You are my hiding place. You protect me from trouble; You surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah
(1) the attitude of the forgiven penitent towards God;
(2) his attitude as a teacher of the impenitent.
I. THE ATTITUDE OF THE FORGIVEN PENITENT TOWARDS GOD. (Vers. 6, 7.)
1. Confidence in God for others. (Ver. 6.) What God has done for him, he will do for all the penitent and godly. Not a partial God, but his principles of action are universal. God can always be found by the truly penitent; i.e. he always hears them when they call upon him (ver. 6). Its averts from them the judgments ("great waters") that threaten to overwhelm the wicked (ver. 6).
2. Confidence in God for himself. (Ver. 7.) He lives in God as his Castle or Hiding-place, secure from danger and trouble. This idea is enlarged and exalted by Christianity. "Your life is bid with Christ in God." The security is all the greater because we are joined with Christ in God. God will surround him with abundant causes of thankful songs - songs of deliverance. Turn where he may, he finds the delivering hand of God at work on his behalf.
II. HIS ATTITUDE AS A TEACHER OF THE IMPENITENT. (Vers. 8-11.)
1. His experience qualifies him to show men the way they should go. "Then - after thou hast delivered me - will I teach transgressors thy ways, and sinners shall be converted unto thee." He knew the road which he urged them to take - knew it from experience, not from any theory.
2. This made him a gentle, sympathetic guide. He will guide them with the gentle guidance of the eye. A look is enough for those who are willing to go in the right way - a look in the direction which is to be pointed out. Experience taught him to be pitiful.
3. He exhorts men against a brutish and stubborn impenitence. (Ver. 9.) Do not be like the brute, which must be compelled to service, "who doth not willingly come unto thee;" but as reasonable religious creatures, be willing for the service which is great and blessed.
4. He sums up the whole question. (Ver 10.) The sorrows which encompass the wicked, and the mercy that follows those who trust in God. "Mercy;" equivalent to "loving-kindness." A tremendous contrast.
5. An exhortation to the righteous to realize their blessed estate. (Ver. 11.) - S.
Martin Luther — "Nolo Deum absolutum." Who, indeed, can meet an absolute God? God absolute is a consuming fire. His holiness is irreconcilably hostile to sin; His justice sternly demands the sinner's punishment; and His truth obliges Him to execute the penalty of His violated law. In an absolute God there is no hope for a sinful creature. But now, through the incarnate Word, my atoning Sacrifice and interceding High-Priest, the devouring Fire becomes my protection, the almighty Adversary assumes the character of a friend, and with full assurance of faith I take up the song of the royal saint — "Thou art my hiding place, thou wilt preserve me from trouble; thou wilt compass me about with songs of deliverance." Concerning the ungodly it is said — "The hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place." But "their rock is not as our rock, even our enemies themselves being judges." I have seen the name of Benvenuto Cellini scratched with a nail upon the rugged stone wall of his cell in the Castello Sant' Angelo; and have handled the sad mementos of Torquato Tasso in the convent of Sant' Onofrio — his last refuge, the gate by which he entered paradise — midway between his cradle at Sorrento and his dungeon at Ferrara. But my sacred asylum can show many a worthier record and many a holier relic, for it has been the dwelling-place of the saints in all generations. Here Paul and Silas sang their midnight hymn, and the heroic exile of Patmos heard the chanting of immortal tongues. Here Ignatius challenged the lions with his "Gloria in Exeelsis," and brave old Sanctus as long as he had power to speak confessed — "I am a Christian." And cheering it is to know that these, and such as these — a fire-crowned host of priests and kings — have been here before me. The cities of refuge were six, and were so distributed that one of them was always within half-a-day's flight of the man. slayer: and the gates were ever open to admit him. And yet, from one cause or another, he might not reach it. But our defence is ever accessible. Nay, I carry my refuge constantly with me: and not as the Arab carries his tent, or the soldier his shield, or the turtle its shell; for Christ is not only immanent in His word and movements, but dwells — a living Spirit — in every living heart. And the provision is as vast as human want and as various as human woe. And there is perfect safety there. The psalmist is certain of it. "Thou wilt preserve me from trouble." Not, indeed, from earthly ills — the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to; but with Thee always present I can endure these. But from sin, the source of all trouble, and itself the only real trouble, I know Thy grace is sufficient to save me. My faith, like the eagle's wings, bears me above the hurtling thunder into the eternal sunshine. Like the skylark, I sing as I soar, and pour music out of the cloud. Like the nightingale, I lift a cheerful lay in the twilight, and charm the night with melodies of love and hope. Thus will the Lord, my hiding place, compass me about with songs of deliverance.
Thou art my hiding place.— A man who is pursued as if he were a wild beast can appreciate the value of a safe hiding place.
