Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
March 16, 1967

Things Old And New

Robert H. Farish

"They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; these see the works of Jehovah, and his wonders in the deep. For he commandeth and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof. They mount up to the heavens, they go down again to the depths: Their soul melteth away because of trouble. They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits end, then they cry unto Jehovah in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses. He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still. They are glad because they are quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven. Oh, that men would praise Jehovah for his loving kindness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!" (Ps.107:23-31)

"They that go down to the sea in ships" have awe inspiring evidence of the tremendous dimensions of God. They have experienced the storms at sea. They know the feeling of having the ship raised toward heaven by the mighty waves stirred by the stormy wind, and the sickening sensation of suddenly falling back to the depth. These experiences make "their souls melt away", and make them vividly aware of the God who can control such force. Even the winds and the sea obey him. These winds and waves cause men to "reel to and fro and stagger like a drunken man", until finally they "are at their wits end". Can anyone in his weirdest dream, even an L. S. D. induced dream picture these men in this situation declaring that "God is dead"?

The only possible picture of these human beings when "all their wisdom is swallowed up" in terror is the picture drawn thousands of years ago by the Psalmist. "Then they cry unto Jehovah in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses". "Then" when they "are at their wits end", they cry unto Jehovah. The same routine is followed in our day as the Psalmist observed in his day. The tendency to trust in human wisdom and resources until "their wits end", when the utter inadequacy of human powers are realized and despair engulfs the soul is "old" - old enough to reach farther back in history than the second king of Israel. It was commented upon then and it is still with us now. It is old with age, but new in currency.

The prodigal son followed the exhilarating course of sensual gratification in riotuous living till he reached the low level where he "would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat, and no man gave unto him". It is at this point that "he came to himself". The prodigal son had reached the end of his personal possibilities - he was at his "wits end" -before "he came to himself". He was "beside himself" so long as he was interested in nothing but "making provisions for the flesh to fulfill the lust thereof". Only when his personal resources were gone and no man gave unto him and he was reduced to a level that he had an appetite for the swine's feed did he come to himself. What a commentary on human nature!

"There is no new thing under the sun". (Eccl. 1:9)