Psalm 144:5
Part Your heavens, O LORD, and come down; touch the mountains, that they may smoke.
God's Intervention is His CondescensionR. Tuck Psalm 144:5
The Kindling of the HeartS. Baring Gould, M. A.Psalm 144:5
God as Our GeneralPsalm 144:1-9
The Lord Teaching Us to FightF. D. Maurice, M. A.Psalm 144:1-9
What the Goodness of God Does for Me and in MeS. Conway Psalm 144:1-15
Bow thy heavens, and come down. This prayer follows on the acknowledgment of man's frailty and transitoriness. His sphere is altogether below God, who must stoop down to help him. God's intervention involving his condescension may be illustrated in several spheres. To create material things; to remedy the disturbance of things; to provide for the wants of things; to recover self-ruined things; - all involve the Divine condescension.

I. TO CREATE MATERIAL THINGS. We want the mind of a Hindu philosopher in order to conceive of God as an absolute, uncaused, unrelated, independent existence; eternally and infinitely happy in himself, without what we call "personality," because without relations. Just in the measure in which we can conceive such a being, we can realize his condescension in coming out of the abstract into the concrete, and making, and putting himself into relation with, a world of things.

II. TO REMEDY THE DISTURBANCE OF THINGS. Once let things be in any sense separate from himself; once let there be forces (which we call laws) in nature, and free-will in man, and God's order will be sure to get disturbed. But he may be sublimely indifferent to the disorder in his creation. It is his condescension that he is the constant Rectifier of the difficulties and disasters which come in his creation.

III. TO PROVIDE FOR THE WANTS OF THINGS. What impresses us so greatly is the minuteness of attention which creation daily needs. We bow ourselves to do a thousand insignificant but necessary things in our households. How God must bow himself to guard the life of every grass-blade, and to feed every gnat that hums in the summer evening!

IV. TO RECOVER RUINED THINGS. This brings to view the havoc which man's sin has made in individual lives and in God's fair world of things. For there is a ruin of the world which answers to the self-ruin of man. Why should not God let things go, and leave men to ruin themselves, and the world in which they dwell, if they please to do so? He is not bound to intervene. If he does, it can only be in condescending love. - R.T.

Touch the mountains, and they shall smoke.
: — It must be striking indeed to any one living in the neighbourhood of a chain of volcanoes to see those mountains which have long lain dormant suddenly tremble and throw up smoke. It must seem to them as though God laid His finger on the mountain peak, and called its hidden forces into activity, as the touch of a musician on the key of an instrument awakes a musical note. Some such scenes, transacted in the moral world, are quite as striking as those which occur in the material world. There are human natures which are cold and impassive, which become full of emotion and glow with heat at the touch of God. It was so at Pentecost. Before that day how faint-hearted, narrow-minded, short-visioned were the apostles. But how changed were they after the cloven tongues had rested on their heads. Fear was banished, their caution had disappeared, trampled down by their zeal, their understandings were illumined, their hearts burned with the fire of love, it was woe to them if they preached not the Gospel. "If He do but touch the mountains, they shall smoke." And now, what are we to learn from this? That there are times when God touches the heart, and the emotions are stirred. Perhaps the conscience is agitated by remorse for sin, perhaps with a sudden pang of sorrow for wasted opportunities, perhaps it quakes with fear of the judgments of God, perhaps there comes the flame of Divine love touching the heart, as a taper touches the wick of a candle, bidding it flame. And what then? If the feeling be allowed to be transient, if it be not followed up by an act of will, accepting the call, responding to grace, if it be followed by no resolutions, no struggle for amendment, — then it is the old story of Felix, and Agrippa, and Simon the Sorcerer over again. But, oh! if the touch of the finger of God calls up the long dormant will, if resolutions of amendment are formed, and a struggle be entered on which is to continue through life, then it is the old and beautiful story over again of Magdalen penitent and loving much, of Peter weeping and rising courageous to die for his Lord, of Saul the persecutor becoming Paul the preacher of righteousness, of John Boanerges transformed into the apostle of love. If ever your heart is stirred, at once turn the emotion to account, transform the feeling into practice. Then the feeling does not pass away for ever, it has left its trace, it has stirred your whole being, and has begun to transform your life. The whole mount of your heart will quake with the consciousness of sin, and your affections will smoke altogether as an offering of a sweet savour to God.

(S. Baring Gould, M. A.)

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