Psalm 77:3
I remembered God, and was troubled: I complained, and my spirit was overwhelmed. "Conversion during trouble difficult and unsatisfactory." Most men forget God while they are free from trouble; some remember him in trouble, and the remembrance brings an increase of trouble. Salvation, conversion, on a sick bed (death bed) difficult and doubtful.

I. IT IS DIFFICULT.

1. The mind is sometimes oppressed with such fears as to prevent the exercise of faith and love. Prospect of immediate death, and the sudden light cast upon the memory.

2. The enfeebled state of the mind and the pains of the body hinder us from receiving any spiritual impressions.

3. The greatness of the change requires all the powers of health. Painter and astronomer in a storm.

II. THE REALITY OF IT IS DOUBTFUL.

1. The want of experience to prove its soundness. Temptation, etc.

2. The suddenness of it, without striking a blow.

3. The mind may have been deeply impressed without being changed.

In prospect of eternity, remembered sins would impress. Faith, love, hope, necessary to change the mind. Address two classes.

1. Those who have not fulfilled their sick bed promises.

2. Those who are trusting to a future sick bed conversion. - S.







I remembered God, and was troubled.
Homilist.
This was a very sad condition. Asaph must have felt that it was unnatural to entertain such gloomy thoughts of God.

I. A TEST OF OUR CONDITION. Do we remember Him and become troubled? Then our state is wrong. If troubled now at the remembrance of His holiness, how much greater will the trouble be when we meet Him face to face in all His terrible glory. But if we remember Him with joy, happy indeed is our condition.

II. AN INTIMATION OF DUTY — "I remembered God." Alas, how few do remember God I And yet this is the first of all duties. We get a glimpse of Asaph's character. He was not a bad man. But he felt that it was better to probe the wound and open the sore, rather than that it should fester to the death. He would remember God; he would take his sin to God, so as to have it mortified, and then forgiven.

(Homilist.)

Homilist.
I. AN IMPORTANT MENTAL EXERCISE. "I remembered God."

II. A SAD SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCE. "I remembered God, and was troubled." What a deplorable fact is this: a soul "troubled" at the memory of God.

1. This is unnatural. It can never be that the great Father of our spirits formed us to think on Him in order to be miserable.

2. It is unnecessary. The memory of God with some is blessedness; it is so with the hosts of heaven, it is so with the saints on earth, it might be so with all. Thank God there is no need to be troubled at the idea of Him.

3. It is ungodly. It argues a morally corrupt state of soul. It is a sense of guilt that makes the idea of God so troubling. The idea of God to a depraved soul is hell. Here —(1) Appears the necessity for regeneration.(2) Appears the value of the Gospel. Its grand work is to cleanse the soul from all evil, to redeem it from all iniquity, and to fill it with the love and life of God.

(Homilist.)

Homiletic Monthly.
To the unconverted, thoughts of God come laden with trouble.

I. BECAUSE COUPLED WITH THE CONSCIOUSNESS OF GUILT. Adam: "I heard Thy voice... and was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself."

II. COUPLED WITH THOUGHTS OF GOD'S PRESENCE. "I AM." "Thou, God, seest me." Your own personality face to face with God's personality!

III. COUPLED WITH THOUGHTS OF GOD'S EMOTIONAL NATURE. God loves good, hates evil, with all His infinite nature. Sinner must forsake sin or go down, along with it, under His wrath.

IV. COUPLED WITH THOUGHTS OF HIS ATTRIBUTES. Holiness brings out the awful bleakness of sin. Justice and Truth — "I will by no means clear the guilty." Omniscience (Psalm 89:2-6, 11, 12). Omnipresence (Psalm 139:7-10). Omnipotence (Daniel 4:35; Luke 12:5). Immutability — He will never alter His decrees against sin. Eternity — He will always live to execute them. Goodness and Love — leave the sinner without excuse.

V. COUPLED WITH THOUGHTS OF THE JUDGMENT. "For God shall bring every work into judgment with every secret thing" (Revelation 20:11-15).

VI. THE REMEDY. "Being justified by faith we have peace with God," etc.

(Homiletic Monthly.)

I. WHAT WE MEAN BY REMEMBERING GOD. I mean, as the psalmist undoubtedly meant, recollecting those ideas which the term God is used by the inspired writers to signify. When they use the word, they use it to denote an eternal, self-existent, infinitely wise, just, and good Being, who is the Creator and Upholder of all things, who is our Sovereign Lawgiver, and who worketh all things according to the counsel of His own will; who is always present with us, who searches our hearts, who approves or disapproves our conduct, who loves holiness.

