Some “woke” theologians have decided of late to criticize the well known commentator Matthew Henry. While there are some things I would not fully agree with in his writings, I have found Henry’s devotional commentary’s to be a tremendous help personally. George Whitefield carried them in his saddle bags and read through them four times in his lifetime – the last time on his knees. Charles Spurgeon suggested, “Every minster ought to read it entirely and carefully through once at least.” Fairly strong recommendations!

One thing I know for sure is that Matthew Henry was a lover of holy Scripture and a sincere follower of Christ. At the beginning of this year a prayer partner sent us a most encouraging letter and included an excerpt from something that Henry had written on January 1, 1713. These thoughts are taken from Memoirs of the Life, Character, and Writings of the Rev. Matthew Henry by Sir John Bickerton Williams.

Firmly believing that my times are in God’s hand, I here submit myself and all my affairs for the ensuing year, to the wise and gracious disposal of God’s divine providence. Whether God appoints for me health or sickness, peace or trouble, comforts or crosses, life or death – may His holy will be done!

All my time, strength, and service, I devote to the honor of the Lord Jesus – and even my common actions. It is my earnest expectation, hope, and desire, my constant aim and endeavor that Jesus Christ may be magnified in me. In everything I have to do my entire dependence is upon Jesus Christ for strength. And whatever I do in word or deed, I desire to do all in His name, to make Him my Alpha and Omega.

I have all from Him and I would use all for Him.

If this should prove a year of affliction, a sorrowful year to me I will fetch all my supports and comforts from the Lord Jesus and stay myself upon Him, His everlasting consolations, and the good hope I have in Him though grace.

And if it should be my dying year then my times are in the hand of the Lord Jesus. And with a humble reliance upon HIs mediation, I would venture into the eternal world looking for the blessed hope. Dying as well as living – Jesus Christ will, I trust, be gain and advantage to me.

Oh, that the grace of God may be sufficient for me, to keep me always a humble sense of my own unworthiness, weakness, folly, and infirmity together with a humble dependence upon the Lord Jesus Christ for both righteousness and strength.

Matthew Henry was 50 years of age when he penned these very personal words. He died the next year. I do not know what this year will hold for me or for you, but I too rest in the truth that my times are in God’s hand.

My times are in thy hand: deliver me from the hand of mine enemies, and from them that persecute me” (Psalm 31:15).