Blessed are all who fear the LORD, who walk in His ways!
I. THE FEAR OF THE LORD.
1. This is not a slavish fear, but that reverent and loving regard to the Lord's will, in all things, which will make a man shrink from transgression.
2. He has this blessed fear who himself has known the loving-kindness of the Lord, and whose love has been wakened up thereby. This fear of the Lord is the essential foundation of the truly happy home.
3. It must be in the head of the household, and should be in the wife and children too. Indeed, if husband and with are not of one mind in this respect, it is difficult to see how their home can be happy.
II. WHERE THIS IS, THE FATHER WILL HIMSELF BE BLESSED. Every verse in this psalm declares this, and constant experience endorses it.
1. The man shall be blessed in himself. "Happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee." The fear of God preserves him; the Spirit of God rules him; the love of God has redeemed him: he is happy in God.
2. He is blessed in his business. (Ver. 2.) He shall not live by begging, by knavery, by any unworthy means, but by God's blessing upon his honest toil. This is the happiest way of living, and it shall be to the man who feareth the Lord.
3. In his home. Dear wife and children shall make him glad; no solitary, loveless abode shall his be, but a home in all the blessed meaning of that word. And, thank God, there are myriads such - affectionate, well-ordered, healthful, pure, bright.
4. He shall be blessed through the Church's ministry and fellowship. (Ver. 5.) The blessing of the Lord in his Church was sought on the union of his wife and himself; their children, one by one, were brought and presented to the Lord in baptism, and the Lord's blessing sought upon and won for them; and in the holy services of the Church his household is trained to take part. And the influence of all this on the home happiness is great indeed.
5. He is blessed in the guarantees that such homes as his give for the peace and prosperity of his country. (Vers. 5, 6.) Such homes are a nation's bulwarks, and do more for the good of the nation and her peace and preservation than all the munitions of war. Where such homes are, the aged are cheered by seeing their children's children enjoy the blessings they have helped to secure, and by the prospect that when they are gone their descendants will enjoy like peace. Such are the blessings of him that feareth the Lord.
III. AND THE WIFE. (Ver. 2.) She shall be as the beautiful fragrant vine, and not alone in its fruitfulness. There will be that; she will be the joyful mother of many bright, happy, and healthful children, who cling to her as the clusters do to the vine; but also, like the vine, she will be for the comfort and adornment of the home, imparting gracious shade and shelter from the heat (cf. Micah 4:4). It is not said, but it is implied all through, that the same blessed fear of the Lord that dwells in her husband dwells also in her.
IV. AND THE CHILDREN. "Like olive plants." It is a common sight, in the lands where the olive grows, to see the parent tree surrounded, and, as it were, sustained, by the young olive shoots that have sprang from its roots. As they have sprung from the parent root, so they are like their parent, and they gather round, as the children do round the table at home. Yes, the children are as the parent. The godly man will be blessed in his children: their father's God will their God; they will be as their father, and will hand on the fear of the Lord which they first learnt from him. May our children be as these olive plants! - S.C.
As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man, so are the children of the youth.
Homiletic Review.1. An arrow is small, but powerful. One slew Ahab. Latent capacities of a child.
2. An arrow must be sharpened. A child must-be educated, its faculties developed. Note its natural sharpness.
3. An arrow travels far. Who can measure the influence of a child?
4. Its power depends upon the strength and judgment with which it is sent. A lesson to parents.
5. It is firmly imbedded, is the twig is bent, so it will grow.
6. Let us not send into the world poisoned arrows.
Blessed is every one that feareth the Lord.
Homilist.The subject is the blessed tendency of true piety, and the truly pious man is described as one that "feareth the Lord" and "walketh in His ways."
I. Its tendency is to make BUSINESS PROSPEROUS (ver. 2). This stands in splendid contrast to the terrible threat which Moses addressed to the Israelites of old, should they break God's law (Exodus 25:35; Deuteronomy 18:40).
II. Its tendency is to make THE FAMILY HAPPY (ver. 3). Ungodly families are stars wandering from their orbits, but a truly pious family, small though it be, is an orb rolling round the eternal Sun of Righteousness, and from it deriving its life, its light, and its harmony.
III. Its tendency is to make THE COUNTRY BLESSED (vers. 4, 5). "Righteousness exalteth a nation."
1. In material wealth. Truth, honesty, integrity, in a people; are the best guarantees of commercial advancement. Credit is the best capital in the business of a nation as well as in the business of an individual, and credit is built on righteous principles.
2. In social enjoyments. According as the principles of veracity, uprightness, and honour, reign in society, will be the freeness, the heartiness, and the enjoyment of social intercourse.
