Expositor's Dictionary of Texts
A Psalm of Asaph. The mighty God, even the LORD, hath spoken, and called the earth from the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof.The Sacrifice of Thanksgiving
I. 'What is it to glorify God?' 'When and how do we glorify God?' This question is constantly rising before us, for we know this is our business as disciples of Jesus Christ. 'Whoso offereth praise, whoso offereth thanksgiving, glorifies God.' That is the Divine answer. Then we ask, What is the sacrifice of praise? Praise has a thousand voices. The songful lip expresses itself in myriad ways; but the essence of every sacrifice is the adoring, grateful, and joyous offering of ourselves on the altar of God, our exceeding joy in glad acceptance of all His holy will; it is a joyful welcome to that will, not a hesitating submission to it, as right in itself and as carrying all who receive it towards righteousness and thus towards blessedness.
II. The Religion of the whole Psalter. Look at these songs. They are sacrifices of thanksgiving. The tremendous burden of living is never ignored, the attacks of bitter enemies are admitted, but there is over all and through all a glad recognition of God's sovereignty of life, and a deep delight in His redeeming sway. The religion of the Psalms is the religion of thanksgiving of triumphant joy in God; and the book itself is, excepting one, the best commentary upon the words, 'Whoso offereth praise glorifieth God'. That other and better exposition is the New Testament. It takes the songs of the prophet poets and sets them in a new key. It is the fruit, no doubt, of the principles which Christianity takes up out of the Old Testament; but it is expressed with greater clearness and force in the concrete example of Jesus Christ Himself, and demonstrated in a great series of historic facts of which He is the centre and the source. Gauge the severity of the persecutions which they had to endure, and which Paul himself admitted were such as almost to 'unnerve them,' yet to them he said, 'Be always joyful'. 'In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.'
III. The Gospel brings Life to Light. There are four principles in Christianity, which, being recognized, make it possible, I will not say easy, for us to take this attitude, for nothing that is worth having is obtained with ease.
(a) 'The Gospel brings Light to Life,' shows it as it really is, and what it is meant for; even our spiritual emancipation, education, perfection, and that all the things that go to make it are intended for the refining of our character and fashioning it after the pattern which is given to us in Christ Jesus.
(b) The second thing that Christianity tells us is that God is in this life right through it; that His redemptive purpose on Calvary underlies it, runs through it, mounts to the top of it; that the whole significance of life is redemptive, that God is getting rid of the sin and the evil of the world.
(c) Thirdly, Christianity inspires a man to make the fullest use of his life. Life according to Christ is opportunity for service, a chance of being and doing something that shall issue in the advancement of mankind.
(d) Still further does it go. It sustains in bearing life's burdens, in carrying life's crosses, and in fighting life's battles. It gives us the true perspective, places us where we can best learn the supreme truths that count, and construct the true interpretation of facts.
—J. Clifford, Baptist Times and Freeman, 1905, p. 351.
References.—L. 23.—H. Melvill, Penny Pulpit, No. 1495, p. 97. S. Cox, Expositions (3rd Series), p. 152. L. International Critical Commentary, vol. i. p. 414. LI. 1.—G. Forbes, The Voice of God in the Psalms, p. 173.
Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined.
Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence: a fire shall devour before him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about him.
He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, that he may judge his people.
Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.
And the heavens shall declare his righteousness: for God is judge himself. Selah.
Hear, O my people, and I will speak; O Israel, and I will testify against thee: I am God, even thy God.
I will not reprove thee for thy sacrifices or thy burnt offerings, to have been continually before me.
I will take no bullock out of thy house, nor he goats out of thy folds.
For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills.
I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine.
If I were hungry, I would not tell thee: for the world is mine, and the fulness thereof.
Will I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats?
Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High:
And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.
But unto the wicked God saith, What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or that thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth?
Seeing thou hatest instruction, and castest my words behind thee.
When thou sawest a thief, then thou consentedst with him, and hast been partaker with adulterers.
Thou givest thy mouth to evil, and thy tongue frameth deceit.
Thou sittest and speakest against thy brother; thou slanderest thine own mother's son.
These things hast thou done, and I kept silence; thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself: but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes.
Now consider this, ye that forget God, lest I tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver.
Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of God.