Psalm 94:7
They say, "The LORD does not see; the God of Jacob pays no heed."
Sermons
Divine Retribution CertainC. Short Psalm 94:1-23
Persecutors and Their VictimsHomilistPsalm 94:1-23
A Blind God WantedW. Arnot D. D.Psalm 94:7-10
God and Human MiseryG. Gladstone.Psalm 94:7-10
The Absurdity of Libertinism and InfidelityJ. Saurin.Psalm 94:7-10


I. SUPPOSE THEY NEVER DID.

1. Then the devil would be right when he asked, "Doth Job serve God for nought?" He meant to say that men serve God only from selfish, interested motives.

2. Men would want to sin, though from fear they held back. The heart would remain unchanged, character would be the same.

3. The essential discipline and test of the righteous would be destroyed. We are tested when, though we see the wicked triumph, we still cleave to God.

4. The wicked would wax worse and worse. "The strength of sin is the Law."

5. It would be a confession that men cannot be governed by higher motives than earthly gain.

II. SUPPOSE THEY ALWAYS DID.

1. Earth would become hell, because of the wickedness of them that dwell therein.

2. The faith and fear of God would disappear.

III. SUPPOSE THEY SOMETIMES DO. This is the case. And sometimes they appear generally to triumph. Nevertheless, it is not always, nor for long. But the present order avails:

1. To glorify God by the fidelity of his people.

2. To lift them to a higher life.

3. To convince the world of the reality of the faith the believer holds. - S.C.









Yet they say, The Lord shall not see, neither shall the God of Jacob regard it.
In the style of the sacred authors, particularly in that of our prophet, to deny the existence of a God, the doctrine of providence, and the essential difference between just and unjust, is one and the same thing (Psalm 10; Psalm 14; Psalm 53).

1. If ye consider the discernment and choice of the people, of whom the prophet speaks, ye will see, that he had a great right to denominate them most brutish and foolish. What an excess must a man have attained, when he hates a religion, without which he cannot but be miserable!

2. Having taken the unbelieving libertine on his own interest, I take him on the public interest, and, having attacked his taste and discernment, I attack his policy. An infidel is a disturber of public peace, who, by undertaking to sap the foundations of religion, undermines those of society. Society cannot subsist without religion. Nor can worldly honour supply the place of religion. Finally. Human laws cannot supply the place of religion. To whatever degree of perfection they may be improved, they will always be imperfect in their substance, weak in their motives, and restrained in their extent.

3. The infidel carrieth his indocility to the utmost degree of extravagance, by undertaking alone to oppose all mankind, and by audaciously preferring his own judgment above that of the whole world, who, excepting a small number, have unanimously embraced the truths which he rejects.

4. Yet, as no man is so unreasonable as not to profess to reason, and as no man takes up a notion so eagerly as not to pique himself on having taken it up after a mature deliberation; we must talk to the infidel as to a philosopher, who always follows the dictates of reason, and argues by principles and consequences. Well, then! Let us examine his logic, or way of reasoning; his way of reasoning, ye will see, is his brutality, and his logic constitutes his extravagance. In order to comprehend this, weigh, in the most exact and equitable balance, the argument of our prophet (vers 9, 10). These are, in brief, three sources of evidences, that supply the whole of religion with proof. The first are taken from the works of nature; He who planted the ear; He who formed the eye. The second are taken from the economy of Providence; He that chastizeth the heathen. The third are taken from the history of the Church; He that teacheth man knowledge. These arguments being thus stated, either our infidel must acknowledge that they, at least, render probable the truth of religion in general, and of this thesis in particular, God regardeth the actions of men: or he refuseth to acknowledge it. If he refuse to acknowledge it, then he is an idiot; and there remains no other argument to propose to him, than that of our prophet, Thou fool! When wilt thou be wise? But if the power and the splendour of truth force his consent, then, with the prophet, I say to him, O thou most brutish among the people!

5. Why? Because in comparing his logic with his morality I perceive that nothing but an excess of brutality can unite these two things.

6. I would attack the conscience of the libertine, and terrify him with the language of my text, He who teacheth man knowledge, shall not He correct? That is to say, He who gave you laws, shall not He regard your violation of them? The persons whom I attack, I am aware, have defied us to find the least vestige of what is called conscience in them.

7. Perhaps ye have been surprised that we have reserved the weakest of our attacks for the last. Perhaps ye object, that motives, taken from what is called politeness, and a knowledge of the world, can make no impressions on the minds of those who did not feel the force of our former attacks. It is not without reason, however, that we have placed this last. Libertines and infidels often pique themselves on their gentility and good breeding. Reason they think too scholastic, and faith pedantry. They imagine that, in order to distinguish themselves in the world, they must affect neither to believe nor to reason. Well, you accomplished gentlemen! do you know what the world thinks of you? The prophet tells you; but it is not on the authority of the prophet only, it is on the opinions of your fellow-citizens that I mean to persuade you. You are considered in the world as the most brutish of mankind. You live among people who believe a God, and a religion; among people who were educated in these principles, and who desire to die in these principles; among people who have many of them sacrificed their reputation, their ease, and their fortune to religion. Moreover, you live in a society the foundations of which sink with those of religion, so that were the latter undermined, the former would therefore be sunk. All the members of society are interested in supporting this edifice, which you are endeavouring to destroy. What is this but the height of rudeness, brutality, and madness?

