The Mighty Arm
“Thou hast a mighty arm: strong is thy hand, and high is thy right hand.”— Psalm lxxxix.13.
WHEN the soul is perfectly reconciled to God, and comes to delight in him, it rejoices in all his attributes. At the first, perhaps, it dwells almost exclusively upon his love and his mercy, but it afterwards proceeds to find joy in the sterner attributes, and especially delights itself in his holiness and in his power. It is a mark of the growth of Christian knowledge when we begin to distinguish the attributes and to rejoice in God in each one of them. It betokens meditation and thought when we are able thus to discern the things of God and to give to the Lord a psalm of praise for each one of his glories; and it also indicates a growingly intimate communion with the great Father when we begin to perceive his adorable character, and to rejoice so much in all that he is, that we can take the attributes in detail, and bless, and praise, and magnify him on account of each one of them. Under the Jewish law there were forms of the sacrifices which were of the simplest kind, such as the offering of turtle doves or young pigeons, which were simply cleft asunder and burned upon the altar; but there were other and more elaborate rules for the sacrifices which were taken from the flock and the herd; these were rightly divided, and the parts laid in their places— head, the fat, the inwards, and the legs, and so on, as if to show that the although some believers only know the atoning sacrifice as a whole and after a superficial manner, there are others still further instructed, who look deeper into divine mystery, and see the various forms which the great truth assumes. It is a saving thing to know the Lord at all with the heart; but I would, beloved, that ye knew all the varied rays of his pure light, that ye beheld the many glories of his crown, and could rejoice in each distinct excellence of his infinite perfection.
The subject of this morning is the power of God as the subject of adoration. Here, dear brethren, we have large scope for thought, for the power of God is manifested in connection with all his other attributes; it is the cause of all his works, and the basis and working force by which his kingdom is maintained and himself revealed. How clearly is his power beheld in creation: there indeed, O Lord, “thou hast a mighty arm.” We injure ourselves and dishonour our Creator when we pass over his works as if they were beneath the notice of spiritual minds. It is perverse on our part to forget the exhortation, “What God has cleansed, call not thou common.” The psalmist sang concerning the creating might of God in verses eleven and twelve of the psalm before us— “The heavens are thine, the earth also is thine: as for the world and the fulness thereof, thou hast founded them. The north and the south thou hast created them: Tabor and Hermon shall rejoice in thy name.” David did not divide between revelation and nature; he loved the word and meditated therein day and night, but at the same time he triumphed in the works of God’s hands. In the hundred and fourth Psalm he found music in rocks and rills, in fowls and fir trees, and rejoiced that the glory of the Lord shall endure for ever, the Lord shall rejoice in his works. In the eighth Psalm he considered the heavens, and burst forth with the exclamation, “O Lord our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!” With the same feeling I led you to sing this morning that child’s hymn in which the power of God is reverenced—
“I sing the almighty power of God,
Which made the mountains rise,
Which spreads the flowing seas abroad,
And built the lofty skies.”
The Lord made Job and his friends remember his power as seen in creation; indeed, it was by revealing that one attribute that Job’s friends were silenced, and the patriarch himself was led to cry, “Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer thee?” We ought not to overlook that which had so salutary an influence upon others. It is a pity when people become so spiritual that they have no eye whatever for the Lord’s power in rivers and mountains, in seas and storms; for God has made them all, and as in his glass he is darkly to be seen in them. “The works of the Lord are great, sought out of all them that have pleasure therein.” I can understand the feeling of some who say, “I prefer spiritual preaching, and I delight most to read the spiritual parts of the word of God rather than the historical records, and to think of his grace rather than of his wisdom in nature”; but there is a fault about such a preference, excellent as it is in one way. It is as though you had a friend who was a great artist, and a master in statuary, able to make the marble almost live and speak with his magic chisel. You are accustomed to call upon this eminent sculptor, and it gives you great pleasure to talk with him, and to associate with his children, but you have never gone into his studio, for his masterpieces do not interest you. Now, this is poor-fellowship, and if ever you get to be in perfect sympathy with your friend, you will be interested in that which interests him, and charmed with the various proofs of your friend’s powers in design and execution. You will study his works for his sake, and love him all the more because of those wonders of beauty and joy which his hand produces. If the Lord thinks fit to display the hand of his power in the visible universe, it “would ill become any one of his children to close his eyes thereto. “The earth is the Lord’s and the fulness thereof.” “All thy works praise thee, O God; but thy saints shall bless thee.”
