OUR TIMES I GOD'S HAD.
BY REV. C. SIMEO, M. A.
Ps. xxxi. 15. My times are in thy hand.
TO the ungodly it is a satisfaction to deny the
providence of God, and to cut him off, as it were,
from any connection with his creatures. But the
saints find a rich consolation in the thought that God
reiffneth. This it is which reconciles them to the
evils they endure, and fortifies them against those
which they have reason to apprehend. David, in
the psalm before us, complains that there were many
who " took counsel together against him, and devised
to take away his life." But he comforted himself in
the reflection, that, however man might be his enemy,
God was " his God ;" and that however bitterly his
350.] OUR TIMES I god's HAD. S5
enemies might be enraged against him, ** his times
were not in their hands, but in God's;" and, conse-
quently, that they could do nothing against him but
by his permission.
From this view of the text we are led to notice,
I. Our dependence on God —
God is the Governor of the universe : he appoints
the stars their courses ; he makes the raging elements
to fulfil his will"; he imposes a restraint upon the
most savage beasts, causing them to suppress "^ or
forget '^ their instinctive ferocity, or over-ruling the
exercise of it, for the preservation '' or destruction
of men % as he sees occasion. The affairs of men he
more especially controuls. In his hands are,
1 . The occurrences of life —
[There is nothing realiy casual or contingent in the world.
It is Go<l that disposes of us from our earliest infancy to the latest
hour of our lives. " He determines the bounds of our habi-
tation ^." If we are called to the possession of wealth, or deprived
of it by any untoward circumstarices, it is ^' the Lord who gives,
and the Lord who taketh it aways." If we enjoy health, orpine
away in sickness, it is " the Lord who both wounds and heals,
who kills and makes alive*"." " There is neither good nor evil
in the city, but the Lord is the doer of it'." Even the falling of
a hair of our head, trifling as it is, takes not place but by hia
2. The seasons of death —
[To every man "there is an appointed time upon earth*:
there are " bounds which he cannot pass™." " God holdeth our
souls in life":" and " when he taketh away our breath, we die,
and return to the dust°." Youth and health are no security
again^t the stroke of death : the most vigorous constitutions are
soon broken, when God is pleased to afflict us ?: the skill of phy-
sicians, however useful when attended witli his blessing, is of no
avail''. So numerous are the occasions of death, that no caution
can possibly avoid them: " a man may flee from a lion, and a
*bear meet him ; or he may go into a house for safety, and a ser-
pent bite him""." When God "requires our souls," we must
» Ps. cxlviii. 8. ^ 1 Kin. xiii. 28. " Dan. vi. 22.
•^ Jon. i. 17. '2 Kin. ii. 24. ' Acts xvii. 26.
* Job 1.21. " 1 Sam. ii. 6, 7. ' Am. ill. 6.
^ Malt. X. 30. ' Job vii. 1. "^ Job.\iv. 5.
"Ps. Ixvi. 0. "Ps. civ. 29. * Job xxi. 23— 25.
" Mark v. 26. * Amos v. I9.
86 PSALMS, XXXI. 15. [350.
surrender them at his call^" Our days are protracted to an ad-
vanced age, if he be pleased to uphold us ; if not, our course is
finished as soon as ever it is commenced. It is " in God, and in
God alone, that we live, and move, and have our being*."]
But though these ideas are certainly comprehended
in the text, its more immediate scope is to declare,
IT. Our security in God —
We have already observed, that the words of the
text were introduced by David as a consolatory
reflection, under the cruel treatment which he had
received from friends and enemies. We are there-
fore taught by them to assure ourselves,
1. That none can destroy us before our time — •
[We appear to be, yea, we really are, in the midst of
many and great dangers. But however we may be- encompassed
with enemies, they cannot prevail against us till the Lord's time
for our removal is come. David was continually exposed to the
rage and jealousy of Saul, who repeatedly cast a javelin at him,
and hunted him incessantly with armed hosts " like a partridge
upon the mountains." Yet though he was often in the most im-
minent danger**, and certainly would have been betrayed by the
men of Keilah % yet God watched over him, and kept him in
perfect safety. Many sought to apprehend our Lord; but " they
could not lay hands on him till his hour was come^ :" and even
then Pilate '^ could have had no power against him, unless it had
been given him from above ^." Paul was in perils innumerable,
*' and in deaths off*:" once he was stoned, and even left for dead**;
but none could take away his life, till he had finished the course
marked out for him. Thus we also are immortal, till our work
is done. We are surrounded with " chariots of fire and horses
of fire'^:" yea, ^^ God himself is a wall of fire round about us*^."
