Psalm 19:14

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my Strength and my Redeemer. Let us look at this language -

I. AS OFFERING A SACRIFICE. The thoughts and feelings of the soul uttered and unuttered.

1. The sacrifice is spiritual. Words and meditations. Man's heart is the most precious thing God has created - the jewel of the universe. The thoughts that come out of the heart and the words that utter them - these are the precious treasures the psalmist offers before God.

2. The sacrifice is complete. The words of the mouth and the meditation of the heart indicate the whole man. This is the Christian view of man's priestly work - the presenting of body and soul as living sacrifices. Not a partial offering of one part of our lives, nor of the outward apart from the inward life, but the total consecration of our whole being.

3. This offering is not acceptable to God on its own account. It is acceptable to God on account of the great expiatory sacrifice, and because that has brought us into a new and peculiar relation with God. Intrinsically, the offering is not acceptable. For all man's words taken together, what are they? Our words when they utter our most religious thoughts, our truest deepest faith, our most rapturous love, our triumphant hope and praise, are unworthy of being thus offered. But when you add the words of every day and every employment, these are vain, proud, irreligious, sometimes blasphemous. And then our thoughts! But God in Christ is pleased with our offering. A child's letter is pleasing to its father because it is his child's.

II. AS CONTAINING A PRAYER. Then what do they imply?

1. That God alone can deliver him from the sins he prays against. From secret and presumptuous sin. A faith is implied that God would so deliver him. They may have a wider meaning.

2. That God is the Inspirer of right words and right thoughts. "Make my words and thoughts such as shall be acceptable in thy sight."

III. THE WARRANT FOR OFFERING BOTH SACRIFICE AND PRAYER. The psalmist felt that God was his Rock and his Salvation. Stability and deliverance are the principal thoughts here. - S.

The words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart.
The prayer speaks for itself, as the prayer of a truly righteous man. One might almost call that man a perfect man whose whole life was lived in perfect accord with it. For the majority of us, it is far easier to control one's actions than one's words. What mischief is done by the exaggerated denunciations of violent language, and by the false position of guilt in which strong epithets and expletives are usually placed. All expressions of bad feeling are wrong, not because they are expressions, but because they spring from the bad feeling, and that is the thing of which we ought to be ashamed and afraid. The use of expletives has been put on a false footing altogether, and the way in which they have been condemned has done more to increase it than to stop it. Yet how very far better it would be for us never to use rash or violent or misplaced words. All habits of this kind are bad. What a safeguard the prayer of the text is against all corrupting influences of the tongue, and against lying. By the words of our mouth, how vast is the influence we may exercise for good or evil! Of all the common forms of sinning with the tongue, the most common, and perhaps the worst, is the sin of lying. There is an amazing amount of careless falsehood spoken. What gives religion its preeminence as a moral power, is its recognition of a holy God who looketh on the heart, and m whose sight the pious soul longs to be wholly and alway acceptable. The earnest desire to be right in the sight of God would give an immense impulse to the instinctive love of truth which belongs to our nature. The most vital part of religion is, intense desire to be made righteous, and entire trust in the strength and grace of God.

(Charles Voysey.)

Meditations into which a man puts his heart will surely prove the spring of action. The depths of this prayer are reached in the petition concerning the meditations of the heart. Meditation is only unuttered speech. We think in words. Yet the words we utter have a separate existence, and most powerfully affect the thoughts of our mind. Language has a reflex influence upon our thoughts. Thought is revealed in speech, but speech reacts upon thought. The Bible is fully alive to the importance of right words. Consider some of the essentials of acceptable words,

1. They must be truthful words. Our words must be in harmony with our thought. Our speech should be photographic of our thought. There are thoughts which seem to reach beyond the capacity of language. Speech is the clothing of thought, and, like clothing, should fit. Right thoughts would exclude —

(1)All exaggerated words. This is a special failing of our own day.

(2)All unreal words.

(3)All flattering words.

2. They must he charitable words. There are men who have an instinct for searching out evil, just as hounds have for scenting out their prey. Evil ought so to sorrow our hearts as to make it impossible for us to blazon it abroad. Truth and goodness ought to be so attractive to us as to lead us to dwell thereon with delight and joy. Oh, that we had greater tenderness for sinful, wandering souls!

3. They must be godly words. Earthly. speech may be seasoned with godly thoughts. Earthly things may be seen m a heavenly light. The spirit of a Christian may be seen in common ways, in ordinary work, in earthly speech.

(W. Garrett Horder.)

It is a strong evidence of the love of God towards sinful man, that any thing such a frail and erring being can do or say can be acceptable to Him. There are few sins which can be less excused, or which are committed with less temptation, than the habit of uttering improper or indecent language. It is our duty to resist such temptations, and this duty is to be performed by making the meditations of our hearts acceptable to God. To this end we must begin with striving to acquire, and with earnestly praying for, purity of mind. Our minds become tainted before we are aware of the importance and the value of cleanliness of thought. The voluntary meditation of our hearts now form an image, an anticipated representation of the state in which "we shall be." Whatever gives us most delight and heartfelt pleasure in this world is that which will give us strength in the next.

(John Nance, D. D.)

I. THE UTTERANCE OF THE TEXT AS AN ACT OF SACRIFICE. A dedication to God such as any devout man may make both of words and thoughts.

