Benhar Evangelical Church
THE BENHAR BANNER
‘Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it
may be displayed because of the truth. Selah.’
20th June 2020
Previous Banners are available here
SERMON FOR SUNDAY
The following is chapter nineteen and twenty of the Rev. William S. Plumer’s book, ‘The Christian.’
XIX. THE CHRISTIAN’S ENEMIES
That was a good prayer of David, ‘…lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies.’ (Psalm 27:11). A similar is that in Psalm 5:8, ‘Lead me, O LORD, in thy righteousness, because of mine enemies…’. Divine guidance is in every respect a blessing. When surrounded by foes we must fall unless God leads and protects us. At such a time it is a great mercy to be kept from perplexity respecting duty. ‘…a plain path…’, a smooth, clear, open way is of the Lord. The reasons are obvious.
Our enemies are numerous. ‘Many are my persecutors and mine enemies…’. How the dogs do surround some godly men. Packs of them pursue some all their days. One man often contends against a thousand enemies.
Our enemies often have power, and wealth, and influence on their side. They are also ‘…lively…’ (Psalm 38:19). They sleep not except they do some mischief; nor do they measure their hostility. They are like wild beasts. They ‘…roar…’ (Psalm 74:4). They ‘…make a tumult…’ (Psalm 83:2). They are very violent.
Indeed, they are often deadly. Since the days of Pharaoh, their great model, each cries, ‘…I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil; my lust shall be satisfied upon them; I will draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them.’
Nothing is more noticeable than the merriment of the wicked over sacred things and innocent people. ‘…our enemies laugh among themselves.’ (Psalm 80:6). So, we still have in the world ‘…cruel mockings…’, even where ‘…scourgings…’ and ‘…imprisonments’ are unlawful. They love to cry, ‘…Aha, aha…’.
Oftentimes our enemies are so allied to us that we have no more peace at home than abroad (Micah 7:6). When this is the case, they are a smoke in the eyes, ‘…a thorn in the flesh…’.
Very often they are full of treachery. ‘…the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.’ Judas was neither the first nor the last who pretended friendship with the basest hypocrisy.
Some men's enmity has no holidays. It never wanes. It never cools. ‘…and Saul became David's enemy continually.’ (1st Samuel 18:29). Such enemies often produce a deep impression on others, persuading them that we are evil. No small part of Saul's subjects really believed that David was a bad man, so that he says, ‘I was a reproach among all mine enemies, but especially among my neighbours, and a fear to mine acquaintance: they that did see me without fled from me. I am forgotten as a dead man out of mind: I am like a broken vessel.’ (Psalm 31:1-2).
Even godly men may be often greatly distressed by such hatred. David says, ‘Mine eye is consumed because of grief; it waxeth old because of all mine enemies.’ (Psalm 6:7). Read the Book of Lamentations and see how Jeremiah sighed and wept under the raging of his foes.
It is no small part of wisdom to know how to treat our foes. God gave Solomon a great blessing because he had not asked the life of his enemies. (1st Kings 3:11-12; 2nd Chronicles 1:11-12). We must love our enemies. (Matthew 5:44; Luke 6:27-35). We must always pray for them, feed them when hungry, clothe them when naked, lend to them when needy.
God always takes sides with the just against all their wicked foes. His promise is, ‘…I will be an enemy unto thine enemies, and an adversary unto thine adversaries.’ (Exodus 23:22). The godly man will God never ‘…deliver…unto the will of his enemies.’ (Psalm 41:2).
And it is very easy for God to defeat and overthrow all our enemies. He says, ‘…I will send a faintness into their hearts; and the sound of a shaken leaf shall chase them; and they shall flee, as fleeing from a sword; and they shall fall when none pursueth.’ (Leviticus 26:36). See also Exodus 23:27.
Under the shadow of God's wings His people are safe from all their adversaries. He stills the enemy and the avenger. ‘…thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy.’ (Psalm 61:3). God can make our worst ‘…enemies to be at peace with…’ us. (Proverbs 16:7). God can convert foes into friends: ‘…verily I will cause the enemy to entreat thee well in the time of evil and in the time of affliction.’ (Jeremiah 15:11). God's power can subdue any will, change any heart.
