True Greatness
2 Samuel 22:36
You have also given me the shield of your salvation: and your gentleness has made me great.

Thy answering hath made me great. Isaiah 18:35, "Thy gentleness" (humility, meekness, condescending grace). True greatness consists not in external prosperity, nor in splendid achievements, but in moral and spiritual excellence. "The good alone are great." Notice -

I. ITS CONDITIONS, on the part of man.

1. Conscious weakness, the sense of utter helplessness in himself (1 Samuel 30:1-10; John 15:5; 2 Corinthians 12:10; Hebrews 11:34).

2. Believing prayer (ver. 7). "By showing us our own nothingness, humility forces us to depend upon God; and the expression of that dependence is prayerfulness."

3. Ardent aspiration. "When sea water rises into the clouds it loses its saltness and becomes fresh; so the soul when lifted up to God" (Tamil proverb).

II. ITS BESTOWMENT; by "that practical hearkening on the part of God when called upon for help, which was manifested in the fact that God made his steps broad" (Keil).

1. In wonderful condescension (Psalm 138:6).

2. By manifold methods; preserving, instructing, strengthening, exalting those who trust in him.

3. With considerate adaptation to their nature and capacities. "The great God and Father, intent on making his children great, follows them and plies them with the gracious indirections of a faithful and patient love" (Bushnell, 'Christ and his Salvation'). "Like as father" etc. (Psalm 103:13).

III. ITS MANIFESTATION. As the effect of sunshine and rain, received and appropriated by a plant, appears in its abounding strength, beauty, and fruitfulness, so the effect of Divine grace appears in enlargement and elevation of mind, sincere and fervent love to God, a set purpose to do his will, eminence in "love, joy, peace, gentleness," etc. (Galatians 5:22), maturity of character (Hosea 14:5-7), holy and beneficent activity, growing conformity to the perfect Pattern of true greatness (Matthew 20:25-27). "Have the mind in you which was also in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 2:5). - D.

Parallel Verses
KJV: Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy gentleness hath made me great.

WEB: You have also given me the shield of your salvation. Your gentleness has made me great.

The Work of Gentleness
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