Added: Agustina Marquis - Date: 06.02.2022 13:36 - Views: 23676 - Clicks: 7578
MUCH of the sweetness of music lies in the ear to which it is addressed. There are mysterious sweetnesses and unknown harmonies which lurk amid the notes, and are detected only by the ear attuned to melody. The most enchanting strain to one ear may be discord itself to another.
The wise man tells us that as vinegar upon nitre, so is he that singeth songs to a sad heart. The song in itself may embody the soul of delight, and yet it may be misery itself to the ear which is not in tune therewith. So is it with my text. It is a short, but inexpressibly sweet stanza. I hate the yoke, and I will not bow my neck.
The next word of our text, which we may well call the golden canticle of labour, is even more distasteful to the carnal mind. The most of men are careless and indifferent to then heavenly King; they remember all things else except the God who made them. We find them willing to serve their country, to serve science, literature, art, trade, but, as to serving God, they will have none of it. The spirit of this age is too much that of Pharaoh. Therefore the wise man turneth upon his heel, and saith that he will serve any other master sooner than serve the Lord.
He who obeys the King of kings is himself a king. Any connection between religion and gladness seems to the most of men to be very remote indeed. They go up to their place of worship because it is a terrible necessity of custom that respectable people should meet in certain fixed places on the Sabbath; but they are glad when the service is short — exceedingly glad if it could be made so short as to be omitted altogether.
They look upon their religious exercises as a tax which they pay to God, or rather, as a tax which they pay to respectability, for living in a country where so many think it right to profess the Christian faith. There is an old legend, that when the Queen of Sheba came to see Solomon, she posed him with many difficulties, and, among the rest, placed before him a vase of artificial flowers, which were so skilfully made that for awhile Solomon could not tell which of two bouquets of flowers were the handiwork of man, until he bade them open the window wide, and watched to see to which the bees would fly.
No bees or flies would lodge upon the artificial, but only upon the genuine ones, for there alone they discerned the mystic sweetness which dwells in the secret aroma of the living bloom. As for the true believer in Jesus, he serves his God because he loves to serve him; he assembles with the great congregation because it is his delight to worship the Most High.
To him it is the greatest of all earthly joys, and the antepast of joys celestial, to serve the Lord with hand, and heart, and strength, and to spend and be spent for his glory. I ask you, before we go farther, to let this be a point of judgment with every hearer as to whether his soul finds joy in his religion or not; let each man enquire whether that which he professes to possess ever causes him delight?
With all our cares and sorrows, we who have believed have learned to rejoice in the name of our God; but the base-born professor dre the majesty of heaven, and feels no flames of childlike love within his bosom. Like slaves, they fear the whip, but they know not the force of constraining love which rules within the hearts of adopted and heaven-born sons of God. In our text, glome service is commended and commanded. We shall first notice its secret springs; then we will endeavour to track its manifest streams; a word or two about its difficulties; some other suggestions about its excellence; and then the conclusion.
Briefly on each point. These are too many for me to mention them all, but the following may serve as a sample. One main cause why the believer serves God with gladness is, that he is free from the bondage of the law. When the believer serves the Lord, it is with no idea whatever of obtaining eternal life thereby. Far from this; he knows that he is saved; he understands that through faith in the Lord Jesus he has been delivered once for all from the penalty of all his sins — they are all forgiven : he is not afraid of the consequences of them — they are blotted out for ever; as for heaven, he knows that eternal life is his portion, as the gift of sovereign grace — he is secure of that.
O you who are seeking salvation by the works of the law, what a miserable life yours must be! Why, you are haunted with the miserable foreboding that unless you do this and that, you will forfeit the good will of God, and perish! O miserable slaves, your life is spent in bondage; you shall never be fit to die: and now you know not what it is to live; for living, you dread to. Nothing can cover a naked soul but the righteousness of our Lord Jesus. More zealously than the most earnest work-truster will the believer serve, and so he will prove that no power in all world is more mighty than the force of love.
