Psalm 143:10
Thus does the psalmist set forth the soul's swift flight to its sure shelter in God. The man who wrote this psalm was evidently one who had been greatly tried; but when we see the blessed help that has come to myriad souls through the records of his experiences, we are taught thereby one reason at least for the trials of the people of God. Now, here -

I. WE HAVE A GOODLY EXAMPLE. That in all our troubles we should flee to God to hide us. Now, in order to this:

1. We must see our need of such shelter. We shall never do as did the psalmist, unless, like him, we see and feel the great danger we are in. Our text is the language of one who realizes his peril. This, in regard to things of the soul, is what so many fail to do. They cannot be got to believe that there is any need wherefore they should trouble themselves. Hence, as in the days of Noah, men went on in their wonted ways, although solemnly and repeatedly warned, until the Flood came and swept them all away. And thus indifferent and unbelieving the mass of men are still. But he who is awakened by God's grace to the reality of things will clearly see his need of shelter from the guilt of his sin, from its terrible power, and from the cruel oppression of this world's calamities and sorrows. He sees this, and therefore says, "I flee unto," etc.

2. He sees also his own weakness. He would not flee if he could fight with any hope of success; or if he knew how to protect himself from the evils which he fears, or had resources of which he could avail himself. But it is because he knows all this is impossible to him, therefore he flees unto God.

3. He has implicit and unlimited confidence in God. He believed that God was both able and willing to save him, and that God would be well pleased that he should flee to him, which he might do if he would. He felt that all would be well with him were he once sheltered within the cleft of the Rock, hidden in the secret place of the Most High. He was quite sure that to betake himself there was his truest wisdom, even as it was his settled resolve.

4. He realizes that his need is urgent. "I flee unto thee," etc. No time was to be lost; he might not delay having recourse to God. "The Name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe." So would he run into the strong shelter of God.

5. His trust in God is real and active. Thousands of men talk of finding refuge in God, but they never set out to find it. But the psalmist's religion was a reality to him; he got real blessing and help out of it; he had evidently often found a sure retreat and hiding-place from all evil in God. Ah! how much we lose by not doing the things that we say! by letting professions serve instead of practice! This man actually fled away to God.

II. THE SUGGESTED AND SADLY TOO COMMON CONTRAST, Every word in the text reminds us of the different conduct which is so commonly seen. For example:

1. Many will recommend others to flee unto God; but they never do so themselves. They cannot say, "/flee unto thee." This is why so many sermons are so ineffectual. The people who hear them feel that the preacher knows nothing experimentally of what he is talking about.

2. Or, if they do not refuse to go, their going is very slow. There is all too little of fleeing unto God. We take things far too easy for that. John the Baptist might preach, "Flee from the wrath to come!" but how few heeded what he said! And so it is still. Men do not believe that there is any need to escape as for their life; and hence, with all leisure, and often listlessness, they proceed in regard to their salvation.

3. And many when in trouble flee away from, rather than unto, God. They plunge into business, into pleasure, into sin; they harden themselves in unbelief; they set themselves defiantly against God.

4. Others flee to all manner of substitutes for God. "Take away her battlements; they are not the Lord's!" so said the Prophet Jeremiah, concerning the many refuges of lies behind which so many of his countrymen were thinking that they would find shelter. And so still, how many are thinking that in priests and sacraments, in Churches and Creeds, in religious rites and observances, they shall find help, when such help is in God alone!

5. And many will seek from God, not deliverance from spiritual evil, but rather comfort in it. They do not mind the sin so much as its discomfort, and they want God to take that away. If he will do that, they will not mind the evil thing itself. All they want is comfort. But God's will and way is to sever us from our sin, and to place us where it cannot reach us. This should be our desire, as it was his who wrote this psalm. Then alone are we blessed.

III. OUR SUPREME WISDOM. For to do as is here said is nothing less; we then are wise unto salvation. For:

1. God is honored when we thus flee to him. How did the king in the parable feel when he had made the great supper, and all things were ready, but the invited guests began with one consent to make excuse? And God has provided for all our need. Will he not feel dishonored if we refuse, but glorified if we take what hems offered?

2. And our fellow-men will be encouraged to follow our example. "No man liveth unto himself." If any one travel truly the road to heaven, he will not want for companionship.

3. We ourselves shall be blessed indeed. Having fled unto God to hide him - guilt, sin, sorrow, death, are powerless to really harm him even now; and soon they will be unable to reach him at all. He dwells "in the secret place of the Most High, and abides under," etc. - S.C.







