Our Youth Renewed
“Who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”
IN this delightful Psalm, one remarks how David finds something of praise within him in everything of which he thinks. There are some desponding, morbid, murmuring, ungrateful souls who find reasons for complaining everywhere, but a man of David’s spirit, on the contrary, sucks honey out of every flower and praises God in connection with everything! I noticed, while I was reading just now, how many of these things would have made others mourn, but they only called forth from David’s soul, songs of praise! For instance, “Who forgives all your iniquities”–some would be forever complaining that they had sins and that those sins were a burden, but David sings of sin as pardoned! Some would be mourning before God that they were not well in health, complaining of their sicknesses, but David sang of Him, “Who heals all your diseases.” Morbid minds will be fretting about death and about what might come after death, but David says, “Who redeems your life from destruction.” And now, in the view of his temporal and spiritual blessedness, he pens this verse with which to crown his song, “Who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”
I invite you first notice in this verse and as you notice, ask that you may enjoy–
David speaks of his mouth being satisfied with good things. Satisfaction. A rare word! It rings like a silver bell–satisfaction. The richest man in England has not found it. The greatest conqueror has never won it. The proudest Emperor cannot command it. Satisfaction! It is no more natural to man than it was to the horseleech to cease from craving and crying for itself, “Give! Give!” As well might the sea be thought to be full or its billows to be still, as the heart of man to be thought to be satisfied! It is a spiritual blessing–it is a Divine Grace that comes from the great satisfying God–the God who is, Himself, All-Sufficient, is the only One who can be sufficient to fill the heart of man. Satisfaction! Why, that means enough, and enough is a feast!
David had enough of temporals and so, I trust, have we. If we are of the Apostle’s mind, we have, for having food and raiment, we are therewith content. David had spiritual riches and that satisfied him, and so have we, for if we have Christ, we have all things, for, first, Christ is All and next, He that spared not His own Son, but freely gave Him up for us all, how shall He not, with Him, also freely give us all things? For all things are yours, whether things present or things to come; all are yours and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s. You have enough, then, for you have all things! Your spirit is content with what it has–no, more than content–you can say with David, “My cup runs over.” In receiving Christ into your soul, you have received more than your soul can hold–you are filled with all the fullness of God!
The text, in speaking of satisfaction, uses terms which denote satisfaction.“Who satisfies your mouth with goodthings.” In the mouth is the palate. It is the place in which there is a sensuous kind of enjoyment, which is here put as a figure of a higher and spiritual delight. We do not merely receive God’s good mercies–we enjoy them! We have not lost our taste for them. We do not swallow the honey of the Divine Mercy as though it were so much tasteless white of an egg, but we know, through having our senses exercised and taught of the good Spirit, how to get the flavor, the taste of the Word and to enjoy it. “He satisfies your mouth.” We have, all of us, desires after pleasures which are natural to us, but believing men have desires after higher pleasures–and these desires are, for the time being, satisfied until we get into yonder realm where our capacities are enlarged, our desires shall be increased and there, too, we shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of His house, and shall drink of the river of His pleasures forevermore! Until then, we are satisfied with Christ, satisfied with His salvation, satisfied with the Holy Spirit, satisfied with all His gracious operations, satisfied with the Covenant of Grace, satisfied with its sureness, satisfied with the largeness of its provisions, satisfied with the love of God, satisfied, indeed, with all that the Lord wills, for we can say that His will is our will! There is enough, then, and there is enjoyment of that enough.
Note as you take the words, “Who satisfies your mouth with good thingsSee the variety of the satisfaction that isgiven.” The Christian’s spiritual wealth consists of all manner of good things. As we showed you last Thursday night–of Christ’s fullness have all we received, and Grace for Grace. He gives more Grace. He is the God of all Grace. All sorts of blessings are provided for the Believer and the satisfaction which he enjoys is the result of receiving all the blessings that he can ever need. “He satisfies your mouth with good things,” that is, with pardons bought with blood, with justifying righteousness, perfect and complete–with adoption and all the privileges belonging thereto–with sanctification and all its gracious results! Good things, superlatively good things, Beloved! Not merely on good doctrines and good opinions shall you feed, but on real things, real blessings, and these not all of one sort, nor after one fashion, but like the fruit of that tree which becomes near to the Throne of God, and which bears its fruit every month, and has a variety of fruits to suit the tastes of all who come hungering to eat thereof!