So, too, the power of God is to be seen in providence; in the overruling hand which controls common events. Our sweet singer writes in verse 9, “Thou rulest the raging of the sea: when the waves thereof arise thou stillest them.” God’s power is seen in the great phenomena of nature, and even in the lesser matters of every-day life. His hand guides the fall of every sere leaf, and adorns each blade of grass with its own drop of dew; but chiefly his way is in the whirlwind, and the clouds are the dust of his feet. The mighty hand of the Lord is to be seen in the events of human history; his power is manifest in courts and armies, in the rise and fall of empires, in the growth of nations, or in their overthrow. Behold how he broke Egypt in pieces as one that was slain, and scattered his enemies with his strong arm. His people did not refuse to sing of his great power when he smote great kings and slew famous kings, because his mercy to his people endureth for ever. It ought to be a subject of great joy to all righteous souls that the world is not left to itself, or to tyrants: the might is with the right after all, for power belongeth unto God. There is a Governor and Ruler who is Lord of all, and all power is in his hand. Have you not often wished more power to the arm of the man who attacks insolence and cruelty? Be glad, then, that all power is in the hand of the Judge of all the earth, who must and will do right. He will not leave bloodshed unavenged, nor suffer wanton cruelty and horrible brutality to go unpunished; and if the great ones of the earth pass by with indifference, or wink the eye in wicked policy, there is an eye that sees, and a hand that will mete out vengeance stern and sure. In patience possess your souls, O ye people of God, for “God reigneth over the heathen, he sitteth upon the throne of his holiness.” The needy shall not always be forgotten, nor the oppressed for ever trodden down, for verily the Lord reigneth, and his power shall defend the cause of right.
It is another subject for which we have reason also to adore God, that his power is seen in the ultimate judgment of the wicked, a terrible subject upon which I will not enlarge, but one which should prostrate us in the dust before his awful majesty. There are two flaming jewels of Jehovah’s crown which will be terribly seen in hell; his wrath and his power. “What if God, willing to show his wrath and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted for destruction?” Righteous indignation and omnipotence will be glorified together in that last tremendous act of judgment in which he will separate the righteous from the wicked, and apportion to the unbelievers their due. “Who knoweth the power of thine anger?” What must be the strength of an angry God! Who shall stand against him when once he stirreth up his indignation, when he shall break the nations with a rod of iron, and shiver them like potters’ vessels? Beware, saith he, “ye that forget God, lest I tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver.” Who shall stand against this great and terrible God in the day of his wrath? Who shall endure in that day when mercy’s day is over, and justice alone sits on her burning throne.
Neither of these, however, is the subject of this morning, though we should not have completed the topic without alluding to them. The subject is the power displayed in connection with the mercy of God, for so Ethan begins this noble covenant psalm: “I will sing of the mercies of the Lord for ever: with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations.” Power in alliance with grace is our one theme. First, we shall consider the mighty power of God in his grace, as revealed in our experience; secondly, divine power, as displayed in Christ Jesus; and, thirdly, we shall endeavour to reflect upon the same power, and consider how it should be practically recognized. We must be short on each point, for our time is scanty.
