Wednesday, September 01, 2010
THE RIGHTEOUS ENNOBLED AND EXALTED
Preached in Grove Chapel, Camberwell, 1878 - By Thomas Bradbury
"He withdraweth not His eyes from the righteous; but with kings are they on the throne; yea, He doth establish them for ever, and they are exalted."
IN looking at any portion of this book of Job, where any one of the speakers is dealing out his judgment or opinion upon a subject, it is well for us to note whose judgment or opinion is given, that of man or God. During my short history I have heard many portions quoted from this book, as though they were the declarations of JEHOVAH'S mind and will, when the very opposite has been the case. An acquaintance with the book and with the characters who are represented as speaking therein has proved to me that views antagonistic to the mind of God, in opposition to His glorious Gospel of free and sovereign grace, may be, and are, propounded after this style. Look, for instance, at the three men who were eager to help, encourage, and comfort dear old Job in his distress. Job, in his distress of soul, was compelled to style them, "Miserable comforters, forgers of lies, and physicians of no value." (Job 13:4) Why should he use such harsh and severe language? I will tell you. It was because these would-be counsellors and comforters were spoiling Job's resting place, and with their false conclusions and deductions were robbing him of his only consolation and delight. Their teaching would tarnish the glory of Job's Redeemer and Preserver, and drag down the salvation of God to the level of creature effort, creature wisdom, and creature power. Take, for an illustration of this, that portion from which, I may say, thousands of sermons have been preached, but not one of them would suit spiritual beggars on the dunghill, spiritual prisoners enduring oppression, or helpless sinners who have been taught by Divine power that they cannot raise a finger in the matter of their salvation, command a single word for their peace and joy, and that...
"None but Jesus
Can do helpless sinners good."
The portion I refer to is Job 22:21, "Acquaint now thyself with Him, and be at peace, thereby good shall come unto thee." Well, if there is an Arminian text in the Bible, we will grant that this is one, because it fell from Arminian lips at the suggestion of the father of lies and all deceit. Look at it! "Acquaint now thyself with Him." That was more than the speaker could do, yet this is the style of the preaching of all evangelical muddlers and meddlers in the present day. These, with their whip of small cords made of so-called Gospel precepts, whip up their hearers to diligence and duty, and to making themselves acquainted with God. One of these very persons said to Job, "Canst thou by searching find out God?" (Job 11:7) All such persons are sure to contradict themselves sooner or later. Zophar felt that he could not be searching find out God, yet Eliphaz would have Job try his hand at that business. Ah! my dear friends, I have found out that I cannot acquaint myself with God, but He has taught me that He will make Himself thoroughly acquainted with me, and that in my heart's experience He will make me know it according to that precious Psalm 139:1, "O LORD, Thou hast searched me, and known me." That is God making Himself acquainted with His God. "Thou knowest my down-sitting and mine uprising; Thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compasseth my path" (margin winnowest) Know ye anything of the winnowing of the pathway of JEHOVAH'S predestined providence? It is not always very comforting to flesh and blood. "And art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD. Thou knowest it altogether. Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid Thine hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it." Our knowledge of JEHOVAH must be wholly of His own will and good pleasure. Thus we see in considering this saying of Eliphaz, "Acquaint now thyself with Him, and be at peace," the necessity of noting well who is the speaker, and the very words that escape from his lips.
