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airIam2worship
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Early In The Morning I Will Praise The Lord


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« Reply #15 on: October 07, 2006, 02:18:22 PM »

Psalm 14

Inhabitants of the world are represented as lying in wickedness. But the year of the redeemed is foreshadowed. May we tremble at this sight of sin, and rejoice in the prospect of deliverance!

  1. "The fool has said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is no one who does good."

The heart is the index of the man. Its language reveals the real character. If we could hear the secret whispers of the graceless heart, the sound would be but one. The godless think there is no being greater than themselves. Their conceit rejects divine supremacy. It scorns to yield to any yoke. Such men exist in fearful numbers. The faithful Word declares it, and moreover adds that they are fools. They pride themselves in higher wisdom; but their real place is maddest among the mad. Their light is utter darkness, their boasted wisdom is extremest folly. Atheism in heart is wickedness on the lip. The spring is impure; what can flow from it but poisonous waters! The tree is dead at core; the branches must be rotten. Their works, the offspring of their thoughts, are streams of abomination. They pollute the earth in which they are enacted. Hateful to God, they injure man. Are there not some bright exceptions? Not one by nature. There is no good but what the Spirit prompts. Where He is absent only evil dwells; and He is far from unregenerate men.

  2. "The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any who understand, and seek God."

We are directed to Jehovah on His heavenly throne. His piercing eye surveys the universe. It reads the secrets of every heart of every man. No thought escapes omniscient view. What is the concern of the all-pervading search? To ascertain whether all thoughts are turned to God—whether His knowledge is the prime pursuit—whether prayer asks for revelation of His will—whether His mind is sought in the clear pages of His Word—whether His works are studied as emblems of His character. Thus to seek God is proof of wisdom. Let no man boast of understanding whose mind rejects this wise employment. God looks for this. What is His verdict?

 3. "They have all gone aside, they have altogether become filthy; there is no one who does good, no, not one."

We read how things were before the Flood. The heart of graceless man is still the same. Every imagination of the thoughts of his heart is only evil continually. They wander far from paths of righteousness and truth; their feet are set in error's broad decline; their garments are sin-soiled. In God's sight their words are filth, and pollution in extreme defilement. Let us bless God that the blood of Jesus can cleanse from all such stains, and make us whiter than the whitest snow.

4. "Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge? who eat up My people as they eat bread, and call not upon the Lord."

Jehovah sees this universal evil, and now He speaks. The voice is strong admonition. It traces sin to the true source—ignorance. If truth were sought and seen, and loved and followed, how different would be man's walk! Men work iniquity because their minds are blinded. Evil breaks forth in persecution; but who are the persecuted? "My people," says the Lord. We hear the tender voice, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?" The issue is the absence of all prayer. They call not upon the Lord. Here four foul marks of unregenerate man are shown—ignorance, iniquity, persecution, prayerlessness.

 5. "There they are, overwhelmed with dread, for God is present in the company of the righteous."

But to the wicked there is no calm peace. Their minds are ill at ease. Clear tokens show that God is mighty in His people's midst. His presence is their sure defense. God must lose His throne before they can be subdued. Nebuchadnezzar saw this and was astonished. He looked into the flaming furnace and exclaimed, "Look, I see four men loose walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God." Well may they fear whose weapons are thus directed against God.

 6. "You have shamed the counsel of the poor, because the Lord is his refuge."

The godly make the Lord their refuge. He is the high tower to which they always fly. Beneath the shelter of His wings they seek protection. The persecutors sneer; they ridicule such trust. What! look for help to an unseen arm! Thus Jesus was reproached. But experience shows, in countless instances, that none seek God in vain.

 7. "Oh that the salvation of Israel were come out of Zion! when the Lord brings back the captivity of His people, Jacob shall rejoice, and Israel shall be glad."

This frightful sight brings in a glorious dawn. Israel's long night shall cease. She shall arise and shine. Her light shall come; her tedious years of cruel thraldom shall reach a blessed close; her sons from distant lands shall return; her every promise shall have exact fulfillment. From Jerusalem the blessed tidings of salvation shall go forth. If the casting away of them has been the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be but life from the dead! Then indeed shall joy and gladness be the portion of Israel's sons. Then shall praise and thanksgiving ring throughout earth's length and breadth. Let us trust, and pray, and hope. Bright days shall come. Hasten it, O Lord, in Your own time!


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« Reply #16 on: October 07, 2006, 02:28:28 PM »

Psalm 15

Here is a beautiful picture of the holy man. Holy Spirit, mold us into this blessed form!

1. "Lord, who shall abide in Your tabernacle? who shall dwell in Your holy hill?"

Profession is not always real. Many may cry, "Lord, Lord," who shall at last be outcasts. Hence it is all-momentous to escape deception, and to know assuredly our state. Here is the question put. Here is the answer given. He who alone reads well the heart, He who discerns the wheat from chaff, hears the appeal and gives reply. Who then maintains communion with the Lord, who talks with God upon His mercy-seat, who shall forever dwell with Him in the new heavens and the new earth, who shall receive the welcome, "Come, you blessed children of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world?" Who will be Zion's inhabitants when the tabernacle of God is with men, and He shall dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and shall be their God?

The reply forbids mistake. God's people are all righteous. Holiness is written on their brow. Holiness pervades their heart. Holiness directs their steps, supplies their words, and is the very essence of their being. They are newborn by the Spirit's power. The divine nature is implanted. Let not, however, this decisive test mislead. Our holiness presents no title at God's bar; it blots out no sin; it pays no debt; it arrests not condemnation; it weaves no justifying robe; it presents no shadow of a claim. Christ, and Christ only, justifies; His blood alone can cleanse from sin; His death alone appeases wrath. His pure obedience, placed to our account, is the only robe for heaven. Holiness is not our title, but it is assuredly our character. It is the evidence before God and man that we are really Christ's. It is the test of union with the Lord; it is the proof that we are one with Him. By faith we have an interest in Christ and all Christ's work. By works we prove that the gift of faith has been received. With earnest prayer that godliness may be our element of life and fitness for the new Jerusalem, let us now ponder the beautiful portrait drawn by the Spirit's hand.

2. "He who walks uprightly, and works righteousness, and speaks the truth in his heart."

His walk is upright. His ear drinks in the mighty mandate, "Walk before Me, and be perfect." A constant effort restrains from devious ways. His delight is in the study of God's holy law, and his whole life demonstrates his effort to obey. His heart is sincere, and his lips give proof. Pure is the inward fountain, and pure the flowing stream.

3. "He who back-bites not with his tongue, nor does evil to his neighbor, nor takes up a reproach against his neighbor."

His tongue is strictly bridled. He hates the vile defaming which bespatters his neighbor's name. No injury to person or to credit proceeds from him. If evil whispers are addressed to him, they find a check. He propagates no scandal. His charity will cover sins however many.

4. "In whose eyes a vile person is condemned; but he honors those who fear the Lord. He who swears to his own hurt, and changes not."

His estimate of men rests not on outward show. Where he sees signs of gracelessness he withholds respect, although riches and honor and the world's applause exalt the man. But true respect is given where God is feared. He holds that godliness is honor. His conscience swerves not from a pledge because performance may give trouble. Truthfulness, not self-interest, is his rule.

5. "He who puts not out his money to usury, nor takes reward against the innocent. He who does these things shall never be moved."

He knows that the love of money is the fruitful source of all evil. Therefore he never strives to gain by others' need. He shuns extortion. No bribe can tempt him to overreaching acts. Such are the principles which sway his heart. Such prove that he is Christ's, ruled by His law, moved by His love, treading in His paths, seeking His glory. And he shall not be moved. Amid the wreck of worlds, he is secure in Christ his Ark. He will stand when the white throne is set. His dwelling will be firm in realms of everlasting day. But who can try himself by this strict rule, and not be conscious of shortcoming? Who will not smite upon the breast and cry, "God be merciful to me a sinner"? Again, we bear in mind this righteousness is not our plea. If it were so we fail. It is our evidence, and though imperfect, it is true. Its imperfection drives us more to cling to Christ. He and He only is the essence of righteousness. All righteousness He fully wrought. He casts His glorious covering over all our failings. In Him we are completely justified. In Him we rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory. O God, we thank You for Christ Jesus.

