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DXLI. GOD THE GIVER OF STRENGTH AND PEACE. Ps. xxix. 10, 11. The Lord sitteth upon the flood ; yea, the Lord sitteth King for ever.
The Lord will give strength unto his people : the Lord will bless his people with peace.
THIS psalm is supposed to have been written on the occasion of a thunder-storm. It represents the Deity as uttering his voice in those terrific sounds, whereby the very mountains are made to shake, yea and “skip, as it were, like a calf or a young unicorn.” That there is a transition to the Messiah, and his offices, is clear: for he is expressly declared to be King in Zion. And this declaration stands in immediate connexion with the floods and tumults by which, in appearance, he was for a season overwhelmed: " Why do the Heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. Yet have I set my King upon my holy hill of Zion.” He is also called Jehovah: as it is written: “ This is the name whereby he shall be called, The Lord our Righteousness b." And I rather think, that, in order the more strongly to mark his divine character, the name Jehovah is here so often repeated. It is repeated no less than eighteen times in these eleven verses : and it is the same person who is spoken of throughout the whole. The same person of whom the Psalmist says, in the first three verses, “ Give unto the LORD, Oye 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.” a Ps. ii. 1-6.
b Jer. xxü. 6.
Of that same person does he say in my text, “ The Lord sitteth upon the flood; yea, the LORD sitteth King for ever. The LORD will give strength unto his people; the LORD will bless his people with peace.” That my text refers to him, there can be no doubt : for he is “that Mighty One, upon whom the help of his people is laid;” and he is, “ The Prince of Peace," from whom all their peace must flow. We may therefore proceed to consider the Lord Jesus, I. As a God of Providence
[“ He is the Creator of all things,” and “ by him all things consist:" nor does any thing occur which is not done by him. We speak of things, indeed, as accidental; but there is nothing really casual, not even “ the falling of a sparrow," or the loss of a hair of our head.” True it is, that creatures, for the most part, execute their own will, and oftentimes with an express desire to oppose the will of God. But they are all unconscious agents in his hands, accomplishing what “ his counsel has determined before to be done. of the priests, the treachery of Judas, the timidity of Pilate, the cruelty of the Roman soldiers, were all subservient to his designs, and all fulfilled his inscrutable purposes. indeed, meant not so; neither did their heart think so:" they followed only the dictates of their own minds: but, in all their actions, “hỉs counsel stood," and he accomplished through them his own sovereign and eternal will. Behold our blessed Lord, in every change of situation, from his apprehension to the grave: who would suppose that these were successive steps to the throne of heaven, and the means ordained for the salvation of the world? Yet this was really the case; and by all these events were a multitude of conflicting prophecies fulfilled. He sat at the helm, and directed all the storm. And precisely thus he does at this time also. The occurrences of every successive day seem as if they arose without order, and passed away without effect. But He who sees all things from the beginning has ordained that a sleepless night, an opening of a book, a casting of a lot, shall all as certainly effect his ends, as any event, however great, or however manifestly connected with his designs. The history of Joseph, so far as relates to the concurrence of contingent circumstances to the advancement of our welfare, is renewed at this time in many of us, whose elevation to a throne of glory is promoted by events which, to the eye of sense, would appear most calculated to counteract it. Be the storm ever so tempestuous,
c Esther iïi. 7. and vi. 1, 2.
“ He sitteth upon the flood;” and be our enemies ever so mighty," he sitteth King for ever," to control their efforts, and overrule them for our good.]
But let us contemplate him, II. As a God of grace
The Lord Jesus Christ, on his ascension to heaven, was constituted “head over all things to his Church;” and a fulness was treasured up in him, for the use of his believing people in all ages. From this fulness he is ever ready to impart unto them, 1. Strength
[Great, exceeding great, is the work which they have to perform, as are also the trials which they have to sustain. But, through him, the weakest of his people shall be able “ to do all things," and to suffer all things, as circumstances may require. Whatever be their situation, “ their strength shall be according to their day?;” and, however weak they be in themselves, "" his strength shall be perfected in their weakness 8:” so seasonable shall be his supplies of grace to their souls, and so sufficient for all their necessities.] 2. Peace
[In a storm, which menaced their destruction, the disciples were alarmed. But our blessed Lord reproved them for not having a more entire affiance in him”. Whatever confederacies of men or devils may be against us, we should dismiss all fear, and "sanctify him in our hearts," as all-sufficient for our protection. It is said of all his people, " He will keep them in perfect peace, because they trust in him.” And well may they be in peace: for, being accepted of God, they may possess an assured peace with him", and, being upheld in his arms, they may laugh at all the assaults of their enemies: for, "if He be for them, who can be against them m?" And this peace is a “ blessing” of the highest order: for, as it is the exclusive privilege of the Lord's people", so is it, both in its nature and operations, more excellent than can be adequately conceived: it truly “passes all understanding o.”] APPLICATION1. Give him, then, the glory due unto his name
[We should get into the very spirit of the Psalmist, and have our minds filled with a sense of our Saviour's power
d Phil. iv, 13.