In looking through the book of Job it is remarkable to notice that all the speakers are one in their views of JEHOVAH'S sovereignty. See how Eliphaz speaks of it in chap. 5:8, "I would seek unto God, and unto God would I commit my cause. Which doeth great things and unsearchable; marvellous things without number. Who giveth rain upon the earth, and sendeth waters upon the fields. To set up on high those that be low; that those which mourn may be exalted in safely. He disappointeth the devices of the crafty, so that their hands cannot perform their enterprise. He taketh the wise in their own craftiness; and the counsel of the froward is carried headlong. They meet with darkness in the daytime, and grope in the noonday as in the night. But He saveth the poor from the sword, from their mouth, and from the hand of the mighty. So the poor hath hope, and iniquity stoppeth her mouth. Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth; therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty. For He maketh sore, and bindeth up; He woundeth, and His hands make whole. He shall deliver thee in six troubles; yea, in seven there shall no evil touch thee." That is, the perfection of trouble, when conflicting troubles reach their climax, when temptations and trials abound on every hand, when they surge and swell to their uttermost, "there shall no evil touch thee. In famine He shall redeem thee from death, and in war from the power of the sword." Turn to chap. 9:12. Job says, "Behold He taketh away, who can hinder Him? who will say unto Him, What doest Thou?" Zophar in chap. 11:7-12, says, "Canst thou by searching find out God? Canst thou find out the Almighty to perfection? It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do? Deeper than hell; what canst thou know? The measure thereof is longer than the earth, and broader than the sea. If He cut off, and shut up, or gather together, then who can hinder Him." My dear friends, do you want brighter views, or more glorious descriptions of Divine sovereignty than this? If so, I cannot supply you with them. We will now see Job's declaration of the sovereignty of his God in a portion which I committed to memory when I was a lad attending a Sunday school in Manchester, and which I would advise our Sunday school teachers to get every child to learn. I anticipate objectors saying, Oh, those are doctrines too high for little capacities. My dear friends, I know a little fellow or two with capacities larger, more comprehensive, and more apprehensive, than those of many persons six times their age. But all the capacity a poor sinner can possess is that which God gives irrespective of age. I thank God that He should have led me to learn this when a child. See Job 12:16-25, "With Him is strength and wisdom; the deceived and the deceiver are His." Do you believe that? "The deceived and the deceiver are His." Are you in any way deceived this morning? Through deception are you suffering in mind, body, or estate? It may be that some one has stolen a march upon you. See! "The deceived and the deceiver are His." Ay, and mark you, the deception is His too. See 1 Kings 22:23, "Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil concerning thee." "The deceived and the deceiver are His. He leadeth counsellors away spoiled, and maketh the judges fools. He looseth the bonds of kings, and girdeth their loins with a girdle. He leadeth princes away spoiled, and overthroweth the mighty. He removeth away the speech of the trusty, and taketh away the understanding of the aged. He poureth contempt upon princes, and weakeneth the strength of the mighty. He discovereth deep things out of darkness, and bringeth out to light the shadow of death. He increaseth the nations, and destroyeth them; He enlargeth the nations, and straiteneth them again. He taketh away the heart of the chief of the people of the earth, and causeth them to wander in a wilderness where there is no way. They grope in the dark without light, and He maketh them to stagger like a drunken man." What think ye of so glorious a declaration of the sovereignty of JEHOVAH as that? But we meet with the same again and again. Turn to chapter 26, and commencing with verse 6, we read, "Hell is naked before Him, and destruction hath no covering. He stretcheth out the North over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing. He bindeth up the waters in His thick clouds; and the cloud is not rent under them. He holdeth back the face of His throne, and spreadeth His cloud upon it. He hath compassed the waters with bounds, until the day and night come to an end. The pillars of heaven tremble and are astonished at His reproof. He divideth the sea with His power, and by His understanding He smiteth through the proud. By His Spirit He hath garnished the heavens, His hand hath formed the crooked serpent. Lo, these are parts of His ways; but how little a portion is heard of Him? but the thunder of His power who can understand?" O what a glorious and gracious God is revealed to us in this book of Job!
