Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shall you dwell in the land, and truly you shall be fed.…
That is good, sound advice; no metaphysics in that: it is good common sense, even if it be three thousand years old. To-day is a time of a good deal of trouble in the world and all over the world. The troubles are political, commercial, social. Everywhere is distress and misery, and chiefly upon the heads of men that least can bear it. Now, what has our religion to say to us under these circumstances? Much. Our text itself is a whole sermon, and I could add nothing to it. It is only for me to rub it in; for it is all there: "Trust in the Lord and do good; so... thou shalt be fed." Dwelling in the land was promised to those who were not unused to see whole populations carried off to Assyria or Babylon, or to Rome, according to the will of their conquerors. And in a land liable to famines as Palestine was, "verily thou shall be fed" was a very precious promise. And the New Testament echoes the Old, only carrying the thought higher, "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God... and all... shall be added unto you." Two capital elements for consideration are given us in our text.
I. TRUST. That is, have faith in God and in His care for you. And how wrong and foolish it is not to trust — for what father or mother ever loved their children as God loves us? But we trust God when things go well; when they do not, we fully doubt. We do not live by faith, but by sight — more's the pity. But we are bidden trust, and —
II. NOTE THE CONDITIONS are "do good." Trust inspires activity. Do not sit down in despair. You may be old, or verging toward it, and suddenly ruin comes. You say, "It is foe late to build again," and you are filled with despair. Nay! While age brings with it less energy and hopefulness, it brings with it, also, experience. You may not go on in the same scale and way as before, but accept the altered position, make the most of it, and be of good courage and trust in God. There is no disgrace in your having ceased to be the possessor of large wealth. I think some of the noblest examples of womanhood that I have ever met anywhere have been those noble souls who, cast out into poverty, never appeared so wise, so noble, so reverend, as in their poverty. The light of a candle does not depend on the candlestick in which it burns. How lovely is a beautiful flower amid barren surroundings! When fortune lowers on you in the form of loss of means of living, circumscribe your wants. A man can live on wondrously little when he sets about it. And retrench at the right end — the end where luxuries come in, not that of your church gifts and charities. Many reverse this order, and pamper the body whilst they starve the soul. And do not give up moral activity in the church, the schools, or elsewhere. The real man comes out in times of trial and loss, when he has nothing but his manhood to depend upon. Try when troubles come to you to lighten the troubles of others. That is a golden remedy. Why should you complain or faint? Stand in your place and smile. Remember the eternal is yours.
(H. Ward Beecher.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.