You have also given me the shield of your salvation: and your right hand has held me up, and your gentleness has made me great.
I. THE GENTLENESS OF GOD.
1. Not a quality men usually ascribe to God. The sense of sin is the prime cause of the dread of God.
2. Not a single, but a complex attribute. Its base is goodness. Its aspects and operations are manifold. It is always sympathetic, but it is not mere softness. It does not exclude severity when severity is demanded. God both hurls the thunderbolt and distils the dew.
II. THE EFFECT OF GOD'S GENTLENESS ON THE MORAL GREATNESS OF MAN. The faculties of man are great, his destiny is great, and the Gospel of his salvation is great. The character and conduct of man are often little, very little indeed; but the powers and possibilities of his nature cannot be trivial. The Divine gentleness seen in —
1. Convincing of sin.
2. Prompting to a better life.
3. Upholding the saint in his progress toward perfection. The afterlife of the believing man on earth needs the ministry of God's gentleness. In the fight with evil within, the soul not infrequently grows sick of itself, weary of its own infirmities, and loses all heart about its own predicted victories. In such hours the experience of God's great patience with us, when we have given up all patience with ourselves, is of priceless value.
1. Other attributes besides the gentleness of God must contribute to the moral life and welfare of the soul. Rigour and tenderness are both requisite to the moral guidance and training of our race.
2. In the moral development and perfection of fallen men the gentleness of God discharges the highest function. The strong hand retains, the hand of gentleness elicits and fosters. Authority moulds from without; love inspires from within.
3. The aim of the moral activity of God in this planet is to ensure the moral greatness of man.
4. Let none fail to weigh the condemning power of God's gentleness. The sufficiency of any moral force to encourage, inspire, and exalt is the exact measure of its ability to condemn.
(H. Batchelor, B. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy right hand hath holden me up, and thy gentleness hath made me great.