Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.…
I. THE DUTY REQUIRED. We are to submit ourselves unto God.
1. The first step in submission to God has respect to the truths of revelation. The cordial reception of these, however sublime or profound, however obscure or clear, lies at the foundation of all personal religion. It is no degradation of our reason to make it submissive to what God has spoken, although we may not be able fully to understand it in all its bearings. God only wise must know better than man, and therefore the scholar must bow, and not the Teacher.
2. But the submission particularly intended here, has respect to the discipline of God. Does any one ask for illustration? It was displayed by Aaron who held his peace when his two sons fell in death, judicially smitten down by the righteous decree of God. It was evinced by king Hezekiah, who, when the prophet announced the impending destruction of the monarch and his throne, replied to the terrible intelligence — "Good is the word of the Lord which thou hast spoken." It was exhibited in the placid spirit of the sorrow-smitten David, when, amidst the cursings of Shimei who was a ringleader in the conspiracy of Absolom, he said to his faithful servant Abishai — "Let him alone, and let him curse, for the Lord hath bidden him." It was seen in the meek and placid spirit of Eli when rebuked for his remissness of parental authority, and the ephod was to be taken from his family, he exclaimed in words of exemplary resignation, "it is the Lord, let Him do as seemeth Him good." It was apparent in the conduct of Job, when messenger after messenger brought him the dismal tidings of the destruction of his cattle, his servants, and his children, "he fell down upon the ground and worshipped, and said — the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord." And more than all, it is the spirit and temper of Him who said — "The cup which My father hath given Me, shall I not drink it?" Such are instances of resignation. It is the filial submission of the will and the heart to a parent's conduct. It is the enlightened and sanctified acquiescence of our inner nature with the dealings of God, under the conviction that all His ways are just and good, and that He has our welfare in view by every trial He sends us.
II. THE GROUNDS ON WHICH THE DUTY OF SUBMISSION IS COMMENDED AND REQUIRED.
1. The first is the universal disposal of a righteous and gracious providence. There is no truth clearer to the thoughtful mind than this, that nothing can be beyond the notice or the power of God; and yet there is no truth less practically received by a large part of mankind.
2. Submission is our duty — our reasonable duty, as sinful and dependent creatures. Can a child span with its little fingers the vast expanse of the heavens? Can a mortal hand grasp the globe in its palm? Just as easily can our finite minds take in the entire scheme of Him who is wonderful in counsel and mighty in working.
3. The third ground of submission is the great doctrine of redemption. The love of One who has loved us, suffered and died for us, snatched us from the verge of everlasting woe, placed us beneath the light of the loving-kindness and tender mercy of God, called us to seek and find, if we will, a crown of heavenly glory — may well constrain us to submit for a little while to a discipline which He judges necessary to train us for the inheritance He has procured for all the redeemed.
4. Another consideration on which this duty is founded is that repining is as fruitless as it is sinful.
Parallel VersesKJV: Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.