Gods People Warned
by James Smith, 1860
David loved to admire and meditate on God's glorious works in creation and providence — but he generally turned from his works to his word. This was strikingly illustrated in the nineteenth Psalm. He admires the heavens and the earth, the day and the night — but especially the sun. Having done so, he turns to the word as pre-eminently excellent, and in glowing terms, shows its nature, design, and effects. He values it above gold, enjoys it more than honey, and derives incalculable benefit from it. Let us look at one point in his testimony, "Moreover by them is your servant warned." Psalm 19:11.
God's people need warning. They are often young and inexperienced, and as such need to be frequently and solemnly warned. Their foes are crafty and well disciplined, prepared to take every advantage of their circumstances and inexperience. Their path is dangerous, and the further they go, the more dangerous it becomes. New and powerful temptations are always and everywhere assaulting them. They are not generally sufficiently cautious and prudent. They do not suspect danger — until they are caught in the snare! They have much at stake, for though their souls may be safe, they may be robbed of their peace — they may be injured in their usefulness — and their honor may be laid in the dust. In one hour, by yielding to temptation, or by unwary walking; for peace — they may have bitterness; for usefulness — misery; and for honor — disgrace and degradation. Therefore,
The scriptures are intended to warn us. They warn us that we have deceitful hearts, that may not be trusted. An opposing devil, full of malice and wickedness. An ensnaring world that is false and cruel. That deceitful errors are circulating around us. And that the best are liable to be led astray. They warn us against leaning to our own understanding, against trusting to our own strength, against feeling secure, and so being off our guard; and against wandering from God, and so falling from our steadfastness.
The warnings of scripture demand close and constant attention. This is especially the case in these three circumstances:
in youth — when the passions are full of life and vigor;
in prosperity — when our hearts are apt to be unduly ;
in adversity — when we are liable to be depressed and gloomy.
That we may pay close and constant attention to Scripture warnings, they are conveyed to us in plain words, in the simplest possible terms. They are illustrated by the most striking and affecting examples. They are accompanied with most affectionate exhortations. They are backed by the most solemn cautions. Every warning flows from a Father's love. Every warning is intended to prevent pain, and save us from sorrow. Every warning is calculated to deepen our holiness, and perfect our Christian character.
Let us then, read and remember God's warnings. If young, "How shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to your word." If we are advancing in life, still let us imitate David, who said, "Your word have I hid inmy heart," to comfort, to encourage — to solace — to soothe — to strengthen? No, "that I might not sin against you."
Let its prize and value God's warnings. They are as precious as gold. They are as necessary as food. They are calculated to preserve and bless. They bear the impress of the highest wisdom. They embody the holiest love. They express the deepest interest in our welfare and prosperity.
Let us therefore profit by taking God's warnings. Let us not be careless, or presumptuous, or indulge in carnal security. But let us watch and be sober. Let us walk warily and wisely. Let us especially regard that, "Let him who thinks he stands, take heed lest he fall."
Never let us despise a scripture warning. Let the young especially ponder and regard Solomon's warning, "My son, keep your father's commands and do not forsake your mother's teaching. Bind them upon your heart forever; fasten them around your neck. When you walk, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you; when you awake, they will speak to you. For these commands are a lamp, this teaching is a light, and the corrections of discipline are the way to life, keeping you from the immoral woman, from the smooth tongue of the wayward wife. Do not lust in your heart after her beauty or let her captivate you with her eyes." Proverbs 6:20-25
Sinner, God's word warns you. There is a tremendous storm of wrath coming, a storm of fire and brimstone; a storm, the stores of which will never be exhausted — but which will beat upon the naked soul of the sinner, forever and ever — from that storm you are warned to flee. There is a refuge before you — that is Jesus. You may flee and be safe, by simply believing on him. You may realize and enjoy that safety at once, by betaking yourself to him. You are warned against delay, against neglecting so great a salvation; therefore escape for your life, tarry not in all the plain. The road is clear, the refuge is open, the invitation is renewed, the warning is repeated. Flee, flee, O flee to Jesus! In him, there is safety — out of him, there is everlasting destruction, eternal death, and torments that never, never cease. By the Scriptures you are now warned, by the Scriptures you will be judged at the last day, and by the Scriptures you will be damned to hell, if you live and die out of Christ.