Do you not see, then, how we can serve the Lord with gladness? Because, when we make mistakes in serving God, we know they will not destroy us; because, notwithstanding the thousand infirmities and imperfections of our service, we know that Jesus washes all away in his precious blood. Another reason why the Christian serves God with gladness, is because he has a lively sense of the contrast between his present service and his former slavery. What a hard, cruel, Egyptian bondage, was that out of which Jesus brought us!
We thought it liberty, but when our eyes were opened, we found it to be captivity itself, for we found that the wages of sin is death. When sin became exceeding sinful in our esteem, then we felt the iron enter into our soul, and longed to break the chain. To serve the devil, even when he gives us most of the sweets of sin, is intolerable bondage to a sensible, awakened sinner; but to serve Christ, how pleasant, how joyful! Every nature has its instinct. If the Maker creates a bird, it is not painful to that bird to fly, and no force is needed to make it take wing — its instinct is to 'do so.
For a fish to swim is no troublesome matter: that element, which might be very distasteful to the bird, is natural enough and pleasing enough to the fish. Now, when God creates in his people a spiritual nature, he puts into them impulsive, energetic instincts, which push them forward or restrain them, as the case may be. Take the case of the well beloved, who is the pattern of all the family. Did not you know that there was a necessity laid upon me, an uncontrollable impulse within me which drove me forward to accomplish the will of him that sent me?
The instincts of the new nature, when we follow them out, lead us into service, and consequently there comes into our soul a pleasure unknown to those who are not partakers of the regenerate nature. I have said that to the Christian it is a delight to serve God, and so it is, because it exercises in him those powers which yield delight. There is always a delight in benevolence; now, to tell to our fellow sinners the way of salvation, is the exercise of the benevolence of our heart, and there must be pleasure in it. To serve God causes the exercise of faith, and to exercise faith is one of the grandest pleasures to which a mortal can attain.
Hence, to serve God with faith and confidence must be delightful. Believing service is not the performance of a work naturally irksome to us, to which we bring ourselves by effort; but Christian service is the doing of sacred duties, which to our new nature are congenial occupations, things in which we take our delights. Those grand old builders who erected the famous cathedrals of the olden times, and laid out so much time and skill in carving the ornaments and piling the pinnacles, shall we pity them for having worked so hard?
Far from it. No pity did they require. Pity would be wasted on them. They were in their element when they were producing this thing of beauty, or that specimen of wondrous art. And so with the Christian. The service of God is not to him an employment from which he would escape if he could.
No; he feels it to be an intense delight, and only wishes that he could be more perfectly taken up with it. Another reason why the Christian is conscious of great gladness in serving God is, that he has a sense of honour with it. Did you ever reflect how wondrous a condescension it is in God to allow a creature to serve him?
He has no dependence upon his creatures. The greatest of spirits he has ever made are as nothing before him, and yet, see! Can I give something to my Creator? Can I do a service to my Redeemer? May I lay my humble tribute at his feet to whom all things belong? Ah, then, how am I honoured! It is an honour to receive from God, but a greater honour still to be a donor to God.
Man is put in a very high place when God condescends to make him a co-worker with himself in the economy of grace, and accepts from his creature the homage of his body and his soul. Now, it is well known that every man will do work which he feels to be an honour much more easily than that which he thinks degrades him. There have been thousands of enterprises undertaken by men when they have been put upon martial honour which they never would have undertaken for mere fee or reward. And shall the Christian be altogether insensible to the motive of honour?
Shall he not feel it to be his greatest glory to serve his God? And will there not be from this a stream of joy flowing over all our holy work? Furthermore, the believer, when he serves God, knows that his service is not the highest place which he occupies. The spirit of adoption within him crieth Abba Father. He looks upon the Lord Jesus Christ as his elder brother. Ay, and beyond that, he hears from the sacred Book that he is married unto Christ.
