Is this how you repay the LORD, O foolish and senseless people? Is He not your Father and Creator? Has He not made you and established you?
rock-hewn ruin of Petra. They had traversed the defiles of the terrible and precipitous Arabah. When David was hunted in the wilderness, he, too, was often led to think of God, his Rock (Psalm 18:2; Psalm 61:2; Psalm 62:2, 7, etc.). It is wilderness experience which still makes the name so precious.
I. ROCK A NATURAL IMAGE OF DIVINE ATTRIBUTES. The image is not an arbitrary one. Nature abounds in shadows of the spiritual. It is what the mind puts into the objects of its survey which makes them what they are. "The Alps and Andes are but millions of atoms till thought combines them, and stamps on them the conception of the everlasting hills. Niagara is a gush of water-drops till the soul puts into it that sweep of resistless power which the beholder feels. The ocean, wave behind wave, is only great when the spirit has breathed into it the idea of immensity. If we analyze our feelings, we shall find that thought meets us wherever we turn. The real grandeur of the world is in the soul which looks on it, which sees some conception of its own reflected from the mirror around it; for mind is not only living, but life-giving, and has received from its Maker a portion of his own creative power" (Dr. John Ker). Rock is thus more than rock - its awfulness, grandeur, immovability, everlastingness, strength, are born of spiritual conceptions. These attributes do not in reality belong to it. Rock is not everlasting, moveless, abiding, etc. Old rocks are being worn away, new rocks are being formed; the whole system had a beginning and will have an end (Psalm 90:2). It is not that these attributes belong to rock, and are thence by metaphor attributed to God; but these attributes of God, being dimly present in the mind, are by metaphor attributed to rock. We clothe the natural object with shadowy attributes of Deity. God is the true Rock, the other is the image. God is rock, in virtue of:
1. The eternity of his existence (Psalm 90:2).
2. The omnipotence of his might (Daniel 4:35).
3. The wisdom of his counsel (Isaiah 40:13).
5. The faithfulness of his Word (Psalm 119:89, 90).
6. The rectitude of his government (Psalm 145:17). Whence:
7. The perfection of his work. Christ is like the Father, eternal (Revelation 1:11), unchangeable (Hebrews 13:8), all-powerful (Matthew 28:18), faithful (John 13:1; John 14:18-20), righteous (Revelation 19:11), wise (Isaiah 9:6).
II. ROCK A NATURAL IMAGE OF WHAT, IN VIRTUE OF HIS ATTRIBUTES, GOD IS TO HIS PEOPLE.
1. A shelter (Psalm 61:3).
3. A dwelling-place (Psalm 90:1).
4. A shadow from the heat (cf. Isaiah 32:2).
5. A move-less standing-ground (Psalm 40:2).
6. A foundation (cf. Matthew 7:24). The rock smitten in the wilderness furnishes the additional idea of:
7. A source of spiritual refreshment.
Apply throughout to Christ, the Rock on which his Church is built (Matthew 16:18; 1 Corinthians 2:11), the smitten Savior (1 Corinthians 10:4; 1 John 5:6), the spiritual Refuge and Salvation of his people (Romans 8:1, 34-39). Toplady's hymn, "Rock of Ages." - J.O.
Do ye thus requite the Lord.I. WHAT GOD HAS DONE FOR US. Everything. We are indebted to Him for our being, and our well-being; for all our present comforts, and future hopes. The goodness of God is a boundless sea, without either bottom or shore. His favours for multitude, diversity, and splendour, resemble the stars of heaven, which the more attentively they are viewed, appear the more numerous, and, were we not so immensely distant from them, would equally astonish us with their magnitude and order.
4. The Gospel.
5. The Holy Spirit.
II. HOW WE OUGHT IN REASON, DUTY, AND INTEREST TO REQUITE THE LORD FOR HIS GIFTS.
1. If we ourselves are the creatures of God's power, and have no faculty of soul, no member of body, no endowment of any kind, but what we have received from Him, surely it ill-becomes us to boast of anything that we have, as though we received it not; or to value ourselves on account of what is not our own, but only lent us for a little time, and to be redemanded soon with usury.
2. This leads me to a second inference, that the many mercies of God have laid an indispensable obligation upon us unfeignedly and gratefully to praise Him.
