Isai. xxxviii. 14. Lord, lam oppressed: undertake for me f
THE time of death is an awful season to every
Child of man: but it may be more or Kss terrible,
according to circumstances. There may in that hour
be such manifestations of God's jDresence vouchsafed
to the soul, and such bright prospects of a glorious
506.] HELP FOR US I GOD. 319
immortality, as altogether to divest death of its sting,
and to render it an object of intense desire. On the
other hand, there may be such darkness of mind, or
anguish of body, or such urgent considerations of a
personal or domestic nature, as may exceedingly
embitter the thoughts of approaching dissolution.
The account which we have of Hezekiah's feelings
on an occasion like this, fills us with deep commi-
seration. His disorder was so violent, that he ex-
pected every day to be his last; and God seemed to
him like a lion, ready to break all his bones, and to
devour him every instant. Hence " he mourned as
a dove; and his eyes failed with looking upward:"
and in utter despair of help, except from God, he
poured out the prayer which we have just read,
*' O Lord, I am oppressed: undertake for mel"
There were in his case some peculiar reasons for
deprecating with more than common earnestness the
impending stroke: for he was but in the middle age
of life; and hoped to proceed with the work of re-
formation which he had successfully commenced
through the whole nation. In the event of his removal
too, he had no son to succeed him : and he. feared that
the people, just beginning to return to the Lord, their
God, would inunediatcly relapse into all the idola-
tries, from which he had strenuously exerted himself
to reclaim them. To this chiefly we trace the extreme
desire which he expressed for the prolongation of his
life, and the overwhelmins^ agony with which, in the
words before us, he committed his cause to God.
But here we see,
L The privilege of God's people in seasons of deep
distress —
They are at liberty to commit their every concern
to God —
[Of whatever kind their trials may be, they may spread
them all before the Lord, with a confidence tliat he will afford
them effectual relief. They may even " cast all their care on
God himself," in an assured hope that he will " undertake for
them," and take upon himself the entire charge of all their
concerns. They may commit to him the directing of their
: , path,
320 ISAIAH, xxxviii. 14. [506.
path, tlie supplying of their wants, " the keeping of their
souls," not doubting but that, as their Creator, their Go-
vernor, and their Redeemer, he will be faithful to his own
enf^airements, and execute for them whatsoever in his unerring
wisdom he sees best for them — — — J
This is their most inestimable privilege —
[They are not left to bear their burthens alone: if they were,
they would utterly sink under them. We see in the case of
Job how difficult it is to support affliction; (for even he at
last cursed the day of his birth:) and daily experience shews
us how unable any of us are, of ourselves, to bear up under
the various trials of life. But we have a God to go unto;
a God who says, " Cast thy burthen upon the Lord, and he
will sustain thee." As for spiritual trouble, we are no more
able to endure it than Judas was, who, from a sense of guilt,
took refuge in suicide. If " help were not laid upon One that
is mighty," upon One who says to us, " Come unto me all ye
that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you restl"
what hope could any one of us enjoy? But with such a Refuge,
and such a Friend, we may well be satisfied: for " He is both
a sun to enlighten us, and a shield to protect us ; and he will
give both grace and glory : and no good thing, either in time
or in eternity, will he withhold from us," if we himibly and
unfeignedly commit our cause to him.]
In Hezekiah's use of this privilege, we see,
II. The success that shall attend the exercise of it —
It is of little importance to inquire how far the
application of a fig to Hezekiah's boil was an appro-
priate remedy for his disorder. Whatever its ope-
ration was, it was God alone that rendered it effec-
tual : and the same Divine power can give success
to any means which shall be used for our good, either
in a temporal or spiritual view. The imminence of
our danger is no bar to God's interposition. All that
he wants is, the prayer of faith : and that once
offered, the deliverance, how difficult soever it may
be, shall be vouchsafed.
Only let us commit our cause entirely to God —
[We must despair of help from the creature. God per-
mits our trials to increase, in order to produce this very effect
upon us. " We must have the sentence of death in ourselves,
tliat we may not trust in ourselves, but in God, who raiseth
tlie dead." Whilst there is any mixture of self-dependence
i^ us, God \-ill not interpose : but when, like Peter sinking in
506.] HELP FOR US I GOD. 321
the waves, we cry, " Save, Lord, or I perish !" he will instantly
stretch out his almighty hand, and afford us the succour we
His intervention then shall bear upon it the evident
stamp of his Divine agency —
[In a multitude of instances in which he " undertook for
his people" of old, his power was as evident as in the passage
of the Red Sea, or in the ruin of the walls of Jericho. I say
not that his interposition in our behalf shall be as visible to
the eye of sense: but to the eye o^ faith it shall. Wonderful
will be the support which he will give to the troubled spirit;
insomuch that, whilst all outward circumstances remain the
same, it shall have " the oil of joy for mourning, and the gar-
ment of praise for the spirit of heaviness." Look at tlie
107th Psalm: it is realized every day. Such are the spiritual
distresses of God's people, and such their deliverances in
answer to their prayers If therefore there be any one
that is now " oppressed" with any grievous affliction, let him
go to the Lord Jesus Christ, and spread his wants before him,
with confidence that he shall not pray in vain. Let the 143d
Psalm be his pattern and his encouragement. David there
says, " My spirit is overwhelmed within me, and my heart
within me is desolate. But I stretch forth my hands unto
thee : my soul thirsteth after thee as a thirsty land. Hear me
speedily, O Lord : my spirit faileth : hide not thy face from
me, lest I be like unto them that go down into the pit : cause
me to hear thy loving-kindness in the morning, for in tliee do
I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk;
for I lift up my soul unto thee"." Spread your wants before
your God in that way ; and be assured, that " though heavi-
ness may continue for a night, joy shall come to you in the
morning." " God will not contend with you for ever, lest
your spirit should fail before him:" but " he will be with you
in trouble," and " be to you a light in your darkness," and
" give you songs in the night." " These things will he do to
you, and not forsake you," till " he has turned your mourning
into dancing, and put oft" your sackcloth, and girded you with
gladness:" for " never yet failed he any one who trusted in
him;" " nor said to any of the seed of Jacob, Seek ye my face
in vain. ']
»Ps. xliii. 4— 8.

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