Expositor's Dictionary of Texts
To the chief Musician, Altaschith, A Psalm or Song of Asaph. Unto thee, O God, do we give thanks, unto thee do we give thanks: for that thy name is near thy wondrous works declare.The Cup in the Hand of the Lord
What is the cup of the Lord in my text? What is the cup of salvation in another Psalm? What is the cup of blessing in St. Paul? Are there two different cups? Are we to distinguish between the cup which Christ drained and the cup which He blessed? Are we to divide the Passion from the Eucharist? Good Friday from Maundy Thursday? no, we are not to divide them. The two are one. The Eucharist is the communion of the Passion. The power of the Passion is the power of the Eucharist.
I. Those who enter into the devout communicant life have found the secret of joy, for they have the life of Christ. But they are also self-consecrated to suffering; for the life of Christ is a dying life; His joy is wrung out of the heart of sorrow. They are dedicated to fellowship in His sufferings, that their fellowship in His glory may be real. This is the dominant conception of the Passion-narrative in St. John. We are not to look upon Good Friday simply as a defeat followed by a victory. The victory was won in and through suffering; it did not simply come after it. All this is in the cup which our Saviour drained, and which He gives us to drink. The red wine with which the cup of the Lord is full mixed, and which He poureth out for us, is His blood. Blood—the symbol of life, not of death; but of life poured out, consecrated by dying.
II. What does this challenge mean to us, dropping metaphor and mysticism? 'Can ye drink of the cup that I shall drink of?' We know that we must answer, We can, unless we prefer to say that we have neither part nor lot in the life and death of Jesus Christ. But what is involved in our acceptance of the challenge? We are able, at anyrate we wish to try—to do what? Surely the cup is the burden of human sorrow and human sin—the accumulated results of all the errors and vices and crimes that poor humanity commits every day. A bitter draught it is; 'Thou hast given us a drink of deadly wine' we might say when it is put before us. Jesus Christ was willing to drain it—as an act of love, and as an act of obedience. He took up the burden of frail humanity. He let it crush Him and by so doing He conquered it. That is the claim, the challenge, that Christ makes to us. We cannot tell what He will require of us, it may be much or it may be little; but have we the spirit of love and the spirit of obedience, in which as I have said, Christ Himself lived and died for man? If we have we may answer humbly but confidently, 'We are able'; for our great Captain will set us no impossible tasks.
III. You will see now why the cup which our blessed Lord drained and the cup which He blessed are one and the same cup. It is the cup of communion, of brotherhood; the cup of kindness which pledges us to bear each other's burdens instead of shifting our own; and it is the cup of the red wine poured out, the precious life-blood freely given, the living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God.
—W. R. Inge, All Saints' Sermons, p. 153.
Reference.—LXXV.—International Critical Commentary, vol. ii. p. 160.
The Old Testament a History of the Jews
When I shall receive the congregation I will judge uprightly.
The earth and all the inhabitants thereof are dissolved: I bear up the pillars of it. Selah.
I said unto the fools, Deal not foolishly: and to the wicked, Lift not up the horn:
Lift not up your horn on high: speak not with a stiff neck.
For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south.
But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another.
For in the hand of the LORD there is a cup, and the wine is red; it is full of mixture; and he poureth out of the same: but the dregs thereof, all the wicked of the earth shall wring them out, and drink them.
But I will declare for ever; I will sing praises to the God of Jacob.
All the horns of the wicked also will I cut off; but the horns of the righteous shall be exalted.