1 Samuel 2:9
He will keep the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness; for by strength shall no man prevail.
He will keep the feet of his saints. Who are his saints?
1. The term is sometimes used as one of reproach, by persons who are destitute of religious life, concerning those who bear the Christian name. Pointing to the inconsistency of some of the latter, they would thereby fain persuade themselves and others that there is no such thing as true godliness to be found in the world. There are, doubtless, many who "profess to know God, but in works deny him." But there would be no counterfeit money unless there were some genuine coin
2. The word is also used to designate those who have been "canonised;" and who, having gone into heaven, are supposed to have influence with God in the granting of petitions presented on earth. But such a use of it is unscriptural, and the doctrine is false and injurious.
3. The saints of God are those who have been accepted by him through faith in Christ, who do his will and walk in the way to heaven. Their way, indeed, is often difficult and painful, like the uneven, intricate, and stony paths of Palestine, and beset by numerous dangers. But, for their consolation and encouragement, it is promised that "he that keepeth Israel" will "keep their feet" firm and safe, so that they may not fall and perish. The promise is directly of preservation from temporal calamity, but it may be regarded as including also preservation from spiritual failure and destruction. Consider -
I. THE DANGER FROM WHICH HE WILL KEEP THEM.
1. From wandering out of the way. Obscurity may gather over it. Other ways may appear plainer, easier, and more pleasant, and tempt them to leave it. Or they may seem more direct and shorter than the circuitous and wearisome path they have to pursue. But kept by him they will not go astray.
2. From stumbling in the way. "It must needs be that offences (or occasions of stumbling) come." Some of them consist of
(1) The difficulties of Divine revelation: "things hard to be understood."
(2) The mysteries of Divine providence, which have led many to say, "As for me," etc. (Psalm 73:2).
(3) Direct solicitations to evil.
(4) "Afflictions and persecutions that arise for the word, whereby many are offended." But "great peace have they that love thy law, and nothing shall cause them to stumble" (Psalm 119:165)
3. From failing to reach the end of the way. Some start with bright hopes which are not afterwards altogether fulfilled in their experience: storms gather, enemies threaten, severe conflict must be waged; and they become weary and desponding, and ready to halt. "But the righteous shall hold on his way" (Job 17:19; Isaiah 40:31).
II. THE MANNER IN WHICH HE WILL KEEP THEM. By -
1. Providing means of help for them: the word, which is an instrument of guidance, refreshment, and defence; prayer; the fellowship of those who are travelling in the same way; the ministration of angels (Psalm 91:11; Hebrews 1:14).
2. Watching over them at every step. They are not alone; but he is with them; and they are kept by the power of God" (1 Peter 1:5).
3. Imparting grace and strength to them according to their need. "As thy day," etc. It matters not how great the need if "the supply of the Spirit" (Philippians 1:19) be equal to it. And, "My grace," he says, "is sufficient for thee."
III. THE CERTAINTY WITH WHICH HE WILL KEEP THEM.
1. He has a special interest in them, for they are "his saints," "the portion of his inheritance."
2. He has already done much for them, which is an earnest of continued preservation.
3. He has high purposes to accomplish in them and through them. And,
4. He has solemnly promised "never to leave them" (Hebrews 13:5), and "he is faithful that promised (Hebrews 10:23).
1. Rely upon the promise.
2. Presume not upon your security, nor think that without fulfilling his commandments you can receive his promises.
3. Use the appointed means of grace with all diligence. - D.
Parallel VersesKJV: He will keep the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness; for by strength shall no man prevail.