He burns part thereof in the fire; with part thereof he eats flesh; he roasts roast, and is satisfied: yes, he warms himself, and said…
This is an expression of that natural joy which will escape from one in some way or other, when from a comfortless apartment, or from a frosty street, or from some wintry office of obligation, he sees the shining of his own hearth. If it could be introduced thus with an exclamation in the land of Judea, that mild land, it should certainly be repeated in this stern climate with a deep feeling of relief and thankfulness. The household gods of ancient Italy were set up about the fireplace of each dwelling, as about a sacred spot, deserving to be surrounded with the images of a divine protection; and even now, all over the world, altar and hearth are but another phrase for home. "Who," asks the psalmist, "can stand before His cold?" God sends it; and He has filled the earth with materials, and the mind of man with resources, to repel and overcome it. He is the same Sovereign Wisdom and Goodness in this as in every other part of His works. And yet we must confess that it is one of His unwelcome ministers; but, like all the rest of what we account so in the natural world, subservient to high purposes in the holy providence of the Lord. Let us turn to the various instrumentality by which its vigour is mitigated and its power for mischief broken. "I am warm," says the speaker in the text. So would the ground say if it had a tongue, while it lies sheltered under the fleecy garments of dazzling whiteness, which the very cold has woven for it out of the dark mists. "I am warm," say the beast and the bird of the frozen zone, as the one lies close in his furry coat or the locks of his long hair, and the other is not afraid to cleave the inexorable sky with his breast of down. "I am warm," repeat the animals who are natives of our own temperate circle, as they take shelter in the hollow retreats which their industry has contrived, or make their way towards the more genial countries whither their instincts direct them. "I am warm," say the lake and the stream, while they are armed with the polished breast-plate which has been forged for them, not among furnaces of glowing heat, but in the "magazines of the haft." "I am warm," says man; he who commands the inferior creatures, he who makes a path for himself even over the deep, he who compels into his bond-service the substances and the elements of the world. He cuts clown the trees, and makes them do him a kinder office by their blaze than they had done before by their shadow. And better than this; he opens the dark treasures with which a gracious providence has stored the lower parts of the earth, and he finds them more precious than the "vein for the silver," than "the place of sapphires and dust of gold." What are the feelings which the consideration of the cold and all its alleviating circumstances should impress upon the mind?
1. Thankfulness towards God. There is no small danger of losing sight of the Almighty Benefactor in partaking of His benefits. There is no small danger of even turning those very benefits into a sort of idols that we substitute in His place. This was precisely and literally the case with the person whom the prophet describes as speaking in the text. You are like him, who transform your interest into your religion; making a show of worship, when you are thinking only how to be warmed and fed. You, too, are like him who shape your faith and your convenience out of the same material; making the concerns of the soul but part and parcel with common necessities. We are all like him, so far as we turn our comforts into our divinities.
2. Sympathy with His suffering creatures.
(N. L. Frothingham.)
Parallel VersesKJV: He burneth part thereof in the fire; with part thereof he eateth flesh; he roasteth roast, and is satisfied: yea, he warmeth himself, and saith, Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire: