But those who trust in idols and say to molten images: 'You are our gods!' will be turned back in utter shame.
I. DANKNESS ILLUMINED. There was:
1. Darkness over the face of God.
2. Darkness over the destiny of man.
But Christ has revealed the Divine fatherhood, and brought life and immortality to light.
II. WRONG RIGHTENED. Crooked or warped things have been twisted or "wrung" - from which our word "wrong" comes; and Christ Jesus has brought in an everlasting righteousness.
1. Man's way was wrong.
2. Man's ideal was wrong, it was self instead of God.
3. Man's heart was wrong.
And there are "crooked" things in experience, in addition to crooked tastes and tempers. And Christ makes the path of duty clear to us, and removes the mountains from our paths. - W.M.S.
i.e. if he regard himself as perfect in knowledge, "he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know." If we look to our own path in life, we find ourselves uninformed concerning that which lies before us. But the Word of God does not more explicitly reveal to us our ignorance and blindness, than it offers to us a great and infallible Guide. Let our minds be directed to the inquiry, whether or no this promise is verified in the experience of God's people.
And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not.
(F. Delitzsch, D. D.)
The Thinker.God would lead Israel by a way that had not yet been trodden; He would redeem her from Babylon, not as He delivered her from Egypt in the distant past, but by inclining towards her the heart of her captor.
I. THE UNKNOWN, UNTRODDEN PATH BEFORE US.
1. It is an unknown path which we are about to tread. Let the child or even the young man draw an outline of his anticipated career, and let that line he compared with the one which really marks his course; what a divergence will there be l
2. It is an untrodden path. As the second great Divine deliverance of Israel differed materially from the first, so God's dealings with individual men differ with the several periods of their life.
II. THE GUIDANCE OF OUR GOD. "I will bring." "I will lead." There are two ways by which God leads His people.
1. By controlling their circumstances. God may preserve us from taking the wrong path by providentially blocking the way in which we might otherwise have walked; or, He may keep us from a false movement, or induce us to make the true one by bringing us unto the fellowship of some wise friend whose timely counsel either dissuades or determines us.
2. By influencing their minds. He is nearer to us than our nearest friends; and He can influence us more powerfully than the wisest and strongest of our teachers or guardians.
III. HIS DISPOSITION AND FREEDOM TO HELP US.
1. That God is disposed to help us, we need not doubt.(1) His sovereignty over Israel would account for all His watchfulness over that people; and His Fatherhood of every human spirit will certainly ensure His Divine interest in each one of His children. And if this were an insufficient bond to constrain such condescending notice, we have but to remember that Jesus Christ is the Divine Saviour and Friend of every one of His people, most tenderly united to each of them by the strongest ties. The Good Shepherd cares, and cares much, for every sheep of His flock.(2) Our Lord's intimation of the Father's care for all His creatures, and His own a fortiori argument therefrom ("Ye are of more value than many sparrows") is convincing proof to all Christian minds that our God is "thinking upon" us, that He is mindful of our necessities, and is shaping our course from day to day.
2. That God is free to help us, we may also be assured. Nothing is more incredible than that the Father of spirits, the Saviour of souls, should, by the established order of nature which He has constructed, have to cut Himself off from His human family that, however earnestly they cried to Him, He would not be at liberty to respond to them. That He should not weaken our sense of the imperative claims of duty and diligence by too obviously and constantly interposing on our behalf, we can readily understand. It is but necessary that He should touch some link in the chain of causes which is out of our sight; thus, with unseen but unfettered hand, He works on our behalf.
IV. OUR DUTY AND OUR COMFORT.
1. Our duty is threefold.(1) To become His children indeed, in the very fullest sense, by living faith in Jesus Christ.(2) To live before God as His obedient children, that our service and submission may win His Fatherly delight and His parental longing to bless us.(3) To ask for His constant guidance in daily prayer.
