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I am the Lord thy God


By Mr Ebenezer Erskine (1680-1754)


Ebenezer Erskine and his brother Ralph were famous Presbyterian ministers in Scotland, and close friends of Thomas Boston. Their father was Henry Erskine, under whose preaching the youthful Thomas Boston came to Christ.  



How immense is the treasure that is here secured to thee, O believer, in these words, “I am the Lord thy God”! Well mayest thou sing, “The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places.” He that gave himself unto the death for thy redemption in the person of the Son, and gives himself as JEHOVAH, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, by covenant gift and grant; how will he not with this freely give thee all things? Canst thou doubt of his liberality as to other things, when he does not withhold his infinitely glorious self? Canst thou doubt of his fulfilling any other promise of the covenant, when thou hast set to the seal of faith to this, with application of it to thy soul, “I am the Lord thy God.”


This covenant promise draws all the rest of the promises in its train, they being inseparably connected therewith. To instance only in a few, “I am the Lord thy God”: therefore “I will give thee an heart to know me.” “I am the Lord thy God”: therefore “I will sprinkle thee with clean water, and thou shalt be clean: from all thy filthiness, and from all thine idols will I cleanse thee.” “I am the Lord thy God”: therefore “I will be merciful to thy unrighteousness, and thy sins and iniquities I will remember no more.” “I am the Lord thy God”: therefore “I will put my Spirit within thee, and cause thee to walk in my statutes, and thou shalt keep my judgments, and do them.” And so of all the other promises of the covenant; they are all “yea and amen in him,” who is “the Lord thy God.” He who is so kind and good as to make over himself to thee as thy God, will infallibly make out and make good every promise; and thou mayest trust him with assured confidence, that he will do it, because he hath said, “I am the Lord thy God.”


This promise draws along with it the sweetest and most endearing offices and relations that can be imagined:

1. He who is thy God, is thy sun to enlighten, direct, warm, and fructify thy soul with his benign and gracious influences, Psalm 84:11. Though clouds may overcast thy sky, yet the Sun of righteousness will break through them, and return with the refreshing visits of everlasting kindness. “Unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth and grow up as calves of the stall.”

2. The Lord thy God is a shield to protect and defend thee against all the attacks of thy temporal or spiritual enemies. When sin, Satan, and the world come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against them. He is “the strength of the poor, the strength of the needy in their distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall.”

3. Thy God is thy reward. He is not only thy rewarder, but he himself is thy reward. And thy God being thy reward, it must be exceeding great, beyond all expression or imagination. Sure such a reward cannot be of debt, but of grace only...the reward of the obedience and death of our glorious Surety.

4. Thy God, believer, is thy friend. Whatever kind offices ever one friend performed to another, these doth thy God perform unto thee. Thy God as a friend sympathises with thee in all thy afflictions, Is. 63:9; supplies thy needs, Phil. 4:19
; imparts his secrets to thee, Matt. 13:11 ; promises to bear thee company through fire and water, life and death, Is. 43:2. As a friend, he will pay you kindly visits, and meet you more than half way when you come to visit him, Is. 64:5.

5. Thy God, believer, is thy Father: 2 Cor. 6:16-18. As a tender-hearted father, his eye is upon thee for good, his ear is open unto thy cry, his heart follows thee wherever thou goest, his hand is ready to help thee and hold thee up, his Spirit, in and by the word, to counsel and comfort thee, his house of many mansions is prepared to receive thee.

6. Thy God is thy husband: Is. 54:5. He rejoices over thee as the bridegroom rejoices over his bride. There is a complication of interests betwixt him and thee; and thy concerns are so much his, that whatever action the law has against thee, he is bound by virtue of his relation to thee as a husband, to cover and defend thee against all deadly.

7. Thy God, believer, is thy very life, yea, the strength of thy life; Ps. 27:1. “The Lord is the strength of my life, of whom shall I be afraid?” “Because he lives, thou shalt live also.” Thus you see by these little hints, what this promise, “I am the Lord thy God,” draws after it for the consolation of the believer, who has by faith laid hold of it, and so obeyed the first command.



The Works of Ebenezer Erskine (3 volumes) are published by Free Presbyterian Publications (Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland)