20. Faithful Exclusions

PART 8
MUSINGS WHILE IN THE HOLD”

Chapter 20
Faithful Exclusions

 Truly my soul waiteth upon God: from him cometh my salvation.  He only is my rock and my salvation; he is my defense; I shall not be greatly moved.  How long will ye imagine mischief against a man? ye shall be slain all of you: as a bowing wall shall ye be, and as a tottering fence.  They only consult to cast him down from his excellency: they delight in lies: they bless with their mouth, but they curse inwardly.  Selah.  My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him.  He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defense; I shall not be moved.  In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.  (Ps. 62:1-7).

 The words truly, only, and surely are used six times in this Psalm.  The difference is little, but the force of each is that of exclusion.  David realized that only in God could he find salvation, both temporal and eternal.  All other deliverances, from whatever quarter, were rendered as nothing more than emblems of weakness.  The illustrious homage assigned to the attributes of God in this Psalm as rock, salvation, defense, glory, strength, and refuge are impressive and consoling.  David was convinced that only God could bring about the desired deliverance of salvation.  That truly there was no other, and that surely the Lord was faithful.

 This seems to be the conclusion of a long and hard conflict, which David had within himself… [Being now settled in faith, and taught the manifest greatness of God’s faithfulness, he confidently waited.]  Waited silently, quietly, and patiently looking up to God for deliverance, and that in his time and way, without murmuring or despair, or using indirect and sinful practices.  (Matthew Poole) (emphasis added).

 The soul waiting, waiting on God is indicative that the deliverance hoped for has not yet come to pass.  Waiting on God only for deliverance is the faithful excluding of salvation from temporal obstacles by any other means.  “Truly my soul waiteth upon God: from him cometh my salvation.”  Faithful waiting that looks only to God is like the willow tree, “often shaken and whipped in the wind, but firm at the root.”  This phrase is not my own, but I do not recall the author.

 No eloquence in the world is half so full of meaning as the patient silence of a child of God.  It is an eminent work of grace to bring down the will and subdue the affections to such a degree, that the whole mind lies before the Lord like the sea beneath the wind, ready to be moved by every breath of his mouth, but free from all inward and self-caused emotion, as also from all power to be moved by anything other than the divine will… If to wait on God be worship, to wait on the creature is idolatry; if to wait on God alone be true faith, to associate an arm of flesh with him is audacious unbelief.  (Charles H. Spurgeon).

  “He only is my rock and my salvation; he is my defense; I shall not be greatly moved.”  “He only,” is further evidence that the Psalmist was continuing to exclude all other supports as means of deliverance.  He repeated this same conviction again in verse six with one alteration, the exclusion of the word “greatly.”  Faith increasing has powerful results.  It leaves behind the believer’s fears and weak appreciation of God’s faithfulness, while giving birth to stable thinking and undergirding the saint’s persuasion.  David went from somewhat moved by opposition, to not being moved at all.  This confidence will always be present as long as the redeemed keep God ever in their hearts and minds.  “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.  Trust ye in the Lord for ever: for in the Lord JEHOVAH is everlasting strength.”  (Is. 26:3-4).

 “God is my Rock.”  In verse seven David declares God to be the rock of his strength – the strength of his strength.  According to Psalm 18:31, there is no other rock.  He is the rock of the believer’s salvation.  (Ps. 89:26, 95:1).  This rock of salvation is a foundation of eternal support which is not subject to decay or weakness in either time or eternity.

  “He is my defense.”  “What is your defense”  Oh! weariful and battle worn believer?  Yea, the Almighty shall be thy defense… ”  (Job 22:25).  “If God be for us, who can be against us?”  (Rom. 8:31).  This Almighty defense is God which saves the upright in heart.  (Ps. 7:10).  The Great JEHOVAH is the strong rock, for an house of defense to save the elect.  (Ps. 31:2).  The faithful wait on this perfect defender.  (Ps. 59:9, 17).  The Lord is the only defense for the redeemed and the only rock of their refuge.  (Ps. 94:22).

