He shall choose our inheritance for us, the excellency of Jacob whom he loved. Selah.
Nothing so destroys all the comfort of life as the spirit of discontent with the dispensations of Divine providence. It is as a curse at the root of every earthly good, and it is, at the same time, a barrier in the way of all improvement in religion. Therefore it is our duty to fortify our minds by these considerations, which will help to maintain within us the opposite disposition of a perpetual and unreserved submission to the will of God. We would speak, accordingly —
I. OF THE NATURE OF THE GRACE OF RESIGNATION.
1. Our text is a profession of it, but its words are not to be applied to our state in the world to come. That inheritance is left to our own choice. God will help us, but it is not necessary that He should choose for us.:For there are but two conditions in the future — not a multitude, which might distract: and they are of the most contrasted character. On the one side is all evil, and on the other all good, so that the decision is easy. The choice, therefore, is left to ourselves.
2. Nor can the text be applied to aught that essentially affects the decision of that state, but only to those things in which men may innocently differ from each other. It is only to these diversities which are strictly non-essential as to the decision of our everlasting destiny that any man is capable of being properly resigned. Such are the distinctions
(1) of rank and property.
(2) Of prosperity and adversity.
(3) Personal affliction and sorrow.
(4) Endowments of mind, means of improvement, opportunities of usefulness — with regard to all such things the Christian will say, The Lord "shall choose," etc.
3. But great virtues are often found to border on dangerous extremes: therefore we need to guard the definition of such virtues very carefully.
(1) Therefore this grace of resignation is not to be confused with Stoicism. The effect of pure religion is not to convert flesh hire stone, but stone into flesh. Its object is not to stupefy or destroy, but rather to refine and exalt the feelings of our nature. Job felt deeply his sorrows, but it is expressly said, "In all this he sinned not." And so with our Lord.
(2) Nor does resignation prohibit our praying against any evil that is feared, or for good that may be desired. See Paul and his thorn in the flesh.
(3) Nor does it necessitate that we are to sit still and do nothing to help ourselves. The text refers to Israel's possession of Canaan, but still they had to do much ere it became theirs.
II. THE PROPRIETY AND ADVANTAGES OF THIS GRACE.
Parallel VersesKJV: He shall choose our inheritance for us, the excellency of Jacob whom he loved. Selah.