The excellence also of the mercy which satisfies us is mentioned in the text. “Who satisfies your mouth with good things”–emphatically good. Many of “the good things of this life,” as we commonly say, are only good in a very modified sense. They are easily made into curses and they often become temptations. But the good things of Divine Grace are so good that they never can be anything else but good, and so good that they make our bad things good! I mean that they make our bitter affliction sweet and turn our trials into joys! He that gets Christ has such a good thing that no tongue shall ever tell the goodness it. He that gets everlasting love and all the streams that gush from that deep and fathomless fountain, gets things so good, and in the most superlative sense of that word, that they are like God, Himself, who is essentially good. Ah, Christian, what a happy lot is yours! To have good things from the good God and to have an abundance of them, and to have yourself so ravished in the enjoyment of them that your soul can say, “I am satisfied! It is enough. I am content. My soul is overflowing with the good things of God!”
Once more, this satisfaction is continual. The word is in the present tense, “Who satisfies your mouth with goodthings.” It is not, “did satisfy it,” though that is true. He did satisfy my mouth with good things when first I came to Him and perceived the beauty of my Lord Jesus. Often since then has He made His servant to sit at the banquet table and there, in the presence of his enemies has he been fed. But the text is in the present and that means who now satisfies, who,to-morrow when it comes, shall still be your present help and still shall satisfy–who not only will satisfy you in Heaven–though that is true, for I shall be satisfied when I awake in His likeness–but who even now, as far as your capacity goes, continually satisfies you in things here below, not with things below, but with things above–satisfied with God while yet absent from the Lord. Is not this blessing, being in the present tense, peculiarly delightful? But it is just that to which the worldling cannot come! All his good things are generally in the past or the future. I mean his good spiritual things. He will tell you of what he once felt, or else he hopes that they may yet be in the days to come, and that one of these days he may be saved. But the genuine religion of Christ is known by its bearing the motto of “Today”–presentsalvation! There is no religion under Heaven except the evangelical Truth of God that teaches present salvation!
I think I have read some such passage as this by an eminent cardinal, since departed, and gone somewhere–I do not know where, for he has gone somewhere where they have “Masses” for the repose of his soul, and surely that cannot be in Heaven! Surely, they would not need to pray for the repose of the souls that are there! But this departed cardinal says something like this–“How delightful to die after having received the saved viaticum from the hands of God’s priest, with the memorial of the cross upon your bosom and the crucifix upheld by holy hands before your expiring eyes! To pass out of this world with the sound of the passing bell in your ears and then to lie awhile, while gathered round you are the prayers of holy men and blessed virgins consecrated to God in the neighboring convent. To be carried out with the songs of choristers, with the perfume of incense and with attending monks and friars. To be put into holy ground, consecrated by sacred rites, amidst the reading of words long honored by being used by the Holy Catholic Church–to have the consecrated earth saturated with holy water falling upon the coffin lid that bears the memorial of the cross,” and so on, and so on, and so on. How delightful! How delightful he makes it all out to be, as if it all were a theater–nothing more–a piece of show! What good could there be to a soul in all that performance, and all that tag raggery and I know not what besides? What consolation could it be to a departing spirit? But that evidently is the ultimatum, the highest reward that can be obtained by that kind of faith!
But, Beloved, we speak out of this Book of God what we know and have proved! And we tell you that you may be saved NOW! The pardon of sin is not a thing merely for dying moments– it is a thing for this very present hour! What says David? “Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imparts not iniquity; blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven and whose sin is covered.” What says Paul? “There is, therefore, now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” I dwell then, with a lingering delight upon the present tense of these words, “Who satisfies”–today–“your mouth with good things”–makes you even now a happy Believer, a rejoicing Believer, a hopeful Believer, a contented child of God, looking for the appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ and hoping to be found among the waiting, worshipping company who “worship Christ Jesus in the spirit, and have no confidence in the flesh.” That is the first thought of the text, then–satisfaction.
Pass on now to the second thought, which is–
“So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” Beloved, there is need of this. Every Christian has need that his soulshould be restored–should be refreshed, re-invigorated, newly quickened. As to those who are saved, there is a constant need restoring them to their first love. This is promised in the Words before us. I say there is need of it. There is need of it, first, because of the ordinary wear and tear which operate upon spiritual life, as well as upon every other form of life. You cannot serve God, you cannot praise, you cannot pray, you cannot do anything without some expenditure of strength and, therefore, you need to have that strength renewed. Moreover, in such a world as this, combating with temptations, bearing up against the current of society, and I know not what besides, of difficulty, takes away our strength. We need, therefore, to go and drink again of the brook by the way, that we may lift up our head once again. The ordinary wear and tear of spiritual life requires renewal. Besides that, we are often the subjects of sinful decline.Backsliding is too common a complaint among Christians. We can ascend to the top of the mountain and dwell with God, but our foot soon begins to descend. There is a gravitation towards sinfulness in the best of men. Oh, that it were not so, but we are very conscious that it is so and, therefore, we need to have the renewal.