2. Our comfort is great indeed. God will be our guide. He will be our vanguard, and be our rereward (Isaiah 52:12).
I. In answer to this question we first reply that such a guidance may be traced in the dealings of God with His children BY HIS PROVIDENCE. A historian of the Reformation has placed in the forefront of his immortal work this sentence respecting it: "This history takes as its guiding. star the simple and pregnant truth that God is in history" (D'Aubigne). And that single sentence contains a world of important truth. The recorded history of the Jewish nation affords a beautiful illustration of the truth that God is active in all human affairs. And had God inspired another prophet to write the history of any other nation, yea, had God inspired a prophet to write your individual history, or my own, we should be astonished to see how busy the hand of God had been in its every stage and turn.
II. God leads His children by a way they know not IN THE DEALINGS OF HIS GRACE, e.g., the woman of Samaria; the assembly which stood before Peter on the Day of Pentecost; the blaspheming, persecuting Saul; the jailer at Philippi. God is characteristically a God who is found of them that sought Him not. The Divine methods for leading the believer to growth in grace are not less unexpected. Even on the believer's deathbed is often and gloriously illustrated the teaching of our text. As the path by which God leads His people is, in its beginning, and in all its progress, so is it in its termination, one which they know not. "It doth not yet appear what we shall be."
(W. E. Schenck.)
2. But there is still another meaning that is important. The word may mean simple ignorance. It may describe one who cannot see the right path because there is a mist upon it, and he is perplexed on account of this. There may be tenderness in the word rather than anger; gentle purposes of love implied rather than condemnation or rebuke. This helps us to understand the passage. The way of providence and grace in the darkness and perplexity of life may be thus graphically and forcibly expressed.
I. We have the frequent MYSTERY of God in providence and grace. We know not, and cannot trace, the way of God. The material, the vegetable, the animal, worlds are full of what is inscrutable. Thus it is with the course of individual life. We pursue our path, not knowing what may arise. We go forth like Abraham, "not knowing whither we go." Yet there is an eye that sees all, a mind that directs an, a hand that overrules all. We believe that every man lives in the Divine thought. Each has his separate course, duties, and responsibilities, from which he can no more escape than his shadow. Every one, like John, is called to fulfil this course. And God knows all. But to us, life has to discover itself as we go on, and often passages in it, and the end, look strange as compared with the beginning. We purpose one thing but God means another, e.g. Joseph, Elisha, Amos, Win. Carey, etc. So also as to grace. The leadings of God to fulfil His purposes are leadings of the blind. The methods He takes to enlighten the mind have infinite variety. While unconsciously men pursue a path they think their own, lo! it leads them within the circle of Divine influences which they never anticipated. Who would have thought that the vehement persecutor who stood by while the stones crashed down on Stephen, before he entered Damascus on his further errand of malice, would be met and subdued by all-conquering mercy? Who could have predicted that Lydia, of Thyatira, in pursuit of her business at Philippi, would find her heart opened to receive the truth, and be led to rejoice in far greater riches than the most prosperous trade could bring? What a surprise to Philemon that his runaway slave, who had played the thief, should be blessed under the apostle's ministry at Rome! Little did Francis Xavier think, when he entered the college of St. Barbs a gay and haughty youth, that one whom he scorned and despised would be the means of his conversion, and that the text, "What shall it profit a man?" so frequently repeated, would be the arrow of the Almighty to his soul. Little did West, the sceptical lawyer, think, when he sat down to tear in pieces, as he purposed, the arguments that prove the resurrection of Christ, that he would end in owning their unanswerableness, and his own spirit should bow before God. As little did another conceive that in attempting to hold up in caricature and contempt the apostle Paul, the spiritual power and greatness he beheld should lead him to become a disciple too. Passing words, casual association, incidental events, have had wonderful spiritual results. Men have regretted circumstances that have yet been made instrumental to their conversion. A young man has wept to lose a situation, but unwittingly has been led to another, where Divine grace has made him a "new creature." God works invisibly; His instrumentalities and agencies we often fall to recognise; but they are mighty to fulfil the counsels of His will, and thus "He brings the blind by a way they know not."
