The Humbling Impact of Grace
What is your servant, that you should show regard for a dead dog such as I?
If Mephibosheth was humbled by David's kindness, what shall we be in the presence of our gracious Lord? The more grace we have, the less we shall think of ourselves, for grace, like light, reveals our impurity. Eminent saints have scarcely known what to compare themselves to, their sense of unworthiness has been so clear and keen. "I am," says the godly Rutherford, "a dry and withered branch, a piece of dead carcass, dry bones, and not able to step over a straw." In another place he writes, "Apart from their open outbursts, I am too much like Judas and Cain."
The meanest objects in nature appear to the humbled mind to have a preference above itself, because they have never contracted sin: A dog may be greedy, fierce, or filthy, but it has no conscience to violate, no Holy Spirit to resist. A dog may appear to be worthless, and yet by a little kindness it is soon won to love its master and is faithful to death; but we forget the goodness of the Lord and do not follow His call. The term dead dog is the most expressive of all terms of contempt, but it is not too strong to express the self-abhorrence of well-taught believers. They do not display false modesty; they mean what they say; they have weighed themselves in the balances of the sanctuary and discovered the vanity of their nature.
At best we are but clay, animated dust; but viewed as sinners, we are monsters indeed. Let it be published in heaven as a miracle that the Lord Jesus should set His heart's love upon people like us. Dust and ashes though we be, we must and will magnify the exceeding greatness of His grace. Could His heart not find rest in heaven? Does He need to come to these tents for a spouse and choose a bride from the children of men? Let the heavens and earth break forth into song and give all the glory to our sweet Lord Jesus.
From Morning & Evening revised and edited by Alistair Begg copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.org.