Pulpit Commentary Homiletics
Leviticus 23:10). Fifty days later came Pentecost, when the wheat was ripe; and then two loaves of the new corn were presented (Leviticus 23:17). Last of all was the Feast of Tabernacles, when the fruits of the earth had been gathered in, and the people gave thanks and rejoiced before the Lord with "the joy of harvest" (Leviticus 23:40; Deuteronomy 16:13-17). This psalm is a song of thanksgiving to God for the harvest.
I. THE RIGHT STANDPOINT. Israel was a people near to God. They had been separated from other nations. They enjoyed special privileges and blessings. "Zion" was to them the great centre of unity. Thither the tribes went up. There the people, with their rulers, assembled to worship God. As with them, so with us. Our worship must be ruled by God's will as revealed to us. We can only come before him with acceptance when we come through Jesus Christ. Our standpoint also is "Zion" (Matthew 18:20; Ephesians 2:11-18; Hebrews 2:22-28).
II. THE SPIRIT IN WHICH WE SHOULD DRAW NEAR.
1. With unfeigned faith. "Waiting" expresses quiet confidence. It is both "praise" and "prayer."
2. With assured hope in God's mercy. Sin meets us when we come before God. It fills our hearts with shame and apprehension. But when we look to Christ we are comforted. In him we have redemption and the forgiveness of sins. It is as sinners pardoned that we should praise God. All God's gifts are enhanced in value when we take them from the hands of the Crucified.
3. With adoring thanksgiving. Relieved of sin, our hearts rise in joy to God (ver. 4). God in Christ is the true home of our souls. Here we reach peace. Here we are made glad in the light of our Father's face, and enriched out of the fulness of his grace and truth. Nay, more. Remembering God's "great love," and "the exceeding riches of his grace, in his kindness towards us" (Ephesians 2:7), and realizing the power of Christ, we can rejoice in hope of the blessedness of the coming time when the "God of our salvation" shall be the Confidence of all the ends of the earth, and the people of every kindred and tongue shall sing his praise.
III. THE SUBJECTS WINCH SHOULD SPECIALLY ENGAGE OUR ATTENTION. The world is not a dead world, a mere piece of mechanism, subject to cold material laws. It is God's world, and is ruled by God's laws. Looking back, we should recall the great events of the year. We may consider what is general - national, social, and religious blessings common to all. Not only mercies, but chastisements; forevery chastisement is, when rightly received, a blessing. How comforting to know that the same God who "by his strength setteth fast the mountains" is the God "who heareth prayer;" that the same God "who stilleth the noise of the seas and the tumult of the people" is the "God of our salvation"! In particular we should consider God's goodness in the harvest (vers. 8-13). How vivid and beautiful is the picture! We see the various stages, from the sowing of the seed onward to the reaping time; from the sweet greenness of spring to the golden glow and manifold glories of harvest. All this is of God. "He worketh hitherto." During all the ages of the past he has blessed the labours of the husbandman, and every year we see new proofs of his faithfulness, and enjoy richer manifestations of his love and bounty. "While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest...shall not cease" (Genesis 8:22), and as often as the harvest comes round God's Name will be praised. - W.F.
I. AS THE GOD OF THE CHURCH. (Vers. 1-5.) "Whom thou choosest, and causest to approach."
1. He is the Hearer of all true prayer. (Ver. 2.) "Unto thee doth all flesh come" in dependence and prayer.
2. He pardons iniquity and transgression. (Ver. 3.) Pardons those who become conscious of their sins, and are persistent.
3. Satisfies the desires of those whom he draws to himself. (Ver. 4.) God inspires the worship he rewards with such satisfying blessings.
4. Manifests his righteousness in the salvation of his people.
II. AS THE GOD WHO REVEALS HIMSELF IN NATURE. (Vers. 6-8.)
1. His work in nature manifests omnipotence. (Ver. 6.) "Setteth fast the mountains," etc.
2. He overrules the greatest disturbances of nature and the nations. (Ver. 7.)
3. Man and nature both ultimately subject to him.
3. Man is afraid, but nature sings of God in the morning and in the evening. (Ver. 8.) The ignorant heathen are afraid, not those who know God.
III. AS THE GOD OF THE HARVEST. (Vers. 9-13.)
1. God is the great Husbandman. (Vers. 9, 10.) He prepares and enriches the soil to receive the corn.
2. He makes the wilderness and the hills to rejoice with their abundance. (Vers. 11, 12.)
3. God is the great Shepherd of the earth. (Ver. 13.) The pastures are clothed with flocks. - S.
I. Here is A CONFESSION DEFEAT. When we look within we find that, instead of all being right, all is wrong. This alarms us. We rouse ourselves to action. We resolve to live a new life of love and holiness. But the more we try the less we succeed. Our strength is weakness. Our purposes are broken off. Our best endeavours end in defeat. Instead of overcoming evil, we are overcome of evil. Instead of gaining purity and freedom, our case grows worse, and we groan in misery as the bond slaves of sin. Confused and confounded, our cry is, "O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me?"
II. THANKSGIVING FOR VICTORY. Though we despair of ourselves, we must not despair of God. We know what God is, and what he has done for us, and therefore we turn to him with hope. Casting ourselves simply upon his mercy in Christ, we are able to grasp the gracious promise, "Sin shall not have dominion over you." God's love to us is a personal love. God's work in us is designed to make us pure from sin, and he will perfect it in the day of Christ. While we say, therefore, with grief and pain, "Iniquities prevail against me," let us with renewed hope proclaim, "As for our transgressions, thou shalt purge them away. - W.F.
I. BECAUSE IT IS THE SPECIAL GIFT OF GOD TO MAN. It came from God at first. It is renewed year by year. Wherever man dwells it may be cultivated in some form or other. "How it stands, that yellow corn, on its fair taper stems, its golden head bent, all rich and waving there! The mute earth at God's kind bidding has produced it once again - man's bread" (Luther).
II. BECAUSE IT IS INDISPENSABLE TO THE WELFARE OF MAN. Corn is not only valuable, but necessary. Individuals may live without it, but for man, on the broad scale, it is indispensable. The worth is known by the want. When there is a scarcity of corn, all the markets of the world are affected. Bread is the staff of life. It is because of its worth and its suitableness to human needs that corn is constituted the symbol of the highest blessings. It stands for the Word of God. It figures the great redemption (John 12:24). It foreshadows the glory of the resurrection (1 Corinthians 15).
III. BECAUSE IT DEPENDS FOR ITS CONTINUANCE ON THE LABOUR OF MAN. Many gifts come to us irrespective of our own efforts, but corn is not one of them. Its enjoyment is conditional. It is an annual. It has not an independent existence. It does not live and propagate itself by its own seed. It requires the care of man, else it would soon die out and be lost. In order to be preserved it must be sown by man's own hand in ground which man's own hand has tilled. The land must be prepared for the corn, as well as the corn for the land. Manifold blessings result from this arrangement. Thrift is good. Labour is a healthful discipline. Providing for the wants of ourselves and others binds us more closely together as brethren. If there be famine in Canaan, there is corn in Egypt; and this leads to commerce and friendly intercourse between nations. Besides, in the fact that year after year we must sow in order to reap; that each season's supply is but a measured quantity, never much in excess of what is required for food; and that the powers of heaven must work together with the powers of earth to secure a bountiful harvest; - we are taught in the most impressive manner our dependence upon God, and our obligations to praise him for his goodness and his wonderful works. - W.F.