The construction of the whole of the book of Job shows forth the way in which God deals with His children, and the way in which He brings them to desire and enjoy His company. In the first chapter we see him a man "perfect and upright, one that feared God and eschewed evil." Yet affliction after affliction came upon him. "Ah!" say some, "that was because of his self-righteousness." To such I would say, You just look after your own self-righteousness. The Lord visited Job in this way simply because He loved him: "For whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every one whom He receiveth." (Heb. 12:6) You cannot find out any other reason why God's afflicting hand was upon Job. So do not be too ready in saying that he was punished because of his self-righteousness. His afflictions came to him in the way of Divine appointment, and formed that discipline, training, tuition, and teaching designed by God in His eternal counsels by which He would bring him to the true knowledge and understanding of Himself. In Job's afflictions his wife counselled him to curse or bless God and die. Mark his answer: "Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What! shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips." His friends, instead of comforting him, maddened him, so that the dear patient man lost all his patience. You see this in chapter 30:1, "But now they that are younger than I have me in derision, whose fathers I would have disdained to have set with the dogs of my flock." After his three friends had ceased to answer him, another appears on the scene. It is Elihu. This person, in many respects, appears to be a type of the Lord Jesus Christ, yet, in other respects, there is no comparison at all between the two. Elihu sets forth most glorious truth, which Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar knew nothing at all about. He led Job at once to consider the majesty and sovereignty of JEHOVAH; the righteousness, redemption, and resurrection of the Interpreter of God's mind and will; the One in a thousand to whom the tried and tempted children of God resort after they have failed to find relief from the nine hundred and ninety-nine to whom, according to the flesh, they would continually hath recourse. After Elihu has had his say, God speaks to Job out of the whirlwind, God in the whirlwind taught Job to cry out, "Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer Thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth. Once have I spoken, but I will not answer; yea, twice, but I will proceed no further." We come to the last chapter, and there see the effect of Divine communication upon the mind of God: "Then Job answered the LORD, and said, I know that Thou canst do everything, and that no thought can be withholden from Thee." That is the God that will do for me. "Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? Therefore have I uttered that I understood not: things too wonderful for me, which I knew not. Hear, I beseech Thee, and I will speak: I will demand of Thee, and declare Thou unto me, I have heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth Thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes." You here see the character of the God of Job, His glorious sovereignty, His independence, His omnipotence, His omniscience, and the effects of the revelation of Himself to poor sinful men. He is also well described by Elihu in the words of my text and those preceding it: "Behold, God is mighty, and despiseth not any: He is mighty in strength and wisdom. He preserveth not the life of the wicked: but giveth right to the poor. He withholdeth not His eyes from the righteous: but with kings are they on the throne; yea, He doth establish them for ever, and they are exalted." He, this sovereign and independent God, who loves His own with an everlasting love, who will have them very near to Himself, who will reveal to them His glory in the person of Jesus Christ, will bless them with His glory in the person of Jesus Christ, will bless them with His glory by the grace and indwelling of the Holy Ghost, and will bless them with the earnest of that eternal glory which He has in store for them, and which they shall enjoy when all the toils, trials, and tribulations of the wilderness-journey are for ever past. In looking at the text we will consider
I.THE CHARACTERS - "The righteous."
II.GOD'S CARE OF THEM - "He withdraweth not His eyes from the righteous."
III.THEIR DIGNITY - "But with kings are they on the throne."
IV.THEIR STABILITY - "Yea, He doth establish them for ever."
V.THEIR EXALTATION - "And they are exalted."
I. THE CHARACTERS - "The righteous."
Who are they?
Where are they?
Can you find them?
Turn to Ps. 14, and 53 for these are alike in their declaration of the mind and will of God: "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good. The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand and seek God. They are all gone aside, they are altogether become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one." Let us now look at the way in which the Holy Ghost, by Paul, quotes this portion in Rom. 3:10-12: "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one. There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are altogether become unprofitable: there is none that doeth good, no, not one." Here we have an infallible quotation from Ps. 14 and 53, which settles the question as to where the righteous are to be found among the fallen sons and daughters of Adam: "There is none righteous, no, not one." Do all religious people believe this? No, for there are very many who are exceedingly righteous in their own estimation. Such persons were found in abundance in the days of our Lord, hence He could say: "I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." (Matt. 9:13) Now turn to Luke 18:9, "And He spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others." Such characters were the three friends of Job. If you turn to Job 9, you will there see the old patriarch plaintively replying to the false conclusions of Bildad the Shuite, who had been enforcing the justice of God in the punishment of hypocrisy. Job knew this better than he could tell him, and flung back his communication with the opening words of the chapter: "I know it is so of a truth." I am fully conscious of that fact. I know God is just with me in all His ways, whether of prosperity or adversity. If He blesses me, and makes me the greatest of all the men of the East, He is just. If He strips me of all my possessions, and takes my last penny, He is just. Yes, He is just when He gives, and just when He withholds. Just when He comforts me with the sweet realization of His love, and just when He leaves me to the gloomy apprehension of His wrath. Just when He gives me a gracious lift out of myself, to delight myself in the sunshine of His presence, and just when He leaves me in the dreary depths of desertion. "I know it is so of a truth," said Job. I know that God is just; but tell me this, "How should man be just with God?" Job knew that His God was righteous in all His works, and he was fully conscious of the fact that unrighteousness was the make-up of all his doings. The proud, self-sufficient Pharisee would call into question Job's estimate of himself, and say, No, no, Job, not so bad as that; you have confided, trusted, and exercised faith in God, therefore you must be righteous. I think I hear Job's reply to such: You may talk in that manner concerning the working of precious faith in my heart, yet my seasons of dreariness and desolation are many, and if a little hope springs up in my heart, I cannot see any righteousness in me. If my God will contend with me, I cannot answer Him one of His thousand charges against me. If He brings accusation after accusation, reproof after reproof, rebuke after rebuke, my mouth is stopped, and all I can say is, Lord, it is all true. If God should say, Job, thy faith deserves eternal condemnation, Job could only answer, True, Lord, true. Should God ask, Job, if I were to deal with thee according to thy faith, where wouldest thou be? In hell, Lord, at the farthest distance from Thy sacred presence. Job knew that if his God dealt with him according to his prayers he would be truly undone.
