"He shall call upon Me and I will answer him; I will be withhim in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him."— Psalm 91:15.
WHEN considering the above text, we are naturally interested to know who or what class would be thus favored of God and whether or not we might become members of that class. The context seems to show that the Psalm is prophetic and refers to the Lord Jesus and the Church—The Christ as a whole. No doubt it has been true in a certain sense of some others. For instance, when Abraham called upon the Lord, God heard him in his troubles and blessed him. And the Lord will yet give him great honor, because he loved and trusted God. The same might be said of the faithful ones all through the Jewish Dispensation. But the Psalm seems to refer especially to The Christ. These are the ones who bear the closest relationship to God. Their love is manifested in a special sense by their faithfulness to the will of God, their faithfulness in honoring His name, their faithfulness in upholding His Truth, in being willing to die in God's service, in laying down their lives for the brethren, in developing the fruits of the Holy Spirit; for all this is included in their covenant.
It is this class, therefore, that the Lord will answer when they call upon Him; it is this class that He will deliver and honor, will care for in trouble. All who come to God, must necessarily, before they can be accepted, enter into a Covenant of Sacrifice with Him through Christ, giving up their will—loving the Lord and His will better than themselves and their own will or the will of any other. Of course, a large proportion of those who proclaim themselves to be Christians are merely nominal Christians—Christians in name only, who never made a covenant with God.
Of those who do enter into this Covenant, not many, judging from what we can observe, carry it out faithfully, submitting their lives and their every interest to God's will. Noticeable examples of the faithful ones of the past were our Lord Jesus and His Apostles. And there have been others, of course, of this faithful class throughout this Gospel Age, now closing. All these are styled by Jehovah His jewels, and are to be made by Him into a glorious diadem, the Lord Jesus being its brightest and choicest gem. These are to show forth during eternal ages Jehovah's Wisdom, Justice, Love and Power. Throughout this Gospel Age God has been working in these to will and to do His good pleasure.
CONDITIONS OF OBTAINING THE PROMISE
But God works in no one contrary to that one's own will. If we wish to step out from under Christ's instruction, there is nothing to prevent us. God would that we remain, but is not willing to urge upon us, to press upon us, this matter. God wishes only such to worship Him as worship Him in spirit and in Truth, because they love Him. This class who seek faithfully to do the Lord's will because they love Him may call upon Him in every trouble and difficulty. His answer will not come in an audible voice, and may not come in the manner that we expect; but He will answer in the best way the petitions of His saints which are asked in harmony with His will, His Word. That is, as Jesus said, "If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you [if you remember and act upon My teaching], ye may ask what ye will and it shall be done unto you"; for those thus abiding in Him would ask only those things which God has provided for them, only such things as His providence has arranged for them, only such things as His Word authorizes His saints to pray for. The Lord has promised these that they shall have their requests. He has been blessing and caring for His people throughout the Gospel Age. Their needs are often supplied before they call. They are to have the Word of God clearly in mind that their prayers and endeavors may be in line with His will. Thus their dis appointments will be His appointments, and will be accepted as of the Lord.
THE BLESSINGS OF TRIBULATION
"I will be with him in trouble," is the promise. The intimation here is that the Lord will not, necessarily, prevent our getting into trouble. We might see the trouble coming and pray to the Lord, but He might not deliver us from the trouble. And we should not ask that we might be spared the affliction if His Wisdom sees it is best for us to have it. The trouble might prove very beneficial to us.
The Lord has already told us in His Word that we are to rejoice even under tribulation; for tribulation, rightly received, will work out for us a "far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory." So while the Lord does not promise us that we shall escape trouble, He does promise that with the trouble He will give His children consolation of heart, sustaining grace, that will enable them to rejoice in the midst of their tribulation. (2 Corinthians 4:6-18; 12:9, 10; Isaiah 43:1, 2.) This was exemplified in our Lord Jesus and in the Apostles. Paul and Silas were able to sing praises to God in prison with their feet fast in the stocks and their backs bleeding from the whippings which they had received. They could rejoice in tribulation for Christ's sake.
The Lord is ever with His people; therefore they should not be discouraged. His children have the comfort and assistance of the letter of the Truth and the spirit of the Truth. But they have all these blessings only in proportion as they are willing to exercise faith; for the glories promised are not yet theirs in reality; these are theirs only by promise now.
OUR FULL DELIVERANCE
"I will deliver him and honor him." The deliverance of the Lord's saints, in the fullest sense of the word, will be by their participation in the First, Chief Resurrection. Our Lord Jesus was delivered from all His trials and afflictions when He was raised from the dead. The promise to the Church also is that we shall be delivered when our resurrection "change" shall come to us. "Sown in weakness," we shall be "raised in power"; sown an animal body, we shall be "raised a spiritual body." This will be the full deliverance, and with it will come the promised honor and exaltation.
There are deliverances, of course, for the children of God at the present time, according to our need. And the Lord gives us a certain kind of honor, but not usually the kind of honor that the world appreciates. This honor may come mixed with such tribulation as would make it not desirable in the world's eye. But the honor that will come to the saints in the end will be such as all will know and will appreciate. All the members of Christ will share in the Kingdom glories and honors with their Head. He and the members of His Body glorified will reign in the Father's Kingdom, and will be associated together throughout all eternity in the great work of God.
"Press on, beloved, in the race, The goal is very near, Faint not, thou soon shalt see His face— Then, be thou of good cheer!"