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« Reply #17 on: October 07, 2006, 02:33:07 PM »

Psalm 16

To the believer there is much joy in present state. There is, also, bright hope of rising to eternal life. May this joy and hope be our abiding portion!

1. "Preserve me, O God; for I put my trust in You."

The Spirit draws aside the veil, and shows that Jesus is mainly present in this psalm. May we peruse it walking by His side, listening for His voice! He who was emphatically a Man of Sorrows was emphatically a man of faith. As such He was, also, a man of prayer. In all the trials of His low estate, the mind of Jesus rested on His God. When perils came as a devouring flood, He looked upward for preserving aid. Happy the members who trust and pray in the meek spirit of their Head!

2, 3. I said to the Lord, "You are my Master! All the good things I have are from you. The godly people in the land are my true heroes! I take pleasure in them!"

Jesus professes that His inmost soul claims God as His God. Happy are our souls when they respond, O God, You are our God. The blessed state of God is perfect; it is infinite; the heaven-high pyramid cannot receive a higher stone. Redemption's work, which manifests His glory, cannot augment His bliss. Let not the foolish thought be ours that we can enlarge infinitude. We read the wondrous word, that from everlasting, Wisdom's delights were with the sons of men. In the days of Christ's flesh, the calm retreat of Bethany, the converse with His chosen followers, reflect this truth. Blessed be God, there still are saints on earth! Blessed are they who hold communion with them.

4. "Their sorrows shall be multiplied who hasten after another god; their drink-offerings of blood will I not offer, nor take up their names into my lips."

How prone is man to cast away the true and living God, and with deluded mind to rush to idol-worship! To multiply gods is to multiply sorrows. They are all devils, and their work is to torment. The godly man abhors their offerings, and spurns their very names. There was an offering of blood which Jesus offered; may we delight in it as all salvation.

5, 6. "The Lord is the portion of my inheritance and of my cup; You maintain my lot. The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; yes, I have a goodly heritage."

Our blessed Jesus more than walked patiently in all His path below. There was joy set before Him which gladdened His every step. In Christ God is our God forever. Can we desire more? How rich is this portion! How reviving is our cup! How can we bless His grace enough who has called us to this ennobling state? Angels are ours to guard us. Providences are ours to secure our bliss. The God-Man's blood is ours to wash out every sin. A righteousness is prepared to robe us for the courts above. Heaven is promised as our endless home. We have a goodly heritage.

7. "I will bless the Lord, who has given me counsel; my heart also instructs me in the night seasons."

Jesus bears the sweet name of Counselor, and sweetly does He execute His office. He sends His Spirit to admonish and gently to direct. This is His gracious work. To Him be all the praise. He adds instruction in times of silence and of solitude, when the world is far away. He visits the deep recesses of the heart. He communes with the secrets of the soul, and deeply writes His lessons of pure wisdom. Let us again say, "Bless the Lord."

8, 9. "I have set the Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; my flesh also shall rest in hope."

The mind of Jesus ever rested on God's will. He came to earth, He lived, He worked, He died to glorify His Father. He knew that God was ever by His side. He feared not the assaults of men or devils. His cause could never totter. He surely marched to triumph. Therefore in all His trials His heart was tranquil and His lips sang praise. He knew indeed that He must hang a dead man on the Cross; He must exhaust death's bitter cup. But His tomb was bright in prospect that the dark bed would soon be left. All His members share this trust. May this faith be largely ours! The eye that ever looks for God may ever see Him. He is ever near, and near to help. Can he be moved on whose right hand God stands?

10. "because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay."

The Spirit here foreshows the glorious truth that death could not detain our Lord. Christ breaks the icy shackles; He leaves the short imprisonment. No corruption taints the sacred body. He stands again alive on earth. Infallible proofs demonstrate that He who was dead is now alive. Except the Lord's near coming should prevent it, we too must sleep the sleep of death. We are not screened from corruption. Decay will riot on these frames. But short will be death's triumph. The trumpet will sound. Corruption shall put on incorruption.

11. "You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand there are pleasures forevermore."

The heart of Jesus was sustained by joys before Him; joys in His Heavenly Father's throne—joys which should have no end. Shall not we too lift up expectant heads? The voice of truth assures us, "The glory which You gave Me, I have given them." Thought staggers. Minds are narrow to embrace the bliss; but faith entirely believes. Hope bounds toward the fulfillment. Happy the hours which flow in meditation on fullness of joy and pleasures with God forevermore! To gaze on this glorious prospect is heaven begun. What will the reality bestow? Lord grant that we may quickly know!


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« Reply #18 on: October 08, 2006, 09:08:42 PM »

Psalm 17

Abundant prayers are made. The end is confirmation of confidence. May we thus pray, and thus be comforted!

1, 2. "Hear the right, O Lord, attend to my cry, give ear to my prayer, that goes not out from deceitful lips. Let my sentence come forth from Your presence; let Your eyes behold the things that are equal."

Let us scan narrowly the character of true prayer. It wears no mask of truthless insincerity. It speaks not falsely with hypocritical pretense. It utters deep-felt truth from honest heart. Thus it wrestles like agonizing Jacob, and prevails. This boldness gains much strength from inward consciousness of uprightness.

He who secretly loves evil may pretend to pray, but he fails to pray. In strict exactness, no lips but those of Jesus could adopt these words. On earth He was as pure from sin as God in heaven. Truth was constrained to say, I find in Him no evil. But a great day is coming, when all believers shall thus plead before the judgment-seat. We shall crave justice, because in Jesus we have fulfilled each tittle of the law, because in Him we have endured each penalty. "Hear the right" will be a conquering cry. God will be just, and justify Christ-pleading sinners.

3, 4. "You have proved my heart; You have visited me in the night; You have tried me, and shall find nothing; I have purposed that my mouth shall not transgress. Concerning the works of men, by the Word of Your lips I have kept myself from the paths of the destroyer."

No man but the God-man could court omniscient scrutiny. We know this, and we adore Him; for His pure righteousness was wrought for us, and is imputed to us. But though sin is mixed with all we do, our every nerve should strive for righteousness without one flaw. Here the heart, the mainspring of the man, is uncovered before God. In times of darkness, when no mortal eye can see, and interruption cannot distract, close communion is held with God. He is invited to visit and to search. There is resolve that erring words shall not offend. A godly bridle shall restrain the lips. Grace from the tongue shall answer grace in the heart. The walk, also, shall be far from Satan's devious paths. His broad road is a downward path. He is the fell destroyer. All who are led by him go headlong into destruction's pit. The Spirit has supplied a perfect chart. His Book gives guidance for every word, for every work, at every moment, in all circumstances. Feet planted on this rock can never fall. The students of Scripture will ever shine as lights. They will reach heaven's haven.

5, 6. "Hold up my goings in Your paths, that my footsteps slip not. I have called upon You, for You will hear me, O God; incline Your ear to me, and hear my speech."

Purposes may be sincere and strong; but our own strength is utter weakness. The firmest staff of human growth is but a feeble reed. Grace must support us or we fall. The Spirit must enable or we fail. Hence prayer increases in intensity. The more we grow in grace, the more we feel our need. The more we climb the heavenward hill, the more we dread backsliding. Each advance makes us more fearful of decline. Hence the ripest saint is most intent in prayer.

7. "Show Your marvelous loving-kindness, O You who save by Your right hand those who put their trust in You, from those who rise up against them." Many rose up against our blessed Lord. From all He was delivered. He trusted and was not confounded. The same foes are ours. But let no fears depress us. We shall laugh all to scorn. But in the conflict, nothing so cheers as the sense of God's love. Moses prayed, "Show me Your glory." The reply was, "I will make all My goodness pass before you." His goodness is His glory. The sun at midday is a wondrous sight. How glittering are the countless rays! But the sun is darkness beside the effulgence of God's love. When it encircles and inspirits us, we are waived to victory's high ground. Let us often pray, "Show Your marvelous lovingkindness."

