“O Lord, by these things men live,” by Louis A. Dole

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“O Lord, by these things men live, and in all these things is the life of my spirit: so wilt thou recover me, and make me to live.” – Isaiah 38:16

Readings

Isaiah 38 · Revelation 8:1-4, 9-13 · Psalm 34

Sermon

In order to understand what the things are by which men live we must know the conditions under which these words were spoken. Hezekiah was one of the good and faithful kings of Judah, Israel’s southern kingdom. The northern kingdom had fallen hopelessly into idolatry, and had been carried captive to Assyria, never to return; and the southern kingdom, the kingdom of Judah, had been almost as unfaithful. Under Ahaz, Hezekiah’s father, the worship of the Lord had largely given place to the worship of idols, and the holy temple had become defiled. Hezekiah destroyed the idols. He even destroyed the brazen serpent, which had been preserved for seven hundred years or from the time of Israeli’s sojourn in the wilderness, because the people were now making an idol of that. He restored and rededicated the polluted temple, and reestablished worship of the one God. He smote the Philistines, Israel’s ancient foe. He did other great works and brought back to the nation something of its ancient glory and power. But in the midst of this achievement and at the height of his power he was smitten with disease, and the prophet Isaiah, his counsellor and friend, was sent to him by the Lord to tell him that he would not recover, but would die.

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“With the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again,” by Louis A. Dole

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“With the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.” – Luke 6:38

Readings

Deuteronomy 11:13-28 · Luke 6:27-45 · Psalm 57

Sermon

Is this true? All the precepts of the Word are Divine laws, given that the way of life may be known. If these laws are broken, disorder and confusion result. Breaking them arrays one against the Lord and against those Divine forces which are in their nature friendly and helpful to him. By disobedience to them he puts himself out of the currents of these forces or sets himself in opposition to them.

To learn the laws of nature and of spirit and to live according to them is man’s task, a task given by the Lord for the purpose of developing the powers of the human mind and soul. Men did not and cannot make these laws, nor can they change them. The difference between man and animals is chiefly this, that man has the faculties of reason and freedom of choice while animals are dumb-driven by their instincts. The Lord cannot take away a man’s freedom without making him an automaton and so destroying all the human qualities in him. But if we use our freedom of choice simply to follow our own desires and inclinations and our reason simply to defend our selfish choice, we make ourselves like the animals, and may even descend below them. The Lord leaves us free to choose, but He wishes us to choose the right way and He makes clear what that right way is.

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“I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen,” by Louis A. Dole

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“And he said, Thou canst not see my face… I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen.” – Exodus 33:20, 23

Reading

Exodus 33 · John 1:15-34 · Psalm 91

Sermon

There are several passages in the Word similar to our text. For example, Isaiah writes: “Verily thou art a God that hidest thyself, O God of Israel, the Saviour.” This chapter of Isaiah, chapter 45, treats of the omnipotence of the Lord. It tells us that love and wisdom in Him are infinite, that He is the Creator of all things in heaven and on earth, that these truths are revealed in the Word, and that there is no legitimate excuse for unbelief. We find in it the words, “I have made the earth, and created man upon it: I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded,” and “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.” Yet in this same chapter we also find the words quoted above: “Verily thou art a God that hidest thyself.”

The recent disasters – the storm that caused so much damage and loss of life in Japan, the mine disaster in Australia – have again raised in the minds of many the question, “Is there a God?” And this question is asked often by individuals as they pass through trials and misfortunes, as well as in times of war, famine, pestilence, earthquake, and flood, when it is brought before the public mind.

First, let us remember that all things are under the Divine Providence, that although there are misfortunes, they do not bring real harm to those who trust in the Lord, and that whatever happens to a good man the Lord will turn to his eternal happiness and also to the benefit of all mankind. In the Lord’s sight there is no such thing as accident or chance.

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The Divine Providence, by Louis A. Dole

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“But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” – Matthew 10:30

Readings

1 Samuel 14:33-46 · Matthew 10:16-31 · Psalm 40

Sermon

In these words the Lord teaches us that His providence embraces all things down to the very least and minutest particulars.

Our text follows the admonition, “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” The power of men extends only to the body. To show them how little cause they had to fear men, the Lord calls the attention of His disciples to the providence that is ever over them and which enters into the smallest particulars of their lives. “Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall to the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.”

Numbering denotes arrangement. The argument then is: if the Lord’s providential care extends to the least things in life, how much more to the greatest, if to the least individual, how much more to the government of nations and to the church which is His kingdom in the world? If the Lord provides for the sparrow, which is of so little worth, we have no cause for fear, for we are of more value than many sparrows.

These words of our Lord give us the light of hope in the night of trial and adversity, and give us strength and courage to meet all dangers and trials with full confidence for the future, whatever the appearance may be to us.

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“I will guide thee with mine eye,” by Louis A. Dole

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“I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.
“Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee.” – Psalm 32:8-9

Readings

Isaiah 58 · Revelation 1 · Psalm 32

 Sermon

How different the lot of the righteous and that of the wicked! To the one the Lord says, “I will guide thee with mine eye.” The other is likened to non-rational creatures whose harmful mouth must be restrained.

This text teaches of the two methods of the Divine government of men: the Divine rule inwardly through the conscience – the internal method with the spiritual man – or the Divine rule outwardly through fears.

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