Mr. Robert Agnew of Ireland is not a new contributor to our magazine. We have enjoyed his written ministry on several occasions. May the Lord bless him in his service in the Old Land.
Scripture Reading: Psalm 119
“I am Thine (v. 94)
This is surely a statement more precious than all that earth can give, and sweeter far than honey or the honeycomb. The Christian is purchased by Christ’s precious blood and as dear to Him as His own life. We sometimes feel Unworthy of such a blessing as this and a true sight of ourselves will reveal the ugliness of our deformities, but this glorious fact remains the same — “I am thine.” It is not, “I shall be Thine”; no, I am His already. The heart may wonder that such a poor worthless creature should become the Lord’s, and in turn may recall to mind the words of an old hymn:
“Why was I made to hear Thy voice,
And enter while there’s room,
While thousands make a wretched choice
And rather starve than come?”
What a precious cheering thought it is for weary ways and these trying evil days through which we are passing just to look up to Heaven from our depressing surroundings, and say unto the Lord who loves us so greatly, “I am thine.” The nail marks on His hands and feet are the evidences that “I am His,” for when He was crucified on Calvary’s Cross He died for sinners. Therefore, He died for me. “I am Thy servant” (v. 125)
The Lord’s service is perfect freedom. To serve the Lord Jesus Christ is not an Egyptian servitude. The children of God are not in any sense “galley slaves,” though we would by the grace of God alone work like any slave for love of God’s dear Son. In olden times, when men were pressed into service of the army or navy, it was generally found that a volunteer was worth ten times any man who was pressed into the service, and love’s voluntary service alone is what our Lord and Master will accept. No labor is too small when performed out of love and with an eye single to God’s glory. From the greatest to the least of us there is a work for all — “to every man his work.” Faithfully working for Him will bring its sure reward. At the close of the day each man will receive his “penny,” and with a cheery word of approval the Master will address his laborers.
Let us toil on, fellow believers, at whatever we are doing for Him, and let each one of us put his heart into it until our travelling days are done, for nothing that is done for our Lord will be overlooked when He reckons with His servants.
“I am Small and Despised” (v. 141)
And what if we are? What does it matter if men disdain and mock us, saying, “How will he help us?” If God has condescended to use for His purposes of grace those things which men despise, we need not the taunt of the unbeliever. There is a fitness in these things; flesh must not glory in the Lord’s presence. When the instrument is aware of how little account it is, then it ascribes all the credit for its performance to the hand that used it. By itself it could have done nothing; it would have been useless. Take comfort, dear child of God, and use your humble gift. Think always far more of fitness of heart than of high attainments.
One’s smallness can never be a hindrance to God, but self-sufficiency always is. To see oneself as “small and despised” is an evident token of God’s grace in the soul. At all times keep low at the Redeemer’s feet, at the same time singing that lovely old song:
“I am a poor sinner and nothing at all,
But Jesus Christ is my all in all.”
“I am a Stranger in the Earth” (v. 19)
There is a special fellowship with the Lord Jesus when we are made to feel that we are strangers on the earth. He who made the world, and all that is in it, walked it as One unknown. The eyes of men were blinded that they did not know Him. And if our glorious Lord was in the world as a foreigner, shall we be surprised when people do not know those who are His disciples? When we belong to Christ, we are thenceforward identified with Him; as He was so we become. Let us not think it a strange thing that has happened to us. Did He not tell us that the disciple would be as His Lord? Did He not forewarn us that even as the world treated Him, so it would treat us who have come after Him? Let us not be seized with dismay in our hearts when we are given the “cold shoulder,” when men cast out our name as evil for Emmanuel’s sake, and when they make us feel in a hundred and one ways that we are regarded as aliens.
Of course, this truth has its reverse side, for as He is so shall we be. This wonderful identification with Christ is for time and eternity. If, because we are Christ’s, we must be strangers and outcasts during our earthly lifetime, then by the same divine will it has been decreed that in the hereafter we shall be conformed to the image of God’s Son and be joint heirs with Him of all that the Father has given to Him, even to a seat upon His throne in the kingdom which He shall receive. Ten thousand times ten thousand shall be the praises unto our God for this.
Be thankful, dear pilgrim, for those feelings of homesickness when the world seems like a howling wilderness. Those sighs for the Homeland of the soul and the loved ones “over there” have made the heart of the Saviour glad. Only a little longer, then thine eyes shall behold the all-fair landscape of our eternal abode.
“I am a Companion of All
Them that Fear Thee” (v. 63) The traveller by the “narrow way” has no cause to be ashamed of such companions. His associates are of the royal seed. They are princes of the royal blood. The King’s enemies may deride us and say, “What fine princes you are!” Truly, present appearances are against us. In their eyes our raiment may be more like “old cast clouts and rotten rags” than the royal apparel of princes.
Our enemies now make merry over us asking about country and our estates, what size our mansion will be, and whether its furniture is goodly. We know that the laugh will be on the other side some day. Alas, for the scorners who delight in their scorning. What a look of surprise and dismay will they give when the King “cometh with clouds, and every eye shall see Him,” and to all it will be manifested that we are indeed the sons of God. They then would give all they have to be of our company.
Meanwhile, may our Lord help us to patiently endure as “seeing Him who is invisible,” and to be looking each day, moment by moment, with earnest desire for the “meeting in the air.” At the appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ all will be made manifest. Our reward of grace will then be given to us for our patient service, and in the prospect of that day we must continue to patiently live and walk before both God and men in well doing, and this, with an eye single to His glory.
All this surely calls for much prayer and meditation on the Word of God, and for much feeding on the blessed Person and work of Christ in order that our spiritual strength may be removed day by day.