All the earth bows down to You; they sing praise to You; they sing praise to Your name." Selah
I. GOD'S HAND SHOULD BE SEEN IN HISTORY. First there is the call (vers. 1, 2). Then the reason is given (ver. 3). We are brought face to face with God. We are confronted with the awful manifestations of his power. The world is not a world of confusion and misrule, where we see only the working of human passion. Behind all is the hand of God. So it is still. Our Lord said, "My Father worketh hitherto." If men everywhere were brought to this faith, that this is not a forsaken and fatherless world, but a world under the benign rule of God, they would bow their hearts in worship, and rejoice to sing praise to the Most High (ver. 4).
II. GOD'S SPECIAL DEALINGS WITH NATIONS SHOULD BE SEEN IN HISTORY. (Vers. 5-7.) It is said of the ungodly, that "the harp, and the viol, the tabret, and pipe, and wine, are in their feasts: but they regard not the work of the Lord, neither consider the operation of his hands" (Isaiah 5:12). But the psalmist was of a different spirit. He had seen much that had thrilled his heart with admiration and delight, and he would have others to enter into his joy. "Come and see the works of God" (ver. 5). Israel may be called the model nation. As "a city set on a hill." Israel has been set on high for the instruction of other nations and peoples (1 Corinthians 10:11). The principles and laws by which God governed and judged Israel are the principles and laws according to which he deals with his people everywhere, in all times and in all lands. God changes his methods, but not his laws. His dispensations alter, but he himself is the same. Hence his judgments of Israel and of the nations are full of instruction to us. Israel was the chosen people, "unto whom were committed the oracles of God" (Romans 3:2). God is represented as keeping guard over them. He was their Watchman, and his eye was ever on "the nations" (ver. 7) around, ready to warn and defend his own people. Let us be sure that in like manner he is now standing in watch over the interests of truth and righteousness, and that he will overrule all things for the advancement of the kingdom of his Son (Ezekiel 21:27).
III. GOD'S GREAT MORAL PURPOSES SHOULD BE SEEN IN HISTORY. (Vers. 8-20.)
1. First, we are called upon to bless God for our preservation. If one is taken and the other left, it is not without a reason. It is God that keeps both nations and individuals alive.
2. Further, we are taught that all trials are part of God's discipline. (Vers. 10-12.) Even in the injustice, the oppression, and cruelty of men, we should discern the purposes of God. We are being educated by trial. When we see God's love behind and over all, we learn to be patient and to hope to the end (Deuteronomy 8:1). The outcome of Israel's trials was Canaan; and "there is a rest that remaineth for the people of God."
3. Lastly, we are admonished how God works to bring us ever nearer to himself in love and service. What the psalmist did is an example to us.
(1) There should be renewed consecration. (Vers. 13, 14.)
(2) There should be grateful and thorough obedience. (Ver. 15.)
(3) There should be open and manly testimony. (Ver. 16.)
(4) There should be more of prayer and more of praise. (Vers. 18-20.)
"New mercies, each returning day, Hover around us while we pray; New perils past, new sins forgiven, New thoughts of God, new hopes of heaven. "Only, O Lord, in thy dear love
"Only, O Lord, in thy dear love
All the earth shall worship Thee, and shall sing unto Thee.I. THE GLORIOUS AND AUSPICIOUS PROSPECT WHICH IS HERE OPENED TO OUR VIEW. All the earth shall worship Jehovah, and shall sing unto His name.
II. ALL OBJECTIONS TO THE FULFILMENT OF THIS DECLARATION ARE TRIUMPHANTLY REPELLED. The politicians of this world tell you plainly that your object can never be accomplished. The world is against you. "The carnal mind, which is enmity against God," is against you. The glorious Gospel of the grace of God must come in contact with much that is contrary to its own nature. I am fully aware, too, that Satan, the god of this world, has long kept the minds of men in subjection to his vassalage, and held his captives in an almost universal submission. But with all these appalling circumstances put in array, and leaving you room to put in a thousand more, I see something in my text which excites you to go forward, in sure and certain hope of complete and glorious victory. "Come," and instead of looking on the works of men, till your hearts grow feeble, and your hands hang down, "come and see the works of God." Here are two grounds of encouragement —
1. The consideration of what God has done for His ancient Church, in fulfilling His promises, and in overcoming her foes; and —
2. What He will yet do for His Church, in fulfilling all for which He has encouraged you to hope. Consider these things; and declare if God has spoken anything which He has not fulfilled.
(J. Stewart, D. D.)
I. MAN CAN ATTAIN A TRUE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD. Not, indeed, if left unaided. The instinct which prompts the heart to bow down before an invisible Power is one of the last to disappear in the ruin of our nature. In the absence of everything else which gives dignity to human life it still survives. The first idea of God is awakened by the words and acts of our fellow-men, but when the idea is once ours, we can verify and ennoble it for ourselves. It has been maintained that man cannot have any real knowledge of what God is; that there are impregnable barriers to every attempt of the human soul to attain the real truth about the Divine attributes. But if "I am informed that the world is ruled by a Being whose attributes are infinite, but what they are we cannot learn, nor what are the principles of His government, except that 'the highest human morality we are capable of conceiving ' does not sanction them; convince me of it, and I will bear my fate as I may. But when I am told that I must believe this, and at the same time call the Being by the names which express and affirm the highest human morality, I say in plain terms that I will not. Whatever power such a Being may have over me, He shall not compel me to worship Him." As a Christian, as a Christian minister, I take my stand with those strong words of the philosopher against the theologian. Language has no meaning save the ordinary ones for the words, just, merciful, good; and if they do not mean this when applied to God, why do we use the words? Worship becomes impossible on such a theory. If the soul is to worship God, it must know what God is.
II. GOD FINDS SATISFACTION AND DELIGHT IN HUMAN WORSHIP. If I speak to Him, it is because I believe He listens. His heart is moved in response to ours. As I sat a Sunday or two ago on the sea-shore, and thought of the thirty millions of people around whom the waters on which I looked were softly and gently rolling, I had present to my mind the twenty or thirty thousand assemblies which were met that morning in the depths of manufacturing towns, to which the Sunday had brought a brighter, clearer sky, and a welcome interruption of toil; in ancient cities, which have been famous through all the stormy years of our country's history; in scattered villages, where the life becomes more animated rather than more still on the weekly day of rest. I thought of venerable cathedrals, where vast and solemn spaces were filled with the music of ancient chants and exulting anthems, and the mighty harmonies of majestic organs, and of rude, unshapely buildings on the edge of lovely commons, and amongst the poorest and most wretched courts and streets of our populous districts, where, with loud cries and noisy hymns, poor labouring men whose hearts God had touched, were violently and passionately imploring His pardon, or thanking Him for deliverance from sin. I felt that at that moment the gates of heaven were thrown wide open as for some high festival, that before the day was over thousands of my countrymen would be regenerated by the Spirit of God, and receive from God's own lips absolution from all sin; and that tens of thousands would be baptized afresh with the Holy Ghost and with fire, and be gentler in their words, kinder in their deeds, purer in their thoughts all the week through as the result of that day's worship. I thought of all these, and I was thankful and glad.
(R. W. Dale, D. D.)
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