Here am I, and the children the LORD has given me to be signs and symbols in Israel from the LORD of Hosts, who dwells on Mount Zion.
I. How a man's body may be consecrated to God.
II. How a man's health may be consecrated to God.
III. How a man's gifts may be consecrated to God.
IV. How a man's possessions may be consecrated to God.
V. How a man's personal friendships may be consecrated to God.
VI. How a man's family life may be consecrated to God.
VII. How a man's social influences may be consecrated to God. - R.T.
Behold, I and the children whom the Lord hath given me.omen in the nomen, the sign or portent in the name.
("Niger" in Expositor.)
("Niger" in Expositor.)
I. FAITHFULNESS. The meaning of this word is explained by the resolve of the Psalmist when he says: "I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way; I will walk within my house with a perfect heart." Always when we try to do good to others we are thrown back upon ourselves; we are reminded that high work must have fit instruments, and that our influence is likely to be as our character is. As the man is so will be his strength. This is peculiarly the case as between us and our children. They know us much better than others, are much nearer to us, see us more clearly. For our children's sakes we are bound to be the best we may. Nothing that we can say or do will have half the force of that invisible and almost irresistible power which comes right from our souls, and goes at once and straight into theirs. This power, issuing from the depths of our own being, is an involuntary thing on our part. We cannot make it this or that by an act of will. This sincerity on our part ought to take as one of its forms a firm, steady family rule — an exercise of wise parental authority. On the other hand, parents mar their own influence, hinder their prayers, and injure their children, although they are very far from meaning it, by over-indulgence. They never command — never rule calmly and firmly — all is softness, liberty, or even license. Such parents tell us in defence of their system: "It is not for us to command; our best influence is, as has been said, that of personal character; if that be not right, commands from us will be of little use." On the same principle it might be said that God does not need to command; that He only needs to reveal to His creatures what He is, and they will love and serve Him. He has revealed Himself to us. And yet this same God, this Father of mercies, commands, legislates, and duly brings penalty upon those who do not obey. Law and love, these make the whole revelation of God.
II. TENDERNESS. A mother's tenderness! It is one of the continual wonders of the world. It is really a greater thing than a father's constancy, a soldier's courage, or a patriot's love. Yet the world is full of it.
III. Such feelings will lead to PRAYER. In prayer for our children we are putting ourselves in the line of God's laws. "Bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." It is not our nurture, it is His, and in prayer we cast it over on Him.
IV. We are thus naturally led to the last word — HOPEFULNESS. We ought to cherish a feeling of cheerful confidence in God as to the result of our endeavours for our children's good. Discouragement, and despondency even, will come to us soon enough, and. darkly enough, if we will permit them.
(A. Raleigh, D. D.)
I. Here is A REMARKABLE RELATIONSHIP. Jesus is called a Father. This is not according to precise theology, or according to the more formal doctrinal statements of Scripture.
1. Still, the title of Father is very applicable to our Lord Jesus Christ for many reasons.(1) Because He is our federal Head. We speak correctly of "father Adam," and Jesus is the second Adam who heads up our race anew, and is the representative man of redeemed mankind.(2) Our Lord is also Father of the golden age of grace and glory.(3) There is a sense in which Christ is our Father, because by His teaching we are born unto God. Just as the minister who brings a soul to Christ is said to be the spiritual parent to such a soul, and is, indeed, instrumentally so, so the Lord Jesus, as the author of our faith, is our spiritual Father in the family of God.
2. Now, let us see whether there is not much of teaching in this metaphor by which we are called children of the Lord Jesus. The expression denotes —(1) That we derive our spiritual life from Him as children take their origin from their father.(2) They have a likeness to His nature.(3) The text has in it very clearly the idea of charge and responsibility. Children are a charge always; a comfort sometimes. Wherever conscience is lively, fatherhood is regarded as a solemn thing.(4) In our relationship towards our children there is involved very often a great deal of care and grief.(5) The possession of children involves a very near and dear love.(6) Children, when they behave aright, bring to the heart of their parent sweet solace and dear delight.
II. A SPONTANEOUS AVOWAL "Behold I," etc.
1. The Lord owns His children Sometimes they are ashamed to own Him; and He might always be ashamed to own them, but He never is.
2. He glories in them as being God's gift to Him. "Whom Thou hast given Me"; as if they were something more than ordinary children.
3. He challenges inspection. "Behold! look at them, for they are meant to be looked at; they are set 'for signs and wonders' throughout all generations."
4. And do notice again — for it affects my mind much more powerfully than I can express, "Behold, I and the children." I can understand a mother speaking thus about herself and children, but for Christ the Lord of glory to unite His glorious name with those of such poor worms of the dust is very wonderful. Now, if Jesus owns us so lovingly, let us always own Him: and if Christ takes us into partnership — "I and the children" — let us reply, "Christ is all." Let Him stand first with us; and let our name be forever joined with His name.
III. A COMMON FUNCTION. Christ and His people "are for signs and for wonders in Israel from the Lord of hosts which dwelleth in Mount Zion." Both Christ and His people are set for a purpose.
1. They are to be "signs and wonders" by way of testimony.
2. By way of marvel. Genuine Christians will generally be reckoned by the world to be singular people.
3. When the believer's testimony for good becomes marvel, it is not wonderful if he afterwards becomes an object of contempt. Hold on, brother t and hold out to the end; be humbly and quietly faithful Do not try to be a wonder, but be a wonder.
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
(R. W. Emerson.)
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