8, 9. "Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of Your wings, from the wicked who oppress me, from my deadly enemies who surround me."

The pupil of the eye is the body's tenderest part. The slightest touch—a particle of dust—inflicts keen pain. Therefore skill and care elaborately screen it. Safeguards are multiplied around. Similar is the care which saints implore. A promise is dispensed which tells that this care is ever near. The Lord in tender mercy cries, "He who touches you touches the apple of My eye."

Nature's most tender proof of protecting love is shown in the parent bird. When the storm threatens, or danger from some enemy appears, the little brood is quickly gathered, and extending wings are spread around them. They are so covered that no eye can see them; they nestle in warm shelter and are safe. This is fit emblem of God's guardian care. Hear the sweet voice of Jesus, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem! how often would I have gathered your children together, even as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you would not." This prayer involves a promise of all help. Let faith often shoot these darts to heaven. Full answers will come down.

10. "They close up their callous hearts, and their mouths speak with arrogance."

The faithful often plead the character of their foes. They are sensuous and carnal; they trench themselves in pleasures, indulgences, and vain-glory. Pride dwells within, and arrogance makes boast.

11, 12. "They track me down, surround me, and throw me to the ground. They are like hungry lions, eager to tear me apart—like young lions in hiding, waiting for their chance."

Intent to catch, they spread their nets around. Their stratagems and snares beset. With look demure, they seem to be harmless; but they are cruel as the ravenous lion, and crafty as the lion's whelp which springs from secret ambush. Such are the features of the persecutor.

13, 14. "Arise, O Lord! Stand against them and bring them to their knees! Rescue me from the wicked with your sword! Save me by your mighty hand, O Lord, from those whose only concern is earthly gain. May they have their punishment in full. May their children inherit more of the same, and may the judgment continue to their children's children."

"Arise, O Lord; disappoint him, cast him down; deliver my soul from the wicked, which is Your sword; from the men which are Your hand, O Lord, from men of the world, which have their portion in this life, and whose belly You fill with Your hidden treasure; they are full of children, and leave the rest of their substance to their babes."

Adopting this version, our minds receive a weighty lesson. We are taught that the wicked are God's sword; that the men of the world are His hand. The Spirit in other Scriptures has revealed the same. Of the Assyrian it is said that he is the rod of God's anger and the staff of His indignation. It is the Lord's voice, "You are my battle-ax and weapons of war; for with you will I break in pieces the nations, and with you will I destroy kingdoms." Thus evil passions are employed to chasten, to reprove, to keep us low, to do us good.

Thus Satan raging in man's heart is only instrumental to subserve God's ends. Man's violence and spite are overruled. They will accomplish the predetermined work; they little know their true design; they are real blessings, though disguised to God's own people.

But while they are employed to harass, the saints must pray; they must be suppliants for speedy help. "Arise, O Lord, disappoint him and cast him down." And we may plead the vile condition of our foes. They are of the earth and earthly; they seek no portion beyond this sin-soiled world; they glean abundance of its worthless husks; they feast on its unsubstantial pleasures; they amass its gilded baubles, and transmit their hoarded treasures to their babies.

15. "As for me, I will behold Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with Your likeness."

Contrast the true believer's lot. He loves to gaze on God's unclouded face. Clothed in pure righteousness, enrobed in beauty, compared with which the sun is pale, decked in perfection fit for the palace of the King, he will be welcomed to the heaven of heavens. Though for a little time his flesh may slumber in the grave, yet he will surely wake. The hour is coming when all who are in the grave shall hear His voice and shall come forth. Then He will change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like His glorious body. We shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. Then indeed we shall be satisfied. What more could be desired? What more could be conceived? What more could Heaven bestow? The glorified spirit re-inhabits a glorious frame; the resurrection robes are now put on, and they must shine forever. No lapse of age can change their hue. This wedding garment is ever new. Gazing on this glorious prospect, we may care little for those short-lived troubles. They need not fear the face of man who soon will see the face of God.


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« Reply #19 on: October 08, 2006, 09:15:31 PM »

Psalm 18

Mighty deliverance is realized, and utter ruin of every foe. May we intelligently swell the note of praise!

1, 2. "I love you, Lord; you are my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the strength of my salvation, and my stronghold."

These fervent words show David's glowing heart. When seated on the throne of victory he saw his foes all low in dust, and felt that God had done it. He exhausts all warlike terms to show that God was his stronghold, God his armor, and God his power. God kept him safe; God gave him conquest. What can he render in return? He gives his heart. He gratefully exclaims, "I love You, O Lord."

David soon disappears. Jesus Himself strides forth. David's typical career suggests this noble song; but in its fullness it is Messianic. Faith hears it flowing fresh from Jesus' heart. It reads here redemption's conflict, redemption's triumphs, and it is exceeding glad. How feelingly would Jesus' lips exclaim, O my Father, I love You. You have been my fortress!

3. "I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised; so shall I be saved from my enemies."

It is a precious gift to know that faithful prayer is sure deliverance, and that our God is worthy of all praise. He is more worthy than thought can think or words express.

4, 5, 6. "The sorrows of death surrounded me, and the floods of the ungodly made me afraid. The sorrows of hell surrounded me; the snares of death confronted me. In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried to my God; He heard my voice out of His temple, and my cry came before Him, even into His ears."

The Man of sorrows is before us. When bearing the penalty of our sins to the uttermost, His soul was exceedingly sorrowful, even unto death. In prayer He sought relief; by prayer He gained support.

7 - 15. "Then the earth quaked and trembled; the foundations of the mountains shook; they quaked because of his anger. Smoke poured from his nostrils; fierce flames leaped from his mouth; glowing coals flamed forth from him. He opened the heavens and came down; dark storm clouds were beneath his feet. Mounted on a mighty angel, he flew, soaring on the wings of the wind. He shrouded himself in darkness, veiling his approach with dense rain clouds. The brilliance of his presence broke through the clouds, raining down hail and burning coals. The Lord thundered from heaven; the Most High gave a mighty shout. He shot his arrows and scattered his enemies; his lightning flashed, and they were greatly confused. Then at your command, O Lord, at the blast of your breath, the bottom of the sea could be seen, and the foundations of the earth were laid bare."

We may not pause to marvel at the dazzling splendor of this brilliant picture. It is a poetic fervor in full blaze. Image succeeds image, revealing almighty vengeance arrayed in terror, and flying in dreadful majesty to sustain His chosen. David, thus speaking, felt that miracles had helped his cause; that God Himself had fought in his behalf. If all the hidden wonders of his wondrous career were open to our view, if we had witnessed all the marvels which amazingly delivered him, we would not wonder that such fervent language burst from his lips.

But in the Antitype the picture's colors are not overlaid. During the garden agony, during the horrors of the Cross, we conclude that a dreadful conflict was enacted unseen by mortal eye. We read indeed of nature's throes. In spirit we see darkness unparalleled; we feel the trembling of the quaking earth; but we do not see the hidden battle; we do not see all hell in fury to secure the victory; we do not see Jehovah arising in His strength, and rousing His instruments of wrath to crush the desperate foe and to sustain His suffering Son. We follow the guidance of this picture, and we ponder a deep mystery.

16 - 18. "He reached down from heaven and rescued me; he drew me out of deep waters. He delivered me from my powerful enemies, from those who hated me and were too strong for me. They attacked me at a moment when I was weakest, but the Lord upheld me."

We learn how real, how agonizing, was the anguish of our Lord. To pay sin's penalty was to endure hell. But He prevailed, for God was with Him. His trials were thus foreseen, but He encountered them. He waded conqueror through the many waters, for God was by His side. Let us thank and bless Him who suffered, and by suffering saved us; let grateful love adore Him.

19. "He brought me forth also into a large place; He delivered me, because He delighted in me."

The conflict ended in most glorious life. Our Jesus was exalted to supremest glory, and received all power in heaven and earth, because God loved Him as His Son, who had fulfilled His total will.

20 - 24. "The Lord rewarded me for doing right; he compensated me because of my innocence. For I have kept the ways of the Lord; I have not turned from my God to follow evil. For all his laws are constantly before me; I have never abandoned his principles. I am blameless before God; I have kept myself from sin. The Lord rewarded me for doing right, because of the innocence of my hands in his sight."