3. In moral power. The true majesty of a kingdom lies in its moral virtues.
IV. Its tendency is to make THE LIFE LONG (ver. 5). There should be a full stop after the word "Children," and the word "and" is not in the original. Genuine piety tends to long life.
1. Long life depends upon obedience be the laws of our constitution, physical, mental, and moral laws.
2. In order to obey the laws of our constitution, those laws must be understood.
3. In order to understand those laws, man must study them. They will not come to him by intuition, inspiration, or revelation. He must study them, study nature.
4. In order to study them effectively he must have supreme sympathy with their Author.
I. Not by Socialistic revolution and Communistic confiscation and redistribution. These methods are contrary alike to nature, reason, revelation and experience.
II. Organization, bureau registration, co-operation, arbitration, legislation, etc., are largely empiric and artificial expedients, productive at best of only partial and superficial amendment.
III. The Christian religion will secure whatever is good in the above, and, besides, will produce the only radical and permanent cure.
1. It teaches and realizes a Brotherhood of Humanity, embracing rich and poor, in which, it one member suffer, all suffer.
2. Its golden law strikes at the selfishness of the rich in refusing to consider the poor, secures the immediate relief of Christian philanthropy, and the permanent improvement of "things just and equal" (Colossians 4:1). "A fair day's work, etc., fair day's wage."
3. It gives best promise of regulating the labour-market by checking over-crowding in the easier callings, substituting conscientious choice and providential guidance for the unreasoning selfishness which makes time and means for pleasure the great consideration — e.g. City factory and sewing-room always crowded, farm and domestic service rarely if ever fully supplied.
4. It imparts dignity and self-respect through union and fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ, a brother mechanic, and the only perfect model of what the working-man may be and ought to be. Thus alone can he realize his ideal aristocracy of "industrial and moral worth," instead of wealth and birth.
5. It secures him the best of all help, Self-help, and puts him in the way of working out his own salvation. The fruition of such culture will be, from his own stock, trusty and efficient representatives who "shall stand before kings."
6. It will make his home the scene of highest comfort, purest and most stable domestic happiness and family welfare.
(W. M. Roger.)
I. Piety in PRINCIPLE. The love to God that constitutes piety is characterized by two things: —
1. Predominancy. Most men have a kind of love for the Supreme, that flows through them with other natural emotions, but attains no ascendancy over other sentiments, no control over the other faculties. The love to God that constitutes piety must be the controlling disposition.
2. Permanency. Perhaps, in most minds, the sentiment of love to God, of gratitude, adoration, and even of reverence, arises at times: especially when moving amidst the grand and beautiful in nature, or experiencing the enjoyment of some special blessings. But this sentiment, to become piety, must be crystallized, and settled as a rock. It is the embryo of all excellence in all worlds. It is a seed out of which grows all that is beautiful and fruitful in the Eden of God.
II. Piety in DEVELOPMENT. How is this principle rightly developed? Not in mere songs and hymns, and prayers, and ceremonies, but in conduct. "That walketh in His ways." "His ways," the ways of truth, honesty, purity, and holy love. True piety is not a dormant element sleeping in the soul, like grain buried under the mountains, it struggles into form, and takes action, it walks, and its walk is onward and upward.
III. Piety in BLESSEDNESS.
(David Thomas, D. D.)I. RELIGION IS PLEASANT. No man ever performed an action which was wise and good, such as supplying the wants of the industrious poor, relieving the distress of the orphan, or vindicating the character of the worthy from unmerited detraction, without meeting the reward of beneficence in that very hour. He will feel a secret satisfaction, which can never be equalled by the pleasures of sense. He may not be able, it is true, to execute all his laudable designs; but the very consciousness of good intention is more delightful than the triumphs of successful iniquity. "This is the way of religion — walk thou in it."
II. RELIGION IS PROFITABLE. The very duties which religion inculcates, it cannot have escaped your observation, have a natural tendency to procure the comforts and conveniences of life. Health, honour, riches, and that good name which is better than riches, are, in many cases, part of the recompense of religion. Religion embraces both the temporal welfare of individuals, and the prosperity of states and of empires. "Blessed is every one that feareth the Lord, that walketh in His ways." Blessed are the young; blessed are the aged; blessed are the prosperous; and blessed the afflicted.
(T. Laurie, D. D.)
"Jesus, the very thought of Thee,
With sweetness fills my breast." Samuel Rutherford was steeped in all the rigours of a Calvinism which touches the very springs of awe in the human breast, and yet from him came the love letters of Christianity — letters too sacred for any except our most solitary moods. The moment we cease to tremble before God we cease to know joy.
(W. C. Piggott.)
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