Psalm 73:5, 6
They are not in trouble as other men; neither are they plagued like other men.…
That is the teaching of these verses, and of innumerable Scriptures besides (see Psalm 55:19; Jeremiah 48:11). Thus -
I. GOD IS EVER TEACHING US THIS TRUTH.
1. In his Word. See also Hebrews 12, and the biographies of God's people in all ages. The history of the Church as given in Scripture abundantly reveals God's merciful law of change.
2. By analogy. God suffers nothing to be without change. Even the rocks and hills, the solid globe, are all subject to change. The seasons alternate. Storm and tempest make pure the air which, as in the Swiss valleys, would otherwise become stagnant. The great sea is "troubled, that it can never be quiet." In plant life, "except a corn of wheat fall into," etc. The processes of change are varied and ever acting in the entire vegetable world. And so in animal life. Not to experience change would be death. And it is so with the mind. No change there is idiocy. It must be stirred by the incoming of fresh truth, and the readjustment of old. In social life -
"The old order changeth, giving place to new, Lest one good custom should corrupt the world." In ecclesiastical life. What was the Reformation but the tempest that rushed through the valleys of the Church life of that day, where the air had become so stagnant and corrupt that men could not live? And it is so in political and in moral life. Much peace is much peril. "Because men have no changes they fear not God." We cannot glide into the kingdom of God, nor, as the well known hymn mistakenly teaches that we may -
"Sit and sing ourselves away
To everlasting bliss." Not so do we enter there, but "through much tribulation." So our Lord, and all experience, plainly declare.
II. BUT WHY IS ALL THIS? Because in our nature there are rooted evils, which can only be got rid of by the action of this law of change. Such as:
1. Self-will. See the stream come brawling noisily along, as it descends through the valley down from the hill. But, lying right in its way, lo! there is a huge rook. Down comes the stream full tilt towards it, as if it would say, "Just you get out of my way." But that is exactly what the rock does not do; and so the angry stream dashes against it. And oh, what rage and riot, what fret and fume, there at once arises! But if you wait a moment, and watch, you will see that the stream seems to be thinking what it had better do; for lo! it glides softly, smoothly, quietly round the rook, which still stands stubbornly and relentlessly just where it stood before. The stream seems to have learnt a lesson - it has become all at once so gentle and submissive. Now, that is one of the ten thousand natural parables with which the world is full. The stream of our self-will, determined to go its own way, rushes on its course; but the rock of God's law of change, sending adversity and trial, stands in its way, and will not move, and self-will is broken against it, as God intended it should be. Only so can this evil be cured.
2. Pride. Trouble and sorrow humble men, and bring down the haughty spirit.
3. Unbelief. The materialism and atheism of the day are shattered by this law. In the day of distress, the soul cannot keep from calling upon God.
4. Selfishness. Ease fosters this as it fosters so much more that is evil; but trial often teaches men to think of others as well as of themselves.
5. And so with indolence and the love of the world. To be "in trouble as other men are" has a salutary power to rouse men from the one and to loose them from the other. And what opportunity does this law of change give for bearing testimony to the sustaining power of God's grace! Trouble endured with patient God-given courage is a mighty argument for God, the force of which all feel.
III. WHAT SHOULD BE OUR ATTITUDE TOWARDS THIS LAW?
1. Faint not; fret not; fear not.
2. Humble yourself beneath the mighty hand of God, so that you may secure the blessing your trouble is destined to bring. - S.C.
Parallel VersesKJV: They are not in trouble as other men; neither are they plagued like other men.