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Friday, June 5, 2009

as thy days, so shall thy strength be




I stumbled upon a beautiful sermon of Spurgeon. I'm not going to summarize, but I wanted to copy and paste some of his words. (You can find the entire thing here.)

Well now, translate those two ideas, and you will see why it is that even our sin, our lost and ruined estate, has been made the means, in the hand of God, of manifesting to us the excellencies of his character. My dear friends, if you and I had been without trouble, we never could have had such a promise as this given to us:—"As thy days, so shall thy strength be." It is our weakness that has made room for God to give us such a promise as this. Our sins make room for a Saviour; our frailties make room for the Holy Spirit to correct them; all our wanderings make room for the good Shepherd, that he may seek us and bring us back. We do not love nights, but we do love stars; we do not love weakness, but we do bless God for the promise that is to sustain us in our weakness, we do not admire winter, but we do admire the glittering snow; we must shudder at our own trembling weakness, but we still do bless God that we are weak because it makes room for the display of his own invincible strength in fulfilling such a promise as this.

When you are on dry land most of you are good sailors; out at sea you are vastly different. There is many a man who makes a wonderfully brave soldier till he gets into the battle, and then he wishes himself miles away, and except his spurs there is no weapon he can use with much advantage. That man has never been sick who does not know his weakness, his want of patience and of endurance.

 I have sometimes thought I would try to have more faith but I have found it very hard to keep as much as I had. I have thought, "I will love my Saviour more," and it was right that I should strive to do so; but when I sought to love him more I found that perhaps I was going backward instead of forward. How often do we find out our weakness when God answers our prayers!...That is, the Lord helps us to grow downward when we are only thinking about growing upward. Let any of you try to grow in grace, and seek to run the heavenly race, and make a little progress, and you will soon find, in such a slippery road as that which we have to travel, that it is very hard to go one step forward, though remarkably easy to go a great many steps backward.

We have all our tender points. When Thetis dipped Achilles in the Styx, you remember she held him by the heel; he was made invulnerable wherever the water touched him, but his heel not being covered with the water, was vulnerable, and there Paris shot his arrow, and he died. It is even so with us. We may think that we are covered with virtue till we are totally invulnerable, but we have a heel somewhere; there is a place where the arrow of the devil can make way: hence the absolute necessity of taking to ourselves "the whole armor of God,"...Man knoweth not himself so well as Satan knows him. There are back ways and subterranean passages into man's heart which the devil doth well understand. and he who thinketh that he is safe, let him take heed lest he fall...Tremble, for ye may yet be overcome! Ye are as weak as water if God shall leave you alone.

Now, I think, if we have well surveyed these different points of our moral standing on earth, every child of God will be ready to confess that he is weak. I imagine there may be some of you ready to say, "Sir, I am nothing." Then I shall reply, "Ah! you are a young Christian." There will be others of you who will say, "Sir, I am less than nothing." And I shall say, "Ah! you are an old Christian;" for the older Christians get, the less they become in their own esteem, the more they feel their own weakness, and the more entirely they rely upon the strength of God.

There is enough bullion in the vaults of Omnipotence to pay off every bill that ever shall be drawn by the faith of man or the promises of God...Believer, till thou canst drain dry the ocean of omnipotence, till thou canst break into pieces the towering mountains of almighty strength, thou never needest to fear. Until thine enemy can stop the course of a whirlwind with a reed, till he can twist the hurricane from its path by a word of his puny lip, thou needest not think that the strength of man shall ever be able to overcome the strength which is in thee, namely, the strength of God.

First, it says our strength is to be as our days are; it does not say our strength is to be as our desires are... "Still," says one, "if I had faith like so-and-so, I think I should do wonders." Yes, but you would get the glory of them. That is why God does not let you have the faith, because he does not want you to do wonders. That is reserved for God, not for you...Once more, it does not say, our strength shall be as our fears. God often leaves us to shift alone with our fears,—never with our troubles...Troubles of God's sending are always suitable—the right sort for our backs; but those that we make are of the wrong sort, and they always last us longer than God's..."When you are weak then I will make you strong; but I will not give you any extra strength to lay by: strength enough to bear your sufferings, and to do your duty; but no strength to play at matches with your brethren and sisters in order to get the glory to yourselves."

"Ah! but," you say, "I could not do that."" Yea you could, if God called you to it. Any child of God can do what any other child of God has done, if God gives him the strength. You could not do what you are doing even now, without God's strength; and you could do ten thousand times more, if he should be pressed to fill you with his might. What an expansive promise this is!

Dost thou tremble, pilgrim?—"As thy days, so shall thy strength be." "But there are robbers in the wood."—"As thy days, so shall thy strength be." "But there are lions which shall devour me."—"As thy days. so shall thy strength be." "But there are rivers: how shall I swim them?" Here is a boat to carry thee over: "As thy days, so shall thy strength be." "But there are fires: how shall I pass through them?" Here is the garment that will protect thee: "As thy days so shall thy strength be." "But there are arrows that fly by day." Here is thy shield: "As thy days so shall thy strength be." "But there is the pestilence that walketh in darkness." Here is thy antidote: "As thy days so shall thy strength be." Wherever you may be, and whatever trouble awaits you, "As thy days, so shall thy strength be." Children of God, cannot you say that this has been true hitherto?

And when thou shalt see God face to face, though thy weakness were enough to make thee die, thou shalt have strength to bear the beatific vision: thou shalt see him face to face, and thou shalt live; thou shalt lie in the bosom of thy God; immortalized and made full of strength, thou shalt be able to bear even the brightness of the Most High.

What INFERENCE shall I draw except this? Children of the living God, be rid of your doubts, be rid of your trouble and your fear. Young Christians, do not be afraid to set forward on the heavenly race. 


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