II. The KINDNESS as well as mystery of the Divine method is taught us in this passage. Probably, at some time, occasion has prompted you to guide for a few steps a blind man. He has wished to cross the road, and there is peril; or, groping his way along, there is some object which, unless he avoids it, will cause injury. The human tenderness that is in you has led you to be kind and true. But if such a spirit animates an imperfect man, shall we not take the Scripture assurance that the spirit of kindness characterises the infinite God, whose name is announced as Love T
1. The Divine guidance is kind because it is wise. Our God is of infinite counsel He knows our nature, tendencies, capacities, impulses, the action and influence of everything upon us. There are mountain passes, we are told, before traversing which the guides blindfold the travellers. They could not endure to see the awful precipices on either side. So it may be in some of the paths of life there are perils, and God guidance is an enigma, because He is dealing with us thus.
2. God's guidance is kind because it is patient. He bears with our disobedience and ingratitude, puts up with our manifold affronts and defiance, suffers long with our infirmities, and still exerts new influences that His gentleness may prevail.
3. God's guidance is kind because it is supporting. You have sometimes in country walks approached a hill It has seemed to rise with special steepness, but you have advanced, and strength has been equal, refreshing air and pleasant scenery have cheered. You have threaded your way through some intricate route towards a house or village, and thought you would never find it; but a token here and a footstep there have encouraged, and your journey's end has been gained. So up life's hills of difficulty and along its tortuous paths, a Divine hand leads and a Divine voice cheers.
III. The FAITHFULNESS Of the Divine guidance. "Not forsake." You have sometimes seen, perhaps, standing on the pavement or in a passage some little crying child. A careless mother has left it for a while, little thinking of distress or danger. Every sentiment of pity within you is moved, as in its sobs it cannot tell either its name or home. You may be reassured- The mother will return soon. But if it were indeed abandoned to cold and misery, in the driving storm and falling snow, no heart so hard but must be deeply compassionate. But this would be surpassed by the thought of a Christian, forsaken, if we could so conceive. A child of God deserted, with promises broken, blessings withdrawn, hopes disappointed, cast off in caprice and weariness — the woe of such an one would rise to the very height of distress. But this can never be. He has pledged His word, and with Moses we should exclaim, "What would become of Thy great name?" The universe in ruins would be an appalling wreck. But this could be nothing compared with the wreck of the Divine character. Dr. Whewell has said, "The whole earth from pole to pole, from centre to circumference, is employed in keeping a snowdrop in the position best suited for the promotion of its vegetable health." Doth God provide for the flower; and shall He not guard His people?
(G. Macmichael, B. A.)
I. The true nature of CONVICTION OF SIN is a thing of which the called of God have no distinct knowledge, prior to experience. There is, no doubt, a great diversity in the exercises and circumstances of souls under conviction. Before this they may have formed a conception of the feelings of a convinced sinner. They imagined that by some flash, like lightning, conviction of sin would be effected. Very, commonly the awakened person strives to produce conviction of the kind conceived, by bringing up to view the most frightful images. But if the convinced sinner could realise all the feelings of which he has conceived, and for which he longs and prays, the end of conviction would not be at all answered; for the end of conviction is to lead the sinner out of himself; to destroy all self-confidence and self-complacency. But if he could experience such feelings as he wishes, he would think well of himself, as being in the frame in which he ought to be. The views and feelings produced by the conviction of the Spirit, lead the soul to despair — to despair of ever saving itself. It is an unexpected thing, of which the blind could form no practical conception, that the nearer the sinner approaches towards deliverance, the further he recedes from hope and comfort, in his own apprehension. That is found true, therefore, in spiritual things, which has been noticed in natural things; that the darkest hour is that which immediately precedes the dawning of the day.
II. CONVERSION also turns out in experience to be a very different thing from what was anticipated. Awakened sinners, having heard of persons being translated from darkness to "the marvellous light" of the Gospel, and having, perhaps, heard or read of some remarkable conversions, expect to be brought through the new birth in a way perfectly similar to these extraordinary cases, which, however, are very imperfectly understood. They, therefore, endeavour to place them. selves in the same circumstances as those in which others were when they found peace with God; and they continue to look and wait for some sudden and almost miraculous change. These expectations are never realised, and are always erroneous; for when this blessed change actually occurs, the light is commonly like that of the dawn; obscure at first, but shining more and more to the perfect day; and instead of the views being miraculous or strange, they appear to rise in the mind like other thoughts and feelings. The only marked difference is, not in the manner of the views, but in the spiritual beauty and glory of the objects contemplated. The soul, under the leadings of the Spirit, is often brought near to Christ, when it apprehended He was far off.
