Pulpit Commentary Homiletics
I. SALVATION IS FROM GOD. Hence God's mercy is specially invoked. It is as God causes his face to shine upon us in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 4:6) that his "way" is made known, and his "salvation" enjoyed (vers. 1, 2).
II. SALVATION IS THE HIGHEST BLESSING FOR MAN. When the high priest blessed the people, he spoke for God (Numbers 6:22-27). Salvation is "saving health." Man is corrupt. There is no "soundness" in him. But God brings healing. Salvation is to be restored to health in body and soul and spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:23).
III. SALVATION IS IMPARTED THROUGH HUMAN AGENCY. God works by means. He uses man to help man. "The Law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ" (John 1:17; cf. Romans 5:12-15). When we believe on Christ, we may say, with Simeon, "Mine eyes have seen thy salvation" (Luke 2:30). And what Christ has won for us he would have us make known to others. All Christians are missionaries. "God does with us as we with torches do." Every lamp that is lighted is lighted in order to shine. We are to receive and reflect the light (1 Thessalonians 1:6-8; Matthew 5:16).
IV. SALVATION IS DESTINED TO SPREAD AMONG ALL NATIONS. It was not limited to Israel. There is no exclusiveness in the gospel. There is no brand of reprobation on any man's brow. The salvation of Christ is for all people - the Jew first, but also for all men. "The leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations" (Revelation 22:2). This we have seen in part, and greater fulfilments are near. Paul could say (Romans 15:19), "From Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ." But how great has been the advance since then! Nations that Paul never knew have heard the joyful sound, and the most distant isles of the sea have been blessed in Christ.
by its splendour, it may lead the heathen to the hope of sharing in it." The salvation of the heathen is here felt to depend upon the following conditions: -
I. THE SALVATION OF THOSE WHO CLAIM TO BE HIS CHURCH. (Vers. 1, 2.) If it is God's "way" to save any, he must be able and willing to save all. And if his face shone upon them, his "saving health" would be made manifest to all peoples. This is the force of the prayer here used.
II. THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD'S RIGHTEOUS GOVERNMENT OF THE WORLD. (Ver. 4.)
1. God, as the experience of Israel shows, governs men upon righteous principles. The psalm was most probably written after the Exile - a terrible part of their history, which taught them how God punishes sin.
2. God is leading the world forward upon a Divine course. (Ver. 4.) He "governs" or leads the nations as a shepherd leads his flock. To this truth the Hebrews bore emphatic testimony.
III. GOD'S BOUNTY TO THE EARTH IS HIS BOUNTY TOWARDS MAN. (Ver. 6.) "The earth yields her increase; God, our God, blesses us." But the harvest is only a single, though a splendid, instance of God's goodness towards men; he blesses them in a thousand ways, which, when considered, are adapted deeply to impress the heathen mind. - S.
I. GOD IN THE GOVERNMENT OF THE WORLD RECOGNIZES THE EXISTENCE OF SEPARATE NATIONS. #
II. GOD IN THE GOVERNMENT OF THE WORLD ADAPTS HIS METHODS TO THE NECESSITIES OF NATIONS. (Amos 9:7.)
III. GOD IN THE GOVERNMENT OF THE WORLD WORKS THROUGHOUT FOR THE HIGHEST GOOD OF NATIONS. His object is to bring all men everywhere to serve him. He would have them, through the power of Christ, be enlightened, sanctified, and blessed. It is true of nations as of individuals, "The nation that will not serve him shall perish" (Isaiah 60:12). It is as nations forget God that they decline and fall. It is as nations become penetrated and ruled by Divine truth that they become truly free and strong and prosperous. - W.F.