But we will look at the 15th verse: "Whom, though I were righteous, yet would I not answer, but I would make supplication to my judge. If I had called, and He had answered me; yet would I not believe that He had hearkened to my voice." Here Job sits in judgment upon himself in reference to his part in communion and intercourse with his God. "For He breaketh me with a tempest." You may depend upon it, those who can sail on peaceful rivers and enjoy themselves on their nice religious pleasure excursions, know nothing whatever of such an experience as this. "And multiplieth my wounds without cause" that is, without revealing to Job the reason why He had afflicted him. "If I speak of strength, lo, He is strong." (Job 9:19) The revelation of JEHOVAH'S strength to a poor sinner stops the mouth from speaking of creature strength or power. "And if of judgment, who shall set me a time to plead? If I justify myself, mine own mouth shall condemn me: if I say, I am perfect, it shall also prove me perverse. Though I were perfect, yet would I not know my soul: I would despise my life." This has ofttimes brought to my mind a hymn taught to the children in many Sunday Schools, commencing with the words,
"I wish I were an angel."
Such a wish as that, examined in the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, proves to be veriest rubbish. If any of you wish to be an angel, I do not, neither did Job, nor any one else to whom God has communicated His mind and will, and given them to know their high calling of God in Christ Jesus. A convinced, broken-hearted, and undone sinner, drawn by the cords of love to the footstool of sovereign mercy, to receive from God pardon, justification, and the blessed assurance of equality and oneness with a covenant God in Christ, instead of wishing he was an angel, rejoices in the fact that he is a sinner saved by sovereign grace. If I were an angel, I must stand at a distance from God, look on, and simply admire the wonders of redeeming love which I never felt or experienced; but, as a hell-deserving sinner through the love of my God, the blood of my Saviour, and the power of the Spirit, I am exalted from the gates of hell and from the pit of corruption to reign with Christ in glory, and to repose in the bosom of my God. It is the experience of this which melts some of our hearts when we sing,
"Oh! I am my Beloved's,
And my Beloved is mine;
It is not He sends, or commands; but He comes Himself, and by the power of His blessed Spirit
"brings a poor vile sinner
Into His house of wine."
Look at that! "A poor vile sinner" sitting at the King's table, and delighting in the King's company.
Look at the 27th verse: "If I say, I will forget my complaint, I will leave off my heaviness, and comfort myself: I am afraid of all my sorrows, I know that Thou wilt not hold me innocent." My dear friends, it is ours to know that the deepest repentance we have ever experienced can never answer for the faintest sin we have ever committed, and that all the tears of sorrow we have shed before His throne, without the precious blood of Christ, would only be so many seals to our condemnation. The soul brought to that point is in a right frame of mind to receive and value those words of a precious Christ which are so sweet and palatable, "Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." (Matt. 11:28) See! "If I be wicked, why then labour I in vain? If I wash myself in snow water, and make my hands never so clean: yet shalt thou plunge me in the ditch, and mine own clothes shall abhor me. For He is not a man, as I am, that I should answer Him, and we should come together in judgment, neither is there any daysman betwixt us (margin = 'one that should argue,' or, 'umpire') that might lay his hand upon us both." (Job 9:29-33) One who could settle all disputes between an offending sinner and an offended God. Now turn to Job 19:25-27: "For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me." Job was brought to know and see Him in whom all the people of God are righteous; so we see that God, of His own free-grace and favour, gives them a righteousness in Jesus and eternally justifies them in Him. "Of God are they in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto them righteousness, and they are made the righteousness of God in Him." (1 Cor. 1:30; 2 Cor. 5:21) We now notice,
II. GOD'S CARE OF THEM - "He withdraweth not His eyes from the righteous." What are we to understand by that expression, God's eyes? Human language can never describe the great and glorious JEHOVAH. Yet it is well to have an intelligent apprehension of the terms employed in His blessed Word concerning Him. The eyes of the Lord denote His omniscience, His perfect view, or, if I may be allowed the expression, His omnipresent knowledge of all the wants, necessities, and infirmities of His children in this wilderness world. See 2 Chr. 16:9, "For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward Him." This indicates the unceasing care of Israel's covenant God over the people of His heart. From all eternity His eyes of love have been fixed upon His Church. He saw her in covenant as He saw His Son.