Teach me to do Thy will; for Thou art my God.
: —

I. THE GODLY MAN'S PRAYER. Humility, teachableness, sense of his own ignorance should characterize the Christian; as also the greatness and glory, the wisdom and power of Him who is his God.

II. THE GODLY MAN'S DELIGHT.

1. What is the will of God?(1) Our sanctification (1 Thessalonians 4:3).(2) He wills that we should render Him most hearty thanksgiving for all the mercies with which He so bountifully blesses us (1 Thessalonians 5:18).(3) He wills that by our well-doing we should adorn the Gospel (1 Peter 2:15). "The Christian is the true evidence of Christianity" (Drummond). "Adorn the Gospel." Let the jewels be set in gold.

2. Knowing His will, having learnt it, we must do it, and do it heartily.

3. The more we do what we have been taught, the more will the Lord our God reveal to us of His will.

(H. B. Saxton.)

: —

I. THE SUPREME AIM OF THE DEVOUT SOUL. The tempest blows him to the throne of God; and when he is there, what does he ask? Deliverance? Scarcely. In one clause, and again at the end, as if by a kind of after-thought, he asks for the removal of the calamities. But the main burden of his prayer is for a closer knowledge of God, the sound of His lovingkindness in his inward ear, light to show him the way wherein he should walk, and the sweet sunshine of God's face upon his heart. There is a better thing to ask than exemption from sorrows, even grace to bear them rightly. The river of the water of life that proceeds from the throne of God and the Lamb is not sent merely to refresh thirsty lips and to bring music into the silence of a waterless desert, but it is sent to drive the wheels of life. Action, not thought, is the end of God's revelation and the perfecting of man.

II. THE DIVINE TEACHING AND TOUCH WHICH ARE REQUIRED FOR THIS CONFORMITY. The psalmist betakes himself to prayer because he knows that of himself he cannot bring his will into this attitude of harmonious submission. And his prayer for "teaching" is deepened in the second clause of our text into a petition which sets the felt need and the coveted help in a still more striking light, in its cry for the touch of God's good spirit to guide, as by a hand grasping the psalmist's hand into the paths of obedience. You and I have Jesus Christ for our Teacher, the answer to the psalm. His teaching is inward, and deep, and real, and answers to all the necessities of the case. We have His example to stand as our perfect law. He comes into our hearts, He moulds our wills, His teaching is by inward impulses and communications of desire and power to do, as well as of light to know. A law has been given which can give life. As the modeller will take a piece of wax into his hand, and by warmth and manipulation make it soft and pliable, so Jesus Christ, if we let Him, will take our hard hearts into His hands, and by gentle, loving, subtle touches, will shape them into the pattern of His own perfect beauty, and will mould all their vagrant inclinations and aberrant distortions into "one immortal feature of loveliness and perfection."

III. THE DIVINE GUARANTEE THAT THIS PRACTICAL CONFORMITY SHALL BE OURS. The psalmist pleads with God a double motive — His relation to us and His own perfectness. "Thou art my God; therefore teach me." "Thy Spirit is good; therefore lead me," etc. Note, then, first, God's personal relation to the devout soul as the guarantee that that soul shall be taught not merely to know, but also to do His will. If He be "my God," there can be no deeper desire in His heart than that His will should be my will. And so desiring, He does it, not from any masterfulness or love of dominion, but only from love to us. And, on the other hand, if we have taken Him for ours, and have the bond knit from our side as well as from His, then the fact of our faith gives us a claim on Him which He is sure to honour. The soul that can say, "I have taken Thee for mine," has a hold on God which God is only too glad to recognize and to vindicate. And whosoever, humbly trusting to that great Father in the heavens, feels that he belongs to God, and that God belongs to him, is warranted in saying, "Teach me, and make me to do Thy will," and in being confident of an answer. And there is the other plea with Him and guarantee for us, drawn from God's own moral character and perfectness. The last clause may either be read, "Thy Spirit is good; lead me," or "Let Thy good Spirit lead me." In either case the goodness of the Divine Spirit is the plea on which the prayer is grounded. The goodness here ,referred to is, as I take it, not merely beneficence and kindliness, but rather goodness in its broader and loftier sense of perfect moral purity. So that the thought just comes to this — we have the right to expect that we shall be made participant of the Divine nature. So sweet, to deep, so tender is the tie that knits a devout soul to God, that nothing short of conformity to the perfect purity of God can satisfy the aspirations of the creature or discharge the obligations of the Creator.

