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expression : "The Lord shall not suffer thy foot to be moved."
Have you only gained one step up, my brother? God will keep you upon it. You will not lose that. Depend upon it and try another. Oh,” you say, “I am-I am so nervous. What, if trying to make another step, I should slip?" Do not be afraid. Aim at the heights in holiness. Aim at big things in holiness. Aim, man, at going up, and up, and up. Aim at rising above this London and its streets crammed with harlots. Aim at getting up and up, until all that kind of thing is like so many crawling black motes-nothing to you because you are so far up above it. Do not be afraid of falling down. God is able to make you stand. Trust Him for your climbing. He is the great Climber. He will go with you. In Alpine climbing one of the helps is, as you know, that all the climbers are tied together. The guide has a rope round his waist, and that rope is passed down, and down, and down, and put round the different members of the party. That is one of the helps, and it is one of the dangers. Did we not read not long ago, concerning a climbing party with one of the most experienced guides, that of the party made bad step and fell, and dragged the next with him ? The poor guide knew what was happening. The rope did not break; that would have saved some of them; and, therefore, wildly he stenımed his foot before him, but it was all in vain. The dead weight hurled him and all of them over.
So perish none who climb for holiness and heaven. With God as the Keeper of their feet that can never happen. Even when my feet do slip, the rope binds me to my Guide. I slip and sprawl; yea, and sometimes my Guide allows me even to go over the precipice, to sober me, to cool me, and to take the “swagger” and the “ bounce" from me; but He is there, and He holds me, and He draws me back from the jaws of destruction, and sets me on the mountain side again. “My foot standeth
in an even place," said the Psalmist on another occasion. “He will not suffer thy foot to be moved."
What great strength this gives us. To change the figure a little, we have a tremendous conflict. A great many hands are against us; and you say-you use the phrase yourself—"I am going to put my foot down." Well, I wish you would, for it is high time, if you have got one, that you did put it down, and that you put it down with some emphasis. Many a man puts his foot down, and it does not stay long. He is driven back. The odds against him are too strong. Not so with the one who makes God his help. God will strengthen you, and, although all the powers of hell and darkness may come against you, the devil will dash against you in vain, and he will have to say at the end of the day, “I never drove him back from his foothold an inch. How often have I rigen at these believers, and I have railed at them, and I have dashed myself against them, only to find that there is in them, with all their weakness, something of the adamantine strength of the Son of God whom I also tried, but never could make to yield. They are all like Him. I cannot bear them down." Now, we are all like Him if we are His. If we are living by spiritual methods, faith, and prayer, and the promises, there is in us the strength of the Rock of Ages Himself. “He will not suffer thy foot to be moved.” God stands behind us, and God's own honour is engaged in it, and God Himself seems to say, “ Must My people for ever be made a very football for the world, and the devil, and the flesh? It cannot be, and it shall not be. I will strengthen thee, I will uphold thee with the right hand of My righteousness."
And then the Psalmist sings, “He that keepeth thee shall not slumber. Behold, He that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.” The figure changes a little. The Psalmist has no strict logical plan for his Psalm, but still his soul is filled with this blessed idea—this twofold idea
My God and me.” It is as you have it in the 23rd Psalm: “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. He restoreth my soul : He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake." God and me. God and my soul; and, working on that line, He says, “I am always safe; I am always sure ; for He that keeps me never slumbers nor sleeps.”
That is a familiar Bible idea. I do not know whether the healthy people just realize the comfort of this. You will pardon me for illustrating things so often by my mother. I am her son, and it is legitimate in a son to do this, is it not? May your son live to do the same for you. My mother was weak, and many a long day and many a longer night she was ill, and sometimes we had to sit up with her. You know what happens when you are sitting up with your mother. You are strong and healthy, and it is the time of sleep; and I can remember yet how she used to waken when I would be sitting by the bedside, or halflying alongside of her, and clutch me by the arm, and say, “Johnny, don't sleep; don't sleep." You know what that is : “Keep awake. Speak to me."
