Psalm 31:19
From ver. 1 to ver. 8 the Lord may, must, and will help him in his trouble, because he is his God. From ver. 9 to ver. 18 he describes at length his trouble, and brings it to God. From ver. 19 to ver. 24 -

I. THE PSALMIST OBTAINS FROM GOD THE HEARTFELT ASSURANCE OF HELP, AND PRAISES GOD FOR IT.

1. God's goodness is a treasure laid up for future as well as present use and blessing. (Isaiah lair. 4; 1 Corinthians 2:9.) Same thought in substance in all these passages. Compare with the parable of "the treasure."

2. God hides and protects those who trust in him - as in a royal pavilion (ver. 20).

3. God was to the psalmist what a strong city is to those who seek safety. (Ver. 21.)

4. God's great goodness was shows to him openly and secretly. (Vers. 19, 20.) The former to discomfit his enemies, and the latter for his own comfort and faith.

II. MAN'S UNBELIEF AND THE DIVINE FAITHFULNESS. (Ver. 22.)

1. He was is haste, Flying from his enemies, when he said this. We say and do things in panic which we disown in calmer hours. "He that believeth shall not make haste."

2. But God pardoned his unbelief, and answered the inarticulate cry of the heart. Ill. LESSONS ADDRESSED TO THE CHURCH, DRAWN FROM HIS OWN EXPERIENCE. (Vers. 23, 24.)

1. What love and reverence we owe to God because of his retributive work! (Ver. 23.) He preserveth the faithful, and rewardeth the proud. This is good and just.

2. With what courage we should hope in God! (Ver. 24.) He strengthens us by his Spirit to hope and trust in him. From him must be derived the power for every duty and every difficulty. This must be the ground of our courage. - S.







O how great is Thy goodness which Thou hast laid up for them that fear Thee; which Thou hast wrought for them that trust in Thee before the sons of men.
I. EXPLAIN THESE DUTIES.

1. The fear of God. This sometimes comprehends the whole duty of man, but is more properly taken for a religious reverence of the Divine being and government. It is not dread of God that destroys the foundation of religion, because it looks upon God as arbitrary and cruel. But the fear Of God ever consists in an habitual sense of His glory and perfections. None can be said to fear God who do not obey Him, and submit to His providential will. Such are the genuine effects of a godly fear.

2. Trusting in God. This implies dependence upon Him for all we need and a believing expectation that we shall not be disappointed.

II. RECOMMEND THEIR PRACTICE.

1. SO we shall secure to ourselves the Divine presence in all conditions of life.

2. This will support and compose our spirits under affliction.

3. It is the way to have our afflictions sanctified.

4. The practice of these duties will support and comfort us in a dying hour.

5. We shall secure to ourselves an undoubted title to eternal life.

III. CONCLUSION. Learn —

1. The excellency of the Christian institution which has so revealed God to us.

2. How miserable the state of those who fear not God.

3. Because of trusting too much to the creature.

4. Practice these duties.

(Daniel Neal.)

There are, as it were, two great masses of what the psalmist calls "goodness"; one of them which has been plainly manifested "before the sons of men," the other which is "laid up" in store. There are a great many notes in circulation, but there is far more bullion in the strong-room. Much "goodness" has been exhibited; far more lies concealed. If we take that antithesis, then, I think we may turn it in two or three directions.

I. THE GOODNESS ALREADY DISPOSED — "WROUGHT BEFORE THE SONS OF MEN"; AND THAT "LAID UP," YET TO BE MANIFESTED. That distinction just points to the old familiar thought of the inexhaustibleness of the Divine nature. God's riches are not like the world's wealth. You very soon get to the bottom of its purse. Its "goodness" is very soon run dry.

II. The contrast here suggests THE GOODNESS THAT IS PUBLICLY GIVEN AND THAT WHICH IS EXPERIENCED IN SECRET. God does not put His best gifts, so to speak, in the shop-windows; He keeps these in the inner chambers. He does not arrange His gifts as dishonest traders do their wares, putting the finest outside or on the top, and the less good beneath. It is they who inhabit "the secret place of the Most High," and whose lives are filled with the communion of Him, who taste the selected dainties from God's gracious hands.

