Welcome to the Reformed Witness Hour and to our message today which is entitled “A Wonderful Declaration of a Blessed Fact.”
The Scripture which I have in mind is found in Psalm 9:10b where we read, “For thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.”
No matter the train of events or circumstances which might lead you as a believer to conclude that God has forsaken you, this verse declares that God does not forsake those who seek Him. No matter the whispers and the insinuations of Satan and the unbelieving world when it says to you, “Surely God has forgotten you. Where is now thy God?” No matter your feelings at the present time, or the true and unbearable conviction of your sins which cry in your ear, “How will God ever have anything to do with me?” No matter what, this Scripture remains the declaration by God of an unchanging and indisputable fact, “Thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.”
There is no present darkness, no circumstances, no accusation of Satan, no sin-burdened conscience which can make this statement untrue. The LORD does not forsake those who seek Him!
This is exactly why we may trust in God. If you have your Bible out, turn to Psalm 9:10 and read the first part of the verse. “And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.” That is, this is the reason why those who know the living God trust in Him. Why do they trust in Him? Because Thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek Thee. God does not forsake. And for that reason we may surely and always trust in Him.
Behind this verse is the truth of the cross. The truth of the cross is that God has placed the sins of His elect and chosen people upon Jesus Christ. Because of our sins we deserve to be abandoned of God in the justice of His wrath, to be forsaken and to be made to taste only His holy wrath in hell. But, by grace, God placed our sins upon Jesus Christ. And Jesus Christ was forsaken in our place. As Savior, He represented those whom the Father had given to Him. And He was forsaken of God in order that we might never be forsaken of Him. The cross, throughout all time and eternity, stands as proof of this statement: Thou, LORD, has not forsaken them that seek Thee.
Have you ever thought that you were forsaken by God? Can you imagine anything so terrible? Can you imagine being confronted by a terminal disease which shocks you into an awareness of the frailty of your body … and then to have no God? Can you imagine going through the death of a husband or wife, and having no God? Can you imagine facing tomorrow, perhaps financial ruin or heavy burdens or trials with your teenagers or trials in your school or trials in your own life as a teenager, and having no God? Can you imagine coming before the burdens of your life, perhaps your life today broken in a thousand pieces, friends turning their backs on you, your name being slandered, your children disowning you or your parent forsaking you, and then having no God? Can there be anything worse than for God to forsake?
The word “forsake” is a very graphic word. Literally it means “to leave behind and thus to give over to the control of someone else.” For example, a mother flees a burning house with a four-year old and a two-year old child but the weight is too much and she must leave one of the children on the floor to the smoke and the flames. That example is suggested by Isaiah 49:15, where you have God’s people complaining that God has forsaken them and God replies, “Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.” That is, God conceives of the possibility that there can be circumstances in which a woman would forsake her own child. Due to what we are, and due to the realities of this present life, it is conceivable that a woman would forsake her own child to death. “But I will not forget thee,” says God.
Can you think of something more horrible than having God forsake and forget us? That He should leave you in your trouble, leave you to the power of what seeks to destroy you? If that were ever possible in any way or in any sense, that God would forsake and abandon those who seek Him, if that were true I could never have a moment of peace. But, you see, that is exactly what is implied in this text. Perhaps you felt that already when I read it. The declaration, “For Thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek Thee,” implies that there are some who would insinuate, and would suggest, that God does forsake His own people.
That is the sharpest arrow Satan can ever shoot at you. That is an insinuation (and I choose that word carefully – to insinuate is to introduce an idea in a subtle way in order to cause doubt to arise in your mind). Satan has many weapons. He has enticements, persecutions, and delusions. But this is the one that he will use when everything else fails. He will insinuate, “Thy God will be gracious to you no more.” He uses this very sparingly. But he does use it. Then our flesh, in moments of spiritual depression added to the world’s coming against us, sometimes listens to this insinuation and concludes that God has forsaken. Psalm 77:7, 8, “Will the Lord cast off for ever? and will he be favourable no more? Is his mercy clean gone for ever?” Those are the words of a believer who has listened to the insinuation that God has forsaken. Psalm 13:1, “How long wilt thou forget me, O LORD? for ever? how long wilt thou hide thy face from me?”
Have you ever felt, as a child of God, that God has forsaken you in your personal trouble? That is very grievous. That is a shot that goes right into the heart. Then we are tempted to despair. We are tempted to give up. We are tempted to say, what is the use, what difference does it make anymore to trust in God? Oh, what a terrible thing it is to think that God would forsake us.
But I have entitled this message intentionally, “A Wonderful Declaration of a Blessed Fact.” For Thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek Thee. Would God forsake His own child? Would God forsake one who has come, by His grace, to trust in Him and who, therefore seeks Him with all his heart? Would God turn aside from one who, by His grace, is seeking and calling upon Him? That can never be. That is never true. That can never happen. That is impossible! It is indisputably true that God never forsakes His children.
Notice, we read: “For Thou, LORD.” The word “LORD” is “Jehovah” which word means “I AM THAT I AM,” the unchanging God, the God who never can change. We read in I Timothy 2:11-13 that God cannot lie, He cannot deny Himself, He is true, He cannot abandon His own child. No matter if everyone disowns you. No matter if all should kick you away. God cannot, God never has, or ever will, disown one of His elect who has been purchased in the blood of Jesus Christ and who, by His grace, calls upon Him and seeks Him.
For God to do that, He must, first of all, cease to be God. If God is to forsake His child, He must be less than what He is.
