‘He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord.’ Psalm 112:7
Suggested Further Reading: Psalm 42:1–11
If you give way to fright and fear when you hear of evil tidings, how can you glorify God? Saints can sing God’s high praises in the fires and bless his name on beds of sickness, but you cannot if you fall into distractions. Why, man, can your murmuring praise God? Your doubting and fearing, as if you had none to help you, will these magnify the Most High? Come, I pray you, if you would honour God, be brave. A certain good man was much troubled under a loss in business; his wife tried to comfort him but failed, and being a very wise woman she gave it up till the morning. In the morning when she came downstairs her face looked so sad that her husband said, ‘What is the matter with you?’ She, still preserving a mournful countenance, said that a dream had troubled her. ‘What was it, my dear,’ he said, ‘you ought not to be troubled with dreams.’ ‘O,’ she said, ‘I dreamed that God was dead, and it was such reason for trouble, that all the angels were weeping in heaven, and all the saints on earth were ready to break their hearts.’ Her husband said, ‘You must not be foolish, you know it was only a dream.’ ‘O but,’ she said, ‘to think of God’s being dead!’ He replied, ‘You must not even think of such a thing, for God cannot die, he ever lives to comfort his people.’ Instantly her face brightened up, and she said, ‘I thought I would bring you thus to rebuke yourself, for you have been dreaming that God had forsaken you, and now you see how groundless is your sorrow. While God lives his people are safe.’
For meditation: Do you ever act as if God is dead? If God the Son had never risen from the dead, it would be right for Christians to be utterly miserable (Luke 24:17; John 20:11; 1 Corinthians 15:17–19). Christ was dead, but Christ is risen; he cannot die again (Romans 6:9), but he lives for ever (Hebrews 7:25; Revelation 1:18). So ‘Why weepest thou?’ (John 20:13,15); our rejoicing in these great facts should help us face all circumstances.
Sermon no. 647
27 August (1865)