should consume their sin, will
become a consuming fire for sinners. As every flower
reflects the colonr that it rejects, so every Christ-rejecter
will be manifested in that day (John 3. 19-31).
CHRIST’S LAST TOKEN OF LOVE.
JOHN 13. l-17.
THE passover and the supper, linked together here, is most
significant. The passover commemorated deliverance from
Egyptian darkness and bondage; the supper supplied the
emblems of redemption from the darkness and dominion of
sin. What Pharaoh was to the Israelites, Judas was to
Jesus Christ, and the consequences were much alike: the
sudden destruction of the enemy, and the triumph of the
Lord and His people. It was here, at the supper, that
Christ gave to His disciples the farewell token of His self-humiliating
love to them. Let us try and think afresh of-I.
What He Did. “1-k row from the supper, and laid
N.186 Handfuls on Purpose.
aside His garments, and took a towel, and girded Himself
. ..and began to wash His disciples’ feet and to wipe
them. ” To wash the feet of guests, at a feast, was the work
of a slave. “He made Himself of no reputation, and took
upon Him the form of a servant” (Phil. 2. 7). This was the
attitude of the Lord Jesus from the beginning. “He came
not to be ministered unto, but to minister (serve) and to
give His life” (Matt. 20. 28). The Lord would have our
feet (walk), as well as our hearts, clean.
II. When He Did It. “When He knew that His
hour was come that He should depart.. .unto the Father
(v. 1). . .that the Father had given all things into His
hands, and that He was come from God, and was going
to God” (v. 3). This lowly act of personal humiliation
and service was performed, as it were, in view of the awful
death of the Cross and the glory that was to follow. The
near prospect of the agony of Gethsemane, the desertion of
His washed disciples, and the eternal glory of the Father,
did not prevent Him from humbling Himself to attend to
their present need. How easy it is for us to get so taken
LIP with our own sufferings or successes as to become self-centred
and proud, or unsympathetic. He pleased not
Himself, but lived and died for us.
III. How He Did It. He did it lovingly. “Having
loved His own. . . He loved them unto the end” (v. 1).
Love beamed in His eyes, love throbbed in His words,
love dropped at His fingers. His touch was as gentle as
a mother ‘ s. He did it voluntaril_y. Neither law nor
custom required that HE should wash their feet. He did
it of His own free will and choice. It was an expressien
of the reality and depth of His inventive grace and love.
He did it perfectl_y. We may be weli,assurcd that when He
washed their ftzet they would be well washed. All His.New Testament Outlines. 187
words are perfect. “The blood of Christ cleanseth us from
all sin” (1 John 1. 7).
IV. Why He Did It. “I have given you an example,
that ye should do as I have done to you” (v. 15). Let
this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus (Phil.
2. 3-5). Feet-washing is a very delicate business, and must
be done in the Spirit of Jesus, for it is not pleasant to flesh
and blood to have our faults pointed out. There is a way
of doing it that may be more offensive than profitable. TO
rebuke a brother or sister in an unkind manner is like
washing their feet in frozen water, and let us also take heed
that the water is not boiling hot with temper. Let us not
forget that it is more difficult for some Christians to keep
their feet (walk) clean, as in their daily calling they have
more dirty paths to tread, because they are more frequently
in contact with the soiling influences of the world.
Humbling and painful as the work may be, Christ’s
example teaches us that the work at times has to be done.
There will always be those who, like Peter, are ready to
say, “Thou shalt never wash my feet, ” but a little kindly
explanation may turn it into a gladsome experience. But
woe unto those who refuse to accept the blessing offered
through Christ’s humiliation. They have no part with
Him Iv. 8; John 3. 5).
SELF-EXCOMMUNICATED.
JOHN 13. 21-30.
OUR Lord had just been washing the feet of His disciples;
giving them a final example of His humiliation and self-forgetting
service. After this, John tells us that “He was
troubled in spirit. ”
I. The Cause of Christ’s Trouble. “One of you
shall betray Me” (v. 21). The cause of His perturbed
spirit was not the fact that within a few hours He would be.188 Handfub on Purpose.
crucified, but that “one of yozc, ” His chosen companions
and friends, would betray Him. Well He knew that they
were “not all clean” (v. 11). His tender compassionate
heart was troubled, not on account of Himself, but because
of the fearful ingratitude and guilt of that “one” who had
already “lifted up his heel against Him” (v. 18). Think
of all that Judas had seen and heard of Jesus, and of the
place he occupied, and the confidence that was reposed in
him (allowing him to carry the bag), and think also of
falling from such an height of privilege into a hopeless
perdition. He hath no pleasure in the death of the wicked.
“He was troubled in spirit. ”
11. The Token of Christ’ s Love. “When He had
dipped the sop, He gave it to Judas” (v. 26). In giving
the morsel first to Judas, Christ was not only showing to
John who should betray Him, but He was also proving to
the traitor that although He knew all that was in his evil
heart to do, He loved him to the end. Had He not also
washed his feet ? washed off the very dust entracted by
that secret visit to those murderous priests: If Judas, or
any others, will sin their soul to doom, they will never find
any occasion in Him, whose love is stronger than death.
Did the Lord Jesus hope that this humiliating act of
washing the feet of Judas would soften his hard and deceit-ful
heart? If so, how terribly suggestive are the words
which follow: “And after the sop, Satan entered into
him. ” The tokens of a Saviour’s love had no effect in
closing the door of his heart against the entrance of the
Devil. Satan is always ready to take full advantage of
every opportunity. Those who reject the grace of God, in
Christ Jesus, become the willing dupes of the Devil.
III. The Departure from Christ’ s Presence. “He
then having received the sop, went immediately out,
nlzd it was night” (v. 30). He went out, Christ did not.New Testament Outlines. 189
cast him out. He preferred to go out into the night,
rather than abide in the light. He loved the darkness
rather than the light, because his deeds were evil. He
went out ; his choice was finally made. Think of what he
went out from, and what he went out to.
1. Hewentoutfrom THE BEST COMPANY ON EARTH, i n to
the company of God-hating, Christ-rejecting murderers.
2. He went out from THE RULEANDSERVICEOFTHESON
OF GOD, into the rule and slavery of Satan.
3. He went out from THE PLACE OF LIGHT AND H O P E,
into the night of darkness and despair.
4. He went out FROM THE OFFER OF ETERNAL BLESSED-NESS,
into the place of eternal doom.
He apparently did not go out as one in a rage ; he went
out quite orderly, as one who had something of more
importance to do; something of more importance to get.
But in turning away from the love of Christ, at this
particular moment, he was rejecting his last chance of
salvation. Having refused Christ’s place, there is nothing
for him now but “his own place” (Acts 1. 25)-perdition.
Judas may have imagined that his betrayal of the Master,
for thirty pieces of silver, would not seriously affect Him,
as He was well able to save Himself from the hands of His
enemies ; but every betrayer is guilty of the body and blood
of the Lord. The blood of every Christ-rejecter will be on
his own head. “Ye will mot come to Me that ye might have
life” (John 5. 40).
AN INFALLIBLE CURE FOR HEART TROUBLE.
JOHN 14. l-4.
THERE were severa reasons why the hearts of His disciples
became troubled or atfrighted at this time. Judas had left
the company ; the Lord had been speaking of going away,
and had just been warning Peter that before the cock.190 Handfuls on Purpose.
would crow he would deny Him thrice. Our hearts also
may often get troubled when we look at the signs of the
times, or when we Iook within at our own sins and failures.
Heart trouble is a common malady, but the word and work
of Jesus Christ is a perfect remedy. He came to bind up
the broken heart. When Jesus sai8,‘ ,“Let not your heart
be affrighted, ” He at the same time poured the oil of com-fort
upon the troubled waters. In this prescription for a
troubled heart, given by the Great Physician, there are
seven comforting elements.
I. The Power of Christ. “Ye believe in God, believe
also in Me. ” GOD, ME. To “believe in Me” is to believe
in God. “I and My Father are One. ” What a comfort
to a sinful, sorrowful soul to know that He who suffered
and died for sinners has all the authority and power of
Almighty God. “All power, ” He says, “is given unto Me
in Heaven and in earth” (Matt. 28. 18). Trembling soul,
affrighted at your own guilt and at coming death and
judgment, let not your heart be troubled, believe in Him.
II. The Many Mansions. “In My Father’s house are
many mansions” (v. 2.). The “many mansions” is another
way of saying there is plenty of room. The reception
room of the Father’s house is large enough for all, and there
are multitudes of private apartments for the individual
comfort of the redeemed. You may be in straights here
and now ; there may be no room for you in the world’s inns ;
although, like the Master Himself, you may not have
where to lay your head-let not your heart be troubled, in
our Father’s house are many mansions.
III. The Prepared Place. “I go to prepare a place for
you * ” He went to the Cross and the grave to prepare
salvation for us. He went out of the grave, rising from the
dead that He might prepare eterna1 life for us. He
ascended into Heaven that He might prepare a home for.New Testament Outlines. 191
us. The prepared place will correspond with the prepared-ness
of the soul here, by the work of the Holy Spirit. The
measure of our enjoyment of the Kingdom of Heaven will be
according to the measure of our spiritual capacity. Hence
the importance of growing in grace now, and in the
kltowledge of God. The place prepared for the Apostle Paul
would not be quite the same as that prepared for the penitent
thief. Let not your heart be troubled, the place prepared
for ~‘ OU will be in every way exactly suitable to you.
JV. The Coming Again. “I will come again. ” When
He says, “I will come again,” He surely does not mean
death. He who is the Life can never be compared to death,.
Neither did He mean the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit
had not yet been given. He did not die “for our sins.”
He meant what He said, for “the Lord Himself shall
descend from Heaven with a shout,” therefore comfort
one another with these words (1 Thess. 4. 16-18). Let not
your heart be troubled about the loved ones who have
fallen asleep in Jesus, for in that day “them will He bring
with Him, ” and we shall be “caught up together” (1 Thess.
4. 17). Neither let your heart be affrighted at the things
that are coming to pass on the earth, for “He shall reign
till He hath put all enemies under His feet” (1 Cor. 15. 25).
V. The Great Reception. “I will come again and
receive you ,wzto hlyself; that where I am there ye may be
a so. 1 ” To be received by Him is to have the honour of the
Father and of the Kingdom conferred upon us. His prayer
on our behalf will then have its perfect fulfilment, “Father,
I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be r~,iUz
Xc z&ere I am: that they may behold My glory” (John
17. 24). “If any man servo Me.. .where I am, there shall
also My servant be. ” Let not your heart bc troubled
although the world despise and reject you, there is a
glorious reception awaiting you at the Coming of the Lord..192 Handfufs on Purpose.
VI. The Eternal Home. “Where I am, there ye may
be also. ” Meanwhile the mists of earth partly blinds our
eyes to the glories of that place where He is. God bath
exalted Him far above all principalities and powers, and
given Him a Name that is above every name. He is seated
at the right hand of God, crowned with glory and honour ;
and where He is, there His beloved bride shall be, to
behold His glory, and to glory in beholding it. The place
of honour purchased by the Lord Jesus Christ, as the
Redeemer, is to beshared by the redeemed. Let not your
heart be troubled although your circumstances here may
be mingled plentifully with trials and sorrows, all tears
will be wiped away when at home with Him where He is.
VII, The Blessed Assurance. “Whither I go ye
know, and the way ye know” (v. 4). Blessed be His
Name, we know where He is gone, and also the way into His
presence. He is gone to prepare a place for us, and He
Himself is the Way (v. 6). The way to where He is is the .
way of faith in Him. Faith in Him always leads lo Him.
“The way ye know. ” There is a way that seemeth right
unto men, but the end is death, instead of life and glory,
Let not your heart be troubled, the way may at times be
rough and thorny, and narrow, and may seem long, but
five minutes at home with Jesus will abundantly com-pensate
for all the inconveniences of our pilgrim life.
The way ye know, and it should be enough for us that it is
the way.
CHRIST AND THE FATHER.
JOHN 14. 6-21.
WHEN Philip said to Jesus, “Lord, shew us the Father,
and it sufhceth us, ” he was giving expression to the
deepest, the most secret, and mysterious longing of the
human soul. The curious, critical eye can never look upon.New Testament Outlines. 193
the face of God; it is the pure in heart that see Him.
Philip, like multitudes in every age, was perfectly sincere
in his desire, but slow to believe that Jesus Himself was
the visible expression of the invisible God. “He that
bath seen Me hath seen the Father” (v. 9). In this chapter
our Lord dwells much upon this fact, perhaps in answer
to Philip’s request. Christ’s relationship to the Father
can only be understood, in any measure, by thinking
deeply into Christ’s own statements concerning it. The
hypothesis of the Kationalist is of no value in the face of
His own plain declarations. From His teaching we learn
that-1.
He Dwelt in the Father. “Believest thou not
that I am in the Father” (v.10). The home of His soul
was the bosom of God. As a Son He abode in the love
of His Father, delighting in His will. He dwelt in the
Father that He might be ever with Him for the glory of
His Name among men (See 1 John 4. 12-16). .
II. His Father Dwelt in Him. “Believe Me that I
am in the Father and the Father in Me” (v. 11). The
Father, in all the riches of His glorious character, abode
in the Son for the edification and salvation of man. He
pleased not Himself; yea, more, He emptied Himself,
that the Father might be gloried in Him. Being in the
Father, He dwelt in eternal love ; the Father being in
Him, the love of God was thus manifested.
III. He is the Revelation of the Father. He said to
Philip, “If ye had known Me ye should have known My
Father also ; from henceforth ye know Him and have seelt
Him. He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father” (vv. 7-9).
He is the image of the invisible God (Cal. 1. 15). This
is the cause of that halo of glory that surrounds the char-acter
of Jesus Christ, making it unapproachably unique.194 Handfuls on Purpose.
among the sons of men. The revelation of Jesus Christ
on earth w,as’the apocalypse (unveiling) of the Father.
To know Christ in His true inward character is to know
the Father.
IV. His Words were the Words of the Father. “The
word which ye hear is not Mine but the Father’s which
sent Me” (v. 24). This doctrine, in one form or another,
is emphatically declared about ten times in this Gospel.
It is that deep far-reaching truth, which the critics of
Christ and His teaching so often forget or deliberately
ignore. “My doctrine” He says “is not Mine, but His
that sent Me” (chap. 7. 16). “I speak to the world
those things which I have heard of Him” (chap. 8.
26-28). To reject His words is to reject the message
of the Eternal God and Father to men, and to perish in
sin and ignorance.
V. His Works were the Works of the Father.
“That the world may know.. .as the Father gave Me
commandment, even so I do” (v. 31). The Father’s
commandments were the secret motives of His life. Just
when He was about to finish His career of obedience unto
death, He said: “I have kept My Father’s command-ments”
(John 15. 10). He had power to lay down His
life and to take it again, because He had received “this
commandment of His Father.” His wonderful works,
as well as His wonderful words, were manifestations
of the Father’s grace and power in operation through
the Son. “Believe Me that I am in the Father, and
the Father in Me; or else believe Me for the very z~ovk’s
sake” (v. 1 1 ).
VI. His Desire was that the Father should be
Glorified in Him. “Wl,atsoever ye ask in My Name,
that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son”.New Testament Outlines. 19s
(v. 13). That the Father may be glorified He pleased
not Himself, but spoke the words and did the works of
His Father; and now promises to answer prayer in His
Name, that the Father, who is represented by the Son,
might be glorified in the Son, It is surely this Divine
fact that explains the value and power of His Name in
prayer (John 16. 24).
VII. He is the Way to the Father. “I am the Way.. .
no man cometh unto the Father but by Me” (v. 6). To
miss Christ as the Way, the Truth and the Life, is to miss
the Father, for the Father is in Him and He is in the
Father. “This is the true God and eternal life. ” He is
the Way to the Father, because He is the Truth about the
Father, and the very Life of the Father. Christ as The
Way, must be received by faith, as well as Christ the
Truth and the Life. To come to Him as the Way, is to
forsake our own way and to trust in Him as the Truth
and the Life and so come into fellowship with the Father
in Him and through Him (Eph. 2. 18).
VII. To Love Him is to be Loved of the Father.
“He that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will
love him and will manifest Myself to him” (v. 21). To
love the Lord Jesus Christ is to love the Father and to be
loved in a very specia.1 manner by Him. The effect of this
mutual love is a further and fuller manifestation of Christ
Himself as the image of the Father to the heart of the
loving one. What a comfort to know that because we love
the Son of God we are being loved by God, and that that
great love of His can find no higher reward to give His
lovers than a fuller, deeper experience of His Son, Jesus
Christ. Oh, the depths of the riches that are in Him.
How keenly the apostle must have felt this truth when hc
said : “If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him
be accursed at His coming” (1 Cor. 16. 22)..196 Handfuls on Purpose.
LOVE’S REWARD.
JOHN 14. 21-24.
THE words of the Lord Jesus Christ are as fathomless as
His unsearchable nature. “God is Love, ” Christ is the
perfect manifestation of that love. “He that loveth Me, ”
He says, “shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him
and will manifest Myself to him. ” In these words we have
the promise and condition of the greatest spiritual
inheritance that God in Christ Cm bestow upon a human
soul.
I. The Promise. “I will manifest Myself to him.”
The revelation of Himself is the redeemed soul’s greatest
solace. The purpose of the Holy Spirit in us is to take the
things of Christ and show them to us. The quickened
spirit of man must seek and yearn for God. “My soul
thirsteth for God,” said the Psalmist. What Christ has
done meets all the needs of a sinner; what Christ is meets
all the needs of a servant. Philip may have been ignorant,
but he was surely honest when he said: “Shew us the
Father and it sufficeth us” (v. 8). Let me see and know
the true God and then I shall be satisfied. He had not
yet understood that to see Jesus Christ was to see the
Father (v. 9). This is the true God and eternal life.
To meet this deep spiritual need in Philip, Christ mani-fested
Himself to him. What a revelation this must have
been to Philip. See how our Lord answered the somewhat
similar question of Judas (not Iscariot) : “How wilt Thou
manifest Thyself u&o zcs and not unto the world ? ” (v. 22).
The Lord’s answer to this most important question is
pregnant with vital teaching. He will manifest Himself
in the Spirit of the Father to the man that loves Him by
“coming unto him and making His-or Their-abode with
him” (v. 23). This manifestation is not outward, or
external; it is the coming of the Divine life and character.New Testament Outlines. 197
in fresh and fuller power into the inner man. The
indwelling presence of God is the most central, the most
solemn and influential reality with which the Christian
has to do. The craving of a pure heart is to see God. In
times of sorrow, loneliness, weariness, fruitlessness, and
failure, our real need is expressed in one word : “Himself. ”
We cannot possibly make too much of this fact and privi-lege
of grace, that Christ eagerIy desires to manifest
HIMSELF as the Healer of all diseases, the Source of all
fruitfulness, and the Victor in every fight. Whenever
and wherever He manifests Himself, results worthy of
Himself will be accomplished. When He showed Himself
after His passion it was “by many infallible proofs.”
Although the two men on the way to Emmaus knew Him
not when He appeared, yet did He make their “hearts bunt
within them while He talked to them.” When He mani-fested
Himself to Mary, there followed confession and
commission (John 20. 16, 17). When He manifested
Himself to His unbelieving disciples, He first rebuked
them (Mark 16. 14), then when He had showed thetn His
hanis and His feet they were glad, and He breathed on
them, saying, “Receiveye the Holy Ghost” (John 20. 20-22).
The result of His appearing to doubting Thomas was
confession and w,mship (John 20. 26-28). His appearing
to the disciples by the sea shore turned their failure into
great success (John 21). Three times did the Lord manifest
Himself to the Apostle Paul for the purpose of encozlraging
him in His service (Acts 23. 11; 18. 9, 10; 27. 23, 24). To
the suffering and dying Stephen He revealed Himself as the
glorified One (Acts 7. 55). In the light of all this let us
seek to grasp the significance and preciousness of this
promise : “He that loveth Me.. .I will love him, and will
manifest Myself to him. ” The manifestation of Himself to
us is His infinitely gracious way of meeting and satisfying
our every need. But how will He manifest Himself unto.198 Handfuls on Purpose.
us and not unto the world? This brings us to the second
point, namely–
II. The Condition. “He th,at lovefh Me.” T h is
promise of Christ is for ever true, and this simple condition
is for ever availing. Christ will manifest Himself to those
who love Him. It is possible to be wise and scholarly,
faithful and enthusiastic, and yet destitute of that deep joy
and satisfaction which comes through the manifestation of
Himself to the loving heart. Thank God, this greatest of
all blessings is not promised to the learned, or the laborious,
but to the Ioving. “Lovest thou Me ?” was our Lord’s
pressing question after manifesting Himself to His disciples
by the sea of Galilee. The heart must become very sen-sitive
that would receive and retain the image of the Son
of God as revealed by the Holy Spirit. It is love, not
knowledge, that creates capacity for Christ. Intense
loving is more pleasing to Him than deep thinking. He
who loves the Lord with all his heart will live in the con-tinual
vision of His comforting presence and matchless
glory, The condition is love; but tile proof of love is the
“keeping of His words”-or teaching. “He that hath My
words and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me.. .If a man
love Me, he will keep My words.. .He that loveth Me not
keepeth not My words” (vv. 23, 24). John, in his first
epistle, restates this truth very plainly: “Whoso keepeth
His word (teaching), in him surely IS the love of God
perfected” (2. S). The soul in which that love is per-fected
will be honoured with the apocalypse (unveiling)
of Jesus Christ. It was to John, the most loving of His
disciples, that the book of “The Revelation of Jesus
Christ” was given (Rev. 1 I 1). The love of God can only
be perfected in that heart where love answers to love, It
is impossible to keep His words and to grow under His
teaching, as He desires we should, unless there is in us a.New Testament Outlines. 199
growing love and devotion to Christ’s person and work.
In these days of intellectual and moral activity, let us
be diligent to keep our hearts right with God, otherwise
there will be no manifestation of HIMSELF as the sum of all
power, and blessing, and success.
OBEDIENCE.
JOHN 14. 23, 24.
“IF a man love Me, he will keep My words: and My
Father will love him, and We will come unto him, and make
our abode with him. He that lovcth Me not keepeth not
My sayings: and the Word which ye hear is not Mine, but
the Father’s which sent Me. ”
Obedience is the necessary consequence of love.
FRUIT-BEARING.
JOHN 15. 1-8.
ISRAEL, as a vine, was brought out of Egypt and planted
in Canaan, after the heathen had been cast out like weeds
(Psa. 80. 8). This vine, though noble, and of a right seed,
soon degenerated into a strange plant to God (Jer. 2. 21).
But Jesus Christ is the TRUE Vine, brought down from
Heaven and planted in the earth. He was the faithful and
true witness. There was nothing in Him to create a feeling
of “strangeness” or disappointment in the heart of God.
He was true to God, true to His own nature, true to His
environment, and to the sons of men. But the principle
thought here is that, as a Vine, He is true to those who are
associated with Him as branches, so that they might bring
forth fruit. Note the-I.