II. WHY THE RECOLLECTION OF SUCH A BEING SHOULD EVER BE PAINFUL. If our hearts condemn us not, says the apostle, then have we confidence towards God; and the man who has confidence towards God, cannot be troubled at the remembrance of Him. But on the other hand, if our hearts or consciences condemn us, it is impossible to remember Him without being troubled. It will then be painful to remember that He is our Creator and Benefactor; for the remembrance will be attended with a consciousness of base ingratitude. It will be painful to think of Him as Lawgiver; for such thoughts will remind us that we have broken the law. It will be painful to think of His holiness; for if He is holy, He must hate our sins. It will be painful to think of Him as Judge; for we shall feel, that as sinners, we have no reason to expect a favourable sentence from His lips.

III. APPLICATION.

1. This subject affords a rule, by which we may try ourselves, and which will assist us much in discovering our real characters; for the moral character of every intelligent creature, corresponds with his habitual views and feelings respecting God.

2. From this subject we may learn how wretched is the situation of impenitent sinners; of those who cannot remember God without being troubled.

3. How great are our obligations to God for the Gospel of Christ, the Gospel of reconciliation! Were it not for this, the remembrance, and still more, the presence of God, would have occasioned nothing but pure unmingled wretchedness to any human being.

4. Is sin alone the cause which renders the remembrance of God painful? Then let all who have embraced the terms of reconciliation offered by the Gospel, all who desire to remember God without being troubled, beware, above all things, beware of sin.

(E. Payson, D. D.)

I. THE STRANGENESS OF SUCH AN EXPERIENCE — that a man should remember God and yet be troubled.

1. Such an experience is against all that is made known to us of the nature of God. Many think the Bible hard because it speaks so of sin and the sinner's doom. But let it be borne in mind that the Gospel finds the disease in our world; it does not make it. "I am come not to destroy men's lives, but to save them." Is it not, then, strange that there should be men who, with this Word before them, can remember God and be troubled?

2. It becomes strange when we reflect on His promises. They are so universal, so free, so full, that they seem fitted to meet every want and satisfy every yearning of the human soul.

3. Trouble at the thought of God is declared to be against the experience of all sincere seekers. God's own declaration is, "I never said to any of the seed of Jacob" — to any of those who wrestled as he did ill the dark with God — "Seek ye My face in vain."

4. Such an experience is against all that we can reasonably believe of the nature of the soul of man. Out of God no full satisfying end can be found for it.

II. SOME OF THE REASONS THAT MAY BE GIVEN FOR SUCH AN EXPERIENCE.

1. Many men do not make God the object of sufficient thought, and so they hang in wretched suspense, remembering God only to be troubled.

2. Another reason why many are troubled at the thought of God is that they are seeking Him with a wrong view of the way of access. The most frequent mistake of all is that men think they cannot look God in the face without trouble, unless they have some good works or good thoughts, some outward reformation or inward repentance. They do not perceive, or at least they do not feel, the all-sufficiency of Christ as a Saviour.

3. A third reason why some are troubled at the thought of God is, that they are seeking Him with some reserved thought of sin.

4. Some have a mistaken view of God's manner of dealing with us in this world. There are so many things in the world most dark which He permits — so much of difficulty in the Bible which they feel He could have made more clear — such troubles in our life, in what we may call our true life, our spiritual life, which we long to have ended, and which still go on. These questions of God's ways are still for our study, for nothing that belongs to Him can be indifferent to us, and earnest souls will thirst for light on all that concerns Him. But we shall not wait for the answer before we embrace Him; we embrace Him first that we may find rest, and from that centre pursue our search, or calmly wait till God disclose it.

(John Ker, D. D.)

I. THE REMEMBRANCE OF GOD. —

1. There is a necessity for constantly urging this duty, inasmuch as the cares and occupations and temptations of this present life are constantly more or less shutting out from our memory the truths of the Divine existence and presence.

2. Apart from all judgments as to the consequence of forgetfulness of God, consider the naturalness of the duty. He should be remembered as our Father, as the best and the most faithful of friends, as the Redeemer of our souls by the blood of His Son, and as the everlasting portion of all His believing and enduring people.

3. Consider, too, that the duty of remembering God is imperative. It is a law which is enforced by the most positive commands and illustrated by examples of the most illustrious character. We can not only point to these in the Scripture testimony of patriarchs, kings, prophets, and apostles, but also to the usages of enlightened governments, to the kings, nobles, warriors, and statesmen.

