Psalm 31:5
Let us place these two texts together, and we shall find that they become the more intelligible and the richer in instruction and comfort.

I. OUR TIMES ARE FIXED BY GOD. We have no choice in the matter, no more than as to when we should be born. God is Sovereign. It is his prerogative to settle all things that concern us. Whatever comes of prosperity or adversity, or joy or sorrow is of his ordering. It is for him to rule, it is for us to trust and to obey.

II. OUR SPIRIT CAN ONLY BE COMMITTED TO GOD BY OUR OWN DEED. We are free. When we act, we express the feelings of our hearts. To commit our spirit to God is to surrender ourselves wholly and for ever to his will. It is only when we know and believe in God's love towards us, that we can joyously do this transcendent thing that will settle our destiny for time and for eternity.

III. IT IS ONLY WHEN WE HAVE IN TRUTH COMMITTED OUR SPIRITS TO GOD, THAT WE CAN TAKE COMFORT FROM THE KNOWLEDGE THAT OUR TIMES ARE IN HIS HAND. We should be careful to put that first which should be first (Matthew 6:33). When the most precious thing is safe, we need not be much concerned as to the lesser things. God has given us the greatest proof of his love, for he has redeemed us; we can therefore with quiet hearts leave to him the ordering of all things that concern us (Romans 5:9, 10). "My times are in thy hand;" and it is there I would have placed them if I had the choice (2 Samuel 24:14). "My times are in thy hand;" then come what will of vicissitude and trial, nothing can befall me but what is of the ordering of God. "My times are in thy hand;" therefore I will be content and not fret; I will trust, and not be afraid; I will work, and not be weary in well-doing. I will be patient and hope to the end. knowing that all things work together for good to them that love God." "Into thy hands I commend my spirit." This I did at the first, when the Lord Jesus called me; this I would do evermore during my earthly course, after the example of thy saints; this I would do in the end, as our Lord himself has taught us. - W.F.







Into Thine hand I commit my spirit.
(with Luke 23:46; Acts 7:59): —

I. I invite you first to consider OUR SAVIOUR'S WORDS JUST BEFORE HIS DEATH: "Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit."

1. Observe how Christ lives and passes away in the atmosphere of the Word of God. Christ was a grand original thinker, and He might always have given us words of His own. He never lacked suitable language, for "never man spake like this Man." Yet the great majority of His expressions may be traced to the Old Testament. Even where they are not exact quotations, His words drop into Scriptural shape and form. You can see that the Bible has been His one Book. It was food to Him, as it is to us; and if He thus lived upon the Word of God, should not you and I do the same?

2. Notice that our Lord, in the moment of His death, recognized a personal God. We have far too much fiction in religion, and a religion of fiction will bring only fictitious comfort in the dying hour. Come to solid facts. Is God as real to thee as thou art to thyself? Come now; dost thou speak with Him "as a man speaketh unto his friend"? Canst thou trust Him, and rely upon Him as thou dost trust and rely upon the partner of thy bosom? If thy God be unreal, thy religion is unreal.

3. Observe how Jesus Christ here brings out, the Fatherhood of God. The psalm from which He quoted did not say, "Father." David did not get as far as that in words, though in spirit he often did; but Jesus had the right to alter the psalmist's words. He can improve on Scripture, though you and I cannot. He did not say, "O God, into Thine hand I commit My spirit"; but He said, "Father." Oh, how sweet, in life and in death, to feel in our soul the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, "Abba, Father!"

4. From this passage we learn that our Lord cheerfully rendered up His soul to His Father when the time had come for Him to die. "No man taketh it from Me," said He concerning His life; "I lay it down of Myself;" and there is here a cheerful willingness to yield up His spirit into His Father's hands. It is rather remarkable that none of the evangelists describe our Lord as dying. He did die, but they all speak of Him as giving up the ghost, — surrendering to God His spirit. You and I passively die; but He actively yielded up His spirit to His Father. In His case, death was an act; and He performed that act from the glorious motive of redeeming us from death and hell; so, in this sense, Christ stands alone in His death. But, oh, if we cannot render up our spirit as He did, yet, let us be perfectly ready to give it up. When God calls us to die, it will be a sweet way of dying if we can, like our Lord, pass away with a text of Scripture upon our lips, with a personal God ready to receive us, with that God recognized distinctly as our Father, and so die joyously, resigning our will entirely to the sweet will of the ever-blessed One, and saying, "It is the Lord," "My Father," "let Him do as seemeth Him good."