One zeal burned steadily in Jesus' heart. He came to earth to do His Father's will. To this polestar His course was always pointed. He came to do redemption-work, to save lost sinners, to atone for sin, to bring in perfect righteousness, to satisfy the law's demand, to keep its beautiful code, to honor all God's attributes, to bring glory to His name. He ceased not until He cried, "It is finished," and received the welcome, "Sit on My right hand."

25, 26, 27. "With the merciful You will show Yourself merciful; with an upright man You will show Yourself upright; with the pure You will show Yourself pure; and with the devious You will show Yourself shrewd. For You will save the afflicted people; but will bring down high looks."

God's dealings with His incarnate Son all flowed in the channel of truth and justice. Pure godliness had claims. These claims were duly satisfied. So, also, no grace in the believer's heart is overlooked. God meets and cheers with blessings all those who by the Spirit's help strive to walk closely with Him. Each grace sows seeds of favor. Especial pity marks the sufferers in oppression's furnace. Bruised Israelites are comforted. Haughty Pharaohs are cast down.

28, 29. "For You will light my candle; the Lord my God will enlighten my darkness. For by You I have run through a troop; and by my God I have leaped over a wall."

In darkest moments of desertion Jesus well knew that a bright dawn was near. The sun eclipsed is not the sun extinguished. The shadow will soon pass, and the returning rays will be more joyous. Thick troops may seem to choke the way, strong batteries may impede. But when God helps, no obstacles can check. A way is opened through opposing ranks. Strength is supplied to overleap all hindrances.

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« Reply #20 on: October 08, 2006, 09:16:16 PM »

30, 31. "As for God, His way is perfect; the Word of the Lord is tried; He is a shield to all those who trust in Him. For who is God except the Lord? or who is a rock except our God?"

Knowledge of God is comfort in all times. It was so to our Head on earth. It has been so to every saint. It will be so until Jesus shall return. His dealings with His Church are perfection. No flaw therein was ever found. There is one testimony, "He has done all things well." His truth is often tested; but each trial proves that it is firm and pure. Who ever stood behind His armor and received a wound? He is well shielded whose shield is the Lord. Vain is all other help. Besides Jehovah there is no God. All other confidences mock and deceive. He only stands as an immovable rock. All earthly props and supports are shifting sand; when the storm comes they shake and fall.

32 - 36. "God arms me with strength; he has made my way safe. He makes me as surefooted as a deer, leading me safely along the mountain heights. He prepares me for battle; he strengthens me to draw a bow of bronze. You have given me the shield of your salvation. Your right hand supports me; your gentleness has made me great. You have made a wide path for my feet to keep them from slipping."

Christ waged a ceaseless warfare. Cruel assaults gave Him no rest. But He could sing that no help was withheld, and that God's arm wrought glorious triumphs for Him.

We now advance to a terrific fight. But let no fears unnerve. Our foes are doubtless many, strong, untiring, raging, infuriate; but armor and ability are prepared. The armor is spiritual and wrought by God, because the enemy is bitter and satanic. Let us gird ourselves with every weapon. It will be found sufficient.

Let us look upwards to our great Captain. He will infuse courage and might; He will gird up our weak loins; He will teach us to use well our weapons. All His dealings will be tenderness and love. Sweet whispers will encourage; gentle smiles will animate. Happy experience will at last clap the hand, and sing, "Your gentleness has made me great." Harshness is not in Him whom our souls love and our feet follow.

37 - 40. "I chased my enemies and caught them; I did not stop until they were conquered. I struck them down so they could not get up; they fell beneath my feet. You have armed me with strength for the battle; you have subdued my enemies under my feet. You made them turn and run; I have destroyed all who hated me."

David's experience here speaks. When calm in peace, high in supreme dominion, undisturbed by wars and hostile menace, he looked back on his eventful course. Many indeed had been his fights; perils frequently had been extreme; but conquest followed conquest, until he rested on a peaceful throne. But he knew well that conquering strength was not his own; he saw the source of his supremacy; he trampled on the necks of foes because God laid them low before him.

Here is a picture of the aged pilgrim pondering his bygone trials. He has passed through outward troubles leaning on his God. The deep waters did not overwhelm him because the heavenly hand sustained him. The lusts, the passions, the corruptions of the inner man failed to destroy the inner life, because grace was infused to fan the threatened embers. Faith testifies, I live because Christ lived within me. Mine is the joy; the victory is the Lord's.

But here the prominent figure is the blessed Jesus. The day fast comes when He shall reign supreme. Satan and hell's legion must lick the dust. The wretched multitude who have joined his ranks and fought against the Gospel-truth must gnash the teeth, all crushed beneath His chariot-wheels. A kingdom shall be set up in which pure righteousness shall reign. No foe shall interrupt the universal peace. No jarring note shall mar the melody of Hallelujah.

41 - 45. "They called for help, but no one came to rescue them. They cried to the Lord, but he refused to answer them. I ground them as fine as dust carried by the wind. I swept them into the gutter like dirt. You gave me victory over my accusers. You appointed me as the ruler over nations; people I don't even know now serve me. As soon as they hear of me, they submit; foreigners cringe before me. They all lose their courage and come trembling from their strongholds."

It seems the Spirit's joy to lengthen out the note of triumph. We see the enemies of Christ at last convinced of their lost state. They call, they seek, they bow the knee. But all submission is in vain. The Word is fulfilled, "I will laugh at your calamity, I will mock when your fear comes." How terrible is that word, "Too late!" Here, also, the Gospel's triumphs in the heathen world are shadowed forth. The heathen are His inheritance. The chosen seed will hear the good Shepherd's voice, and gladly hurry to salvation's fold.

46, 47, 48. "The Lord lives, and blessed be my rock; and let the God of my salvation be exalted. It is God who avenges me, and subdues the nations under me. He delivers me from my enemies; yes, You lift me up above those that rise up against me; You have delivered me from the violent man."

Praise should never cease. It is a joyful exercise; it is the due acknowledgment of countless mercies. Throughout eternity remembrance will record God's marvelous aid in days of trouble, and at each remembrance harps will again be struck. The song will swell again, "Blessed be our rock; let the God of our salvation be exalted."

49. "Therefore I will give thanks to You, O Lord, among the heathen, and sing praises to Your name."

Again we are told of the triumphant song. Let it be no new song to us; let its sweet notes be now familiar to our lips; let us pray for grace to realize the wonderful mercies which surround us; let our thoughts seldom wander from the Cross. Oh! what a sight of wonder! How precious is that expiating blood! Let us ponder its worth, and the marvels it has wrought, until our hearts become one blaze of love, our lips one note of praise.

50. "He gives Great deliverance to His King, and shows mercy to His anointed, to David, and to his descendants forevermore."

Faith gladly answers, Yes, how true! how true! Jesus was greatly delivered from all the hate of hell, from all the bands of death, from every opposing foe. The typical David lived a long life of constant deliverances. It shall be so to all the promised descendants. Great deliverances are their portion; constant mercy is their attendant. May the thought deepen in each believing heart that they are on the conquering side—that no weapon formed against them shall succeed—that soon the warfare will be all accomplished, and that they shall magnify the conquering Lamb with conquering song! May we sing with them!


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« Reply #21 on: October 08, 2006, 09:18:42 PM »

Psalm 19

Two witnesses proclaim God's glory. His Works and Word harmoniously respond. May the joint testimony teach us!

1, 2. "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night shows knowledge."

Debased and senseless is the mind which creation's wonders fail to touch. Survey the canopy above our heads. It is magnificent in all which constitutes beauty and splendor in perfection. From morn to night light strides along its azure path, illumining the world. When evening's shades prevail, the stars hang out their countless lamps, and stud with spangles the brilliant skies. We marvel; we admire. We trace the great Creator's skill and reverently adore. It must be a mighty mind who planned this exquisite machinery. It must be mighty power which framed these glowing orbs, and gave them their appointed courses. They could not will their own formation. They could not array themselves with brightness. It must, also, be gracious benevolence which arranged such lovely helps and solace for us. On all the heavens God's glory is inscribed. The skies in all their parts show what His hands have wrought. The record never ceases. Day follows day, repeating the instruction. Night succeeds to night, telling the great Creator's praise.