And yet again, we sometimes fall into sorrowful spiritual diseases. I mean apart from sin. We may get depressed inspirit. We may be nervous, fearful, timid. We may almost come to the borders of despair. We may cry out with David, “All Your waves and Your billows have gone over me, my heart is consumed because of grief.” We may be brought very low. Well, then, again we shall need renewal. So, what with wear and tear, what with sinful inclination to decline, and what with the sorrowful diseases which may come upon our mind, we often need renewing. Mark, now, the peculiar excellence of the renewing is renewed.“ There is great deal to be admired in the youth of the Believer. Youth is the time of beauty. After a while, the furrows are plowed upon ourbrow, and the gray hairs are scattered here and there, but the young man and the maiden rejoice in the beauty of their youth. And I am sure it is beautiful to see a young Christian. There is something so admirable in his carriage and bearing, in his first ardor his, first love and zeal, his first jealous sensitiveness and tenderness of heart, his carefulness of walk and so on, that we cannot but admire him! But thank God, we need not give up these things when our Christian youth, as to time, has gone! Thank God, He can renew our youth to us spiritually when we grow old bodily! And there is a beauty about the aged Christian who is living near to God and dwelling on the borders of Heaven, quite as fair to look upon as the beauty of the young Believer! So God gives to His people from day to day a peculiar beauty in each season of life–and thus their youth is renewed!
Youth, again, is the time for vigor. The young man can run. He is strong. He has even waste powers to throw away!And often how strong are the young men in Christ Jesus! They are strong and have overcome the Wicked One. Alas, it sometimes happens that growth in years does not bring growth in Grace–and we have known some who have grown weak and feeble as years have passed over their heads. But God can renew to us all the vigor we ever had! All the strength we had for service during the first 20 years of our Christian life, He can bring back to us again! Though we may have been living under a starving ministry, and so have lost our strength. Though we may have neglected much communion with Christ, and so have lost our vigor, He can give it all back again, and once more we shall run, and not be weary, we shall walk and not faint! Youth, again, is the time for ardor. I would not say a word thatmight depreciate the wisdom and mature prudence of old age, but for all that, the most of things that are done in the world must be done by the young blood. The radical element comes in to stir the conservative element and quicken it into activity. In the Christian Church there must be young blood coming in, and if there is not, it is generally an ill time with that Church. But surely, Beloved, it need not be that our first ardor, and enterprise, and hopefulness should leave us. God can renew it to us at any time during our spiritual career. He can renew our youth like the eagle’s by renewing our courage for Him, our confidence in Him, our energy towards Him, our determination for Him, our willingness to run risks in His cause, our ardor to tell to others what Christ’s love has been in our hearts. If you have lost that youth, cry to God tonight for it and He, by His Spirit, will renew your youth to you! “Even the youths shall faint and be weary and the young men shall utterly fail. But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Youth, too, is the time for joy. We expect young people to be merry, and young Christians may well make merry and be glad, now that they are brought into the house of feasting. God often makes the early part of our Christian career to be smooth–He screens us from the harder trials that will be necessary for us afterwards–but there is no reason why the joy of the Lord should ever depart from a Christian.
I have not known many, but I have known some few Christians who are just as happy and joyful as they ever were in the brightest period of their lives and have continued so by the twenty years together! I do not believe that spiritual decline, though it is very common, is at all inevitable. I believe it to be as unnecessary as it is sinful. We might always retain that early joy and delight. I must confess my own experience is that whatever joy I had in Christ 20 years ago, I have much more, now. Whatever I had that could delight me concerning Him was shallow and superficial, then, compared with the deeper delight my spirit finds in His service, in His work, in His people and especially in Himself! There is no reason why we should not continue to be young. A dear friend of yours who has lately gone to Heaven, who was close on the verge of 80 years, and whom you all knew well, why, he was as much a boy as any of us in the things of God! There was not one among us that was more hopeful or more enterprising than was our dear venerable father. We had only just to think of any good thing for Christ, and instead of being, as some have a tendency to be when they get old, rather inclined to be a drag on the wheel for fear lest the young people should go too fast, he was always ready to gird up his loins and run like Elijah before the chariot, and do a little more than anybody else if he could! I pray that that may be our case–that we may bring forth fruit in old age to show that the Lord is upright! So may it be with us, and right on as long as ever we shall live may He renew our youth like the eagle’s! I shall now need your attention for only a few minutes for a third point. We have had satisfaction and renewal. The third thing in the text is–