III. God leads His once blind but chosen people in the way which they know not, as it relates to THE MEANS AND PROGRESS OF THEIR SANCTIFICATION.
IV. Another thing in the dispensations of God to His people which, prior to experience, they never distinctly understood, and which cannot easily be explained, is His leaving them for a season to back. slide; and then RECOVERING THEM by the exercise of the same sovereign grace which' first brought them into the path of life.
V. Finally, the people of God are often CONDUCTED THROUGH THE "VALLEY AND SHADOW OF DEATH" in an unexpected manner.
(A. Alexander, D. D.)
I. THE CONDITION DESCRIBED.
1. The blindness of the traveller. Is the figure too strong to describe our case? You can look upon the past, and memory will throw her clear light on salient points of the journey. But when you turn round and try to explore the future, you are struck blind, you can see nothing! You cannot tell how long the journey is going to be, or how short; what heights, what depths, you may have to cross, or where they are.
2. The strangeness of the way. "A way they knew not — paths they have not known." You once drew out a map of the course you intended to pursue — will you lay beside it the map of the course you have pursued? What a difference between programme and performance! And so it will be in the future — "It is not in man that walketh to direct his steps."
3. The obstacles in the road. My text tells of "crooked things" and "crooked places"; how true to nature and experience!
II. THE CONSOLATION PRESENTED. Remember that it is addressed to God's own people — in other words, to penitent sinners, to humble believers.
1. Here is a promise of the wisest guidance. Blind man, you don't know the way — but God does!
2. Here is a promise of the mightiest help. "I will make darkness light before them, and crooked places straight."
3. Here is a promise of the firmest faithfulness.
III. THERE IS ANOTHER JOURNEY TO BE MADE. This is the journey to heaven itself — that more glorious Canaan than any that the Jews sighed,, for in their captivity m" Babylon. But it" is" "the land that is very far off — and how shall we find the way? ..Now this is not so easy as some would have us suppose; for here, too, we are blind travellers-and the way is strange — and there are terrible obstacles in the road. It is a mercy when we discover our condition, and cease trying to guide ourselves; and cry, "Lord, we are blind — do Thou lead us! Lord, save us — or we perish!" What provision has been made for us in the mercy of God? Christ — Who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life! Lay hold of Christ, blind traveller! and never for a moment relax your hold. Here is guidance, help, faithfulness, all-sufficient and unchanging.
(F. Tucker, B. A.)I. THE CONDITION OF SPIRITUAL BLINDNESS. By the fall of our first parent, darkness hath come over the spirit of every man born into the world. In heathen nations and in heathen days, although there were some faint and feeble aspirings after truth, in the main men were in the depths of darkness. This is not merely the original condition of every man, but is in part the condition of the regenerate also. Yet there are things, unto which man, even at the most advanced of his earthly condition, cannot attain. It is not hard to point out some of the advantages that result from this state of concealment in which God keeps His people.
1. It tends to their humility.
2. It keeps them dependent.
3. This blindness belongs to the very nature of faith; without it, faith can have no existence.
4. Moreover, it tends to the comfort of God's children. If all were laid open, then sorrow and sadness would come before their time.
II. THE PROMISE OF DIVINE DIRECTION. "I will make darkness light before them," etc. Mainly God delivers information to His people in two ways.
1. He gives it by the written Word.
2. He has given us the volume of providence to be the commentary upon the volume of revelation.
(S. Robins, M. A.)I. SHOW THAT THE LORD'S WAYS ARE MYSTERIOUS. Of this we have many instances in His works, both of providence and grace.
