The Teaching of the Tides
Psalm 77:19-20
Your way is in the sea, and your path in the great waters, and your footsteps are not known.…

I. THE TIDAL WAVE. Just as there are high and low tides of the ocean, so we have periods when everything is apparently in our favour, wind and wave working conjointly to bring us to our desired haven. It is also true that in the spiritual life we have our neap tides and spring tides. Seasons of enervation, when scarcely a ripple can be recognized on our monotonous life, energy is almost spent, faith is weak, God seems afar off, and we find it hard to pray, and life with its care and sin presents almost a dead calm. However, we have not always this experience of creeping slowly along; we have also our spring tides when we are carried forward as by a mighty flood. With a renewed energy, life is made worth living, irksome tasks become easy, a gracious influence fills our soul, and in an ecstasy of joy we are borne onward and upward.

II. HIGH TIDES. Have we not had our exceptional experiences when God came preciously near, and gave us visions and revelations of Himself? These are seasons of purity of life, devotion of service, implicit confidence in God. We discover at such times that we possess faculties of which we were ignorant. The whole of our spiritual being is made receptive.

III. THE OBSTACLES. There are several obstacles which vary the regulating tides; e.g. the stars, contour of the land, seasons, conflicting currents, etc., affect the tidal wave more or less, varying its progress and force. Let us guard against placing, or allowing to remain, any obstacles in the entrance of our souls, but with a lull surrender to the will of God, allow Him to have entire control of our lives. Let us open our hearts to receive the highest floodtide which He may send, even the very presence of God Himself — the Spirit of God dwelling in us.

IV. TIDELESS RIVERS AND INLAND SEAS. Such rivers as the Nile, Rhone, and Po feel no effect of the tidal wave, beyond their month, whilst in the case of the Thames its force is felt as far as Teddington, about eighty miles from the sea. Persons living on the banks of the Severn may sometimes see a head of water forty feet high rushing up the river with great violence. The effect of the tide is to prevent the accumulation of mud and formation of ice at the mouths of the river; it also makes the river more useful, being navigable. In a similar manner as the high tides of spiritual influences flow into our lives, they rid us of collected debris — hindrances which choke our lives and mar our usefulness — evil habits, questionable amusements, shady practices, of which we could not ordinarily strip ourselves, are all swept away under such gracious influences.

V. TIDE-TABLES. In almanacks and elsewhere we find tables which give with fair accuracy time and place of these exceptionally high tides, as well as the ordinary spring and neap tides, but no means of thus calculating times and seasons of spiritual visitation. We can doubtless aid the tide of power and usefulness by obeying the Divine laws which have been made known; and certainly guard against any obstacles and hindrances to its flow. It is "they that wait upon the Lord. that "shall renew their strength."

(J. B. Evans.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Thy way is in the sea, and thy path in the great waters, and thy footsteps are not known.

WEB: Your way was through the sea; your paths through the great waters. Your footsteps were not known.

The Perplexing Force in Human Life
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