Every child of God may therefore address every foe, as did the church of old: ‘Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD shall be a light unto me. I will bear the indignation of the LORD, because I have sinned against him, until he plead my cause, and execute judgment for me: he will bring me forth to the light, and I shall behold his righteousness. Then she that is mine enemy shall see it, and shame shall cover her which said unto me, Where is the LORD thy God? mine eyes shall behold her: now shall she be trodden down as the mire of the streets.’ (Micah 7:8-10).
Oh, how sweet will be the rest of Heaven. ‘There the wicked cease from troubling; and there the weary be at rest’, and the righteous have everlasting deliverance from all their enemies.
A late writer gives this good practical advice: "Have you enemies? Go straight on and mind them not. If they block up your path, walk around them, and do your duty regardless of their spite. A man who has no enemies is seldom good for anything – he is made of that kind of material which is so easily worked that everyone has a hand in it. A sterling character – one who thinks for himself and speaks what he thinks – is always sure to have enemies. They are as necessary to him as fresh air; they keep him alive and active. A celebrated character, who was surrounded with enemies, used to remark, 'They are sparks which, if you do not blow, will go out of themselves.' Let this be your feeling while endeavouring to live down the scandal of those who are bitter against you. If you stop to dispute, you do but as they desire, and open the way for more abuse. Let the poor fellows talk; there will be a reaction if you perform but your duty, and hundreds who were once alienated from you will flock to you and acknowledge their error."
XX. THE CHRISTIAN'S SHEPHERD
‘The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.’ (Psalm 23:1-2).
‘…he leadeth me…’. I certainly need someone to lead me. I am so poor, so blind, so weak, so foolish that, if left to myself, I must fatally err. For a long time, I required the help of nurses and the guidance of parents and teachers; and when I ceased to have these, I needed God's help as much as ever. ‘…it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.’ We have in our language hardly any form of speech that expresses a sadder state than when we say of a man, "He is awfully left to himself." Lord, never leave me nor forsake me, lest I be undone.
Then He leads me so GENTLY. Even when all around is uproar and confusion, I am carried along almost as if there was no commotion in the world. When God gives peace, who can make disturbance? The Lord is more true in His friendship than a brother, more pitiful than a father, more loving than a mother, more gentle than a woman. He does not afflict willingly. Nor does the Lord ever lead me otherwise than WISELY. He makes no mistakes. He knows the way I ought to go. He knows how much sweet and how much bitter are best for me. He understands me fully. He knows my spirit would fail before Him if I were dealt with severely. Oh, how He mingles mercy with judgment!
True, He leads me often IN A MYSTERIOUS WAY. I see not the end from the beginning. I cannot see afar off. If I perfectly comprehended all God's ways, I think I would be capable of guiding myself, at least to some extent. When all His waves and billows go over me, how can I tell anything? Would Jacob, or Joseph, or Bunyan, or Rogers have chosen the way the Lord led them? Have not the saints long been crying, ‘…O Lord, how long?’ His ‘…way is in the sea…’; ‘Clouds and darkness are round about him…’. He gives account of none of His matters. His judgments are a great deep. But He never does wrong. ‘…he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness…’. ‘…righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne.’ In review of all the past I can truly say, ‘Thou hast dealt well with thy servant, O LORD…’. ‘I know…that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me.’
He leads me ALWAYS – in prosperity and in adversity; in joy and in sorrow, when alone and when surrounded by others. If He left me even for an hour I would be undone. When I sleep, Thou, Lord, keepest vigil over me. When I awake, I am still with Thee. On the land and on the sea, I am kept by the mighty power of God.
He leads me, and I will trust Him. He deserves my entire confidence. It is my sin and my folly that I am so slow of heart to repose confidence in Him. I will try to do better. Lord, give me the heritage of those who seek shelter under the shadow of Thy wings. Thou art my Shield, my Refuge, my Strong Rock, my God and Saviour.
He leads me, and I will follow Him. I will put my hand in His and go wherever His prudence shall direct. Never yet has He brought me into needless trouble. When affliction has gained its end, relief, in some form, has come. I will mark His footsteps and go right forward. ‘Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.’ Oh, well, if glory is to follow sorrow and anguish, I will say no more:
"The path of sorrow, and that path
Leads to the land where sorrows are unknown."
