Therefore glorify the LORD in the east. Extol the name of the LORD, the God of Israel in the islands of the sea.
I. WHEN THE SUFFERING IS RECOGNIZED AS CHASTISEMENT. Suffering is often spoken of as if it were accident, hereditary taint, or the fault of other people; but God is not glorified until we see and admit that it is fatherly chastisement. The burden of woe resting on humanity is overwhelming, unless we can see that God is in it, and thereby is but chastening his children betimes. The world is God's erring child. It glorifies the Father to see that he will not let him go on in sin. "What son is he whom the lather chasteneth not?"
II. WHEN WE ADMIT THE SIN FOR WHICH THE CHASTISEMENT IS SENT. God always sends chastisements that can have a revealing power, and bear evident relation to particular sins. National sins are shown up by national calamities, bodily sins by bodily sufferings. This point may gain large and various illustration, as in Saul, David, Ahab, Jonah, etc. We glorify God when we let the chastisement show us the sin - act as the revealer to reveal the bad self.
III. WHEN WE DETERMINE TO PUT THE SIN AWAY. For chastisement then is shown to be effective; it reaches its end: God is seen not to have wrought in vain. Correction is "for our profit, that we may be partakers of his righteousness."
IV. WHEN WE COME OUT OF THE CHASTISEMENT PURIFIED, HUMBLED, SUBMISSIVE, AND OBEDIENT. Our Father is glorified when we are made children indeed. Beautifully is it said of the Lord Jesus that, "though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered." Glorifying God by the spirit of sonship, which he kept all through the burning of the dreadful refining fires of Calvary. Trust, submission, clinging love, patient waiting, - these still glorify God in the fires. - R.T.
I. WHO ARE EXPECTED TO GLORIFY THE LORD.
Wherefore glorify ye the Lord in the fires.
I. BY ACKNOWLEDGING HIS POWER. The same Almighty One who fed Elijah, in the terrible days of dearth, and who delivered Daniel from the power of the lions, still watches over and provides for His people.
II. BY RECOGNISING HIS WISDOM. He knows (as no short-sighted mortal can) when it is safe for us to enjoy prosperity, and when it is needful for our soul's health to endure disappointment and trouble.
III. BY A FRANK ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF HIS GOODNESS. If Our Heavenly Father had ceased to feel an interest in our welfare, He would not have employed the means to do us good.
(J. N. Norton.)
2. But the Church triumphant does (Revelation 7:11, 19).
3. And the Church militant ought to have this one aim. Let us take as an example, St. Paul (Philippians 3:10-14).
II. WHAT THE FIRES ARE IN WHICH WE GLORIFY GOD.
1. Determined self-humiliation, etc.; duties unpleasant, but religious.
2. Personal troubles are often perplexing. Faith is given, not to annihilate these, but to endure them.
3. Others' trials.
4. Our bodily afflictions.
5. Amongst the hottest "fires" are fiery darts. Paul was thus tried.
6. Enmity against our beloved Church. Foes within and without.
7. Fear of death.
III. BUT ONE IS EVER PRESENT IN THE FIRES.
1. In them once, alone.
2. Leads others safely through.
IV. THE FIRES ARE BURNING BY GOD'S PERMISSION. Like powerful remedies of surgeon or physician.
1. To manifest His chosen.
2. To purify.
3. To strengthen. Opposition invigorates.
(W. W. Tyler.)
I. THE STATE HERE SUPPOSED. "In the fires." Stripped of metaphor, the passage supposes a state of suffering. In this state we may be found —
1. As men. "Man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward."
2. As Christians. "Many are the afflictions of the righteous."
II. THE DUTY HERE ENJOINED. "Glorify ye the Lord in the fires." The glory of God is essential or declarative. We cannot add to the former. But, "the heavens declare the glory of God." All His works praise Him. How? By the impressions and displays of His perfections; by showing us what He is, and what He deserves. Thus, Christians are appointed to "show forth the praises" — virtues — excellences — "of Him who hath called them," etc.; which is done by their language and their lives. Hence, we glorify God in our afflictions when we verbally and practically acknowledge —
1. His agency.
2. His rectitude. He is "righteous in all His ways, and holy in all His works."
3. His wisdom.
4. His goodness.
5. His power.
III. THE REASONS.
1. Because you have the finest opportunity. The scene naturally awakens attention. Nothing is so impressive as the graces of a Christian in trouble.
2. The obligations you are under to the blessed God.
3. Hope should influence you. "Verily there is a reward for the righteous."
(J. N. Norton.)
(J. N. Norton.)
(T. W. Chambers, D. D.)
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