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

: —

I. ASPIRATION REVEALED. The great essential to a religious life is active obedience to God's will. The knowledge is not in itself religion; but the Christian is "that faithful and wise servant whom the Lord, when He cometh, shall find so doing." Hence perfection of character consists not in knowledge, but obedience, because —

1. Obedience is superior to knowledge. It is possible for a man to have a Scriptural creed and to have an ungodly heart. The question must ever be, "Is thine heart right?" For "if ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them."

2. Knowledge alone is positively criminal. How vast the dishonour done to God, when, with a perfect knowledge of duty, the man is neglectful of his privilege, and refuses the obedience which of right he owes to God l The possession of the knowledge will be but an aggravation of the offence.

II. DEFICIENCY ACKNOWLEDGED. it was a practical deficiency —

1. As the knowledge of God's will in the particular circumstances of life.

2. As to the knowledge of the hindrances to the performance of God's will.

3. As to the practical skill of doing the will of God.

III. DESIRE EXPRESSED. Like the psalmist, we must seek to be taught obedience to God's will.

1. In the particular circumstances of life. It must be our prayer in the minute detail of life to fulfil the will of God. "He that is faithful in that which is least," etc.

2. In dealing with the hindrances to its fulfilment. The best and holiest must feel that they have reason to prostrate themselves before the Lord. He knows the ills and difficulties of life, and He will help us to overcome them. The mysteries of life must quicken us to place ourselves under the guidance of our heavenly Father.

3. In its active fulfilment. "Teach me to do Thy will." Self-reliance gives place to self-confidence, and hence the necessity to trust in God and not in self.

(G. Bainton.)

: —

I. THE PSALMIST'S NEED.

1. He felt that he was ignorant, and needed Divine illumination. He desired that God's will might be made clear to him (ver. 8).

2. He felt that he was weak, and needed strength to do, as well as enlightening to know, God's will.

II. THE PSALMIST'S PRAYER. "Teach me to do Thy will."

1. He felt it to be his duty to do so. He would observe that all nature, man only excepted, does the Divine will and never swerves from it.

2. He felt that God's will was best. He knew that He had pleasure in the prosperity — spiritual and temporal — of His servants (Psalm 35:27). He would seek to acquiesce in the will of God, who sometimes takes away temporal blessings that man's affections may be more completely fixed upon his Creator, and causes him to pass through the furnace of affliction that when he is tried he may come forth as gold (Job 23:10).

III. THE PSALMIST'S PLEA. "For Thou art my God."

1. He had realized to some extent God's love towards him.

2. He rejoiced in His love and desired to have God for his portion for ever.

3. He loved God and sought to do the things that please Him.

(H. P. Wright, B. A.)

I. THE PRAYER.

1. Its character.

(1)Holy.

(2)Humble.

(3)Docile.

(4)Acquiescent.

(5)Believing.

(6)Practical.

2. Its compass. "Lord, teach me to do Thy will, whether it is the will of the great ones of the earth, or the will of my influential friends, or the will of my loudtalking neighbours or not. Help me to do Thy will, to take my stand, and say, 'As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.'" It is a blessed prayer. The more we look at it the more we see in it.

3. How ought God's will to be done?

(1)Thoughtfully.

(2)Immediately.

(3)Cheerfully.

(4)Constantly.

(5)Universally.

(6)Spiritually.

(7)Intensely.

II. THE ANSWER.

1. There is a reason for expecting it. "Thou art my God."

2. It needs to be answered. No one but God can teach us His will.

3. It is answered.

(1)In Jesus Christ, as our Example.

(2)In sacred biographies.

(3)In every line of the Bible.

(4)By the teaching of the Holy Spirit.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

An argument to move God to teach him, because He is his God, and doth trust in none but in Him. As if David should say: Thou promised me help of Thy free favour, help me then in this my danger. Whereby he would teach us two principal lessons. First, by this that he desireth God to teach him to do His will, because He was his God, we learn that it is not in our own arbitrament or choice to do God's will, but His special grace, who preventeth us by His favour, and becometh our God, and after frameth us to do His will and obey Him. Secondly, that if He be our God, and we will call upon Him in our troubles, it were requisite we should frame ourselves to obey Him. If He be our God, where is His love and obedience? If He be our Father, where is His honour? So he must of necessity be an atheist who saith in his heart, there is no God; who professeth God in his mouth, and in his works denieth Him; following his own pleasure in place of God's will.

(A. Symson.)

