Gods Word Must Rule Me
by James Smith, 1860
Bad men sometimes give utterance to very good things — things worth remembering, things which should influence our conduct and our hearts. This was the case with Balaam — he was a bad man, covetousness ruled his soul, he wanted to curse Israel to make money, and gratify King Balak — but he was not permitted. How many sweet and blessed things he said of the safety, honor, and happiness of God's people. And when Balak tried by all means to get him to curse Israel, and could not prevail, and then tried to prevent his blessing them, how well he said, "All that the Lord speaks — that I must do." Numbers 23:26. What a text for us! True, he was influenced by fear, and we should be influenced by love; still our language should be the same, and our conduct should correspond with our words.
Here Is a Fact Supposed.A fact containing three points.
First, it supposes that the Lord communicates his mind. This he has done most fully, in his most holy word. Here he tells us what he would have us do — and what Holy Spirit would have us avoid.
Second, it supposes that the Lord's word can be understood. True, the Scriptures contain some things that are hard to be understood — but this only applies to some doctrines or prophecies, which are confessedly mysterious. Upon all practical matters — the Scriptures are exceedingly plain.
Third, it supposes that the Lord requites obedience. His Word is not given to amuse us — but to sanctify us, and regulate our lives. "Your Word is a lamp to my feet — and a light for my path." Psalm 119:105
In a word — we are directed what to believe, what to expect, what to avoid, and what to do. Nor is there an unnecessary precept in all God's Word, all are, or were necessary; and all are, or were, designed to promote God's glory and our happiness and holiness.
Here is an Obligation Felt."All that the Lord speaks, that I must do." I must, for . . .
I am not at liberty to object to any one of his commands. I cannot be justified in delaying to obey. There is no excuse for neglecting to do.
Here is a Confession Made."All that the Lord speaks — that I must do." I must do all the Lord bids, whether painful or pleasant, civil or religious. I must obey, for the Lord is . . .
I must do it — for it is for my God who loves me, supplies me, and will glorify me with himself.
I must do it — for it is for my Savior's honor, who died for my sins, rose for my justification, and now pleads my cause in Heaven.
It is but little that I can do, especially when compared with what he has done for me — and therefore I must do what I can, and do it as promptly, cheerfully, and as perfectly as I can.
I must do it, for it is required as a proof of my love, for Jesus says, "If you love me — keep my commandments."
As one therefore, who . . .
knows and believes the love that God has to me;
feels his obligation to the Lord Jesus as my sin-atoning Substitute;
can do little in return, for all the wondrous things done for me;
loves Jesus, because he first loved me; desires to evince and prove my love to him
— I must do all that he commands.
I feel that I am under his authority;
I know that I am bound to walk by the rule of his holy word;
I realize that I am obliged to obey —
and therefore, I must do what he requires.
We may apply the subject to the Lord's ordinances, which too many professed Christians neglect, or treat with lightness. Has not God spoken of these ordinances in his word? Has he not spoken intelligibly? Does he not require us to observe his ordinances, and keep his laws? Have we carefully, prayerfully, and deliberately, examined the New Testament for ourselves, in reference to these ordinances? The whole will of Christ in reference to the nature, design, and obligation to observe the institutions of Christ — is recorded in the New Testament.
Have we then, as those who . . .
must give account of our conduct to God;
must be judged by the Word of Christ at the last day;
profess to prefer his will before our own;
profess to honor him in all things —
have we examined the New Testament on the subject as we ought to do? Have we . . .
carried out our convictions,
obeyed the commands of Jesus, and
done the will of God from the heart?
Obedience is better than sacrifice. Hence he says, "Only
obey my voice." If we have not observed his ordinances — or if we
do not observe his ordinances — have we an allowance from himself to
neglect them? Some act as if they had a dispensing authority, and could set
aside the ordinances of Christ as they please; and so while they protest
against the pope of Rome — they claim a right to exercise one of his most
arrogant assumptions, and thus set up to be popes themselves! But
such will, sooner or later, see that they are guilty of a presumptuous sin,
for no one has a right to object to, or neglect, or set
aside — any one of his ordinances. They . . .
were devised by his wisdom,
are enacted by his authority,
are intended for his honor, and
are continued for the glory of his name.
Let us, therefore, as we love the Savior, as we would be found of him in peace, as we would not be ashamed before him at his coming — seek to know his will, to prefer his will to our own, to do his will; and esteeming all his commandments, concerning all things to be right — may we hate every false way. Let us seek grace from God, that we may say with Balaam, not from fear — but from love, not merely with the lips — but with the life: "All that the Lord speaks — that I must do."