How Pleasant to Lean Upon an Almighty Arm

“The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms!” (Deuteronomy 33:27)

“Oh, how pleasant to lean upon an almighty arm, and to commit ourselves without anxiety to the guidance of infinite wisdom and love!”

– John Newton, The Letters of John Newton

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He Is Never Taken By Surprise

“Without a doubt, a world-crisis is at hand, and everywhere men are alarmed. But God is not! He is never taken by surprise. It is no unexpected emergency which now confronts Him, for He is the One who ‘works all things after the counsel of His own will’ (Ephesians 1:11). Hence, though the world is panic-stricken, the word to the believer is, ‘Fear not!’ ‘All things’ are subject to His immediate control. ‘All things’ are moving in accord with His eternal purpose, and therefore, ‘all things’ are ‘working together for good, to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose’ (Romans 8:28). It must be so, for ‘of Him, and through Him, and to Him—are all things’ (Romans 11:36). Yet how little is this realized today even by the people of God! Many suppose that He is little more than a far-distant Spectator, taking no immediate hand in the affairs of earth. It is true that man has a will, but so also has God. It is true that man is endowed with power, but God is all-powerful. It is true that, speaking generally, the material world is regulated by law, but behind that law is the law-Giver and law-Administrator. Man is but the creature. God is the Creator, and endless ages before man first saw the light ‘the mighty God’ (Isaiah 9:6) existed, and before the world was founded, made His plans; and being infinite in power and man only finite, His purpose and plan cannot be withstood or thwarted by the creatures of His own hands.”

– Arthur W. Pink, The Sovereignty of God, p.9

One Second of Glory Will Outweigh a Lifetime of Suffering

“Finally, the apostle here weighed the ‘sufferings’ of this present time over against the ‘glory’ which shall be revealed in us, and as he did so he declared that the one is ‘not worthy to be compared’ with the other. The one is transient, the other eternal. As, then, there is no proportion between the finite and the infinite, so there is no comparison between the sufferings of earth and the glory of heaven.

One second of glory will outweigh a lifetime of suffering. What were the years of toil, of sickness, of battling with poverty, of sorrow in any or every form, when compared with the glory of Immanuel’s land! One draught of the river of pleasure at God’s right hand, one breath of Paradise, one hour amid the blood-washed around the throne, shall more than compensate for all the tears and groans of earth. ‘For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us’ [Romans 8:18]. May the Holy Spirit enable both writer and reader to lay hold of this with appropriating faith and live in the present possession and enjoyment of it to the praise of the glory of Divine grace.”

– Arthur W. Pink, Comfort for Christians, p.18-19

Learn to Tremble at the Infinite Justice, Power and Wisdom of God

“Sometimes when the ministers of God open the threatenings that are in God’s Word, you think that they are terrible; but know that God, in the treasury of His judgments, has more dreadful things than have ever been revealed in His Word. Therefore, learn to tremble not only at what is revealed in God’s Word against your sin, but tremble at what there is in that infinite justice, power, and wisdom of God to find out and execute upon sinners. For you who are sinners, and especially you are bold and presumptuous sinners, you may expect to meet with whatever evil an infinite wisdom is able to devise, and that an infinite power is able to bring upon you. You commit such and such a sin. Perhaps you don’t know of any particular judgment that is threatened against it, but think thusly: ‘I who provoke God by my sins, what may I look for?’ It is more than I know to the contrary but that whatsoever the infinite wisdom of God is able to find out, and whatever misery I am capable of, that the Lord may bring upon me.’ Consider this and take heed of sin.”

– Jeremiah Burroughs, Gospel Worship, p.19

God in Our Midst

“The ark of the covenant was the place of presence. While the Lord was present among His people in the exodus (Ex. 13:17–1821–22), He localized this presence in the tabernacle for the benefit of His sinful people. The tabernacle was constructed so that the Lord would be among His people: ‘And let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell in their midst’ (Ex. 25:8). But in an even more specific way, the ark served as the place of the presence of God. As we read in Exodus 25:22,

There I will meet with you … on the ark of the testimony, I will speak with you’ (Ex. 25:22; emphasis added).

Here is such a mind-blowing idea about the God of the Bible that we have to pause for a moment. The eternal God who is not constrained by the existence of time, the infinite God who is not bound by the constraints of space, the transcendent God who dwells above and beyond all time and space, and the immense God who fills all time and space condescended to the weakness of His people and became manifest for their benefit in one locale. This God is not bound by time, but He bound Himself to the time-bound experience of His people. This God is not bound by space, but He bound Himself to this box. He is above all creational constraints, but He bound Himself to them. He is everywhere, but He was there.

The psalmist set this truth about the nature of Israel’s God to song so that His people could celebrate Him:

‘The Lord is high above all nations,
and his glory is above the heavens!
Who is like the Lord our God,
who is seated on high,
who looks far down
on the heavens and the earth?’ (Ps. 113:4–6)

What a God we have. What a God has us. He chose to stoop very low and to humble Himself very far for the sake of His wandering people in the wilderness. Even more, He chose to stoop and to humble Himself for us in His Son, Jesus Christ, and then to stoop as low as death: ‘he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross’ (Phil. 2:8).

The fact that the ark was the place of the Lord’s presence among His people brought great assurance to the people of God. This high, lofty, majestic, and resplendent King dwelt among His grumbling, complaining, bickering, and sinful people (Ex. 15:2416:2891217:2). Does that sound familiar? We, too, are grumbling, complaining, bickering, and sinful people. Thankfully, God is not far off in another land, but He is near to us who are sinners. The promise to the new-covenant believer is that the Lord is near to us by the power of the Holy Spirit, who dwells in us (1 Cor. 6:19), even as Jesus promised His helpful presence (John 14:16). The assurance His nearness brings was described by the prophet Isaiah much later in this history of salvation. Just as God accompanied Israel when they wandered in a wilderness, so, too, He was with them in the days of their restoration from exile. Thus, the prophet said, ‘In all their affliction he was afflicted’ (Isa. 63:9).”

– Daniel Hyde, God in Our Midst

One Second of Glory Will Outweigh a Lifetime of Suffering

“Finally, the apostle here weighed the ‘sufferings‘ of this present time over against the ‘glory‘which shall be revealed in us, and as he did so he declared that the one is ‘not worthy to be compared‘ with the other. The one is transient, the other eternal. As, then, there is no proportion between the finite and the infinite, so there is no comparison between the sufferings of earth and the glory of heaven.

One second of glory will outweigh a lifetime of suffering. What were the years of toil, of sickness, of battling with poverty, of sorrow in any or every form, when compared with the glory of Immanuel’s land! One draught of the river of pleasure at God’s right hand, one breath of Paradise, one hour amid the blood-washed around the throne, shall more than compensate for all the tears and groans of earth. ‘For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.‘ May the Holy Spirit enable both writer and reader to lay hold of this with appropriating faith and live in the present possession and enjoyment of it to the praise of the glory of Divine grace.”

– Arthur W. Pink, Comfort for Christians, p.18-19