O LORD, You will establish peace for us, for, indeed, all that we have accomplished, You have done for us.
I. THE GREAT THINGS GOD HAS DONE FOR US.
1. He has heard our cry in the day of distress (vers. 16, 17). Few things go home to our hearts more readily than the words of the psalmist, "I cried unto the Lord, and he heard me." It is a great thing to have been heard of God, to have gained his pitiful ear, and to have enjoyed his merciful consideration; that amid the millions of his children he has distinguished us and bent on us his benign regard.
2. He has granted full deliverance. "Other lords... have had dominion... but [now] thee only will we celebrate; they are dead;" their very memory is perishing (vers. 13, 14). We may have been under the dominion of some cruel vice (lust, or avarice, or intemperance), or of "the world" (1 John); but in the mercy of God these spiritual adversaries have been defeated, have been slain, they are no more to be dreaded, and now a Divine Redeemer is the Object of our adoration; for him we live, his honor we seek, his Name we strive to glorify (ver. 15), in his holy and ennobling service we spend our days and our powers.
3. He has granted spiritual enlargement. (Ver. 15.) "Thou hast increased the nation, O Lord." To some, especially to those whom he redeems from the bondage of vice or crime, God grants material enlargement, the improvement of their estate, the brightening of their life, the broadening of their sphere. To all who, at the touch of his liberating hand, come out of spiritual captivity into the freedom of his children, he gives spiritual advancement, increase of knowledge, of joy, of love, of influence, of hope. As we love and serve Christ, we are enlarged on every hand - the horizon of our souls is removed beyond its former bounds.
II. THE ARGUMENT THEREFROM. The fact, that God has done such great things for us - and all that has been done for us has been wrought by him (ver. 12; and see Psalm 87:7) - is a strong reason to expect other gracious things in the future. "Thou wilt ordain peace for us" (ver. 12). It is a scriptural argument that the conferring of greater blessings is a security to us for the possession of smaller ones (see Matthew 6:25; Romans 8:32; Psalm 56:13). The gifts of God in the gospel of Jesus Christ,
(1) his most costly gifts,
(2) his most valuable gifts, may be to us a strong assurance that God will not only "ordain peace" in life and at death, but also lead us along all the path of life, and receive us to his presence and glory when our earthly course is run. - C.
Lord, Thou wilt ordain peace for us.
I. WHAT THERE IS IN THE RESTORATION OF PEACE, GENERALLY CONSIDERED, TO EXCITE OUR GRATITUDE.
1. The first consequence of peace which naturally presents itself to our attention is, that the effusion of human blood is stayed.
2. The injurious effects produced by war upon the human character afford another reason for thanksgiving on the return of peace. It is impossible that a state of warfare should be long continued without greatly deteriorating, in some important respects, both individual and national character. War is unfriendly to humanity. Tender as the heart may naturally be, the frequent recurrence of scenes of suffering tends to harden it. During the state of warfare, too, communities are usually distracted by intestine dissensions; and political strife gives birth to no virtues. Another effect of war is, that, when long-continued, it embitters the animosities of nations, and tends to confirm those national antipathies which, if unchecked by peace, would settle into a confirmed and malignant hatred.
3. A third reason for gratitude with reference to the peace is, that it has been produced by the signal triumph of a righteous cause. Peace is not always a blessing. In some cases it is only a term for the stillness, the quiet of desolation and death. Peace is often the result of the superiority acquired by the aggressor. The cause of right does not always at once prevail.
4. We rejoice in peace as the completion of a course of providential dispensations highly conducive to the instruction of the world.
II. WHAT THERE IS IN THE PARTICULAR CIRCUMSTANCES OF THIS COUNTRY TO WARRANT US IN CONSIDERING THE BLESSING AS OF SPECIAL AND PARTICULAR VALUE.
1. We have preserved our national honour.
2. The peace was seasonable.
3. The peace may be considered indicative of the Divine favour and approbation.
4. We see a particular reason to be thankful for peace, as it will increase our means of promoting the kingdom of Christ in the world, and thus establish our national prosperity by continuing to us the blessing of God.
III. THE REASON OF OUR THANKFUL ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF GOD. He is the giver of the blessing of peace. "Thou hast ordained peace for us." This is a most important principle; and if our hearts be not firmly grounded in it, our thanksgivings are mockery; for why do we thank Him, if we ascribe the work to second causes?
(J. R. Miller, D. D.)
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