XIX. JESUS THE KEEPER
`The Lord is Thy keeper: ... The Lord shall keep thee from all evil; ... He shall keep thy soul.' -- Ps. 121:4,7
`I know Him whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that He is able to guard that which I have committed unto Him against that day.' -- 2 Tim. 1:12
For young disciples of Christ who are still weak, there is no lesson that is more necessary than this, that the Lord has not only received them, but that He will also keep them. (Gen. 28:15; Deut. 7:9; 32:10; Ps. 27:8; 89:33,34; Rom. 12:2,29) The lovely name, `the Lord Thy keeper,' must for this end be carried in the heart, until the assurance of an Almighty keeping becomes as strong with us as it was with Paul, when he spake that glorious word: `I know Him in whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that He is able to guard that which I have committed unto Him against that day.' Come and learn this lesson from him.
Learn from his to deposit your pledge with Jesus. Paul had surrendered himself, body and soul, to the Lord Jesus: that was His pledge which he had deposited with the Lord. You have also surrendered yourselves to the Lord, but perhaps not with the clear understanding that it is in order to be kept every day. Do this now daily. Deposit your soul with Jesus as a costly pledge that He will keep secure. Do this same thing with every part of your life. Is there something that you cannot rightly hold -- your heart, because it is too worldly; (Ps. 31:6; Jer. 31:33) your tongue, because it is too idle; (Ps. 51:17; 141:3) your temper, because it is too passionate; (Ps. 119:165; Jer. 26:3,4; John 14:27; Phil. 4:6,7; 2 Thess. 3:16) your calling to confess the Lord, because you are too weak? (Isa. 50:7; Jer. 1:9; Matt. 10:19,20; Luke 26:15) Learn, then, to deposit it as a pledge for keeping with Jesus, in order that He may fulfil in you the promise of God about it. You often pray and strive too much in vain against a sin: it is because, although this is done with God's help, you would be the person who would overcome. No: entrust the matter wholly to Jesus: `the battle is not yours, but God's. (Ex. 14:14; Deut. 3:22; 20:4 2 Chron. 20:15) Leave it in His hands: believe in Him to do it for you: `This is the victory that hath overcome the world, even your faith.' (Matt. 9:23; 1 John 5:3,4) But you must first place it wholly out of your hands in His.
Learn from Paul to set your confidence only on the power of Jesus. I am persuaded that He is able to keep my pledge. You have an almighty Jesus to keep you. Faith keeps itself occupied only with His omnipotence. (Gen. 17:1; 18:14; Jer. 32:17,27; Matt. 8:27; 28:18; Luke 1:37,49; 18:27; Rom. 4:21; Heb. 11:18) Let your faith especially be strengthened in what God is able to do for you. (Rom. 4:21; 14:4; 2 Cor. 9:8; 2 Tim. 1:12) Expect with certainty from Him that He will do for you great and glorious things, entirely above your own strength. See in the Holy Scriptures how constantly the power of God was the ground of the trust of His people. Take these words and hide them in your heart. Let the power of Jesus fill your soul. Ask only: `What is my Jesus able to do?' What you really trust Him with, He is able to keep. (John 13:1; 1 Cor. 1:8,9)
And learn also from Paul where he obtained the assurance that this power would keep his pledge: it was in his knowledge of Jesus. `I know Him whom I have believed:' therefore I am assured. (John 10:14,28; Gal. 2:20; 2 Tim. 4:18; 1 John 2:13,14) You can trust the power of Jesus, if you know that He is yours, if you hold converse with Him as your friend. Then you can say: `I know whom I have believed: I know that he holds my very dear: I know and am assured that He is able to keep my pledge.' So runs the way to the full assurance of faith: Deposit your pledge with Jesus; give yourselves wholly, give everything, into His hands; think much on His might, and reckon upon Him; and live with Him so that you may always know who He is in whom you have believed.
Young disciples of Christ, pray, receive this word: `The Lord is thy keeper.' For every weakness, every temptation, learn to deposit your soul with Him as a pledge. You can reckon upon it, you can shout joyfully over it: `The Lord shall keep you from all evil. (Josh. 1:9; Ps. 23:4; Rom. 8:35,39)
Holy Jesus, I take Thee as my keeper. Let Thy name, `The Lord thy keeper,' sound as a song in my heart the whole day. Teach me in every need to deposit my case as a pledge with Thee, and to be assured that Thou art able to keep it. Amen.
1. There was once a woman who for years long, and with much prayer, had striven against her temper, but could not obtain the victory. On a certain day she resolved not to come out of her room until by earnest prayer she had the power to overcome. She went out in the opinion that she should succeed. Scarcely had she been in the household, when something gave her offense and caused her to be angry. She was deeply ashamed, burst into tears, and hastened back to her room. A daughter, who understood the way of faith better than she, went to her and said, `Mother, I have observed your conflict: may I tell you what I think the hindrance is?' `Yes, my child,' `Mother, you struggle against temper, and pray that the Lord may help you to overcome. This is wrong. The Lord must do it alone. You must give temper wholly into His hands: then He takes it wholly, and He keeps you.' The mother could not at first understand this, but later it was made plain to her. And she enjoyed the blessedness of the life in which Jesus keeps us, and we by faith have the victory. Do you understand this?
2. `The Lord must help me to overcome sin:' the expression is altogether outside of the New Testament. The grace of God in the soul does not become a help to us. He will do everything: `The Spirit has made me free from the law of sin.'
3. When you surrender anything to the Lord for keeping, take heed to two things: that you give it wholly into His hands; and that you have it there. Let Him have it wholly: He will carry out your case gloriously.