I. First, the mighty arm of God displayed in the way of grace, as MANIFESTED IN OUR EXPERIENCE.
First, beloved, remember the divine longsuffering. What a mighty arm of grace it must have been which held back the anger of God while we were in a state of rebellion and impenitence. For God to rule the angry sea seems nothing to me compared with the power which he exercises upon himself when he endures the provocations of ungodly men, the hardness of their hearts, their rejection of Christ, and oftentimes their blasphemous speeches and their unclean deeds. O sinner, when thou art sinning with a high hand and with an outstretched arm, is it not a wonder of wonders that God does not cut thee down, and end thy insolence? He saith, “Ah, I will ease me of mine adversaries is it not a marvel that he has not eased himself of you, and taken you away with a stroke? You know how it is with some men, a word and a blow; but it has not been so with God. There have been many words of love and many deeds of kindness. He has waited long, and is waiting now, stretching out his hands all the day to a disobedient and gainsaying people. What power is this which restrains its own power, the power of God over his own omnipotence, so that he does not let his anger flame forth at once and devour the ungodly, nor suffer the sword of execution to smite down the rebel in the midst of his provocations? Glory be unto thy lovingkindness and thy longsuffering, O God, for in them we see thy mighty self restraining power. But, next, we saw the power of God so as to recognize it when the Lord subdued us by his mighty grace. What omnipotence is displayed in the conquest of every rebellious sinner! By nature the sinner stands out very stoutly against God, and will not obey his voice. Often he is bulwarked round with prejudices; and you and I, who seek to convert him, are quite unable to reach him. Prejudice is an earthwork into which you may fire with the heaviest cannon, but without avail, for the balls are buried in the earth, and no result follows. When men will not see, no light can help them, for they wilfully close their eyes. When they will not hear, the charms of the gospel avail not, for they have resolutely closed their ears. It is a wonder of wonders when at last God conquers prejudice, and the man finds himself where he would have sworn he never could be, melted down and penitent at Jesus’ feet. If a prophet had told him it would ever be so, he would have said, “Thou art mad, this cannot be: I abhor the very name of it.” Thou hast a mighty arm, O God, when prejudiced Saul of Tarsus falls down at thy feet, and rises to become thine apostle.
Men are surrounded often with a granite wall of obstinacy: they will not yield to the power of divine love. Preach as you may, they are not to be moved, but remain like an impregnable fortress, frowning from its own inaccessible rock, defying all assaults. You can find no way to get You would he willing almost to die if you could capture their hearts for Christ, but they are neither to be taken by threatening nor by wooing. They are like leviathan whose scales are his pride, shut up together as with a close seal. “Canst thou fill his skin with barbed irons, or his head with fish spears?” They appear to have no joints to their harness through which the arrow of conviction may penetrate: but thou hast a mighty arm, O God, and thine enemies are made to feel thine arrows; those who were exceeding stout against thee have, nevertheless, come crouching at thy feet and have become thy servants. Glory be to God, the northern iron and the steel become wax at his bidding.
We have seen some, also, who have been rooted in their habits of sin, altogether severed from their old sins. Wonder of wonders, the Ethiopian has changed his skin, and the leopard has lost his spots: for he who was accustomed to do evil has learned to do well. Behold a miracle of mighty grace. The sinner has grown old in sin: like an old oak he has become rooted to the earth by a thousand roots. To transplant him seemed impossible, it were far easier to cut him down. Yet the giant hand of grace has taken hold of that ancient tree and shaken it to and fro by conviction of sin, and at last it has by conversion been drawn from its place right up by the roots, so that the place which once knew it knew it no more. The rock and soil in which it had been imbedded for, perhaps, half a century were made to give way before the upheaving, uprooting force, and the man, divided from his former life, has been a proof of what the Lord can do. The Lord knows how to cleave the mountain and divide the sea, and therefore he can separate men from their darling lusts, and teach them to cut off right arms and pluck out right eyes rather than perish in sin. Truly, Lord, thou hast a mighty arm.
Satan teaches men to defend themselves against grace by bulwarks of pride. They say, “Who is the Lord that we should obey his voice?” They lift up their horn on high, and speak with a stiff neck. They are self-righteous, they are sure that they have done no ill; the gospel is powerless upon them because they are so lofty in their looks and insolent in their thoughts. But thou hast a mighty arm, O Lord, thou layest proud sinners very low; thou makest them hungry and thirsty, and then they cry unto thee in their trouble. Thou hast a mighty arm amongst the proud, and thou bringest down their heart with labour, they fall down and there is none to help. “He hath put down the mighty from their seats.” Nebuchadnezzar, from saying, “Behold this great Babylon that I have builded,” learned to confess that those who walk in pride the Lord is able to abase.
