Taking God at His Word
‘I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me.’— Acts xxvii. 25.
THEN, of course, St. Paul could be calm, and bright, and confident, ‘with a heart at leisure from itself’ to cheer and counsel others. Yet could any circumstances have been more depressing ?—a miserable and crowded ship, to which our most wretched steamer would be a palace, exceedingly tossed with tempest, not a gleam of sun or star for many days, all reckoning lost, driving wildly on to certain shipwreck, and the graphic and suggestive touch of ‘long abstinence.’
Whatever this day may bring forth, there can be nothing like this for us. Yet even the lesser trials of our own journey may and must be met with the same simple and sufficient secret of calm, simple belief in what God has said. It is strange and surprising even to ourselves how absolutely enough we always do find it, just to believe that it shall be even as God has told us, and ‘rest’ on His word.1
Prov. xvi. 3. ,
The ‘it’ may be for us one thing to-day, another to-morrow, according to the circumstances He sends; but the ‘shall be’ cannot be severed from it. He has ‘told us’ so much, that we have only to recognize our special need, to find at once that He has already ‘told’ us exactly what we want.
Glance at the needs of this day—our weakness, our openness to temptation, our liability to fall,1 our besetting sins, our ignorance, our present or possible troubles, our longing for Himself, which includes all other holy longing—seven pressing realities.2 Now let us hush our hearts to listen to the reality of His corresponding replies: ‘I will strengthen thee.” ‘Ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.’* ‘Able to keep you from falling’5 (Gr. ‘stumbling’). ‘He shall save His people from their sins’6 (/’. e. just your own special ones). ‘I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go.’7 ‘I will not leave you comfortless.’ ‘I will come to you.’8 Can we read these words—His own words, and say, ‘I do not believe God!’ Even the recoil from such an expression may help a trembling one to the joyful and only alternative: ‘I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me.’ Not less, not almost as, but ‘even as,’ with God’s own fullness of meaning in each word of each promise.
1 I Pet. V. 8. 2 Ps, Ixxiii. 22 ; ib. Ix. 11; ib. Ixiii. i. 3 Isa. xli. 10. 4 Epb. vi. 16. 5Jude24. 6 Matt. i. 21.
‘* Ps. xxxii. 8. 8 John xiv. 18.
David prayed: ‘Do as Thou hast said. . . . For Thou, O my God, hast told Thy servant that Thou wilt build him an house: therefore Thy servant hath found in his heart to pray before Thee.’ And because God had ‘promised this goodness,’ he prayed on confidently: ‘Now therefore let it please Thee to bless . . . :for Thou blessest, O Lord, and it shall be blessed forever.’1 Has He not ‘told’ us of blessings beyond those for which David pleaded, and may we not claim these in the name of Jesus with a childlike, ‘ Do as Thou hast said’?
The ground of St. Paul’s belief was not something, but Some One. Simply, ‘I believe God”! An earnest worker said the other day, ‘Oh, I am so glad it does not say, “I know what I have believed,” but, “I know whom I have believed ” !’a This belief, of course, includes all His messages, written or spoken. ‘If ye will not believe, surely ye shall not be established,” is a word of continual application to the trembling or wavering steps of our daily path. But ‘ this is His commandment,’* ‘Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established; believe His prophets, so shall ye prosper.” And then, ‘Blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were toldhzr from the Lord.’6
‘Even as it was told me.’ ‘And so it came to pass. ‘7
11 Chron. xvii. 23, 25. 2 2 Tim. i. 12. * Isa. vii. 9. * 1 John iii. 23. 6 2 Chron. xx. 20. • Luke i. 45. * Acts xxvii. 25,44.