"Thus in His eyes she ever stood
From wrinkle and from blemish free:
Loved with the dateless love of God,
And blest by the Great Sacred Three."
In time the varied members of the one body find grace in His eyes, as did Noah. (Gen. 6:8) Turn to Ps. 32:8, where you have God's gracious promise to His child: "I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with Mine eye;" or, as you read in the margin, "I will counsel thee; Mine eye shall be upon thee." You read also in Psalm 33:18,19: "Behold, the eye of the Lord is upon them that fear Him, upon them that hope in His mercy; to deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine." The eyes of the covenant Bridegroom are thus described in Solomon's Son 5:12, "His eyes are as the eyes of doves by the rivers of waters, washed with milk, and fitly set." This is ever-present love, unceasing affection, unwearied compassion, and unremitting care. Now turn to Rev. 1:14, "His eyes were as a flame of fire." Why a flame of fire? To pierce down to the depths of all the sins, corruptions, hypocrisies, and deceits of His people, to burn all these up and preserve them in the midst of the fire.
"He withdraweth not His eyes from the righteous." Is there any reason why He should withdraw them? Well, judging after the manner of men, and according to our weak conceptions, as we take into consideration the sins, follies, failures, and falls of His people, there is every reason why He should not notice them at all. But He looks upon them, He sees them in their sorrows, He remembers His covenant, deals with them according to the multitude of His mercies, delivers them out of their distresses, brings them into a place of liberty, and blesses them with a sweet realization of their interest in His covenant love and favour. They journey a little in the strength of this, and where are they? Hankering after the flesh-pots of Egypt, the garlic's, the onions, and the leeks. Seeking for pleasures and enjoyments anywhere and everywhere but in the place of God's providing. Even here He withdraweth not His eyes from them. He looks! He watches! In fury? Yes, with their sins. In indignation? Yes, with their follies. In wrath? Yes, with everything about them that springs from Satan. In spite of all their follies and infirmities, He looks upon them with the fondest and tenderest love. Do you wish for an illustration of this? Look at our old friend and brother Peter. He promised his loving Master that if all men should forsake Him, yet he would not. But when the moment of temptation and trial came, where was he? Where was his faith, and love, and attachment to his Master. He denied ever having any knowledge of, or communication with, Jesus. Have any of you business folk ever been there? Think for a moment or two. Peter went still further. He cursed and swore. "The Lord turned and looked upon Peter." In anger? No. But he had denied Him with oaths and curses. Well, the Lord did not look upon Him according to His deeds, or deal with him according to his iniquity. He looked upon him as an object of covenant love, in eternal union with Himself, and "though sinning, yet free from all sin." He saw him oppressed in judgment, broken in heart, and contrite in spirit. Peter fell under that look of sovereign love and pity, and unlike all hypocrites, he went out and wept bitterly. Oh, would to God that we could see more of this brokenness of spirit now-a-days! The loving eyes of a precious Christ are fixed upon all such, and can never be withdrawn from them. He brings His own through fire and through water into a wealthy place, there to delight in the apprehension of His grace, and in the revelation of His glory. We must now briefly consider
III. THEIR DIGNITY - "But with kings are they on the throne." We may consider this in two lights. First. The eyes of JEHOVAH are with kings on the throne. For, "The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of waters: He turneth it whithersoever He will." (Prov. 21:1) See! The kings, and great ones of the earth, rule, reign, act, and speak; ay, they think, and sleep, and awake, according to the sovereign will of Him who sitteth upon the throne of the universe, who guides the flight of a fly, of a sparrow, or of an angel. It is said of Ahasuerus: "On that night could not the king sleep, and he commanded to bring the book of the records of the chronicles; and they were read before the king." (Esther 6:1) This was all by the over-ruling hand and sovereign will of Israel's covenant God for the deliverance of His people and the destruction of their enemies. We see the same truth in Pharaoh dealing with Joseph and his brethren, and the other Pharaoh whom