1. There is nothing so much in our power as are our words. We cannot change our heart, but we can our speech. Perhaps some man exclaims that his temper has overmastered him; that he is possessed by the devil; that he cannot govern his own thoughts; that volleys of wicked words issue from his lips, and that his words cannot be acceptable to God. I reply, as far as "words" are concerned, you have simply and solely yourself to blame, However hot your passion, you are not forced to speak; for God has given you power to hold your tongue. It is pure absurdity to put down those curses or those noisy slanderous words of yours to your own depravity, or to Adam, or to the devil. You have only your present self to blame, and neither Adam nor the devil will bear a particle of the responsibility. There are certain devilish words that even you would not utter ill the hearing of a child; there are others that you would repress if a holy man were standing by your side; there are many which your instinctive reverence for the sanctuary would have the power to hush. These simple facts may do much to convince you that dominion over the tongue is given you, and that it is within your power to present to God even words that may be acceptable to Him. The Scriptures contain many words which it were acceptable for the most vile to speak unto God.

2. The meditations of our hearts. These may seem to be less fitting for sacrifice; but they, too, can largely be brought into the control of our will; and then we may offer them to God on the altar of spiritual sacrifice.

II. HOW COMPREHENSIVE THE PRAYER. "All the words of my mouth." These include —

1. All my soliloquies, my unuttered thinkings.

2. All my conversation, all my speakings whatsoever.

3. All I say unto God, in praise and prayer, in cries and ejaculations of gratitude and entreaty.

4. The meditations of the heart include even a larger share of human existence than the words of the mouth. These meditations reveal the habitual objects of reverence or distrust; the whole empire of fear, hope, and suspicion; of faith, prayerfulness, and love. Now, if this text is a prayer that all these things may be acceptable in the sight of God, it sweeps up into itself a large portion of our whole being. The prayer itself is a holy prayer, for "this is the will of God, even our sanctification."

(Henry Reynolds, D. D.)

The meditation of my heart.
There are four kinds of prayer, distinguished by the purposes for which the soul approaches God: namely, to praise Him, to thank Him, to propitiate Him, or to invoke His help. But we note now another division of prayer. That which we have referred to depends upon the motive of the soul, this upon the maimer of the act of prayer itself. The Psalmist, having prayed that he might be cleansed from sin, and "innocent from the great transgression," proceeds further to desire that he may become pleasing to God — "Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in Thy sight." In these words he provides us with the main division of prayer, based on the organ or faculty which is employed in it: by "the words of my mouth," vocal prayer is suggested; by "the meditation of my heart," mental prayer is described. Mental prayer is transacted entirely within the soul; vocal prayer employs the ministry of the tongue, or in some other way finds expression. The order of the Psalmist is that of acquirement and attainment. We learn in childhood first to say prayers, afterwards to think them: we govern our words first, and then bring under subjection our thoughts. All prayer is either mental or vocal. Mental prayer includes meditation and contemplation. Vocal is such as is used in the services of the Church.


1. Its authority, which is derived from the Scriptures. We have instances of it in the Old Testament, Enoch, Noah, Isaac, of whom it is first expressly spoken (Genesis 24:63). In the New Testament it is twice told of Mary how she "pondered in her heart" the things that were told her. Christ Himself gives examples of this kind of prayer (John 18:2; Matthew 14:23; Luke 6:12). Mary of Bethany. The apostles also (Acts 1:14; 1 Timothy 4:15; Galatians 1:17, 18). And so in the writings of the saints we have constant reference to the practice of meditation. St. bids us "exercise ourselves in meditation before conflict, that we may be prepared for it," and in a striking passage describes the nutritive effects of meditation; he says, "we ought for a long while to bruise and refine the utterances of the heavenly Scriptures, exerting our whole mind and heart upon them, that the sap of that spiritual food may diffuse itself into all the veins of our soul," etc. St. enumerates the steps which lead up to "prayer," — "meditation begets knowledge, knowledge compunction, compunction devotion, and devotion perfects prayer." St. Basil enjoins mental prayer as a means of exercising the faculties of the soul. St. Gregory mentions the morning as a fitting time for meditation; he says, "as the morning is the first part of the day, each of the faithful ought at that moment to lay aside all thoughts of this present life, in order to reflect upon the means of rekindling the fire of charity." St. Bernard represents meditation and prayer as the two feet of the soul, by which it ascends. St. Ignatius, in his Spiritual Exercise, systematised it. St. Theresa declares it "essential to the Christian life."

2. Its dignity. It involves a continuing in communion with God in tender and affectionate intercourse, growing into a holy familiarity and friendship. St. in his confessions records the joy which he experienced when his soul found its resting place in God — "Sometimes thou bringest me to certain feelings of tenderness, and to an extraordinary sweetness, which, should it still increase, I know not what would happen." Such communion is surely a preparation for heaven and a foretaste of beatitude. It is said of St. Francis de Sales, that one day when he was in retreat, and holding continuous and close communion with God, he became so overwhelmed with joy that at last he exclaimed, "Withdraw Thyself, O Lord, for I am unable any longer to bear Thy great sweetness."

3. Its importance. This is because of its rich productiveness in the fruits of prayer; we have found that, whether it be regarded as a good work which stores up favour with God, or as an act of compensation for past neglect, or as a means of adding force to our petitions, or as to its subjective effect on our life — it outstrips other kinds of prayer in the number and quality of its effects.

4. Its nature and exercise. There are preliminary acts, such as —


(2)Preparatory prayer that we may have the aid of the Holy Ghost.

