The Christian life is a troubled one (Jn 16:33). The world is not our home (Jn 15:19), and there is a hostility, to our being alien ambassadors for Christ (2 Cor 5:20). The natural man possesses an inherent hatred for the spiritual man (Jn 15:18–25; 1 Cor 2:14–15), and like Cain (Gen 4), Pharaoh (Ex 14), and Balaam (Num 22), he wishes harm to him. He causes the saint to cry out, “Look upon my affliction and rescue me, for I do not forget Thy Law (Psalm 119:153).”
The Christian has an advocate with the Father (1 Jn 2:1), so there is help to be sought from on high, “Plead my cause and redeem me, revive me according to Thy Word (Ps 119:154).” In Him, the promises of God are, “Yes” and “Amen” (2 Cor 1:20). We must be ever wary of our sluggishness in going to Him. The dull Christian is an oxymoron. Got trouble?
Those who fight the good fight have their impetus in the severity of their affliction (2 Tim 4:7). The harder the course, the more the Lord is sought. Salvation is near to those who call upon the name of the Lord to be delivered (Ps 85:9), but, “Salvation is far from the wicked, for they do not seek Thy statutes (119:155).” They have no trust in the Lord, nor does His Word have any place in their hearts (Jn 8:47). Theirs is an independent spirit of self-will and self-sufficiency. In the end they will trust in their self-righteousness, but only on the Day of Judgment will the need for mercy and forgiveness dawn on them. Then, it will be too late.
The delivered revel in their salvation, “Great are Thy mercies, O Lord, revive me according to Thy ordinances (118:156).” Mercy removes an infinite debt, for those to whom it is appointed (Acts 13:48; Rom 9:15–16). What relief there is in His forgiveness, and what joy accompanies His love.
The redeemed have a fountain in the Word of God. Its refreshment is for cleansing (Eph 5:26) and for satisfaction of thirst (Ps 42:2; Jn 6:35). Such is the needy dependence of the sojourner that the request for revival is made again and again (Ps 71:20; 80:18; 85:6; 119:25, 37, 40, 50, 88, 93, 107, 149, 154, 156, 159, etc.). There is no shame in the child’s dependence upon the Father, who is glorified in dispensing gifts to His beloved (Eph 4:8).
Not wishing to hinder the flow of His tender mercies, the saint walks humbly with his God (Mic 6:8), keeping his eyes on Jesus (Heb 12:2). The broken and contrite heart is aided by those heart breakers, in His providential working, “Many are my persecutors and my adversaries, yet I do not turn aside from Thy testimonies (119:157).”
Many are the Christian martyrs who were instructed to deny Christ, who purchased them with His precious blood (Acts 20:28; 1 Cor 6:20; 7:23). These did not waver in their witness because His testimonies never waver. Heaven and earth will pass away, but God’s Word will not pass away (Mt 24:35); therefore, the saint does not turn aside from them.
The test of distinction between the child of God and the child of the devil (1 Jn 3:10) is the Word of truth, “I behold the treacherous and loathe them, because they do not keep Thy Word (119:158).” The wicked hate God (Rom 1:30) and His Word (Jn 15:18). They despise His Law of righteousness. They love darkness because their deeds are evil (Jn 3:19). Despising the light of truth, they do not wish their evil to be exposed (Eph 5:11), so they do their best to suppress the truth (Rom 1:18).
The Christian knows that the Law of God is good, right, holy, and spiritual. It is eternal, therefore, the spiritual man, being made holy, resulting from Christ’s imputed righteousness, loves the fact that God’s Spirit is writing it upon his heart. The Spirit is causing the regenerate to walk in His statutes (Ezek 36:27). The saved are not ashamed, “Consider how I love Thy precepts; revive me according to Thy lovingkindness (119:159).”
Love from above has changed the affections of our hearts (Rom 5:5). No longer is the inclination toward evil (Gen 6:5), but our ambition is to please the eternal Lawgiver (2 Cor 5:9), with obedience from a pure heart. The clean heart must be kept clean, and it is the Spirit and the Word who are able to accomplish this ever-present requirement.
Here is our daily access to eternity, “The sum of Thy Word is truth, and every one of Thy righteous ordinances is everlasting (119:160).” Eternal truth is willing and doing God’s good pleasure in sanctifying the elect of God, who have been justified by the blood of the Lamb of God (Rom 5:9). Jesus has given His life for His church (Eph 5:25), and He gives His life to His church (Jn 15).
Christian, your lot has changed for better and for worse. You are conjoined to Christ, who was and is despised and rejected of men (Is 53:3). You must deny yourself in this world, take up your cross, and follow in the way of God’s suffering servant (Mt 16:24). His grace will always be sufficient for you (2 Cor 12:9), as you endure the afflictions appointed for His body and its members (Col 1:24).
There is nothing better for you, today and every day than to pray and watch. Your daily prayer is, “Revive me!” Your daily watch is His living and active Word (Heb 4:12), by which He sustains all things (Heb 1:3), directs all things (Prv 16:9), and works all things for your good (Rom 8:28).
The treacherous and diverse troubles are the elements of this present suffering (Rom 8:18), but these have their destined end. The unseen mercies and grace that delight the spiritual man are visits from eternity. You have a foretaste of glory, and a pledge of His everlasting love. Remember these and be revived again, today.
Spokane Valley, Washington
August 21, 2022