A MAN OF GOD ALONE WITH GOD
INTENDED FOR READING ON LORD’S-DAY, SEPTEMBER 14, 1902.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON,
ON THURSDAY EVENING, SEPTEMBER 26, 1878.
“I have declared my ways, and You heard me: teach me Your statutes.” Psalm 119:26.
WORLDLY men think very little of God. They live at a distance from Him. They have no communion with Him. Like the fool, they have said in their heart, “No God,” and they try to realize in their lives their heart’s desire. Very different is it with the true Believer. He recognizes God everywhere! He sees God in all the good or ill that checkers life—he believes that God has created every worm that crawls upon the face of the earth and that He has painted every flower that blooms. The whole world is full of God to him who believes in God and he has communion with God wherever he goes. He cannot live without Him—He is his joy and delight. He is a child of God—how can he live happily in his Father’s house unless he often sees his Father’s face, speaks with Him and hears His voice in return? The Christian makes much of God and God makes much of him, for they have a mutual delight in one another! Hence, in such a text as this, you perceive how the Psalmist talked with God and God heard him—and he knew that God heard him! And then he spoke again to God and said, “Teach me Your statutes.”
This is, perhaps, one of the main differences between the Believer and the unbeliever—between him that fears God and him that fears Him not. The first lesson for man is to know his God. The second is to know himself and, as the unbeliever fails in the first, he fails in the second, also. He does not know himself. He does not think much about himself— about his real self, the most important part of his being. For his body, he caters freely—he can scarcely spend enough upon it. But he starves his soul—he scarcely recognizes its existence and he has but little thought or care about the immortality to which it is ordained! But a true Believer knows himself. We are sure, from our text, that he does, for he would not declare his ways if he did not know them. He has practiced introspection and looked within himself. He has practiced self-examination and studied his own inner life. He does not profess to understand himself altogether—for man is the next greatest mystery to God. God is the first mystery and man is the second. He does not understand his own ways. He cannot always comprehend his own thoughts, or follow the devious wanderings of his own mind, but he does know a good deal about himself, and when he goes before his God, he can truthfully say, “I have declared my ways, and You heard me.” Among other things, he has discovered his own ignorance and, therefore, he presents the prayer with which the text concludes, “Teach me.” He is even ignorant of God’s revealed will, so he prays, “‘Teach me Your statutes, O Lord! I know the Book in which they are recorded and I can learn them in the letter, but You teach them to me, in my spirit, by Your Spirit, that I may know them aright.”
This, then, is to be the subject of our meditation. Let us come to it looking up to the Lord and asking Him to bless the meditation to each one of us. I shall take the text in two senses. The primary one is, I think, a man of God alone with God—“I have declared my ways,” (“to God”), “and You heard me: teach me Your statutes.” But I judge that it is lawful, especially in the light of the following verse, to believe that the Psalmist may have alluded to his speaking with men, so, in the second part of my discourse, I shall speak of a man of God considering his own public testimony and saying, when he had done so, “I have declared my ways, and You heard me: teach me Your statutes. Make me to understand the way of Your precepts: so shall I talk”—which must mean his speaking to others—“so shall I talk of Your wondrous works.”
I. So, first, we see here A MAN OF GOD ALONE WITH GOD. And we notice three things about him. He is making his case known—“I have declared my ways.” He is rejoicing in an audience which he has obtained—“You heard me.” And he is seeking a further blessing—“Teach me Your statutes.”
First, he is making his case known. I understand this to be, first, the language of a sinner confessing his sin—“I have declared my ways. He is a sensible sinner and, therefore, he is not in a confessional box with the human ear of a fellow sinner to listen to him. He is a rational being who has not degraded himself so low as that. But he is confessing his sin to the great High Priest who can be “touched with the feeling of our infirmities”—to Him who cannot be defiled by listening to our tale of sin. To Him to whom, alone, will it avail to confess our sins, for, “He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins,” if we confess them to Him.
Can each one of us now say, in this sense, “I have declared my ways” to the Lord? For this should be done, not only at our first coming to Him, but continually throughout the whole of our life. We should look over each day and sum up the errors of the day, and say, “‘I have declared my ways’—my evil ways, my wicked ways, my wandering ways, my backsliding ways, my cold, indifferent ways, my proud ways. I have declared the way of my words, the way of my Continue reading