Source of Fruit. “The vine. ” The branch cannot
bear fruit of itself (v. 4). “Apart from Me, ye can do
nothing” (v. 5, R.T’ .). Impoverished branches in this vine.200 Handfuls on Purpose.
is no evidence of an impoverished vine, for God giveth not
the Spirit with limitations to Him (John 3. 34). All the
treasures of wisdom and knowledge, of grace and power,
are in Him, even the “fullness of the Godhead. ” “From
Me is thy fruit found” (Hosea 14. 8).
II. Removal of the Fruitless. “‘Every branch in Me
that beareth not fruit He taketh away” (v. 2). “If
any man abide not in Me, he is cast forth as a branch and
is withered ” (v. 6). This may refer to those who are
in Him religiously, but not spiritual(y : those who have been
from their birth brought up in the form of godliness, but
who have never known the power and sweetness of His
fellowship. There is an outward rrscmblance. to the vine
branch, but no production of the vine fruit, so the husband-man
deals with it as having no connection with the vine.
Such a branch “cast forth” can do nothing else but wither.
Apart from Christ, there is no saving or preserving power
in man. It is only those whose roots are in the river of
God whose leaves shall not wither (Psa. 1. 3). These
withered branches are gathered, not by the angel reapers,
but by men, who cast them into the fire of testing, and they
are burned. A religious, Christless life will never be of
much use to men, far less to God. Like savourless salt,
they are good for nothing.
III. Pruning of the Fruitful. “Every branch tha,t
beareth fruit, He cleanseth it, that it may bear more fruit”
(vv. 2, 3). There are growths about the Christian life,
as there are about the vine, which do not tend to fruitful-ness,
shoots that show signs of a vigour which is only fit
for the pruning knife. The riches of the grace of God is
seen here in seeking to make the fruitful more fruitful.
Those fit for His service He desires to make more fit. The
process may be painful, to have OUT new-born desires and
fresh efforts nipped off and thrown away as hindrances;.New Testament Outlines. 201
but Hi$will~be:donr. The heart life is to be kept pure by
fait/z (Acts 15. 9). The pruning knife is the Word of God
which is sharp and powerful.. .discerning the thoughts
and intents of the: heart. “Now are ye clean through the
Word, ”
IV. Nature of the Fruit. “Bear much fruit, SO shall
ye be My disciples” (v. 8). That branch is a true disciple
of the vine that bears much of the fruit of the vine. We
are the true disciples of Christ when His character mani-fests
itself in our lives. What the sap of the vine is to
the branch, the Spirit of Christ is to the Christian. The
fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, etc., because the
Spirit Himself is all this, and when He has free access
into our hearts, and full control of them, His own personal
characteristics will appear as fruit in our lives.
V. Condition of Fruitfulness. “He that abideth in
IMe and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit”
(v. 5). The humau side is, “He in me ;” the Divine,
“I in Him.” “The branch cannot bear fruit of itself.. .
no more can ye except ye abide in Me” (v. 4). “In mc, ”
that is, in my flesh dwelleth no good thing, but in HIPJ all
fullness dwells. His grace will bc perfected in US, as we
by faith abide in Him. Constant contact with Him implies
the attitude of continual receptiveness, “I in Him.” To
abide in Him is to abide in His Word, His will, and His
work, then God works in us both to will and to do of His
good pleasure.
VI. Results of Fruitfulness. “Herein is My Father
glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be My
disciples” (v. 8). The results arc twofold: the Father
is glorified, and our true discipleship is proven. It is to
the honour of the husbandman that the tree brings forth
fruit abundantly. It is also to the credit of the tree that
it So proves its good character by its EVOI 1~s. Where there
0.202 Handfuls on Purpose.
is wholehearted discipleship there will be fruitfulness and
a lift glorifying to the l;ather. Fruit is the natural
outcome of a faithful following of Christ, as well as an
evidence of it. The life lived in Christ, and for Him, is
the only God-glorifying life. “Much fruit” means much
love, much joy, much peace, etc.
BRANCHES, DISCIPLES, FRIENDS.
JOHN 15.
THESE arc not empty titles, the Lord Himself is the Author
of each of them, but they arc each conditioned with some-t
h i n g clsc. The first with abiding, the second with
fruitbcaring, the third with obedience. These three names
art: suggestive of three different experiences.
I. As Branches, we Receive. “I am the Vine, ye arc
the branches” (v. 5). T h i s process and privilege of
receiving of the fullness that is in Christ cannot begin until
we as branches have been broken off the old fruitless Adam-stock,
and grafted into Him who is the sr)cond Adam, the
True Vim!. The precious sap of this Vine (Spirit) will
never minister to the pride of the old selfish sinful life.
.But having been planted into Christ, WC: now live by faith
that is in Him. The branch cannot live apart from thr
vine, no more can ye. To live apart from Christ is to be
&ad while we live. “Because 1 1il.c yc shall live also”
(John 14. lg), if yc ;tbidc in MP. ‘Tllc lift> of thcs branch,
thcil, is a life of continztab a~jwo~uiatim. The call of thp
vine to the branch is to take, take, talx. “Let him that is
athirst, take. ” “If any man thirst, let him come unto
Me and drink. ” This receiving of the sap by the branch
was to manifest itself in fruitfulness ‘To be filled with the
Spirit is to be filled with the fruit of the Spirit, as it is
possible to grow apples of different quality on the same
s t o c k , s o , b y the ww S p i r i t thc:rc, may bc diffcrcnt.New Testament Outlines. 203
manifestation, according to the character of the branch.
While our union with Christ is the death of our sinful life,
it is not the death of our individuality. In every Christian
life the whole fruit of the Spirit should be found (Gal.
5. 22, 23), but, as a rule, in the lives of Christians, some
one or two aspects of this fruit arc often found prominent,
this may be partly due to the nature of the’ recipient.
Still, “the wind bloweth where it list&h. ”
II. As Disciples, we FolIow. “So shall ye be My
disciples” (v. 8). In continuing the metaphor of the vine
aql branches here, the idea is, that the branch truly
follows the vine, when it abides in it, and when by the
power imparted to it, it faithfully carries out the purpose
for which the vine had been given. So, by an adherence
to the mind and will of our Lord, and by the bringing forth
of much of the fruit of the Spirit, WC are declaring our-selves
to be walking in His footsteps. “If ye continue in
My Word, then are you My disciples indeed” (John 8. 31).
This discipleship implies a readiness to sit at His feet, like
Mary, and to learn of Him who is the Great Teacher come
from God. It implies also a wil$ngness to believe every
word He says. How can His words abide in us if they are
not received by faith (v. 7). How can we follow His
example if we do not live and walk by faith in the Word of
God as He did. Another mark of discipleship is love one
to another (John 13. 35).
III. As Friends, we Commune. “Ye are My friends.. .
I have called you friends (not patients), for all things that I
have heard of My Father I have made known unto you”
(w. 14, 15). A friend comes closer to the heart than a
servant, “A servant knoweth not what his Lord doeth.”
It is a very sacred and humbling privilege to walk among
men as the friends of JESUS Christ. As His friends, living
in communion with Him, WC become-.204 Handfuls on Purpose.
1. Sharers of His SECRETS. “The secret of the Lord is
with them that fear Him” (Psa. 35. 14). It was of him
who was “the friend of God” that God said, “Shall I
hide from Abraham that thing which I do ? ” The deep
heart purposes of the Son of God arc revealed to those who
live in fellowship with Him. In the light of His presence
they see light clearly. They walk among the gloomy
shadows of a sinful world, with the secrets of life, peace,
and eternal glory in their souls.
2. Sharers of His SYMPATHIES . As a devoted wife
becomes a partaker of her husband’s likes and dislikes, so
does the friend of Jesus, through close contact with
Him, becomes imbued with His thoughts and feelings.
They love all that He loves and hate all that He hates.
They are in real heart sympathy with Him in His desire to
honour the Father, and at the same time to love, and seek
to save, the sinful sons of men.
3. Sharers of His SUFFERIKGS. “The world hated IMe..
because ye are not of the world. ..thcrefore the world
hateth you” (w. 18, 19). Christ suffered because of His
unlikeness to the world. His true friends will fare little
better. Christ suffered in His daily life because of His
sympathy with God His Father, and His separation from
the sins and false conception of His age. The more we
become like Him the more shall we feel the power of those
forces in the world which were opposed to Him.
4. Sharers of His CONSOLATIONS. “For as the sufferings
of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth
by Christ” (2 Cor. I. 5). To be made a partaker of His
sufferings, is to become an heir of His consolations. Such
consolations are neither few not small, good measure,
pressed down and running over. N’hat the Father was to
the Son, the Holy Spirit, the Comforter is to us an ever
present, all sufficient compensation for all the sorrows and.New Testament Outlines. 205
sufferings incurred through our sympathy with Christ, and
service for Him. If we suffer, we shall also reign with
Him, that is consolation indeed.
“I AND YOU.”
JOHN 15. 12-26.
IN this chapter alone Christ uses the first personal pronoun
with studied cm+zsis eleven times. In each case the chief
importance of the words spoken lie in the character of Him
who speaks. In these impressive I’s of His there is the
thought of-I.
Grace. “I have loved YOU” (v. 12). You who
sometime were afar off, but are now made nigh : you who
were once in ignorance of Me, and walked according to the
course of this world. I have loved you with a love that can
only be compared with that love wherewith the Father
hath loved Me (v. 9). “Ye know the grace of our Lord
Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes
He became poor, that ye through His poverty might be
rich. ”
II. Separation. “I chose you out of the world” (v. 19,
R.V.). “The whole world lieth in wickedness” (John 5. 19).
To be chosen of Christ is to be called out of the world into
His fellowship and Kingdom. In this fellowship ye shall
be partakers of His sufferings, for the world that hated
Him will hate you. The Cain-spirit that seeks to slay
those more righteous than themselves is ever with us
(1 John 3. 12). We are chosen out of the world like Noah,
that we might be saved from it, and become witnesses
against it. By faith, like Abraham, we must go out.
III. Friendship. “I have called you friends” (v. 15).
To be called friends by Him who is God’s best Friend is an
honour indeed. Tt was a blessed day for Mordecai when.206 Handfuls on Purpose.
he was declared the friend of the king (Esther 6. 11 I.
Servants have kitchen privileges, but fricvzds have parlour
opportunities. Anywhere in the Lord’s house is an honour
and a blessing, but covet earnestly the best gifts. He will
call yozh friend if ye abide in Him.
IV. Teaching. “is11 things.. .I have made known
unto you” (v. 15). He is the great Teacher come from
God. As He sought to instil into the minds of His disciples
the things that He heard of His Father, so by the Holy
Spirit does He still make known the will of the Father, for
all things are now delivered unto Him, and the Spirit takes
the things which arc His and shows them unto us.
V. Responsibility. “I have chosen you. ..that ye
should bring forth fruit“ (v. 16). Having called His
disciples friends, and having instructctl them in the things
concerning Himself, He expects them to be something else
than mere patients in a doctor’s hands. The love that has
grown into friendship must go on ripening into fruitful
service. A fruitless branch never serves the purpose of the
vine. A barren Christian profession is a misrepresentation
of Christ. “Chosen and ordained to bring forth fruit”
(v. 16). If the fruit of the Spirit is not manifest
in our lives, we are falsifying both our calling and our
ordination.
VI. Brotherly Love. “I command you that ye love one
another” (v. 17). Love is the bond that is to hold His
people one to another amidst the hatred and opposition of
this world. It is His command, His neze, commandment
which is the sum of the whole law. Have this salt of love
in youselves, and there shall be peace one with another
(Mark 9. SO). Not to love one another is an act of
rebellion against the rule of Christ.
VII. Promise. “I will send you.. .the Spirit of
truth” (v. 26). The word Comforter in this verse may.New Testament Outlinea. 207
be translated “Helper.” This promised “Helper” is the
“Spirit of truth. ” This “Spirit of truth the devil-deluded
world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, but He
shall be in you” (John 14. 17). In promising the Spirit,
Christ promised every needful thing for life and service.
He is the Spirit of truth, of grace, of burning, and of
power. What a Helper He is! How fruitless our testi-mony
without Him! “I will send Him unto YOM.”
“Receive ye the Holy Ghost. ”
THE GREAT HELPER.
JOHN 16. 7-15.
THE Lord Jesus Christ is mighty to save a sinner ; the Holy
Spirit is mighty to he& a saint. The word “Comforter”
has been variously translated. The terms “Advocate,”
“Paraclete,” “Helper,” have been used. In Romans 8.
26, we read that “The Spirit help&h our infirmities”-literally
taketh hold with me. The same word is used in
Luke 10. 40, but nowhere else in the New Testament. “Bid
her therefore that she help me. ” The Holy Spirit has come,
as one who is willing and mighty to “take hold with me,”
that I might be helped in doing the will and work of God.
I. The Condition of His Coming. “If I go not
away, the Helper will not come unto you, but if I go, I will
send Him (not it) tinto YOU” (v, 7). Christ had to go,
taking humanity into the character and presence of God,
before the Spirit could come, bringing divinity into the
character and presence of man (Acts 2. 33). The bodily
absence of the Redeemer was to ensure the spiritual
presence of the Helper. The Spirit could not be given till
Jesus was glorified (John 7. 39). The coming of the
Helper was the proof that Christ’s atoning work was
perfected, and that the Father, Son, and Spirit, were all
most desirous that mm should br h,el@i into possession.208 Handfuls 0x1 PUl’pOS%.
of the present and eternal fruits of the saving work of
Jesus Christ.
II. His Mission in the World. “I will send Him
unto YOU ; and He, when Hc is come, He will convict the
world in respect of sin, and of righteousness, and of
judgment” (v. 8, R.V.). While the Spirit’s attitude to
the Church is that of an Helper, His attitude to the
world is that of a Convicter. There are three things the
world needs to be convicted of: Sin, righteousness, and
judgment.
1. “Of SIN, because they believe not on Me” (v. 9).
The great sin of the world, in the eyes of the Holy
Spirit, is unbelief–believing not the Son of God. His
mission is to glorify Christ (v. 14), and the first thing
He does is to convict of the sin of rejecting His Word and
sacrifice.
2. “Of RIGHTEOUSNESS, because I go to My Father. ”
Christ could not go to His Father until He had gone to the
Cross and the grave as an atonement for sin. To go to His
Father, He must rise again from the dead.’ His resurrection
and ascension secures for us that righteousness which His
death for our sins had prepared. He died for our offences,
He rose again for our justification (Rom. 4. 25). On the
Cross He was made sin for us ; now at the Father’s right
hand He is made of God unto us righteousness (1 Cor.
1. 30). This is the righteousness that the world needs,
and that the Holy Spirit seeks to convict it of. Our own
righteousnesses are as filthy rags in His sight.
3. “Of JUDGMENT, because the prince of this world hath
been judged” (v. 11, R.v.). As surely as the prince of this
world (Devil) has already been judged, and brought under
condemnation by Christ’s death and resurrection, so has
every unbeliever. “He that believeth not hath been.New Testament Outlines. 209
judged already” (John 3. 18, R.v.). This is the judgment,
that the light is come into the world, and men love the
darkness rather than the light. The Spirit has come to
convict concerning judgment. All down through these
ages the Holy Spirit has been, as it were, prosecuting the
world, bringing it to judgment, because of its criminal
attitude toward the Son of God. How is this work done?
Does the Spirit use any medium, through which He
convicts the men of the world ? The last clause of verse 7
should surely not be separated in thought from verse 8.
“If I depart, I will send Him z&o you, and when He is
come–unto you-He will convict the world.” It was
when the Spirit had come with power unto Peter, that
the three thousand were “fwicked in their heart, ” on the
day of Pentecost. A powerless Christian, or a powerless
Church will never be successful in convicting the world of
sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. This needed work
cannot be done in any other way, but by the Holy Ghost,
the Almighty Helper.
III. His Mission to the Church.
To the redeemed of God the Holy Spirit has come-I.
As A GUIDE INTO ALL TRUTH. “Howbeit when He,
the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide yool into all the
truth” (v. 13, R.V.). He is the Spirit of truth, because
He has come out from Him who is “The Truth,” in His
person and doctrine. He guides into the truth, because
the Spirit searcheth into the deep t&gs of God (2 Cor. 2. IO).
0 soul, thirsting for the truth as it is in Jesus, receive the
guidance of this heavenly Helper; ask Him, and depend
upon Him to do it. This holy anointing teacheth you all
things and is truth (1 John 2. 27).
2. As A REVEALER OF THE THINGS OF CHRIST. “He
shall glorify Me; for He shall take of Mine, and shall
declare it unto you” (vv. 14, 15). He helpsus all He can,.210 Handfuls on Purpose.
by taking the things that are Christ’s-by right of His
sufferings and death -things purchased for His people by
His own blood: and to declare them, or make them known
unto us, that He might glorify the Son, by filling up
and making fruitful the lives of His redeemed ones (John
15. 8). Blessed Helper, help me to enter into this most
precious inheritance. “All things are yours, for ye are
Christ ‘s. ”
3. As ANEXAMPLEOFSELF-ABANDONEDSERVICE. “He
shall not speak from Himself; but whatsoever things He
shall hear, these shall He speak ; and He shall declare
unto you the things that are to come” (v. 13, R.V.). His
ministry was one of entire self-abnegation. As Christ
sought, through self-emptying, to glorify the Father, so
the Holy Spirit likewise sought to glorify the Son: we
also, through ‘self-renunciation, must honour the Holy
Spirit. The Son of God spake not from Himself (John
14. #), R.V.). Neither did the Holy Spirit, neither
should we. Self-will, and self-wisdom, and every other
form of self-assertiveness, is a usurping of the Holy Spirit.
If we would have the help of the Spirit in our ministry for
Christ, we shall not speak from our own authority, but
whatsoever things we shall hear-from Him-these shall
we speak, and shall declare the things that are to come.
A LITTLE WHILE.
JOHN 16. 16-23.
IN these verses, the words, “A little while,” are repeated
seven times over, as if they were of special significance.
From the fact that our Lord, in explaining the meaning of
them, used the parabolic form, we may infer that different
applications may be made of them (v. 25). “A little
while, and ye shall not see MC. . and ye shall be sorrowful. . ..New Testament Outlines. 211
but I shall see you again, and your heart shall rejoice.. .
and in that day ye shall ask Me no question.” These
precious words may easily have a threefold meaning.
As the
I. Historical. “A little while, and ye shall lzot see
Me. ” It was but “a little while”-a few hours-and
Christ was buried out of their sight, though in a borrowed
grave, yet sealed with the royal signet. The interval
between His death and resurrection was, indeed, to them
a time of “sorrow” and “lamenting, ” but to the world a
time of rejoicing (Luke 24. 17). The world’s feasts go on
more merrily in the absence of the Saviour from sin, but
the Christian can find a feast nowhere where He is not.
“A little while, and I shall see you again, and your heart
shall rejoice. ” Their hearts did rejoice when, after three
days, they saw Him again in resurrection power and glory.
“Then were the disciples glad when they saw the Lord”
(John 20. 20). “They worshipped Him, and returned to
Jerusalem with great joy.” “In that day” they did ask
Him no question. The fact of His appearing to them as
the Risen One was itself the answer to all their doubts and
questionings. He who had power to rise from the dead,
had power to perform His every promise. In a dark and
cloudy day, the relative value of other lights may be dis-puted,
but when the sun breaks out in all his glorious
majesty, there is no questioning his all-sufficiency to meet
the need.
II. Personal. “A little while.. .ye shall be sorrowful
. . .but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice.. .
in that day ye shall ask no question.” The sorrowful
“little while” of His called-out ones is now, while their
Lord is absent, and the world is rejoicing. “In the world
y” shall have tribulation” (v. 33), but His “I will see you
again ” is the hope of his suffering saints. Through tllc.212 Handfuls on Purpose.
gathering gloom we look for the breaking of the day,
when we shall see Him face to face. Just now we may
see as but through a glass darkly; there are many things
that we cannot possibly understand, mysterious move-ments
of the providence of God, and of the Holy Spirit,
that at times sorely perplex our eager spirits, many
things we should like explained. Yes, but “ifi tltat day ye
shall ask Me no quest ion. ” One look into the glorified face
of our redeeming Lord will hush at once every restless
feeling and every anxious thought. So satisfied shall we
be when we see HIM, that we shall not be able to ask Him
any question. So perfect will be our acquiescence to His
will in everything.
“Not a surge of worry, not a shade of care,
Not a blast of hurry moves the spirit there. ”
III. Dispensational. These words of our Lord may
also be prophetic of that time when He will come again,
taking to Himself His right to rule and reign over this
world for which He died. The Church of God is now
passing through its “little while” of sorrow, this is its
time to “weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice.”
In the latter days perilous times will come. But the
Church’s hope lies in His promise, “I will see you again,
and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh
from you. ” She, like a woman in travail, hath sorrow now,
but when THE MAN is born into the zoorld, she shall remem-ber
no more her anguish for joy (v. 21). God’s people just
now are sadly divided and full of questionings, but on that
day when HE shall a$$ear in the glory of His power, as
King of kings and Lord of lords, “ye shall ask no
questions. ” All human questionings are for ever set at
rest in the presence of the glorified Son of God. Angels
ask Him no questions, but it is our great privilege HOW to
“Ask that we may receive” (v. 23)..New Testament Outlines. 213
CHRIST’ S GIFTS TO HIS OWN.
JOHN 17.
1~ approaching this chapter we feel as if we were passing
through the veil into the holiest of all. This prayer of our
Great High Priest, just before He offered Himself upon the
altar of the Cross as the sacrifice for the sin of the world,
is in itself a great unveiling of holy things. Here every
petition is a revelation, every declaration a discovery.
From these-Christ’s own words-we shall note first of all
some of the blessings He has confcrred upon His own.
Observe the-I.
Life of God. “Thou hast given Him authority
over all flesh, that.. . to them He should give eternal
life” (v. 2, R.V.). This eternal life consists in knowing
God and Jesus Christ whom He hath sent (v. 3). To
know Him is to be made a partaker of His nature, to be
,Ldopted into His family as “sons and daughters of the
Lord God Almighty. ” When Christ condescended to take
upon Him the likeness of sinful flesh, God gave Him
authority over all flesh, that He might give this life to all
who believe.
II. Name of God. “I have manifested Thy Name
unto the men whom Thou gavest Me out of the world”
(v. 6). The life and work of Jesus Christ was “the Lord
proclaiming the Name of the LORD, the Lord God, merciful
and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness
and truth. ” In manifesting the Name of God, He was
manifesting His nature. He could truly say, “He that
hath seen Me hath seen the Father. ” But only those given
Him “out of the world” could receive this gracious
revelation. “The world by wisdom knew not God, ”
III. Words of God. “I have given them the words
which Thou gavest Me” (v. S). This thought is frequently
tspresscd in this Gospcf (chaps. 12. 49; 13. IO). Those.214 Handfuls on Purpose.
who have been made alive unto God must feed upon
the words of the Living God. “:&Ian shall not live by
bread alone, but by every r~ord that proceedeth out of the
mouth of God.” Christ Himself is the truth, because the
words He spake were the very words and doctrines taught
Him by the Eternal. Father. “I and My Father are One. ”
One in nature and in purpose, One in will, in deed, and in
truth. “The words that I speak unto you are spirit and
life. ” As He lived by faith in those words given Him, so
shall we. “Believe, and thou shalt see.”
