He shall choose our inheritance for us, the excellency of Jacob whom he loved. Selah.
How fond our children are, and the younger they are the more so, of saying, "I mean to be." And then each one tells what his or her choice is. A soldier, a farmer, a cottage girl, and so on. And we let them talk on.
"We know the world is hard and rough,
But time will teach that soon enough."Nevertheless, our path in life is chosen for us. We do not have our own way. There is sweet music in the words of our text. Livingstone, in his fever, far away from any tender hand or kindly care, in poison-haunted jungles of the African wilderness, borne in from day to day, his end seemingly very near, and left by his servants unconscious in his tent while they went to seek other aid; they found him when they came back on his knees by his bedside, but dead — so had he passed away and died in sight of his promised land. He had not received the promise, but he was satisfied, and crowned his life with a consecration of prayer. That was his way of saying, "He shall choose our inheritance for us." It is, if a funeral, not the less a triumphant song. Every life must be a triumph that passes out in prayer. Life's present discords will constitute its great harmony by and by. For —
I. THE JOY OF LIFE IS TO FEEL THAT IT IS NOT A SCHEME OF FATALISM, a mere reign of law. "He shall choose our inheritance for us." This is a strange word to come from an Eastern psalmist, for such men were mainly fatalists, as they are to this day. But the Bible proclaims the freedom of man, and that the universe is governed, not by infinite chance, but by infinite choice.
II. THE DIVINE CHOICE PROVES ITSELF BY DIVINE LOVE. "The excellency of Jacob whom He loved." Huxley tells us that man is justified by verification. But it is not only true that man is justified by faith, but God is also. Choice is another word for love. Love runs along the line of our lives, so that in the end God is justified by verification after all. Jacob was the proof of that love of His. God chooses for us, and His choice is love. Once upon a time in a family I know of there were four children, sons; their names were Little Faith, Don't-care, Honest Doubt, and Great-heart. One day their father called them to him and said, "Children, our family has a house called Beautiful, a great way off. I am going there now: you will attend to my estates down here, and you will follow me by and by; and to find your way take this map, study it — it shows you the way, follow its directions and follow me, and you shall safely arrive at the house Beautiful." Now, when the father was gone, the brothers began to talk over and to dispute about the father's will. Don't care said he was comfortable where he was; should take and stock a farm and lead a merry life; let them go after the house Beautiful who chose, he should not. Little Faith said he did not know however he should find the way. He could not understand maps. Honest Doubt said that, like Little Faith, he too was a bad hand at maps, and, though he knew father loved them, and his will was just, like him, yet he had so much doubt about the whole matter that, until he had more certainty, he could not believe. But Great-heart said, "Brothers, I mean to go; and, Little Faith and Honest Doubt, if you will go with me, any little help I can give you shall have. As to you, Don't-care, you always were a bad one. But, brothers, if the way seems doubtful, you know we can look on the map together, and you, Honest Doubt, will perhaps keep us from being deceived; and you, Little Faith, shall help to keep us prayerful and humble, so let us start and cheer each other." And they did so, and the last I heard of them was that on their way they were singing, "He shall choose our inheritance for us." And without fail those three brothers will reach the Beautiful Home. Then —
III. THERE IS DIVINE CONSOLATION IN THESE WORDS. They are personal. For each one of us, be we who we may.
(E. Paxton Hood.)
Parallel VersesKJV: He shall choose our inheritance for us, the excellency of Jacob whom he loved. Selah.