3, 4, 5, 6. "They speak without a sound or a word; their voice is silent in the skies; yet their message has gone out to all the earth, and their words to all the world. The sun lives in the heavens where God placed it. It bursts forth like a radiant bridegroom after his wedding. It rejoices like a great athlete eager to run the race. The sun rises at one end of the heavens and follows its course to the other end. Nothing can hide from its heat."

The lessons of the skies are universal. Wherever man breathes, in torrid or in frigid zones, the canopy of day and night speaks the same voice. Throughout earth's length and breadth the heavens teach plainly the invisible things of God, even His eternal power and Godhead. Let the sun's voice especially be heard. The heavens are His splendid tent. In the dawn he breaks forth arrayed in gladness, as a joyous bridegroom. He strides along stately in giant-strength. He girds all heaven in his path, and with his all-penetrating rays searches earth in all its parts. In all his course, in all his might, one is his witness. God is my Maker. Worship Him. So then they are without excuse who do not read God in creation's volume. The Spirit by the mouth of Paul declares their guilt, and passes just sentence, and seals their reprobation. The Spirit, also, adopts these terms to show the Gospel's progress through all lands. Let this inspirit missionary zeal!

7 - 11. "The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul. The decrees of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The commandments of the Lord are right, bringing joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are clear, giving insight to life. Reverence for the Lord is pure, lasting forever. The laws of the Lord are true; each one is fair. They are more desirable than gold, even the finest gold. They are sweeter than honey, even honey dripping from the comb. They are a warning to those who hear them; there is great reward for those who obey them."

From the witness of God's WORKS there is an easy transit to the witness of His WORD. Both spring from the same source; both spread abroad the same truth—God's glory. Six distinct titles here designate the Word. Each bears a separate character, and each describes a separate effect. How worthy is this glorious Word of constant study! Let it be read on bended knee until all its efficacy molds our hearts. None are so wise and happy as the Bible-taught. This study is the richest feast. It regales the soul far more than sweetest dainties can please the palate. It gives wise warning for our every hour. Obedience is wise blessedness.

12, 13. "Who can understand his errors? cleanse me from secret faults. Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me; then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from great transgression."

Every step which strays from the strict path of perfect love is error. Who can count up these countless deviations! They far exceed the ocean's sands. They may be hidden from man's eye, but all are patent to omniscient scrutiny. Let the thought drive us to the all-atoning blood, and prompt the earnest prayer, Cleanse me, O Jesus, cleanse.

Especially let us seek grace to keep us from bold sins of mad presumption against God's rule. Indulged, they soon establish habits which rule with tyrant's force; and may lead to sin against the Spirit, for which no pardon can be found.

14. "Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength, and my Redeemer."

Precious, indeed, will be this psalm if it thus leads to wrestling hold of Christ, who is all strength and all redemption to us.


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« Reply #22 on: October 08, 2006, 11:52:26 PM »

AMEN SISTER MARIA!

Thank you sincerely for posting and sharing this incredibly beautiful material. I think that the peace and beauty of the Psalms might be exactly what many Christians need right now. There should be often times that Christians simply stop, ignore the world, know that GOD holds eternity for us, worship HIM, and praise HIS NAME.

The powers and rulers of this world can't change one word of the Promises of GOD. Our hope is just as sure, and we should revel in the sure knowledge of eternity with JESUS CHRIST. Our happiness and joy does not depend on what the powers of darkness and evil do or don't do, rather our eternal happiness and joy depends solely on the Promises of GOD.

Sister, I plan to enjoy this study and want to thank you again. Every day is a good time for prayer and praise.

Love In Christ,
Tom

Matthew 17:5 NASB  While he was still speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice out of the cloud said, "This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!"

Romans 8:26-27 NASB  In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
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« Reply #23 on: October 09, 2006, 07:09:30 AM »

Brother it is so comforting to know that we can run into the bosom of our Father no matter how we feel. Whethter we feel defeated, tired, sick, persecuted, happy, victorious, no matter what we feel we can just get into His bosom and the Book of Psalms makes me feel this way. I know my Father loves me, He is so tender, He is so strong, He is God alone. I love to get alone with the Lord and loose myself in the book of Psalms. It is so comforting. to be in His presence.
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« Reply #24 on: October 09, 2006, 08:00:48 AM »

Psalm 20

Intercession is our duty and our privilege. Trust in God secures success. May we be encouraged to pray and not to faint!

1, 2. "May the Lord hear you in the day of trouble; may the name of the God of Jacob defend you. May He send you help from the sanctuary, and strengthen you out of Zion."

David desires entreaties for himself, and suggests petitions for his praying people. He was tossed on the waves of ever-swelling trouble. At home and abroad, there was the incessant noise of war. He knew the only source of true success. He excites others to besiege heaven for him.

In his kingly office he was a clear type of Christ. In this type David's great Lord and Son stoops to solicit prayer. He stands before us as one in need; troubles grow thick around Him; the whole artillery of hell assails; He looked to heaven, and asks others to desire audience for Him. We can look back and see how answers came. All the perfections of God which constitute His name came forth in His behalf. The God of Jacob was His shield. The heavens opened. A ministering angel hastened to uphold the prostrate God-man.

3. "Remember all Your offerings, and accept Your burnt sacrifice."

In this petition faith looks onward to the great redeemer. Jesus indeed made offering to God. He offered Himself the victim upon the altar. He laid down His life a whole burnt-sacrifice. He fulfilled all which every blazing altar and every bleeding victim had prefigured; He was not spared. Avenging wrath descended, and fullest penalty was inflicted. Justice presented scales, and they received their whole demands.

It is our joy to know that the shed blood prevailed. Each faithful suppliant can remind our God that full atonement has been made for every sin; that all due wrath has been expended on our surety; that His death is our death; His sufferings are our sufferings; His payment is our payment; the curse inflicted upon Him is our redemption. We may kneel joyfully before the throne, and with assurance cry, "remember the offering of the dying Jesus; accept the burnt-sacrifice of the atoning Lamb."

4. "Grant according to Your own heart, and fulfill all Your counsel."

The heart of Christ is fixed on God's glory. He cries, "Your law is within My heart." His burning desire was that all God's attributes should receive honor from His work. This glory is secured when mercy and truth meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other. All His desire shall be accomplished. He shall see of the travail of His soul and shall be satisfied. Success shall gloriously crown His work. The Gospel-scheme shall triumph.

5. "We will rejoice in your salvation, and in the name of our God we will set up our banners; the Lord fulfill all your petitions."

The Church beholds salvation won and all desires of Christ fulfilled. It is a wondrous, precious, glorious sight. God is honored; Christ is magnified; sinners are saved. What is the feeling which breaks forth? It is joy—joy unspeakable and full of glory. Let every heart be glad, let every lip sing praise. In knowledge of this manifested glory let us unfold the banner; let us press to the ranks of the redeemed; let us march in happy fellowship to Immanuel's land.

6. "Now know I that the Lord saves His anointed; He will hear him from His holy heaven with the saving strength of His right hand."

The life in the believer's soul, his clear perception of redemption's truth, his realizing views of deep interest in Christ, leave no doubt that Christ was heard in all His prayers, and that God put forth all the strength of His right hand to bring Him through His work. Oh! blessed knowledge of all precious truth!

7, 8. "Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; but we will remember the name of the Lord our God. They were brought down and fell; but we have risen, and stand upright."

The folly of carnal confidence is next portrayed. Except the Lord be on our side, the multitude of warlike equipment are as the chaff before the wind. The Lord speaks, and Pharaoh and his hosts fall an easy prey to the unsparing sea, while Israel, relying on their God, stand conquerors on the shore, and sing the song of triumph.

Holy Spirit! open our eyes to see our nothingness in ourselves! Our best is worthless. May we shun all fancied righteousness, and fix adoring thoughts on the great name and saving work of Jesus!