IV. Service of God. “I am glorified in them” (v. 10).
As the Father was glorified in the Son (v. 4), so the Son
is to be glorified in His own. The words of God have been
given us as they were given to Jesus Christ His Son, for a
very definite and gracious purpose, that God might be
glorified in faithful and successful service (v. 4). The
privilege of working for Him is a precious gift. Alas, that
so many should neglect to stir up this gift. How is Christ
to be glorified in us unless there is whole-hearted surrender
to His will and work, as He was to the will and work which
the Father gave Him to do ? Was not this what the
apostle meant when he said, “Christ shall be magnified in
my body, whether it be by life or by death ? ” (Phil. 1. 20).
V. Glory of God. “And the glory which Thou hast
given Me I have given unto them” (v. 22, xv.). What
glory was this that Christ received from God the Father,
and passed on to His disciples.7 Did not this glory consist
in God’s nature and Name, His words and work, which
were given to the Son, and which in grace He has imparted
to His followers? As He is, so are we. There is, besides,
the glory that is yet to be revealed when we shall be with
Him where He is (v. 24). As God gave Him the glory
of Sonship and heirship, so hat-h He given this glory to us
who believe (John 1. 12). The purpose of this manifold.New Testament Outlines. 215
gift is, “that they all may be one, ” even as Christ and the
Father are One (v. 22). What would lx the results if this
glory was really witnessed by the world?
VI. Love of God. “I made known unto them Thy
Name, and will make it known that the love wherewith Thou
Iovedst Me may be in them” (v. 26). Christ hath made
known, and will go on making known the Name (character)
of God, that His nature which is love may be continually
nurtured in us. This He does by the gift of the Holy
Ghost, who sheds this love abroad in our hearts (Rom.
5. 5). It is surely a heart-searching thought that our Lord
should close His great unveiling priestly prayer with this
testimony, that the purpose for which He had faithfully
declared the Name of God was that the hove which God had
for His Son might be in US. Has this grace of the Lord
Jesus Christ been in vain to us? Are we rejoicing in the
depth, the fulhress, and the eternity of this love? Is this
love being revealed to others through us, as it has been
revealed through Christ to us?
CHRIST’ S PETITIONS FOR HIS OWN.
JOIIN 17.
THIS is one of the chapters of which Baster in his “Saint’s
Rest” says, “It is of more value than all the other books
in the world. ” But the veil that is over the heart needs to
be taken away, before the hidden glory can be seen. This
is not a prayer for the world. “I pray not for the world. ”
His cry for the perishing world came out of His agonised
heart while hanging on the Cross (Luke 23. 34). Here
He pleads for those that had been given Him out of the
world. He prayed that they might be-I.
Kept by the Father. “Holy Father, keep them in
Thine own Name which Thou hast given Me” (v. 11). To be
kept ilt Ilis own Name is to be kept in EIis own character.216 Handfuls on Purpose.
and likeness; is to be continually acknowledged and
claimed as His own sons and daughters. They are to br
kept in that 1Vtime which Christ had manifested to them
(v. 6). “The Name of the Lord is a strong tower, the
righteous runneth into it and are safe” (Prov. 18. 10).
II. Happy in Themselves. “Now I come to Thee.. .
that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves”
(v. 13). He who was the “Man of Sorrows and acquainted
with grief, ” was no stranger to that joy which is in the
Holy Ghost (Rom. 14. 17). If His joy had been in Himself
alone, how could He impart it to others? But being in
the Holy Spirit, this He could and did give. The Lord’s
people are not asked to put on a smiling face without
possessing a smiling heart. This holy personal joy is the
joy of true fellozelslzi@ with the Father, and with His
Son Jesus Christ, in the commukon of the Holy Ghost
(I John 1. 3, 4).
III. Protected from the Devil. “I 1x-:3!-, that ‘I‘hou
shouldest keep them from the evil one” (v. 15, 11.v.).
Christ knew, from personal experience, the subtle dangers
that lay in being tempted of the Devil, so He prays here
that we might be kept from yielding to his illuding devices.
“When ye pray, say, Lead us not into temptation, but
deliver us from the evil one” (Matt. 6. 13, n.v.). “He
that is begotten of God keepeth ffirn, and the evi1 one
toucheth him not” (1 John 5. 18, R.v.). While we by
faith keep hold of Him who has destroyed the works of
the Devil, God will keep us by His mighty power from
the evil one.
IV. Holy unto God. “Sanctify them in Thy truth.. .
for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also might be
truly sanctified” (vv. 17, 19, ma&n). As He consecrated,
or set Himself apart for US, Hc: prays that we may be
consecrated (set apart) for Zlim. 1-h says, “A:; the Father.New Testament Outlines. 217
sent Me into thr world, even so have I sent them into the
world” (v. 18). I-It* delivered the same message to His
disciples after His resurrection (John 20. 21). Ye are not
your own, ye are, in the purpose of His grace, separated
unto Himself, “therefore glorify God in your body and your
spirit, which are His. ”
V. Useful unto Others. “Neither pray I for these
alone, but for them also which shall believe in Me through
their word” (v. 20). Then Christ expected that others
would believe on His Name throz#z them; that the “other
sheep” which were not of this little fold, were to hear His
voice “through their word, ” and be brought into the one
flock under the one Shepherd (John 10. 16). Let your
light so shine-that light which He hath shined into your
hearts-that others, seeing the good works of God in you,
may glorify your Father which is in Heaven. He hath
blessed us, that WC might be made a blessing. Let us see
that the Holy One is not limited in His saving grace by our
unbelief (Psa. 78. 41).
VI. United One to Another. He prayed also, “That
they all may be one” (v. 21). There is here a double
union. His request to the Father is that as brethren, they
might be one in themselves, and as sons, they might be
“one irt us.. . as Thou Father art in Me, and I in Thee.”
How blessed Christian fellowship would be, if it resembled
the fellowship that exists between the Father and the Son.
That they may be one as we are, is the longing of Christ’s
heart (Gal. 3. 28). The anticipated outcome of this is,
“That the world may believe that Thou hast seat Me.”
The world still needs to know that love of God which sent
His Son to save it (John 3. 16).
VII. Glorified with Christ. “Father, I will that they
also, whom Thou hast given Me, ?x with Me where I am,
that they may behold My glory” (v. 24). When He
P.218 Handfuls on Purpose.
shall appear, we shall be like Him. Here we are more
familiar with the sufferings of Christ than with the glory
which is now His with the Father; but our afflictions,
which are light compared with His, are working out for us
as His afflictions wrought out for Him, “an exceeding and
eternal weight of glory” (2 Cor. 4. 17). If we suffer with
Him, we shall also be glorified together with Him. Our
eyes have often been dimmed with tears while beholding
His sufferings, but all tears shall be wiped away and every
heart questioning hushed when we behold His glory. We
cannot say of the prayers of Christ, as with the prayers of
David, that “they are ended,” for they are still being
fulfilled. May we, through our sanctified lives, help to
give Him these desires of His heart.
THE CHRISTIAN’S RELATIONSHIP TO
THE WORLD.
JOHN 17.
I. They are Taken Out of the World. “The men
which Thou gavest Me out of the world” (v. 6). The wwld,
as such, is a ruined mass, lying in the lap of the evil one;
being coddled by the illusions and guided by the false
principles of the god of this world; but the followers of
Jesus Christ have in spirit been lifted up out of the whole
thing, as out of an horrible pit and miry clay, and have
been established in the Kingdom of our God, and of His
Christ, which is righteousness, and peace, and joy in the
Holy Ghost. “Ye arc not of the world, even as I am not
of the world, ”
II. They are Distinguished from the World. “I
pray for them : I pray not for the world” (v. 9). As soon
as we become separated in spirit from the world, we come
under a new set of laws in the Kingdom of grace. We are
dealt with as claildren of God, not as the mere offspring of
His creative power. Christ loves His own with a love.New Testament Outline8 . 219
which is peculiar to His own. While He has the love of
pity for the world, He has the love of pleasure for His own.
Because they are in heart for Him, He in heart and power
is for them ; so all things work together for good to them
that love Him.
III. They are In the World. “But these are in the
world” (v. 11). As to their spirit and purpose, they are
out of the world, but as to their bodily presence and
influence, they are still in the world. In the world, but
not of it, even as Christ was (v. 16). In the world, not as
a branch in the vine, but as a light in the darkness; not as a
member in the body, but as a physician in the hospital.
In the world, not as a “man of the world, ” but as a “man
of God” ; not as its slave, but as its victor.
IV. They are Hated by the World. “The world hath
hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am
not of the world” (v. 14). There was no hatred until He
had given them the Word of God. “I have given them
Thy Word, and the world hath hated them. ” This God-given
Word, when received, so revolutionised their minds
and hearts that the world did not know them, and so
contrary did they become to the world’s ways and maxims
that they hated them. The worldly wise and the worldly
prudent cannot receive those precious things which God is
prepared to reveal unto babes (Matt. 11. 25). The /z&red
of the world is a trifling matter to those whose hearts are
filled with the love of God.
V. They are Kept from the god of this World. “I
pray.. . that Thou shouldest keep them from the evil one”
(v. 15, R.V.). He does not pray that we should be taken
out of this world, but kept from the evil one who rules in it.
We need not weary to get out of this world so long as we
can be made a perpetual miracle and monument of His
keeping power in it. We are surely at perfect liberty to.220 Handfuls on Purpose.
claim, for the honour of Christ’s own Name, the daily
fulfilment of this prayer in our own lives. Our beloved
gourds may wither, but His promise cannot.
VI. They are Sent into the World, “As Thou hast
sent Me into the world, even so have I also sent them into
the world” (v. 18). Every Spirit-anointed one is sent to
preach good tidings (Luke 4. 18). As Christ was sent into
the world to seek and save that which was lost, so also are
we. As He was an ambassador for God, so also are we for
Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 5. 20). As He was not sent on His
own charges, so neither are we. As He was in the world,
not on His own account but as a Sent One, so are we. Those
sent by Him will be equipped by Him for the work, as He
was equipped by the Father which sent Him. “As My
Father hath sent Me, even so send I you” (John 20. 21).
VII. They are Indwelt for the Salvation of the
World. “I in them, and Thou in Me.. . that the world may
know” (v. 23). As the Father was in the Son, so the Son
desires to be in us, that the world may know the love of
God. Christ fulfilled, in a perfect manner, all required
of Him, but what miserable counterfeits many of us are.
The Son has given Himself as freely to us as the Father gave
Himself to the Son, that His great love might triumph in
us and through us. As God so loved the world that He
gave His Son, so cloth the Son so love the world that He
gives His Spirit-filltd followers, and for the self-same
purpose. “Christ liveth in me,” says Paul (Gal. 2. 20),
and all the world knows to what a God-honouring result.
The one thing needful that this world needs to know is THE
LOVE OF GOD; not only God’s love to the zeorld, but His
love to His SON, and to them that love Him. “That Thou
hast loved them as Thou hast loved Me. ” May this love be
shed abroad in our hearts, and out through our hearts into
this cold Christ-neglecting world around us..New Testament Outlines. 221
REVELATIONS IN THE GARDEN.
JOHN 18. 1-11.
EVERY circumstance in which Jesus Christ was placed,
somehow or other, became the occasion of a further
revelation of His wondrous character. Wherever He was,
He, in His unique Personality, could not be hid. In these
few verses we see some rays of His heavenly glory breaking
through the dark cloud of His earthly weakness. Here is a
revelation of-I.
His Habit of Prayer. ‘ I Judas. . . knew the place ;
for Jesus oft-times resorted thither with His disciples”
(v. 2). Although Christ possessed the spirit of prayer,
He believed also in the place of prayer. When one gets
familiar with their surroundings, the mind is more free
for intercourse with the unseen and eternal. In the
matter of frequent praying, as well as in suffering, the
sinless Son of God has left us an example.
II. His Knowledge of the Future. “Jesus therefore,
knowing all the things that were coming upon Him, wenl
forth” (v. 4, R.v.). He knew that “all things that arc
written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man shall bc
accomplished,” for the Scriptures must be fulfilled (Luke
18. 31). Our knowledge of the futures must be derived
from the same source. If WE had the faith that Jesus
Christ had in those words uttered by men full of the Holy
Ghost, then would WC bc among those wise men which
discern the signs of the times.
III. His Confession Concerning Himself. “1 am
He” (v. 5). They declared that they were seeking Jesus of
Nazareth. He confessed that He was that Nazarene.
Reproach had been associated with that Name, and Hc
willingly accepts it and bears it. It was as if they said,
“Where is that despised UU_I rejected One ? ” Hc answered,.222 Handfuls on Purpose.
“I am He. ” This solemn “I AM HE” of the Son of God maj
be looked upon as His answer to all who seek Him, whether
through love and mercy, or hate and derision. It is with
Him all have to do.
IV. His Power Over His Enemies. “As soon as Hc
had said unto them, I am He, they went backward, and
fell to the ground” (v. 6). It was good for them that they
had the ground to fall on. The same power that drove them
back might have as easily driven them into Hell. This
manifestation of His power was His last convincing proof
that, apart from His own will, they had no power at all
against Him. “No man taketh it from Me, but I lay it
down of Myself” (John 10. 18).
V. His Love for His Own. “If, therefore, ye seek Me,
let these go their way” (v. 8). These words arc full of
solemn significance, as they reveal Christ’s attitude
toward the powers of darkness and the sheep of His
pasture. He was no hireling to flee when the wolf
cometh. What He here said to His enemies He could
say with a deepex meaning to that “death and the
curse” which was coming upon Him. “If, therefore, ye
seek &ie, let these go their way. ” As our Substitute
and Surety, His chief desire was the salvation of His
people. Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to
every one that believeth.
VI. His Submission to His Father’ s Will. “The cup
which My Father hath given Me, shall I not drink it! ”
(v. 11). He knew the Father’s love too well to refuse even
that awful cup of suffering that was just now being put
into His hands. He was so perfectly at one with the
Father’s purposes that His meat was to do His will and to
finish His work. As the weapons of His warfare were not
carnal, neither are ours, yet they arc mighty, through
obedience to God, to the pulling down of strongholds. -By.New Testament Outlines. 223
His surrender and obedience unto death, He triumphed in
resurrection power. He hath left us an example that WC
should follow His steps.
CHRIST’ S SUFFERINGS AT THE
HANDS OF MEN.
JOHN 18.
HE suffered by being-I.
Betrayed by the Hypocritical. “Judas also, which
betrayed Him, stood with them” (v. 5). He who com-panied
with Christ, and shared the fellowship of His
disciples, now takes his stand among the enemies of his
Lord, and lends his influence towards His downfall. “Woe
unto you hypocrites. ”
II. Defended by the Passionate. “Simon Peter having
a sword, drew it and smote the high priest’s servant, and
cut off his right ear” (v. 10). The Lord had as little need
for Peter’s passion as for his sword. The wrath of man
works not for the praise of God. There is a zeal for Christ
and His cause that must be more painful than pleasing
unto Him.
III. Smitten by the Unreasonable. “Jesus answered,
If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil; but if well,
why smitest thou Me ? ” (v. 23). It is ea.&r for pride and
prejudice to sneer and to smite than to face the truth.
Self-seeking men are ever ready to justify themselves if it
should be at the cost of smiting the character of the Saviour.
But the clouds that would hide the face of the sun cannot
hinder its progress.
IV. Denied by the Cowardly. When Simon Peter was
charged with being “One of His disciples, he denied it, and
said, I am not” (v. 25). The Lord and His cause still
suffers much through the cowardliness of FIis professed.224 Handfuls on Purpose.
followers. There are other ways than Peter’s in denying
Christ. He did it with his tongue; we may do it with
our feet, or by our general conduct. When the act or
behaviour is more in keeping with the enemies of Christ
than with His Word and teaching it is practically a denial
of Him.
V. Shunned by the Self-righteous. “Then led they
J esus.. *unto the hall of judgment.. .and they themselves
went not into the judgment hall, lest they should be defiled,
but that they might eat the passover” (v. 23). Any thing
or place was clean enough for Jesus, but they must preserve
their (supposed) ceremonial holiness. “They strain at a
gnat, and swallow a camel. ” This is what one has called
“putid hypocrisy. ” These, like all other self-righteous
bigots, would seek the blessing without the Blesser ; they
would have the passover without Him who is the Passover
(1 Cor. 5. 7). They are like men crying for light and
closing their eyes to the sun.
VI. Questioned by the Ambitious. Pilate asked three
questions of Jesus, and profited nothing by them : (1) “Art
Thou the King of the Jews ? ” (v. 33) ; (2) “What is
truth ? ” (v. 38) ; (3) “Whence art Thou ? ” (chap. 19. 9).
By such questions the Christ was “oppressed and afflicted, ”
so He “opened not His mouth. ” Men animated by selfish
and impure motives still oppress Him, whose Divinity is
clear as the sun, by their questionings regarding His
character and teaching. He that doeth His will shall know
of the teaching whether it be of God (John 7. 17).
VII. Mocked by the Frivilous. “The soldiers platted
a crown of thorns, and put it on His head.. .and said, Hail,
King of the Jews” (chap. 19. 2). These men of war set
Him who is the Prince of Peace at ,naught (Luke 23. 11).
To them the kingdom of Caesar is everything, the Kingdom
of God nothing, material things impoL tani, but spiritual.New Testament Outlines. 225
things ridiculed and laughed at. Truly they know not
what they do, who trifle with the Person of the Lord Jesus
Christ (Rev. 1. 17, 18).
“I have seen the face of Jesus,
Tell me not of aught beside;
I have heard the voice of Jesus,
All my soul is satisfied. ”
MARY MAGDALENE.
JOHN 20. I-18.
JOHN was that disciple whom Jesus loved, but Mary
Magdalene was surely that disciple who pre-eminently
loved Jesus. She loved much because she had been for-given
much (Luke 8. 2). Behold her-I.
Anxiety. She came “early, when it was yet dark,
unto the sepulchre” (v. 1). The darkness without was
nothing to her who had had the lamp of heavenly love
burning in her heart. Was it only to see the sepulchre she
came ? Was there not a tremulous restlessness about her
feelings that some unusual thing was about to happen ?
II. Disappointment. “They have taken away the
Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they
have laid Him” (v. 2). It never was more blessedly
true than in this case, that our disappointment is God’s
appointment. In search for a dead Lord, she finds but an
empty grave. He is “away” not that she might lose Him
but that she might–to her heart’s satisfaction-find Him.
III. Sorrow. “Mary stood at the sepulchre weeping”
(vv. 11-13). Peter and John, at her report, ran together
to the sepulchre and looked in and returned again to their
own home, but Mary stood, as one bound to that tomb
by the cords of faith and love. So intense were her desires,
and so blinded were her eyes by sorrow, that “the angels.2216 Handfuls on Purpose.
in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the
feet, where the body of Jesus had lain, ” never seemed to
awaken a suspicion in her mind that the Lord was &en.
Ye-s, it is possible to be so overwhelmed with our imaginary
loss that we fail to grasp God’s greatest blessing.
IV. Mistake. “She supposing Him to be the gardener, ”
etc. (v. 15). Even in resurrection power our Lord had
still the Zikeness of sinful flesh. Why did she not know
Him ? The likelihood is that she was so perfectly absorbed
in thought that she was blind to all outward objects-“
Swallowed up with overmuch grief.” The love of her
heart was all right, but the theory of her head was all
wrong. It will save us much sorrow and disappointment
to have a correct creed as well as a devoted life. He was
risen, & He said, but they believed Him not.
V. Discovery. “Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She
$UY& hwsalf and saith unto Him, Rabboni” (Master)
(v. 10). She needed to have her eyes lurned away from
herself and from the grave, to see Him who is the Resur-rection
and the Life. The word of Jesus caught her ear and
sunk into her heart. He called her by her name and
claimed her as His own (Isa, 43. 1). His sheep hear His
voice. No one who ever seeks the Lord Jesus Christ ever
finds a dead or powerless Saviour. The deepest cry of a
living soul is for a living God (Psa. 42. 2).
VI. Boldness. “Touch MC not” (v. 17). She evidently
fell down and was about to embrace His feet, when Jesus
stood back saying, “Touch Me not, for I am not yet
ascended to My Father. ” Another little disappointment
to her ardent heart and another lesson to her that she must
learn to walk by faith and not by sight. No mortal hand
was allowed to to~ucck H&a, who died as the sinner’s Substi-tute,
until He had presented Himself to His Father for
acceptance as our Redeemer and High Priest. Afterwards.New Testament Outlines. 227
every doubting Thomas was invited to thrust his hand into
His side that he might feel the mark left by the spear
wound.
VII. Obedience. “Jesus baid unto her, Go to My
brethren and say unto them., .Mary came and told the
disciples” (w. 17, 18). She tarried in the garden until
she was endued with the power of a great commission.
What a message was Mary’s, the Gospel of Sonship ; “My
Father, andyouv Father, ” in the power of the Resurrection.
Her love is rewarded by being made the first herald of His
resurrection power. “He that loveth Me.. .I will manifest
Mysew unto him. ” The vision of the glorified Christ
makes a willing servant (Acts 9. 6).
DOUBTING THOMAS.
JOHN 20. 24-29.
THAT evening of the first day of the tisr resurrection week
was an ever memorable one. The hearts of the disciples
were full of fear and wonder at the things which had
happened (v. 18). They had met with closed and bolted
doors, for fear of their enemies, to reconsider the whole
situation. But He who died to save them set all their
doubtings and their fears at rest, by suddenly appearing
among them, speaking peace and breathing into them a
foretaste of Pentecostal power and blessing. All Christ’s
acts here are full of significance. (1) He spoke the word of
“Pence” to them ; (2) He revealed Hiw.seZ,f as the Crucified
One (v. 20); (3) He Commissioned them (v. 21) ; (4) He
Endued them (v. 22); (5) He promised them success
in His business (v. 23). Now what about Thomas ? If
Peter was rash with his tongue, Thomas was slow in his
mind (chap. 14. 5). Observe his-I.
Lost Opportunity. “But Thorna:.. .I+W not w i th.228 Handfuls on Purpose.
them when Jesus came” (v. 24). Why he was absent
is not stated, but it is at least suggestive that he was
absent. He must have known of the meeting, but being
incredulous regarding the resurrection of Christ, he
probably had given up all hope, feeling utterly perplexed
and ashamed. In refusing to assemble with His brethren
he only strengthened his unbelief and lost the faith-confirming
fellowship of the Lord. Those out of fellowship
with the body of believers need not expect to enjoy the
fellowship of Christ.