(3)The endeavour to picture to yourself the event upon which you are to meditate.Then there will be called into exercise: memory, that you may have the subject of meditation before the mind; understanding, that you may reflect upon it and investigate its meaning; the will, for we have to stir ourselves up to this exercise. The will acts On the body, by causing the muscles to contract; on the mind, by determining what trains of thought it shall pursue; on the spirit, by holy resolve: this its most wonderful power. Such resolve must be definite, and its execution not delayed. And the meditation will end with appropriate devotions and inquiries. But mental prayer includes also —

II. CONTEMPLATION. It is a gift which is very rarely possessed. It is said that, besides a peculiar elevation of soul towards God and Divine things, on the natural side contemplation requires certain qualities of mind and character, and is seldom attained except after a process of spiritual trial and purification; so that, in passing from the consideration of meditation to that of contemplation, we feel that we are going off the thoroughfare into the byways of religion. Some of its special features.(1) There is no labour in it, as in meditation, but the soul beholds truth intuitively, and remains gazing upon God. The amazement of delight fills the soul as it beholds the things of God. So that it is(2) a foretaste of eternal bliss, like to that which St. Peter enjoyed on the Mount of Transfiguration.(3) Another feature is repose. It is restful calm, and closes the senses to the external world. It is ever associated with the idea of rest. Mary sat at Jesus feet and heard His word.(4) The union of the soul with God is another mark, and is the first object of contemplative prayer.


1. Its causes are —(1) The condition of conscience, — some sin, perhaps hidden, may have come between the soul and God; or(2) bodily health; or(3) the providence of God. He sends it as a spiritual trial, and this form of it is the most severe. (Job 29:2-4; Psalm 22:1:l, 42:5, 143:7.) If we find no sin in the conscience, after diligent search, it is best to leave the matter in the hand of God. Only, never let dryness of spirit cause us to give up mental prayer. Let us not think that because we have not happy feeling therefore our prayer cannot be acceptable to God. God may delight in that which gives us no delight. As when the moon is in crescent, there are a few bright points still visible upon its unillumined part; and those bright points art supposed to be peaks of mountains so lofty as to be able to catch the sunlight; so in the darkness of the soul, the withdrawal of grace is not total, but there are still, as it were, certain eminences, which the Sun of Righteousness now and then touches with His glory. But whatever the dryness or the darkness be, if we persevere, the light will return at last.

(W. H. Hutchings, M. A.)

All wish to please —

1. Some to please themselves. Whoever is offended, they must be indulged.

2. Some to please men. And this is not in all cases improper. "Let every one of us please his neighbour," but it must be "for his good to edification."

3. Some endeavour to please God. Such were Paul and his companions. "We be accepted of Him." And such was David. He would dedicate all his powers to God. A natural man cares for his conduct as men see it. But he makes no conscience of his speech, or of his thoughts.

I. David's prayer shows HIS HUMILITY, he asks. only that his works may be acceptable.

II. HIS AFFECTION. He desires only to please Him.

III. CONSCIOUSNESS OF DUTY. He knew that he was bound to seek God's favour.

IV. REGARD TO SELF-INTEREST. It could not but be well for him if he pleased God. Innumerable are the benefits of pleasing God.

(William Jay.)

In these words we are taught —


1. God is His people's strength. Of their bodies and of their souls.

2. Their Redeemer. He is so from the curse of the law; from sin; from the power of death and the grave. And at what cost of suffering was all this effected!

3. And we have individual interest in God. "My" strength: "My Redeemer.


1. It is an habitual desire, but felt more strongly at certain seasons, as in meditation.

2. What David was persuaded of, that to the Lord everything was perfectly known.

3. About what he was concerned, that his words and thoughts might "be acceptable in Thy sight." God delights in such meditation of His people.


The Lord hear thee in the day of trouble.
This, it is believed, is the battle prayer or litany which was solemnly chanted in the sanctuary on the eve of the great expedition to crush the formidable rebellion of the Ammonites and their Syrian allies (2 Samuel 10), and which was also used in after times upon similar undertakings.

1. To enter into its spirit we must transport ourselves in imagination to the old temple at Jerusalem while the special service invoking the blessing of Jehovah upon the intended enterprise is in progress. The courts are thronged with enthusiastic patriots, each eager to strengthen with his own voice the chorus of supplication for Israel's success. The king in his robes of royalty is standing by the altar in the sanctuary. He has just presented his gifts and offered his sacrifice; and now the choir and the whole congregation break out into this mighty hymn on his behalf, assuring him that in this day of trouble, occasioned by the revolt of his subjects or the invasion of strangers, the Lord will hear him, will defend him, will send him help from the sanctuary, and uphold him out of Zion. These his offerings shall be remembered, this his sacrifice shall be accepted; the desire, too, of his heart — the overthrow of the enemy — shall be granted.

2. They cease. The vast multitude stands hushed, while one voice alone is heard; it is that of the king, or of some Levite deputed to speak as his representative. In a strain of fullest confidence he declares the petitions on his behalf have been heard.

3. As the king ceases the choir and people again break out into chorus.

(Henry Housman.)