II. THE EFFECTS WHICH THE REMEMBRANCE OF GOD PRODUCES.

1. The effects are various, and depend in a great measure upon the character of the individual, and the particular circumstances and seasons in which the memory of God operates. Their memory is uninfluential, cold, inactive for good, and dead as regards any practical and lasting result, except when some sudden calamity visits them, or when some visitation of disease sweeps their immediate neighbourhood, or when death itself knocks at the door of their own hearts. In such seasons the memory of God wakes up from its long slumber, and the image of wrath breaks upon it with an untold terror. But again, there are persons to whose hearts the Almighty is no stranger, and consequently when any trouble overtakes them and they are brought low like Jonah, they can say with him — "When my soul fainted within me, I remembered the Lord." To such persons, in the darkest hour of their trials, the memory of God is attended with much comfort.

2. Another result of this remembrance may be traced in its expediency. It becomes the means of leading us to the consummation of our highest purposes and ends: Perhaps there is no stronger faculty than that of memory, nothing more adapted to call into exercise the affections, and to wind its way into our deepest sympathies. How wonderfully it acts in the hour of danger, in the time of estrangement, from home and kindred, and in the closing scene of all. Thus as a means to an end, what better calculated to bring back the wanderer, to overthrow the intrigues of an enemy, and to restore the soul to its proper place in its relations to the Father of all our mercies! It is the memory of God in His relations to our past days of childhood, and to the-years through which we have passed, which induces a feeling of gratitude, and which supplies a motive-power for the future obedience and dedication of our lives.

3. The remembrance of God disturbs the rest of a false security. It produces the effect of breaking up the illusion of a peace founded upon a mistaken notion of the Divine character. In other words, it leads the mind of a thoughtful and honest professor of religion to the conclusion that it is impossible to serve God and mammon, to make a compromise with principle and inclination, and to unite the Church with the world.

4. To the humble and penitent; to the man who honestly rejects all false subterfuges, and with a trustful heart seeks for mercy through the sacrifice and intercession of Christ, there is much comfort in the remembrance of God.

(W. D. Horwood.)

(P.B.V.: "When I am in heaviness, I will think upon God"): —

I. THE HAPPINESS AND REASONABLENESS OF TURNING OUR THOUGHTS TO GOD IN GENERAL.

II. ADVERSITY HAS ITS PECULIAR ADVANTAGES, TO BRING US TO A JUST SENSE OF GOD, AND OUR DUTY TO HIM.

1. Adversity will make us, however unwilling, reflect and descend into ourselves.

2. Adversity puts our virtue to the test, and proves the sincerity of it.

3. Adversity is of service to disengage our minds from earthly pursuits, and to fix our thoughts where true joys are to be found. Convinced by melancholy proof of the insufficiency of worldly things, we take sanctuary in the fulness of the Divine sufficiency.

(J. Seed, M. A.)

(P.B.V.): —

I. THE THOUGHT OF GOD AS THE REMEDY AGAINST DESPONDENCY. "When I am in heaviness;" whenever that may be, or whatever may be the character of my woe, I have one and only one method of meeting it, and that is, by the thought of God.

II. Consider, then, HOW THIS THOUGHT WILL ACT. When we first look at it, we deem it almost impossible that it should be the remedy which it is here declared to be. For what is the thought of God naturally? lt is the thought of One infinitely above us, transcendently great and good, fearful, indeed, from His very holiness, as well as from His power. Yet the very greatness of God in the majesty of His outward creation is a comfort to a thoughtful soul. True, I am insignificant, and as a shadow before Him; but I feel that He is the author and the fountain of my being. If I die, therefore, must I not be before Him, just as I am now? Wide, therefore, and great, and awful, as the universe may seem, there is no terrible void in it, for He who made it fills it; and everything that it contains, the smallest particle of dust, yea, even such a worm as I am, is ever under His immediate eye, and must be the object of His special protection.

III. REVELATION CONFIRMS THIS THOUGHT. From first to last, God manifests Himself as our Father, yea, and our Friend. Friends may be false, and earthly streams grow dry; but the Lord God is my sun and my shield: I cannot be sad while He Smiles on me; I will dread no danger while He defends. Only remember this. While He is ever ready to help even those who have marred their own happiness; yet it is they who walk with Him, to whom He is a special source of peace. An allowed sin will drive Him away. He cannot dwell in the same heart with a cherished lust.

(C. E. Kennaway, M. A.)

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