II. Emphatic Denial. When the disciples said unto
him, “We have seen the Lord, ” he said, “Except I see.. .
I will not believe” (v. 25). He was faithless (v. 27).
His heart was hardened against the truth of “the resur-rection.
” His “I will not” reveals the desperate
antagonism that was in his nature. He would walk by
sight, not byfaith. It is little short of madness to set one’s
self against the united testimony of the disciples of Jesus
Christ. The imperious “I will not believe” of the haughty
and prejudiced mind can never make the faith of God of
none effect . “Believe, and thou shalt see.”
III. Humbling Rebuke. Thomas gained nothing but
sadness and separation from his independent attitude. He
did not, however, miss the next meeting of the disciples,
“after eight days, ” for “Thomas was with them. ” Again
Jesus appeared and saith to Thomas, “Reach hither thy
finger. . . and be not faithless, but believing” (v. 27).
He had now, according to the grace of the Lord Jesus
Christ, an opportunity of “handling the Word of Life,”
but as soon as HE comes within touch, the hand of unbelief
is paralysed. What the disciples could not do in a week’s
reasoning, Jesus Christ did in a moment by His Word.
Unbelief is the most shameful of all things when Christ
Himself is seen. How Thomas must afterward have.New Testament Outlines. 229
repented over his treatment of the testimony of his
believing friends. Are we not losing much blessing just
now for the same reason, refusing to believe those who have
experienced a fullness of blessing to which we, in our
unbelief, are utter strangers I May He so reveal Himself
to us that every doubt will be ashamed before Him.
IV. Confession of Faith. “Thomas answered and said
unto Him, My Lord and my God. ” He hath seen, and hc
hath believed, but the blessedness of the man who hath not
seen and yet hath believed could never be his (v. 29).
However, he hath believed, and that with all his heart.
His words were few, but profound, and came from the
uttermost depths of His soul. There was in them a con-fession-

1. Of His DEITY. “My God. ”
2. Of His AUTHORITY over him. “My Lord.”
3. Of his PERSONAL SURRENDER to Him. “fify Lord
and My God. ”
HOW JESUS SHOWED HIMSELF.
JOHN 21. I-14.
AFTER His resurrection no one could see Jesus through
mere curiosity or by accident. Neither Mary nor the two
men who walked with Him on the way to Emmaus knew
Him till He revealed H&self to them. None but disciples
ever saw Him in His resurrection body. The vision now is
a spiritual one; only those who believe shall see the glory of
God in the Person of the risen Christ. “On this wise
shewed He Himself” on that memorable morning.
I. The Time. It was-1.
A FTER A NIGHT OF F AILURE. “That night they
caught nothing” (v. 3). In those days of quiet testing.
Peter got somewhat restless and said, “I go a-fishing. They.230 Handfuls on Purpose.
say unto him, We also go with thee.” They followed
Peter, and they caught nothing. Disappointment and
defeat may prepare us for a new manifestation of the grace
and power of Jesus Christ. To labour without His presence
and blessing is like putting our treasure in a bag with holes.
Failure in business ma.y be a good preparation for spiritual
success.
2. AT THE BREAKING OF THE DAY. “When the day was
now breaking, Jesus stood on the shore” (v. 4, R.V.).
Sorrow may endure for the night, but joy cometh in the
morning when He appears. He was there, but they knew
Him not. There is always the breaking of a new day when
Christ shows Himself afresh to the weary soul. Every
vision of Him is a new and fuller dawning of the heavenly
day.
II. The Manner. Our Lord followed the example
of no man. He had His own unique way of showing
both Himself and His doctrine. He began to reveal
Himself by-I.
LEADING TIIEM TO CONFESSION. “Children, have ye
aught to eat? They answered Him, No!” (v. 5, R.V.).
This was an honest confession of failure. They had taken
nothi?-z~, so they made no attempt to make it look like
something. T&y had nothing, neither for themselves nor
for others, and they said so; and by so doing put them-selves
in a position to be blessed by the Lord. Beware
of misrepresentation and exaggeration. Christ is interested
in our reports.
2. TESTING TEIEIR FAITICI. “Cast the net on the right
side of the ship, and ye shall find” (v. 6). They had toiled
all night to no purpose, and now that the day was breaking
they had given up all hope. But the authoritative voice of
that stranger on the shore, so full of promise, was heard,
and immediately obeved. There is always a ring of.New Testament Outlines. 231
certainty about the Word of the Lord Jesus. To heny it is
to have our hearts tested by it.
3. TURNING FAILURE INTO SuccRss. “They cast there-fore,
and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude
of fishes” (v. 6). They obeyed, and their faith was abun-dantly
rewarded. By this sign which followed, John was
constrained to say, “It is the Lord. ” This is the Lord’ s
doing; John feels that it is so like HIM. Yes, it is just Christ-like
to turn our total defeat into unprecedented success,
through the giving of His Word and the believing of it.
It is in “this wise” that sinners are converted, and fruitless
Christians made wise to win souls.
4. PROVIDING FOR THEIR WANTS. “As soon as they came
to land they saw a fire of coals, a fish, and a loaf” (v. 9,
R.V., nzarg&). Even in His resurrection body the Lord
was not unmindful of the bodies of His cold and hungry
disciples. This is another revelation of His love and care
for His own. It was not, perhaps, a sumptuous feast, but
it was according to His manner as the Shepherd of His
flock, “The Lord is My Shepherd, I shall not zua&.”
“My God shall supply all your need” (Phil. 4. 19).
The Son of God is always before us in His providential
arrangements.
5. HAVING FELLOWSHIP WITH TH EM. “Jesus said unto
them, Come and break your fast… Jesus then cometh
and taketh bread, and giveth them, and fish likewise”
(v. 12, 13). Now, “none of the disciples durst ask Him,
Who art Thou?” None but the Lord Himself could act
in this manner, showing such grace and power. Christ
has a way of giving, whereby He Himself is made known
(Luke 24. 30, 31). He gave Himself for us. The la~l
demands, but the pace of God that has come to us in
Christ Jesus delights to give. It is an ever memorable
experience to have our long spiritual fast broken by the.232 Handfuls on Purpose.
blessings provided for us, and offered to us by Him who
died for us and rose again. Eat, 0 friends! Come and
dine. “Behold, all things are now ready” (Matt. 22. 4).
“IF I WILL. ”
JOHN 21. 15-22.
AFTER they had dined, the Lord showed Himself in another
way to Peter, when He searched the secrets of his heart
with that threefold question, “Lovest thou Me ? ” This
was Peter’s final examination for the Gospel ministry. It
had to do with the heart more than the head. It was a
test of love. There can be no truly educated ministry
without a whole-hearted devotion to the Person of Jesus
Christ. It was because of Peter’s confession of love he
received his commission to serve, “Feed My lambs. ” After
the Lord had signified to Peter by what painful death he
should glorify God, Peter made no protest, accepting it at
once as the good will of God, but he became anxious to
know how John was to end his earthly journey, “What
shall this man do ? ” Jesus said, “If I will that he tarry
till I come, what is that to thee ? Follow thou ME. ” This
reply of Christ to Peter’s question of curiosity is a further
revelation of His unique methods and matchless character.
“If I will, ” This is an I that stretches from the deepest
depths to the highest heights; its arms reach out to all
time past and to the eternity to come. These words of
Christ are a revelation to us of His-I.
Views of Life. His eye was always on the great
essentials of true existence. Hc allowed no place for mere
personal curiosity. “What is that to thee? Follow thou
ME. ” Here is the true centrc around which our lives
should move, and from which they must receive their
guiding and inspiring principles. We must be more
anxious to follow Christ than to contrast our experience.New Testament Outlines. 233
with the experience of others, either in their life or in
their death.
II. Methods of Working. “If I will that HE tarry.. .
what is that to thee?” His dealings with His disciples is
not in any stiff mechanical fashion, not after the rigid law
of uniformity. The wealth of Christ’s wisdom and power
cannot permit of this. Each individual disciple will have
His special consideration and providence. He calleth His
own sheep by name, which means gzatuue, and will deal with
them for their highest good and His highest glory.
III. Divine Power. “If I will. ” What a WILL this is!
What a refuge for the wt’ary trembling soul ! His will is not
a burden for us to carry, but a pillow on which to rest.
Think of the dignity, authority, almightiness, that lie in
these words, like strength in a giant’s limb. He has but
to will and it shall be done, for His will is done in Heaven
and among the inhabitants of the earth. If He wills to
bless thee and keep thee, then thou shall be blessed and
kept. How safe and right our life ii when yicltlcd to
His will!
IV. Abiding Presence. “Follow thou Me.” By His
Word and Spirit, lo, He is with us alway, even to the end
of the age. He has left us an example that we should
follow His steps. “Follow thou Me. ” Is this possible
now that He is risen in newness of life, and seated in
heavenly glory? Yes. It is His z&Z. Whatever is His
will for us is possible to us. Think of the privilege of
following Him whom angels delight to honour, and of the
tremendous $ossibilities associated with such a life.
V. Second Advent. “Till I come” (v. 22). This
is at least the third time in this Gospel that our Lord
definitely refers to His coming again (chaps. 14. 3; 16. 22).
Throughout the New Testament there are something like
603 references to this subject. He has come as a suffering
a.234 Handfuls on Purpose.
Saviour. He shall come as a glorious King. The hope of
the Church is the Cross of Christ; the hope of the world
lies in the .&VW of Christ. When He comes again it will
not be in grace, but to assert His right and reign. “Then
the kingdoms of this world shall become the Kingdom of
our God and of His Christ. ” Blessed hope! This heavy-laden
world, staggering on through the ages with its cver-gathering
burdon of sin and woe into ever-deepening
darkness, shall, at the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ,
be saved and filled with His glory (Heb. 10. 37).
“HE HELPED ME. “
PSALM 116. 3-9.
A P ERSONAL TESTII~IONT.
1. His CONDITION, “The sorrows of death. . . the
pains of Hell.. .I found trouble” (v. 3).
2. His C,ONFESSION. “I was brought low” (v. 6).
:$. His PETITION. “I called upon 1.1~ Na.tnt: of the
Lord” (v. 4).
4. His SALVATION. “He helped inc.. .Hc delivered
my soul.. .mine eyes.. .and my feet ” (vv. 6-8).
5. His RESOLUTION. “I will walk before the Lord”
(v. 9).
6. His CONSOLATION. “Rest, 0 my soul, for the Lord
hath dealt bountifully with thee” (v. 7).
TRANSFORMING GRACE.
1 CORINTHIANS 15. 9, 10.
1. His Past: “I persecuted the Church of God.”
2. His Present: “An Apostle. ”
3. How this great change was wrought: “By the grace
of God. ”.Handfuls on Purpose.
BIBLE READINGS.
235
THE CHURCH, WHICH IS HIS BODY
EPHESIANS 1. 22-23.
THIS is a simple statement, but it reveals a. wondrous
mystery. The Church is the body of Christ. How precious
and beautiful is the thought that every believer-every
truly converted soul–is a living member of the living
mystical Body of Christ, and precious to Him as the apple
of His eye. Being baptised or planted into Christ, we are
made partakers of His Divine nature, and so become heirs
of that eternal life. As members of His body we are part
of Himself. This metaphor is very suggestive.
I. The Church, as His Body, is the Visible Proof of
His Presence. I cannot see your spirit; you cannot see
mine; but our bodies are alike visible. The presence of a
Living body is the evidence of the presence of a living
invisible @it. The world cannot see the invisible Christ
who dwells in His Body the Church, but it can see the body.
It can see you and me. Does C.hrist so live in LIS that our
lives evidence the presence and power of an unseen Saviour ?
Every Jew is a proof that Abraham lived. Every C.hristian
is a witness to the living Christ, as surely as a living hand
proves a living head (Eph. 5. 23-30).
II. As His Body, the Church is Animated by a Divine
Spirit. “You hath He quickened.” The life is God-given.
It is His own life. Because “I live ye shall live
also. ” It is God who dwelleth in you. In every living
human body there is a human spirit. The Church of Christ
is a Divine body and is indwelt by a Divine spirit. Every
branch in the vine must be possessed by the life-sap of the.236 Handfuls on Purpose,
vine. Do we real&e that as members of His body the
source and power of our life is in Him alone ? Just as the
hand is dependent on the head, and waits the energising
of the will, so our spirits depend on Christ, our Head, and
are animated by His Spirit (1 Cor. 6. 17; Eph. 4. 4).
III. As His Body, its Members are all One. The
head controls every member of the body, and each member
is connected with each other because of its connection with
the head. As members of Christ, we are members one of
another, and should have the same care one for another
(1 Cor. 12. 25). There are different functions for the
members, but there are in the sight of Christ, the Head. no
divisions-“all one in Christ. ” Oh, that, as individual
members, we may live and work under the power of this
soul-raising truth–in honour preferring one another
(Iiom. 12. 5; Col. 1. 18).
IV. As His Body, each Member is Dependent upon
the Head. Without the head the body wouId be nothing
but a car upt lifeless corpse. The body exists for the head
and not the head for the body. From the head each member
receives its authority. Child of God, remember this. If
the hand is onablcd to perform any cunning workmanship
it is because the wisdom of the head has been imparted.
HE is made of God unto us wisdom (Rom. 14. 7, 8; Eph.
2. 21, 22j.
V. As His Body, it is Subject to Suffering. Christ
as “the Head once wounded” is now beyond the reach of
the smiter ; but His body, the Church, is still exposed to
scorn and persecution. How sweet to know that the Head
is in deepest, closest sympathy with e&z suffering member.
“Inasmuch as ye did it unto these, you did it unto Me.”
W’ hen Saul was prrsecuting the mmL~ers of His body, Jesus
said tu him, ” LFliy perwcutcst tI;ou .Ife ? ” 0 Christian,
L e a r p a t i e n t l y . I f the head, wlio fwls llit: pang more.Bible Readings. 297
keenly than the member, complains not, whv should the
member? These things may be permitted for edification.
“Tribulation worketh patience” (2 Tim. 3. 10-12; Matt.
19. 29; Phil. 3. 8).
VI. As His Body, its Members are His Instruments
of Service. The body is the servant of the head ; the
Church is the servant of Christ. The head has no way of
working out its purposes but through the body, So Christ,
as the living, thinking Head of His Body, the Church, is
pleased to accomplish His will, and work out His gracious
purposes through the members of His body. What a
privilege ! “Workers with Him. ” “Weapons of righteous-ness
unto God” (Rom. 6. 13, margfn). “Ye are not your
own. ” No; ye are the hands and feet, the eyes and tongue
of Christ. It is God who worketh in you, both to will and
to do. If every member of His body were fully yielded to
His will, what mighty things would be accomplished.
Who could withstand Him? (1 Cor. 6. 15-20; Rom. 12. 1).
VII. As His Body, it is Amply Provided for. Bodies
are often ruined through thoughtless heads, and sometimes
great heads are hindered because of weak and deformed
bodies. It is the work of the head to lay up in store for
the body. What stores of grace and truth, what powers
of sufficiency dwell in Christ for us, as members of His
Body. A withered branch is no honour to the vine. A
powerless, half-starved Christian is a discredit to Christ.
“My God shall supply all your need according to His
riches in glory by Christ Jesus. ” If ye, being evil, know
how to feed, protect, and clothe your own bodies, will
Jesus Christ your Lord not much more care for His ? “0
ye of little faith” (Matt. 6. 32; Phil. 4. 6; Psa. 34. 9-10).
VIII. As His Body, the Church cannot see Cor-ruption.
The Body of Jesus, which was a type of His
Church, was abused, bruised, and broken. but it did not.238 Handfuls on Purpose.
see corruption. The Church as His body may be marred
and outwardly weak, but is indwelt by the Spirit of God.
Just as surely as the Boll_\! of Jesus was glorificad on the:
mount of transfiguration, so surely s!lall His body, the
Church, be transformed with resurrection beauty and
filled with the glory of Gocl. He, as the Head of the Body,
has already ascended. The body, which is still on earth,
will likewise one day be “caught up.” “We shall not all
sleep (die), but we must all be changed. It dot11 not yet
appear what we shall be, but we know that when He shall
appear we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as I-it‘
is” (Cal. 1. 21, 22; Eph. 5. 27; Cant. 4. 7; .Judki 24, 25).
WALK WORTHY OF THE LORD.
“TEACH me, 0 Lord, the way of Thy statutes, and I shall
keep it unto the end. Give me understanding, and I shall
keep Thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart.
Make me to go in the path of Thy commandments ; for
therein do I delight. Turn mine eyes from beholding
vanity; and quicken Thou me in Thy way” (Psa. 119.
33-37). “It is God who worketh in you both to 7edl and to
do” (Phil. 2. 13).
I. The Christian Life as a Walk, It implies–
1. PILGRIMAGE. Here we have no continuing city ; WC
are pilgrims and strangers on the earth: sojourners with
the Lord (Lev. 25. 23). Our citizenship is in Heaven.
2. SELF-DENIAL. “If any will come after Me,” said
Jesus, “let him deny himself” (Matt. 16. 24). Must
be prepared to give up the riches, pleasures, and honours
of the world, to find our all in Himself.
3. SE P A R A T I O N (Col. 3. 1, 2). If w be risen with
Christ our affections are risen out of the world with Him..Bible Readings. 239
Outside the camp ; not of the world. “Transformed by the
renewing of your mind” (Rom. 12. 2).
4. SUFFERING (1 Peter 2. 20, 21). If any man will
live godly he must suffer. The world which hated Christ
will not love His friends (John 15. 15-19). Here we have
fellowship with His suffering; by and by with His glory.
5. PROGRESS. We cannot be standing still while we
are walking. “The path of the just is as the shining light,
shining more alzd more unto the perfect day. ” The sphere
of this walk is in the heavenlies. We mount up as on
eagle wings ; then, when we are up, we run and are not
weary, walk and are not faint. Don’t believe in the
coming-down theory.
II. The Christian’s Companion in the Walk.
It has been said, “A crowd is not company: one good
companion makes good company. ” We have-1.
A DIVINE COMPANION (2 Cor. 6. 16). While sccptics
are crying out, “Where is God ? ” the Christ.& is walking
with Him day by day.
2. AN ALMIGHTY COMPANION (Gen. 17. 1). Surely these
words should hush every doubt, silence every complaint,
and calm every fear.
3. A PLEASANT COMP.~NION (Amos 3. 3). The pleasures
of companionship depend largely upon our oneness of
purpose and feeling. What a blessing to be agreed with
God-one in heart and purpose.
4. AN EVER-PRESENT COMPANION (Psa. 116. 9). “Lo,
I am with you always. ” “I will never leave thee, nor
forsake thee. ” He is “a present help in the time of need”
(Psa. 46. 1).
5. A CLOSE COMPANION (2 Cor. 6. 16). No earthly frientl
can be so&near as He. Not only does He walk with us, but
He dwells in us..240 Handfuls on Purpose.
6. A FAITHFUL COMPANION (Heb. 11. 5). He takes His
companions with Him. “Where I am, there shall My
servants be. ” He is a Friend that loveth at all times.
7. A COMFORTING COMPANION (Psa. 23. 4). He knows
how to speak a word to him that is weary. His rod
and staff-strange comforters in the eyes of the world-comfort
us.
8. AN EXEMPLARY COMPANIOK (1 -John 2. 6). We are to
walk as He walked. How did He walk? He walked by
faith, and always did those things which pleased the
Father.
III. The Manner of the Christian’s Walk.
1. IT SHOULD BE BY FAITH (2 Cor. 5. 7). We received
Christ Jesus by faith, and we are to walk in Him as we
received Him. It is neither by sight nor feeling, but by
faith, as He walked.
2. IN N EWNESS OF LIFE (Rom. 6. 4). As risen with
Christ, we are to show forth this newness of life by seeking
those things which are above, and turning not back to the
sins of the old life (2 Peter 1. 9).
3. WITH HUMILITY (Micah 6. 8). If we continually
realise with whom we walk, it will surely constrain us to
“walk in the fear of the Lord,”
4. IN THE SPIRIT (Gal. 5. 16). The best way to keep
tares out of the bushel is to fill it with wheat. Abide by
the law of the Spirit and you will not fulfil the lusts of
the flesh.
5. IN HIS TRUTH (Psa. 86. 11). According to the truth
of God. Jesus Christ Himself is the Truth ; let His Word
dwell in you richly.
6. IN LOVE (Eph. 5. 2). If we walk with Him who
loved us and gave Himself for us, it much becomes us to
walk in love..Bible Readings. 241
7. IN WISDOM (Col. 4. 5). This is needed, when we
remember those who are without, and how they watch our
steps and read the book of our lives.
8. WORTHY OF GOD (1 Thess. 2. 12). That is, worthy
of God who is calling you and walking with you. One
false step might bring His Holy Name into dishonour.
“Hold Thou up my goings” (Psa. 17. 5).
IV. The Privileges of the Christian Walker. He is-1.
RECONCILED (Amos 3. 3). There can be no fellow-ship
without agreement. Justified, and at peace with
God. Old things have passed away.
2. CLEANSED (Isa. 35. 8, 9). Only the clean can walk
the way of holiness. The path of the redeemed is the path
of righteousness. Abiding with Him, His blood keeps
cleansing (1 John 1. 9).
3. INDWELT (2 Cor. 6. 16). Possessed by Him with
whom we walk. Blessed mystery; a secret the unrenewed
cannot know.
4. ILLUMINED (Psa. 84. II). Not only walking in the
light of His favour, but having the light of the knowledge
of God shining in the heart. Children of the light.
5. DELIVERED from fears, from iniquity (Psa. 119. 3-45).
In His good company we are saved from much bad company.
6. COMFORTED (Acts 9. 31). The comforting Spirit
walks with those who walk with God, taking the things of
Christ and showing them to them.
7. HAPPY (Psa. 128. 1). Happy is every one who
walketh in His ways. His ways are ways of pleasantness.
Miserable, says the wicked spirit. Happy, says the Holy
Spirit.
8. HO N O U R E D (Rev. 3. 4). They that walk in the
light shall walk in white. They journey to a land where
there is no night. Shall they weep again ? No, never ;
but shall reign with Him for ever (Rov. 20. 5)..242 Handfuls on Purpose.
FOR CHRIST’ S SAKE.
OUR prayers usually end with these words, “For Christ’s
sake. ” We desire that God should look upon the face of
His Beloved Son, and deal with us according to the merit
of our Suffering Substitute. But this is onIy one side of
this great truth. God also desires ws to look upon the face
of His Son, and for Christ’s sake, suffer, serve, and glorify
the Father. This is the true motive for Christian life and
work. How much will a mother suffer for her child’s sake?
For Jonathan’s sake, David was willing to bless the house
of Saul. For Christ’s sake WC arc to-I.