You know that awful nervousness that comes to people: “Do not sleep; do not sleep." The fact that you are waking gives them their only chance of sleeping, and if they wake and start and find you sleeping, all their terrors rush in upon them. Well, that is a terror which the Christian never need have. You may go anywhere, high or low, rough or smooth, dark or bright, and no such fear need ever invade your soul. God is with you night and day, sleeping or waking, on sea or land. There He is, never drowsy, never heavy, never wearied of watching you, never saying, “You must try to go along by yourself now." He that keepeth thee will never slumber nor sleep. There is a great strength in it. How God must love us, and how tender must be the tie between us and Him. All through the night He is there watching our every breath, and seeing how we start, and putting His hand upon ours, saying, “ Lie still, my child. Hush.” It is a trying business. Whatever do those children of ours start up and cry for? What, in all the world, is wrong with them? And how often have I reasoned and expostulated with mine, “Lie still !” I have gone and done everything for them; and what a great reward you get when, at last, the little mite stops its yelling, and looks up with a little smile and falls off to sleep. I think that some of us might give God that satisfaction, might we not? He has been standing a long while over you, and watching you, and saying, “Peace, peace.” Now, do not be frightened, some of you grey-haired people—frightened about your son, frightened about your daughter, ne vousness for ever getting up in you, and the distrust for ever crying out. God, with His fatherly hand, like a nursing father or a nursing mother (according to the words He used in Isaiah), is patting you on the shoulder, and coming close to you, and saying, “Hush, now! Be quiet! There is no fear. Leave all that to Me." That is God by night: His presence is our night-light.
And then the next verse refers to God during the day. For, oh, my friend, when we get out during the day, and go down to the town there, and go about our daily business, we are apt to think : Now, we do not need all that our Minister has been preaching to us about—God's care, and God's keeping, and God being our nursing Father. During the day we will kind of forge ahead' without Him.' Nay; do not make that mistake, for you will not. Let God be your Keeper down in business there. I speak to you business men. Suffer the word of exhortation. On some grounds I have no right to speak to you. I stand here and speak for God, and say, when you go back to the office, before you take that budget of letters and open them, look up to God, and say, “Now, Thou art to help me herehere among these papers, and manuscripts, and these clerks, , and this business of per cents, and I do not know what all.”. Ay, they are dangerous things—"per cents." Oh, Heaven help you! You need God among the per cents. You will lose your soul among the per cents and the ledgers. Remember the overshadowing Presence, and, while it keeps you, may it also sanctify you. • The Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand. The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.” Travellers in tropical countries know the great danger from a stroke of the sun, or a stroke of the moon, or from lying out at night in the mists and the damps. All the dangers of the way are met and forestalled by this great and mighty Keeper of His people. What a wonderful people we are. All the day long, and all the night through, God is marking the very hours. Every tick of the clock “prompts with remembrance of a present God.” The Lord's attentions to us, that is to say, are as delicate as they are mighty: He can make Himself as a shade, a veil, a screen to us. He is not only a ROCK for strength, He is also the SHADOW cast by “a great rock in a weary land.” “He tempers the deceitful ray” of sun and moon.
And, last of all, the “keeps" come in again. "The Lord shall keep thee from all evil. He shall keep thy soul. The Lord shall keep thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, even for evermore.” I want to apply this before I close the Bible. I know that my thinking is just of the commonest. I could not improve upon this. All that I hoped for was that we might get the music of this Psalm a little more into our hearts, and get to believe it. “The Lord shall keep thy soul.” My friend, how is it with your soul? You are very anxious about your body. Whenever anything troubles you, off you go to the doctor, and you say, “My medical man.” You have got a man whom you call your“ keeper" in the medical sense. And you have insured your house and your furniture, being anxious that they should be kept from danger. and from