Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice.
Man is a helpless creature in himself, insufficient to his own happiness. The state of infancy is an emblem of his future life. From first to last he is unable to stand without support, and has wants and desires which he is not fully able to express. This weakness is felt by all, and in our natural state, in the midst of our proudest boasts we are seeking help from everything around us. But how many disappointments do we meet while we live without God in the world, and what a wilderness do we find ourselves in when awakened to see the world in a true light. Then we are stirred up to look for help in God, and blessed be his name, his word warrants us so to do. He does not, as he might, send us to our idols – but he invites, he receives and he helps the unworthy.
This is the acknowledgement and determination of an experienced soul – I have received a conviction that I can do nothing for myself, and that creatures cannot help me. I sought the Lord and he heard me, therefore with him will I abide.
1. my help
1.1 To whom God is a help
Those who know:
(i) that they in themselves are helpless.
(ii) that see and approve his way, his covenant in Jesus.
(iii) that plead his promises for help.
1.2 When he helps?
Always, particularly in:
1.3 What a help he is
(i) free and gracious
(ii) a present help. Romans 10.
(iii) a seasonable help
(iv) a sufficient help
2. [in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice]
Experience should determine us to David’s determination.
2.1 The wings refer either:
(i) to the holy place
(ii) to the image of a hen over her young
2.2 And there to rejoice considering:
(i) his ability. Psalm 27:1
(ii) his constancy. He will not change
From hence consider the life of faith as:
(i) Safe. Psalm 91
(ii) Honourable. Near the Lord.
This is the Gospel declaration. A tender of help and hope for the helpless and hopeless. How blind are sinners to put this from them. Who else can help you at death or judgement?
This is a suitable meditation to take to the Lord’s table. Think of the help you have found – of the mercy seat between the cherubim. Offer your praise and make your vows.
© Marylynn Rouse 2001
Mss source: Cowper & Newton Museum
[An appropriate hymn for this sermon might be:]
Olney Hymns, Book 3, Hymn 40
[from Be still my heart!]
When first before His mercy-seat,
Thou didst to Him thy all commit;
He gave thee warrant, from that hour,
To trust His wisdom, love and power.
Did ever trouble yet befall,
And He refuse to hear thy call?
And has He not His promise past,
That thou shalt overcome at last?
Like David, thou mayst comfort draw,
Saved from the bear's and lion's paw
Goliath's rage I may defy,
For GOD, my Saviour, still is nigh.
He who has helped me hitherto,
Will help me all my journey through;
And give me daily cause to raise
New Ebenezers to His praise.
Though rough and thorny be the road,
It leads thee home, apace, to GOD;
Then count thy present trials small,
For heaven will make amends for all.