III. A SIMILITUDE.
“So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” How is that? Socrates and the old naturalists used to say that when eagles get to be very old, they lost their old beak and talons, and feathers, and turned young again. I suppose people used to believe that in those times, but happily there is nobody who believes such rubbish as that now! I am quite sure that David did not believe it, for my persuasion is the more I look into the Bible, though some have said that the Bible was only meant to teach us religion and that we must not look for accuracy as to scientific facts, that that is a mistake–and that the Bible never makes a mistake in natural history, in physics, or in anything else–is as much Inspired about one thing as about another! There is nothing in this text to lead us to believe that David meant that–nothing at all! Some have thought and I think they are correct, that the allusion is to the newly-molting of the eagle. As with every other bird at that time, they appear haggard, and then when their feathers are grown again, it makes them appear to renew their youth. I observe that many naturalists whose works I have consulted on the subject declare that the molting of the eagle is not sufficiently severe to produce any appreciable change, and that David must have been a very acute observer, indeed, if he could have detected such an alteration, and they seem to think that the allusion is to the well-known longevity of the eagle, which lives on, and on, and on, when many other birds have passed through many generations. The grand old monarch of the craggy rocks is still young when generations of other birds have passed away. So our youth is renewed like the eagle’s–that is to say, our spiritual life continues on, and on, and on through time–right into eternity!
Let me, then, conduct your thoughts to the eagle for a minute. How is the eagle’s youth renewed? I suppose in four things–in its sight, its flight, its might and its fighting.
The eagle has a keen eye, but its eye would grow dim unless there was a constant renewal of its youth and, therefore, its eyesight is renewed. The eagle-eye belongs to every gracious man. He can see farther than the eagle can. He can see beyond the gates of pearl–he can see farther than that–to the Throne of God! Yes, farther than that–into the heart
“The streams of love I trace
Up to their fountain, God.
And in His mighty breast I see
Eternal thoughts of love to me.”
But the eagle eye of faith is often clouded with unbelief, and it is a blessing for us that God increases our faith and that, once again, we can see invisible things and rejoice to behold what has never been given to mortal eye to see.
The eagle is a bird of strong flight, and that flight may be reckoned as a part of its youth which is renewed. Large asit is, sometimes measuring from six to eight feet broad when its wings are outspread, yet as soon as it vanishes out of sight it is lost in the blaze of the sun. At another time the eagle is on its flight, simply making progress. So with the Christian. His youth is renewed. He mounts upwards in communion with God, higher, higher, higher. His motto is–
“Nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer to Thee!
This still my cry shall be–
Nearer to Thee, nearer to Thee!”
Up he mounts like the eagle, or at other times he goes onward in his Christian pathway, going from strength to strength until he appears before his God. Now, it is a mercy for us that the Lord is pleased to renew our power of fellowship with Himself–our power of making progress in the Divine Life–just as He renews the eagle’s youth.
The eagle has great power and might, too. He had need to be strong, or when he carries his prey to his young ones,he might soon weary. And you and I have souls to feed, and work to do for God and for His Kingdom–and we need that our might should be renewed, like the eagle’s, that we may be strong for every service imposed upon us.
And then the eagle is made to fight. It smells the battle afar off and delights in carnage. And the Christian, though heis a man of peace, is also a man of war. From his youth up he has to contend with his corruptions and fight with spiritual wickedness in high places! And he needs that his power to fight should be daily renewed, even as is the eagle’s. May we experience day by day what it is to have our youth renewed in these respects. But, now, let us ask the pressing and practical question, how is it that the eagle’s youth is renewed? Is it not because there is a life within which renews it? God hasso constituted the eagle that it shall live on–God has so constituted a Believer that he shall live on. He has put a living, incorruptible seed within us that cannot die, and the Water of Life that He has given to us, is in us a well of water springing up unto everlasting life! Therefore is our youth renewed like the eagle’s. There is a holy nature, a spiritual immortality of Grace bestowed upon us and, therefore, is our youth renewed.
The eagle’s strength is renewed by the food it eatswithgood things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.“ When the eagle has satisfied his hunger, he is strong again and when you and I have fed upon the Word of God–especially upon the Incarnate Word of God–when we have been privileged to eat His flesh and drink His blood, as spiritual men know how, ah, then again, our youth has been renewed!
The eagle’s strength is renewed by the air he breathes. Not here below, in this smoky atmosphere, but up there, in theclear azure, where all is bright–there does the eagle breathe the pure air and thus renew his strength. So the Christian renews his strength, not here among groveling gold hunters or pleasure hunters, or fame hunters, but up, up there in the rarified atmosphere of communion with God! There he grows strong, again, and comes down from the Heaven of heavens with his face glowing with the radiance of renewed youth, renewed by breathing the atmosphere of the skies!
