The life of the children of GOD is often filled with doubts and fears. In great part this is caused by the work of the SPIRIT in them which convinces them of two foundational truths. Number one is that they are acquainted with the absolute glory of GOD along with HIS utter holiness which highlights HIS unchangeable justice. Secondly, they are convinced (by this same SPIRIT) of their total unworthiness to stand in HIS presence who is of purer eyes than to look upon sin.
A good illustration of this is seen when Isaiah was given a glimpse of the glory of GOD, ”in the year that King Uzziah died.” “Then said I,Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.” (Isa 6:5) It was the moving cause of both John and Daniel’s reactions to the same revelation, “Therefore I was left alone, and saw this great vision, and there remained no strength in me: for my comeliness was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength. Yet heard I the voice of his words: and when I heard the voice of his words, then was I in a deep sleep on my face, and my face toward the ground.” (Dan 10:8-9) “And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead.” (Rev 1:17)
The man who has no fear of GOD simply goes on his way, completely unconcerned about such matters. (see Prov.22:3) The men of religion are content with their “obedience”, “faith”, doctrines, and orthodoxy, and really see no reason to be in either doubt or fear, relying upon their own righteousness and understanding, with which they are satisfied. “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” (Rom 3:18) The natural tendency of men is towards unbelief. By nature, men cannot obey the commandments of GOD, and therefore will not believe HIS promises. Their own corruption causes them to distrust HIM.
So, all of these things come together in the awakened sons of GOD, who desire to believe the TRUTH of GOD but find in themselves still “an evil heart of unbelief”. Thankfully, HE is pleased to use even this to work together for their good as HE sends HIS SPIRIT to war against their sinful flesh. (see Gal. 5:17) Thus we read the Psalmist’s lament, “I cried unto God with my voice, even unto God with my voice; and he gave ear unto me. In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord: my sore ran in the night, and ceased not: my soul refused to be comforted. I remembered God, and was troubled: I complained, and my spirit was overwhelmed.” (Psa 77:1-3)
More than anything else, the children of GOD desire to be found walking in faith and resting in CHRIST in complete obedience to HIS commands, yet as Paul says, “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.” (Rom 7:18-19) John recognizes the same tendencies in the sons of GOD, and exhorts and encourages them with these words, “And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him. For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.”(1Jn 3:19-23)
The LORD has provided everything which the children of GOD have need of and even in the most distressing hour, gives them sustenance and help. “There hath no temptation (i.e.; trial) taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” (1Cor 10:13) The means whereby the LORD will lift the sons of GOD out of despair is in HIS work in them to cause them to think on those things which HE has done for them and is presently doing in their behalf. Even as the Psalmist says, “I will remember the works of the LORD: surely I will remember thy wonders of old.” (Psa 77:11) While Asaph penned these words, David said the same thing in describing similar exercises of the mind and heart. “For the enemy hath persecuted my soul; he hath smitten my life down to the ground; he hath made me to dwell in darkness, as those that have been long dead. Therefore is my spirit overwhelmed within me; my heart within me is desolate. I remember the days of old; I meditate on all thy works; I muse on the work of thy hands. I stretch forth my hands unto thee: my soul thirsteth after thee, as a thirsty land.” (Psa 143:3-6)
The scriptures tell us that the LORD JESUS CHRIST has been “in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” (Heb 4:15) HE has walked “through the valley of the shadow of death”, HE has been surrounded with the “counsel of the ungodly” and HE has been in the presence of “deceitful and bloody men”, “For the mouth of the wicked and the mouth of the deceitful are opened against me: they have spoken against me with a lying tongue.” (Psa 109:2) yet HE rested perfectly in HIM in whom HIS soul delighted. “But do thou for me, O GOD the Lord, for thy name's sake: because thy mercy is good, deliver thou me. For I am poor and needy, and my heart is wounded within me. I am gone like the shadow when it declineth: I am tossed up and down as the locust. My knees are weak through fasting; and my flesh faileth of fatness. I became also a reproach unto them: when they looked upon me they shaked their heads. Help me, O LORD my God: O save me according to thy mercy: That they may know that this is thy hand; that thou, LORD, hast done it.” (Psa 109:21-27)
It is HE who is able to ascend into the hill of the LORD for it is, “He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.” (Psa 24:4) Thus when we think on those things which are the “wonders of old”, we must think on CHRIST who is “the fulness of the Godhead bodily” (Col 2:9) “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” (Php 2:6-8)
There is no more glorious work which has been performed in the heavens or the earth, than this one. It is indeed an ancient work, for HE is a priest forever after the order of Melchisedek. HE has neither beginning of days nor end of life and John speaks of the eternal nature of HIS accomplishment as being that of ONE “slain from the foundation of the world.” The redemptive work of CHRIST has been manifested to the sons of men and the angelic host in this the day of salvation, but the certainty of HIS accomplishment is as eternal as the purpose of GOD. The very purpose for which the LORD created the world and all that is therein. “For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.” (Heb 2:10)
Though Asaph could not have known and completely understood that work of which we now speak as “of old”, he was nonetheless used by the LORD to glorify CHRIST and that performance which has forever freed the sons of GOD from bondage, and ushered in their admittance into the courts of heaven. “Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.” (1Pet 1:10-11)