Equally mighty is the Lord to overcome despair, for this is another one of the fortresses in which sinners intrench themselves against divine grace. “There is no hope,” say they, “therefore will we give up ourselves to our iniquities,” and it is almost idle to attempt to convert those who are wilfully despairing. They resent the consolations of the Bible, and reject the promises of God; and yet the Lord can break the bars of iron and cut the gates of brass in pieces, and bring up the at the captives from the dungeons of despair, and set them on a rock, and put a new song into their mouths, and make them praise his name for evermore. From the iron cage the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, can set the captives free. All glory be unto his name, when God resolves to save the sinner he will have his will without violating the will of man. In a sweet, soft, gentle manner, in which the power lies in the gentleness, and the force lies in the tenderness, the Lord can conquer the most obstinate. He makes the lion to lie down with the lamb, so that a little child shall lead it. Thus the power of God is seen in the conquest of sinners.
That power is equally seen in their transformation; for is it not a marvel that God should be able to make old and corrupt rebels into new creatures in Christ Jesus? Every conversion is a display of omnipotence. To create the world was but half a wonder compared with the creation of a right spirit; for there was nothing to hinder when God spake and the world began; but when God speaks to ungodly men there is a resisting force, which impedes the work and even defies the great worker. There is a darkness and a death, there is a force of evil and an inability towards good which must be overcome, yet the Lord maketh all things new, and causeth the new creation to arise in the hearts of his people. Verily he hath a mighty arm. Glory be to the Lord who only doeth great wonders with a high hand and an outstretched arm.
Conversion is also called a resurrection. It will be a great feat of power when dead carcases shall live at the sound of the last trumpet, but it is an equal wonder when the dry bones of dead sinners come to life, when those who were scattered at the grave’s mouth, the hopeless, graceless, Christless, nevertheless are made to live at the sounding of God’s word by the power of his Spirit. Oh, you that have been new created and quickened into newness of life, adore his power to-day! Who but a God could have made you what you are? Consider what you were, and reflect upon the glorious position to which the Lord has brought you by the blood of the cross. Think what rebels you were, and how set on mischief your nature was; and now, subdued by sovereign grace, your spirit longs for his embrace, you follow after holiness and seek to have it perfected in the fear of God. What a revolution is this! What a turning of things upside down! To turn the wilderness into springs of water and the desert into a flowing stream is nothing compared with turning the dead, cold, dry heart of man into a mighty wellspring of love springing up unto eternal life. Glory be to thy power, oh thou infinitely mighty Jehovah, thou hast a mighty arm.
That same power is seen, dear friends, in the various deliverances which the Lord gives to his people at the outset, when their enemies come against them so fiercely. Behold, my brethren, how strong was the hand of God which delivered us from the bondage of our first doubts and fears, when conscience accused and the law condemned, when we thought ourselves only waiting for the death warrant and the execution. Behold the Lord has routed our despair, he has set us free from fear and brought us into the liberty wherewith Christ makes men free. We were slaves to sin, too, and oh how sin marshalled all its armies against us at the first, if haply it might cut off our earliest hopes. But mighty was that Christ of God who put all our sins to the rout, and drowned them in the Red Sea of his blood. “There brake he the arrows of the bow, the shield, and the sword, and the battle.” Then Satan came forth with the most horrible temptations, and roared upon us like a lion, for he will not willingly lose his subjects. He sought to cast about us all his nets, that he might hold us captive, and prevent our flying to the divine refuge. But, behold, the prey has been taken from the mighty, and the lawful captive has been delivered, and we are this day rescued from the power of sin and Satan. Even the law itself hath now no power over us to condemn us, for Christ has satisfied it, and we are free. Mighty is thine arm, O God! Thine own right hand, and thy holy arm have gotten thee the victory.