Forgive. “Forgiving one another, even as God for
Uzrist’s sake hath forgiven you” (Eph. 4. 32). God for
Christ’s sake hath forgiven us, so we for Christ’s sake arc to
forgive others, even until seventy times seven (Matt. 18.
21, 22). It is so Christlike to have compassion and pity,
and a heart ready to bless and forgive (see Cal. 3. 12, 13).
For His sake we are to–
11. Serve One Another. “Ourselves your servants fov
Jesus ’ sake” (2 Cor. 4. 5). The Son of Man came not to be
served, but to serve, and to give His life; so he that will be
chief among the followers of Christ will be the servant of all.
Paul gloried in this, that he “made himself servant unto
all, that he might gain the more” (I Cor. 9. 19). The
service of each member, when done for “Christ’s sake, ” is
done for the good of the whole body, not otherwise. Men-pleasers
add nothing to the perfecting of the Body of
Christ. For His sake we are to be–
111. Always Delivered unto Death. “We which live
are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the
life also of Jesus might be manifested in our mortal flesh”
(2 Cor. 4. 11). For His sake self is to be continually
surrendered unto death, “Killed all the day long,” that
the life of the now glorified Jesus might be manifested in.Bible Readings. 243
us. Only those save their lives who lose them for His
sake (Matt. 10. 39). The seemingly painful and death- like gloom of such an experience may cause some to fear
this entire abandonment of self unto death ; but dying for
His sake is the way into the liberty and power of His risen
life. For Christ’ s sake the martyrs faced the sword, the
flaming fagots, and the floods, and entered into rest. If
we suffer for Him, we shall also reign with Him. The
muffled cry of the Christ-despising is still, “Save thyself
and come down from the Cross.” Let our answer be, “I
am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I,
but Christ. ” For Christ’ s sake we should-IV.
Take Pleasure in Afflictions. “I take pleasure in
infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions,
in distresses_for Christ’ s sake; for when I am weak, then am
I strong” (2 Cor. 12. 10). Wherever Christ is, there is
salvation and the restfulness of Heaven ; therefore bring
Him into all your “infirmities, ” “reproaches, ” “neces-sities,
” “persecutions,” and “distresses. ” This is part
of our inheritance in Christ, for “it is given unto us, not
only to believe, but also to suffer for His sake” (Phil. 1.29).
For His sake we are to-V.
Strive Together in Prayer. “I beseech you
brethren for the Lord Jesus Christ’ s sake.. . that ye strive
together with me in your prayers to God for me” (Rom.
15. 30). As Christians we may differ in many things, but
surely we may all agree in this, that for the Lord Jesus
Christ’ s sake we will pray for one another. Yes, there
are sharp and ugly crooks in some disciples’ characters,
but for His sake we ought to strive together in prayer’ .
The full depth of the possibilities of prayer has never yet
been fathomed. For His sake we must also-VI.
Labour Patiently. “I know.. . thou hast borne,
and hast patience, and for My Name’ s sake hast laboured,
..244 Handfuls on Purpose.
and hast not fainted” (Rev. 2. 3). A fitful worker is as
untrustworthy as a fitful lover. It is easy to lose patience,
and to faint when the labour is not directly “for His
Name ‘ s sake. ” The secret of perseverance and victory lies
in doing all as unto Him. The work given us to do is HIS
work, and must be done in His Name, and for His sake.
Therefore, for His sake labour patiently for the salvation
of the lost, and the sanctification of the saved. “Consider
Him.. .lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. ”
“I will not work my soul to save;
That my Lord hath done,
But I will work like any slave
For the sake of God’ s dear Son. ”
Moreover, we must be willing for His sake to be-VII.
Counted Fools. “We are fools for Christ’ s sake”
(1 Cor. 4. 10). In the eyes of the world a fool is one who,
perhaps through mental weakness, is incapable of entering
into the business and pleasures that engross the multitude,
and whose mind is occupied, perchance, with some trivial,
worthless thing; or he is a man with a strong self-will that
is constantly leading him into difficulties and disappoint-ments.
Those who arc fools for Christ have a business, and
pleasures, and prospects, that Christless eyes have never
seen. Fools, because they hold lightly the material, and
grasp with firm hand the eternal. The things of the
Spirit of God are foolishness to the natural man (1 Cor.
2. 14). To die to live, is wiser than to die to be lost.
YOUR MASTER.
“ONE IS YOUR MASTER, CHRIST” (Matt. 23. 8).
“WHAT kind of a master have you ? ” asked an Irish tramp
of a farm servant, who was busy in the field. “He is a
good master when you give him all his own way. ” “Och,
sure, so is the Devil,” was his comment. Rut although.Bible Readings. 245
you do give the Devil all his own way he never can be a
good master; but give the Lord Jesus Christ His own way,
and you will find Him the Good Master, and His service the
best and sweetest of all. His will is the only true and
lasting good ; to be in it is to be in the best of all environ-ments,
and the surest and safest way to abiding peace and
eternal success. “Good is the will of the Lord.” “Ye
call Me Master.. . and so I am. ” What about the servants ?
I. The Servant’ s Relationship. “You are not your
own, for you have been redeemed at infinite cost” (1 Cor.
6. 20, Weymouth). His servants have been bought with a
price, the value of which is for ever beyond the grasp of
man ‘ s finite mind. It does not become those bought with
His blood to be servants of men (1 Cor. 7. 23). Redeemed
by Him, and for Him, “therefore glorify God in your body
and in your spirit, which are God ‘s. ”
II. The Servant’ s Motive. “I love my master.. .I will
not go free” (Esod. 21. 5). The experience of this
Hebrew is that of all those who have yielded themselves
heartily to the service of Jesus Christ, they fall in love with
their Master, and count His service the greatest liberty and
sweetest delight. The love of Christ constraineth us. We
love Him because He first loved us. Love is the fulfilling
of the law, not duty.
III. The Servant‘ s Work. “The Son of Man.. .gave.. .
to every man his work” (Mark 13. 34). “To each one his
special duty” (Weymouth). The Son of Man does not lay
upon every servant the same task; the gift of work is
according to the character of the vessel, or the ability of
the worker. A vessel made meet for the Master’s use will
be put by Him to the highest possible use. Let us not say
“What can I do? ” but “What wilt Thoti have me to do?”
“Christ is over His own house ; whose house are we ? ”.246 Handfuls on Purpose.
(Heb. 3. 6). Therefore the ordering of the vessels and the
service is in His hands. “What is that in thine hand ? ”
IV. The Servant’ s Supply. “He called his ten ser-vants,
and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them,
Occupy till I come” (Luke 19. 13). When He gives the
work, He gives the power to carry it out. Each servant
received his pound, and each pound meant a Pentecost ; it
was an enduement with power, to occupy his place till he
should come again. “The manifestation of the Spirit is
given to every man to profit withal.” Let us take heed
that we are trading (serving) with His gift (Holy Spirit.)
and not depending on our own acquirements, to the neglect
of His pound and the ruin of our own testimony.
V. The Servant’ s Encouragement. “Lo, I am with
you alway, even unto the end of the age” (Matt. 28. 20).
This is not only the promise of His presence, it is the
assurance of His co-operation. “The Lord is with thee..
go in this thy might” (Judges6. 12-14). As servants, we
are His property, to do His work, using His means and
enjoying His presence and help. In this holy service we
have nothing that we have not received, but in this lies the
secret of our confidence. We take His yoke upon us, and
so learn of Him who walks in the yoke with us (Phil. 4. 13).
VI. The Servant’s Reward. “~Vcll done, good and
faithful servant. ..rnter thou into the joy of t/zy Lord”
(Matt. 25. 21). As ye have shared your Master’s service
and sufferings, ye shall also be sharers of His joy. In His
right hand there are pleasures for evermore (Psa. 16. 11,
H.V.). None shall pluck us out of this hand. Rut the
servant of Jesus Christ has a mighty reward nou, as well as
awaiting him, for the Spirit of God is in him, and the
honour of the Father upon him, as well as the joy of the
Lord before him. Eternal life is a gift, but it is the over-comers
who sit with Him 1.~1 His tlnonc (Rev. 3. 21). This.Bible Readings. 247
reward is not for ‘being saved, but for being faithful
servants and sufferers for His sake. “If WC: suffer we shall
also reign with Him. ”
HINDRANCES TO PRAYER.
„THAT YouR maws m wn mi-mm*~” (1 Peter 3. 7).
THERE is surely something wrong when we sow much in
prayer and bring in little reward. That your prayers 1.x:
not hindered, sea that ye-I.
Love the Lord. “Delight thyself also in the Lord,
and He shall give thee the desires of thinc heart” (Psa.
37. 4). Is thy heart right with God ? It is the nature of
love to seek Himself, and to those who love Him hath Hc
promised to manifest Himself. Delight also in His Word
if your petitions are to be unfettered in their approach
(John 15. 7).
II. Confess Sin. “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the
Lord will not hear me” (Psa. 66. 18). Sin discovered in
the heart, and unconfessed before God, remnius a barrier to
prayer. Such sins hide His Eacc from you that He will not
hear (Isa. 59. 1, 2). The Lord look&h upon the heart,
there must be no secret controversy there with Him-no
traitor in the camp. It is not a question as to what others
may think of me. If I regard iniquity there, then I must
deal with it if I would prevail with God.
III. Put away Idols. “These men have set up their
idols in their heart.. .should I be inquired of at all by
them” (Ezek. 14. 3). An idol is anything that is set up in
the forefront of our affections, taking the place of God.
Seen or unseen by men, it is erected before His face. It
may take the form of Pleasure, Fashion, Friends, Business,
Sin, or Self. There is no room in tiw h-art for an idol and
the Holy Spirit. The heart must bc cleansed if the spirit
of prayer is to prevail..248 Handfuls on Purpose.
IV. Deny Self. “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye
ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your pleasures“
(Jas. 4. 3, R.v.). The desire after our own personal
pleasure strangles multitudes of prayers. The petitions
are right in themselves when we plead for wisdom, power,
grace, or the salvation of our friends; but if our motive is
OUY own fleasure, we ask amiss. Has not our Lord said,
“If any man would come after Me (in prayer), let him deny
himself ? ” God still hides many things from such “wise
and prudent ” self -seekers.
V. Be Steadfast. “But let him ask in faith, nothing
wavering; for he that wavereth.. .let not that man think
that he shall receive anything of the Lord” (Jas. 1. 6, 7).
There is no stability about a wave; it is utterly purpose-less,
being driven about with the wind, a creature of
mere circumstances. The prayer of persevering faith
storms the fort of blessing. A prayer may be like a wave
tossed up against the throne of God, through the force of
some tempestuous trial, but this is not a wavering ptayer.
“All things, whatsoever ye ask in prayer, believing, yc
shall receive. ”
VI. Consider One Another. “Likewise, ye husbands
. , .giving honour unto the wife as unto the weaker vessel,
and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your
prayers be not hindered” (1 Peter 3. 7). What is true of
husbands is true also of wives, and, in a great measure, of
sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, and of the whole
household of faith. They are “heirs togrther of the grace of
life” (1 Peter 3. 7). All one in Christ Jesus, and the lack
of giving honour one to another, especially the weaker
vessels, acts as an hindrance to prayer, because it is a
grieving of the Holy Spirit, and a dishonouring of the
Father’s love and the Saviour’s redeeming grace. flgree-med
with one another is a powerful condition of prevailing.Bible Readings. 249
prayer, so much so that, “If two of you shall agree on
earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall
be done for them of My Father which is in Heaven”
(Matt. 18. 19). ___..
LIFTED.
‘ WHEN THEY C A S T THEE DOWN, THEN THOU SHALT SAY, TH E RE
IS LIFTING UP” (Job 22. 29).
YES, thank God, although we may at times be cast down,
and our characters almost dismantled by merciless hands,
we can still hope in God, for His hand is not shortened
that it cannot save, we can confidently say, “There is
lifting up. ”
I. The Need. In Luke 13. 11 we read of a poor woman
who had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was
bowed together, and could in NO wise liyt UJ!J herself. Such
were some of us, “bowed together” by the love of the
world that we could in no wise lift ourselves above it, and,
like the publican, we could not lift up so much as our eyes
unto Heaven. At that time without strength.
II. The Lifter. “But Thou, 0 Lord, art…the Lifter
up of my head” (Psa. 3. 3). When the head is lifted
above the whelming flood, the life is saved. Man in his
helplessness and guilt needs such a lift that only God in
His infinite mercy and power can give. Christ is not only
the Breaker up of the sin-closed way, but the Lifter of the
sin-bound head (Psa. 27. 6).
III. The Provision. “I, if I be lifted up from the earth
will draw all men unto Me” (John 12. 32). Our Almighty
Lifter had Himself to be lifted on the Cross, lifted from the
grave, and lifted to that throne that is “high and lifted
up, ” that He might be the Lifter up of His people. His
love is an uplifting power: “Thou hast loved my soul out
of the pit of corruption. ”
R.250 Handfuls on Purpose.
IV. The Condition. Those whom He lifts up are
described as being needy. “He raiseth the poor out of
the dust, and lift&h the needy out of the dunghill” (Psa.
113. 7). It belongs to the character of God to choose the
weak things, and to exalt the lowly. His mercy seeks the
guilty, His power the weak, His wisdom the ignorant, and
His love the lost. Again, He lifts up the hzrmble. “Humble
yourselves in the sight of God, and He shall lift you up”
(James 4. 10). He that exalt&h himself shall be abased,
but he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. Wherever
there is true humbling of ourselves before God, His mighty
uplifting hand will be manifested in due time (1 Peter 5. 6).
V. The Manner. The Lord took Peter’s wife’s mother
“by the hand and lifted her up” (Mark 1. 31). Ezekiel
the prophet says, “So the Spirit lifted me up and took me
away” (chap. 3. 14). There is still lifting up by the hand
of faith and by the Spirit of power. It is the Spirit that
quickeneth the whole man, lifting the entire character into
the upper regions of faith, where as on eagles’ wings WI:
can run and walk without growing weary or faint.
VI. The Results. There is-1.
The uplifted FACE of reconciliation. “Then thou
shalt have thy delight in the Almighty, and shal1 lift up
thy face unto God” (Job 22. 26). Once afar off, with
face earthward and Hellward, but now Godward.
2. The uplifted HEAD of confidence. “Lift up your
heads, for your redemption draweth nigh” (Luke 21. 28).
Saved from all fear amidst the perilous times of the later
days, when men’s hearts are failing them for fear when the
powers of Heaven are being shaken.
3. The uplifted HANDS of supplication and consecration.
“I will lift up my hands in Thy Name” (Psa. 63. 4).
Hands that used to hang down in feebleness and idleness.Bible Readings. 251
now lifted up in holy intercession for others, and offered as
empty hands to God to be filled for His service and glory.
4. The uplifted VOICE of praise and testimony. “They
shall lift their voice, they shall sing…they shall cry
aloud” (Isa. 24. 14). The ransomed of the Lord shall
return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy
upon their heads. Cry aloud, and shout, thou inhabitant
of Zion, for the Lord hath done great things for thee. Say
to those who are cast down, or who are wallowing hopelessly
in the sinking mire of sin : “THERE IS LIFTING UP. ”
THE TABERNACLE OF GOD.
EXODUS 40. 17-35.
LET us think of-I.
The Meaning of It. Everything here is typical of
things spiritual. Paul, in his epistle to the Hebrews,
speaks of them as “The shadow of heavenly things, ” “The
patterns of things in the heavens, ” “The figures of the true”
Those blind to spiritual things can see neither beauty nor
meaning in this wonderful arrangement. It was God’s
own picture to His people of “good things to come. ” Open
Thou mine eyes to behold wonderful things here in Thy
Tabernacle.
II. The Purpose of It. It was to be a sanctuary for
God, that He might dwell among them (Exod. 25. 8). God
so loved His people, whom He had redeemed, and delivered
from the bondage of Egypt, that He desired a place for
Himself, that His presence might abide with them. Does
He not still desire to abide in every soul whom He hath
saved by His grace? Then I& us make Him a sanctuary
in our own hearts, that He may dwell with us. “Ye are
the temple of God. ”
III. The Time of its Setting Up. “In the first month,.252 Handfuls on Purpose.
on the first day of the month, the tabernacle was reared
up” (v. 17). Is it not significant that this House of God
was to be set up on “New Year’s day?” Does not this
indicate that it was to be a nezv beginning for them? They
were to begin the year with God in their midst-as a
Pilgrim with them. The only new start worth making is to
begin with God. If He is with us, then certainly prosperity
in the highest sense will follow.
IV. The Structure of It. The manner of its get-up was
simple, yet everything had to be made and set in order
according to the pattern shown to Moses on the mount.
The sockets, which formed thcfotindation (v. 18), were of
solid silver, made from “atonement money” (Exod 38),
so that these golden boards actually stood upon that which
represented “Redemption”-the price of souls. Like this
Tabernacle in the wilderness, the “Church of God” has no
other standing than on that which has been paid (the blood
of Christ) as a ransom for the soul. These boards, built
upon the sockets of “Ransom, ” and “fitly knit together, ”
and strengthened by the “bars thereof“-as encircling
arms of power-represent our standing in Christ, and our
union one with another within the everlasting arms of
Divine strength and faithfulness.
V. The Contents of It. The Tabernacle was divided
into three parts : “The Holiest of all, ” “The Holy Place, ”
and the “Court. ” In the “Holiest” was put the Ark which
contained the law, the lid of which formed the “Mercy-seat,
” where God promised to meet with them (vv. 20, 21).
Christ has covered the broken law, and formed a mercy-seat
for us. Then, in the “Holy Place” there was the Table
with its bread, meaning fellowship with God in Christ. The
Calzdlestick, with its branches (v. 24), which speaks of
testimony in the power of Christ. The Golden Altar
(vv. 26,27), with its sweet incense, speaking of acceptable.Bible Readings. 253
prayer in the Name of Christ. Then outside the door of the Holy Place stood the “A Ztar of burnt-offering”-the place
of sacrifice, indicating that thefivst need of the people in
their approach to God was Atonement (v. 29). The altar
points to the Cross of Christ. Between the Altar of
Sacrifice and the door of Communion, they set the Law
(v. SO), with its water for cleansing, teaching the need of
the Holy Spirit’ s cleansing by the Word of Christ. There
must bc Substitution before true fellowship with God.
VI. The Glory of It. “The glory of the Lord filled the
Tabernacle ” (v. 34). The glory of it was the wxznifest
presence of God. As it was with the Tabernacle, so was it
with the lift and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. It was
crowned with a supernatural manifestation. He showed
Himself alive by many infallible proofs (Acts 1. 3). When the glory of His Holy Presence is seen, then men feel like
Moses, “Not able to enter in” without atoning blood.
BACKSLIDING.
HEBREWS 3. 12.
1. The Subjects. “Take heed, bvethew ! ” Only those
who have been made nigh unto God can bitckslidc from
Him.
II. The Cause. “An evil heart of nnlxlicf. ” Unbelief
is in itself the fruit of an evil heart.
III. The Manner. “Departing from the living God. ”
The trust of the heart turning away from God to something
t&2.
IV, The Preventative. “‘ pdkc heed ! ” Examine
yourselves..254 Handfuls on Purpose.
GOSPEL OIJTLTNES.
THE GREAT SALVATION.
“I-lOW SHALL WE ESCAPE IF WE NEGLECT SO GREAT SALVATION ? ”
(Heb. 2. 3).
I. This Salvation is Great. Great, when you think of
the greatness of H IM who saves. He is the Heir of all
things, the Maker of the worlds, the brightness of the
Father’s glory, the express image of His Person, who
upholdeth all things by the word of His power, and is
much better than the angels (Heb. 1. 2-4). Great, when
you think of the awful condition from which He saves,
from the guilt and dominion of sin, and delivers from that
death which is the wages of sin, and from the wrath of
God which must for ever rest upon sin and sinners. Great,
when you think of the happy position into which He
saves- brought into the family of God, jusiificd from all
things, made sons and daughters and heirs of eternal life,
having the promise for the life that now is, as well as the
life which is to come. Great, when you think of the
unspeakable price Hc paid for our salvation. Not cor-ruptible
things, as silver and gold, but His own precious
blood. It took the sacrifice of HIMS::LF to purge our sins,
and He willingly, lovingly, gave His all.
II. This Salvation may be Neglected. It is neglected
every time the opportunity of being saved is let slip, We
ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we
have heard, lest at any t&e we should Ict them slip.
Because to let the chance slip any one time may be letting
it slip for the last t i m e. Many neglect salvation by
neglecting the Lord’s day. ‘IO neglect the Word of God,.Gospel Outlines. 255
the Gospel of God, the strivings of the Spirit of God, and
the Providence of God, is to neglect salvation. The
process of neglecting, like the process of drifting, may be
painless and unconscious, but it is the more dangerous on
that account. You may neglect it without hating it or
denying it. The Osbtinates, who refuse to go forward,
and the Pliables who turn back, equally neglect salvation.
III. This Salvation, if Neglected, Leaves no
Escape. This question, “How shall we escape if we
neglect.2” is one which the wisdom of God cannot answer,
although some men in the pride of their own hearts have
attempted it. How shall the merchant escape ruin if he
neglects his business? How shall we escape hunger if we
neglect food ? How shall we escape darkness if we neglect
the light? How shall we escape the wages of sin if we
neglect the Atonement for sin? How shall we escape the
wrath of God if we neglect the Gift of God? How shall we
escape the doom of the lost if we neglect the Saviour of the
lost ? How shall we escape the condemnation of Hell if we
neglect the salvation of Heaven? “Behold, now is the
accepted time. ” One of the most melancholy sights of
earth is a Christless’old age.
–.
DECISION.
“H o w LONG HALT YE BETWEEN TWO OPINIONS? I F THE L ORD BE
GOD, POI.LOW HIM; BUT IF BA AL, TIWN FOLLOW HIM”
(1 Kings 18. 21).
IT is sometimes needful to “halt between two opinions,”
if the proper course of action is not quite clear, but when
the right and the wrong stands out in naked reality
indecision becomes sin. It is with spiritual things, as with
the temporal, the wavering and the lukewarm cannot
succeed. The young man who cannot make up his mind
as to what business he should follow is in danger of being.256 Ilandfuls on Purpose.
ruined. In rebgion, as in politics, no progress can be
made, no definite testimony can be given, so long as the
mind is not clear, and the will emphatic. In these, and
other matters, a halting man is a useless man, worse than
useless, for he is a stumbling-block to others. The scene
on Mount Carmcl is an object lesson on the need of instant
decision for God. Elijah’s call is needed now as much
as then.
I. Where the People Halted. “Between t wo
opinions. ” To them this simply meant-1.
BETWEEN Two RELIGIONS . There wcrc only two.
The religion of Baa1 and that of Jehovah. The one was the
product of man’s darkened imagination, the other was a
revelation from Heaven. The heart of man and the heart
of God are the only two possible sources of religious
thought. Here is the halting ground of multitudes-between
the thoughts of men and the thoughts of God. To
halt here is to halt-2.