 “I shall not be greatly moved.”  Faith in God through Jesus Christ the Lord conquers all.  When by grace all other supports, helps, and imagined defenses are excluded, the believer cannot be moved.  “I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.”  “For the king trusteth in the Lord, and through the mercy of the most High he shall not be moved.”  (Ps. 16:8; 21:7).

 Faith apprehends these promises and grips them with a full heart.  The Lord is the keeper of His people and will not allow them to be moved.  (Ps. 121:3).  Only our recurring unbelief and faithless mistrust can rob us of the joy and peace of these divine injunctions.

 Verses 3 and 4 give a correct definition of the enemies’ continuous devices against the Lord and His people.  With faith secured in God, their devices are of non-effect.  (Ps. 33:10).  In fact they will ultimately be taken by their own devices.  (Ps. 10:2).  If by the grace of God believers leave their enemies to God’s disposal, they will see the mischief makers disappointed in their enterprises, taken in their own craftiness and carried headlong into destruction.  (Job 5:12-13).  Those that despise God’s counsels and reproofs will eat the fruit of their own folly and choke on their mischievous inventions.  (Prov. 1:31).

 The duration of their wicked encounters will last until they expire.  They only consult in sabotage and vandalism.   Leaving the evil monsters to the will of God is our greatest wisdom.  Should we seek to do battle against them in the power of our own strength will only result in bringing upon ourselves an absolute crushing defeat.  The enemy is wiser than we, better equipped, and his methods are unscrupulous.  However, when faith in God is established and Spirit wrought, the enemy becomes as impotent as a wall ready to crumble, and as useless as a fence soon to collapse.  They shall be slain all of them.  “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn.  This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord.”  (Is. 54:17).  With this great promise, the children of God need not fear, nor take counsel with anyone but the Lord.  A multitude of enemies are incompetent when they war against the faith that is of God.  “I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about.”  (Ps. 3:6).

 “They only consult to cast him down from his excellency:”  The great adversary and his dupes have refined their vocation to a prolific art form.  It started in the garden of Eden; “Yea, hath God said,” insinuating that there was possibly some flaws in God’s testimonies, or at least, the children of God have misunderstood the glory attached to them.  The wicked blasphemer desires to infiltrate the believer’s heart with suspicions and doubts concerning the power of God, His promises, and His willingness to perform on behalf of the spiritually exhausted child.  If he can diminish the faith and cast a shadow upon the excellency of God, or the validity of divine redemption, he has won the day.  This he seeks to do only and always.  “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.  Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, and against spiritual wickedness in high places.”  (Eph. 6:10-12).

 In the dark times of afflictions, the faithful are in the most hostile atmosphere.  This is the time Satan spares no effort in casting down our convictions and upbraiding the faithfulness of God. The longer God is silent to our pleas, the more is Satan’s arsenal increased, and the believer’s stamina depleted.  May God in days of satanic revenge cause us to remember that the Devil is a liar, and the father of them.  (Jn. 8:44).  Both Satan and his disciples delight in lies.  They never tell the truth, except to advance their own cause.  Their inward parts are full of cursing, even when they bless with their mouth.  Watch! dear saint, and be well armed with the truth.

 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.  But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.  To him be glory and dominion forever and ever.  Amen.  (1 Pet. 5:8-11).

 Satan can unequivocally have no effect against the excellency of God or His Christ, but he with a vengeance tries to affect the believers’ thoughts concerning the trust and confidence they place in God’s word and faithfulness.

 Verse 5:  “My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him.”  After considering the vicious nature of the enemies in verses 3 and 4, David quickly returns to the comforting solace of God.  Bathing in the divine statutes and promises generates affectionate confidence — the type that without any reservation excludes all inferior expectations.  What the Psalmist desired could only be given by the God for which he faithfully waited.  The faith needed by all the redeemed is that kind that is jealous for God’s glory.  A faith that is full of superior expectations and not willing to be diverted from those aspirations.

 “For my expectation is from him.”  To bring in other hopes and supports is faith mingled with unbelief.  This seems to be the habitual pitfall in the life of the saved.  Our carnal reasoning is based toward evil.  If there is not a visible prop to lean on, we soon become frantic and our trust in God is found to be unsound.

