20 DECEMBER (PREACHED 20 DECEMBER 1767)
Oh, lonesome me!
‘And a man shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.’ Isaiah 32:2
SUGGESTED FURTHER READING: Psalm 143:1–12
We have spoken of Jesus as the refuge from storm and rain—the sure and welcome retreat for every convinced, tempted soul. The next clause sets him forth in a very acceptable view. And here we may enquire what is meant by a dry place. The dry place signifies a wilderness, as Psalm 105:41. The believing soul is in a wilderness in a twofold state and must perish without these refreshing streams. Such is the prayer of David (Psalm 143:6). A wilderness is barren, lonesome, uncomfortable. Such a state is applicable:
(i) to the world: it does not appear to us so by nature—rather fruitful and pleasant, and the poor soul says as Psalm 132:14. But when the eyes of the mind are opened, the false appearance vanishes and it is all a wilderness. A right view of God and divine things puts us out of conceit with the world, and its poor pleasures are no longer pleasing. A Christian, except he has some believers with him, is alone in a multitude—as a man would be counted solitary if he had none of his own kind, but only wild beasts of the forest around him.
(ii) to the heart: this likewise is known to be a wilderness when known aright. It is indeed full of wickedness—full, as it were, of serpents and dragons, but nothing good or pleasant. By nature we think ourselves rich and increased in goodness, but, when awakened, we find ourselves poor and destitute.
FOR MEDITATION: I have little new to say of myself. My wanderings and wildness when I would attempt praying in secret, are beyond description and would seem impossible to be the lot of a heart in any degree right with God. And yet I am enabled still to hold by the promise, and to say, He is my God and in him will I trust.
Diary, 24 November 1774
SERMON SERIES: ISAIAH 32:2, NO. 3 [1/2]