And since then, beloved, in the continual upholding of the saints, in their final perseverance which is guaranteed, how much of the power of God is seen. You have passed through many troubles, some of you, troubles most heavy and sore, but they have not prevailed against you nor overthrown you. “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivereth him out of them all.” Fierce were the foes that gathered against us many a time, and had not the Lord been on our side they had swallowed us up quick; but thou, O Lord, hast a mighty arm, and in thy name have we found a refuge. They compassed us about like bees, yea, they compassed us about, but in the name of the Lord have we destroyed them. Out of what sins and temptations have we come forth victorious! With some of you your path has been through the wilderness, and through one continuous scene of warfare. Snares and traps have been thickly strewn all along your pathway; trials and discouragements have fallen like a storm of hail perpetually beating; and yet you are not overthrown. He keepeth the feet of his saints. The life of anyone Christian is a world of wonders, but in some believers their experience consists of a series of great miracles. “O my soul, thou hast trodden down strength.” How has our soul escaped as a bird from the fowler’s snare! The mighty adversaries have been overcome by him who is mightier than they all! The divine strength has been manifested in our weakness. My brother, is it not a wonder that being such a poor worm as you are, yet you have never been crushed? Is it not a marvel that though your faith has been as a bruised reed it has not been broken, and though your piety has been like smoking flax it has never been quenched? Kept alive with death so near, preserved when enemies have been so fierce, will you not say indeed “Thou hast a mighty arm, strong is thy right hand”?
Brethren, the end cometh, but it will all be right at last, for unless the Lord shall come, we have yet to meet the last grim adversary, but we are not afraid, because our brethren who have gone before us have set us an example of how to die triumphantly. How gloriously have they triumphed in their last hours. We have stood by their side, seen the brightness of their eye when all around was deathshade, and heard their exulting songs when all that looked upon them wept at the thought of their departure. Blanched their cheek? Far from it. They have been as jubilant in their dying hour as the warrior when he divides the spoil. As the bride rejoiceth in her bridal, they have looked forward to the coming of their great Lord and to their being blessed for ever in his embrace. We have been ready to cry out with them, “O death, where is. thy sting! O grave, where is thy victory!” Truly, Lord, when thy poor, weak, suffering people die triumphantly, we see that thou hast a mighty arm. When flesh and heart are failing, when friends cannot help, when every earthly comfort vanishes, for the heart still to rejoice and triumph— this is to see the arm of the Lord made bare, and this causes us to bless and magnify his holy name.
I would to God that I had more ability to set forth this majestic subject; but I have done my best, and I ask your meditations in the quiet of this afternoon to assist me, that you may really adore and bless the power which is so conspicuous in every vessel of mercy, so revealed in your own self if you be indeed a child of God. O Holy Spirit, make known to us the exceeding greatness of his mighty power, to usward who believe.
II. Secondly, let ns behold the mighty arm of God as specially DISPLAYED IN THE PERSON OF CHRIST JESUS; and here will you kindly follow me in the psalm itself, for there you will see that the power of God is displayed in Jesus Christ, in the choice of him, and the exaltation of him, to be a Prince and a Saviour. See verse 19: “I have laid help upon one that is mighty; I have exalted one chosen out of the people.” Christ is the incarnation of the power of divine grace, in him dwells the power of God to save the sons of men; and yet in what weakness it dwelt. He was a man despised and rejected, lowly and meek, poor, and without worldly honour. His was the weakness of shame and suffering, poverty and dishonour; but the power of God was upon him, and is upon him now. It is a grand thing to know that God by the weakness of man, taking it into connection with his own nature, has routed sin, Satan, death and hell. The battle in the wilderness was between Satan and a man, tempted as we are; but oh, how gloriously that matchless man overthrew the tempter and prevailed. The agony in the garden of Gethsemane was that of a man: it was a man, though God, who sweat great drops of blood, and uttered strong crying and tears, and won the victory by which evil is dethroned; and he that met the powers of evil on the cross, and stood alone and trod the wine-press till there remained not an uncrushed cluster, was a man. It is by his power, even the power of the man of Nazareth, that all the powers of evil have been for ever blasted and withered; so that, though they rebel, it is but a struggling gasp for life. As surely as God sits on his throne, the foot of the seed of the woman shall be upon the serpent’s head, to crush it for ever; for mighty as were the hosts of evil, God hath exalted one chosen out of the people, and laid help upon him, that he may eternally vanquish all the hosts of darkness. Strong is thy right hand, O Saviour, for by weakness and suffering and death thou hast overthrown all thy people’s foes.
