THESE be the last words of David; so we read at the commencement of the chapter. Many have been the precious sentences which have fallen front his inspired lips; seraphic has been the music which has dropped from his fingers when they flew along the strings of his harp; but now that sweet voice is to be hushed in death, and now the son of Jesse is to sleep with his fathers. Surely it were well to press around his bed, to hear the dying monarch’s last testimony; yea, we can conceive that angels themselves would for an instant check their rapid flight, that they might visit the chamber of the dying mighty one, and listen to his last death song. It is always blessed to hear the words of departing saints. How many choice thoughts have we gained in the bedchamber of the righteous, beloved? I remember one sweet idea, which I once won from a death-bed. A dying man desired to have one of the Psalms read to him, and the 17th being chosen, he stopped at the 6th verse, “Incline thine ear unto me and hear my speech,” and faintly whispering, said, “Ah, Lord, I cannot speak, my voice fails me; incline thine ear, put it against my mouth, that thou mayest hear me.” None but a weak and dying man, whose life was ebbing fast, could have conceived such a thought. It is well to hear saints’ words when they are near heaven—when they stand upon the banks of Jordan. But here is a special case, for these be the last words of David. They are something more than human utterances; for we are told that the Spirit of the Lord spake by him, and his word was in his tongue. These were his closing accents. Ah! methinks, lisping these words he rose from earth to join the chorus of the skies. He commenced the sentence upon earth, and he finished it in heaven. He began, “Although my house be not so with God;” and as he winged his flight to heaven, he still sang, “yet hast thou made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure: “and now before the throne he constantly hymns the same strain—“yet hast thou made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure.” I hope, my friends, there are many of us who can join in this verse this morning, and who hope to close our earthly pilgrimage with this upon our tongue.
We shall notice first, that the Psalmist had sorrow in his house—“ Although my house be not so with God.” Secondly, he had confidence in the covenant—“ yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant.” And thirdly, he had satisfaction in his heart, for he says—“ this is all my salvation, and all my desire.
I. The Psalmist says he had sorrow in his house—“Although my house be not so with God.” What man is there of all our race, who, if he had to write his history, would not need to use a great many “althoughs”? If you read the biography of any man, as recorded in the Sacred Word, you will always find a “but,” or an “although,” before you have finished. Naaman was a mighty man of valour, and a great man with his master, but he was a leper. There is always a “but” in every condition, a crook in every lot, some dark tint upon the marble pillar, some cloud in the summer sky, some discord in the music, some alloy in the gold. So David, though a man who had been raised from the sheepfold, a mighty warrior, a conqueror of giants, a king over a great nation, yet, had his “althoughs;” and the “although” which he had, was one in his own house. Those are the worst troubles which we have in our own household. We love not an evil beast abroad, but we hate the lion most when it prowls upon our own estates, or croucheth on the floor of our dwelling. The greatest trouble with the thorn is when it lieth in our bed, and we feel it in our pillow. Civil war is always the fiercest—those are foes indeed who are of our own household. I think, perhaps David intended, when he said “Although my house be not so with God,” to speak partly of his affairs. If any man else had looked at David’s affairs—the government of his country—he would have said, “David’s government is the mirror of excellence.” His house was so rightly ordered, that few of his subjects could murmur at him; but David recollected that a greater and keener eye than that of man rested on him; and he says, speaking of his empire and his house—for you know the word “house” in Scripture often means our business, our affairs, our transactions, (“Set thine house in order, for thou must die, and not live,”)—he says, although before man my house may be well swept, and garnished, yet it is not so with God as I can desire. Oh, beloved, there are some of us who can walk before our fellow-men conscious of innocence; we dare defy the gaze of our fellow-mortals; we can say, “Lord! thou knowest I am not wicked;” we are blameless before this perverse generation: we walk amongst them as lights in the world, and God has helped us, so that we are clean from the great transgression; we are not afraid of a criticism of our character, we are not fearful of being inspected by the eyes of all men, for we feel that through God’s grace we have been kept from committing ourselves; he has kept us, and the evil one toucheth us not. But with all this conscious innocence—with all that dignity with which we stand before our fellows—when we go into God’s sight, how changed we are! Ah, then, my friends, we say not, “Lord! thou knowest I am not wicked;” but rather, we fall prostrate, and cry, “Unclean, unclean, unclean;” and as the leper cools his heated brow with the water running in the cool sequestered brook, so do we have our body in Siloam’s stream, and strive to wash ourselves clean in the water and blood from Christ’s riven side. We feel that our house is “not so with God ;” though in the person of Jesus we are free from sin, and white as angels are: yet when we stand before God, in our own persons, we are obliged to confess, that honest as we may be, upright as we have been, just and holy before men, yet our house is “not so with God.”