Monday, September 28, 2009

Faith Stares Its Worst Fear In The Face...

...and stands.

Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. GOD, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer's; he makes me tread on my high places.
Habakkuk 3:17-19 (emphasis added)

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for you are with me;
Psalm 23:4 (emphasis added)

He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the LORD.
Psalm 112:7
We are amazed and perplexed, as men that meet with some new and strange thing, when God cometh to try us in our sweetest earthly comforts, and to blast that which is dearest to us--as credit, liberty, life. We should make these things familiar to us before they come. But, alas! we are secure when trials are nearest us, as the disciples were astonished when God was about to smite the shepherd and scatter the sheep, Matt. 26.31. We are ready to dream of much worldly ease and comfort: Acts 1.6, 'Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom of Israel?' We get a little breathing time from trouble, and promise ourselves perpetual exemption: Ps. 30.6, 'In my prosperity I said, I shall never be moved;' so loth are we to forecast for trials, or to put ourselves out of our fool's paradise. We promise ourselves too much when we dream of nothing but pleasure and contentment, as if we would go to heaven without exercise, without warrings within and fightings without. God hath but one Son without sin, but he has none without a cross. We must all be tried before we get to heaven. Partly, that we may try how we can bear them in imagination. It is good to suppose the worst; it hurts not. See the suppositions of faith, Ps. 23.4, 'Yea, though I walk through the valley and the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.' He compares himself to a sheep. Suppose I should be like a poor sheep wandering in the night when beasts of prey come out, ready to be devoured every moment. Presumption is a coward, and a runaway; it cannot endure to think of evil, or to look the enemy in the face; but faith meets it in the open field, provides for it when evil is not present; it makes suppositions: Hab. 3.17, 'Suppose the fig-tree should not blossom,' &c. Suffer fear to prophesy, that faith may be the better prepared. Suppose the Lord should turn the tables, and bring on such a sad condition--nothing to help me, no friends to stand by me, all my children and near relations taken from me, all the supports and comforts of the present life should fail me,--what then? Thus faith supposeth evils that are feared, and then they are more comportable [suitable]. Before we take up a burden we poise it, and are wont to make an essay of our strength, that we may fit our back and shoulders to it; so it is good to poise our burdens before God lays them upon our backs. What if God put me upon such a trial?

--Thomas Manton, The Works of Thomas Manton, Volume 14, p. 357-358.
By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, of whom it was said, "Through Isaac shall your offspring be named." He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back.
Hebrews 11:17-19

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