Direction for the Afflicted!
James Smith, 1842
"I will leave in the midst of you an afflicted and poor people — and they shall trust in the name of the Lord!" Zephaniah 3:12
Of all people, the Lord's people are frequently the most severely tried — so much so, that they may well be called a poor and afflicted people. They are tried as men — and more especially so as Christians. They often find that they have no arm to lean upon — but the arm of God. Every prop is removed; and they are ready to cry out, "Call me Marah (bitter) — for the Lord has dealt bitterly with me."
Severe temptations of various kinds beset them.
Powerful inward corruptions greatly distress them.
Great bodily affliction is sometimes added to soul-exercise, and they cry out, "I am oppressed — undertake for me!"
For a time everything seems to go wrong! They have no bosom into which they can pour all their troubles, except the bosom of their God; and He holds back the face of His throne, and hangs a cloud upon it. They go mourning without the sun — but in such circumstances, the Lord directs them; "Who among you fears the LORD and obeys the word of his servant? Let him who walks in the dark, who has no light — trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God!" They may still trust to the divine faithfulness, though they do not enjoy the light of divine love.
The promise remains sure, even when everything else appears changed. We may venture our souls upon the faithful word of God; He cannot deny Himself, He will not deceive the soul that hopes in Him. We may trust Him with all we value — He will preserve and keep it; we may trust Him for all we need — and we shall not be disappointed. With the Apostle we may say, "I know whom I have trusted, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day!"
The poor must trust in the Lord, for often they have no one else to whom they can look, or in whom they can confide! The afflictions they pass through, are often of that nature, that none can help them but the Lord. What a mercy, to be privileged to come up out of the wilderness — leaning on our Beloved!
The poor shall trust in the Lord —
necessity drives them to Him,
the Holy Spirit reveals Him,
faith centers in Him, and
the troubled soul reposes on Him.
"I trusted in you, O Lord; I said, You are my God! Those who know your name, will put their trust in you; for you, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you. Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him. O Israel, trust in the Lord; He is their help and their shield. The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous runs into it, and are safe!"
Trusting in Jehovah's name will . . .
cheer the mind,
compose the spirits,
stay the agitation of the soul, and
bring us into a state of acquiescence with His will.
Trusting in Jehovah enables us to endure patiently, and to press on cheerfully in the midst of trials, troubles, and afflictions. It weakens the power of temptation, and bears the soul up — let the affliction be ever so heavy. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart; and do not lean to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your path."
The poor and afflicted, Lord, are Thine;
Among the great they seldom shine;
Yet, though the world may think it strange,
They would not with the world exchange!
Poor and afflicted, yes, they are;
They're not exempt from grief and care;
But He, who saved them by His blood,
Makes every sorrow yield them good.
Poor and afflicted; 'tis their lot;
They know it, and they murmur not!
Would ill become them to refuse
The state their Master deigned to choose!