II. My second text (Psalm 31:5) is evidently the passage which our Saviour had in His mind just then: "Into Thine hand I commit My spirit: Thou hast redeemed Me, O Lord God of truth." It seems to me that THESE ARE WORDS TO BE USED IN LIFE, for this psalm is not so much concerning the believer's death as concerning his life.

1. Let us cheerfully entrust our souls to God, and feel that they are quite safe in His hands. Are you always doing this?

2. Notice that our second text has these words at the end of it: "Thou hast redeemed Me, O Lord God of truth." Is not that a good reason for giving yourself up entirely to God? Christ has redeemed you, and therefore you belong to Him. So, every day, go to Him with this declaration, "Into Thine hand I commit my spirit." Nay, not only every day, but all through the day. Have you to go into a house where there is fever; I mean, is it your duty to go there? Then go saying, "Father, into Thine hand I commit my spirit." I would advise you to do this every time you walk down the street, or even while you sit in your own house.

III. My third text (Acts 7:59) is intended to explain to us THE USE OF OUR SAVIOUR'S DYING WORDS FOR OURSELVES.

1. If we can die as Stephen did, we shall die with a certainty of immortality. An infidel once said to a Christian man, "Some of you Christians have great fear in dying because you believe that there is another state to follow this one. I have not the slightest fear, for I believe that I shall be annihilated, and therefore all fear of death is gone from me." "Yes," said the Christian man, "and in that respect you seem to me to be on equal terms with that bullock grazing over there, which, like yourself, is free from any fear of death. Pray, sir, let me ask you a simple question, Have you any hope? .... Hope, sir? No, I have no hope; of course, I have no hope, sir." "Ah, then!" replied the other, "despite the fears that sometimes come over feeble believers, they have a hope which they would not and could not give up." And that hope is, that our spirit — even that spirit which we commit into Jesus Christ's hands, — shall be "for ever with the Lord."

2. To a man who can die as Stephen did, there is a certainty that Christ is near, — so near that the man speaks to Him, and says, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit."

3. There is a certainty that we are quite safe in His hands.

4. There is the other certainty, that He is quite willing to take us into His hands.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

This psalm is the heart-cry of a man in great trouble, surrounded by all sorts of difficulties, with his very life threatened. He was down in the very depths of darkness, and ringed about by all sorts of enemies at that moment. "Into Thine hands I commit my spirit," as a man standing in the midst of enemies, and bearing some precious treasure in his hand might, with one strong cast of his arm, fling it into the open hand of some mighty helper, and so baulk the enemies of their prey.

I. WHERE TO LODGE A SOUL FOR SAFE KEEPING, "Into Thine hands" — a banker has a strong room, and a wise man sends his securities and his valuables to the bank and takes an acknowledgment, and goes to bed at night, quite sure that no harm will come to them, and that he will get them when he wants them. And that is exactly what the psalmist does here. He deposits his most precious treasure in the safe custody of One who will take care of it. The great hand is stretched out, and the little soul is put into it.

1. Trusting Him for the salvation of our souls. Take your stand on the fact, and with emancipated and buoyant hearts, and grateful ones, work from it, and because of it.

2. Trusting Him in reference to daily life, and all its difficulties and duties. The act of trust is to run through everything that we undertake and everything that we have to fight with. Self-will wrenches our souls out of God's hands. A man that sends his securities to the banker can get them back when he likes. And if we undertake to manage our own affairs, or fling ourselves into our work without recognition of our dependence upon Him, or if we choose our work without seeking to know what His will is, that is recalling our deposit. Then you will get it back again.

3. This must be accompanied with corresponding work. Peter tells us that it is vain for us to talk about committing the keeping of our soul to God unless we back up the committing with consistent, Christlike lives.

4. This committing of our souls into God's hands does not mean that we are absolved from taking care of them ourselves.

II. THE BLESSEDNESS OF THUS LIVING IN AN ATMOSPHERE OF CONTINUAL DEPENDENCE ON, AND REFERENCE TO, GOD, about great things and little things. Whenever a man is living by trust, even when the trust is mistaken, or when it is resting upon some mere human, fallible creature like himself, in the measure of his confidence is the measure of his tranquillity.