 “The just shall live by faith.”  Biblical faith is much more than just ostentatious rejoicing when there is “smooth sailing.”  Anyone can broadcast great trust when the sea of life is calm.  However, when the mighty waves rage, when we are tempest tossed, and when we are dashed against the towering billows, it is then that our genuine fidelity is revealed.  Professed faith is now discovered and found to be little better than contemptuous rudeness, an active insult.

 Resting in two confidences is one too many.  If God is not the only expectation, there is idolatry.  How often to our shame must we confess that there are other confidences on which we rely.  When they are taken away or proven insufficient, we are mortified and quiver with raw instability.  That this is no exaggeration is evidenced each time we murmur and complain at divine providence.  John Calvin well said: “Creatures of such instability, are liable to be borne away by a thousand different influences, we need to be confirmed again and again.”  C. H. Spurgeon added:  “The soul is apt to be dragged away from its anchorage, or is readily tempted to add a second confidence to the one sole and sure ground of reliance; we must, therefore, stir ourselves up to maintain the holy position which we were at first able to assume.  Be still silent, O my soul! submit thyself completely, trust immovably, wait patiently.  Let none of thy enemies’ imaginings, flatteries, or maledictions cause thee to break the king’s peace.”  This is why the reassurance of the word is so necessary.  “For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little.”  (Is. 28:10).

 Jude verse 24 details our standing.  “Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy.”  If God does not keep us, we will surely fall.

Visual supports are comforting to the flesh and natural instincts, but they do great harm to the exercise of faith and expectations if we place our hopes in them.  Faith is the evidence of things not seen.  Yet, we are to walk by faith and not by sight.  If we rest in the visual store, it is impossible to please God.  (Heb. 11:1, 6; 2 Cor. 5:7).  The children of God must exclusively wait on, trust in, and hope for Him.  We must divorce ourselves from all second helps, or be stamped as double minded.  The double minded person is unstable in all his ways.  (James 1:8).

Man does not possess faith by personal volition — a quality which he can call forward whenever deemed necessary.  He can resolve a million times a day to be more faithful, only to find those resolutions to be powerless.  Our duty is not to resolve but rather, to seek mercy, grace, and the gift of faith which honors God.  “The Christian can no more exercise faith of himself, still less increase it, than he could originate it.”  (A. W. Pink).

 It  is a sad, sad day for faith in Christendom.  When was the last time a poor saint was seen weeping over his sinful weakness and lack of faithfulness?  “The father cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou my unbelief.”  (Mk. 9:24).  The first followers of Jesus pleaded with the Master: “Lord, increase our faith.”  (Lk. 17:5).  How is it that these saints were so aware of their need of faith, while today all we hear is a list of puffed up religious success stories.  To miss the obvious is a baneful state of affairs.

 For believers to be so wedded to the delusion that human assistance is necessary should be a great burden to us.  Man at his best is vanity and less than nothing.  Why would we even dare to trust ourselves or anyone else?  “It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.  It is better to trust in the Lord than put confidence in princes.”  (Ps. 118:8-9).

 Verses 6 and 7:  “He only is my rock and my salvation: He is my defense; I shall not be moved.  In God is my salvation: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.”  Throughout this Psalm, the excellencies of God are declared — excellencies from which Satan desires to draw the saints away.  If Satan can but instill at the first a small doubt, he then will seek fervently to strengthen his position.  Ultimately, Satan’s aim is to totally cast down the excellencies of God in the heart of the believer and cause the believer to forsake his confidence.

 In verses 1, 2, 6, and 7 salvation is either said to come from God or that He is the believer’s salvation.  Acknowledging this to be true is one thing, but faithfully adhering to it is the real proof.  Many report that they believe in the sovereignty of God, in His faithfulness, His grace, His mercy, and all the divine attributes recorded in the Word.  Without the least question, salvation is said to be completely of the Lord.  However, what men say is not necessarily to what they hold.  A clear description of faith is the believer’s reaction to trials, testings, and other faithful exercises.  If we roar, grumble, bewail, murmur, complain, and get angry with God in the outflow of daily providence, it is safe to say that we are not consecrated worshippers of the doctrines which we publish to believe.  As a result, there is a multitude of repentance in the redeemed with regard to the betrayal of sound teachings.  The denouncing of God’s will by our rebellious actions when our petty desires are crossed is cause for great remorse.

