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“The Lord will give strength unto His peoplethe Lord will bless His people with peace.”
The God of nature gave David a fine poetical talent. And he employed it like a good man, for his own improvement, and the profit of many. It is well to take advantage of the excitement of any present feeling, and to give it a religious direction. According to the admonition of the apostle James, is any afflicted? Let him pray. Is any merry? Let him sing psalms. David did this, for he was accustomed to put his sentiment into verse on the occurrence of any interesting or significant event. Many of his psalms took their rise from a trouble or a deliverance he had just experienced. The thirty-first psalm was written at the dedication of his new house. The hundred and fourth was a spring meditation. The eighth is a night scene. The nineteenth, a morning piece. The lines before us were composed in a thunderstorm.
Thunder is one of the sublimest displays of Deity. It generally produces fearfulness and terror. Caligula the emperor, at the hearing of it, would creep into any hole or corner. But such a man should reflect that if God has a mind to kill him, He can do it without raising nature into a storm; His breath is in His nostrils; He is crushed before the moth: “Thine eye is upon me, and I am not!” And we should do well to think of a more dreadful event. Baxter did this. When a storm came on as he was preaching, and the congregation was obviously disconcerted and dismayed, he paused, and then said, “Men and brethren, we are assembled here to prepare for that hour when the heavens, being on fire, shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat; the earth also, and all the works that are therein, shall be burned up.”
All greatness is comparative. David therefore naturally addresses “the mighty,” as much as to say to them, you are flattered and feared, but what is the greatest of you before Him? Think of the THUNDERER, and adore. “Give unto the Lord, O ye mighty, give unto the Lord glory and strength. Give unto the Lord the glory due unto His name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness. The voice of the Lord is upon the waters: the God of glory thundereth: the Lord is upon many waters. The voice of the Lord is powerful: the voice of the Lord is full of majesty. The voice of the Lord breaketh the cedars; yea, the Lord breaketh the cedars of Lebanon. He maketh them also to skip like a calf; Lebanon and Sirion like a young unicorn. The voice of the Lord divideth the flames of fire. The voice of the Lord shaketh the wilderness: the Lord shaketh the wilderness of Kadesh. The voice of the Lord maketh the hinds to calve, and discovereth the forests.” Here let the mind review the description, and we shall see how truly and vividly David’s imagination marked and portrayed the circumstances and effects of the phenomenon.
He then leads us from the uproar of nature to the small still voice of grace. He retires with us into the sanctuary of God, there to testify the glory of His goodness, and to calm and cheer us with the assurance of his providential empire over all the commotions of life, and his attention to the welfare of His people. “And in His temple doth every one speak of His glory. The Lord sitteth upon the flood yea, the Lord sitteth King forever. The Lord will give strength unto His people; the Lord will bless His people with peace.”
But this promise, you say, is made to “His people”. It is. But be not afraid. Perhaps they will not be found so unlike yourselves as you imagine. It is here implied that they are weak and distressed. They want strength and peace. And both these blessings are insured.
Are they by nature without strength? And have they from experience a growing conviction of their inability? Yet, with all this sense of weakness, have they trials to endure, duties to perform, a race to run, a warfare to accomplish? As their day, so shall their strength be. His grace is sufficient for them. Let the weak say, I am strong.
Do they need rest and refreshing? The God of peace shall give them peace always by all means. Not worldly peace. He has nowhere absolutely engaged to give this. We say absolutely, for if it be good for them, they shall not want it for they shall want no good thing. But there is a peace as far exceeding every other as the soul surpasses the body, and eternity exceeds time—the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, and which keeps the heart and mind through Christ Jesus. This does not depend upon outward things. In the world, says the Saviour, ye shall have tribulation but in Me ye shall have peace. And hence, as when weak they are strong, so, though sorrowful, they are always rejoicing.
Yet it is only the beginning of it they have here. At death they enter into peace fully. Every enemy is then vanquished. The din of war is heard no more. The dangerous, treacherous, raging, sickly sea is crossed. And then are they glad because they be quiet. So He bringeth them unto their desired haven.
Rev. Wm. Jay
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