Have we heard of that day? Is it a day in some exhausted calendar? Is this an ancient phrase that needs to be interpreted to us by men cunning in the use of language and in the history of terms? It might have been spoken in our own tongue: we might ourselves have spoken it. So criticism has no place here; only sympathy has a fight to utter these words; they would perish under a process of etymological vivisection; they bring with them healing, comfort, release, and contentment when spoken by the voice of sympathy. Is the day of trouble a whole day — twelve hours long? Is it a day that cannot be distinguished from night? and does it run through the whole circle of the twenty-four hours? Is it a day of that kind at all? In some instances is it not a life day, beginning with the first cry of infancy, concluding with the last sigh of old age? Is it a day all darkness, without any rent in the cloud, without any hint of light beyond the infinite burden of gloom? Whatever it is, it is provided for; it is recognised as a solemn fact in human life, and it is provided for by the grace and love of the eternal God. He knows every hour of the day — precisely how the day is made up; He knows the pulse beat of every moment; He is a God nigh at hand; so that we have no sorrow to tell Him by way of information, but only sorrow to relate that with it we may sing some hymn to His grace. The whole world is made kin by this opening expression. There is no human face, rightly read, that has not in it lines of sorrow — peculiar, mystic writing of long endurance, keen disappointment, hope deferred, mortification of soul unuttered in speech, but graved as with an iron tool upon the soul and the countenance.

(Joseph Parker, D. D.)

Commentators have positively perverted this whole Psalm. They have put it all down to David; but it is a beautiful dialogue between Christ and His Church, — He addressing her as her Advocate and Intercessor amid all her troubles.

I. CHRIST'S RECOGNITION OF HIS PEOPLE IN THE DAY OF TROUBLE. All have to bear trouble, but the believer has a God to go to. His troubles arise from his inflexible enemies, the world and its children, the devil, the flesh. And from his spiritual conflicts when first brought to conversion. The thunders of Sinai, the Slough of Despond — these are some of his troubles at such time. And when he is pardoned and hugs his pardon in his bosom, there are some troubles yet, through miserable backslidings.

II. THE EXCITEMENT WHICH OUR INTERCESSOR GIVES US TO PRAYER. "The Lord hear thee"; this intimates that we are already excited to earnest prayer. For our encouragement let us remember Christ's constant intercession on our behalf in heaven.

III. THE APPEAL WHICH THE INTERCESSOR MAKES TO OUR COVENANT HEAD. "The name of the God of Jacob defend thee." Who is the God of Jacob? The God that gave him the blessing of the birthright, though he was the junior; the God that delivered him from the murderous hand of his brother in the day of his trouble; the God that enriched him with Laban's spoil, and gave him the desire of his heart; the God that protected him, and manifested Himself to him — his covenant God. How I have been delighted with the thought that Jehovah should recognise the unregenerate name! — for Jacob was the name of the patriarch in his unregeneracy.

IV. THE DEMAND FOR OUR DEFENCE. "The name of the God of," etc. But you say, how will the name of the God of Jacob defend me? Try it: I have over and over again; therefore I speak what I do know, and testify what I have seen. "The name of the God of Jacob defend thee." Get encircled with covenant engagements and covenant grace, and covenant promises, and covenant securities; then will "the Lord hear you in the time of trouble, and the name of the God of Jacob will defend you."

(Joseph Irons.)


II. ITS CONSTRUCTION. It begins with an address to the monarch under the peculiar circumstances of the exigency. Then, with the words, "We will rejoice in Thy salvation," the speakers turn from prayer to the avowal of their confidence and of the spirit in which they would go to the war. Then the high priest might add the next clause, "The Lord fulfil all thy petitions." And now there appears to be a pause, and the sacrifices are offered, and the priest, catching sight of the auspicious omen, exclaims, "Now know I" (from what I observe of the indications of the Divine acceptance of the sacrifices — now know I) "that the Lord sayeth His anointed," etc. Then comes a response from the people, encouraged by what they have heard. "Some trust in chariots, and some in horses" — the very preparations that had been made against them, "but we will," etc. The whole closes by the acclamations of the people. "The Lord save the king! God will hear us. Save, Lord; let the king hear us when we call: we will pray for the king, we will call upon the Lord, we who remain at home when the army advances to the field. This reminds us of and illustrates a passage from R. Hall, entitled "Sentiments Proper to the Present Crisis," a warlike, though at first sight it appears not a very Christian, address, written about forty-four years ago, at the time of the threatened invasion. Addressing a company of volunteers, he introduces a sentiment very similar to that which concludes this Psalm. "Go, then, ye defenders of your country, accompanied with every auspicious omen; advance with alacrity into the field, where God Himself musters the hosts to war. Religion is too much interested in your success not to lend you her aid; she will shed over this enterprise her selected influence. While you are engaged in the field, many will repair to the closet, many to the sanctuary; the faithful of every name will employ that prayer which has power with God; the feeble hands which are unequal to any other weapon will grasp the sword of the spirit; and from myriads of humble, contrite hearts the voice of intercession, supplication, and weeping will mingle with the shouts of battle and the shock of arms."


1. Although all this is very imposing and grand, yet it is not the ideal of humanity. We do not wish such scenes to be permanent or universal. It was all very well for the time, but it is not well now. This is not the way in which God should be worshipped, nor the feelings which we should carry away from His altar. The New Testament tells us again and again that its aim is something altogether different from this "mustering of the hosts to war" — this "Go, ye defenders of your country" — this murdering and slaughtering. War may be brilliant, but it is not a good thing for the world, for humanity.

