Who will Show us Any Good
“There be many that say, Who will show us any good?” (Psalm 4:6).
That is the complaint of thoroughly distressed and depressed souls. They are looking within, and they are disappointed: they are looking round, and they are distressed whichever way they look: whether within or without they see change and decay, failure and breakdown: evil seems to predominate; and then the cry is rung from their depressed and oppressed heart, “Who will show us any good?”
Now we know that discouragement does not come from God. God is the God of encouragement. It is the devil who brings in discouragement. He wants the hands of God’s people to hang down, and their knees to become enfeebled so that they may give up the good fight of faith, and grow weary of their pilgrim path.
The Old Testament is full of incidents that prove that God is against everything that brings about discouragement. When the children of Israel got to the border of the land of Canaan they sent forth spies, who came back with the report that there were cities walled to heaven, and giants in the country; and they said “We were in their sight as grasshoppers.” They said in effect, “We are no match for them, we cannot fight them;” and so they disheartened the people. But the men of faith, who are always the men for the crisis, said: “It shall be done, and the whole thing rests upon this, whether the Lord has pleasure in us: all hangs upon His good pleasure in us, not upon our prowess or our strength.”
When Gideon went to do battle with the Midianites, God gave instructions to him that every man that was a coward must go home. Why? Because cowardice is infectious: so Gideon put the test to them, and twenty-two thousand of them went home. Gideon was well rid of them, they would have spelt defeat for his whole army. “Have with your faith courage” (2 Pet. 1:5, lit.).
Now turn to the Book of Job, chapter 22, verse 21. Here we get a beautiful answer to the question “Who will show us any good?” It says, “Acquaint now thyself with Him” i.e., with God. The people who get the good, are they who bring God in. They get right with God. If we are to be helpers of each other’s faith in the great conflict in these closing days of the Church’s history, it will only be as we are able to minister encouragement to each other, and we can only do that as we bring God in.
Peace of heart and mind must follow true acquaintance with God, so the Scripture goes on to say, “And be at peace, thereby good shall come unto thee . . . If thou return to the Almighty thou shalt be built up. . . . Then shalt thou lay up gold as (marg. “on”) dust, and the gold of Ophir as the stones of the brooks.” To me, that means you take the best you possess and put it down in the dust. All your own righteousness, all that you have prided yourself in, must go down into the place of death. And what then? “The Almighty shall be thy defence, and thou shalt have plenty of silver” (v. 25). The Almighty shall be your precious all. You drop your own self-righteousness, and you get the righteousness of God.
“Thou shalt make thy prayer unto Him, and He shall hear thee, and thou shalt pay thy vows” (v. 27). If we want deliverance from all that holds us in bondage, it is by bowing down in the dust as far as we ourselves are concerned, and finding all our help and strength in God, and deliverance comes in that way. Then, knowing the delivering power of God, we shall be able to help others, and to say to those who are cast down, “Cheer up”: for the Scripture proceeds, “When men are cast down, then thou shall say, There is lifting up, and he shall save the humble person.”
If we find ourselves under the chastening rod of God because of failure, we must not lose sight of the hand that uses the rod. Remember that when the husbandman uses his knife on the tree, it is never nearer, or of greater interest to him, than at that moment.
“The Father’s hand will never cause His child a needless tear.” But He would have us to partake of His holiness, hence the chastening; and it is a good thing to become acquainted with the loving thoughts of His heart in regard to this. Then we shall strengthen the feeble knees, and lift up the hands that hang down, and make straight the paths for our feet, in consideration for others, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way. What consideration it begets for others if we get right with God ourselves!