“And the Lord said unto Moses, How long will this people provoke Me? and how long will it be ere they believe Me, for all the signs which I have shewed among them?” — Numbers 14:11.
OUR Father, blessed be the grace and love which have taught us to use that dear familiar name — “Our Father, which art in heaven,” and therefore highest and most exalted, and worthy to be breathed with awe and reverence by all that draw near to Thee. “Hallowed be Thy Name.” Oh that all the earth would ever reverence it. As for ourselves, enable us by Thy grace to use it with awe and trembling; and may a consideration of the glorious character which is intended by Thy gracious name, ever lay us in the very dust before Thee, and yet lift us up with holy joy and with an unwavering confidence. We come before Thee this morning through Christ Jesus to express our entire confidence in Thee.
We believe that Thou art, and that Thou art the rewarder of them that diligently seek Thee.
Glorious Jehovah, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, Thou hast not changed: Thou art still a covenant God, and Thou keepest that covenant to all Thy people; neither dost Thou permit a single word of it to fall to the ground. All Thy promises are yea and amen in Christ Jesus to Thy glory by us, and we believe those promises will be fulfilled in every jot and title: not one of them shall want its mate, not one of them shall fall to the ground like the frivolous words of men. Hast Thou said and wilt Thou not do it? Hast Thou commanded and shall it not come to pass? We are utterly ashamed and full of confusion, because we have to confess that we have doubted Thee. Many of our actions have been atheistic. We have lived at times as if there were no God.
Lord, forgive us that death in life, in which so many of our years were spent, when we found something in the world apart from There, and were content with the things of the hour, the vile shadows, transient gusts of things which truly are not, for Thou alone art all in all. We have repented, as Thou knowest, through Thy grace, most bitterly of that time of death in which we tried to live; and now Thou hast given us to see our pardon in the wounds of Jesus, and our soul doth put her trust in Him. God incarnate is the ground of our hope that we are accepted and forgiven, notwithstanding that previous life of ours.
But Lord, the worst of it is, that in many of our actions, even since then, we betray a disbelief of Thee. Like the children of Israel in the wilderness, Thou mayest well say of us, “How long will it be ere they believe Me, though I have shewn all my signs and wonders among them?” O God Thou hast been very faithful to Thy servants till now. In no one instance is there a breach of promise. Thou hast tried us as silver is tried, but in very faithfulness Thou hast afflicted us. Thou hast brought us very low indeed, but underneath us have still been the everlasting arms. Thou hast brought us into the wilderness, but Thou hast furnished a table for us in the presence of our enemies.
Thou hast made us to see the end of all perfection, but Thy love, even then, has been perfected — perfected in our weakness. Thou art all goodness, and truth, and grace, and loving kindness; and therefore blessed be Thy name for ever and ever.
And now blot out the sin of Thy servants. Once again let this unbelief of ours be forgiven, and let us stand, with no sin upon the conscience, but absolved through Jesus’ blood, in the enjoyment of such confidence with Thee, that we may lift up our face without a cloud, and may trust in Thee henceforth without a doubt, and go on our way rejoicing whatever that way may be.
Lord teach us to be resigned to Thy will; teach us to delight in Thy law; teach us to have no will but Thy will; teach us to be sure that everything Thou doest is good — is the very best that can be done. Help us to leave our concerns in Thy divine hands, being persuaded that Thou hast sway even over evil; that out of it Thou bringest good, and better still, and better still in infinite progression, till Thy high purposes, shall develop in Thine own perfect glory, and in the perfect bliss of all them that put their trust in Thee.
Are any of Thy servants this morning in great trial? Lord help them.
Whatever they fail in, let them not fail in faith. May we scorn to doubt our God. Oh let not the devil get so much power over us as to cause us to mistrust the Eternal, who must not be mistrusted, but may we glorify Thee.
May we snatch the great opportunities of glorifying Thee which troubles and trials bring, and count ourselves to have high talent committed to us when we have the opportunity of showing our conquest of self and our glorying in God in the time of trial. The Lord. bless His people here with Abrahamic faith, which staggers not at the promise through unbelief.
O God, have mercy upon the unbelievers that are here this morning, who have heard Thy word, and who profess to believe in the inspiration of Thy sacred Book, and yet have never come and put their confidence in Christ.
We know that they are condemned already, because they have not believed upon the Son of God. But oh deliver them from this great sin, and may they come at this very hour, and cast their helpless souls upon Him on Whom Thou hast laid our help. May they begin to believe this morning, and then they shall begin to live; and Thou wilt breathe peace into such, and Thou wilt give them rest, and strength, and holiness, and they shall be more than conquerors if they will but believe their God.
O Lord, we beseech Thee, save our unconverted friends and neighbors from this gall of bitterness, this horrible yoke of iniquity which consists in disbelieving God and His Christ.
And, then, deliver any of Thy children that have back-slidden, and have got into a state of misbelief. May they be brought back; may they come with weeping and lamentation, and again trust the ever-blessed Father; and may our confidence become strong that our peace may be like a river, and our righteousness like the waves of the sea.
God bless this beloved church! Give to it more faith may the prayers that go up before Thee be salted with faith when we preach, may we preach in faith, and may all that is done of the brotherhood for Christ, be done in simple confidence in God. We know that if we believe not we shall never be established. We cannot expect to see result from our service except it is done in faith; for Thou hast said “According to thy faith be it unto thee.” O give the thousands of members of this church the childlike simplicity that never thinks of doubting God, but may we go forward — in all weakness made strong by the strength of the Mighty God of Jacob.
Give a blessing this morning, we pray Thee, to us all; may we make a distinct advance in the divine life; may we get to a higher platform; may we leave the mists of doubt and fear below us in the valley, and quit the marshes of the plain, and climb the glittering hill-tops of eternal security in Christ and blessed oneness with Him, by simply believing Him who cannot lie — who hath sworn by two immutable things and cannot from His purpose turn, nor from His word draw back. O God, grant this faith to the entire church.
We believe the world will be brought in, when the church believes her God the Kingdom will come, and the glory shall be made visible to all flesh, when once we have the confidence we ought to have in Him who is worthy to be praised, and to be trusted evermore. And now by the precious blood of Jesus accept this feeble prayer of ours, and send down a shower of benedictions; and to the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, be glory for ever and ever. Amen. SERMON: No. 1498. (October 5, 1879.)\par SCRIPTURE: Numbers 13:20-23, Numbers 14:1-25, Hebrews 3:7-19. HYMNS: 192, 239, 67O.