A Wise Resolution
James Smith, 1860
The Lord's people are often discouraged and cast down, in the prospect of the changes they are called to make. They forget the well ordered covenant, and lose sight of the precious promises. They endeavor to walk by sight — when they are required to walk by faith. In this they are wrong — for this God's Word corrects them, and sets before them bright and animating examples. Where can we find a better, or more suitable one than David, who when advanced in life, and called to perform arduous duties, or to pass through severe trials, said, "I will go in the strength of the Lord God; I will make mention of your righteousness, even of yours alone." Psalm 71:16. Mark,
The Determination Formed. I will go wherever duty calls, or the providence of God leads me. I will go in the might of God's Spirit, and relying on God's faithful promise. How suitable to a minister of Christ, when called upon to enter some sphere of arduous labor, or the performance of some unusual duties. He may feel discouraged by a sense of the greatness of the work, and his own painful sense of weakness. He may look upon the field of labor, and say, "I shall need strength, greater strength than I at present possess, especially if lost sinners are to be converted — if backsliders are to be restored — if the discipline of the church is to be maintained — if believers are to be established — if mourners are to be comforted — and if captives are to be delivered."
Just so, the private Christian, when called to engage in some new work of mercy, either in the Sunday school, or the village, among the sick, or the depraved. He may plaintively say, "I shall need peculiar strength, if I am to honor God here, or if I am to win souls for Christ."
But each for himself, should remember, that the Lord has provided strength for every duty to which he calls us — and strength equal to our day. He has also promised strength in his holy Word, and is still saying to every honest, but disheartened laborer, "I myself will strengthen you, I myself will help you." We have therefore but to renounce all dependence on any supposed strength of our own, exercise faith in the promise, plead it at the throne of grace — and our God will make it good, by strengthening us with strength in our souls. Let us therefore form the same determination, and whenever duty calls say, "I will go in the strength of the Lord God!" And let us drink into the spirit of,
The Resolution Expressed. "I will make mention of your righteousness, even of yours alone." I will defend God's character, if cast among those who traduce it, and speak against it. I will assert in the face of all opposition, "The Lord is righteous." I will rely on God's faithfulness, let whatever may take place, within or without me, I will maintain that you are "the faithful God." I will publish the obedience of Christ, who is the lord our righteousness. I will tell of what Jesus has done for sinners, how he has obeyed the law which they had broken, and has brought in an everlasting righteousness, which is to all, and upon all those who believe. I will mention this to inquiring souls, as the ground of hope. I will set it before distressed believers, as a source of comfort. I will make mention of it when assaulted by Satan, as a shield against temptation. And I will mention it before God, when I bow at his throne, as my powerful and all-prevailing plea.
May I ever cherish right views of God's covenant character, may I ever rely with implicit confidence on God's faithfulness, and may I ever publish the glorious righteousness of my Redeemer. Yes, go where I may, attempt what duty I may, let the language of my soul be, "I will go in the strength of the Lord God; I will make mention of your righteousness, even of yours alone."
See, then, the rock of our dependence — we trust in God, in God alone, in God our righteousness and strength. This is a rock which never moves, never varies, we may therefore trust in it forever — and in this rock there is a cleft, in which we may hide from every foe, take shelter from every storm, and find support at all seasons.
See the source of our confidence — the strength and faithfulness of God. Until his strength fails, or he is unfaithful to his word, we may venture anywhere in his cause, or attempt anything for his honor.
See the spring of our comfort — we have both righteousness and strength in God. The former will secure our justification, and the latter our sanctification. The one is given us in all its fullness and glory at once, the other is gradually imparted, and as every day's work requires.
See the theme of our ministry — it is Jesus, Jesus our righteousness and strength. Jesus a perfect Savior. Jesus procuring all for us, and Jesus imparting all to us. Jesus the fullness that supplies us, and Jesus the all powerful One who supports us.
See the blessing we should all seek, each for himself each for his fellow, and all for the ministers of Christ. Brethren, pray for us. Pray that we may have courage to go wherever God calls us, to attempt whatever God bids us, and to expect whatever God promises us. Pray that we may always go to our work, in the strength of the Lord God, and that we may make mention of his righteousness, even of his alone. On no creature merit or excellence may we ever depend, on no human strength may we rely.
Finally, see the blessed result of a sense of vileness and wickedness, we betake ourselves to Jesus both for strength and righteousness. How precious the Savior becomes then. Shut up to him — we seek all from him; and receiving all from him — we give all glory to him. Reader, if you need righteousness — Jesus has it; apply to him, and he will give it. If you need strength — Jesus has it; ask it of him and he will impart it. Before duty and in duty — look to Jesus, go in his strength, and make mention of his righteousness, even of his alone.