2. In proportion as the spirit of the Old Testament has been imbibed by nations, they have been retarded in the development of national character, and in the realisation of the Christian ideal. Ceremonies, hierarchies, ritual, a national priesthood, a vicarious religion, an ecclesiastical eastern special class of men being set apart to spend their nights and days in praying for the people — all these come from Judaisers. And so again with the national war spirit, the military art regarded as a profession, the consecration of colours, and the rest, — these are Jewish, not Christian. We laugh at the Covenanter and the Roundhead, but where they were wrong was in imbibing the Old Testament spirit.

3. War is not always without justification, but we ought to shrink from it as an abhorred thing.

4. Let the Psalm remind you of King Jesus, and of His victory and our own through Him.

(Thomas Binney.)

A sentinel posted on the walls, when he sees a party of the enemy advancing, does not attempt to make head against them himself, but at once informs his commanding officer of the enemy's approach, and awaits his word as to how the foe is to be met. So the Christian does not attempt to resist temptation in his own strength, but in prayer calls upon his Captain for aid, and in His might and His Word goes forth to meet it.

The name of the God of Jacob defend thee.
I. THE NAME OF JEHOVAH A CONSOLATION IN TROUBLE. No character is exempt from the ills of life. The highest dignity cannot guard off trouble; and crowns especially are often lined with thorns. Few plants, says an old writer, have both the morning and the evening sun; and an older than he has said, Man is born to trouble. But in the deepest, darkest, wildest distress, Jehovah is the refuge of His people; and His name soothes the keenest anguish and lifts up the most despairing.

II. THE NAME OF JEHOVAH AN INSPIRING BATTLE CRY. "In the name of our God will we set up our banners" (ver. 5). Banners are a part of our military equipage, borne in times of war to assemble, direct, distinguish, and inspirit the soldiers. They have been often used in religious ceremonies. It is the practice of some people to erect a banner in honour of their deity. In a certain part of Thibet it is customary for a priest to ascend a hill every month to set up a white flag and perform some religions ceremonies to conciliate the favour of a dewta, or invisible being, who is the presiding genius of the place. The Hindus describe Siva the Supreme as having a banner in the celestial world. The militant Church goes to war with the name of the Lord of Hosts on her banner.

III. THE NAME OF JEHOVAH IS THE STRENGTH OF THE MILITANT CHURCH. "We will remember the name of the Lord our God" (ver. 7). The world trusts in the material — in rifles, mitrailleuse, turret ships, and torpedoes; but the Church is taught to trust in the spiritual — the mysterious, invisible, but almighty power of Jehovah. The material fails, the spiritual never. When the saint relies fully on Jehovah, and is absorbed in His holy cause, he is surrounded with an impenetrable defence.

(W. L. Watkinson.)

I. ITS HISTORY. The character of Jacob is one of the standing difficulties of the Old Testament, because of the interest and love God cherished for him. David offers to us much the same difficulty: "the man after God's own heart," and yet so base and vile in his great sin. But it is the Bible which tells us what these men were. Its frankness is conspicuous. But David, after all, does not puzzle us as Jacob does. There is a vein of pure nobility and of splendid genius through David's character and life, which helps us to understand the relation of God to him. But Jacob's character fails to kindle a corresponding enthusiasm. He does not stand out before us a man of genius, as a hearty lover, a faithful friend, or even as a noble and gallant foe. A vein of trickery and treachery runs through his nature, so unlike David's frank and self-forgetful generosity. Stratagems are his delight; the easy refuge of his weakness. And when we find through life the same tendency to underhand tricks prevailing, we begin to wonder what God could see in the man to make him a prince in the heavenly order, and why throughout the Scripture the name God of Jacob, God of Israel is the name in which He especially delights. It seems to them the purest exercise of the Divine sovereignty on record. But it is sovereignty of the same order as that which moves Him to elect to be the Redeemer of the world. The spring of that redeeming love lies within His own nature. It arose out of the depths of the Divine nature, and must be based, we may be sure, on essential reason. God chose Jacob, and chooses to be called the God of Jacob, just because he was a man so full of human infirmity and littleness, mingled with those higher and nobler qualities without which the spiritual culture of mankind becomes impossible. Had God chosen only to be called the God of Abraham or Moses, and to take supreme interest in such lofty lives alone, alas! for you and for me and for mankind. Jacob is more within our sphere. What God was to him, we can believe that He may be, He will be, to us; thus the name "God of Jacob" has a sound hill of comfort, full of assurance to our ears. That it might be so, we may be sure. He chose it. Now, see this when developed in history. God, as the God of Jacob, did make Himself a glorious name in the earth (Deuteronomy 2:25; Joshua 2:4-11). Their internal organisation under the constitution which God had ordained marked them out as a favoured people. There was nothing like them in the wide world, until the German races appeared and brought the same love of freedom, the same domestic affections, the same noble womanhood, the same essential manliness, to build on the foundation of Christian society. Again, Israel was the only nation of freemen, in the largest sense, in the Old World. The people were knit into a brotherhood of liberty, with special safeguards in their constitution as a nation against the lapse of any Jewish freeman into serfdom, or even into penury (Deuteronomy 15; Leviticus 25:23-31). They were facile princeps among nations, witnessing to the heathen around them of the blessedness of obedience to God. And what men they produced l The Greeks are their only rivals. But while Greece produced the heroes of the schools, the Jews produced the heroes of the common human world. Every man and every people is conscious of a relation to them, such as he sustains to no other race which has played its part in history. The lives of the great Hebrews belong to us as no Greek belongs to us. They are literally part of our history. How few know Greek; who knows not the histories of the Bible? They are our fathers whose lives we read there, our history, our hymns. Man's history is the elucidation of this title; the God of Jacob has written for Himself a glorious name in the records of the world.