His power was seen, next, in our Lord’s anointing. “I have found David my servant, with my holy oil have I anointed him.” You know how in his preaching there went out of his mouth a sharp two-edged sword with which he smote sin, because the Spirit of God was upon him. On the day of Pentecost the Spirit bore witness in the entire body of Christ, making all his servants speak with tongues of fire the word of the gospel. The Spirit of God is with Christ on earth still in his church, so that, feeble though the speech of his ministers may be, a secret power attends it, irresistibly subduing the forces of evil. Rejoice ye this day, beloved; for the anointing rests still in the church of God, and the anointed Redeemer must be victorious in every place. Thanks be unto God which causeth his word to triumph in every place by the power of the eternal Spirit. We ought therefore to adore Jesus Christ as having the power of God, because the Holy Ghost is always with him and with his word, and he is therefore mighty to save.
We must equally magnify the power of God because of the continuance of the empire of Christ in the world. As saith the Psalmist: “with whom my hand shall be established mine arm also shall strengthen him. The enemy shall not exact upon him; nor the son of wickedness afflict him, and I will beat down his foes before his face and plague them that hate him.” These eighteen hundred years every effort has been put forth to root up the church of Christ; The devil and all his servants on earth have conspired to overthrow the growing kingdom of our Lord; but they have never succeeded. Think, my brethren, what the power of God must be which has kept the church alive under fiery persecutions, rescued it from the fangs of the Inquisition, preserved it from the poison of heresy, and the pestilence of infidelity, and, what is worse, enabled it to survive the horrible dragon of Popery which has threatened altogether to carry away the church with the floods which it pours out of its mouth. Yet the chosen seed live on and are multiplied in the land, even as it is promised in the thirty-sixth verse of the Psalm before us; “His seed shall endure for ever, and his throne as the sun before me.” The establishment and continuation of the church is an extraordinary proof of divine power..
So are all the conquests of Christ; some of which we have seen, and more of which are to come. “I will beat down his foes before his face, and plague them that hate him,” is the divine promise, “I will make him my firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth. I will set his hand also in the sea and his right hand in the rivers.” Glory be to God, Christ is triumphant still. Still in the preaching of his truth he rides forth conquering and to conquer. The gospel has not lost its old force, but whenever it is preached in faith it wins the day. See what power it has in drawing together the multitudes and holding them in breathless attention: a man has nothing to do but to preach Christ simply, and with all his might, and the people will hear it. We want no endowment of the state, we seek no acts of parliament to help us. Give us a clear stage and no favour, an open Bible and an earnest tongue, and the people shall yet be aroused and the multitude shall bow before the people’s King. Jesus Christ is still the mightest name which can be pronounced by mortal tongue; its all-subduing power shall yet be felt in the remotest regions of the earth.
Beloved, I have not time to do more than say that the great power of God’s grace is embodied in Christ’s mighty intercession. See verse 26: “He shall cry unto me, Thou art my father, my God, and the rock of my salvation.” This makes him mighty to save— “He is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” I should like to have an hour to expatiate upon the gracious power of God as seen in the intercession of Christ. Omnipotence dwells in every plea that falls from those dear lips, as the eternal Son pleads his own merits with the everlasting Father. Beloved, the power of Christ is well known to many of you. Did it not call you from the dead? Has not it kept you from going down into the pit? Is there not such power in his name that it makes your heart to leap? If we speak of anything else, you listen to it and glide into sleep; but if you hear about him, does it not stir the very deeps of your soul? Have you not often, when you felt faint and weary, sprung to your feet with exultation at the very thought of him? Has not his presence made your sick bed soft, and what you thought your dying couch to be a throne whereon you sat and reigned as in the heavenly places?
“Jesus, the very thought of thee
With transport fills my breast.”
You know it is so. The power of Jesus’ name, who can measure it? and what will be your sense of his power when you reach another world; when he shall have brought you into his rest, even you who were so unworthy; when he shall reveal in you all the majesty of his goodness; when heaven shall be yours, and all its boundless plains and golden streets,— and when, looking around, you shall find all your Christian brethren there without exception, as many as loved the Lord below, all safely gathered into the fold at last? What a shout shall sound throughout heaven when the armies of the living God shall assemble and find not a soldier missing; when they shall read the muster-roll, and Little Faith shall be found there, and Ready-to-Halt shall be there without his crutches, and Miss Much-afraid shall be there, and Mistress Despondency shall be there, each able to answer to his or her own name and say, “Here am I.” Satan has not devoured a single lamb of all the flock, nor slain a single man of all the host. All along the line Jesus has been victorious! When you shall see the whole host assembled, and remember the struggles through which each one of them came, the much tribulation through which they waded to their crowns, you will exclaim with rapture, “Thou hast a mighty arm, strong is thy hand, and high is thy right hand.” All glory be to Jehovah Jesus, our almighty Saviour!
