A Row of Medicine Bottles

Title: A Row of Medicine Bottles

Bible Book: Psalms 37

Author: Francis Dixon

Subject: God, Help of; Bible Cures


[Editor's Note: The following is a message preached by the late Reverend Francis W. Dixon at Lansdowne Baptist Church, Bournemouth, England on Sunday, November 1, 1964]

Some time ago I received a letter from a friend who suggested that I should preach on the above subject. Naturally I was curious to know what could be meant by this suggestion, but as I pondered the idea I began to see that there are times in the experience of all of us when we are unwell, when we are out-of-sorts and we need medicine. My dictionary tells me that medicine is "any substance used (especially internally) for the treatment or prevention of disease." Disease, of course, is dis-ease, or uneasiness or any want of health. How true it is that we as Christians are often dis-eased, we are unwell spiritually! Perhaps that is our condition now, perhaps we are thoroughly out of sorts, running a temperature and needing some medicine.

Did you ever think of the Bible as a medicine cupboard? It is just that, and I want us to look at the bottles on one shelf only of this great medicine cupboard God has placed at our disposal. The shelf we shall look at is Psalm 37.

I. Medicine when Perplexed by Prosperity of the Wicked

If you are troubled and perplexed about the prosperity of the wicked, take a good dose of verses 1 and 2.

Sometimes God's people are really perplexed when they see the wicked around them prospering and "getting away with it". This state of affairs causes uneasiness, and if we are frank about it as we look out into the world today, it does seem to us that bad men, who have no love for God and who deny Him, prosper. The forces of Communism advance victoriously, as do atheistic and anti-theistic men and nations. We see this every time we open our papers, and all this is upsetting and unsettling, disquieting and perplexing. This was the problem of the psalmist, and it is to this very kind of situation that he refers in this psalm. What can be done about it? I will tell you. Take a dose of medicine from this psalm, for this was David's perplexity. What did he say about this? Verses 1 and 2 give us the answer, and if this bottle on the shelf does not do the trick I suggest that we need also to take a little of verses 10, 13, 35 and 36. Take a good long draught from these bottles and we shall be brought from our state of dis-ease into a settled condition of heart and mind.

II. Medicine when Pondering How to Make Ends Meet

If you do not know where to look for the month's rent, or if you are wondering how you will make ends meet, take a dose of verse 3. This problem of supply is a very serious one and it causes dis-ease with many people. How high the cost of living is, and how natural it is to wonder where provision is coming from! But, thank God, we can remember Elijah at the brook Cherith and in the house of the widow of Zarephath, and if we still need further help there is another bottle on this shelf - verse 19, and yet another - verse 25. Do you remember God's message to Abraham? It was just this: "The Lord will provide." So, if you are troubled about the matter of provision I suggest that you take a really good dose of verse 3 and speed up the action of this with a further dose from verses 19 and 25.

III. Medicine when Considering if God Cares

If you are depressed, downcast and impatient, and you feel that somehow God does not care and that even your prayers go unanswered, take a dose night and morning of verses 4, 5, 6 and 7. How easy it is when things go wrong to fall into a depressed and downcast condition, where we feel that God no longer loves or worries about us! We are reminded of the man who went to the doctor with a pain in his leg. After examining the leg the doctor gave him some pink pills which he said would put the leg right. Then the man said he had a pain in his shoulder, and after examining this the doctor gave him some green pills which he said would put the shoulder right. Then the man asked, "How do the pink pills know how to go to my leg and how do the green pills know how to go to my shoulder?" You might say to me, "How can these verses banish my depression, my impatience and my fit of the blues and restore my confidence in God?" I do not quite know how to answer that, except in this way: take the dose and see. It works, for I have proved it. Take a bottle home with you from this service.

IV. Medicine when Resentful and Vindictive

If you are upset, angry, feeling hurt, resentful and vindictive, take a dose of verse 8 when getting up and when going to bed, and whenever an attack comes on. Things so easily happen to cause anger and wrath; an unkind word is spoken, or perhaps an unkind word is followed by a thoughtless action, and then there is anger and resentment. Do you remember what we read in Ephesians 4:26? - "Be ye angry, and sin not; let not the sun go down upon your wrath: neither give place to the Devil." Barnes, the commentator, says: "If you be angry, which may be the case, and which may be unavoidable, see that the sudden excitement does not become sin. Do not let it over-leap its proper bounds; do not cherish it; do not let it remain in your bosom, even to the setting of the sun. Though the sun be sinking in the west, let not the passion linger in the bosom, but let his last rays find you always peaceful and calm." If we are not to let the sun go down upon our wrath it means we are to take a dose of medicine before we go to bed; in other words, we are to get every wrong emotion out of our system - all anger, bitterness, jealousy and resentment - before the day closes, and if only we would do this how many problems would be quickly solved!

V. Medicine when Doubtful of Salvation

If you are filled with morbid fears and doubts about your salvation and your eternal security, take strong doses of verses 18, 24, 28 and 33 until you are cured. Very many people lack the assurance of salvation; they are filled with doubts as to whether God has really accepted them and they wonder whether they are really saved or not, or whether the Lord will ever let them go. How subtle the Devil is! Is this your dis-ease, your malady, and does it threaten you particularly in the night? Well, here is the remedy, and notice in verse 18 the words "for ever"; then notice the sweetness of verse 24, and the assurance of verse 28, where again we have the words "for ever"; and finally, read verse 33. If you lack assurance there is only one way to gain it or regain it - take the Word of God. Take it and believe it. God says you are His, you are safe and absolutely secure, and that He will never let you go; take a large dose of that.

VI. Medicine when Troubled about God's Guidance

If you are troubled about God's plan for your life, about God's guidance, about His interest in your job, career or future service, take a dose of verse 33. There is one thing we must always remember when we are thinking about God's guidance, and it is this: the Lord is far more concerned to guide us along the pathway of His will than we can ever be to be guided by Him, and if we will trust Him, lean upon Him, wait for Him and seek to please Him He will unfailingly and unfalteringly guide us into ways that are pleasing to Him and profitable to us. If there is a young man who is concerned about his future, let me urge that young men to take a dose of this verse; it will settle you and establish you and will take away all your disease.

VII. Medicine when at your Wit's End

If you are in great trouble, tossed about and at your wit's end, take a dose of verse 39. Yes, in this verse we are told that the Lord is our "strength in the time of trouble". He is, and this simply means that if you are in trouble at this moment the Lord will see you through if you will commit your case to Him. Take a dose of that and see if you do not feel better at once. The Lord will never fail you or forsake you; the Lord will never let you down or let you go. Take a good strong dose of that, and calm down!


In closing this brief message, may I say two things before I shut the door of this wonderful medicine cupboard?

The first is this. I have noticed that many medicine cupboards have a mirror on the front of them. God's medicine chest has a mirror on the front of it, and as we come to it we see ourselves; our true condition is reflected in the mirror. It is just at the right height for us to see our own faces reflected in the glass.

The second thing is this. When we open the door of this medicine cupboard and see before us the row of medicine bottles containing the remedy for our ills and sicknesses, it is not enough to look at these bottles, it is not enough even to remove the cork and smell the contents; a dose must be taken, and it must be taken internally. Thus, in James 1:21-25, we are exhorted to "receive with meekness the engrafted Word, which is able to save your souls. But be ye doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the Word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: for he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed".

If you are unwell spiritually, take the appropriate dose of medicine, and you will be blessed in your deed.

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