I am a stranger with thee. — Ps 39:12
Yes, O Lord, with You but not to You. All my natural alienation from You—Your grace has effectually removed; and now, in fellowship with Yourself, I walk through this sinful world as a pilgrim in a foreign country. You are a stranger in Your own world. Man forgets You, dishonors You, sets up new laws and alien customs, and knows You not. When Your dear Son came unto His own, His own received Him not. He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not. Never was a foreigner so speckled a bird among the inhabitants of any land—as Your beloved Son among His mother’s brethren. It is no marvel, then, if I who live the life of Jesus, should be unknown and a stranger here below. Lord, I would not be a citizen where Jesus was an alien. His pierced hand has loosened the cords which once bound my soul to earth and now I find myself a stranger in the land. My speech seems to these Babylonians among whom I dwell—an outlandish tongue; my manners are singular; and my actions are strange. I could never be at home in the haunts of sinners.
But here is the sweetness of my lot—“I am a stranger with You.” You are my fellow-sufferer, my fellow-pilgrim. Oh, what joy to wander in such blessed society! My heart burns within me by the way, when you speak to me, and though I am a sojourner, I am far more blessed than those who sit on thrones, and far more at home than those who dwell in their ivory palaces.
Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins. — Ps 19:13
Such was the prayer of the “man after God’s own heart.” Did holy David need to pray thus? How needful, then, must such a prayer be for us babes in grace! It is as if he said, “Keep me back, or I shall rush headlong over the precipice of sin.” Our evil nature, like an ill-tempered horse, is apt to run away. May the grace of God put the bridle upon it, and hold it in, that it rush not into mischief. What grievous sin might the best of us do—if it were not for the checks which the Lord sets upon us both in providence and in grace!
The psalmist’s prayer is directed against the worst form of sin — that which is done with deliberation and wilfulness. Even the holiest people need to be “kept back” from the vilest transgressions. It is a solemn thing to find the apostle Paul warning saints against the most loathsome sins. “So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual sin, impurity, lust, and shameful desires, and greed, which is idolatry.” Colossians 3:5. What! do saints need warning against such sins as these? Yes, they do! The whitest robes, unless their purity be preserved by divine grace, will be defiled by the blackest spots.
Experienced Christian, boast not in your experience; you will yet trip—if you look away from Him who is able to keep you from falling. You whose love is fervent, whose faith is constant, whose hopes are bright, say not, “We shall never fall!” but rather cry, “Lead us not into temptation.” There is enough tinder in the heart of the best of men to light a fire that shall burn to the lowest hell—unless God shall quench the sparks as they fall. Who would have dreamed that righteous Lot could be found drunken, and committing immorality? Hazael said, “Is your servant a dog—that he should do this thing?” and we are very apt to use the same self-righteous question. May infinite wisdom cure us of the madness of self-confidence!
Morning and Evening - March 16
Public domain content taken from Morning and Evening by Charles H. Spurgeon.