I. WE NEED A HIDING PLACE FOR THE SOUL.
1. For there is an enemy to our souls ever seeking their destruction. Is it true that there is a wicked devil? Some think not, but Jesus tells us that there is. He tells us also that there is a hiding place from Satan's power, and it is the Lord Himself.
2. From our own inclinations. Some years ago I was walking with one of my children over a canal on a very narrow bridge. The child was frightened, and begged me to hold her tight, as she felt as if something were pulling her down into the canal. And so, like that child, we all of us have an inclination to fall from purity, and we shall fall unless the Lord hold us fast. And He will, if we ask Him. He will no more let you fall into sin, if you call on Him with all your heart, than I would have let that child fall into the canal. Though we have an inclination to sin, there is at all times a hiding place in which our souls may shelter until the danger be past.
II. THERE ARE SPECIAL TIMES WHEN WE NEED A HIDING PLACE.
1. One of those times is, when the fear of death comes upon us. Who can help us when we die?
2. Allow me to say a word about the hiding place we need when the sorrows of poverty afflict us. Ah, don't you think that such people need a hiding place? How blessed is the Gospel to them! They suffer, but they know, they feel, that our Heavenly Father cares for them.
Study.I. THE REFUGE WHICH HE NEEDS. Refer to David in the stronghold; man-slayer in city of refuge; Noah in the ark. The sinner needs a refuge under the guilt of sin, under the demands of the law, under the dangers of life.
II. THE CONFIDENCE HE INDULGES. "Thou shalt preserve me from trouble" — not that actual exemption from trial is promised, but so preserved as that we shall not sink under it. The argument is that past deliverances are a ground of future hope. If He delivered me as a rebellious sinner, shall He not deliver me as a praying believer? It rests on the promise and faithfulness of God — "For the mountains shall depart," etc. The Christian, after one trial, should prepare for another. It is supported by the experience of the Church.
III. THE JOY HE ANTICIPATES. "Songs of deliverance."
(J. Cross, D. D.)
1. From the penalties of a broken law.
2. From the enmity of man.
3. From the trials and sorrows of life.
4. From the fear of death.
(C. D. Bell, D. D.)
Thou shalt preserve me from trouble.it.
(J. Donne, D. D.)
Thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance.Exodus 15.; and that in Judges 5.). And we, too, have songs of deliverance. Let us speak of some of them.
I. THAT SUNG ON OUR DELIVERANCE FROM THE MOST APPALLING DANGER. The Christian's most thankful praise is praise for deliverance. The joy that breathes in his song is the joy of recovered safety. His whole happiness is a treasure rescued from utter wreck; he is a delivered man. In whatever scene, with whatever fellowship he mingles in his eternal career, he shall be marked as one that has been delivered. All the greatness that may yet come to him, all the blessedness that eternity shall put to his lips, all the glory to which his nature may ascend, cry out of deliverance. His is not the joy of the happy child who has never passed beyond the home of love and purity, but the joy of the reformed prodigal, who, despite a wasted heritage, blighted hopes, and a dishonoured name, has, after weary wanderings, again found a home of peace and love.
II. THE BELIEVER'S SONG OF DELIVERANCE FROM EARTHLY SORROWS AND TROUBLES. As the Christian has many a sorrow, so he has many a song. He has songs of deliverance when the judgments which threatened to overwhelm him have not been permitted to come nigh; songs of deliverance when they have come, and all God's waves and billows have gone over him, and he has passed through the cloud and the sea unharmed. Even the dread chastisements of God which came upon David in consequence of his sin lost their terribleness and all that should make them dreaded. They were henceforth to work together for good; and therefore he lifts the song of deliverance, though the troubles were still with him. Evil in its outward aspect is not changed, but to the soul its spiritual relation is reversed. In the life of the true penitent the fruits of past wickedness, severed from the tree that nourished them, lose their noxious quality, and fatten the soil for future harvests of good. And therefore the pardoned sinner counts it all joy when he falls into tribulation. Hear again David's song: "Many sorrows shall be to the wicked; but he that trusteth in the Lord, mercy shall compass him about."
III. THE SONG OF FINAL AND ETERNAL DELIVERANCE. It is not till the Church has reached her heavenly home, and every member of the great body of Christ is finally redeemed from the power of the world, — and death, the last enemy, destroyed, that the glorified Church shall stand on the shores of the glassy sea, and swell high the anthem of triumph that began in the deliverance of Israel under Moses, and is consummated in the triumph of the Lamb, over the world, and sin, and death, and the grave. Then her joy shall be full, in the sense of her own safety assured for ever against all enemies. Nothing shall remain but joy add song.
(T. Taylor, D. D.)
(Sir Richard Baker.)
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