Jesus has become his bridegroom, and he is the beloved spouse. He understands that there is a union near and dear, vital and matchless, between him and his Master, so that Jesus is the Head, and he is a member of the same body. Do you see how the thought that the believer is more than a servant, enables him to do more than a servant could do, and gives him a gladness in his service which the mere servant cannot understand?
We are not to be rewarded for the merit of our works, but still the free grace of God has promised that we shall not toil for nought. So the humble, trustful worker, setteth to his seal that Cod is true, and goeth on in his service, waiting upon his gracious Master, not with despondency and timorous fear, but serving the Lord with gladness evermore.
Beloved, in the first place, we should always serve the Lord with gladness in the public assemblies of his people. The more hypocritical a people are, the more solemnly miserable their outward aspect when at worship. As a general rule, I believe that those places of worship where it is thought to be wicked ever to have smiling faces, are dens of formalism, where there is no life of Cod at all. I know this, if you go through Continental churches, perhaps two out of three of the preachers are downright deists, or infidels of some class or other; and you will find the most horribly sanctimonious faces, and tones, and manners amongst clergymen, especially among the worst of them.
Not believing a word they say, they are obliged to pull as long a face as possible, to look as if they were in earnest, though they are not. Let the Sabbath always begin so — not with the dull solemn note of the sackbut, but with psaltery and harp with joyful sound. Then when we come up to the house of God, what is there to make us sad? Is there not everything to make us happy? Shall we sing the praises of God dolorously, and imitate the worshippers of Moloch, who serve him with shrieks and groans? Nay, the God we adore is to be praised with happy hearts and smiling faces, and joyful notes.
And when we pray spread to him shall we be sorrowful? To pray to our Father — to spread his wants before his father — can that be bondage? Nay, blessed be his name, if there be a sweet place on earth, it is the mercy-seat where earth communes with heaven. And when we listen to the reading of the word of God, or the preaching of his truth, shall that be a weariness?
Yes, when we have no part or lot in it; when it is like reading a will in which we have no legacy; but if the gospel be preached as our gospel, the gospel of our salvation, and we have a share in it, what can so inspire our soul with joy? Yes, let the bells of your heart ring merry peals on the Sabbath. O ye chosen seed, be glad; and of all the days in the week, look at the first as the prime glory of all the feast-days of the soul.
Do not pull the blinds down, let the sun shine into the room more cheerily than on week days. Your God is happy, and would have you happy; and if all the other six days you have to bear your burdens, yet, at least, cast them aside on this resurrection-day, when you must not slumber in the grave of sorrow. Well, but by serving God, we do not mean merely when we come to a place of worship; for to us, in one sense, there are no places of worship.
All places are places of worship to a Christian; wherever he is, he ought to be in a worshipping frame of mind. Brethren, when we serve God at the family altar, let us try as parents to mix gladness with it. It is a great mistake when the Christian parent makes the reading and prayer in the family a dull monotonous work.
Let us be cheerful and happy at family worship. The genuine Christian knows that he can serve God as much in the shop as he can in the meeting-house; that the service of God can be carried on in the farmyard and market, while he is buying and selling, quite as well as in singing and praying. Should not we do our business much better if we looked upon it in that light? Would not it be a happy thing, if, regarding all our work as serving God, we went about it with gladness? Perhaps your work is very hard; well, be not an eye-servant, or a man-pleaser, but with singleness of heart serve God in that work, and you will perform it with gladness.
Perhaps your situation is one in which your toil is very arduous. Consider that God has put you there. That is a real religion which goes with us through all the acts of daily life: that is a sham religion which only shows itself when a man is on his knees. A few days ago, in the mountains, we went down in a valley to see a wonderful cascade, a marvellous sheet of water precipitating itself from lofty rocks, and there sat our German friends by scores contemplating it, and reverently admiring its sublimities.How to find gladness in serving god
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Do You Serve God with Gladness?