I will remember the works of the LORD: surely I will remember your wonders of old.
When the Christian takes a retrospect of his spiritual life, there is much that he remembers with gladness, and much that he remembers with sorrow. The lovingkindness of the Lord which has been manifested towards him — upon this memory can dwell with unalloyed delight. But the coldness of his own love, the frequency of his backslidings, the tardiness of his progress — when memory presents these, he is no true believer in Christ if he do not mourn at the recollection.
I. In the first place, we shall speak OF THE THINGS TO BE REMEMBERED. Now, it would appear, upon an attentive examination of this passage, that the psalmist does not mean to draw a distinction between the works and the wonders of God; but, rather, to state that all God's works are wonders. "I will remember the works; surely I will remember the wonders." The latter clause is only an emphatic repetition of the former. The works of the Lord are all wonders. Such is the assertion — an assertion which is to hold good, not merely when the spectacle is presented of some unusual setting forth of the energies of Omnipotence; but when the attention is turned towards those displays of glory and wisdom, which are furnished by the ordinary routine of God's providence. What we call natural and what we call supernatural — there is full as much of the miraculous in the one as in the other. If we moved on a wider sphere of being and were not shut up within the material framework, we should probably discern that the finger of God is equally active in every occurrence, and that the very name of miracle would hardly find place in our vocabulary. But we wish to speak on spiritual rather than on natural miracle, more especially as the expression, "Thy wonders of old," seems to point to those purposes of mercy which God from everlasting entertained toward His Church. We need not tie ourselves down to a survey of works which caused the wonder of the psalmist. We enter best into the spirit of the passage by supposing the writer to occupy the same position as is occupied by ourselves, and then reviewing those works which on this supposition would have crowded his retrospect. If we take the individual experience of the Christian, of what is that experience made up: Of wonders. The work of his conversion, wonderful! — arrested in a course of thoughtlessness and impiety; graciously sought, and gently compelled to be at peace with God, whose wrath he had provoked. The communication of knowledge, wonderful! — Deity and eternity gradually piled up; the Bible taken page by page, and each page made a volume which no searching can exhaust. The assistance in warfare, wonderful! — himself a child of corruption, yet enabled to grapple with the world, the flesh, and the devil, and often to trample them under foot. The solaces in affliction, wonderful! — sorrow sanctified so as to minister to joy. The foretastes of heaven, wonderful! — Angels bringing down the clusters of the Lamb, and the spirit walking with lightsome tread the crystal river and the streets of gold. Wonderful that the Spirit should strive with man; wonderful that God should bear with his backslidings; wonderful that God should love him notwithstanding his pollution; wonderful that God should persist in saving him, in spite, as it were, of himself.
II. THE ADVANTAGE WHICH MAY BE GATHERED FROM REMEMBERING THE WORKS OF THE LORD. Such advantage is obvious. It is by musing on God's works that we learn God's character and attributes; it is by remembering what God has already done that we are encouraged to hope for future interferences in our behalf; it is by calling to mind that "God spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all," that we are sustained by the animating belief that "He will with Him also freely give us all things." It is by bringing forth the catalogue of wonders which the Lord hath wrought, the deliverance which His right hand hath achieved for His people, and the desolation which He has dealt out to their foes, that we are made confident that there are more with us than there are against us — that greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world. And it is, moreover, by strenuous and deliberate acts of memory that the importance of Gospel truth is kept vividly before us, and the mind prevented from dwelling on one part to the exclusion of any other.
(H. Melvill, B. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: I will remember the works of the LORD: surely I will remember thy wonders of old.