1. The God of Jacob tells us, by the very name, that He is a God who is not deterred by a great transgression, or by great proneness to transgression, from constituting Himself the guide of our pilgrim life. If ever your heart dies down within you under the consciousness of an inbred sinfulness, which you think must alienate you from God's love and care, let the name of the God of Jacob reassure you. "Long suffering" is the quality which the name of "the God of Jacob" seems specially to suggest to us. Jacob was a man of many and grave infirmities. And the God who came to Adam with a promise which implied a pardon came also to Jacob, and comes to us all. God undertook the guidance of that man's pilgrimage, because he was a sinful man, a man full of infirmities and treacheries, but with a nobler nature beneath and behind which He made it His work to educate by suffering, until Jacob the supplanter became Israel the prince. Jacob was as full of folly, falsity, and selfish ambition as most of us; but he had an instinct and a yearning for deliverance. God's promise rang full sweetly on his ear. The worm Jacob, trained to be a prince, is full of precious suggestions to us all.

2. The God of Jacob must be a God who can bear to inflict very stern chastisement on His children, and to train His pilgrims in a very hard, sharp school of discipline, without forfeiting the name of their merciful and loving God. "Few and evil have the days of the years of my life been," said the aged patriarch, reviewing his life course before Pharaoh. Why? Because through life he had been under the hard, stern discipline of the hand of God. And so, as his life was spent in learning, it was spent in suffering. God did not shrink from wielding the scourge to the very close. Then, he witnessed a sad confession before Pharaoh, such as Abraham and Isaac would have had no occasion for; for they lived better and happier lives than Jacob. But it is this very discipline which makes Jacob's life so instructive. It teaches us —(1) The thoroughness of the Divine method, that we have to do with One who will sanctify us wholly; will search out the very real fibres of evil within us, and scathe them, whatever may be the cost.(2) Let the name of the God of Jacob assure you that there is no extremity in which you have a right to cry, "The Lord hath forsaken me, my God hath forgotten me." Jacob's life is surely the witness that the veriest exile cannot wander beyond the shelter of the Father's home; the most utter outcast cannot stray beyond the shield of the Father's love. There is no condition of darkness, of straits, of anguish, inconsistent with your standing as a son and God's tenderness as a Father. For —(3) The God of Jacob is the God who will bring the pilgrims home. "He is not ashamed to be called their God, for He hath prepared for them a city." Led by the God of Jacob, your bones can never whiten the sands of the desert; your choking cry can ever be heard from the waves of Jordan. Mark the splendid and joyous picture of the end of all our pilgrim wanderings, toils, and pains, which is painted there. The Angel which redeemed him from all evil is redeeming us through pain as sharp, through patience as long, through discipline as stern. And He has caused all this to be written for our learning, that the hope of a final and eternal triumph over evil might sustain us through the conflict, through the wanderings, and assure us that in His good time the God of the pilgrim Jacob will bring us into His rest. Weary, worn, with shattered armour and dinted shield, we may struggle on to the shore of the dark river. A moment, a gasp — and there is a white-robed conqueror, with the dew of immortal youth upon his brow, led by the angels before the Throne of God and of the Lamb.

(J. Baldwin Brown, B. A.)

David, Psalmist
Acceptable, Chief, David, Heart, Meditation, Mouth, Musician, O, Pleasing, Psalm, Redeemer, Rock, Salvation, Sayings, Sight, Strength, Thoughts
1. The creatures show God's glory
7. The excellence of the divine law
12. David prays for grace

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Psalm 19:14

     1205   God, titles of
     1240   God, the Rock
     1315   God, as redeemer
     1513   Trinity, mission of
     4354   rock
     5017   heart, renewal
     5038   mind, the human
     5167   mouth
     5549   speech, positive
     6185   imagination, desires
     8460   pleasing God
     8662   meditation

Psalm 19:7-14

     5376   law, purpose of
     5830   delight

Psalm 19:12-14

     8478   self-examination

Secret Faults
'Who can understand his errors? cleanse Thou me from secret faults.' PSALM xix. 12. The contemplation of the 'perfect law, enlightening the eyes,' sends the Psalmist to his knees. He is appalled by his own shortcomings, and feels that, beside all those of which he is aware, there is a region, as yet unilluminated by that law, where evil things nestle and breed. The Jewish ritual drew a broad distinction between inadvertent--whether involuntary or ignorant--and deliberate sins; providing atonement
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Open Sins
'Keep back Thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.'--PSALM xix. 13. Another psalmist promises to the man who dwells 'in the secret place of the Most High' that' he shall not be afraid for the terror by night, nor for the arrow that flieth by day, nor for the pestilence that walketh at noonday,' but shall 'tread upon the lion and adder.' These promises divide the dangers that beset us
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

"The Sun of Righteousness"
WE SHOULD FEEL QUITE JUSTIFIED in applying the language of the 19th Psalm to our Lord Jesus Christ from the simple fact that he is so frequently compared to the sun; and especially in the passage which we have given you as our second text, wherein he is called "the Sun of Righteousness." But we have a higher justification for such a reading of the passage, for it will be in your memories that, in the 10th chapter of the Epistle to the Romans, the Apostle Paul, slightly altering the words of this
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 17: 1871