God raised up for the display of His sovereign power. (Exo. 9:16) Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, and others are marvellous instances of the reign and rule of JEHOVAH over all kings and potentates. The second light in which we look at these words of our text, is glorious indeed "But with kings are they on the throne." What throne is this? Last Tuesday evening we had a blessed season of refreshing, as I was led to speak from Isaiah 32, which begins with these words, "Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment." There is King Jesus upon His mediatorial throne with all His redeemed brethren reigning and ruling in oneness with Him. Turn to Psalm 45:16, "Instead of thy fathers shall be thy children, whom thou mayest make princes in all the earth." These are God's elect, redeemed and regenerate people whom He has ennobled with His own dignity, royalty, and majesty, and concerning whom the King of saints has said: "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me on My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne." (Rev. 3:21) Here we see poor vile sinners brought from the deepest depths of sin, from the very jaws of Satan, from the very gates of hell, from the very pit of corruption, washed in precious blood, clothed in the righteousness of God, and a new song put into their mouth. Here you have it. Rev. 1:5,6: "Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father; to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen." These are the kings upon the throne from whom the eyes of a gracious and covenant God are not withdrawn.
IV. THEIR STABILITY - "Yea, He doth establish them for ever." The throne of Christ's glory is established for ever in the everlasting covenant of grace, and all the heirs of glory shall share in the stability thereof. The whole of Zion is established for ever in the eternal hills of covenant love, covenant faithfullness, and covenant power. But frequently the precious sons and daughters of Zion are tossed to and fro by the ever-changing influences and circumstances of this sinful world. What with the temptations of the world, the flesh, and the devil, the bereavements and disappointments they experience, at one time lifted up to the third heaven, and then plunged into the belly of hell, they feel anything and everything but established. Yet a gracious God has secured the means whereby they shall be established. They shall be established in the faith of the Gospel; (Rom. 1:11) rooted and built up in Christ Jesus the Lord, and established in the faith; (Col. 2:7) their hearts shall be established with grace; (Heb. 13:9) and they themselves in the present truth; (2 Peter 1:12) while they confess with Paul: "Now He which establisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us is God." (2 Cor. 1:21) Oh, what a mercy to be established in the truths of the covenant! We now come to the glorious final of the text,
V. THEIR EXALTATION - "And they are exalted." Elihu tells us, "Behold, God exalteth by His power, who teacheth like Him?" (Job 36:22) Turn to Psalm 89:16, "In Thy righteousness shall they be exalted." This is wholly of God, with no creature effort, power, or wisdom. It is not a temporary exaltation like that of Joseph when he was brought out of prison to fill an exalted position, the next to Pharaoh in all the land of Egypt, nor like that of Moses when he was raised to the heirship of the throne of Egypt as the adopted son of Pharaoh's daughter. Oh, no! but an exaltation in, by, with and through Christ from sin to holiness, from self to God from corruption to glory. Of this exaltation, Hannah sings so sweetly in 1 Sam. 2:6-9: "The Lord killeth, and maketh alive: He bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up. The LORD maketh poor, and maketh rich: He bringeth low, and lifteth up. He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifted up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth are the LORD'S, and He hath set the world upon them. He will keep the feet of His saints." JEHOVAH exalts His own with a risen Jesus in grace down here, and soon they shall behold Him upon the throne of His glory, and hear Him say, Come up higher. Then, on the wings of sovereign love and never-failing grace, their ransomed souls shall fly in eager haste to Him whom they truly love, to bask in His smile through a never-ending eternity, to
"see His face,
And never, never sin;
There, from the rivers of His grace
Drink endless pleasures in."
May it be yours and mine sweetly to experience the grace and glory conveyed to elect souls from this precious portion of God's book, and enjoy His smile for ever and ever. Amen.