1. Take, e.g., the case of Moses. Or, turn from the leaders to the people who were led.
2. But to turn from Scripture to individual experience. How mysterious God's dealings with each one of ourselves, from our birth to the present day.
3. If we turn from God s works of providence without, to His work of grace within, how mysterious indeed are the ways of our God!
II. Though God's ways are mysterious, HIS INTENTIONS ARE NEVERTHELESS MERCIFUL.
III. THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE HIS LOVE IS ABIDING. Conclusion —
1. If God's ways are mysterious, be careful to avoid forming rash judgments respecting them; beware lest you speak of them unadvisedly with your lips.
2. Still further, if we know God's intentions to be merciful, how safe are our ways in His hands!
3. If God's love be abiding, should we not lie in His hands, as clay in the hands of the potter? Should we not seek to bring every thought unto the obedience of Christ? Should we not shelter ourselves under every trial in Him who is "a strong tower and house of defence"?
(J. Lombard.)I. THE SUBJECTS OF DIVINE GRACE.
II. THE OPERATIONS OF DIVINE GRACE. There are more paths than one. The path of repentance is followed by. the path of faith in Jesus — faith in the truths of the Gospel — faith in the promises of God. There is another path, which, by nature, is "not known" — the path of obedience. They are led in the way of holiness.
III. THE EFFECTS OF DIVINE GRACE. "I Will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight." Who can make darkness light before them but the Fountain, the Author, the Source of light and life and being, and all the blessings connected with life?
(S. Drew, M. A.)I. THE SPECIAL DEALINGS OF THE LORD WITH HIS PEOPLE. "I will bring the blind," etc.
II. THE UNALTERABLE DECISION ON THEIR BEHALF. "And not forsake them."
I. MARK THE WAYS OF GOD AS MYSTERIOUS WAYS; that is, not understood by the light of nature, or of intellect.
2. We cannot understand savingly a single truth of God's Word by our own light, inquiry, teaching, application. We know not the nature of sin, nor God as a God of pardon, peace, and hope.
3. We continue blind until each step is unfolded to our view, and spiritual apprehension clears our way (1 Corinthians 2:9, 10).
4. Blind also to the way God is really dealing with His children.
II. View GOD'S WAYS AS MERCIFUL LEADINGS. "I will make darkness light before them." "All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth" All! Some clearly in sunshine. But how is it in trial, when He thwarts instead of indulges?. There may be times when we are unable to see what is the next step to take. Watch the Lord s time. Wait at the throne of grace. Don't forget that trial is God's appointed mercy. There is mercy in the end, if not in the beginning. By our not seeing our way we are taught to live by faith.
III. THE WISDOM OF HIS DEALINGS. "I will make crooked things straight," etc. Solomon asks (Ecclesiastes 7:13) who can make the crooked straight? Why, none but God. Many of God's ways in providence and in grace seem to us very crooked, but we must trust, and judge of them by the end. Job, Joseph, etc. Judge God in His own way and wait. Out of apparent confusion comes real order. Apparent severity shows itself to be real kindness.
IV. GOD'S DEALINGS ARE FAITHFUL. "These things will I do... and not forsake them." Think of the character of Him who makes the promise.
(C. Bridges.)I. TO WHOM THE PROMISE IS MADE.
II. THE PROMISE THAT IS MADE TO THEM. "I will bring," etc.
1. God Himself will be the guide of His people when they feel their blindness. To lead blind men is not an office generally sought; it is not supposed to be attended with any great honour; but it is a very kindly office, and one which any Christian man may be right glad to render to his afflicted friend. But only think of God Himself coming and guiding the blind! He will not leave you to stumble and grope your way, nor will He bid you depend upon your fellow-Christian, who is as blind as yourself, but He will be your guide.
2. Being their guide, He will lead them in ways they never went before. Of course, when a blind man knows the way, he can almost go without the guide.
3. Although the way by which we go be a way that we know not, we shall be led safely in it; for it is not only said, "I will lead them," but "I will bring them," which is more. You may lead a man, but he may be unable to follow you.