And sooner shall successive bands of enemies be struck dead upon
the spot by fire from heaven % than one of the Lord's little ones
shall perish ^"]
2. That none shall hurt us without his permission —
[As we depend on God for our happiness as well as for our
existence, so are both our being and our well -being secured by
him. Satan could not touch the person or the property of Job,
till he had obtained leave of God to do so s. " or can any
• Luke xii. 20. * Acts xvii, 28. " 1 Sam. xxiii. 26.
" ib. ver, 11, 12. ^ John vii. 30. & viii. 20. Luke xiii. 33.
" John xix. 11. "2 Cor, xi. 23 — 27. '' Acts xiv. I9, 20.
' 2 Kin. vi, \T, -^ Zech. ii. 5. " 2 Kin. i. 10—12.
^MaU. xviii. 14. » Job i. 12. & ii. 6.
350.] OUK TIMES I god's HAD. 87
weapon that is formed against us, prosper''," any further than
our God shall see good to permit it. " His angels encamp round
about us'," and have an especial charge to " keep us in all our
ways, tliut we dash not our foot against a stone""." " either
the arrow that flieth by day, nor the pestilence that walketh in
darkness, can hurt us. Thousands may fall at our side, and ten
thousands at our right hand ; but it shall not come nigh us'."
We are not indeed at liberty to rush needlessly into danger,
from an exjjectation that God will deliver us ; (this were to
" tempt the Lord our God™;") but in the path of duty we have
nothing to fear : we may " tread upon the lion, the adder, or
the dragon";" we may drink poison itself °, or suffer ourselves to
be committed to the' flames, without experiencing the smallest
injury 1": nothing in the whole universe can "harm us, if we be
followers of that which is goodi;" if God see fit to keep us,
we are as safe "in a den of lions" as in a house of friends.]
From this subject we may learn,
1 . To seek God without delay —
[There is no period of life when we can call one day, or
one hour, our own. We are altogether " in God's hands;" and,
if he withdraw his support for one moment, we perish, as cer-
tainly as a stone gravitates to the earth. Shall we then, when
so entirely dependent on our God, provoke him to cast us out of
his hands ? Shall we continue to despise his patience and for-
bearance, till he swear in his wrath that our " time shall be no
longer •^ ? " Think, how many have lost the time afforded them,
and how bitterly they now bewail their folly : and beg of God,
that he would "so teach you to number your days, that you may
apply your hearts unto wisdom **."]
2. To serve him without fear —
[We are too apt to keep back from serving God through
fear of the persecutions we may endure from man. But, if our
times be in God's hands, all our concerns must be there too ;
and nothing can befall us but by his appointment. " Who art
thou then, that thou shoulde^t be afraid of a man that shall die,
and forgettest the Lord thy Maker'?" Are we not told, that
" the wrath of man shall praise him ; and that the remainder of
it he shall restrain" ? " Be bold then for God; " set your face
as a flint against the whole worlds" and trust in him for protec-
tion. He will not indeed screen you from all trials ; because it
is on many accounts necessary that you should feel them^: but
*" Isai. liv. 17. ' Ps. xxxiv. 7. '' Ps. xci. 11, 12.
' ib. ver. 5 — 7, "" Matt, iv, 6, 7.
" Ps. xci. 13. Acts xxviii. 3—6. " Mark xvi. 18.
P Dan. iii. 25—27. "^ 1 Pet. iii. 13. ^ Rev. x. 6.
' Ps. xc. 12. ' Isai. li. 12, 13. " Ps. Ixxvi. 10.
Msai. xlix. 7—9. " 1 Pet. i. 6. >-
88 PSALMS, XXXI. 19, 20. [351.
he will suffer none to come upon you which he will not enable
you to bear, none which he will not sanctify to your eternal
3. To trust him without carefulness —
[It is foolish as well as impious to distrust God, or to mur-
mur at any of his dispensations. In whose hands could the
disposal of all events be placed so much to our advantage, as in
his, who possesses infinite wisdom to devise what is best, and
infinite power to effect it ? Would we be made the sport of
chance or fortune ? or would we have pur present and ever^
lasting concerns left wholly to our own management ? If we are
not fit to regulate our temporal affairs till we attain the age of
manhood, how much less can we ever be competent to take the
reins of God's govertnnent into our own hands, and to order the
affairs of his kingdom. But our times will be in God's handa,
whether we acquiesce in it or not. Let us therefore contentedly
leave ourselves to his all-wise disposal, assm'cd, that " he doeth
all things well," and will make " all things to work together for
good to them that love him."}
» 1 Cor. X. 13.
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