B ETWEEN Two MASTEKS. B e t w e e n Baal and
Jehovah, between the false and the real, between super-stition
and revelation, between the tyranny of ignorance
and fear, and the freedom of light and truth. The one
represents the prince of darkness, the other the Prince
of Peace. The design of the one is to destroy, the purpose
of the other is to save. His servants ye are to whom ye
yield yourselves. Let not sin have dominion over you.
There is no communion between these two masters: no
fellowship between light and darkness, between Christ
and Belial. There is no agreement between the temple of
God and the house of idols. Ye cannot serve these two
masters; your choice lies between them.
II. Why the People Halted. Some thing, or things,
must surely have been hindering them from confessing the.Gospel Outlines. 257
Lord as their God. They may have been deterred as many
in our day are–
I. BECAUSE of; TIIEIR NUL~BEIZ. Their name was legion
who had entered the broad road of God-rejection. It is
comparatively easy to go right, or wrong, while going with
the multitude, hut a man is his own miserable comforter
when he tries to console himself by saying, “If I am not
right there are a great many like me. ” Though hand join
in hand, the wicked shall not go unpunished. “Broad is
the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be
which go in thereat. ” It is poor comfort, when on a
sinking ship, to know that ‘ malzy are perishing with you.
To remain undecided for Christ becairse many arc doing it
is a sad betrayal of moral weakness. *Although Baa1 and
the groves had 850 prophets, and Jehovah only one, yet to
be with Him was to be in the majority and on the side of
victory and blessing.
2. B ECAUSE 0~ THEIR F EAR 01; MAN. Some halted,
doubtless because they feared the wrath of the king. It
was very different with the parents of Moses (Heb. 11. 23).
Ahab was the enemy of God, and the troubler of Israel.
He sought to banish the worship of Jehovah out of the land,
and because of him many were afraid to acknowledge the
Lord. They halted, perhaps because they were convinced
that the policy of Ahab and Jezebel was base and
revolutionary, but they had no courage to take their stand
for Jehovah. The fear of man bringeth a snare. When
Luther was told that all the world was against him, he
said, “Well, I am against the whole world. ” “Why halt ye ?
If the Lord be God, follow Him. ” Better is it to grieve and
forsake the enemies of God than remain an enemy to God.
III. The Unsatisfactory Nature of such a Position.
“How long halt ye? ” Every moment one halts between
holiness and sin, between Christ and the world, is likely to.258 Handfula on Purpose.
weaken the will power and reduce the life to a waste heap
for God and a coming eternity. To remain undecided for
God and righteousness to say the least-1.
IT IS FOOLISH. It is like the, donkey in the fable,
which died of starvation because it could not decide which
of the two bundles of hay to eat first. Moses was wise when
he “chose rather to suffer affliction with the people of God,
than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season. ” Rebekah
was wise when she said, “I will go.” The poor Indian
woman knew in whom she had believed when, after having
been robbed of all her goods, she said, “I would rather die
a poor Christian than a rich heathen. ”
2. IT IS DANGEROUS . Indecision has been the ruin of
many. Remember Lot’ s wife. To decide means literally
“to cut off” that which is unnecessary. Then “cut off”
from that state of sin and doubt, and, like Mary, choose
the better part. The undecided are always easily over-come.
When Charles I., after having been defeated at the
Battle of Naseby, was about to make another charge upon
the troops of Cromwell, one of his courtiers caught the
bridle of his horse and turned him aside from the path of
honour. Charles had not the courage to rebuke him. Who
would have dared to have done this with Cromwell? __…
CONVERSION.
‘(~ERILY,~SAYUNTOYOU,EXCEPTYETURNANDBECOM&ASLITTLE
C H I LDR EN, YE SHALL IN NO WISE ENTER INTO THE KINGDOW
OFHEAVEN” (Watt. 18. 3, R.v.).
THIS was Christ’ s answer to some of His own disci+les, who
had been asking that somewhat half-curious, self-confident
question, “Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven ? ”
They are not all properly converted who are the professed
followers of Jesus Christ. Three things here should be
noted-.Gospel Outfines. 259
I. The Need of Conversion. “Except ye turn and
become as little children, 318 shall in 110 ~iise eder the
Kingdom of FIeavcn. ” We may be disciples, in a sense, and
yet be unfit for the Kingdom of God. Those who don’t
need to be converted are those who, at some time or other,
have been converted, for “All we like sheep have gone
astray. ” There may be an outward conformity where there
is an inward deformity. The tree needs to be made good
before the fruit can be good ; the fountain of the heart must
be cleansed if the streams of thought and feeling are to be
pure. The Kingdom of Heaven cannot be entered by those
who selfishly seek their own Good, and not the glory of
God. Not to submit to the will and lnu-posc of God is to
rebel agaimt this Kingdom, which is the “rule of the
Heavens. ”
II. The Nature of Conversion. “Except ye turn.”
It is a turning about-a turning from self-confidence and
self-rule unto the rule of God. Saul was thoroughly con-verted
when he said, “Lord, what wilt Thou have me to
do?” He had turned from His own self-made plans and
purposes to the will of his Lord and Saviour. In one sense
we need to be converted very often, for every time we turn
aside, like Bunyan’s pilgrims, into any By-Path Meadow
that leads us out of fellowship with the Lord, we need
another conversion, another turning back, if we would
enter again into the peaceful Kingdom of Heaven. Christ
“suffered for us, the Just for the unjust, that He might
bring us to God. ” If we have not been turned unto God
we arc yet unconverted ; and if we have been thus con-verted,
and are not now walking in the light and joy of
His presence, it is quite clear that WC need another turning
about. “Turn ye, turn ye, why will ye die ? ”
III. The Evidence of Conversion. “Become as little
children. ” The little child which “Jesus set in the.260 Handfuls on Purpose.
midst of them,” was for them an object lesson of self-abasement
and trustfulness. Those who arc wholIy turned
to God are as open minded and submissive as little children.
They are very conscious of their own weakness, and free
from all unholy ambition and secret intrigue. They arc
harmless, affectionate, and sincere, without duplicity and
hypocrisy. To become as a little child is to have the past
blotted out and forgiven, and to begin life anew after
another and more heavenly fashion. It is only when a
man gets converted, and becomes again a little child, that
he can have all the prospects and opportunities of a lifc-time
before him. He has not yet begun to live in a real,
true sense, if he has not been turned to God. “God is angry
with the wicked every day ; if he turn not, He will whet
His sword” (Psa. 7. 1 I, 12).
ASSURANCE.
„‘~H&Sli. THISGS Hh\’Ii I WRITTEN UNTO YOU THAT Iif!I.!?’:VJi ON THE
NAME 0~ Tlu: SON 0F (ko0, TII,~T ‘r’li MAY KNOW THAT wc
HAVE ETERNAL LIYS” (1 JOhll 5. I:;).
I. The Persons to be Assured. “You that believe. ”
To believe on the Name of the Son of God in John ‘ s day was
to take up the ignominy of the Cross. The object of faith
is not Christianity as a system, or the Bible as a book, but
the Son of God as a living, abiding Personality. It is not
written, “Believe and be saved, ” but “Believe on the Lord
Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16. 31). The
faith that does not take hold of Christ is a dead faith, To
be assured of salvation we need rnore than faith in things,
we riced faith in HIM.
II. The Blessing to be Assured Of. “Eternal life. ”
This is something different from, and something better
than, mere eternal existence. Devils know about eternal
existence, but they know nothing experimentally of eternal.Gospel Outlines. 261
life. This life stands for the sum of all good, here and
hereafter. As the acorn seed contains within itself,
potentially, all the power and majesty of the oak, so does
this life, begotten in us by the Holy Spirit, contain the
fullness of joy and glory that is yet to be revealed.
III. The Blessedness of Being Assured. “Ye may
know. ” This word “know” is a favourite one with John.
In these few verses (13 to 20) he makes use of it seven
times. If you are a believer in Jesus Christ and don’t
know that you have eternal life, “ye may know.” It is
not only a possibility, but it is your privilege to know.
This assurance is needful for the comfort and joy of
salvat ion. How can we thank God for the gift of eternal
life, if we are not sure that we have it ?
IV. The Ground of this Assurance. “These things
have I written unto you.. .that ye may know. ” Assurance
does not come through any special revelation from Heaven,
apart from the wyittelz Word. “He that hath the Son hath
life” (v. 12). These words, inspired by the Holy Spirit,
and penned by the apostle, are for you who believe, that yc’
may know that ye have eternal life. Not to receive this
testimony is to make God a liar, and rob your soul of this
blessed confidence. A little orphan girl, happy in the
knowledge of Christ as her Saviour, was asked how she
knew that she was saved, said, “He says it, and that’?;
enough for me. ” Is it not enough for you?
THE NEW CREATION.
“IFANYMAN IS IN CHRIST, HE ISA NEWCREATION;THE OLD THINGS
ARE PASSED AWAY: BEHOLD, THEY ARE BECOME NEW”
(2 Cor. 5. 17, R.V., margin).
I. The Condition of It. “In Christ. ” “If any man is in
Christ he is a new creation. ” This implies that we have
fled to Him for shelter and salvation-as the man-slayer.262 Handfuls on Purpose.
fled to the City of Refuge-taking refuge in His atoning
work. In Christ, as the branch is in the vine, for strength
and supply ; in Christ, as the member is in the body, for
sympathy and service.
II. The Nature of It. “A new creation.” It is a
reformation in a very radical sense. “We are His workman-shi$,
created in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2. 10). There is a new
life. Born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of
the will of man, but of God. There is a flew mind.
“Renewed in the spirit of the mind” (Eph. 4. 23), and able
now to comprehend something of the character and power
of God in Christ Jesus. There is a 1zew heart. The
affections that were alienated from God are now centred in
Him. There is a new $&it. The Spirit of God now bears
witness with our spirits, implying oneness of purpose in
service and testimony. There is a new song, because there
has been a new reveIation of Divine mercy and grace
(Psa. 40. l-3).
III. The Results of It. “The old things are passed
away ; behold they are become new. ” With the new
creation then comes new views of sin. Sin is now seen to
be a crime and a curse, and the old view of it being a debt,
or a misfortune, passes away. There comes also new
views of self. Self is now seen to be a worthless, unclean
thing, and it too becomes an “old thing” only fit to pass
away. The old unscriptural views of Christ pass away, and
new Spirit-inspired vie;vs take their place. Jesus Christ
is no longer a Saviour waiting for us at a death-bed, but a
present, living reality in the daily life. The old things
which used to interest us in the world are passed away, and
behold, new interests have been awakened. In the old life
the pIeasures and profits of the world were the objects of
our desires, but now the desire is for the salvation of the.Gospel Outlines. 263
world. It used to be the place of amusement for self, but
now it is a workshop for Christ.
IV. The Privilege of It. “If any man. ” The door
into this new and better life stands open for all. “Any
man, ” no matter how weak and helpless, no matter how
sad and sinful, “any man, ” no matter how old and forgetful
if he steps out of sin-ruined self into Christ, will instantly
become a new creation. For, in Christ, God is reconciling
the world unto Himself.
GRIEVE NOT THE HOLY SPIRIT.
EPHIXSIANS 4. 30.
IT is solemnly possible to grieve the Holy Spirit, because
He is a gracious, loving, tender Personality. It is not
possible to grieve or vex a mere influence. The wind
bloweth where it list&h, you cannot griove the wind; but
the breath of the Holy Spirit is the breathings of the very
heart of God. All the attributes of God are attributed to
the Holy Spirit. He is the Spirit of truth, of wisdom, of
life, and of power. To grieve Him is to hinder His loving
and merciful operations in the heart, and thereby
impoverish our lives, and stultify our most earnest efforts
in the service of Christ.
I. By Unholy and Profitless Talk (see vv. 29 and 31).
Communications that are not “to the use of edifying,” but
which have a corrz+‘ng influence must be a grief to Him
who is “Holy, ” and who has come to take the things which
belong to the incorruptible Christ and show them to us.
The Spirit of Truth can have no fellowship with frivolous
talk and evil speaking.
II. By Ignoring His Presence. If our earthly friends
dealt with us as we often deal with the Holy Spirit, we
would be sorely offended. To live in the same house with.264 Handfuls on Purpose.
one and be seldom rccognised must be a great hardship.
Mutual recognition is absolutely essential to the main-tenance
of real friendship. Don’t grieve Him by the
coldness of forgetfulness.
III. By Rejecting His Teaching. It was by rebelling
against His leading that Israel “vexed His Holy Spirit”
(Isa. 63. 10). The Spirit is ever seeking to lead us into the
truth as it is in Jesus, that we might be sanctified and made
meet for His use. We grieve the Spirit, when through
prejudice or unbelief, we refuse to accept His teaching,
or to obey His leading. If we are not growiltg in
grace, and in the knowledge of God, we may well
suspect ourselves of disobedience to the Lord the Spirit.
It must be a great grief to Him that His gracious work
should in any way be hindered in us or through us, as
Christ is dishonoured thereby, and His chief purpose is
to glorify Him.
IV. By Conniving at Things which He Hates. The
Holy Spirit is opposed to sin in every form. All worldli-ness
and self-seeking are antagonistic to His nature and
mission. If we found any of our personal friends winking
secretly at things which they knew our souls abhorred,
how deeply we would be grieved at such a discovery. Are
we more sensitive than the Holy Spirit is? If we are
ashamed to rebuke what He rebukes, and to exalt what He
exalts, then we are not in the fellowship of the Spirit.
Grieve not the Spirit by encouraging the ungodly in their
sin. Remember Samson.
V. By Grieving the Children of God. Uncharitable
thinhi~~~ which leads to uncharitable sfieaking, must grieve
Him who is the Spirit of love and of zblzi&. Whatever tends
to alienate the affections of God’s people, one from another,
is a striving against the workings of the Holy Ghost.
“That they all may be one,” was the prayer of Christ..Gospel Outlines. 265
“That they all may be one, ” is the purpose of the Spirit.
To hinder this oneness is to grieve the Spirit by marring
the unity of the Body, which He is so eager to maintain.
VI. By Serving the Lord in Our Own Strength.
The Holy Spirit has come that we might have power to
witness for Christ ; to speak and labour in OUY owvz strength
is a denial of His mission, and must be a great grief to His
heart. How very sad it must be to the mighty Holy Spirit
to see the servants of Christ, whom He has come to
empower, substituting fleshly energy and worldly policy for
His subduing, quickening presence. When the Spirit is
grieved by such self-assertiveness, the evidence of it is
apparent in a formal, fruitless life. A grieved Spirit not
only means a powerless testimony, but also a lack of the
enjoyment of the love of God in the heart. If this love is
to be shed abroad in our hearts, we need the communion
of the Holy Spirit; this we cannot have if our manner of
life and service is opposed to His mind and will. We may
have our lamps, and we may have a measure of light, like
the foolish virgins, but if we have not that reserve of oil
which is to be found in the presence of an ungrieved Spirit,
we will be ashamed before Him at His coming.
“I OBTAINED MERCY. ”
1 TIMOTHY 1. 16.
I. He needed mercy. According to his own confession,
he was the “chief of sinners” (v. 15). He was a ringleader
among the enemies of Christ. Nothing but mercy could
meet his need. He did not need more worldly wisdom
or a better man-pleasing life; he needed the mercy of God
to forgive his sin and save his soul from death. Divine
mercy covered all his deep, dire need.
II. Hc obtained mercy. He did not obtain it by any
s.286 Handfuls on Purpose.
work or merit of his own. FIe obtained it just because God
in His infinite grace gave it to him. He obtained it because
he readily accepted the gift when offered to him. There is
no other way for us to obtain mercy than by receiving it.
III. He obtained mercy through Christ Jesus (v. 15).
There is none other name under Heaven, none other channel
between Heaven and earth, through which the stream of
God’s forgiving and saving mercy can flow. The only
price by which we can obtain the mercy of God is the
precious Blood of Christ. \Vlrcn the Lord said to Saul,
“It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks, ” it was His
merciful call to surrender. The mercy and the victory
came when Saul answered, “Lord, what wilt thou have me
todo?” God is rich in mercy through Jesus Christ His Son.
IV, He obtained mercy that Jesus Christ might
shew forth all longsuffering in him. Not only that he
might be saved from a life of rebellion and coming wrath,
but that he may become a lantern through which the long-suffering
goodness and patience of Christ might shine forth.
The longsuffering Christ was revealed to him and in him,
that He might be revealed through him. The obtaining of
mercy has to do with the honour and glory of God, as well
as with our own salvation.
V. He obtained mercy, that he might be a pattern to
them which should hereafter believe on him. In
obtaining mercy, he not only became an exhibition of the
grace of God, but an example to encourage all those who
desired to trust Jesus Christ, with the view of obtaining
that mercy which means “life everlasting.” Seeing, then,
that the conversion of Saul is to be taken as a sample of
the saving mercy of God, what great encouragement there
is for sinners of every age to believe on the Lord Jesus
Christ. It is said that Abraham Lincoln gave orders to his.Gospel Outlines. 267
doorkeepers never to turn away anyone petitioning for
life. All the doorkeepers of the House of God have the
same instructions. If you are seeking life, eternal life,
here is mercy for you. Have yo11 c>btained i t?
DARKNESS AND DAWN.
“‘IHE PEOPLE WHICH SAT IN DARKNESS SAW GREAT LIGHT; AND TO
THEM WHICH SAT IN THE REGION AND SHADOW OF DBATA.
LIGHT IS SPRUNG UP” (Matt. 4. 16).
“DARKNESS” as emblematic of an unsaved state, is very
frequently referred to in the unerring Word of God.
Salvation is represented as a being “called out of darkness
i&o His marvellous light. ” Those who have experienced
this change, cannot but be perfectly conscious (4f it. In
this verse there is a description of-I.
Man’s Condition without Christ. “The people
which sit in darkness. ”
1. Darkness implies a state of IGNORANCE. Christ is
the Light of the World ; to be ignorant of Christ is to be in
darkness about the Father, for “no man knoweth the Father
but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal Him. ”
2. Darkness implies SUPERSTITION . Where there is no
light there is sure to be false and exaggerated views of
things. The light of God’s truth always reveals the foolish-ness
of man’s wisdom. His darkened mind cannot think
the thoughts of God, and so he builds castles which have
no foundation but in the air of his own fancy.
3. Darkness implies DANGER. The position is described
in the text as being “in the region and shadow of death.”
To be in the malarial region of unforgiven sin, is to be in
the shadow of the second death. Those who are in dark-ness
cannot see the shadow; this makes their condition all
the more perilous. To be in ignorance of Christ the.268 Iiandfuh on Purpose.
Saviour is to be already in the region of death, having no
fitness for the regions beyond, of eternal life and glory.
4. Darkness implies a condition of HELPLESSNESS.
“They sat in darkness. ” When the light dawned upon
them they were sitting in darkness, as if they did not know
where to go or what to do. This is the attitude of those
who have, through failure and disappointment, come to
an utter end of themselves. All the sparks of their own
kindling only made the darkness the more dense. It was
when they discovered their own helplessness and hopeless-ness,
that the “great light sprung up” (Matt. 4. 16). The
darkest hour is the hour before day-break.
II. God’s Effectual Remedy. “The people which
sat in darkness saw great light. ” The light that has come
through the appearing of Jesus Christ is indeed a “great
light. ” Those who are not satisfied with sunlight will
never be satisfied with any light, for there is no greater
than this. Those who do not find the light of Christ
sufficient for the darkness of their hearts and lives, will
for ever remain in darkness, for there is no greater light
than this. There is nothing like light for overcoming
darkness. Christ is that light, and this true light now
shineth.
As darkness is emblematic of ignorance, superstition,
danger and helplessness, so light is emblematic of know-ledge,
truth, safety and power. This light has come as
God’s message of hope “To them which sit in the region
and shadow of death” (Matt. 4. 16). Alas, that so many
should condemn themselves, by preferring the darkness to
the light, because they love the deeds that are evil (John
3. 19). There be many who have seen this “great light, ”
but there are few who follow it. While ye have the light,
believe in it, and ye shall not walk in darkness, but shall
have the light of life..Gospel Outlines. 269
RESCUE WORK BY ANGELS.
GENESIS 19. 1.
“THERE came two angels to Sodom. ” Angels in Sodom !
What a contrast. The brightest and holiest of servants in
the darkest and wickedest cities. Even slumwork may
become angelic. These messengers of mercy and of
judgment are examples to all who desire to rescue the
perishing. Notice-I.
Where they Went. They went to “Sodom” (v. 1).
A city recking with iniquity, and they went conscious that
their eyes and ears must see and hear things that would
pierce their souls with an agony of pain and distress, but
they were prepared to suffer, they were willing even to
“a.bide in the street all night” (v. 2). Those who would
seek the salvation of others must be ready to sacrifice
their own comfort and ease.
II. Why they Went. They went because the Lord sent
them (v. 13). They did not go because they felt that
the wickedness of the city demanded that something should
be done, or because they had nothing else more urgent to
do, No. They went with a definite commission at
the bidding of the Lord. They realised that the work was
not theirs, but God’s. They had come in His Name, and
in His strength, to do His will among them, and it would
be done. The servants of Christ will soon grow weary in
well-doing if they have not this perfect assurance, that
they are in the very place and doing the very work He has
sent them to do.
III. What they Went to Do. They went to preach
instant salvation and coming judgment. “Up, get you out
of this place, for the Lord will destroy this city” (v. 14).
They had no scheme of social reform to propose. Those
Sodomites were condemned already. There was no
alternative left them but to escape or perish. The eyes of.270 Handfuls on Purpose.
these Heaven-sent messengers were wide awake to the real
facts of the case, so that they could do nothing else but
press home their one message of warning and hope. They
spoke and acted as those who believed in the “wrath to
come,” and who saw the peril of those who were disposed
to “linger” through indecision (v. 16). There was no time
like “non” to them : “Behold, now is the day of salvation. ”
So urgent were these evangelists that they literally laid
hold of Lot, his wife, and his two daughters (v. 16).
Pmonal dealing they felt was a pressing necessity if souls
were to be rescued from the approaching doom. ‘IvhY
should preachers of the Gospel not be as earnest and as
urgent as these two heralds were ? Have they not as
definite a message to deliver ? Is there not the same danger
of destruction awaiting those who believe not, nor obey the
Gospel? (1 Thess. 5. 3). “This one thing I do” which
characterised these “sent ones” is a special feature in all
those who have been called of God and sent. He maketh
His ministers a Jams of fire.
THE TRUE AND THE FALSE REFUGE.
“A NAN SHAL.L BE AN HIDING PLACE” (Isa. 32. 2).
“THE REFUGE OF LIES” (Isa. 28. 17).
Two hiding places are brought before us here. The one is
the refuge of truth, the other is a refuge of lies. The one
is a Man, the other is an imagination. The first is a
revelation from God, the second is an invention of man.
All men feel their neecl of a refuge of some kind or other,
but all men are not equally safe in their place of refuge.