III. THE GOODNESS WROUGHT OF DEATH, AND THE GOODNESS LAID UP IN HEAVEN. Here we see, sometimes, the messengers coming with the one cluster of grapes on the polo. There we shall live in the vineyard. Here we drink from the river as it flows; there we shall be at the fountain-head. Heaven's least goodness is more than earth's greatest blessedness.

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

I. THE SUBJECT OF HOLY WONDER. "Thy goodness."

1. David is astonished at the great goodness of God which is laid up; the goodness of God which David had not as yet tasted, had not actually received, but which his faith realized, and looked upon as its fixed and settled heritage.(1) Think of how much He laid up in His eternal purpose, when He chose His people, and laid up for them the grand intention (Malachi 3:17).(2) How great is the goodness of God, which He laid up in the covenant of grace.(3) Think of what He has laid up in the person of His Son — the same treasure, only now more clearly revealed to us, and brought forth in the person of the Well Beloved, so that we may the more readily partake of it. Pardon for all your sins; justification through faith in His sacrifice; life through His death; sanctifying power is in the blood of Jesus. All that you can want, for the whole journey from the place where you now are right up to the right hand of the Most High — all this is laid up for you. "Ye are complete in Him."(4) Think of what is laid up for you in the work, office, and mission of the Holy Spirit. Do not imagine that the standard of your attainment is the maximum of a Christian. Do not consider that you have obtained all that God is willing to bestow. The laid-up treasures in the Holy Spirit are probably vastly greater than any of us have ever been enabled to conceive.(5) The greatest goodness of all, we sometimes think, but perhaps improperly, is that goodness which is to be revealed when this life is over, which God has laid up for them that fear Him. The night lasts not for ever: the morning cometh.

2. There are some treasures which we enjoy now.(1) Think of that which Christ wrought out before the sons of men in Gethsemane's sweat and blood, in Gabbatha's scourging, in Golgotha's death.(2) Think of what God has wrought out for you in your own experience in the work of the Holy Spirit upon your soul. Blessed be God, with a thousand imperfections and faults, still I find in my soul some kindlings of love towards His name.(3) We have also another instance of what God has wrought out for us in the shape of providential mercies. We have all some providences to remember which seem very special to us.

II. THE FAVOURED PERSONS WHO ENJOY THE LORD'S GREAT GOODNESS. Why is it put so — "Laid up for them that fear Thee; wrought for them that trust in Thee;" unless it be true that he who trusts God fears God? The whole compass of the fear of God is gathered up into a centre in that point of trust. Why so?

1. Because trust is the root of true fear. To trust God is the root of all genuine religion. "Without faith, it is impossible to please God." Faith is the foundation of all the other graces.

2. Faith or trust is the test of the genuineness of religion.

3. Trust is the flower of the fear of God. The highest morality is to trust Christ.

III. SOME THINGS THAT MAKE US SEE THAT GREATNESS.

1. Observe the multitude of these people. The goodness of God to any one of them is quite unsearchable, but what must be the great goodness which He has laid up for all His people!

2. Think of the undeservingness of each one of these. Many of them the chief of sinners.

3. Remember the need they were in.

4. Think of the great goodness of God to His saints in contrast to the great evil of man to them. Some of these saints have died cruel deaths. The most of them have had to pass through obloquy and scorn; but oh! bow great is Thy goodness which Thou hast wrought in them, sustaining them all, and making them more than conquerors through Him that loved them!

IV. WHAT SHOULD THIS TEACH US?

1. Should it not make us grateful to God for such wondrous kindness? Can you not afford a song?

2. Let it inspire us with confidence. All that you can want is provided in Christ.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

Many years ago the ambassador of Spain, then the wealthiest country in Europe, once visited the court of Venice to arrange a treaty. One of the chief men of the palace led the Spanish ambassador to seethe sights, and amongst others took him to the treasury — huge coffers filled with heaps of gold and precious stones. The Spaniard asked for a staff; and thrust it down amongst the coins. The Venetian prince said, "Why are you doing that?" The ambassador replied, "I want to see if there be any bottom here! Ah, there is a bottom! But, O prince, there is no bottom to the treasures of my king!" — alluding to the gold and silver mines which then belonged to Spain. So, we say, there is an everlasting fulness in the treasury of God's goodness. His promises are always sure; His words are ever reliable; His goodness reaches to all.

