Deliverance in the Day of Trouble
by William Nicholson, 1862
"Call upon me in the day of trouble. I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me." Psalm 50:15
Much of the present life is spent in personal suffering, or in relative affliction and distress. But in times of trouble, God has provided strong consolation for his redeemed children. Hence the Bible abounds with exceeding great and precious promises, which cheer and soothe us under all our sorrows. The office of the Christian ministry is to bring relief to the bosom of the sorrowful. "Comfort, comfort my people, says your God." Isaiah 40:1
A pompous religion is nothing compared with the sacrifice of a broken and contrite heart. When you are in trouble, rest not in mere formal sacrifice and worship. "Call upon me in the day of trouble."
I. The Season."The day of trouble." Take a twofold view of trouble:
1. Internally, the Christian has to contend with trouble.
(1.) The time of spiritual conviction is a day of trouble, though it may end in a day of joy.
Then the sinner feels that the wrath of God is upon him. Acts 2:87; 16:30.
Then the backslider also is filled with his own ways. Proverbs 14:14. He sees how he has dishonored God, his cause, etc.
(2.) The time of inward conflict is a day of trouble. Then the flesh lusts against the Spirit, etc. Romans 7:24.
(3.) The season of temptation is a day of trouble. When Satan desires to have them, that he may sift them like wheat. When he comes in like a flood — when he suggests the most horrible thoughts. 1 Peter 1:6, 7.
(4.) The period of mental depression. It may be constitutional — imaginary fears — fear of having no interest in God — spiritual attainments small — no sensible evidence of God's love. Has he withdrawn himself? Job 23:8.
2. Externally, the Christian has to contend with trouble.
(1.) Afflictions. Personal — relative — bereavements.
(2.) Reproach and persecution.
(3.) Worldly losses — sometimes productive of poverty and distress.
(4.) The low state of the church. Divisions and dissensions — the apostasy of some — the lukewarmness of others.
(5.) The aboundings of error. Opposition to the cause of Christ. Atheism and infidel philosophy.
II. The Privilege."Call upon me." How comforting is this! "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in times of trouble!" Psalm 46:1
What does this gracious direction imply?
1. Helplessness. You can not deliver yourself. Turn from every human refuge, to me.
2. The power and willingness of God to deliver. "Call upon me." I am the Almighty God. "My grace is sufficient for you." He is able to help — he compassionates the distressed — he hears and answers prayer, Isaiah 65:24; Matthew 7:7.
3. Prayer. "Call upon me." Distrust of all other means of relief — call upon me, through Christ. "Ask the Father in my name," John 14:13, 14. Pray therefore in faith, earnestly — importunately — submissively.
III. The Promise."I will deliver you."
1. He has promised to deliver. "I will deliver you." See Job 22:27; Psalm 91:15, 16; Psalm 107:6, 13, 19, 28.
2. He can deliver. He can provide unexpected means of deliverance. He can enlarge our prospects, and open new channels for the communication of his mercy. The issues of providence are all with him; the wheels of nature, which are bringing constant supplies for an indigent universe, are under the conduct of his infinite power and wisdom.
Do you need pardon, he can give it. He can deliver you from conflict, temptation, mental depression. See 2 Peter 2:9.
3. He has delivered and will deliver. He delivered the patriarchs from their troubles. Instance also Job and David, Psalm 34:4-6 — and Daniel — Shadrach, etc. — Peter from prison — Paul often from his enemies. What he has done before, he will do again. Yes, he does deliver. In sickness, have you not prayed, and health has come again to your frame? etc.
4. Sometimes he delivers by granting more than an equivalent blessing. So in the case of Paul. 2 Corinthians 12:8, 9. I will deliver you from your fears and anxiety — by comforting and supporting you; giving you such spiritual enjoyment as you have never experienced when not in trouble. I will cause you to rejoice in tribulation, and to count it all joy when you fall into divers temptations. I will afford such cordials, and impart such inward strength, as to make you more than a conqueror over all the evils that may be feared or felt. I will afford you such manifestations of my presence, as to render you almost insensible of your sorrows. Under such support, the rich have rejoiced that they were made low, and emptied of all their worldly fullness — that they might become rich in faith, etc.
5. He will give everlasting deliverance. Christ overcame the world for this purpose, John 16:33. "There remains a rest for the people of God." "These are those who come out of great tribulation." Revelation 7:14. The storms of life may be boisterous; but we need fear no shipwreck; we may be tossed with tempest, and not comforted — but we shall get safe into harbor at last. Yes, we shall have "an abundant entrance," etc.
IV. The Consequent Duty."You shall glorify me."
When a man is said to glorify God, it does not mean that he can add anything to his essential glory. But the deliverance which God effects, displays his power, wisdom, and love. I will deliver you, and you shall be a monument to display my glory. God is pleased to receive the homage, the praise, and service of those whom he delivers. Glorify him,
1. By acknowledging the interposition of his hand.
2. By Praise. See verse 14, 23, of Psalm 50.
3. By devotedness to his service — advancing his kingdom.
Has God delivered you from your sins? Go and crown the Savior Lord of all.
Has he raised you from the bed of sickness? Go with your renewed strength to work in his vineyard.
Has he raised you from the depths of poverty? Go honor the Lord with your substance.
1. Never attempt to bear your burden yourselves. "Cast your burden on the Lord, and he shall uphold you!" etc.
2. Sympathize with those in trouble. Visit them — cheer them — help them. 1 Corinthians 12:25, 26.