9. "Save, Lord! let the King hear us when we call."

Salvation should be the first and foremost, the sum and substance, of our every desire. What will all earth, and all earth's treasures, and all earth's pleasures profit, except our souls be saved! For salvation let our cry besiege heaven's gates. Happy the thought that on the throne a King is seated who never casts out prayer! Let us come boldly, and pray diligently. Calling in Christ's name, we cannot fail. We have a motto for this day and evermore—"Save, Lord! let the King hear us when we call."


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« Reply #25 on: October 09, 2006, 08:07:19 AM »

Psalm 21

This ode of triumph celebrates our exalted Head. May we thus sing on earth by faith, and lengthen out the strain through endless days!

1, 2. "The king shall rejoice in Your strength, O Lord; and in Your salvation how greatly shall he rejoice! You have given him his heart's desire, and have not withheld the request of his lips."

We fall far short of this psalm's precious teaching if we restrict our musings to the type. Let David first be seen rejoicing in his royal crown, but let him soon fade before the rising of the King of kings. Here we may bathe our souls in the deep waters of Christ's truth. For the joy set before Him, He endured the cross, despising the shame. But the joy then in prospect is joy now fully realized. He sits rejoicing on the Father's right hand. The conflict is past; the battle is fought; the victory is won; every peril is escaped; every foe is vanquished. He has been strong to conquer, and He ascribes the strength to God's empowering hand. Salvation is achieved; it is salvation through the will and help of God, and in it greatly He exults. The utmost desires of His heart are granted. He could not wish nor ask for more. The cup of gladness overflows.

3. "For You welcomed him with the blessings of goodness; You set a crown of pure gold on his head."

During the struggle and the deep abasement, God ever went before Him, strewing blessings in His path; God's goodness ever paved His way. And now He is crowned—crowned as Conqueror, crowned as King. High is the throne on which He sits; omnipotent is the scepter which He wields. The government is placed upon His shoulders. All power is given to Him in heaven and in earth. Happy the subjects of this triumphant Lord!

4. "He asked life from You, and You gave it to him, even length of days forever and ever."

In deepest agony He cried to God, who was able to save Him from death, and His prayer was heard. The word is fulfilled, "With long life will I satisfy Him, and show Him my salvation." Our High Priest appears, and His happy testimony is, "I am He who lives and was dead; and behold I am alive forevermore, Amen, and have the keys of hell and of death." He is the resurrection and the life. He is our life. All who are one with Him have for their portion the everlasting life of glory.

5, 6, 7. "His glory is great in Your salvation; You have laid honor and majesty upon him. For You have made him most blessed forever; You have made him exceeding glad with Your countenance. For the king trusts in the Lord; and through the mercy of the Most High he shall not be moved."

The Spirit multiplies to show Christ's present blessedness. Great is His glory through God's saving hand. He is heir of all the majesty which heaven can give. He is God over all, blessed forevermore. Blessed Himself, He holds all blessings for His people. We, also, are blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Him. But what is His all-surpassing joy? It is to bask forever in His heavenly Father's smile. If He has sympathy with us, should not we, also, have sympathy with Him? If our sorrows are His sorrows, should not His joy be ours? It is added that His joy is the fruit of faith. He trusted and is thus exalted. Let us believe and we shall similarly triumph.

8 - 12. "You will capture all your enemies. Your strong right hand will seize all those who hate you. You will destroy them as in a flaming furnace when you appear. The Lord will consume them in his anger; fire will devour them. You will wipe their children from the face of the earth; they will never have descendants. Although they plot against you, their evil schemes will never succeed. For they will turn and run when they see your arrows aimed at them."

Jesus arises from His throne to consummate His final victory. Then obstructing refuges shall fail. They shall call upon rocks and mountains to conceal. They shall flee into every hiding-place which terror can devise. But wrath shall drag them forth. Fearful images portray their hopeless ruin. They shall agonize as in the flames of burning ovens. Fire shall seize them as its prey. Unceasing anguish shall devour them. How vain will be their flight when the arrows of the Most High pursue them! When that day shall come, may we be on the Conqueror's side!

13. "Be exalted, Lord, in Your own strength; so will we sing and praise Your power."

Such is the fitting chorus to this song of triumph. Let every believer's voice call Jesus to His final exaltation. When that great day shall come, may we lift up the voice and celebrate His glorious power! Let us exalt Him now in heart, by life, in lip, by every faculty, and at each moment. Let the eternal song be no new song to us!


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« Reply #26 on: October 09, 2006, 08:12:54 AM »

Psalm 22

The deepest anguish of our suffering Lord is here portrayed. The story of the Cross is told in minute detail. Light breaks forth at last. May we gaze and adore!

1, 2. "My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? why are You so far from helping me, and from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry in the daytime, but You do not hear; and in the night-season, and am not silent."

We take our stand at Calvary. The Cross is erected. Jesus, the God-man, our substitute, our Redeemer, hangs there. We look, and we receive assurance that truly He is bearing our curse, and drinking to the dregs our cup of wrath, and receiving into His inmost soul the sword of justice, and suffering the extremities of anguish as the penalty for our sins.

For three hours ebony darkness veils the world. We may not pierce the mystery. What mind could bear to realize the tremendous transaction? We learn all that we need to know from the shrill cry which burst from the sufferer's heart. He testifies that God, His God, was no more present. His countenance was wholly hidden. Utter desertion overwhelmed Him. He cried for help, but no help came. He groaned through extremest anguish, and was not silent; but no answer came. It was the hour and power of darkness. Hell could not do more to terrify and excruciate. He was abandoned to its fury. He was surrendered to its worst.

Here we have fullest proof that our Lord's sufferings were real; but they were not for Himself. They were all really substitutional. We have a real curse-bearer, and we really suffer in Him. But against all feeling, when all things were most adverse, faith still survived and retained hold of God. From desertion's lowest depth faith cried, "My God, my God."

3, 4, 5. "But You are holy, O You who inhabit the praises of Israel. Our fathers trusted in You; they trusted, and You delivered them. They cried to You, and were delivered; they trusted in You, and were not disappointed."

It is faith's happy province, when outward comforts utterly depart, still to justify God. Faith cannot blame, disparage, or cast doubt on Him. Against all outward sense it knows and witnesses that God is holy; it knows that God is entitled to all praise. Praise is His due desert. His people's praises are His home. In darkest times faith gathers strength from ages of experience; it looks to the elders of God's house; they all were partakers of confiding grace. It is thrice repeated that they trusted. To trust they added prayer. The end was sure. Deliverance came, and they were not ashamed. Though He slays us, yet let us trust Him. Light is sown for the righteous. We read a wonderful word as falling from the lips of Jesus—"Our fathers." He states that He is thoroughly one with us. He is born very man, a member of our family; our fathers are His fathers, and His Father is our Father.

6. "But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised by the people."

Jesus foresaw His deep humiliation. He takes the place of a scorned reptile. He is considered scarcely worthy to be ranked on a level with the human race. In after days the prophet sounded a similar note of degradation. He is despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, and we hid, as it were, our faces from Him. Let us gratefully remember that His low estate is our exaltation. He thus sinks that we may be uplifted.

7, 8. "All those who see Me laugh Me to scorn; they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, He trusted on the Lord that He would deliver Him; let Him deliver Him, since He delighted in Him."

We return to Calvary. The whole scene here appears in predictive light. As the prophet wrote, so literally it was transacted. Hear the inspired historian; "Those who passed by reviled Him, wagging their heads. Likewise also the chief priests, mocking Him, with the scribes and elders, said, He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now, if He will have Him." The sight of extremest misery did not move their cruel hearts. They reveled in their victim's pain; their sneers and taunts wound deeper than the nails. His grief surpassed all grief, even as His love exceeded love. By these His stripes we are healed.

9, 10. "But You are He who took Me out of the womb; You made Me hope when I was upon my mother's breasts. I was cast upon You from birth; You are my God from My mother's womb."