It is of vital importance that we should know now the true
from the false. It will be too late for the self-deceived to
find out this distinction when their “refuge of lies” is being
swept away. Here then are some of the features of the true,
God-appointed refuge. The true refuge is the place of-.Gospel Outlines. 271
I. Conscious Safety. “A man shall be an hiding place
from the wind, and a covert from the tempest. ” Those who
have fled to the Man Christ Jesus, as a refuge for the soul,
are now being sheltered from the wind and tempest of sin
and judgment. The wind round about them may be as
bitter and terrible as ever, but they are being saved from
its power, and they know it. Their refuge saves them.
Is your refuge saving you from being turned aside by the
sudden blasts of sin and the pressing storms of iniquity.
If your hiding place–that in which you trust-is not
sheltering you day by day, then your refuge is a refuge
of lies.
II. Friendship and Communion. “A mnn shall be
an hiding place. ” This is the man who is God’s fellow
(Zech. 13. 7). All those who have fled for refuge to the
true hiding-place are in the fellowship and friendship of
the Lord Jesus Christ. They are reconciled to God, and
rejoicing in Him. They know assuredly that God is their
refuge and strength. Does your hiding-place bring you
into contact and communion with God? Does that in
which you trust for salvation make Christ unspeakably
precious to your soul? If your refuge is not in Him, it is
a refuge of Iies that the judgment of hail shall sweep
away, and the waters of desolation overflow. God’s only
refuge for the sin-smitten souls of men is the MAN who
was smitten for sin. “Other refuge have I none. ” “I
flee to Thee to hide me” (Psa. 143. 9).
III. Rest and Refreshing. “A man shall be.. .as
rivers of water in a dry place.” Those who have found
the true refuge of the soul know of it and enjoy it, for they
now drink the living waters of satisfaction. In their
place of hiding they find the source of abiding blessing.
Their Kock of refuge has become a fountain of delight.
Here everlasting springs abide, and never-withering.272 Handfuls on Purpose.
flowers. They heard the Divine call, “If any man thirst,
let him come unto Me and drink ; ” they obeyed, and found
in Him salvation from the wind and the tempest of sin and
wrath, and waters of cleansing and refreshing. Does your
hiding place bring cleansing for your soul, and yield
refreshing streams for your thirsty heart. If you are not
happier and holier through that in which you trust for
salvation, your hiding place is, in the sight of God, only a
“refuge of lies. ” If that so-called faith of yours is not
saving you from your sins, and bringing refreshing and
gladness into your life, then it is a delusion; it is not faith
in Jesus Christ, for all that believe in Him are justified
from all things. A dying infidel was exhorted by his
companion to “Hold on. ” “1 am quite willing to hold
on, ” said the dying man, “if I knew what to hold on by. ”
He had no Christ, and so had no hope, for all refuges of
lies tvill be swept away.
“Jtzas, Lover of my soul,
I will to Thy bosom fly. ”
GOD-SHINE.
“COD WATH SHINED IN OUR TIEARTS” (2 &X. 4. 6).
WHEN the blessed sunshine breaks out from behind the
thick clouds of darkness, there is no mistaking the fact that
a great change has taken place. This is just such a change
as takes place in the benighted soul of man when the Zigltt
of the knowledge of God breaks through the darkness.
I. The Source of this Shining. “GOD hath shined.”
This light is not of man’s kindling. Out of the darkness
within no such light could ever be produced. Only He
who could “command the light to shine out of darkness”
could cause such a light to shine in the sin-darkened hearts
of men. The light of the knowledge of God is the light of
God Himself. It is a definite and direct act of the infinite.Gospel Outlines. 273
mercy and goodness of God upon the individual soul.
“God hath shined. ” God, who is Light, and in whom is
no darkness at all, is still shining through His Son Jesus
Christ, by His word.
II. The Place of this Shining. “God hath shined
in our hearts. ” The brightest thing in Heaven is the
darkest place on earth. This God-shine in the heart brings
with it a double revelation. It shows by way of contrast
how dark the heart by nature was, and how hopeless it was
for it in itself to create such a soul-satisfying light. It is
also a revelation of the character and presence of God in the
heart. This is not so much a light created by God, as it is
the light of the presence of God in the heart. Into every
dark crevice of the soul this shining has come. It is the
nature of light to cast its influence over everything that is
anywhere within its reach. In shining into the heart this
light enters into every act and deed of the life, into every
thought and feeling and motive of the soul’s activities.
God hath shined His light, and wisdom has come to take
the place of our darkness and ignorance. The god of this
world had blinded the mind, but the God of Heaven hath
shined in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of
God (v. 4).
III, The Purpose of this Shining. “To give the
light of the knowledge of the glow of God, in the face of Jews
Christ. ” This shining of God,-in His gIorious grace, upon
and in the heart, gives us to know something of that glory
that has come to God in and through His Son Jesus Christ.
God hath shined in our hearts in answer to the atoning
death of His Son, by which His Holy Name has been
glorified. This shining assures us of much more than the
existence of God, it is the manifestation of His glory-the
glory of His saving grace-in the face or character of Jesus
Christ. As all the colours of nature are in one single ray.274 Handfuls on Purpose.
of pure white liglrt, so all the attrihutcts of God are per-fectly
harmoniscd and embodied in this revelation of
Himself. Knowledge is light, but the knowledge of the
glory of God which is radiant on the face of Jesus Christ,
is the brightest and most effectual light that ever pierced
the darkness of a human heart. It is a light that trans-forms
the whole inner man, and that adorns with the
beauty of the Lord; it is the dawning of that great eternal
day upon the soul, which will never be followed by the
darkness of night but which will brighten as the hours and
years go by, until the perfect day of perfect likeness, face
to face. God hath shined. Walk in the light and ye shall
not stumble.
A DREADED BLESSING.
“FOR THE MORNING IS TO ALL OF THEM AS THE SHADOW OF DEATH”
(Jol-, 24. 17, R.V.).
THE moral nature of any man must lx: sadly perverted,
when the bright rays of the morning dawn are to him as
the shadows of death. All rebels against the light are
lovers of iniquity (v. 13). “Men love darkness rather
than the light, becaztse their deeds are evil.”
I. The Contrast. “The morning.. . the shadows of
death. ” The difference is that of day and night, life and
death, good and evil.
1. The “morning” is suggestive of PLEASURE. “Light is
sweet, and it is a pleasant thing for the eye to behold the
sunshine. ” How beautiful and fresh is the morning dawn,
with all its new revelations and silent benedictions. What
a lovely emblem of the dawn of spiritual life in the soul.
2. The “morning” is suggestive of PRIVILEGE. With the
morning light comes all the opportunities and possibilities
of a new day. The darkness as a difficulty in the way of
general labour is removed and the generous sunshine pours.Gospel Outf ines . 27s
its cheering beams into every needy corner where its
progress is not obstructed. The voice of the morning is,
“Awake, awake, put on strength. ” Behold now is the
day of salvation. “The night comet11 when no man can
work. *’
3. The “shadow of death” is suggestive of GATHERING
D A R K N E SS. The bright, hopeful light has died away, and
the thick gloomy clouds of darkness are spreading quickly
over the sky. Those who have been thankfully using the
daylight have entered into rest, while those who have been
idling away their time have lost their opportunity.
Spiritually, this is a very melancholy condition to be in.
4. The “shadow of death” is suggestive of F U T U RE
HOPELESSNESS. It is that awful shadow which is the certain
forerunner of eternal separation. Death is not far away
when its shadow has come. What prospect can a man
have of reestablishing his lost character when the shadow
of death is already upon him ? While death does not end
all, it is the end of all opportunity, as far as this life is
concerned.
II. The Anomaly. “The morning is to them as the
shadow of death. I’ This is a most unnatural and wretched
state to be in. It betrays a condition of perfect moral
disorder; an inherent unfitness for the enjoyment of God’s
order of things. Why should God’s brightest gifts be to
them as the darkness of doom ? Why should the light of
the Gos$el be to some as the shadow of death, instead of the
morning dawn of the light of life ? The more brightly this
light of truth shines, the more dark does the sky of their
self-created hopes become; so, to them the “morning” of
God’s light of salvation is as the shadow of death-1.
Because it awakens the FEAR OF DISCOVERY. Like
the thief, the murderer, and the adulterer, they love the
darkness better than the light, because it is better suited.276 Handfuls on Purpose.
for their vile purposes, The morning light is as it were the
death blow to their ungodly prospects. That which is good
very good, is to them bad, because it exposes and condemns
their own badness. Those who wrap themselves up in the
garment of self-righteousness cannot bear the glare of
God’s unsullied truth, because it reveals their boasted
righteousness to be nothing but filthy rags. They would
rather have the pleasures of darkness, the delusive joys of
sin, to the pure delights of holiness that comes to us through
the shining of His Word. The man who is afraid of
Heaven’s light is an enemy to God at heart. He that loves
the light comes into the light that his life and character
might be tested and purified. To them who love not the
Lord Jesus Christ, His coming again, as the Bright and
Morning Star, will be to them indeed as the shadow of
death, for they will be consumed by the brightness of His
coming. ~-A
DIVINE COMPLAINT.
“MY PEOPLE DOTH NOT CONSIDER” (ha. 1. 3).
THOUGHTFULNESS about the things of the world, and
thoughtlessness about the things of eternity, is a very
common sin among the people of God. Superficial thinking
leads to superficial living. The ox knoweth his owner, and
the ass his master’s crib, but how often the Lord’s people
fail to recognise their Owner, or the blessings He provides
for them. Inconsiderateness is a great hindrance to the
growth of spiritual life and to usefulness because it is
dishonouring to God. Mere talk and mechanical action will
never be a substitute for solemn heart reflection. If we
would take time to meditate until the fire burns, our
testimony would not be so powerless and fruitless. “My
people doth not consider. ” This is the language of wounded
love. Think on some of those things which Zen fail to.Gospel Outlines. 277
consider as we ought, and of which God might justly
complain. “My people doth not consider “-I.
The Pit out of which they have been Digged, or
they would be more Humble, How ready we are, like
Israel, to forget our bondage in Egypt, and as we look
upon other worldly, sin-sodden lives, fail to remember
that such were some of us.
II. The Cost at which they have been Redeemed,
or they would be more Thankful. Not with silver and
gold, but with that blood which speaks of the sacrifice
of Divine love and of life. Have I considered it sufficiently
that the peace which I now enjoy was purchased by the
blood of Christ’s Cross, and that it is mine, not for any
good in me, but because of His infinite mercy and grace ?
III. Their Relationship to Him who Saves, or they
would be more Restful. “Ye are not your own.” Ye
belong to Christ. Have we thought deep enough into
this blessed truth? As members of His body, will He
not be very careful over us? Why take anxious thought
about your physica Iife; does not your Father know that
you have need of these things? “Let not your heart be
troubled, ye believe in God, believe also in Me.”
IV. Their Privileges as Sons, or they would be
more Joyful. &cause ye arc sons, God hath sent forth
His Spirit into your hearts, that ye might cry “Abba-My
Father, ” and that He might in answer to that cry
“supply all your need. ”
V. Their Responsibility as Servants, or they would
be more Watchful. Nox is the acceptable time for self-sacrificing
service, as well as the day of salvation. To-day
if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts. All who
have received the Gospel become cast-odians of it, and are
responsible to the Master for it. Watch ye, therefore..278 Handfuls on Purpose.
VI. The Gift of the Holy Spirit, or they would he
more Fruitful. “Know ye not that your body is the
temple of the Holy Ghost in you, which ye have of God. ”
Do you reckon on Him as a Teacher and Comforter, and as
the Endurer of power ? Do you consider Him all-sufficient
for you in the work of God ?
VII. The Glory that is Coming, or they would he
, more Praiseful. The glory that is yet to be revealed in
and through the redeemed of God, is the glory that belongs
to the eternal Son of God. They shall see His face, they
shall be like Him, and shall be z&h Him where He is.
Consider your ways, and consider Him, for a book of
remembrance is written b&fore Him for them that 1Jcozq$)!
upon His Name.
“SPRING UP, 0 WELL!”
NUMBEHS 21. 17.
At the beginning of the journey&q of the children of
Israel, Moses was commanded to smite the rock in Horeb
that water may flow forth for the thirsty people. Now,
nearly forty years after, he is told to speak to the rock, but
in anger he smote it twice, for which disobedience he was
prevented from entering the promised land (20. 10-12).
That Rock was Christ, says the Apostle (1 Cor. 10. 4), and
as such it was not the purpose of God that it should be
smitten twice. He suffered once in the end of the age to
put away sin. Now we have but to speak to the Rock that
the refreshing stream may spring up. This sweet little
word-“Spring up, 0 well”-contains–-
I. A Suggestive Metaphor. “A laell.” A well
within a rock. This rock is Christ, the Fountain of living
water. Like Jacob’s well, it is deep, deep as the fathom-Icss
fullness of God. The) watttrs in this wt!ll represent the.Gospel Outlinea. 279
unsearchable riches of Christ-that which is abundantly
able to satisfy all the needs of a human soul.
II. A Felt Need. “S@ing up, 0 well. ” Spring thou
up in my thirsty soul, for I have been to the broken cisterns
of earth, and am disappointed, and perishing of thirst.
Spring up, 0 well, in this desert life of mine, that has
hitherto brought forth no fruit unto God. My heart
thirsteth for God, yea the living God.
III. A Great Encouragement. This well can “spring
up, ” so that its life-giving stream may be within the reach
of every needy one. There is a tremendous pressure in
this spring. It is the pressure of infinite love, a force
that can send its influence into the deepest depths of need,
and up to the highest heights of satisfaction and spiritual
attainment.
IV. A Simple Means. “Spring up. ” S$eak ye to the
rock. This rock is waiting to yield its treasures to those
who ask. Speak, you don’t need to shout. Your speech
need not be eloquent. Prayer is a very simple thing when
it is real. The remedy for soul-thirst is to speak to the
rock. S$eak to it when your heart is smitten with barren-ness
and death. S$eak to it when burdened with the dying
need of others. Speak to it believingly, and the waters
will gush out, then ye shall be able to “Silzg unto it.”
THE DIVINE VISITOR.
“BEHOLD 1 STAND AT THE DOOR AND KNOCK” (Rev. 3. 30).
CHRIST knockiltg at the door is a proof that He has come
very near, and that to bless us. It also imphes His
willingness to come in, and the heart’s reluctance to let
Him in. Man’s nature is like a house with many rooms.
The Lord knocks at the door of each apartment that He
might have access to the whole house of Mansoul..280 Handfuls on Purpose.
I. He Knocks as a Redeemer that He might save.
Save the sleeping conscience from sleeping the sleep of
death. As the One who paid the ransom for the soul, Hc
knocks that He might get into possession of His blood-bought
property, that it might be saved from the
destructive hands of the enemy. “If any sinful man opens
the door I will come in to Him” (Rev. 3. 20).
II. He Knocks as a Physician that He might hea2.
He knows that all the inmates of this house of Mansoul are
sick and in need of His healing touch. The whole head is
sick, the heart faint, and the hands and the knees are feeble.
There is, in fact, “no soundness,” the whole inner lift
has been polluted with the poison of sin. Behold, thy
Healer is at the door. “If any sin-sick man opens the
door I will come in to him” (Rev. 3. 20).
III. He Knocks as a Teacher tlzat He might instruct.
He is the great Teacher come from God who can anoint the
eyes of His pupils with the heavenly eye-salve, that they
may see and understand heavenly things. The minds,
blinded by Satan, can be beautifully illumined by Him
who is the Wisdom of God. “If any unlearned man opens
the door I will come in to Him” (Rev. 3. 20).
IV. He Knocks as a King that He might rule. A life
that is self-centred is a ruined enc. As Lord He knocks
that He might so get into that life which He hath redeemed
by His life as to govern and control it for its own good and
His glory. Until the King is enthroned within, the soul is
under the bondage and tyranny of foolish and presumptuous
self. He wishes the governrnent of your life to be upon
His shoulders, that there might be no mismanagement in
the affairs of the soul. Although He is “King of our
lives, ” He does not compel, He knocks. “If any man
opens the door I will come in to him” (Rev. 3. 20)..Gospel Outlines. 281
V. He Knocks as a Merchantman that He mi&t
e&ch. He knows the poverty of those who say that they
are rich and have need of nothing. IJnsearchable riches
are in Himself, and infinite mercy and love has brought
Him to the very door of your impoverished life that you
might be filled out of His fullness. “I counsel you to buy
of ME gold refined in the fire, that you may become rich ”
(Rev. 3. 18). You buy without money when you let the
Merchant in. “If any poor man opens the door I will
come in to him” (Rev. 3. 20).
VI. He Knocks as a Bridegroom that He might woo.
His desire is not only to save, heal, teach, rule, and enrich,
but to have the fellowshi$ of those whom He hath blessed.
He knocks at the door of the heart because He seeks
admission into the affections. Three times Peter heard
this knock, “Lovest thou Me” (John 21. 15). Because He
loves us so much, He is very jealous of our affections. If
you have admitted Him as Saviour and King, surely you
will give Him with your allegiance the love of your heart
and the fellowship of your life. His love constrains
Him to knock that our love might constrain us to open,
so that every barrier between the soul and Christ may
be removed, and unbroken communion enjoyed. “If
anyone listens to My voice and opens the door T will
come in” (Rev. 3. 20).
CHRIST THE END OF THE LAW.
“FO R C H R I S T IS THB END OF THE LAW FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS TO
EVERY oNI THAT BEIJBvETH~ (Ram. 10. 4).
I. What is the Law? As God’s revealed standard it is
“holy, just, and good,” therefore a revelation of His
holiness, justice, and goodness. The source of the law is
holy, the character of it is just, the purpose of it is good.
1.282 Handfuls on Purpose.
IT. What is the End of the Law? “Christ is the end of
the law. ” This blessed fact may be interpreted in different
ways. The end of the law, for a thief, is the prison; for
a murderer, it is the rope. The end of the law for all
sinners, is condemnation or Christ. The end of a book
is to instruct ; of a watch, to keep time ; or a lamp, to
give light; the end of the law is to bring us to Christ.
It came as a tutor (slave) for this very purpose (Gal.
3. 24). The end of the avenger of blood is to kill, and
in seeking to do so he often chased the manslayer into
the city of refuge.
III. Why did Christ become the End of the Law?
It was “for righteousness.” He did not come to act in
defiance of the law, but to fulfil it. He was made under the
law, that its holy and just claims might be perfectly
satisfied in Him. He became obedient unto death, and so
brought to an end the righteous demands of the law against
all those who are in Him. He is now made of God unto us
“righteousness ” (1 Cor. I. 30).
IV. To Whom is Christ the End of the Law? “To
every one that believeth. ” “By Him all that believe are
justified from all things” (Acts 13. 39). The end of an
unalterable law to Daniel, in the eyes of his enemies, was
the lions’ den, but to him God was the end of that law for
deliverance. To those who are out of Christ, there is no
end to the demands and threatenings of that offended and
insulted law. Only those who are ignorant of the righteous-ness
of God would ever go about seeking to establish their
own. To submit to the righteousness of God is the only
wise thing to do, and you do this when you cease from your
own works and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, who made
an end of the law, and brought in for you everlasting
righteousness..Gospel Outlines.
PULLED OUT OF THE FIRti.
JUDE 23.
283
WHAT is more alarming than an outbreak of fire? What
excitement ! What consternation! What strenuous, self-sacrificing
efforts to save the perishing inmates from the
blazing tenement. The fire of sin broke out in Eden, and
has spread over the whole world. The only way of escape
is by that ladder which Jacob saw, which reaches from
earth to Heaven (John 14. 6). Think of the-I.
Nature of Sin. It is compared here to “fire.” Fire
is an element that can neither be weighed nor measured.
Who can set a boundary to the workings of sin, or reckon
up its capabilities and effects? The nature of sin, like
fire, is to mar or destroy all that comes within its grasp
that is not able to resist its mighty influence. Sin is an
unquenchable fire, as far as the wisdom and power of
man is concerned.
II. Danger of the Sinner. As he needs to be “pulled
out” of the fire, it is clear that he must be in the fire. He
is living under the power and dominion of sin, therefore, in
sin. He may be utterly unconscious of his awful position,
but the end is destruction all the same. To be in a state of
sin is to be in a state of condemnation. Sin, like fire, when
it is finished, bringeth forth death.
III. Work of Rescue. “Pulling them out of the fire. ”
There are only two ways whereby a brand can be saved
from the burning: either put out the fire, or pull out the
brand. Men cannot put out the fire of sin, so sinners must
be pulled out of the fire. In this world of sin the Church
is God’s fire brigade-a rescue party sent to pull men out of
the fire. There is no escape from sin’s destructive power
but by being separated from it. The love of Christ is the
constraining motive..284 HandfuIs on Purpose.
FIRE IN AN ASYLUM.
On the 27th January, 1903, fire broke out in a London
lunatic asylum. Of the 300 inmates, 50 perished and 250
had to bc literally #ulled out of the fire. While the work
of rescue was going on, these poor insane creatures behaved
in such a way as to remind us very forcibly of how insane
sinners behave when their salvation is earnestly sought
after by others. It was reported that-“
Some laughed at the mention of fire. ” Only fools could
laugh at a calamity like this. Fools make a mock at sin.
Only those who are morally insane would dare to trifle
with the fire of sin.
“Some said they would not leave their bed in the night
and go out. ” They would not consent to leave their present
enjoyment, even to save their lives. There are many like
this, who prefer the pleasures of a condemned state to the
joys of salvation. Their madness is self-evident by the
choice they make.
“Some were fowd hiding under the bed from the fire.”
In their refuge of lies, they said, “Peace, peace, when there
was no peace. ” No one but a fool can suppose that a bed
of ease or of indifference is any protection against a
consuming fire. Be sure your sin, like-a fire, will find
you out.
“Some seemed to fancy that the rescuers had made the
f ire, ” They were blamed for trying to “burn them up.”
You would think, to hear some people speak, that preachers
were the makers of Hell, and the disturbers of the peace, by
seeking to convince men of sin and to pull them out of their
perishing condition. Of course in making a charge like
this they only prove that they are beside themselves.
“Mmy of them fought qainst their rescuers, biting and
tear&g their hair out. ” What a melancholy picture ; what
a sad proof of insanity-warring against those who were.Gospel Outlines. 285
sacrificing themselves for their deliverancc~. It is no
uncommon experience for those who seek to pull men out
of the fire of sin to have their Christ-like efforts gnashed
upon with their teeth, and to have their merciful motives
torn to pieces. Only spiritual lunatics could behave in
this fashion.
“Some were heard knocking at a closed door to get out, when
it was too late. ” It must have been a terrible awakening
to come to their senses and find themselves imprisoned
in a devouring fire. Those who refuse to be pulled out of
the fire of sin will perish in it. “How shall ye escape, if
ye neglect so great salvation ? ”
“Every sane man and woman. went to the yescue. ” The
time was short ; the doom of the unsaved was certain ; the
work was great and urgent; every other interest was set
aside; the one thing needful was the salva.tion of souls.
