Trust you in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength:
The grandest and profoundest truths of the Old and New Testament with regard to the Divine nature are always presented as the bases of exhortations to conduct and to emotion. There is no such thing in Scripture as an aimless revelation of the Divine character. That great "for" of my text links together the two clauses.
I. Observe THE NAME OF JEHOVAH here given as the ground of invitation to our trust. "In the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength," or "the Rock of Ages." The expression that is here employed, the singular reduplication of the name, which only occurs in one other place in Scripture, is no doubt intended to emphasise the idea that underlies the name. We find here the same singular appellation which occurs in one of the Psalms, where we read of God as "riding in the Heavens by His name Jah." So here the name appears as "Jah, Jehovah" — the former name being, as I suppose, the abbreviated form of the latter, and the purpose of employing both being to call attention emphatically to the name and what it means. What does it mean It speaks —
(1) Of unchangeableness.
(2) Of a sure asylum and safe dwelling place and inexpugnable fortress into which we may all retreat. "His place of defence shall be the munitions of rocks," and high above all possibility of escalade and safe from all fear of assault or of change they may dwell who dwell in the secret place of the Most High.
(3) And besides the thought of a safe asylum is the other thought of a rock for a foundation; who builds on it builds secure.
II. THE TRUST which corresponds to, and lays hold of the Rock. "Trust ye in the Lord forever: for in the Lord Jehovah is the Rock of Ages." The word which is here rendered "trust" is an extremely graphic and significant one, and teaches us a great deal more of the meaning and essence of the act of faith than many more elaborate treatises would do. It simply means "to depend." Charles Wesley, in his great hymn, has, with the Christian poet's unerring instinct, laid his finger on the precise meaning of the word when he says —
Hangs my helpless soul on Thee.Incongruous as the metaphor hanging on the rock may seem, It conveys to us the true idea of the trust which is peace and life. But did you ever notice that in our use of the word "depend" we have two different expressions, which convey two different though kindred meanings? To be dependent on gives a different shade of signification from to depend on. The former acknowledges inferiority, takes a position of receptivity, and recognises that from another, who is conceived as being above us, there flow down upon us all good things, strengths, and graces that we may require. So, in this hanging upon God, there is the consciousness of utter emptiness in myself and of my need of receiving all that I can have or want from His full hand. But in faith or trust we hang on God in that other sense too. We are not only consciously dependent upon Him, as conscious of our emptiness and of His fulness, but we depend upon Him, as being calmly and completely certain of Him and of His being and doing all that we need. In other words, trust is reliance. Dependence and reliance are both metaphors. Both picture resting one's whole weight on some person or thing beyond one's self, but dependence pictures the weight as hanging from and upheld by a fixed point above, and reliance pictures it as reposing on and upheld by a fixed point beneath; and each sets forth in graphic fashion the act of the soul which Old and New Testament alike regard as the condition of vital union with God. That trust is reasonable. People pit faith against reason, as if the two things were antagonists. Faith is the outcome of reason. The only difference between it and reason, in the narrow sense of the word, is that faith has got longer sight than reason, and can see into what is dark to it. There is nothing so reasonable as to trust utterly in Him whose name is Jehovah, and in whom is the Rock of Ages.
III. THE PERPETUITY OF THE CONFIDENCE which corresponds with the eternity of the Rock. "Trust ye in the Lord forever." It is a commandment and a promise. An unchanging God ought to secure an unchanging trust. "Forever!" Amid all the fluctuations of our minds and dispositions, there ought to be this one steadfast attitude of our spirits kept up continuously through a whole life. "Forever!" Whatever may happen in the way of changing conditions and altered circumstances, for the same unchanging purpose brings all changes. The same diurnal motion brings day and night. The same annual revolution brings summer and winter. It is the same unchanging purpose of the steadfast God that creates the wintry darkness through which the orb of our lives has to pass, and the long summer hours of sunshine. But my text, like an God's commandments, carries a promise hidden in its bosom. All that build on the Rock of Ages build imperishable homes, which last as long as the Rock on which they are founded.
(A. Maclaren, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength: