I hate those who cling to worthless idols, but in the LORD I trust.
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.
I have hated them that regard lying vanities, but I trust in the Lord.
Many think that superstition is but an exaggerated faith; that it will diminish with the growth of intelligence, and that it is necessary in appealing to ignorant and vulgar people. But some who have been alive to its mischiefs and horrors have been willing to risk the loss of faith in order to get rid of it; but when the reaction has come, and we have felt that the world could not go on safely without some faith, we have been ready to tolerate a considerable amount of superstition, lest faith, its companion, should perish with it. But the psalmist looks at it from quite a different point of view. He opposes "superstitious vanities" to "trust in the Lord." One is the protest against, the deliverance from, the other. This is the very spirit of the Old Testament. Trust in God — invisible and righteous, is the principle which every lawgiver, prophet, priest, is to exhibit in his actions, to enforce upon his land. So far as his trust fails, he fails to do the work he is called to do. Losing trust, they are told that they will infallibly bow down to objects of Nature, to idols of wood and stone; they will listen to wizards who peep and mutter; they will fear where no fear is; they will make their cruel imaginations into gods and worship them. Such was the message of Elijah. The people to whom he was sent were busy with religious acts and exercises. But he goes to turn them from these acts that they may trust in the Lord. So Hezekiah. The general of Sennacherib accused him of taking away altars: what hope, therefore, could he have of deliverance? But those very acts proved that Hezekiah trusted in the Lord more than all the kings that were before him. And so it is in the New Testament. The apostles found men everywhere bowing down to visible gods, trembling at the future, seeking for diviners who could penetrate its secrets. Wherever they went, they found men fearing gods, trying to conciliate their favour or avert their wrath. To interfere with them was not ill their power: state force, and mob. opinion, were leagued in support of them. All they could do was to proclaim a Being whom men might trust. They did proclaim such a Being, they did incite men to trust in Him. And by so doing they struck such a blow at superstitious vanities as no iconoclast ever struck. They testified a hatred of them which they could not have testified, if they had had power to lay low every heathen altar, to cast every idol into the fire. They earned the hatred of those who held to these superstitious vanities. Not a martyr fell under the axe, or was tied to the stake, or was fastened to a cross, but because he would not do sacrifice to the likeness of some emperor, or some god whom the emperor sanctioned with his divine fiat. Not one had courage to make that denial, but because he trusted in the Lord, who had given His Son to be the perfect sacrifice for the sins of the world. And so Trust, because the object of it was more fully revealed, was a mightier destroyer of superstition than it had ever been. And our own experience confirms all this. Each one has some superstitious vanity or other to which he is prone: some dark shadow which haunts him; some visible or invisible terror, which is always ready to make a coward of him. And we cannot rid ourselves of it by reason or arguments of science, These often fail when they are wanted most. There is no help but in trust in God. It alone answers our dark fears. God has spoken to us sinners, and bid us confide in Him. And as we trust, so we conquer our sin; as we fail to trust, so are we overcome. What greater proof could there be that Superstition and Faith are not of the same kin, but are deadly and everlasting foes? And the history of Christendom leads to the same conclusion.
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