Let destruction come on him at unawares; and let his net that he has hid catch himself: into that very destruction let him fall.
Our text brings to our view the soul of man, and, whilst preaching therefrom, I also will try to show some of the causes of the apparent failure of Christianity. It is not Christianity which is at fault, but Christians who are not Christlike.
I. WHY IS IT THAT MEN DO SO NEGLECT RELIGION?
1. A large portion of the community is deceived by riches. They think all their happiness lies in what riches can give. Hence they toil early and late; they think about nothing else. But when they get rich they are never satisfied. I do not ask for an equal distribution of wealth, but I call upon the rich to be trustees for the world, and to say, "Lord, all that I have is Thine; how shall I use it for Thy glory, and for the good of my fellow-men?" Another cause of the apparent failure of Christianity is —
2. The errors of many teachers and ministers.
3. A third cause is the unreasonableness of scepticism. Christianity has blessed the lives of all who believed in it. It has made the drunkard sober, the thief honest, and has delivered men from the power of darkness into God's marvellous light. The path of Christ's truth will Carry the world to peace and happiness, if they will but walk therein.
4. The last cause which I shall mention is that people hold false notions about God. Many men think if they pay a large sum to a church, or to some good cause, God will smile upon them. And the unfortunate one who, time after time, relapses into sin believes God cannot forgive one who falls so often. "He may forgive and bless those who live righteously, but can He bless me?" He can: He is waiting to bless thee.
II. We have now to notice AS EARNEST DESIRE. David, remembering the past, and fearing for the future, earnestly desires soul salvation. "Oh God! say unto my soul, 'I am thy salvation.'"
1. He desires salvation from the burden of sin. Even as a man working in a coal-pit, upon whom the earth has fallen, earnestly cries for help, so the Christian is in agony to be saved from the burden with which his sins have fallen upon his memory and his conscience.
2. We also have here an earnest desire for salvation from the power of sin. In the sad days of American slavery, I have read of a maiden being bought by a very wicked man for purposes of sin and shame, and she, weeping, as she was dragged along the road to his estate, shrieked piteously for a deliverer. Poor thing! the law gave the monster the power over her. But how different when we in the bondage of sin, cry out to God for help. Christ comes and delivers his people from the power of sin.
III. THE DELIGHTFUL EXPECTATION OF THE TEXT. It is to have God's voice to be heard in the soul. "Say unto my soul, 'I am thy salvation.'" There may be some here who cannot find peace and holiness, and who now cry for salvation. Losing your way whilst wandering in an underground cavern and your light burning out, it is delightful to hear the guide in the distance cry, "All right, my friend, I know where you are, and will lead you safely out." Likewise the promise is, "The Lord whom ye seek shall suddenly return to His temple." Pray on, hope on, believe on. You shall hear His voice, for He hath promised.
Parallel VersesKJV: Let destruction come upon him at unawares; and let his net that he hath hid catch himself: into that very destruction let him fall.