Bel bows down, Nebo stoops, their idols were on the beasts, and on the cattle: your carriages were heavy laden…
The confidence of Babylon is buried among her heaps of rubbish, for her gods have fallen from their thrones. As for us, our trust is in the living God, who lives to carry His chosen.
I. FALSE CONFIDENCES PASS AWAY.
1. The Lord has made a full end of false gods and their worship. "Bel boweth down," &c. Not only concerning Bel and Nebo, but concerning many a set of heathen deities, a note of exultant derision may be taken up. "The idols He shall utterly abolish."
2. The like thing has happened unto false systems of teaching. If you are at all readers of the history of religious thought, you will know that systems of philosophy, and philosophical religions, have come up, and have been generally accepted as indisputable, and have done serious injury to true religion for a time; and yet they have vanished like the mirage of the desert.
3. It will be just the same with us if we trust in false confidences of any sort; such, for instance, as our experiences, or attainments, or services, or orthodox belief.
II. OUR GOD ABIDES ALWAYS THE SAME. "Even to your old age I am He." He is always the same in Himself, and always the same to His people.
1. We rightly expect trials between here and heaven; and the ordinary wear and tear of life, even if life should not be clouded by an extreme trial, will gradually wear us out. What saith our God concerning the days of decline and decay? He says to us, "I am He." He will not grow weak. His eye will not be dim. His ear will not be heavy.
2. If life should flow never so smoothly, yet there are the rapids of old age, and the broken waters of infirmity, and the cataract of disease — and these we are apt to dread; but why? Is it not sure that the Lord changes not?
3. In the course of years, not only do we change, but our circumstances change. If you are where you ought to be, your confidence is in God now, and you will have the same God then, and He will still be your guardian and provider. His bank will not break, nor His treasury fail.
4. "Ah!" say you, "but what I most mourn is the death of friends." Yes; that calamity is a daily sorrow to men who are getting into years. But the Lord says, "I am He," as much as to say, "I am left to you, and will not fail you."
5. Some trouble themselves more than there is need concerning prophetic crises which are threatened. We know so little of the future that to worry about it will be the height of unwisdom. The Lord took care of the world before we were here to help Him, and He will do it just as well when we are gone. We can leave politics, religion, trade, morals, and everything else with Him. What we have to do is to obey Him, and trust Him, and rejoice in Him.
6. "Still," says one, "there are such evil tokens in the Church itself as must cause serious apprehension to godly men." But never despair of the Church of God, for of her it is true, "Even to hoar hairs will I carry you; to your old age I am He." The Head of the Church never alters. His choice of His Church is not reversed. His purpose for His Church is not shaken. We shall see better days and brighter times yet, if we have but faith in God and importunity in prayer.
III. WHILE FALSE CONFIDENCES PASS AWAY, GOD WILL FOR EVER BE THE SAME. His former mercies guarantee to us future mercies.
1. He says, "I have made." It is well to remember the mercy of God to us in our formation, and in the first days of our birth and infancy. But God made us in another sense. He new-made us.
2. Then He also tells us that He has carried us; and if we have been carried by Him, He will carry us the rest of the way. What a great care has our gracious God, since none of His children can run alone without His power, His love, His grace!
3. Practically, God's mercies through life are always the same. Notice two things which are always here — the same God and the same mercy. There is nobody else here but the Lord alone with His people. You and your God; and you are nobody but a poor thing that has to be carried. God's great "I," and that alone, fills up the whole space.
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Bel boweth down, Nebo stoopeth, their idols were upon the beasts, and upon the cattle: your carriages were heavy loaden; they are a burden to the weary beast.