e Col. i. 11, 12.
f Deut. xxxiii. 25.
grace -- Yet praise him, not by words only, but by that perfect affiance which he calls for at your hands; and which is necessary, in order that you may realize the blessings he is exalted to bestow.] 2. Let his voice controlevery emotion of your souls
[If he speak by thunders and lightnings, he speaks also by his word: and if by them he displays his power, by this he reveals his grace. Notice particularly how, in the psalm before us, every thing is ascribed to his voice. And sure I am, that, if you will listen to the still small voice of his word, there is not a blessing which you can possibly need, but it shall be imparted in the richest abundance to your souls.]
THE MERCY OF GOD.
Ps. xxx. 5. His anger endureth but a moment: in his favour
is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.
IN the title affixed to this psalm, it is called “A psalm, or song, at the dedication of the house of David.” If we understand this as referring to a dedication of his house on his first entrance upon it, there is nothing in the psalm at all suitable to the occasion: but if we refer it to the period of his return to it after the death of Absalom, we shall find a suitableness in it to the circumstances in which he had been placed. He had been driven from his throne at a time when he appeared to be most firmly fixed upon it; and had been in most imminent danger of his life, from the hands of his own favourite, but rebellious son, Absalom. God, however, had mercifully interposed for his deliverance, and had restored him once more in safety to his own house. To purify his house from the pollution it had sustained from Absalom, he dedicated it afresh; and penned this psalm, it should seem, for the occasion. But, as this is a matter of conjecture only, and not of certainty, I shall wave all further allusion to either of the occasions; and take the words of my text simply as expressing a most weighty truth, which is at all a 2 Sam. v. 11.
b 2 Sam. xx. 5.
times, and under all circumstances, proper for our consideration.
Two things we shall notice from it. I. The mercy of God
The mercy of God will be found to be altogether of a boundless extent, whether we consider it, 1. As existing in his own bosom
[He is indeed angry both at sin itself and at those who commit it: and his anger he will surely manifest against every impenitent transgressor.
“ His wrath is revealed against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of meno;" and it will surely “break forth against all the children of disobedienced.” Nevertheless, the inflicting of his judgments is “ a strange act,” to which he is utterly averse, "Mercy" is the attribute in which “he most delights”;" and, when he proclaimed his name, it was that by which he most desired to be known: “ The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity, transgression and sin.” The whole Scriptures represent him in this view, and declare, with one voice, that he is “ rich in mercy)," and that “his mercy is from everlasting to everlasting unto those who fear himi."] 2. As experienced by his people
[Against the impenitent his anger must, of necessity, continue: but, towards the penitent and believing, it is of the shortest possible duration : “ His anger endureth but for a moment.' When Nathan pressed home upon the conscience of David the guilt he had contracted in the matter of Uriah, and had brought him to this acknowledgment," I have sinned against the Lord,” the prophet was instantly directed by God to declare, that his iniquity, notwithstanding the enormity of it, was pardoned: “ The Lord hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not diek.” Had there been any bounds to his mercy, Manasseh could never have found acceptance with him. The wickedness of that monarch exceeded all that one would have supposed a human being was capable of committing: yet was even he pardoned, as soon as he humbled himself before his God?. And how rapidly the mercy of God flies to the healing of a contrite soul, may be seen, as in numberless other instances, so in the psalm before us: “Hear, O Lord,” said David, " and have mercy upon me: Lord, be thou my helper:" and then he immediately adds, “ Thou hast turned for me my mourning
c Rom. i. 18.
d Eph. v. 6.
e Isai. xxvïï. 21.