(J. Saurin.)

Whatever we think of it, there can, I think, be no doubt that the pressure of human misery has led many to doubt that there can be a God at all; and, if He exists, whether He can be as beneficent as He has been represented to be. Men simply say that if they were omnipotent they would not tolerate the wrongs that now smite, the evils that now destroy. They say that they could not tolerate it if they had only power to prevent it, but God, if He exists at all, and if He be all-powerful, seems to us as if He paid no heed, but restrains His power and lets the hideous carnival of misery go on from generation to generation. Now, let me say inferences on this line are often hasty, and obviously erring. Things are overlooked that must needs be considered if intelligent judgment is to be reached. I do not know, indeed, any explanation that removes every difficulty Concerning some things we can at best but yet see as through a glass darkly. Still, I want to mention some things that, in forming our judgment concerning God and His relation to human misery, should never be forgotten.

1. Wrong is very often done by the general ascription to God of all human misery. Men overlook what the Divine purpose of our Lord was, to declare the relation of God to the sin and woe of our race. We find in the world wheat and tares — that is indisputable; the tares are hurtful, deadly — yes, but whence came they? Not from God: He repudiates alike responsibility and blame. "An enemy hath done this." The world is not as God wants it, not as God designed it, not as God seeks it shall yet become. He should not, therefore, be credited with, or blamed for that which men freely and wickedly do. Now, it is no reply to say that God should have made a race that could not sin. That is but the spluttering of human ignorance. God had a right, if He saw it wise, to create a race of moral beings; but moral being you cannot have without the possibility of sin. If the moral nature be given, then man may exercise his power in good or in evil. He can go up or go down, can do the one because he can do the other.

2. Wrong is often done by thinking of the misery that prevails as if it were undistributed. We are apt to think of the mass of suffering that we know exists as if it fell on one human heart. But no one bears it all. It falls on those who are countless in their multitude. Every heart knows its own sorrow, but no heart knows the sorrow of all other hearts. Each carries his own burden. Now, let us be honest and face the facts. We speak of human misery as crushing men and women. But should they be crushed by it? Have we a right to complain of misery as mastering us, if we do not take advantage of the grace by which God means us to master the misery? And then let us not overlook that into every life, however darkened, there comes some compensation. I have known a man declaim against God for creating a world like this, speak of it as hurtful and unfair and without interest; and within a few minutes he was in raptures over a painter's reproduction of a very little bit of the earth or of the sea. I have known a man complain by the coffin of his child, but never thank God for the gift of that child, or for all the gladness the child meant to him during the years that it lived.

3. Wrong is often done by overlooking the slowness of moral progress. The cruel wrong that grieves and hurts is not, as I have pointed out, of God. He is against it, and He would have men to put it away from them. But then men are slow in responding to the Divine call. Of course we should have been far further on in progress than we are now, and we would have been if we had only been more responsive to God; but the selfishness that seeks to sway us all, the ignorance as to what is really our true interest, the absorption in the things that can be seen and felt — these have betrayed, and have prevented God's will being done on earth as it is done in heaven. The wheels of the Gospel-chariot drag heavily, and wrongs that have hurt others still remain to hurt us, and some of them probably will remain to hurt generations yet to be. You say, Why does not God arise in His might, and lay all iniquity in the dust? Because He is God. That which you desire is not His method, cannot be, just because He is God. He deals with His children alike, the loyal and the rebellious, according to the nature which He has given them. He teaches, He draws, He allures from evil, and you can see the effect in the growing sensitiveness as to what we owe to our fellow-men. There are forces at work that must make for a fairer distribution of wealth; forces at work that must bring to an end the wide disparity between East and West.

4. Wrong is often done by overlooking that pain is often sanctified unto much good. Pain in itself is not an evil. Pain is but nature's cry to men to give heed to avoid what is hurtful, and to follow that which is beneficent. God doth not afflict willingly the children of men, but in order that we may be made partakers of the Divine nature. There is always an uplift in our sadness, an uplift towards God and heaven.

5. Wrong unutterable is often done by overlooking the all-transforming and all-subduing grace that is put at our disposal. the sorrow of life is too great for any one to bear alone, but no one is meant to bear it alone. God wants to carry our griefs for us; grace is revealed, grace that touches our common lot, grace that lightens our larger and our lesser griefs, grace that comes that through it we may attain even now unto the foretaste of heavenly blessedness. All things work together for good to them that love God.

(G. Gladstone.)

A god or a saint that should really cast the glance of a pure eye into the conscience of the worshipper would not long be held in repute. The grass would grow again around that idol's shrine. A seeing god would not do: the idolater wants a blind god. The first cause of idolatry is a desire in an impure heart to escape from the look of the living God, and none but a dead image would serve their turn.

(W. Arnot D. D.)

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