 If the renewed child is honest with himself, he will to some extent confess that he believes the eternal perfections of the Godhead when skies are fair, and the days are sunny and warm.  However, to our deplorable shame, we impeach these perfections, castigate their blessings, and reproachfully alter their beauty when by rebellion, we present our stubborn wills.  When conviction takes hold, we are humiliated, ashamed, and exposed as unfaithful to the impeccable declarations of Scripture.  It should not surprise us then to find that God puts no trust in his saints.  (Job 4:18, 15:15).

What praises then can we render to God who spared not His own Son and made Him to be our righteousness?  (Rom. 8:32; 2 Cor. 5:21).  How do we exult and glorify God in Christ in a way that is worthy of His name?  (Ps. 116:12).  Jesus Christ became all things necessary for the elect’s redemption.  He is our salvation and our righteousness.  (Is. 54:17; Jer. 23:6, 33:6; Rom. 10:4; 2 Cor. 1:30; Phil. 3:9).  For in Jesus dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.  And the chosen of God are complete in Him.  (Col. 2:9-10).  The redeemed are one with Jesus.  What he accomplished is imputed to them.  “For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren.”  (Heb. 2:11).  See also Rom. 4:6-11.

Having a catalog of doctrine in our brain, and reciting portions of the Bible like Psalm 62, is not evidence that these precious precepts and promises dwell in our hearts by faith.  Without the sustaining grace of God, we are not able to perform that which we believe.  “For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.  (Rom. 7:22-23).  Even when by revelation we are enlightened by the Spirit, and know what God declares in the Word concerning Himself, His Son, and the Holy Spirit, we still are totally dependent on God to keep us in the way that is devoid of straying.  “O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes! Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments.”  (Ps. 119:5-6).  “But it is one thing to know, intellectually, of these bounties of God; it is quite another, by faith, to make them our own.  It is one thing to be familiar with the letter of them; it is another to live in their power and be the personal expression of them.”  (A. W. Pink).

My glory, my strength, and my refuge is in God.  There is in man an inherent propensity to magnify himself.  Life is spent seeking to be somebody in the eyes of the world.  To the faithful in Christ, these natural tendencies need to be subdued and excluded.  This is another of those daily warfares in which we must be heartily involved.  For men to search their own glory is not glory.  (Prov. 25:27).  “He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory.”  (Jn. 7:18).  Peter stated that the glory of man is as the flower of grass, it withereth, and falleth away.  (1 Pet. 1:24).  Even in religious exercises, much of what is done is for the glory of man.  Jesus said this type of religion was hypocrisy.  (Matt. 6:2).  If we seek to please men, we should not be the servants of Christ.  We should be servants of self and the flesh.  (Gal. 1:10).

The spiritual man being taught of God has the Lord as his glory.  (2 Cor. 10:17; Gal. 6:14).  Hear the command of God through the Prophet Jeremiah.  “But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise loving-kindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord.”  (Jer. 9:24).  The Apostle Paul repeated the admonition in 1 Cor. 1:31.  Oh! let God grant us desires that He would ever increase, and we would decrease.  (Jn. 3:30).

These same principles can be applied to strength and refuge.  “I am as a man that hath no strength,” was the testimony of the Psalmist.  (Ps. 88:4).  God is jealous of His honor and therefore He takes no delight or pleasure from the strength of man.  (Ps. 147:10).  Man is impotent by nature and can deliver no one.  (Ps. 33:16).  The conclusion of the whole matter for the redeemed is that the Lord only is their saving strength in time and eternity.  (Ps. 27:1, 28:8).  Our strength in times of trouble is God the Father.  (Ps. 37:39).  God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  (Ps. 46:1, 68:28).

Is it not an inexplicable wonder how believers are so prone to cast off the unconquerable faithfulness of God and swiftly flee after the help of the creature.  The arm of the flesh and human resources are the first avenue we are inclined to follow when sharp testings and powerful temptations assault our being.  May God be pleased to grant extraordinary faith which will cause us to quickly exclude every other hope from our hearts, and make God and His Christ our only expectation.  May the wondrous Godhead be our all in all.

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