Secret Sins
Now, David, having seen God's law, and having praised it in this Psalm, which I have read in your hearing, he is brought, by reflecting on its excellency, to utter this thought, "Who can understand his errors?" and then to offer this prayer, "Cleanse thou me from secret faults." In the Lateran Council of the Church of Rome, a decree was passed that every true believer must confess his sins, all of them, once a year to the priest, and they affixed to it this declaration, that there is no hope of pardon
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 3: 1857

Presumptuous Sins
I shall this morning, first of all, endeavor to describe presumptuous sins; then, secondly, I shall try, if I can, to show by some illustrations, why the presumptuous sin is more heinous than any other; and then thirdly, I shall try to press the prayer upon your notice--the prayer, mark you, of the holy man--the prayer of David: "Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins. " I. First, then, WHAT IS PRESUMPTUOUS SIN? Now, I think here must be one of four things in a sin in order to make it
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 3: 1857

Sin Immeasurable
The subject of this morning--our own sin, and the error of our own hearts, is one which we sometimes think we know, but of which we may always be quite sure that we have only began to learn, and that when we have learned the most we shall ever know on earth, the question will still be pertinent, "Who can understand his errors?" Now, this morning I propose first of all, very briefly indeed, to explain the question; then at greater length to impress it upon our hearts; and lastly we will learn the
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 6: 1860

Prayer and the Word of God (Continued)
"Some years ago a man was travelling in the wilds of Kentucky. He had with him a large sum of money and was well armed. He put up at a log-house one night, but was much concerned with the rough appearance of the men who came and went from this abode. He retired early but not to sleep. At midnight he heard the dogs barking furiously and the sound of someone entering the cabin. Peering through a chink in the boards of his room, he saw a stranger with a gun in his hand. Another man sat before the fire.
Edward M. Bounds—The Necessity of Prayer

The Heavens Declare the Glory of God. --Ps. xix.
The Heavens declare the Glory of God.--Ps. xix. Thy glory, Lord, the heavens declare, The firmament displays Thy skill; The changing clouds, the viewless air, Tempest and calm Thy word fulfil; Day unto day doth utter speech, And night to night Thy knowledge teach. Though voice nor sound inform the ear, Well-known the language of their song, When one by one the stars appear, Led by the silent moon along, Till round the earth, from all the sky, Thy beauty beams on every eye. Waked by Thy touch,
James Montgomery—Sacred Poems and Hymns

The Law and the Testimonies. --Ps. xix.
The Law and the Testimonies.--Ps. xix. Thy law is perfect, Lord of light! Thy testimonies sure, The statutes of Thy realm are right, And thy commandments pure. Holy, inviolate Thy fear, Enduring as Thy throne: Thy judgments, chastening or severe, Justice and truth alone:-- More prized than gold,--than gold whose waste Refining fire expels; Sweeter than honey to my taste, Than honey from the cells. Let these, O God! my soul convert; And make Thy servant wise; Let these be gladness to my heart,
James Montgomery—Sacred Poems and Hymns

the Spacious Firmament on High
[970]Addison's: John Sheeles, c. 1720 Psalm 19 Joseph Addison, 1712 The spacious firmament on high, With all the blue ethereal sky, And spangled heavens, a shining frame, Their great Original proclaim. The unwearied sun from day to day Does his Creator's power display, And publishes to every land The work of an almighty Hand. Soon as the evening shades prevail, The moon takes up the wondrous tale, And nightly to the listening earth Repeats the story of her birth; Whilst all the stars that round
Various—The Hymnal of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the USA

The Promises of the Law and the Gospel Reconciled.
1. Brief summary of Chapters 15 and 16. Why justification is denied to works. Argument of opponents founded on the promises of the law. The substance of this argument. Answer. Those who would be justified before God must be exempted from the power of the law. How this is done. 2. Confirmation of the answer ab impossibili, and from the testimony of an Apostle and of David. 3. Answer to the objection, by showing why these promises were given. Refutation of the sophistical distinction between the intrinsic
John Calvin—The Institutes of the Christian Religion

Letter xxii. St. Ambrose in a Letter to his Sister Gives an Account of the Finding Of...
St. Ambrose in a letter to his sister gives an account of the finding of the bodies of SS. Gervasius and Protasius, and of his addresses to the people on that occasion. Preaching from Psalm xix., he allegorically expounded the "heavens" to represent the martyrs and apostles, and the "day" he takes to be their confession. They were humbled by God, and then raised again. He then gives an account of the state in which their bodies were found, and of their translation to the basilica. In another address
St. Ambrose—Works and Letters of St. Ambrose

The Progress of the Gospel
Their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the end of the world. T he heavens declare the glory of God (Psalm 19:1) . The grandeur of the arch over our heads, the number and lustre of the stars, the beauty of the light, the splendour of the sun, the regular succession of day and night, and of the seasons of the year, are such proofs of infinite wisdom and power, that the Scripture attributes to them a voice, a universal language, intelligible to all mankind, accommodated to every capacity.
John Newton—Messiah Vol. 2

