Our stormy times

When down in the sea

in ships,

We do business

in great waters;

we see the works of the Lord,

We see His wonders

in the deep

Psalm 107:23-24

Gisbertus Voetius

was a Dutch writer

and an intense student

of God’s Word.

He lived in the early

1600s and his

prolific writings are

just beginning to be

translated.

He lived on the coast

of Holland

Udemans had a large

heart for common laborers,

especially seafaring people.

First among his books was

“The Spiritual Compass” (1617),

He notes that To avoid

sandbars and hidden rocks,

no seafarer, skipper,

or fisherman will dare

to sail the oceans without

a good compass.

Joel Beeke wrote

But, many people sail on the

sea of life without regard

to the perils of their own

souls danger, that arise

from the devil,

from the world,

and from their own flesh.

There are complaints that

the catch at sea is

decreasing daily;

the boat owners invest

heavily but see little in return.

He writes

God has made the sea and

the dry land

And God alone us the only

Lord and Master of both,

and without His will neither

sea nor land will supply

anything fruitful.

Udemans writes:

“For this reason, if we want to

sail the sea profitably,

For our spiritual and our

physical prosperity,

then the Lord Christ

must be our Admiral,

the Holy Spirit

must be our Pilot,

God’s Word

must be our compass,

faith must be our ship,

hope must be our anchor,

and prayer must be our convoy.

If we are so equipped,

we need have no fear,

even if the sea fumed

and tossed so much

that the mountains would

collapse due to her tumult,

and even if the world perished

and the hills tumbled into

the sea,

since God is on board

with us”

Ps. 46

We have to learn that every

wind that blows is fair for

Heaven.

The thing that helps nobody,

is a dead calm.

North or south, east or west,

it matters not, every wind

helps towards our blessed port.

We need the agitation of storms

in the seas of our life.

Udemans writes his treatise

and composes 100s of pages

discussing the specific tasks

of the godly seafarer.

He explains how we must

conduct ourselves while on a

journey and how we must live

after we return home.

He then explains the history

of Paul’s shipwrecks,

and provides numerous prayers

for various aspects of seafaring.

The book concludes with

Jonah’s song of praise from

the fish’s belly Jonah 2

His poignant thoughts on

worshipping God in the acidic

soup of the fishes belly are

incredibly heart rending and

moving.

Udemans in his love

of Gods Word and in

his joy in composing missives

and copious writings had

earned him extreme

slander and mockery

from savage haters

He knew the pungent sharp

astringent of defaming

denigration

Udemans second seafaring

volume

“Merchant’s Ship” 1637

is an allegorical explanation

of Moses’ blessing on Zebulon

and Issachar

Deut. 33:18–19

He writes voluminously with

incredible mystic analysis

and pages of amazing and

Ingenious analogies that are

insightfully riveting.

A year later he penned a

journal of jottings called

a “Spiritual Rudder

of the Merchant’s Vessel”

1638

This considerably larger work

is, a “faithful testimony

of how the merchant

and the mariner

must conduct themselves

in their dealings under all

circumstances, in war and

in peace, before God

and man, on the water and

on land, but especially among

those who reject Christ.

He went into great length

on how to move faith

from our private

inner world

to the public market

place of others.

One of his more humorous

treatments is that Udemans

did not hesitate to write on

Controversial practical and

ethical issues of his day.

In 1643, he entered into a

debate about whether it was

wrong for men to have long

hair by writing his last book,

“Absalom’s Hair,” a robust

treatise against men having

long hair and it’s vanity.

Udemans chose to publish

this book under a pseudonym

(Iranaeus Poimenander),

probably because he wrote

the book in a rather strong

and fiery manner.

In this debate, he chose to

support the side of Gisbertus

Voetius, Carolus de Maets

(1597–1651), and

Jacobus Borstius (1612–1680),

all of whom, based on

1 Corinthians 11:14, had

strongly opposed the

then-current fashion of men

wearing long hair.

Mark Guy Pesars shares

The old Cornishman prayer:

“O Lord, send us out to sea

out in the deep water.

Here we are so close to the

rocks and where stringed

breezes with the devil,

Can knock us all to pieces.

Lord, send us out to sea

out in the deep water,

where we shall have room

enough to get a glorious

victory.”.

The psalmist underlines in

Psalm 107 a cyclical analysis

in various Circumstances

and environments

Each cycle has

The dreadful conditions,

The dismal confession,

The dramatic conclusion,

The determined conviction.

He reminds us that we have

no more faith at any time

than we have in our hour

of trial.

As C. H. Spurgeon noted

“All that will not bear to be

tested are full of

mere carnal confidences

Fair-weather faith is

no faith at all.”

When we see a storm at sea.

We are tossed like a cork on

mountainous waves.

A seasoned sailor may venture

too far from land,

the winds have arisen,

and the navigation

lights are lost.

The little vessel is at the mercy

of the raging deep,

and all hope is lost.

In Udemans’s book

“The Peace of Jerusalem” (1627)

He writes of the nations

and the Murderous hate

for the Jews among the nations

Of the world.

How Israel finds themselves

in a constant raging storm

of persecution and satanic

savagery.

The Jews were driven out

of there homeland and as

they wandered from country

to country they were clubbed

and harassed.

Out of the 80 nations they

sought haven they were

reduced to 50 % of their

original community

they were rejected

over and over.

Their population was

Slaughtered in the

persecutions of one

hellish holocaust after

Another until God

shepherded them back

to the safe harbor

of their promised land.

“They that go down to the

sea in ships, that do business

in great waters; these see

the works of the Lord,

and His wonders in the deep.

For He commands, and raises

the stormy wind, which lifts up

the waves thereof.

They mount up to the heaven,

they go down again to

the depths:

their soul is melted because

of trouble.

They reel to and fro,

They stagger like a

drunken man, and are at

their wits’ end.”

“God makes the storm a calm.…

He brings them to their

desired haven.

Oh that men would praise

the Lord for His goodness,

and for His wonderful works

to the children of men!

Let them exalt Him also

in the congregation of

the people, and praise

Him in the assembly of

the elders”

In Psalms 107 we go from a

what John Phillips notes as

“In a spiritual desert”

We feel so lost.

Do we find ourselves looking

this way and that in

our circumstances,

without the slightest idea

which is the right way to turn

or what is the right

step to take?

Every step seems to be

the wrong one.

God alone can guide us

The way to stand tall is to

crouch before God in the Knees

of our heart

Are we in a spiritual dungeon?

Our circumstances have

hemmed us in.

We feel bound and chained

and, like a prisoner in a

death cell, we find ourselves

driven to desperation.

The only clear answer is

Bow before our Lord

He has all the keys

Or

Are we lying on

a spiritual deathbed?

Our souls are sick to death;

we are knotted up inside

and our situations seem

hopeless.

We‘ve lost all our appetites

for everything,

life has lost its charm.

Things we once enjoyed

are a dead weight on our

hearts.

Only

Jesus, He is the one

who lifts our hearts

in resurrection

from the stench of death

Or

Are we lashed on the wreckage

Out in the spiritual deep?

We‘re overwhelmed because

the circumstances surrounding

us are ominous and frightening.

We are like a drunken person.

We are at the mercy of

our circumstances.

We stagger from one hopeless

effort to another.

God’s Spirit speaks words of

comfort in our aching soul.

There’s a cause,

There’s a cure and

There’s always

a creative comfort

from Christ’s

calming communication

God has a purpose in

turning rivers into a

wilderness,

the watersprings

into dry ground;

a fruitful land

into barrenness,

And it’s to turn us

deeper to

Himself and closer into

His loving embrace

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