III. WHAT SHALL COME OF IT? "I Will make darkness light," etc.
1. If you are in the darkness of trouble, trust in God and the trouble will vanish. The trouble may remain, but it will no longer distress you.
2. There is a crook in every lot, but trust in God. He can make the most crooked thing that ever did happen suddenly turn out to be the very straightest thing that ever occurred for our welfare.
IV. WHAT WILL BE THE END OF IT? Your life will be strewn with mercies, fulfilled promises. "These things will I do unto them and not forsake them."
( C. H. Spurgeon.)I. OUR GLORIOUS LEADER "I will bring them," the Lord says, "I will lead them." In other places He tells us He has prepared a kingdom for us; here He tells us He will conduct us to it. But He does not accomplish this in His own person. In the beginning of this chapter, He introduces His dear Son to us as His servant, chosen by Him to bring to pass all His merciful designs concerning us. That dear Son therefore is become to us a Leader and Guide. "Behold, I have given Him" the Lord says elsewhere "for a witness to the people, a Leader and Commander to the people;" and St. Paul, when speaking of God as bringing His many sons unto glory, places immediately the Lord Jesus at their head, calling Him "the Captain of their salvation," at once their Saviour, their Ruler, and their Guide. Here is another proof then that Christ's appointed work was not ended when He had offered Himself for our sins. That was the beginning, rather than the end, of it.
II. THOSE WHOM THE LORD IS LEADING. "The blind."
III. THE ROAD ALONG WHICH THE LORD IS LEADING US. He speaks of it —
1. As new to us.
2. As dark or mysterious.
IV. THE OCCASIONAL LIGHT AND RELIEF WHICH THE LORD PROMISES TO HIS PEOPLE IN THEIR WAY. "I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight." It is useless for us to attempt to do it. Nor must we look to our fellow-men to do it for us. Our help in this case, as in every other, cometh from the Lord.
V. A PROMISE OF PERMANENCY AND UNCHANGEABLENESS IN JEHOVAH'S LOVE TO THE PEOPLE HE IS GUIDING. "These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them." The Lord speaks here like one who has fully made up His mind to do what He promises, knows He can do it, and is determined He will.
(C. Bradley, M. A.)I. THE PERSONS HERE SPOKEN OF.
II. THE WAY, THE PATHS, IN WHICH THEY ARE FOUND.
III. THE BLESSED GUIDE THEY HAVE, AND WHAT HE DOES FOR THEM. The Eternal God trusts them not to cherubs nor seraphs; to angels nor archangels; to ministers nor men; He, trusts them not to themselves, but He is Himself their guide. It was He that brought them out of darkness; and it is He that keeps them out of darkness.
(J. H. Evans, M. A.)
I. AS OUR LEADER.
II. AS OUR INTERPRETER. "I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight." This is clearly distinguished from the former. You may "lead the blind by a way that they know not, and in paths that they have not known," while you may not explain to them, but only tell them to depend on you as a guide, while they are unconscious of anything except progress. But it is not so with God. God illumines all whom He guides. The knowledge He gives to His people is gradual; and we may observe four instances in which He makes "darkness light before them, and crooked things straight."
1. As to doctrine.
2. As to experience. In regard to prayer they are sometimes perplexed. It is the same also with regard to joy. Milne, the ecclesiastical historian, said, "Had I been as destitute of comfort some years ago as I am now, I should have been exceedingly confounded; but I have learned not to live on lively frames, but on God's own word. I know that He is faithful who hath promised." So, also, in regard to assurance.
3. With regard to practical duties.
4. With regard to some of HIS providential duties. God's way is sometimes in the sea, and His footsteps are not known. But sometimes the darkness is dispelled even now.
III. As His PEOPLE'S UNCHANGEABLE FRIEND. "These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them." They deserve to be forsaken, and this they will acknowledge readily enough. They may think them. selves forsaken, and we have instances of this upon record. But they may be forsaken., God Himself speaks of this in His Word. But observe the time: "For a small moment have I forsaken thee." So it is in the apprehension of faith; so it is always very short when compared with eternity. Then Observe the manner, of His. forsaking, them, for however we may explain this, it must be consistent with His assurance of not forsaking: "These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them." There are three ways in which God may forsake His people, and yet the promise of the text may remain substantially the same —
1. In their outward condition. He can reduce them in their circumstances, bereave them of their dearest relations, remove their possession and enjoyments, and leave them bare and destitute. But all this is very compatible with His presence.
