Dear Brethren: – I received a few days ago, (through sister Susie Woolford,) a very precious message from our dear brother Dobler, of Woolford, Maryland, saying, “Give my love to him, and tell him for forty-one years I have found my experience in the one hundred and seventh Psalm,” and requested that I write some of my thoughts and experience connected with that Psalm, for publication in the SIGNS OF THE TIMES. While I am gratified to receive a message of love, fellowship and confidence from the dear brother, yet I feel that the task he has imposed upon me is very great, and also a difficult one, because I truly feel that his experience is so rich and varied, while mine, alas, is so barren a field, so filled with thorns, ill weeds and thistles, that even the appearance of a fruitfulness in grace is so overgrown and covered up that it would be hard to discover it.
Comparing my own walk with that of many precious brethren whom I know, I feel chagrined and ashamed, O, so little, and less than nothing; falling so far short of what (when I first started on the christian journey) I had fondly hoped my life would be. Sometimes I am made to feel glad that I have been disappointed, because these very disappointments have been conducive to my well being, that through them my gracious Redeemer has been exalted in my love and esteem, while my own self-esteem has proportionately decreased in the knowledge that selfish conceits and vain desires were the foundation of my hopes and aspirations, rather than having an eye single to the glory of God. I do not mean to convey the idea that I am now delivered from my selfishness; by no means, but the afflictions which have brought me low, have merely shown me more and more my selfish, carnal nature, so that the experiences which I have called disappointments are in reality deliverances, by which Jesus is glorified, and the creature abased. The growth in the knowledge of self seems to show me more and more the riches of the treasure of the gift of the grace of God in Christ Jesus, and every one who hath this grace abounding does echo out of a full heart the words of the psalmist in the first verse of the Psalm under consideration, “O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good, for his mercy endureth forever.” It is very encouraging to us when we find that our own experience agrees with the experience of the psalmist, and also that the experience of this sweet singer of Israel is in accordance and in sweet harmony with the life and the sufferings of Jesus, while he was in the world. Clearly applicable to Jesus, as well as every one of the pilgrims of Zion, are the words of inspiration recorded by the psalmist, (verses 4-7,) “They wandered in the wilderness in a solitary way: they found no city to dwell in. Hungry and thirsty their soul fainted in them. Then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them out of their distresses, and he led them forth by the right way, that they might go to a city of habitation.” He that walketh by faith must needs travel in the wilderness, for it is the earthly inheritance of the saints, in which they continually seek the rich treasure hidden therein, to wit, the Savior of sinners, who also is in the same wilderness seeking them. In the wilderness are they led about and instructed. There they learn of him who leadeth them, and their souls cry out in praise to God, “O that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men.” (Verse 8.) For they have realized to its fullness how that “he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness,” (verse 9.) The goodness of the Lord as manifested in the deliverance from all our trouble, his loving-kindness, long forbearance and tender mercy, causeth us to rejoice in a complete Savior, and a full and free salvation. As little children we walk before the Lord, filled with the loving remembrance that in every step of our pilgrimage journey, his dear hand hath led us, and his wisdom directed us. By the searching and discriminating power of faith we discover our insufficiency, our frailty, and our absolute dependence upon him whose strength was made perfect in weakness. We glorify God not in our own strength, but by faith, walking not after the flesh, going down, down, down, till we get to the ends of the earth, and our cry goes up out of the depths, declaring salvation is of the Lord. For in their downward descent, “They cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them out of their distresses. He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and brake their bands in sunder.” (Verses 13, 14.) And again they cried, “O that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men.” (Verse 15.)
Brother Hobler knows better than any words of mine can tell him, what soulsickness is, and also sorrow for sin. We can all remember when like sheep we went astray, and because of our transgressions and our iniquities we were afflicted; how our soul abhorred all manner of meat, and how we drew near unto the gates of death; (see verses 17, 18,) how our feet had well nigh slipped, and destruction loomed up before us; how Satan in fiendish glee did blind our eyes; how heartsick we became when the Spirit of Christ stirred our souls, and how the very things of the flesh, after which we had wandered, now became a stench in our nostrils, and how with joy we remember that the Lord “sent his word and healed [us] and delivered [us] from [our] destructions,” (verso 20.) Surely then, with the psalmist could we “Sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing,” (verse 22.) Deeply and clearly are the Lord’s children instructed when they are brought low, when all hope seems to have fled, when all manner of sin doth so easily beset them, when they are swallowed up in the vortex of the apparent abyss which must inevitably carry them to death and destruction. They learn lessons in these blackest of dark seasons which are indelibly recorded on the pages of their memory, by which lessons we enter into the spirit and fellowship of the psalmist when he says, “They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; these see the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep. For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof. They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths; their soul is melted because of trouble. They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits end.” (Verses 2.3-27.) When they have cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and he has delivered them, “Then he maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still. Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven.” (Verses 20, 150.) The whole christian experience is a wonder, and especially so inasmuch (says the little tried one) as it has embraced me, who am the least of all saints, and altogether unworthy. Is it any wonder then that brother Dobler could say that lo these many years he has found his own experience in this sweet song of David! In every point and turn of the christian travel we find an answer in this precious and wondrous 107th Psalm. Sometimes we become so filled with the knowledge of the goodness of God that we feel we must find some one of like precious faith to whom we can tell what great things the Lord has done for our soul, and to be convinced of the purity and holiness of our desire, we read in this sacred Psalm, “Let them exalt him also in the congregation of the people, and praise him in the assembly of the elders.” (Verse 32.) Should one in derision ask, What does the Lord do for you people anyhow, that so belittle yourselves, and moan and groan, and say there is no good thing in you, you that say you are vile sinners, yet hope in God! we could only answer to such a question, What does he not do for us! “He turneth rivers into a wilderness, and the watersprings into dry ground; a fruitful land into barrenness, for the wickedness of them that dwell therein. He turneth the wilderness into a standing water, and dry ground into watersprings, and there he maketh the hungry to dwell, that they may prepare a city for habitation; and sow the fields, and plant vineyards, which may yield fruits of increase, he blesseth them also, so that they are multiplied greatly, and suffereth not their cattle to decrease.” (Verses 33-38.) I would ask again, What does he not do for this happy yet afflicted people! Afflicted that they may be healed; brought low that they may be exalted; that the Lord may be glorified, and that the people may know that the lowly Nazarene, that ignomiuiously died upon Calvary, is the strength of Israel, the joy of Israel, Israel’s King. So furthermore the psalmist says, “Again they are minished, and brought low through oppression, affliction and sorrow, no poureth contempt upon princes, and causeth them to wander in the wilderness, where there is no way. Yet setteth he the poor on high from affliction, and maketh him families like a flock. The righteous shall see it, and rejoice; and all iniquity shall stop her mouth.” (Verses 30-12.) What is all the wisdom of the world, as compared to the wisdom of our God? Unto his people, the only begotten Son of God is made wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption. They walk by faith in wisdom’s way, and so fulfill the law of God. And so the psalmist closes this beautiful song by saying, “Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand the loving-kindness of the Lord.” (Verse 43.)
May our hearts ever be attuned to the praise of him who hath called us out of darkness into the light and liberty of this glorious gospel.
B. F. COULTER.
Philadelphia, Pa., June 9, 1900.
Signs Of The Times
Volume 68, No. 13
July 1, 1900