Surely it is meet to be said to God, I have borne chastisement, I will not offend any more:…
I. But first let us commune together upon the text in its more natural application as addressed TO THE AFFLICTED.
1. The first lesson is, it is meet for them to accept the affliction which the Lord sends, and to say unto God, "I have borne chastisement." We notice that the word "chastisement" is not actually in the Hebrew, though the Hebrew could not be well interpreted without supplying the word. It might exactly and literally be translated "I bear," or "I have borne." It is the softened heart saying to God, "I bear whatever Thou wilt put upon me; I have borne it, I still bear it, and I will bear it, whatever Thou mayest ordain it to be. I submit myself entirely to Thee, and accept the load with which Thou art pleased to weight me." A constant submission to the Divine will should be the very atmosphere in which a Christian lives. We must not be content with bearing what the Lord sends, with the coolness which says, "It must be, and therefore I must put up with it." Such forced submission is far below a Christian grace, for many a heathen has attained it. Neither, on the other hand. are we to receive affliction with a rebellious spirit. Neither, as believers in God, are we to despair under trouble, for that is not bearing the cross, but lying down under it. The Christian, then is not to treat the cross which. God puts upon him in any such way as I have described, but he is to accept it humbly, looking up to God, and saying, "Much worse than this I might reckon to receive even as Thy child; for the discipline of Thine house requireth the rod, and well might I expect to be chastened every morning." We should receive chastisement with meek submission. The gold is not to rebel against the goldsmith, but should at once yield to be placed in the crucible and thrust into the fire. We should accept chastisement cheerfully. The next duty is to forsake the sin which may have occasioned the chastisement. "It is meet to be said unto God, I have borne chastisement; I will not offend any more." There is a connection between sin and suffering. There are afflictions which come from God, not on account of past sin, but to prevent sin in the future. The third lesson in the text to the afflicted clearly teaches them that it is their duty and privilege to ask for more light. The text says, "That which I see not, teach Thou me. If I have done iniquity, I will do no more." Do you see the drift of this? It is the child of God awakened to look after the sin which the chastisement indicates; and since he cannot see all the evil that may be in himself, he turns to his God with this prayer, "What I see not, teach Thou me." It may be that, in looking over your past life and searching through your heart, you do not see your sin, for perhaps it is where you do not suspect. You have been looking in another quarter. Perhaps your sin is hidden away under something very dear to you. Jacob made a great search for the images — the teraphs which Laban worshipped. He could not find them. No; he did not like to disturb Rachel, and Laban did not like to disturb her either — a favourite wife and daughter must not be inconvenienced. She may sit still on the camel's furniture, but she hides the images there. Even thus you do not like to search in a certain quarter of your nature. This is the right way in which to treat our chastisements: "If I have done iniquity, I will do no more. That which I see not, teach Thou me."
II. And now, I am going to use the text for THOSE OF US WHO MAY NOT HAVE BEEN AFFLICTED. What does the text say to us if we are not afflicted? Does it not say this — "If the afflicted man is to say 'I bear,' and to take up his yoke cheerfully, how cheerfully ought you and I to take up the daily yoke of our Christian labour"? "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might." We have yet another remark for those that are strong. Should not the favours of God lead us to search out our sins? Do you not think that while enjoying God's mercy we should be anxious to be searched by the light of the love of God? Should we not wish to use the light of the Divine countenance that we may discover all our sin and overcome it?
III. The last remark I have to make is to THE UNCONVERTED. Perhaps there are some here who are not the people of God, and yet they are very happy and prosperous. Take us at our worst — when we are most sick, most desponding, most tried, most penitent before God, we would not exchange with you at your best. Would we change with you, for all your mirth and sinful hilarity?
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Surely it is meet to be said unto God, I have borne chastisement, I will not offend any more: