This people have I formed for myself; they shall show forth my praise.
In the good work of forming a people for Himself, God has been engaged from the beginning. The subjects of it have been more numerous in some periods than in others; but in every age He has created a seed to serve Him. And in future times — when He who sits on the throne shall "make all things new" — this people shall abound in number, and "flourish like grass of the earth." And what a thought is this, that in us, if we be indeed new creatures, God delights.
I. The first ground of the Divine satisfaction in this people which I mention arises from THE NATURE OF THE WORK PERFORMED, the character of the effect produced. The effect produced by the forming power of God is — a people on whose immortal spirits His image is impressed, the chief features of which are — knowledge, righteousness, and holiness, — a people enlightened and guided by heavenly truth, sanctified and regulated by Divine love, — a people assimilated to God in understanding and heart, in purpose, in action, in blessedness. If a person be not the partaker of a Divine nature, the most amiable and eminent qualities which he may possess can ultimately contribute only to increase his capacities and his means of doing evil, and to render him pre-eminent in disgrace and in misery.
II. In forming a people for Himself, God gives AN ILLUSTRIOUS DISPLAY OF HIS GLORY. In no work has He communicated so much of Himself, has He given so luminous and extensive a display of His glory, as in that which we are now contemplating, viewed in its manifold relations. Advert to His sovereignty and His power, both which the text obviously suggests.
III. God delights in forming a people for Himself, because He thus GLORIFIES HIS SON. He bears testimony to the dignity of His person, to the worth of His sacrifice, to the efficacy of His mediation.
IV. GOD FORMS A PEOPLE FOR HIMSELF, THAT THEY MAY SHOW FORTH HIS PRAISE; and for this reason also He delights in them. He creates them anew in Christ, not merely that He may display His perfections in the production of so excellent an effect, but that they may contemplate and adore the excellencies which He thus manifests; not merely that they may be a mirror to reflect the splendour of His glory to others, but that they themselves may utter abundantly its praises. They praise Him with their hearts. They praise Him with their lips, by formal acts of devotion; by the celebration of His ordinances; by the public confession of His name; by commending His service to others; by ordering their speech in His fear, and to the use of edifying. And they praise Him with their lives, by avoiding what He forbids, by doing what He requires, by submitting to what He inflicts; and thus do homage to His authority, wisdom, and love.
V. God rejoiceth over this people, because HE DELIGHTS IN THEIR HAPPINESS.
Parallel VersesKJV: This people have I formed for myself; they shall shew forth my praise.