Wednesdays with Watson is a weekly reading taken from my favorite Puritan writer, Thomas Watson. This week’s selection is taken from All Things for Good, and a continuation from last week’s post.
(3) This word, “thy God”, implies the relation of a Husband. This is a near and sweet relation. The husband seeks the good of his spouse; he were unnatural that should go about to destroy his wife. “No man ever yet hated his own. flesh? (Eph. 5.29). There is a marriage relation between God and His people. “Thy Maker is thy Husband” (Isa. 54.5). God entirely loves His people. He engraves them upon the palms of His hands (Isa. 49.16). He sets them as a seal upon His breast (Cant. 8.6). He will give kingdoms for their ransom (Isa. 43.3). This shows how near they lie to His heart. If He be a Husband whose heart is full of love, then He will seek the good of His spouse. Either He will shield off an injury, or will turn it to the best.
(4) This word, “thy God”, implies the relation of a Friend. “This is my friend” (Cant. 5.16). A friend is, as Augustine says, half one’s self. He is studious and desirous how he may do His friend good; he promotes his welfare as his own. Jonathan ventured the king displeasure for his friend David (1 Sam. 19.4). God is our Friend, therefore He will turn all things to our good. There are false friends; Christ was betrayed by a friend: but God is the best Friend.
He is a faithful Friend. “Know therefore that the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God” (Deut. 7.9). He is faithful in His love. He gave His very heart to us, when He gave the Son out of His bosom. Here was a pattern of love without a parallel. He is faithful in His promises. “God, that cannot lie, hath promised” (Titus 1.2). He may change His promise, but cannot break it. He is faithful in His dealings; when He is afflicting He is faithful. In faithfulness thou hast afflicted me” (Psalm 119.75). He is sifting and refining us as silver (Psalm 66.10).
God is an immutable Friend. “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Heb 13.5). Friends often fail at a pinch. Many deal with their friends as women do with flowers; while they are fresh they put them in their bosoms, but when they begin to wither they throw them away. Or as the traveller does with the sun-dial; if the sun shines upon the dial, the traveller will step out of the road, and look upon the dial; but if the sun does not shine upon it, he will ride by, and never take any notice of it. So, if prosperity shine on men, then friends will look upon them; but if there be a cloud of adversity on them, they will not come near them. But God is a Friend for ever; He has said, “I will never leave thee.” Though David walked in the shadow of death, he knew he had a Friend by him.
“I will fear no evil, for thou art with me” (Psalm 23.4). God never takes off His love wholly from His people. “He loved them unto the end” (John 13.1). God being such a Friend, will make all things work for our good. There is no friend but will seek the good of his friend.
(5) This word, “thy God”, implies yet a nearer relation, the relation between the Head and the members. There is a mystical union between Christ and the saints. He is called, “the Head of the church” (Eph. 5.23). Does not the head consult for the good of the body? The head guides the body, it sympathizes with it, it is the fountain of spirits, it sends forth influence and comfort into the body. All the parts of the head are placed for the good of the body. The eye is set as it were in the watch-tower, it stands sentinel to spy any danger that may come to the body, and prevent it. The tongue is both a taster and an orator. If the body be a microcosm, or little world, the head is the sun in this world, from which proceeds the light of reason. The head is placed for the good of the body. Christ and the saints make one body mystical. Our Head is in heaven, and surely He will not suffer His body to be hurt, but will consult for the safety of it, and make all things work for the good of the body mystical.