III. THE GROUND UPON WHICH THIS GREAT VENTURE OF FAITH MAY BE MADE. "Thou hast redeemed me, Lord God of Truth."

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

"Thou hast redeemed me, O Lord God of truth." Hence —

I. HE TESTIFIES, BY HIS COMMITTING HIMSELF TO GOD, TO THE POWER OF THE LORD'S REDEMPTION. He has felt it and acknowledges it.

II. To GOD'S FAITHFULNESS. God is the "Lord God of truth." To which class do we belong?

(R. W. Evans, B. D.)

I. WITH WHOM DOES THE DYING CHRISTIAN WISH TO ENTRUST HIS SOUL? There are only two beings who can have charge of it when it quits the body — the Lord or Satan. Into the hands of one of these our souls must go when they die, and with one of these we must spend eternity. But men generally are quite indifferent on this matter. They feel no real concern. They have a vague hope of heaven and fear of hell. But neither influences their conduct in any important degree. Christians, however, must desire that which David so desired — that the Lord God should receive his spirit.

II. WHAT IS IMPLIED IN COMMITTING HIS SOUL INTO HIS HANDS IN A DYING HOUR.

1. A firm persuasion that the soul will outlive the body. Not by reason but by the Gospel only does he first learn really and habitually to regard himself as the heir of eternity. And this conviction deepens as he grows in grace.

2. A high value for the soul. The body is as nothing compared to it. The body is the casket, but the soul is the jewel, and that he would, indeed, have saved.

3. A lively sense of the serious, and awful nature of death, a conviction of our need of help in a dying hour. The soul in such an hour will cling more closely to its God. No man will think lightly of death who has ever thought himself near death.

4. A belief that God is willing to receive the soul.

III. THE WARRANT AND ENCOURAGEMENT THUS TO DO.

1. God is the Christian's Redeemer.

2. The faithfulness of God. He is the "God of truth," and He has promised to save them that trust in Him.

IV. THE LESSON OF THIS SUBJECT.

1. The great value of Christian faith.

2. Here is a source of comfort under the loss of friends.

3. How confidently we may commit into the same hand all other things.

4. How important that now we should become the redeemed of the Lord.

(C. Bradley.)

I. THE TRUE WATCHWORD OF LIFE.

1. We approach the duties of life through a series of the most elevating considerations.

(1)We are not our own.

(2)We are parts of a great system.

(3)We are servants, not masters.

(4)The things that are round about us are beneath our serious notice, except for momentary convenience or instruction.

2. We accept the trials of life with the most hopeful patience. They are —

(1)Disciplinary.

(2)Under control.

(3)Needful.

3. We recognize the mercies of life with the most joyful thankfulness. The name of God is upon the smallest of them.

II. THE TRUE WATCHWORD OF DEATH. This watchword, as spoken by Jesus and Stephen, shows —

1. Their belief in a state of being at present invisible. They must at least be credited with speaking their deepest personal convictions. It is something to us in our ignorance and weakness to know who have believed this doctrine of a future state.

2. Their assurance of the limitations of human malice. The spirit was free!

3. Application.

(1)Where the spirit is fit for the presence of God, there is no fear of death.

(2)All who have died in the faith are present with the Lord.

(3)Jesus Himself knows what it is to pass through the valley of the shadow of death.

(4)The prayer for entrance amongst the blest may come too late. We have no authority for the encouragement of death-bed repentance.

(J. Parker, D. D.)

I. These words are full of the fact of OUR HUMAN IMMORTALITY. Man has and is a spirit, which he can commit.

II. A MAN MUST DO SOMEWHAT WITH HIS SPIRIT. Some commit their spirit to the dream of theosophy; spiritualism; a worldly carelessness about its destiny; an external morality; external rites; purging punishments.

III. TO WHOM IT IS MOST RIGHT AND REASONABLE TO COMMIT ONE'S SPIRIT.

1. To a personal God.

2. To a redeeming God.

3. To a God of truth.

(W. Hoyt, D. D.)