III. Now this brings me to my conclusion, and here we have to answer the question— HOW IS THIS POWER TO BE PRACTICALLY RECOGNIZED? If you will practically carry out what I say, a few words will suffice.
First, if the power of God be so great, yield to it. Man, do you hope to resist God? Hast thou an arm like God’s, and canst thou thunder with a voice like his? Throw down those weapons, and cease to wage a hopeless war. Capitulate at once, surrender at discretion. Oh, if there be a man here who is the enemy of God, I beseech him to count the cost before he continue the war, and see whether he is able to brave it out with God. Shall wax fight with the fire, or tow contend with the flame? He would go through a host of such as thou art, O man, as fire burneth up the stubble, and or ever thou hast time to think of it, thou shalt be utterly destroyed. “Kiss the Son, lest he be angry -and ye perish from the way when his wrath is kindled but a little.”
The next practical use is this— is God so strong? then trust him to save you. Never say again that he cannot snatch you from perdition: never doubt his power to save, even in extremity. I have shown you that he has treasured up his gracious power in the person of his Son Jesus Christ, therefore look unto Jesus Christ and be ye saved. All power lies with him, he can forgive all sin, and he can also subdue all iniquity, change the most depraved heart, and implant every grace in the soul. “Trust ye in the Lord for ever, for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength.”
Next, if he be so strong, then trust him in everything. Oh, you that are his people, never dare to distrust him. Is his arm shortened? Cannot the Lord deliver you? Bring your burdens, your troubles, your wants, your griefs, pour them out like water before him, let them flow forth at the foot of the Almighty, and they shall pass away and you shall sing, “The Lord is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation,”
Is God so strong, then shake off all fear of man. Who art thou that thou shouldst be afraid of a man that shall die? Man is but grass, withered in an hour, wherefore should you tremble at his frown? He is crushed before the moth; why then fear him? Let not the faces of proud men confound you. Trust in God and fear not, for the mighty God of Jacob is with us, and greater is he that is for us than all they that can be against us.
And now as to thy service, to which thou art called by the Lord. If he be so strong, do not think of thine own weakness any longer, except as being a platform for his strength. Hast thou only one talent? God’s Holy Spirit is not limited in power. He can make thy one talent as fruitful as another man’s ten. Art thou weak as water? Then rejoice this day, and glory in infirmity, because the power of God shall rest upon thee. Think not of what thou canst do— that is a very small affair, but consider what he can do by thee. He can strengthen the feeble against the strong. Behold, this day he saith unto thee, “Behold I will make thee a new sharp threshing instrument, having teeth: thou shalt thresh the mountains, and beat them small, and shalt make the hills as chaff. Thou shall fan them, and the wind shall carry them away, and the whirlwind shall scatter them.”
Last of all, with regard to all the future which lies before you,— is God so strong? then commit to it his hands. You have a great you trouble to face to-morrow, are expecting a greater trouble still at the end of the week. Now, be not afraid, for the Lord liveth to deliver thee. What! Dost thou fear? Is thy Counsellor perished? Has thy Helper failed thee? How canst thou sink in the deep waters when underneath thee are the everlasting arms? The mighty God is thy refuge, how canst thou be in danger? Wherefore dost thou look into the future at all? Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. God is the God of to-morrow as well as the God of to-day. Cease from thy troubling, for it weakens thee, but cannot help thee; it dishonours thy God, thy Saviour, and thus it is evil. In patience and quietness wait for the fulfilment of his promise: rest in him and be at peace. Stand thou still, and see the salvation of God. O Lord, glorify thyself this morning in both saint and sinner, by manifesting the greatness of thy power, for thou hast a mighty arm, strong is thy hand, and high is thy right hand.