1 (A Psalm of David.)

Blessed be Yahweh my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight:

2 My goodness, and my fortress; my high tower, and my deliverer; my shield, and he in whom I trust; who subdueth my people under me.

3 Yahweh, what is man, that thou takest knowledge of him! or the son of man, that thou makest account of him!

4 Man is like to vanity: his days are as a shadow that passeth away.

We have to take God's ways on trust. We may well do so, for what are we? Only an infinitesimal atom of God's substance in a temporary and insignificant shape.

It is only when people are shut up to their own feelings that they think importantly of themselves. Very likely we all do this more or less; we can scarcely help it in the first stage. It is the very object of trouble to open our eyes, and develop true understanding. We are all no use to God until we attain to this; that is, until we see things as they are, and not as we feel.

To see things as they are is to see that we are as insignificant and evanescent as the flowers, mere grass, that withers away with a season; but true existence and true rights belong only to God, of whose eternal power we are but miniature blossoms.

The object of trouble is to work us into the recognition of this. We are born without understanding, and only experience can give it to us, and this experience has to be rough in some cases.

Bro Roberts - Right understandings

The Bible is not a gloomy book

"Our days upon earth are as a shadow"

It appears so to some people, only because they lack the mental habit of noting truth. The Bible deals with facts rather than fancies, and appeals to sober discernment rather than sensation. In this it is the sweetest book under the sun, for truth is sweet, even if it sometimes have an ugly side. The happiest men are those who delight in truth and know it.

The transitoriness of the life we now live is part of truth. It comes home with more striking force at some times than others. Today, a brother has announced the death of a sister who has borne us company for many years.

This last week the papers have announced the death of John Bright, who has been before the public for two generations. When I came to England, 30 years ago, one of my first duties was to report one of his political orations for the press. He was then a fixed brilliant star in the political firmament. Today, that star has ceased to shine. The contrast between now and then is great and striking.

In the presence of it, most men realise the vanity of human life. The pity is, they don't see it sooner. The truth teaches us to discern it in the steady current of things beforehand. The change from the political brightness of 30 years ago to the eclipse of today's coffin has been in progress all the time, like the slowly shifting sky at night. It is so with us all.

"Time and change are busy ever: man decays, and ages move." Wise men note the fact and adjust themselves to it; and in this there is no gloom. The real gloom is with those who shut their eyes to the fact, and drown the sense of it in frivolous occupations and delights. The time comes, sooner or later, when they can no longer shut their eyes, and when pleasure loses its power to charm away the horrors of sin and death which are quietly with us whether we give attention or no.

We turn our attention from the transitory and the apparent to the everlasting and the real. These are exhibited to us in our readings of the Scriptures. Nowhere else can we meet them at present. The day will come when they will be displayed on earth in the living power of actuality.

Meanwhile we make their acquaintance here beforehand, as matter of information and faith. Let us get as close as possible. They are our life. They all cluster in Christ, who has no meaning apart from them. Looking at him with discernment we see the whole truth, which is not visible in natural life and which the world cares not for.

Sunday Morning 197

5 Bow thy heavens, O Yahweh, and come down: touch the mountains, and they shall smoke. Apocalyptic

6 Cast forth lightning, and scatter them: shoot out thine arrows, and destroy them.

7 Send thine hand from above; rid me, and deliver me out of great waters, from the hand of strange children;

8 Whose mouth speaketh vanity, and their right hand is a right hand of falsehood.

9 I will sing a new song unto thee, O Elohim: upon a psaltery and an instrument of 10 strings will I sing praises unto thee.

10 It is he that giveth salvation unto kings: who delivereth David his servant from the hurtful sword.

11 Rid me, and deliver me from the hand of strange children, whose mouth speaketh vanity, and their right hand is a right hand of falsehood:

12 That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; that our daughters may be as corner stones, polished after the similitude of a palace:

13 That our garners may be full, affording all manner of store: that our sheep may bring forth 1 000s and 10 000s in our streets:

14 That our oxen may be strong to labour; that there be no breaking in, nor going out; that there be no complaining in our streets.

15 Happy is that people, that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose Elohim is Yahweh.