I must be content that He should have His way. My will is the will of a worm, a fool, a sinner. ‘…not my will, but thine, be done.’ I care not what comes if the end be eternal life – everlasting repose in the bosom of God. Guide me on and up and through, O Lord. Be on my right hand and on my left by day and by night. Strengthen me with strength in my soul.
A HYMN OF HOPE - tune
Th’ Almighty reigns exalted high
O’er all the earth, o’er all the sky;
Though clouds and darkness veil His feet,
His dwelling is the mercy seat.
O ye that love His holy name,
Hate every work of sin and shame:
He guards the souls of all His friends,
And from the snares of Hell defends.
Immortal light and joys unknown
Are for the saints in darkness sown;
Those glorious seeds shall spring and rise,
And the bright harvest bless our eyes.
Rejoice, ye righteous, and record
The sacred honours of the Lord:
None but the soul that feels His grace
Can triumph in His holiness.
A CALL TO PRAYER
Continue to pray for the revival of the Church, the awakening of the lost, and a merciful deliverance from the Coronavirus Pandemic at 3 pm, in your own homes, on the Lord’s Day.
POINTS FOR PRAYER
Pray for our Queen, our governments, our National Health Service, our key workers, our country, our community, our church, and our families.
Pray for churches, missions, missionary organisations, and the persecuted church.
The Open Bible – what a Priceless
A Mine where gems of truth flash forth their light,
A Book, that speaks of mercy without measure
A Lamp, to make the pilgrim's pathway bright
A Rock of Strength to those whose souls are weary
A Voice of Peace above the toil and strife
A Guide to men whose ways are rough and dreary
A Heavenly Manna to sustain their life
A Chart and Compass for the storm-tossed seaman
A Healing Balm to comfort and to bless –
A Star, to guide the vessel to its haven
An Oasis in the barren wilderness
A Well of Water for the thirsty stranger
A Refuge from the burden of the day
A Lighthouse – sent to warn from many a danger –
A Fingerpost to point the narrow way
A Palace where the King dwells in His beauty
An Armoury where soldiers may repair
A School where servants learn their daily duty
A Garden where are flowers rich and rare
Lord, may I love Thy Book of Grace and Glory –
The Word that speaks to me of Love Divine –
Teach me to spread abroad its 'Old, old Story'
I take it to my heart - I make it mine!
‘Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.’ (Matthew 5:6).
13. Did our first parents continue in the state wherein they were created?
Our first parents being left to the freedom of their own will, fell from the state wherein they were created, by sinning against God (Ecclesiastes 7:29) by eating the forbidden fruit (Genesis 3:6-8).
QUESTIONS FROM THE BOOK OF JUDGES (PART ONE)
- Who did God appoint to take the lead after Joshua?
- To what false gods did Israel turn to and serve?
- For how many years did Israel serve Eglon the king of Moab?
- For how many years did Jabin king of Canaan oppress Israel?
- How many years were Israel in the hand of Midian?
- For how many years did Abimelech reign over Israel?
- For how many years did the Philistines and Ammon oppress Israel?
ANSWERS FOR LAST WEEK’S QUIZ
1. Gaza, Gath, and Ashdod (Joshua 11:22)
2. The other side of the Jordan (Joshua 14:3)
3. 85 years old (Joshua 14:10-13)
4. Shiloh (Joshua 18:1)
5. Timnathserah (Joshua 19:50)
6. Ed (Joshua 22:34)
7. 110 years old (Joshua 24:29)
Rev. Ian S.D. Loughrin
The Evangelical Manse, 59 Baillie Avenue, Harthill, North Lanarkshire, ML7 5SY
 Psalm 119:157
 Exodus 15:9
 Hebrews 11:36
 Psalm 35:21; 40:15; 70:3
 2nd Corinthians 12:7
 Proverbs 27:6
 Job 3:17
 Jeremiah 10:23
 Psalm 6:3; 90:13
 Psalm 77:19
 Psalm 97:2
 Psalm 23:3
 Psalm 97:2
 Psalm 119:65
 Psalm 119:75
 Psalm 73:24
 Cowper, W.
 Luke 22:42
 Plumer, W.S. The Christian 1878
 Watts, I. Th’ Almighty Reigns Exalted High 1719
 Paisley, I.R.K. The Revivalist December 1983
Hymn tune courtesy of Hymnary.org