I. Notice THE OVERFLOWING GOODNESS OF GOD IN HIS FAVOUR TOWARDS MEN. Some will only show favour to their friends. But God has no line of exclusion. Standing before all men, He says, "I am the Friend of all." I think it is Mr. Goldwin Smith that says, "Society is formed of many circles. In the outermost ring, a man hangs on to the coat tails of the other above him, while he holds on to somebody else's coat tails higher still, until in the most exclusive circle sits the king." But with God and angels and perfect men there is world-wide friendship. God communes with every soul; and though we are the poorest outcast, we are within the circle of the loved ones for whom Jesus died. With God, there is no special favouritism.

II. REMEMBER THE GREATNESS OF HIS FORGIVENESS. See the miracle on the sick of the palsy, and the words Christ spoke to him. If men knew the infinite compassion and love of God, they would starve to death or be burned alive rather than grieve Him by sin.

III. COMFORT YOURSELVES WITH THE GOODNESS OF HIS POWER. To the most enslaved of Satan's captives, the fallen, the drunkard, He will give power to resist sin. There was said — not falsely — to be a reserve in the City of Glasgow bank. It only existed on paper. But there is a reserve, inexhaustible, in God's goodness. When you were born lie gave to you the fortune of everlasting love; and that fortune is "laid up" for you. The prodigal thought he had spent all in the "far country," but he found an ocean of love still flowing in his father's heart.

(W. Birch.)

The Divine goodness is not emptied out in heaps at our feet, when we first start in faith's pathway. Rather, it is kept in reserve for us until we need it, and then disbursed.

1. He laid up goodness in the creation and preparation of the earth. Think, for example, of the vast beds of coal laid up among earth's strata, ages and ages since, in loving forethought, that our homes may be warmed and brightened in these late centuries. Think of the minerals that were piled away in the rocks and hills, before there was a human footprint on the sand. Think of the laws of nature, as we call them, all arranged to minister to man's pleasure and benefit. Think of all the latent forces and properties that were lodged in matter, to be brought out from time to time, at the call of human need. Look at the medicinal and healing virtues, stored away in leaf, in root, in fruit, in bark, in mineral.

2. God laid up goodness for His people in His eternal covenant. It is a wonderful thought that before the world was made the plan of redemption was arranged, and blessings were laid up in the covenant of love for God's children.

3. The goodness of God was laid up for us by Jesus Christ, in His incarnation, obedience, sufferings and death. There is not a hope or joy of our Christian faith that does not come to us out of the treasures laid up by the obedience and the sorrows of our blessed Lord.

4. God has "laid up" His goodness. The word means hidden or reserved. The treasuries were not all opened at the beginning. The world is many centuries old, but every new century has seen new storehouses unlocked; and still we have not received all that God has to give.(1) This is true of the world of nature. Originally the wants of men were few and simple; but as the race multiplied and civilization advanced, new needs continually arose; and to meet these new needs, new supplies have been brought forth from God's treasuries. To illustrate: when primitive materials for light were about to be exhausted, the great reservoirs of oil in the bowels of the earth were disclosed; they were not then new made — they had been gathering there for ages — but the hidden stores were now first unlocked. And, further back, when the forests were being fast cut down and there seemed danger of a scarcity of fuel, the vast coal beds were found. In like manner, in these recent days, men are just discovering the powers of electricity — not a new creation, but an energy which has flowed silent and unseen through all space from the beginning, only to become known in these late days.(2) The same is true of the supply of the needs of individuals. No devout person can look back over the years of his own life and not see, how, always, just at the right moment, a treasure-house of goodness has been opened to meet his want.(3) The same is true of spiritual goodness. Take the Bible for illustration. It is a great treasury of hidden and reserved blessing. There has not been a chapter, not a line, added to the Bible, since the pen of inspiration wrote the last words; yet we know that every generation finds new things in the blessed Book. A young Christian cannot understand the deeper truths of spiritual life until he advances further in personal experience. There are many things that can be learned only when the heart has been prepared to receive them.

5. It follows, then, that the storehouses of goodness are not opened until we come to where they are. They are placed, so to speak, at different points along our path; the right supply always at the right place. At every river there is a bridge. In every desert there are oases, with their springs of water and their palm trees. For those who fear God and walk in His ways there is not a real need of any kind along the entire path to heaven's gate, without its goodness laid up in reserve. But we shall not get the goodness until we reach the point of need, where the supply is laid up.