3. But again, may we not infer, from the preceding observations, that it is no less our duty to trust in God than it is humbly to praise Him? The many and wonderful things which He hath done for us leave no room to doubt either of His goodness or power; either of His inclination or ability to help and save us.
4. The loving kindness of the Lord to us-ward, so wonderfully displayed, so incessantly exercised, notwithstanding our ingratitude, certainly demands returns of love, and lays us under an indispensable obligation to serve and glorify Him.
(A. H. Drysdale, M. A.)
(H. W. Beecher.)
Is not He thy Father that hath bought thee?I. GOD AS THE FATHER OF HIS PEOPLE.
1. He has redeemed them by Christ (1 Peter 1:18, 19).
2. He is the Author of their spiritual existence (Ephesians 2:10).
3. He has made paternal provision for them (Philippians 4:19).
4. He grants parental protection to them (Psalm 91:4).
5. He imparts paternal instruction (Isaiah 54:13).
6. He takes great delight in them (Isaiah 66:13).
7. He administers fatherly correction (Jeremiah 30:11).
8. He has made paternal provision for them (Psalm 31:19).
II. THE CLAIMS WHICH HE HAS UPON HIS CHILDREN.
1. He ought to have our highest reverence (Hebrews 12:28).
2. He ought to have our supreme affection (Deuteronomy 6:5).
3. He should possess our unwavering confidence (Isaiah 12:2).
4. He should have our cheerful obedience (2 Corinthians 10:4-6).
5. Our continual gratitude and praise (1 Peter 2:9).
(T. B. Baker.)
1. Did not He create you? Was it not He who, having created you, committed you to the charge of your earthly parents, and disposed their minds to watch with unceasing care over your welfare? Is it not, therefore, in a secondary sense only that we are to ascribe the term of father to our earthly parent, while the primary and full meaning of the word belongs only to our Creator? Let us remember that, in having God for our Father, we possess the highest honour and the noblest privilege which any created beings can enjoy.
2. There is another sense in which the title of Father is justly claimed by God. He is the Father who hath bought us. When I have reflected upon the signal proofs which God has given of His paternal feelings towards us, I have often been surprised that those whose gratitude to their earthly parents is unbounded, should show so little affection to their heavenly Father, and rely so little on His love and mercy.The reasons of this inconsistency appear to me to be the following.
1. The undue attachment which we are apt to place on objects of sense. We see and converse with an earthly parent, but our bodily senses do not inform us of the presence of God. Yet the proofs of His presence are actually more strong and numerous than those which attest the existence of any material object.
2. Through the weakness of the human understanding we continually entertain an undue estimation of second causes. We do not feel the extent of our obligations to our heavenly Father, because many of the blessings which He bestows are communicated to us by some instrument appointed for that end. It will probably, however, be generally acknowledged, that the character of God is good and gracious. It is in the practical use of such knowledge that we are chiefly apt to fail.This is, therefore, the end to which I now shall direct your attention.
1. You ought to entertain the highest reverence for His laws. Read the Bible constantly as containing the will of your heavenly Father.
2. This view of the character of God as our Father gives a just idea of the true nature of religion. Religion is the homage which you pay to your heavenly Father. It is the regulation of your lives by His holy Word. It is the enjoyment of the innumerable benefits offered to mankind through His beloved Son. Religion must bear the stamp and character of its Author.
3. Is God our Father? Then we ought to maintain an intercourse with Him by frequent prayer, and to praise Him daily for His innumerable mercies.
4. Is God our Father? Let us then place a generous confidence in Him.
(J. Venn, M. A.)I. GOD AS THE FATHER OF HIS PEOPLE.
1. God is the Author of their spiritual existence.
2. He makes paternal provision for His children.
3. He affords parental protection to His children.
4. He imparts paternal instruction.
5. He takes paternal delight in His children.
6. He administers paternal correction to His children.
7. He lays up a paternal provision for His children.
II. THE CLAIMS WHICH HE HAS UPON HIS CHILDREN.
1. He ought to receive from us the highest reverence. We should cultivate His fear.
2. He ought to have our supreme affections. "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God," etc.
3. He should possess our unwavering confidence. Trust in Him at all times.
4. He should have our cheerful obedience. "Be ye followers of God as dear children," etc.
5. He shall receive from us our most exalted praises.
(J. Burns, D. D.)
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