Faith draws support from recollection of the earliest mercies. The goodness which watched over infancy and childhood are too often overlooked as common dealings. But the enlightened eye in all this watchful care discerns God's gracious hand. It is our wisdom to trace each providence to special love. They dwell in regions of delight who see God everywhere, and in all concerns. In all things Christ is our bright example! May He who is the giver of all faith give to us faith strong as His own! As He trusted, so may we trust!

11. "Do not be far from me, for trouble is near; for there is no one to help."

Faith quickly flies to God. Its feet frequent the well-known path of prayer. In nearness of trouble it finds nearness to the mercy-seat. Absence of human help is not a loss if it secures the help of heaven. Welcome all earthly destitution, if God supplies the void.

12, 13. "Many bulls have surrounded Me; strong bulls of Bashan have beset Me round. They gaped upon Me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion."

We return in spirit to the cross. The dying Jesus looks around; multitudes encircle Him; with open mouth ferociously they assault Him. Throughout the mass there is no sign of pity; all hearts seem dead to common feelings of humanity; they show the properties of the wildest beasts; they are savage as the untamed bull; they thirst for blood as the devouring lion. This is the saddest picture of man's malignity. What frightful fury raged against Jesus, the perfect model of holiness and love! His only offense was that He walked this earth as God. We see what man is when no grace restrains. If we love Jesus, whom the world thus hated, let us give praise to grace, which causes us to differ.

14, 15. "My life is poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart is like wax, melting within me. My strength has dried up like sunbaked clay. My tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth. You have laid me in the dust and left me for dead."

The suffering Jesus thus described His miserable state. In graphic terms He tells of His extremity of agony and His extremity of weakness. The pain of the cross was bitterest pain; the weight of the body, suspended by the nailed hands and feet, violently strained the whole frame. It was almost dislocation of each bone; every joint was wrenched. But still no bone may suffer fracture. A clear type announced their soundness, and wondrously was the type fulfilled. The picture shows the whole frame dissolving; it retains no firmness, no consistency; it utterly yields and flows away in weakness, as resistless water yields to touch. Strength of spirit, also, collapses. As wax melts, softens, and offers no resistance to subduing heat, so the heart lay prostrate beneath subduing misery. What is so weak and brittle as the clay of the potter baked and dried up by fire? So the fire of God's wrath brought down to nothingness the Sufferer's strength. The parched mouth showed that the vital fluids were dried up, and death usurped undisturbed dominion.

In all this anguish Jesus realizes His heavenly Father's hand. This is Your doing. I sink into the dust of death. But Your hand thus lays Me low. Jesus thus dies, because His people were thus sentenced; and He thus mounts the cross to die their death, that He might bear to the uttermost their curse. He mercifully selects a term to show how exactly He bore their penalty. The sentence said, "Unto dust you shall return." Jesus calls God to witness, "You have brought Me into the dust of death."

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« Reply #27 on: October 09, 2006, 08:13:22 AM »

16, 17, 18. "My enemies surround me like a pack of dogs; an evil gang closes in on me. They have pierced my hands and feet. I can count every bone in my body. My enemies stare at me and gloat. They divide my clothes among themselves and throw dice for my garments."

This wonderful passage establishes beyond all controversy that none but Jesus is the subject of this Psalm. To no one else can these terms apply. In Him they receive entire and exact fulfillment. Another prophet writes, "They shall look upon Me whom they have pierced." The history relates the very fact. No ground is left on which unbelief can place its foot. Let us give thanks, knowing that by these wounds we are saved, by these stripes we are healed. The very garments of our suffering Lord are here foretold; the seamless texture of His upper vest; the mode in which they are distributed; the Roman soldiers utterly without knowledge of this Scripture, devoid of all intention to accomplish, worked them out to the very letter. It is a wondrous word, "These things also the soldiers did."

19, 20, 21. "O Lord, do not stay away! You are my strength; come quickly to my aid! Rescue me from a violent death; spare my precious life from these dogs. Snatch me from the lions' jaws, and from the horns of these wild oxen."

Here new images appear to show the bloodthirsty rage of the unrelenting murderers. We have seen their fury as bulls and lions; we now see their fierceness as dogs and wild oxen. Fierce fury could not be more fierce. Again, we see that no trials can quench the flame of faith, or check its rapid flight to God. It ever realizes, When I am weak in myself, I have God for my strength. In the lowest depths of misery, it clings to deliverance as a sure anchor. Jesus testifies on the cross, "You have heard Me." He was not saved from dying; but He was saved from death. He died, for He must endure our death. But death could not detain. He lives again; He was fully heard. Glorious victory! He dies for us, and by His death, He has abolished death.

22. "I will declare Your name to My brethren; in the midst of the congregation I will praise You."

The horrors of the cross give place to joy. From this deepest misery we hear a jubilant note. Jesus now speaks as risen from the dust of death, as going forth arrayed in power, and crowned with majesty and honor. He states His mission to reveal to the Church all the perfections of His heavenly Father, and ever present by His Spirit in the assemblies of His people, to fill their mouths with Jehovah's praise. He will make their hearts a flood of gratitude, and cause the streams of thanksgiving to overflow. How great is His mercy and condescension in thus uniting us to Himself as brethren! He who is Jehovah's fellow, one in essence with the Father, God over all, blessed forevermore, looks with intensest love on us poor miserable worms and vilest sinners, and is not ashamed to call us brethren. In the days of His abode on earth we hear His voice, "Go to My brethren;" again, "Go, tell My brethren." We adore Him as Firstborn among many brethren. Let us with all boldness ever draw near, and tell Him our every sorrow and our every need. He has a loving brother's loving heart towards us.

23, 24. "You who fear the Lord, praise Him; all you descendants of Jacob, glorify Him; and fear Him, all you descendants of Israel. For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; neither has He hid His face from Him; but when He cried to Him, He heard."

From the cross the voice of Jesus stirs up His people to laud and glorify His Father's name. They are described as those who fear. Their filial love is ever tremulous of giving offense. Their love is mingled with revering awe. Mercy to Jesus on the cross is a rich topic of thanksgiving. He was, indeed, the despised and rejected of men. He drank the bitterest dregs of affliction's cup. But though for a while forsaken by the Father, He was ever His dearly beloved, and His every prayer was heard and answered. Warmed by this thought, let us obey our Lord, and sing God's praises, ardent with love, lowly in fear.

25. "My praise shall be of You in the great congregation; I will pay My vows before those who fear Him."

The heart of Jesus is ever intent to bring glory to the Father. It is His joy to awaken the notes of praise wherever His congregations meet. He remembers, also, the work which He is pledged to execute. Never will He cease, never will He remit His efforts, until the whole company, given by the Father's love, are sought and found, are melted and renewed, and brought by faith to welcome His complete salvation.

26, 27, 28. "The meek will eat and be satisfied. All who seek the Lord will praise him. Their hearts will rejoice with everlasting joy. The whole earth will acknowledge the Lord and return to him. People from every nation will bow down before him. For the Lord is king! He rules all the nations."

Another distinctive mark of Christ's little flock is meekness. They are true followers of Him who sweetly said, "I am meek and lowly in heart." Abundance of refreshing feast is provided for them. Christ is their bread of life. Christ is their daily manna. Christ is their feast of fat things. They hear His welcome, "Eat, O friends, drink, yes, drink abundantly, O beloved." They are fully satisfied, and they return abundant praise. Jesus, though dying, knew that He would live forever, and living would be the life of all who trusted in Him. Surely their life is far from harm who know that "their life is hidden with Christ in God." At present the world is full of all turmoil and evil. But this confusion and iniquity will soon give place to the reign of righteousness. Christ is heir of all things, His righteous throne will soon be set, and then from the rising of the sun to its decline pure worship will be given to Him.

29, 30, 31. "Let the rich of the earth feast and worship. Let all mortals—those born to die—bow down in his presence. Future generations will also serve him. Our children will hear about the wonders of the Lord. His righteous acts will be told to those yet unborn. They will hear about everything he has done."

