They carried out what Your hand and purpose had decided beforehand would happen.
I. THE SCRIPTURAL REPRESENTATION RECOGNIZED. The Holy Ghost spake it. The view given in Psalm 2. corresponds with that which pervades the Bible. The Babel power over against the kingdom of God. God making all things to work together for his purposes. The history of Jesus Christ a wonderful confirmation of this view. The disciples in their faith and fellowship following their Master and accepting the responsibilities of the position.
II. THE SPIRITUAL SUPREMACY ASSERTED.
1. By prayer. Appeal to God to justify the faith of his people. Martin Luther, "God must save his own Church." As the Lord of heaven and earth, the Revealer of his own truth and will, the God of history, which shows his faithfulness.
2. By renewed self-consecration. "Grant to thy servants boldness." They did not shrink from the conflict, but laid hold of Divine strength.
3. By expectation of manifestation of power. The miracle already done was but the beginning of great things. We must not be satisfied with mere moral order as a testimony to Christianity. We should pray for and expect moral miracles; not a repetition of ancient signs and wonders, but marvels of spiritual life - souls healed, the dead raised to life.
III. THE KING ENCOURAGING THE SERVANTS OF HIS KINGDOM. Before the battle closes the commander speaks the word of appeal and encouragement along the line of his army. When God has appointed us to do a real work, he prepares us for it by the special gifts of his Spirit. External sign: "The place shaken" - to remind them that earthly powers were in God's hand. Spiritual grace vouchsafed: "All filled." These sense of a brotherhood, of an army going forth to fight, deepened by the outpouring of gifts upon all. The word spoken" with boldness." Force being made manifest; perfect, love casting out fear. We commence from this time a new stage of the history. Persecution is doing its work - calling out the graces of the brotherhood, turning weak men in-to heroes. The simple, devout dependence of those primitive believers a great example to us. The Church is lacking in boldness. We must be prepared to grapple with the enemy. We must bring their threatenings to God and pray that he will look upon them. Above all, we must ask to be filled with the Holy Ghost. - R.
Why do the heathen rage.I. ITS CHARACTERISTICS.
1. Furiousness, "rage," a word signifying the neighing or snorting of highly excited horses — Like the prancing war-horse in the book of Job. It is metaphorically used to represent the noise and fury of insolent and overbearing men, and well represents the attitude of Christ's enemies.
2. Vanity. They "imagine .vain things." Those who aspire to thwart the plans of Christ, to crush Christianity, live in a region of mad dreams. They are agents of consummate folly, and must fall victims to their own delusions.
3. Combination. "Kings and rulers" were banded together. Ungodly men that differ widely in other things, are one in their antagonism to Christ.
II. ITS FRUSTRATION. All that Herod, Pontius Pilate, etc., could do was just as much as God determined they should do. How great is God! He maketh His enemies to do His work.
(D. Thomas, D. D.)—
The hand of God: — "For to do," or be the means of doing, that by which Christ became the Saviour of the world. This was the effect, 'although the secondary agents were ignorant of it. In their blindness and sinfulness they did just so much and no more than God had determined to be done. God decreed the salvation of the world by the death of Christ, but He did not decree the means — man's sin; but overruled it to the accomplishment of His purpose. This is ascribed to the "hand" of God, which in Scripture implies —
I. POWER. This was displayed in the work of our deliverance from the slavery of Satan — the strong man; and this deliverance was effected by the suffering and death of Christ, in "which the great power of God was displayed.
II. PROVIDENCE OR DIRECTION. It was not Jewish malice that procured our redemption, but malice overruled by Divine providence.
III. OPERATION. God by the death of Christ has wrought our redemption, and established His Church as a channel of salvation.
IV. MERCY AND GRACE. The work of our salvation was wrought through the mercy God bears towards us,
(W. Denton, M. A.)
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