2 Timothy 2:7
Consider what I say; and the Lord give you understanding in all things.
I. CONSIDERATION IS A DUTY TO BE PRACTISED.
1. For hath not God given man a discoursive faculty? What creature but he hath understanding, the angels only excepted? Were it not vanity to have an eye, and close it? an ear, and stop it? a hand, and not move it? And is it not wickedness to bare a faculty of discourse and not employ it? And wherein better than in consideration?
2. The life of man differs little from a beast without consideration? This soundly lessons those that approve of it but never practise it. Will you hear how they excuse, clear themselves?
(1) It is a difficult duty. Grant it be so, what then? Is it to be rejected? But what hard things dost thou use for the love of this world? Take thou the like pains in this profitable action.
(2) But I want time. Wonderful! Did God ever command a duty and allow no time to effect it? What! None to consider? to confer with thy Father? Lay thy hand upon thy mouth — say no more; for, for what end is the Sabbath?
(3) I have no convenient place. Imitate David, commune with thyself in bed. But my children cry. Then with Isaac, to the field; Hannah, to the Temple; or get thee to some garden, solitary mount, as did thy Master.
(4) I cannot bring my mind to it. Is it so with thee as thou sayest? Be the more humbled for it, and make that matter of consideration. Set thou thyself about this necessary duty; it shall recompense all thy painstaking. And —
(a) Wouldst thou love God? Then consider how He hath chosen thee, redeemed thee, given thee a being in these glorious days of the gospel, conferred on thee many earthly favours. Consider the many sins He hath pardoned, prevented; the evils spiritual, corporal, He hath removed; the petitions He hath granted; and of what great things thou art assured.
(b) Is thy faith feeble? Consider the depth of God's mercy, the firmness of His promise, the might of His power, the unchangeableness of His nature. Shall not these relieve thee?
(c) Art thou impatient? Do afflictions overlade thee? Consider the greatness of thy sins, whereby thou hast deserved far worse evils. Think, and think often, that they come from the hand of thy heavenly Father; how He hath an eye to thy weakness, that they shall not exceed thy ability; and at their departure, like an overflowing river's rich mud, leave a blessing behind them.
(d) And what external action can, without consideration, be well discharged? Did magistrates take up their minds, exercise themselves in this duty, would it not make them resolute for the execution of their function?
(e) Can ministers preach and neglect this action?
(f) Why do men hear much, understand little, and practise nothing? It is want of consideration. The most run to God's house, as travellers to an inn, hear the Word as some well-told tale, not knowing, like that rude company, for what end they came together.
(g) In a word, consideration will give us matter of prayer, and kindle the little spark of grace within us, put us in mind of our vow in baptism, and provoke us to perform it — yea, all our promises.
II. GOD'S WORD IS TO RE CONSIDERED.
1. For the Author's sake. Is it not the Book of God?
2. And is not the matter holy, just, good?
3. What admirable effects will it work? David hereby became wiser than his teachers — a man according to God's own heart.
III. EXHORTATION IS TO BE SECONDED WITH PRAYER,
IV. GOD GIVETH MAN UNDERSTANDING,
V. MEN OF MUCH KNOWLEDGE MAY BETTER THEIR UNDERSTANDING. Knowledge in a threefold respect may be increased —
1. In the faculty.
2. In the object.
3. In the medium of it.
VI. IN ALL DIVINE TRUTHS WE ARE TO HAVE UNDERSTANDING. Had not Moses a pattern of the Tabernacle — to a broom, a snuffer, a curtain-ring? Shall we, then, be ignorant of any one principle in the whole frame of religion?
(J. Barlow, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things.