: — "Thy will be done" is not a prayer of resignation only. Something is to be done. It calls for action, not passivity. The will is to be done by men. When we pray that men may do it, if we pray honestly, we mean that we are ready to do it. Are we? Are we doing it? Is what we have planned to do to-day just what we think is the will of God?

(F. W. Faber.)

Thy Spirit is good.
: — I trust that we shall never fail to see that on God's good Spirit we are dependent for all good things, and that that Church is doomed to waste away to absolute nothingness and uselessness which does not draw its fresh supplies of strength each day and hour from God the Holy Ghost.

I. First, we shall, I hope, be disposed to say "Thy Spirit is good" WHEN WE REMEMBER HIS RELATIONSHIPS. Whence is the Spirit? from what quarter does He reach to us? With whom is He associated? from whom does He proceed? By whom has He been sent forth to dwell amidst the Church, and in God's people's hearts? The answer is of course familiar to you.

1. This Spirit is good because He is the Spirit of God, He is God Himself. He is good because God is good.

2. Moreover He is spoken of as the Spirit of Jesus Christ, the Spirit of God's Son. Now, Christ is good. His very enemies declared that they could discover no sort of fault in Him.

3. He is spoken of as the Spirit of promise. The Spirit of promise is bound to be a good Spirit, for He is God's promise and Christ's promise. Our earthly fathers, so far as their judgment goes, give good gifts unto their children; our heavenly Father cannot fail even in His judgment.

II. We shall be still surer of this fact, I hope, WHEN WE CONSIDER HIS ATTRIBUTES. I have only time, of course, to glance at them.

1. He is mighty, how mighty it is not for human tongues to try to say. He is almighty; there is no limit to His power. "Thy Spirit is good" we may well exclaim, when we think both of His terrible acts, and of the might of those acts of mercy which have made Him renowned and revered to every believer. "Thy Spirit is good." He is as mighty now as He was then. What God hath done, God can do. We are straitened in ourselves. The Spirit is omnipotent still. Let us both test and trust His power.

2. He is gracious and gentle.

3. He is wise.

4. He is true.

5. He is holy. All that is sweet, and lovely, and pure, and of good report pertains to Him.

III. Further, I WANT TO CALL TO YOUR MIND HIS SEVERAL OFFICES, for these are proofs that He is good. What He does, as well as what He is and whence He comes, substantiates this fact. He creates. By Jesus Christ the world was made, and "without Him was not anything made that was made," but the Spirit co-operated with Him. "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness." In the creation of man, as in all else, God the Spirit was engaged, as well as God the Father and Christ the Son. Is He not a good Spirit, then? Now, the Holy Ghost is still engaged in this sacred service, creating, recreating, making hearts new, bringing chaos out of the void, brooding over the darkness and disorder and transforming them into brightness and beauty. Proceed, good Spirit, with this good work, till all things are made new. 'Tis He who quickens and illuminates, 'tis He who teaches and leads. It was the Holy Ghost who led the children of Israel in the wilderness. The fiery cloudy pillar was the outward sign of Divine guidance, hut it is written, "Thou gavest also Thy good Spirit to instruct them." In special cases, where much wisdom and judgment were required, the Holy Ghost was the Author of these good things. Still He seals His saints, still He is the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry, "Abba, Father." It is even now His blessed function to bear witness with our spirits that we are the children of God. He has not forsaken His task of comforting the sorrowful: He is to this day the Paraclete.

IV. The same truth is exhibited or rather illustrated by the VARIOUS EMBLEMS BY WHICH THE HOLY SPIRIT IS DESCRIBED IN THE WORD OF GOD. He is spoken of as a fire. In such guise He sat upon the heads of the disciples. He is the Spirit of burning. You know that fire is a good servants, if a bad master, but the Holy Ghost as fire is good both as master and servant. He is willing to serve us as well as to employ us, and as fire He lights, and cheers, and warms us. The Holy Spirit may be compared to dew-cheering, beautifying, fertilizing. The Holy Ghost is compared to a dove, that gentlest of feathered fowl. In this semblance He lighted upon Jesus. Listen to the voice of this celestial turtle dove as it is heard in our land, for it speaks of spring-time come and summer-time about to appear. He is compared to the wind, a mighty rushing wind. Get into the draught of that wind, I beseech you, it is a trade wind that wafts us to our desired haven. True, it destroys, but it destroys only what we are better rid of Dead wood, broken branches, withered leaves, these He sweeps away as with a bosom. They are better gone. "Thy Spirit is good." In whatever form He works or acts upon us He is welcome.

(Thomas Spurgeon.)

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