I. A BLESSED RETROSPECT.
1. He knows it is blessed, because, here the psalmist sets it down, he summons, in intensely earnest, varied, and emphatic way, all people to give thanks unto the Lord.
2. And he tells them wherefore they should hearken to his Word - because the Lord "hath remembered his covenant forever," etc. (ver. 8).
3. Then comes the covenant history. He tells what the covenant was (ver. 11), with whom it was made (ver. 9), and to whom confirmed (ver. 10). Then he tells of the apparent improbability of its fulfilment (ver. 12), yet how God guarded them (ver. 15). Then how strangely his work was carried on: sending dread famine (ver. 16), and making them exiles in Egypt; sending Joseph, whom he had wonderfully prepared to be their helper in Egypt (vers. 17-23). Then, when they were sufficiently multiplied, stirring up their nest there by means of the persecution they had to bear. Then came the mission of Moses and Aaron, and the ten plagues, so that at length Pharaoh was glad to let them go (ver. 38). Then the triumphant exodus and the perpetual help in the wilderness, ending in the promised Canaan when the people were prepared for it (vers. 44, 45). So did God lead his people by a right way, and so will he ever, though, as with Israel, the way may often seem very strange, unlikely, and the reverse of what we should have thought.
II. ITS LESSONS.
1. God's covenants ever come true, however unlikely and even impossible they may at times seem to be.
2. That it is a terrible thing to stand in opposition to them (vers. 14, 27-37). Let us beware how we hinder the work of God.
3. God knows where to find and how to prepare his ministers in this work. "He sent Joseph; he sent Moses" (vers. 17, 26). They who are to be chief in service have generally first to be chief in suffering.
4. The aim of God's covenant is the creation of a holy people (ver. 45).
5. The remembrance of God's leading will ever be blessed. - S.C.
He brought them forth also with silver and gold.
I. OUR DELIVERANCE IS BY DIVINE POWER. When Israel came out of Egypt, it was Jehovah who brought with her armies. When any man is saved from spiritual bondage, it is the Lord Jesus who looseth the captive. But this does not exclude the use of means, or the action of the will. The Lord brought Israel forth; but they had cried unto the Lord by reason of their sore bondage, and they did not receive the blessing without desiring it, yea, and sighing for it; and when it came, they joyfully accepted it, and willingly trusted themselves with him whom the Lord had made to be their mediator and leader, even Moses. They did not share the honour of their deliverance with God, but still they gave their hearty assent and consent to His salvation. Willing as they were to move, it was still true, "He brought them forth." We can never escape from the bondage of sin by our own power. If we are ever set free from sin and Satan, it will be eternally and infinitely true that the Lord brought us forth out of the house of bondage. "Salvation is of the Lord." There is no true liberty but that wherewith Christ makes you free. "If the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." Do you know what it is to be brought out of prison by a miracle of grace, by a revelation of the Holy Ghost, by the blood of Jesus shed for many? If so, you will join with all the saints in singing, "As for His people, He brought them forth."
I. OUR DELIVERANCE WAS ATTENDED WITH ENRICHMENT: "He brought them forth also with silver and gold." The natives as good as said, "Take whatever you please of us, for we have all treated you ill. Only leave us alone; for plagues and deaths fall upon us thick and fast so long as Pharaoh detains you here." However, this is not my point. I am dealing with more spiritual things. When God brings His people out of bondage, they come out enriched in the best and most emphatic sense. Trials and afflictions, which threaten to kill us, are made to sanctify us; and sanctification is the best form of enrichment. How much we owe to sorrow and sickness, crosses and losses! Our bondage ends in our coming forth with much that is better than silver and gold.
1. Thus do we come forth from conviction of sin. "Now tell me," says one, "what does a man gain by being in a desponding, sorrowful condition, convinced of sin, and full of fears?" By the work of the Holy Spirit he will gain much. He will obtain a clearer knowledge of the evil of sin. An awful sense of guilt, an overwhelming conviction of sin, may be the foundation stone of a gloriously holy character. The tried and tempted man will also see clearly that salvation is all of grace. He can do nothing, and he knows it. When a child of God can spell grace, and can pronounce it clearly, as with the true Jerusalem accent, he has gained a great deal of spiritual silver and gold. Such persons gain by their soul trouble a fund of healthy experience. They have been in the prison, and have had their feet made fast in the stocks. "Well," says one, "I do not want to feel that sort of treatment." No, but suppose you had felt it, the next time you met with a brother who, was locked up in the castle of Giant Despair, you would know how to sympathize with him and help him. Where this is the result of severe trial, we may well say that the Lord has brought them forth with silver and gold.
2. Thus do saints come out of persecution. The Church is refined by the fires of martyrdom. Individual piety is also deeper, stronger, nobler in persecuting times than at other seasons.
3. Thus do believers come out of daily afflictions. They become wealthier in grace, and richer in experience. A man of God, whose life has been full of mental exercises and spiritual conflict, as well as outward tribulation, becomes, through Divine grace, a man of large wealth of knowledge, prudence, faith, foresight, and wisdom, and he is to the inexperienced like some great proprietor, by whom multitudes of the poorer class are fed and guided, housed and set to work. Those who have been much tried are in the peerage of the Church.
4. When you and I reach the shores of heaven, thus shall we come into glory. When we come forth out of our graves, it will not be with loss, but with enrichment. We shall leave corruption and the worm behind us, and with them all that earthly grossness which made us groan in these mortal bodies. God will bring us forth also with silver and gold. What golden songs will we sing! What silver notes of gratitude will we pour forth!
III. OUR DELIVERANCE IS ACCOMPANIED WITH HEALTH AND STRENGTH: "There was not one feeble person among their tribes."
1. This fact is typical of the health and strength of the newly saved. The Lord's people, at conversion, are as a rule wonderfully strong in their love to Jesus, and their hatred of sin. In most cases our young converts, when they have truly come to Christ, even if they are a little timid, are vigorous, much in prayer, abounding in zeal, and earnest in speaking out the Gospel. Many of them, I believe, would die at the stake readily enough, while they are in their first love. In their earliest days nothing is too hot or too heavy for them, for the sake of Christ.
2. Full often it is so with the persecuted. A man who has fulfilled an apprenticeship to this hard master, is likely to be a man indeed. If he has endured hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ, he will be fit to become an officer in the army, and an instructor of recruits.
3. It would be a glorious day if it were so with all God's people, that there were none feeble. We should, as a Church, labour to reach this high standard. We would have the weakest to be as David, and David as the angel of the Lord. We would have our babes become young men, and our young men fathers in Christ.
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
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