The eagle’s youth is renewed
as the season returns, or, if the reference I gave to some naturalists is correct, there is a
season for renewal. So when the times for God’s Spirit to visit us with times of refreshing come, then, and our strength is renewed. When we feel once more the Holy Spirit bedewing us and our heart gets to be like Gideon’s fleece and we are saturated, then, like the eagle’s, our strength is renewed!
But I shall weary you, for there is so much scope here, if I continued to speak. I shall rather leave you to think the matter over than attempt to work out the fullness of such a text as this. And thus I must bring you to the last Truth of God which I desire to enforce–
IV. A DIVINE QUICKENER.
Does not David say, “ Who satisfies your mouth with good things”?–referring here to God, Himself. To make shortwork of this last point, let me say to every Believer here who has been satisfied, who has had Grace restored to him and his youth renewed like the eagle’s–you have had all this from God! You have never had your soul renewed from anywhere or anyone else but from Him! You have never had your mouth filled with good things except by God. Every temporal mercy has His mark upon it, for He sent it. Those houses, those children, that competence of yours–all came from Him. As to every spiritual blessing, you must see His mark thereon–
“There’s never a gift His hand bestows,
But cost His heart a groan.”
Well, it all comes from God! Then remember that and let it be all the dearer to you! Let it make your soul cling still closer to God to think that all these blessings have come from Him.
Well, then, if all has come from God, be it remembered with that fact that all has been through God. From Him andthrough Him–I mean that no mercy would have been a mercy if God Himself had not made the mercy–and that no spiritual gift could have been yours unless God Himself had been in the gift! In fact, there is no good thing until you get God Himself–
“Less than Yourself cannot suffice,
My comfort to restore.”
Life is nourished, not so much by bread, as by God’s decree that bread should nourish us, for, “man shall not live by bread, alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God shall man live.” So the ordinances do not feed your soul, it is God IN the ordinances! It is not the sacramental bread and wine. It is not Baptism. It is not coming up to listen to a poor mortal like ourselves. It is not even private prayer–it is God IN the prayer, God IN the preacher, God IN the ordinance, so that you not only have everything from God, but that which satisfies and renews you is God Himself! Oh, to say, “My Lord and my God: the Lord is the portion of my soul!” This is sweetness, indeed.
Well, then, as you get everything from God, and by God, ascribe everything to God. Let nothing pass by withoutpraise. Reckon that nothing comes to you by chance. Do not conclude anything to be your desert or your earning. Bless God for it all! “Oh, clap your hands, all you people. Come into His courts with thanksgiving. Praise Him with cymbals, even the high-sounding cymbals.” Let Him have the best of your songs, for you have the best of His gifts. Praise Him with a new song, for you have new mercies for which to sing.
And if you thus ascribe everything to God, take care that you use everything for God. Let your temporal mercies beconsecrated to Him. Give Him the first fruits of all your increase, so shall your barns be filled with plenty, and your presses shall burst with new wine. Give to God all your spiritual strength and whenever you feel that you are renewed in it, do not shake yourselves as though your strength were your own, and you might use it as you like–but when the Spirit of the Lord moves upon you as He did upon Samson in the camp of Dan, go out and smite the Philistines as he did. Go and help in the Master’s work and the Master’s children–watch over the Master’s sheep, fight the Master’s foes and thus shall you continue to have your mouth satisfied with good things and your youth renewed because the Lord will see that you are not wasting it, or spending it upon yourselves, but giving it all to Him.
I am sure I grieve much that such a text as this should not have a bearing upon you all. But alas, there are some here, there are some here who are not satisfied and you never will be, my dear Hearer, till you get Christ! There are some herewhose youth is not renewed. No, it were a pity that it should be. You must be born-again! You must, you MUST beborn-again! Oh, that you may now be born-again, for otherwise for you to renew your youth would be to renew your sins and increase your ruin! My dear Friend, what you need most is a new heart–and there is only One who can give it to you, and that is He who made Heaven and earth, even Christ Jesus! What you need is to have your sins washed away and it is only He who can do it, who first filled the channels of the deep and who now can wash away your sins in His own blood. Trust Him and it is done! Trust Him and it is done altogether. Trust Him and it is done altogether and forever! He that believes in Him is saved, for He who cannot lie has said it, “He that believes and is baptized shall be saved.” Be obedient to that double command and, in obedience, you shall find that God is faithful to His Covenant, to His Son and to you to whom the promise is made–and you shall be saved! God bless you for Christ’s sake. Amen.