2. As to the enjoyment of spiritual comfort. "Thou didst hide Thy face, and I was troubled." But when these spiritual consolations are suspended, there are great searchings of heart, much that shows the Spirit of God to be with them; for this could not come from nature.
3. As to the exercise of grace, not the existence thereof. Here we may refer to good Hezekiah. God, in the midst of trouble and a fearful invasion, left him for a while to see what was in his heart. Peter for a season also was left to himself. Jesus said, "I have prayed for thee that thy faith fail not"; but it did fail. It did as to its exercise, not as to its principle.
(W. Jay, M. A.)
(T. G. Selby.)
(T. G. Selby.)
Christian.A traveller in South Africa was anxious to go to a certain place which could only be reached by the aid of a Kaffir guide. Into his hands the traveller was compelled to commit his life, and he says: "It was not long before I saw that the old man was guiding me along some recognised path invisible to my eyes, but plainly designed to carry us round clumps of thorn and treacherous stones. Not a landmark could I see to indicate the turnings of the route, but our guide was never at a loss." Only by implicit obedience did the traveller reach his goal.
I will make darkness light before themI. THE BELIEVER'S DARKNESS IS TURNED INTO LIGHT, AND THE CROOKS OF HIS LOT ARE STRAIGHTENED.
1. The frequent grim darkness.(1) Much of it is of his own imagining. Many of our sorrows are purely homespun, and some minds are specially fertile in self-torture.(2) Much existing darkness is exaggerated.(3) Troubles disappear just when we expect them to become overwhelming.(4) When the trial comes, God has a way of making His people's trials cease Just as they reach their culminating point.(5) Every trial was foreseen, and has been forestalled.(6) However severe the trial, God has promised that as our days our strength shall be.(7) Especially dwell upon the promise that the Lord will make your darkness light. How is it done T Sometimes by the sun of His providence. Often by the moon of Christian experience, which shines with borrowed light, but yet with sweet and tranquil brightness. Frequently by a sight of Jesus going before, and by hearing Him say, "Follow Me; fear not; for in all your afflictions I am afflicted."
2. The crooks of the believer's lot.(1) One may lie in your poverty.(2) Another in some very crooked calamity.(3) If free from these, he has at least a crooked self. The others would matter little but for this. It may be you have crooked temptations-temptations to profanity, etc.
3. God will make all the crooked things straight.(1) It may be that some are straight now; the making straight is only to make them seem so to us. Our crosses are our best estates.(2) God can bend the crooked straight, and what will not bend He can break. The crooked character has been bent straight; the judgment of God has taken away the crook out of the household, so that the righteous might have peace. If He do not this, He will give power to overleap the difficulty (2 Samuel 22:30).
II. SOME WORDS TO THE SEEKER.
1. Some doctrines are dark to you. God makes all light to faith.
2. Perhaps your darkness rises from deep depression of mind. Faith must precede its dispersion.
3. Your crooked natural disposition God can make straight. Note —
(1) (2) (3) III. TWO LESSONS TO BELIEVERS. 1. If God will thus make all your darkness light and all your crooked things straight, do not forestall your troubles. 2. Always believe in the power of prayer. ( C. H. Spurgeon.)
(2) (3) III. TWO LESSONS TO BELIEVERS. 1. If God will thus make all your darkness light and all your crooked things straight, do not forestall your troubles. 2. Always believe in the power of prayer. ( C. H. Spurgeon.)
(3) III. TWO LESSONS TO BELIEVERS. 1. If God will thus make all your darkness light and all your crooked things straight, do not forestall your troubles. 2. Always believe in the power of prayer. ( C. H. Spurgeon.)
III. TWO LESSONS TO BELIEVERS.
2. Always believe in the power of prayer.
( C. H. Spurgeon.)