6. God's goodness is laid up in heaven. The Rabbins say that when Joseph had gathered much corn in Egypt, and the famine came on, he threw the chaff into the Nile, that when the people who lived in the cities below saw it on the water they would know there was corn laid up for them. So, what we have in this world of Divine goodness is little more than the husks of the heavenly fruits, which God sends down upon the river of Grace as intimations to us and assurances of glorious supplies laid up for us beyond the grave. Life is full of unfulfilled hopes. But if we are God's children we shall find in heaven the blessed substance of every empty shadow we have chased in this world in vain, and the full fruition of every fair hope that on earth seemed to fade. The best is yet on before, and to the Christian, death, instead of being a loss, or a going away from goodness, is a glorious gain and a going to the richest, fullest, most soul-satisfying good.

(J. R. Miller, D. D.)

I. As A SPECTACLE OF SURPASSING BEAUTY. Creation, providence, redemption, call forth wonder, love, praise.

II. As A TREASURY OF INEXHAUSTIBLE WEALTH. What is seen, may, as it were, be measured; but what is unseen, is boundless. What is a river to the ocean! What is the landscape, that the eye can reach, to the vast unseen realms of the earth! What are the thousand stars that crowd the winter sky, to the millions upon millions that are hid in the depths of space! So with the goodness of God.

III. As A WORK OF INFINITE BENEFICENCE.

(W. Forsyth, M. A.)

We can all understand what is meant by goodness bestowed, for it comes within the range of our own experience. And we could form an idea, though vague and indefinite, perhaps, of goodness promised. But goodness "laid up" is evidently that which we have not yet experienced and which is beyond all our expectations. Note, then, some of its marks and characteristics.

I. IT CANNOT BE KNOWN UNTIL EXPERIENCED. We fret ourselves to know what the future shall bring, but we cannot know, only that there is goodness laid up for us. And this for special as well as ordinary wants.

II. IT IS INEXHAUSTIBLE; it is always laid up. It is there for us through all time and eternity. There is no experience through which we may be called to pass, whether in life or death, against which God has not provided.

III. SEE WHAT THIS TEACHES US OF GOD.

1. His graciousness. Even for the holiest of men it is all of grace.

2. His wisdom — how He knows and understands us and all our ways.

3. The fulness of His love.

IV. AND AS TO OUR OWN DUTY. Seek for a full experience of the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. "Taste and see that the Lord is good." All our past experience confirms the truth of our text. Then seek to know the Lord yet more and more.

(W. Cadman, M. A.)

How much there is in God to excite our admiration. His power, but yet more His goodness. Let us, then, contemplate it. In the past, the present, the future. And think to how many God is good. And how long He has been so. Goodness is one of His essential, eternal attributes. And how uninterrupted. He never tires. And its abundance. He filleth His creatures with good. Its condescension. "What is man," etc. Its facility — He but opens His hand and the desire of every living thing is satisfied. To whom He shows this goodness — to those who were "dead in sin." And this notwithstanding their habitual ingratitude. "The ox knoweth his owner," etc. And then think of His reserved goodness — "laid up for them that fear Thee." What is earth to heaven, grace to glory! But though offered to all, it will be enjoyed only by those who fear and trust Him, and who do this openly "before the sons of men." Then how sinful is all sin, considering the goodness of Him against whom we sin. How evil our hearts must be that we do not repent. How reasonable that His laws should be obeyed. What an appeal the Bible makes to our hopes! Let US not only admire but imitate the goodness of God.

(W. Nevins, D. D.)

If "our lives are hid with Christ in God" then we shall get our share of far better things than any outward prosperity or external deliverance or visible answers to petitions. The front rooms of the house which lie visible to the passers-by on the pavement may be richly enough furnished to indicate that well-to-do people dwell there. But away at the back, in rooms that no strange eye ever looks into, there are far rarer and more wonderful things. We must go deep into God, if we are to get all that God is able to give us. "I will give to him the treasures of darkness, and the hidden riches of secret places." Hide in God, that you may find the treasure that He has laid up for them that fear Him.

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

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