I. THE BELIEVER HAS BEEN REDEEMED BY GOD. This Divine redemption —

1. Is a deliverance from the greatest of all evils, the service of Satan — ignorance, disease, remorse, death, hell.

2. Was effected at an infinite cost — the death of Him who is one with the Father.

3. Is an eternal redemption of the entire nature.

II. THE BELIEVER IS ASSURED OF HIS REDEMPTION.

1. This assurance comes of faith.

2. Feeling thus assured of our redemption, God should constantly be the object of our love, and our lives be dedicated to His service.

III. THE BELIEVER, FEELING ASSURED OF HIS REDEMPTION, TRUSTFULY YIELDS HIS SPIRIT INTO THE HAND OF HIS MAKER, WHEN HE DEPARTS THIS LIFE. "Be ye also ready." "Prepare to meet your God."

(Thos. Evans.)

No question so important to us as this — how can we be just with God. Reason and philosophy cannot answer it, but the Bible does.

I. TAKE A BRIEF VIEW OF GOD'S PLAN OF REDEMPTION. It includes —

1. The free and full pardon of sin.

2. Provision for our sanctification.

3. Adoption into God's family.

II. All this furnishes ample ground for THE COMMITTAL OF OUR SOULS INTO THE HANDS OF GOD. What is it to do this? It implies —

1. Conviction of guilt.

2. Persuasion of His readiness to receive and keep what is committed to Him.

3. Choosing to be ruled by Him.

III. THE ENCOURAGEMENT THERE IS IN REDEMPTION TO DO THIS. You are assured —

1. That all obstacles are put out of the way.

2. That all you need is provided for you and freely offered to you

3. No conditions are required but that you simply commit your soul to God.

4. It is the only way of being saved.

IV. CONCLUSION.

1. None may say, there is no hope for me.

2. The work of redemption illustrates the goodness of God.

3. Are we now trusting in Christ? if so, we have committed, etc.

4. How great our obligations to live to the Divine glory.

(J. Hawes, D. D.)

I. WHAT IS IMPLIED IN HIS COMMITTING HIS SPIRIT TO GOD.

1. A deep conviction of the soul's immortality.

2. A preferable concern for his soul.

3. A firm persuasion that his spirit would be safe with God. The soul is as a precious jewel, hence a great trust.

II. His ENCOURAGEMENT HEREIN. "Thou hast redeemed me," etc. For in this redemption the believer finds —

1. Love, wonderful, matchless, divine (1 John 4:10; 1 Peter 1:18). Hence he is greatly encouraged.

2. Property (Ezekiel 13:4; 1 Corinthians 6:19; Ezekiel 16:8; Isaiah 43:21). And then —

3. Power. God "is able to keep that," etc.

4. Faithfulness.

III. IMPROVEMENT.

1. Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord.

2. Acquaint now thyself with God and be at peace.

3. Rejoice in the prospect of the glorious resurrection day.

(Samuel Lavington.)

I. DYING IN A SAINT'S ACCOUNT IS A DIFFICULT WORK.

1. It is an untried work.

2. It is a final farewell to the present world.

3. It is to put off or lay down the body, no more to be re-assumed till the general resurrection at the end of the world.

4. Our probation is at an end.

5. To die is a great and difficult work, seeing thereupon the soul removes into a new state and world. To remove from one kingdom or country to another, is a great thing; but how much greater to remove into a new world! a world we have not seen, and are little acquainted with.

6. We have to meet God as our Judge, who will order our soul to its unchangeable state and place in the eternal world. For all these reasons to die is always difficult. And it is more so if death find us in the dark as to our title to the life to come. Conscience may be filled with terror under the sense of sin, and dread of deserved wrath. Sin, unpardoned sin, is the sting of death, as drawing after it an everlasting hell; and the very suspicion of this is enough to make the heart to tremble. God in our last moments may hide Himself, or withdraw the light of His countenance; and what distress follows upon this, none can tell but those that have felt it. It is no wonder that such circumstances make dying work peculiarly hard.

II. THE CHILDREN OF GOD CONSIDERING THEMSELVES AS DYING, ARE CHIEFLY CONCERNED ABOUT THEIR IMMORTAL SOULS. The psalmist here was so; he had prayed for temporal salvation in the words of this psalm before my text, but did not insist mainly upon it. However it was as to his body, his great care was with reference to his soul; O Lord, into Thy hand I commit my spirit: let that be safe, and I shall be satisfied.

(Anon.)

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