The Dryness of Preachers, and the Various Evils which Arise from their Failing to Teach Heart-Prayer --Exhortation to Pastors to Lead People Towards this Form Of
If all those who are working for the conquest of souls sought to win them by the heart, leading them first of all to prayer and to the inner life, they would see many and lasting conversions. But so long as they only address themselves to the outside, and instead of drawing people to Christ by occupying their hearts with Him, they only give them a thousand precepts for outward observances, they will see but little fruit, and that will not be lasting. When once the heart is won, other defects are
Jeanne Marie Bouvières—A Short Method Of Prayer And Spiritual Torrents

Of Deeper Matters, and God's Hidden Judgments which are not to be Inquired Into
"My Son, beware thou dispute not of high matters and of the hidden judgments of God; why this man is thus left, and that man is taken into so great favour; why also this man is so greatly afflicted, and that so highly exalted. These things pass all man's power of judging, neither may any reasoning or disputation have power to search out the divine judgments. When therefore the enemy suggesteth these things to thee, or when any curious people ask such questions, answer with that word of the Prophet,
Thomas A Kempis—Imitation of Christ

The Pietist and the Perfectionist.
"He chastens us for our profit, that we might be partakers of His holiness."--Heb. xii. 10. Sanctification is a gracious work of God, whereby in a supernatural way He gradually divests from sin the inclinations and dispositions of the regenerate and clothes them with holiness. Here we meet a serious objection which deserves our careful attention. To the superficial observer, the spiritual experience of God's children seems diametrically opposed to this professed gift of sanctification. One says:
Abraham Kuyper—The Work of the Holy Spirit

Concerning Continence Also Itself Hath it not Been Most Openly Said...
43. Concerning continence also itself hath it not been most openly said, "And when I knew that no one can be continent unless God give it, this also itself was a part of wisdom, to know whose gift it was?" [2177] But perhaps continence is the gift of God, but wisdom man bestows upon himself, whereby to understand, that that gift is, not his own, but of God. Yea, "The Lord maketh wise the blind:" [2178] and, "The testimony of the Lord is faithful, it giveth wisdom unto little ones:" [2179] and, "If
St. Augustine—Of Holy Virginity.

In the examination of this subject I will-- I. Point out the common distinction between regeneration and conversion. 1. Regeneration is the term used by some theologians to express the divine agency in changing the heart. With them regeneration does not include and imply the activity of the subject, but rather excludes it. These theologians, as will be seen in its place, hold that a change of heart is first effected by the Holy Spirit while the subject is passive, which change lays a foundation for
Charles Grandison Finney—Systematic Theology

The Knowledge of God Conspicuous in the Creation, and Continual Government of the World.
1. The invisible and incomprehensible essence of God, to a certain extent, made visible in his works. 2. This declared by the first class of works--viz. the admirable motions of the heavens and the earth, the symmetry of the human body, and the connection of its parts; in short, the various objects which are presented to every eye. 3. This more especially manifested in the structure of the human body. 4. The shameful ingratitude of disregarding God, who, in such a variety of ways, is manifested within
John Calvin—The Institutes of the Christian Religion

The Need of Scripture, as a Guide and Teacher, in Coming to God as a Creator.
1. God gives his elect a better help to the knowledge of himself--viz. the Holy Scriptures. This he did from the very first. 2. First, By oracles and visions, and the ministry of the Patriarchs. Secondly, By the promulgation of the Law, and the preaching of the Prophets. Why the doctrines of religion are committed to writing. 3. This view confirmed, 1. By the depravity of our nature making it necessary in every one who would know God to have recourse to the word; 2. From those passages of the Psalms
John Calvin—The Institutes of the Christian Religion

The Word
The third way to escape the wrath and curse of God, and obtain the benefit of redemption by Christ, is the diligent use of ordinances, in particular, the word, sacraments, and prayer.' I begin with the best of these ordinances. The word . . . which effectually worketh in you that believe.' 1 Thess 2:13. What is meant by the word's working effectually? The word of God is said to work effectually when it has the good effect upon us for which it was appointed by God; when it works powerful illumination
Thomas Watson—The Ten Commandments

The Shepherd-King
'And the Lord said unto Samuel, How long wilt them mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel! fill thine horn with oil, and go, I will send thee to Jesse the Beth-lehemite: for I have provided Me a king among his sons. 2. And Samuel said, How can I go? If Saul hear it, he will kill me. And the Lord said, Take an heifer with thee, and say, I am come to sacrifice to the Lord. 3. And call Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show thee what thou shalt do: and thou shalt anoint
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Conversion of all that Come.
"Turn Thou me and I shall be turned." --Jer. xxxi. 18. The elect, born again and effectually called, converts himself. To remain unconverted is impossible; but he inclines his ear, he turns his face to the blessed God, he is converted in the fullest sense of the word. In conversion the fact of cooperation on the part of the saved sinner assumes a clearly defined and perceptible character. In regeneration there was none; in the calling there was a beginning of it; in conversion proper it became a
Abraham Kuyper—The Work of the Holy Spirit

Effectual Calling
'Them he also called.' Rom 8:80. Q-xxxi: WHAT IS EFFECTUAL CALLING? A: It is a gracious work of the Spirit, whereby he causes us to embrace Christ freely, as he is offered to us in the gospel. In this verse is the golden chain of salvation, made up of four links, of which one is vocation. Them he also called.' Calling is nova creatio, a new creation,' the first resurrection. There is a two-fold call: (1.) An outward call: (2.) An inward call. (1.) An outward call, which is God's offer of grace to
Thomas Watson—A Body of Divinity

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