The sorrows of the cross end in glorious triumph. What marvels of extensive blessedness spring from these seeds of agony and blood! The Word shall receive full accomplishment, "Therefore, God also has highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth." Until the bright day of His return, a constant succession called by His grace, quickened by His Spirit, adopted into His family, shall spring up to call Him Lord, and render devout service. They shall flow on in uninterrupted streams, proclaiming from age to age His glorious righteousness, as their robe to justify, as their ornament for heaven. Rejoicing in full salvation, they shall ascribe all to His finished work. Deep in self-abasement, they shall magnify His grace. One shall be their song. This glory is all His work. He has done this. May we thus sing!


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« Reply #28 on: October 09, 2006, 08:36:20 AM »

Psalm 23

Jesus leads His flock like a shepherd. May we rejoice in the delights of His fold!

1. "The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be in need."

Happy the soul that, looking to Jesus as the great, the good, the one Shepherd, can add in truth, "And He is mine. I have heard His calling voice; I have seen His inviting smile; I have fled to Him; I have entered into His fold; I have committed myself to His guardian care; He has received me; He has given me most gracious welcome; I am my Beloved's, and my Beloved is mine." With what joyous rapture may the inhabitant of the fold continue, "I shall not be in need!" How can need be mine? He who is pledged to my support has all resources in His hand; He has all power in heaven and earth. He who has promised to give me eternal life will not allow me to perish by the way. The end secured is security along the road.

We sometimes err in our desires. In blindness we crave injurious pastures. It is our wisdom to leave all to Him. He is all wisdom and all love. He will tend wisely and most kindly. All good things will assuredly abound. Perhaps we err if we claim this psalm as our exclusive portion. Jesus Himself once knew the need of the poor sheep; but He found a Shepherd in His heavenly Father, and He lacked nothing.

2. "He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters."

A picture of rural beauty expands before us. We see a happy flock resting in calm quietness in fields rich in luxuriant plenty; we see them guided to meadows through which refreshing streams glide tranquilly. The scene is perfect. Here is repose amid abundance. Nothing disturbs the calm enjoyment.

The antitype is the believer's soul secure from all alarms, peaceful in knowledge of the Lord's protection, feasting on the rich provision of His Word, regaled with sustaining promises, nurtured by the Spirit's rich supplies, reposing under the shadow of the cross, drinking the cooling streams of scriptural teaching, delighting in the sacramental feast. How ample is this sweet provision! Who will not thankfully exclaim, "I have all, and abound?"

This picture also exhibits Jesus. Amid His many troubles His soul could calmly rest on the assurance of His Father's love, and feed rejoicingly on covenant engagement.

3. "He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake."

There are times when grace appears to fade, when trials trouble and depress, when lively vigor faints and deadness chills the soul. Sad indeed would be the outcome unless the watchful Shepherd rendered help; but He assists the downcast; He shows reviving smiles; He brings the cordial of some precious promise. The withering leaf renews its freshness; the tottering limbs again are strong; the heavenward path in ways of righteousness is again stoutly trod.

Jesus often drank depression's weakening cup. His soul was troubled; but help from above restored unwavering strength.

4. "Yes, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me."

Our sorest trial is when, with feeble step, we traverse the cheerless valley of death. The climate is chilly. Nature fails. We shrink from the icy hand; but still there is no fear. The tender Shepherd is by our side; His gentle guidance removes apprehension. The waters fail to overwhelm. Sweet texts bring light, and the Spirit applies comfort. Your rod, Your staff, the emblems of the Shepherd's care, drive back the threatening foes, and give sustaining strength. To lean on Jesus in the darkest hour is light and joy and peace. The Good Shepherd knows the chilly hand of death. He has passed this dark valley; but His God was with Him. Ministering angels brought support. He found no evil, and no evil shall destroy His sheep.

5. "You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over."

Our enemies stand round in vast array, but they cannot destroy enjoyments. In their sight God spread a banquet of delights. His inward unction causes the heart to show all kinds of radiant joy, as the countenance refreshed with ointments. We hold a cup; God's hand supplies it; He pours in pleasures to the extent of capacity to receive. The overjoyed believer feels, "Stop, stop; it is enough;" but still the goblet overflows. Who can measure the delights of God's presence, smile, and word?

6. "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."

Such is faith's sweet assurance. While days below continue, goodness and mercy, close as closest shadow, shall bring up the rear. What good thing can be absent if the Lord is present, and Jesus confirms the pledge, "Lo, I am with you all the days, even to the end of the world?" Failure there can never be. No sheep will perish or be left behind. All will be safely gathered in the many-mansioned house. There will the Great Shepherd ever dwell amid His ransomed flock. Great Shepherd, You are our all; we lovingly adore You!



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« Reply #29 on: October 09, 2006, 08:39:11 AM »

Psalm 24

Jesus ascends in triumph to His throne in heaven. May we in spirit ascend there, and with Him continually dwell!

1, 2. "The earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof; the world, and those who dwell there; for He has founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods."

A noble chorus ushers in this ode of triumph. Loud acclamations tell that God is the great Creator, the sovereign owner of the universe. Language contains not a grander sentence than the words first seen upon the Bible-page, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." He commanded the dry land to appear, and to rest on subsiding waters as its supporting column. All nations who throng its surface, all animal and vegetable life, all its rich treasures, all its lovely beauty, receive their being from His word. He spoke and they were made. His rightful lordship is indisputable. We are His, and He made us. With what lowly reverence should we bow before Him! How meekly should we yield to His supremacy! How constant should our efforts be to glorify Him with body, soul, and spirit, which are His!

3. "Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in His holy place?"

He who pervades all space, whose center is everywhere and circumference nowhere, is represented to our minds as reigning in an especial palace. An earthly city was the type of this heavenly abode. The hill of Zion which received the Ark was symbol of His presence. Therefore the inquiry, Who shall live and reign forever with the Lord? is aptly symbolized by asking, Who shall mount the hill of Zion, and have firm footing in the holy place? How studiously should we examine our claim to such felicity.

4, 5, 6. "He who has clean hands, and a pure heart; who has not lifted up his soul to vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of His salvation. This is the generation of those who seek Him, who seek Your face, O Jacob."

It is a grand and everlasting truth, "Without holiness no man shall see the Lord." His dwelling is essential purity. No speck of sin can enter where He dwells. Therefore no one who ever breathed life's breath or trod this earth, except Jesus, can enter by His own right and in His own name. His hands alone were never stained by sin. His heart alone was one home of unsullied purity. No vain things had attraction for His mind. No deceit defiled His spirit. He had full claims to all the blessings of the New Jerusalem. Justly He receives His due.

But this blessedness belongs not only to the Head; His members share with Him. All who by faith are one with Him, all who constitute His body, are clean, and pure, and righteous, even as He is. His all-cleansing blood forever washes out their many sins. His glorious righteousness is reckoned as their very own. His indwelling Spirit wholly sanctifies their inner man. Therefore through grace they shall ascend the holy hill; hence they shall stand within the holy place. This is the chosen generation, the royal priesthood, the holy nation, the peculiar people. The Spirit helping, they seek the Lord with all the heart, even the face of the great God of Jacob.

7. "Lift up your heads, O you gates; and be lifted up, you everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in."

The Spirit here exhibits a wonderful picture of our Lord's triumphal ascent. We are taught to see Him drawing near attended by multitudes of the heavenly host. He reaches the gates of the eternal citadel. Admittance is demanded; the portals are summoned to fly open. The gates so barred against rebellious man are now commanded to lift their heads. It is announced that the King of glory stands outside.

8. "Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle."

The guardians of the portals are represented as responding. They must be certified of the claim of Him who thus draws near. They ask, Proclaim His name, His purpose, and His right. Why is He free to enter? A ready answer cries, "The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle." Jesus has returned; He went forth strong in the might of His omnipotence to do battle against Satan and hell, and death and the grave. The fight is fought, the victory is won. All enemies are dashed to pieces. He is here, dragging the captives fast bound to His victorious wheels; He comes crowned with all conquest. Admit Him. The crown is His by right of Satan's empire demolished. The exulting challenge is repeated.

9. "Lift up your heads, O you gates; even lift them up, you everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in."

The inquiry, the response, are still the same.

10. "Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, He is the King of glory."

Look, He is enthroned on the right hand of the Majesty on high. May our poor hearts lift up their heads! May He there sit and rule, and reign forever!

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