Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shall you dwell in the land, and truly you shall be fed.…
This little, familiar text covers everything essential; it expresses the sum and substance of religion, and the great secret of right living. The God with whom we have to do is not an austere taskmaster, seeking to reap where He has not sown; He gives us grounds and reasons for trust before lie solicits trust. In the world of nature and man, in the best thoughts of our own minds, in the best affections of our own hearts, in the best experiences of our own lives, in the witness of saintly and prophetic souls, in the life and work of Jesus Christ — God has revealed enough of His character and will to quicken and sustain trust in His righteousness and love, when clouds and darkness are round about Him, and mystery besets us behind and before, and we cannot walk any more by sight.
I. WE MAY TRUST THE UNIVERSE. The confidence that the universe is essentially beneficent in all its operations, though it transcends actual knowledge, is yet based upon it. The more we study the relation of each part to the whole, and of the whole to each, the more do we see that what we call evil is but good in the making. Everywhere we see wisdom and goodness — one purpose, one law, one power, one God, throughout the universe. At the root of all the seeming severity of nature, there is the everlasting faithfulness and love of God.
II. WE MAY TRUST LIFE. We cannot hide from ourselves the dark side of human life, and we do not want a faith which does not fully recognize it; but when we study the tendency of things God becomes His own interpreter. God and good are perceived to be one, and our human world is seen to be moving through such processes as moral growth requires toward harmony with good. The week of creation is a long week. Wait! The end will explain and vindicate both the length and severity of the process. A careful study of the past affords sufficient justification for our largest expectations as to the coming years. The movement is ever towards good. The centuries grow juster, more merciful, more peaceful.
III. WE MAY TRUST GOD AS OUR FATHER AND SAVIOUR. What Christ was finitely, God is infinitely.
IV. WE MAY TRUST GOD FOR ALL THE FUTURE. NOT alone for these brief and troubled mortal years is He our Father and Saviour, but for ever. His laws will never play false with us; His mercy will never fail us. In all and through all the Father is redeeming and educating His children. From His love no soul is ever outcast; to His love no soul is ever lost.
V. TRUST IN THE LORD AND DO GOOD.
1. Trust in the Lord — there is our attitude toward the unknown and the unknowable. The unknown and the unknowable may be, and ought to be, trusted. With one of our modern seers we surely can say: "All I have seen bids me trust the Creator for all I have not seen."
2. Do good — there is our duty in the region of the known, in the realm of human relation and circumstance, in the realm of daily life. We cannot choose our life, but we can choose the way we shall live it. We can resolve and strive, whatever betides, to be good and to do good; ever to be loyal to the truest and best we know, and thus to compel the rapidly vanishing days to leave a blessing behind.
(John Hunter, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.