If I believe that the saints can fall away, then I, for one, would shut the Bible and forget everything about religion and pull down the shades of my house and huddle in a corner in fear. There is the doctrine of the preservation of the saints. That doctrine is that those for whom Jesus Christ has died, those given to Jesus Christ by the election of the Father, shall always be preserved by God even to eternal life and cannot fall away from His love and salvation. Now if anyone cares to deny that doctrine of the preservation of the saints then there is no gospel that is left. Then there is no beauty in Jesus Christ. There is nothing in God to deserve praise. Then everything is iffy, everything is up in air. I cannot be sure of anything.
But God is God. His covenant is sure. This is what my soul delights in. This is what I need to know and what you need to know as a believer. Upon this our hearts may rest secure and fixed. For God has sworn, “I will not, I have not, I cannot forsake those who seek Me.” That is an indisputable fact.
The proof of that is written in the lives of the saints throughout the Old Testament and New Testament times. Look at Jacob. If we could talk to Jacob today he would say to us, “I was always a doubting man. I was a careful man with so much cunning and craft about me that I could not trust anything to the hands of God. I always thought that I had to do it on my own strength. And that brought all kinds of trouble – trouble with my brother Esau, trouble with my uncle Laban. Then, when Joseph was taken away, and Simeon my son was gone, I concluded that everything was against me. But at the end of my life I retracted it all. I saw God’s perfect plan being worked out, and His omnipotent, His almighty power protecting me. And I must confess that not one good thing that God ever promised me failed to be realized.”
Talk to Moses. He would say to you, “Mine was the burden of duty. And I felt so inadequate. I had to lead Israel out of Egypt and I was not an eloquent man. And I was afraid Israel would not listen to me. But time after time I discovered that the Lord does not forsake those who seek Him. Time after time I was led to see that the Lord is the strength of His people.”
Talk to David. There was a man who was exposed to slander. There was a man who was forsaken of his friends. There was a man who was hunted and chased over the mountains. David would say to you, “I stood before the giant Goliath. I was hunted by Saul. I was slandered by Doeg the Edomite and by Shimei. But I learned that those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. I learned that the Lord does not forsake His own.”
Talk to Daniel and his three friends. Ask them whether the Lord forsakes His own. Ask Daniel’s three friends with their experience in the fiery furnace. Ask them, “Was your hair burned? Were your clothes burned? Were you forsaken that night when you had to walk in the fiery flames of the furnace?”
Ask the saints throughout all history. Ask any one of them: “Were you forsaken? Did God turn His back? When, perhaps, you were stretched on a rack until all of your bones were dislocated, or you were held over the fire and slowly roasted, or dragged apart by horses, or your children were torn from the arms of their mothers. Did God ever forsake them? Did Satan ever triumph? Did the world ever conquer? No. Listen to what the Bible says: “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors.” The Lord does not forsake His own.
But let me ask you. Child of God, you take the witness stand right now. When you thought and concluded that God would forsake you for sure, when you feared that now you had come to a time in your life when God is going to leave you on your own and would not be there to help you. When you began to reckon that this or that problem would cause Him to abandon you, would be too much for Him and for His grace, were you right? Was that true? Did He forsake you? Did He disown you? The Lord did not. He is ever faithful and ever true. That is your experience if you are a child of God.
Now I have one more question for you as you are on the witness stand: In your most foul and filthy sin which the Lord knows (for He knows your heart), that sin which would cause everyone else to turn away from you in disgust if they knew that secret sin written upon your own conscience (and you and I have such disgusting sins hidden, perhaps from men, but known to God), did He disown you? Did He forsake you? Did He turn His face from you? The Lord does not forsake His own.
That is the cross. There He poured out, in love for us, all that our sin deserves upon His own Son. There the love of God bound us to Him, a love which was so indescribably great and glorious that He poured upon His own Son all that our sins deserved. We deserved to be forsaken of God. But God spared not His own Son but delivered Him up for us all. God is committed to His people. Nothing can cause God to go back from His people.
Your business may fail. Your life may be threatened. Your nightmare may come to reality and may be facing you today. On this you can count: God will not forsake His own. He has not forsaken those that seek Him.
Those words, “Thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek Thee,” do not mean that the cause or the reason that God remains faithful is to be found in our seeking Him, or that God says, “Well, I will be faithful to you so long as you are faithful to Me and so long as you seek Me.” Then, you see, this is only as certain as man. And man is not certain. Man is like a leaf that dries up and blows away. There is nothing to man. There is nothing stable in man or in ourselves.
No, the idea is this: That God works in our hearts as His children that we seek Him. And in the way of seeking, we are given the assurance of His faithful presence that He does not forsake us. It means that if we walk in our own sinful way, our own way apart from God, then God will not give us the assurance of His powerful presence and faithfulness. God, in the way of causing us to seek Him, gives us the assurance of His faithful presence. God gives you to know your need. God gives you to know your helplessness and your hopelessness and your deficiency so that you yearn after God, so that you say, “Lord, my salvation cannot be of me.” And you go to God in prayer. You do not run around and around, looking here and there and everywhere for peace. But you bow before God and you cry to God and you seek Him with all your heart. Urgently you cry out to Him and say, “Lord, help me. Save me. Remember me.”
And in that way God grants the assurance of His faithful presence. He gives you to say, “The Lord has not forsaken those who seek Him.” Oh, if you walk in a proud way and if you forsake the throne of grace and if you live without prayer, then you are going to come to that point, I assure you, when you are going to feel that you are forsaken of God. You must take hold of His promise. You must seek His face. You must hide your face in His bosom in prayer. You must bow before God in the confession of your sin. And in that way you will have the absolute conviction, “Thou, Lord, hast not forsaken, nor ever will forsake, me, thy child.”
God bless this word to your hearts.
Let us pray.
Our Father, we pray that this truth of Scripture of Thy faithfulness may be written upon our hearts that we might resist the insinuations of Satan and that we may walk in the comfort of Thy unfailing presence that Thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek Thee. Amen.