AI1 sane Christians make it their chief business to get souls
puIled out of the fire of sin. Are you out or in ?
“ASK FOR THE OLD PATHS.”
JEREMIAH 6. 16.
IN these days the spiritual pilgrim comes to many a cross
road, so that there is need for standing and asking for the
old paths if there is any doubt in the mind as to their real
whereabouts.
I. Why ask for the Old Paths ? Because the new ones
are delusive and destructive. The new paths are men’s
miserable substitutes for the grand old “highway” of God,
which only beguile the unwary into Doubting Castle, the
habitation of Giant Despair. Even though an angel from
Heaven should preach a new Gospel, let him be accursed.
Ask for the old paths, and be steadfast therein.
II. What are the Old Paths ? The old paths arc the.286 Handfuls on Purpose.
paths that were trodden by Abel, Abraham, Moses, David,
Elijah, and all the prophets and apostles, who believed
God and accepted His Word as a lamp to their feet, and
the testimony of His Son as the sure foundation of their
hope. The revealed will of God is the old unerring path that
leads to peace and paradise. This is the old light that is as
trustworthy as the sun; the new lights are mere “will-o’ -the-
wisps” dancing about the bogs. The old paths are
sprinkled with the blood of atonement; the new with the
rose-water of men-pleasing.
III. Why we should Walk in the Old Paths. Because
there we find-1.
TIIE BLOOD OF CHRIST TO JUSTIFY. All pilgrims in
the “old paths” are forgiven, and justified through the
bIood of His Cross ; the new path wanderers know nothing
of this.
2. THE WORD OF GOD TO SATISFY. They have not
followed cunningly-devised fables, but the true light that
shincth in this dark place. The testimony of Jesus is the
spirit of prophecy. The plausible theories and philoso-phies
of men may beguile for a time, but they cannot
bring abiding satisfaction to the heart and conscience.
3. THE P OWER OF ‘ I-HE SPIRIT TO S A N C T I FY. The
makers of the new paths have no place for the quickening,
sanctifying, enduing power of the Holy Ghost. Along
their new and tardy way there is no missionary enthusiasm,
no felt need of being filled with the Spirit, no joy in the
Holy Ghost, no glorying in the Cross of Christ, no con-versions
from sin and self to God. The old paths are the
paths of peace, pleasure, and power, because they are the
paths in which the Son of God still walks in company with
II& followers. “Ask for the old paths, where is the good
way, and walk therein, and yc shall find rest for your
souls. ”.Gospel Outlines. 287
AN OPEN DOOR FOR YOU.
“BEHOLD,~ HAVE SETBEFORETHEEANOPENDOOK” (Rev.3.8).
WHEN out of work, honest tradesmen have often to say,
with heavy heart and weary feet, “I can’t get an opening. ”
How sad a world it would be if there was no opening for
weary, sin-burdened souls in the love of God, or the grace
of Jesus Christ. The work of Christ was the work of an
Opener. Sin had closed the door into every spiritual
privilege, but He who has now the keys of death and of
hades hath set before us-I.
The Open Door of Salvation. “I am the Door, by
Me, if any man enter in, he shall be saved. ” This is a door
of escape from the wrath of God, from the guilt and
pollution of sin, from the fear of man, and the tyranny of
self. It is for you, therefore you may have boldness to
enter in by the blood of Jesus. Come now.
II. The Open Door of Instruction. ?‘ he privilege of
being “taught of God” is open for all. If any man lack
wisdom, let him ask; the door into the Divine audience
chamber is now open through the Name of Jesus. He can
not only “open to you the Scriptures,” but also anoint
your eyes with such an eye-salve as shall make you see
wonderful things in His Holy Word. He can also make
you of quick understanding, wise in Christ.
III. The Open Door of Prayer. Others have wm
great victories by prayer. The same door by which they
entered into fullness of blessing and triumph is open for
you. “If ye ask anything in My Name. ” Moses, Elijah,
David, Daniel, Paul, Luther, Knox, Muller, Quarrier,
and hosts of other mighty ones, owed almost everything
to this open door. Who can tell all the profit you shall
have if you pray unto Him? (Job. 21. 15). Enter now.
IV. The Open Door of Fellowship. This is another.288 Handfuls on Purpose.
glorious privilege that is open to all saints. “If ye draw
nigh unto Me, I will draw nigh unto you” (James 4. 8).
The Lord needs no very urgent constraint to come and
abide with us. The deepest yearning of His loving heart
is that we should “abide” in Him. His difficulty with US
is our closed door against Him. “Behold, I stand at the
door and knock. ”
V. The Open Door of Power. Undoubtedly some have
more spiritual power than others. How? Have they got
into special favour with God through some hidden private
door? Hath He not declared that “All power is given
unto Me, go yc therefore” (Matt. 28. 18, 19). Go yc
therefore to Him and for Him. “He giveth power to the
faint, and to them that have nn miglzt He increaseth
strength” (Isa. 40. 29). He hath set this open door bcforc
you. Wait upon Him, and ye shall change strength.
VI. The Open Door of Service. If you are a son, go
work to-day in His vineyard ; the door is open for you, and
your work is waiting on you. What can I do? Do what
you are told, “Go, and work. ” Christ does not compel us
to serve or follow Him, but He commands and invites.
Who then is willing to consecrate his service to the Lord,
service of heart and voice, of mind and means? In every
foreign mission field, wide doors, and effcctuel, arc set
open before us.
VII. The Open Door of Heaven. “1 go to preparc a
place for you. ” Those who arc Christ’s have no fear of
cvcr getting this door closed against them. He has opened
it, and no man shutteth. Let us be faithful now, taking
full advantage of the privileges ofiered us, that so a.n
abundant entrance shall be ministered unto us on that day, when we come to enter through this gate into the city.
Beware of acting the part of the foolish virgins who wcrc
outside when “the door wx shut. ”.Gospel Outlines. 389
THE DEATH OF CHRIST.
ISAIAH 53. 10, 11.
WHAT the sun is to the Heavens and the earth, the death of
Christ is to the Bible and to Christianity. Look at-I.
The Nature of It. “It plea& thr: Lord to bruise
Him, He hath put Him to grief. ” The Rationalist can
only see in Christ’s death a martyr to Jewish malice a.nd
Roman contempt ; but it pleased Jehovah to bruise Him.
“He spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us
all. ” Hc was bruised between the upper and nether mill-stones
of God’s justice and man’s guilt. He could say,
“No man taketh My life from Me, I lay it down of Myself. ”
His was a voluntary, God-ordained sacrifice.
II. The Purpose of It. “To make His soul an offering
for sin. ” What an infinite depth of difference there was
between “His soul” and “sin. ” Only God can fully judge
the value of the one and the demerjt of the other. The
greatness of the price reveals the awfulness of the condition.
He poured out the treasures of His soul, that the sin of my
soul might be taken away. The price was all-sufficient in
the sight of God, and so the redemption is eternal.
III. The Result of It. “He shall be satisfied.” A
woman forgetteth her travail, for joy that a man is born
into the world. He shall see of the travail of His soul,
but shall He ever forget it ? He shall rejoice that a bride
has been born into the world, and shall be satisfied when
she is safely brought home to the marriage festival and to
His eternal glory. We also shall be satisfied when we awake
in His likeness. Meanwhile, by life and lip we are to
show forth the saving, sanctifying, satisfying power of His
death till Hc corn<\..290 Handfuls on Purpose.
THREE ASPECTS OF SALVATION.
LUKE 1s.
IN this chapter we have three parables, representing three
conditions of the lost, and showing three persons seeking
the lost. These parables were spoken to the Pharisees and
Scribes, who murmured, saying, “This man receivetlt
sinners. ” They show the kind of simmers He does receive,
and how He does receive them. We observc-I.
A Threefold Aspect of the Lost. The-1.
Los-r SmzEp–representing those who are lost to
safety. Outside the fold means outside the count. There
were ninety and nine-the lost one was not counted. The
lost sheep was in danger, exposed and helpless, typical of
those who are thoughtlessly lost, unconscious of their
condition.
2. LosT MoNEY-representing those lost to usefulrcess.
As long as this piece of silver was lost, it was unfit to be
used-good for nothing. It was not lost out in the desert,
but in the house. It is possible to be in the house of God
a.nd yet lost to usefulness, like the Scribes and Pharisees,
to whom these words were spoken. It is possible to have a
saved soul and yet have a lost life. To be out of the hand
of Him to whom we belong as redeemed ones, is to be in a
condition of uselessness. When a piece of money is lost it
is not only the base metal that’s lost, but all the good that
money might do.
3. LOST SO?&-repreSenting IOSt ft?llowshi$. Out of
communion with the Father: a condition of degradation and
dishonour brought about by a deliberate choice and wilful
separation from His presence. Thus is the backslider lost
to fellowship with God through his love of the world.
II. A Threefold Salvation. In these three parables
we may see the desires and longings of the Father, Son,
and Holy Spirit toward the lost ones..Gospei Outlines. 291
1. THE SHEPHERD SEEKS THE LOST S HEEP TO S AVE IT.
Here we have the work of the Son revealed. He goes ufteu
the lost, leaving His all behind, in order that He might
find it. At great sacrifice He seeks to save.
2. THE WOMAN SEEKS TI-IE LOST S ILVER TO U SE IT.
This suggests the mission of the Holy Spirit. The money is
lost in the house. She lights a candle and sweeps the house.
Dust and darkness usually are the causes why the Holy
Ghost cannot get hold of our lives to use them. The light
of the truth has to be brought from without, and the dust
of inward corruption stirred up within, that confession and
surrender may be made. The unsaved one has just to be
outside the fold to be a lost soul ; the saved one has just
to be outside the control and touch of the Holy Spirit to be
a lost life. He, like this woman, seeks to save those lost
to a life of service for God.
3. THE FATHER SEEKS HIS LOST SON TO HAVE FELLOW-SHIP
WITH HIM. The Father does not go forth to seek; He
~ui2.s and longs for the coming prodigal. The loss of love
is a great 10s~. He calls on the backshding ones to return,
and promises healing to such. It is sad to find Christians
in this terrible plight-out of fellowship with God. For
such two things are needed: (1) To come to themselves.
(2) To come back to their Father.
III. A Threefold Rejoicing. There is joy in Heaven
over the salvation of-1.
A LOST SOUL. The value is unspeakable, the joy is
never-ending.
2. A LOST SERVANT. Grieve not the Holy Spirit.
Yield yourselves unto God. Ye are bought with a price.
3. A LOST SON. Love restored, and the peace and
fellowship enjoyed. In this threefold salvation-the heart
of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost-one
heart, is made glad..292 iiatidfuls 011 f’ urpotie.
SEED THOUG L-ITS.
METAPHORS OF BELIEVERS
IN 2 CORINTHIANS.
Epistles, chap. 3. 3; Ministers, chap. 3. 6; Vessels,
chap. 4. 7; Workers, chap. 6. 1 ; Tcmplcs, chap. 6. 16;
Sons and Daughters, chap. 6. 18.
FELLOWSHIP WITH ONE ANOTHER
I JOHN 1. 7.
f_Inn~ arc several powerful reasons why believers ought to
keep in fellowship with one another:-I.
All arc born of the same Father (John 1. 13).
2. All are bought with the sarnt: Price (1 Cor. 6. 20).
3. All arc members of the same Body (Cal. 1. 18).
4. All are taught by the same Spirit (John 16. 13).
5. All are walking in the same Path (2 Cor. 5. 7).
6. All are serving the same Master (Matt. 23. 8).
7. All are heirs of the same Inheritance (Kom. 8. 17).
SEVEN GREAT FACTS IN JOHN 3.
1. The gift of God (16)) . . . Love.
2. The mission of Christ (17), . . SaZvntio+~.
3. The work of the Spirit (S), . . . Qzlickening.
4. The need of man (3), . . . New Life.
5. The way of life (14, 15), Believing.
6. The consequence of unbelief (18, lo), Condem+zation.
7. The evidcncc of faith (21), . , Wovhs..Seed Thoughts.
CHRIST’S SEVENFOLD PRAYER FOR HIS
PEOPLE IN JOHN 17.
I. That they might be ke$t thyozgh His Name (11).
2. That they might have His joy in themselves (13).
3. That they might be sanctified (17-19).
4. That they might all be one (21, 22).
5. That they might be a blessing to others (20).
6. That they might Possess the Father’ s love (26).
7. That they might behold His glory (24).
293
DIVINE THOUGHTFULNESS.
“THINK UPON ME, MY GOD, FOR GOOD" (Neh. 5. 19).
I. GOD DOES THINK UPON Us.
1. He thinks upon our Past, . Jer. 2. 2.
2. He thinks upon our Present, . . Ezek. 16. 60.
3. He thinks upon our Fzdure, . . Ezek. 16. 62.
II. G OD DOES T HINK UPON Us FOR G O OD. It is good
for us that:
1. His thoughts are Great, . . Isa. 55. 9.
2. His thoughts are Many, . . Psa. 40. 5.
3. His thoughts are Peacefd, . Jer. 29. 1 I.
4. His thoughts are Comforting, Hosea 2. 14.
COURAGE.
HAVE the courage-1.
To Obey like Abraham,
2. To Suffer like Moses,
3. To Flee like Joseph,
4. To Stand like Elijah,
5. To Persevere like Daniel,
6. To Venture like Peter,
7. To Testify like Paul, .
Gen. 12. 4; Heb. 11. 8.
Heb. 11. 25.
Gen. 39. 12.
1 Kings 17. 1.
Dan. 6. 10.
Matt. 14. 28, 2Q.
Acts 26. 22, 23..294 Handfuls on Purpose.
THE CHRISTIAN’ S ENVIRONMENTS.
TNEY arc s(‘ eri~- –
1.
2.
‘ 3 < .
4.
5.
6.
7.
1.
2.
3.
4.
5 I .
6.
7.
8.
Among Lions, . . , . . Psa. 57.4.
Among Thorns, . . . . S . of S. 2. 2.
Among Scorpions, . . . Ezek. 2. 6.
Among Wolves, . , . . . . Luke 10. 3.
Among Tares as Wheat, . . . . Matt. 13. 30.
Among the Heavenly Host, . 2 Kings 6. 17.
Surrounded by the Lord Himself, Psa. 125. 2.
THE WAY TO GOD.
A Needed Way, . . . . . . Psa. 63. 1.
A New Way, . . . . . . Heb. 10. 19, 20.
A Finished Way, . . . . . 1 Peter 3. 13.
A Personal Way, . . . . John 14. 6.
A Safe Way, . . . . Heb. 7. 25.
A Free Way, . . Heb. 10. 20-22.
A Blessed Way, into a11 needed help, Heb. 4. 14-16.
An Unfailing Way, . . James 4. 8.
THE SAVING CALL.
LUKE 19. 5.
THE Call of Jesus Christ is–-
1. A Gracious Call, . He might have passed by.
2. A Personal Call, “Zaccheus. ”
3. An Urgent Call, . “Make haste. ”
4. A Humbling Call, “Come down. ”
5. An Affectionate Call, “Abide at thy house. ”
6. An Asswi~g Cdl, “I must. ”
7. An Eifectf,al Call, . . “He made haste. ”.I.
2.
3.
4.
5 I .
1.
2.
3.
4.
1.
Seed Thoughts.
FrhITH.
295
The Ear of Faith, . . . . . . 1 Kings 18. 41.
The Eye of Faith, . , . . . . 2 Kings 6. 17.
The Feet of Faith, . . CTencsis 5. 24.
The Hand of Faith, . . Acts 3. 7.
The Heart of Faith, . RCJITI. 10. 10.
CONDITIONS OF FELLOWSHIP.
I,UKB 24. 29.
Consideration, “The day is far spent. ”
Invitation, . . “Abide with us. ” ,
Importunity, “They Constrained Him. ”
Result, . . “He went in to tarry with them.”
A GREAT OPPORTUNITY.
ISAIAH 53. 6.
Whom ? “Seek ve the Lord.” 2. Why ? “Because
He is near. ” 3. When ? “While He may be found.”
4. How? “Seek.. .call. ” Who? “Ye. ”
_.~
FAITH AND SIGHT.
“HE who pinneth faith to bodily sight, to the earthly
and visible, doth himself expose it to change, since all
things visible arc temporal, and only the invisible is
eternal” (2 Cor. 4, 18).–GerZnch..2!96 Handfuls on Purpose.
ORIGINAL ILLUSTRATIONS.
DISAPPOINTED WORKERS.
IT has been proved that when a bird’s nest has been robbed
several times she builds her last nest in a more slovenly
fashion. So much is she influenced by disappointment;
and such results are very natural to all who are depending
upon their own works. However things may turn out, the
Christian worker must never become slovenly in his or her
service for Christ. Do the last as carefully as the first, and
the least as heartily as the greatest. “Whatsoever thy
hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might, ” for ye serve
the Lord Christ. Angels are never disappointed, neither
are they at any time slovenly in their work. They obey
and worship. “Go thou and do likewise. ”
SELF-APPROBATION.
THE peculiar, self-conceited manners of the turkey cock
are very generally known. It is so cowardly that it will
fiy from the most insignificant animal that dares to face it
boldly ; but if it can only succeed in frightening a child or
a Iittle pet dog, it will strut about the yard displaying its
plumage with as much pride as if it had conquered a bull.
Did you ever see what might be vulgarly called a turkey
cock Christian worker ? He is one who will do nothing for
the Lord that implies self-sacrifice, or is likely to damage
the plumage of his own good name in the eyes of worldly
men, but who, when he does accomplish anything with
seeming success, makes such an ado about it that everybody
within a mile must know of it. They think others
should praise them, while they are glorying in their own
self -conceit..Original IIIustrations .
CRABBED.
297
A CRABBED person is one who is usually tormented or
avoided-one who is supposed to be crab-like. Yet who
has not at times been ensnared in the toils of this crab?
At’appears that hermit-crabs are extremely crabbed. They
will fight almost to the death with each other over a few
empty shells, not a whit more suitable for them than the
one they already possess. Self-seeking and covetousness
always lead to crabbedness. Put off the old man with his
deeds, and put on the new, and be content with such things
as ye have.
THE ENCHANTMENT OF NEARNESS.
D ISTANCE does not aIways “lend enchantment to the
view.” Wordsworth said, on looking at a cataract two
miles off, that it was “frozen by distance. ” The matchless
love of God, the joys of salvation, and the service of Christ
are to a great many “frozen by distance. ” In the spiritual
Kingdom nearness always lends enchantment to the view,
The altogether loveliness of Christ grows increasingly as
we grow in nearness to Him. It is those who are afar off
that see no beauty in Him, and who are not enchanted by
Him. “Let us draw near. ”
PERFECT SOUNDNESS.
IN an American locomotive shed there is an instrument
something like a piano, for testing engines. The sound of
each part of the engine, when in a perfect state, is in
unison with the corresponding note in the testing machine.
The slightest flaw in any of the parts will cause a discord,
and so reveal its weakness. The Word of God is a perfect
testing instrument for man’s character and life. If our
thoughts and acts are not in harmony with it, it is because
there is some defect in us somewhere. The character that
is perfectly sound will be in perfect accord with this Divine
instrument.
c.298 Handfuls on Purpose.
CONVERSION.
Tm ~‘oung C~IC~~OO, has cotnc’ from ii.Original Illustrations. “99
different source>-born from above. It is cxpectcd to take
entire control of the whole being, and is to become a hcraltl
of the spring-time of salutation, bringing gladness and
hope to others.
POWER OF CIRCUMSTANCES.
.4 3J.n’ went down from Jerusalem to Jericho and fell
xnong thieves. Tf you or I had gone down that way at
that time we would likely have met with the same fate.
\i’c have not fallen among thieves, just because we have
not been brought up among them. “In a vacuum,” says
(;anot, “Iiquids fall like solids, without separation of their
molcxulcs. ” Where there is no resistance, every material
thing falls with the same rapidity–a fc,athcr as quick as a
stone. LVho can tell how much we owe to the restraining
circllmstanccs into which we have been born. &Iight not
nlany of those thieves and drunkards have been as moral
and religious as we arc if they had got the same chance?
Let this awaken thankfulness and sympathy.
REGENERATION.
IT is a w(lll-known fxct, although it is an ever-incrc,asing
wonder, that a caterpillar ch:~ugcs into a buttcrfy. ‘ l’ hcarc>
is cc,rtainly vc’ry littIc resemblance bctwcc:n the LWJ, yt
c:\.cry buttc>rlly 11~s lx~n a caterpillar. Tlic. biittcrilic~s can
trl~tlifully say, as the-y look at the poor c;lterpillars, “Such
were some of us, but \v(’ arc changed. ” So vvcry saint ha5
been a sinner, but a wonderful work has been wrought in
thc~ul. The caterpillar sinner knows nothing of the deligilts
of the butterfly saint. The only way a caterpillnr can
c%nter into the joys of 111,: butt&y life is by being made a
“new creature”-by king, in a sense, “born again. ”
The cabbage-loving caterpillar has no capacity for the
new-born movements and delights of the butterfly. No
more can the carnal nature of man enter into the enjoyment
of the things of God without bcbing born again..300 Handfuls on Purpose.
SHAM PROFESSORS.
Tnl;. fox is said to be the prince of all schemers. When
it sees that escape is impossible it will sometimes feign
death, and allow itself to be kicked anti carried by the tail
over one’s shoulder without showing any signs of life ; but
as soon as opportunity offers itst,lf it will scamper with all
haste back to its old quarters. Foxy professors are not
uncommon. They mingle with Cod’s peopl!,, sing and talk
as they do. You imagine them all right, but as soon as an
opportunity comes in the form of some worldly amusement
they drcamp. It is not altogether impossible for even ZL
Christian to feign himself dead to the world, and sin, while
attending a holiness convention, and then, after these holy
restraints are withdrawn, to play the fox and scamper back
to the old life of sclhshncss.
A WARNING TO IDLERS.
TAKE heed, lest there bc in any of you an evil hL>art of
lnzi~~~ss ! F+hen bees have finished the business of
swarming, and the workers have discovered t1la.t there
are no lack of queens, then they with one accord fall on the
drones, who arc massacred without mercy. Thus Nature,
in these busy bees, passes the sentence of death upon the
useless idler. This is also a law in the spiritual world.
Those Christians who will not work for the good of Christ’s
cause among men will be visited with the blight of death
upon their spirits. No idler in the vineyard can possibly
live in health and prosperity of soul. “Son ! go work
to-day ! ” He that will not do the work of God should not
cat the food of God.
IIMAGINARY GREATNESS.
FROUUE tells us that “Pompey was a weak man, ignorant
of himself; and unwilling to part with his imaginary
greatness, he was flung down by the cruel forces of the
world. ” The forces of this present evil world are always
too mighty for those clothed in the armour of “imaginary
greatness. ” Only in the “armour of God” can we stand.

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