Psalm 22:26
In this last part the sufferer depicts the happy consequences of his deliverance, which he anticipates in faith, and, lifted up in spirit above the present, beholds, as if it were already present.

I. THE PSALMIST'S DELIVERANCE SHALL BE A CAUSE OF REJOICING TO ALL ISRAEL. (Vers. 22-26.)

1. He will inspire the whole congregation with the tidings. We cannot and ought not to keep to ourselves the great fact of our salvation. "Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee," etc.

2. The good tidings were that God had answered the cry of one who was in the very jaws of death. (Ver. 24.) And if he had heard one, the unavoidable conclusion was that he would hear all who cried to him. The psalmist's experience showed that God's mercy was universal; that was the suppressed premiss of this argument.

II. THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD'S REDEEMING GRACE SHALL EXTEND TO HEATHEN NATIONS. (Vers. 27, 28.) This is to be rejoiced in.

1. Because the he then have greater need of it than the Church. The Church (Israel) have already some knowledge of it; but the heathen are sunk in deeper sins and sorrows, and have no knowledge of God's redeeming grace.

2. It is God's will that the heathen should know and receive his grace. He saves one man or one nation, in order that they should make his work known to other men and other nations. He is to be made known as "the Governor among the nations."

III. ALL CLASSES, WHETHER HAPPY OR MISERABLE, SHALL WELCOME THIS KNOWLEDGE. (Ver. 29.)

1. The great spiritual feast will be enjoyed by those who live in outward abundance. Because here is food for which even the satisfied are still hungry, which their plenty cannot supply. All guests are poor here, and God is rich for all.

2. It is a fountain of life to those ready to sink in death. They shall bow before and worship him.

IV. THE PRESENT AGE SENDS FORWARD THE GLAD TIDINGS TO POSTERITY. (Vers. 30, 31.) See how God's work, beginning with a single individual, propagates itself by its effects upon the mind, spreading, first among those nearest to him; then, through them, to those remote, among the rich and poor, the living and the dying; and on through the ages with ever-increasing power and influence. - S.







The meek shall eat and be satisfied.
The custom of sacrificial feasts was common to many lands.

I. THE WORLD'S SACRIFICIAL FEAST. The Jewish ritual, and that of many other nations, provided for a festal meal following on, and consisting of the material of the sacrifice. That which, in one aspect, is a peace offering reconciling to God, in another aspect is the nourishment and joy of the hearts that accept it. And so the work of Jesus Christ has two distinct phases of application, according as we think of it as being offered to God or appropriated by man. In the one case it is our peace; in the other it is our food and our life. The Christ that feeds the world is the Christ that died for the world. The peace offering for the world is the food of the world. We see hence the connection between these great spiritual ideas and the central act of Christian worship. The Lord's Supper simply says by act what the text says in words. The translation of the "eating" into spiritual reality is simply that we partake of the food of our spirits by the act of faith in Jesus Christ. Personal appropriation and making the world's food mine, by an individual act, is the condition on which alone I get any good from it.

II. THE RICH FRUITION OF THIS FEAST. "Satisfied." Jesus Christ, in the facts of His death and resurrection, being to us all that our circumstances, relationships, and inward condition can require.

III. THE GUESTS. It is the "meek" who eat. Meek usually refers to men's demeanour to one another. The expression here goes deeper. It means both "afflicted" and "lowly," — the right use of affliction being to bow men, and they that bow themselves are those who are fit to come to Christ's feast. Men are shut out only because they shut themselves out.

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

In genuine religion there is great reward. Nothing is so conducive to the happiness of man, nothing so effectually secures it.

I. THE TEMPER TO BE CHERISHED. Meekness, lowliness of mind, which so becomes us as sinners.

II. THE CONDUCT TO BE PURSUED. We should seek the Lord. This supposes —

1. That we have suffered loss. We do not seek what we have. We have lost the knowledge, favour, image, and the enjoyment of God.

2. That this loss may be regained. The Gospel shows us how.

3. The use of proper means is also implied.

III. THE BLESSINGS WHICH SHALL BE SECURED. We shall eat and he satisfied; shall praise the Lord, and live forever.

(T. Kidd.)

They shall praise the Lord that seek Him.
These are the words of Jesus on the Cross. He died to further the Father's glory. This was the object He sought, and He solaces Himself with the thought of all the kindreds of the nations turning to God, and that they who seek the Lord shall praise Him. The assurance of text very encouraging. Note —

I. THE PERSONS — the seekers of the Lord. These are they —

1. Who really desire to commune with God. Not mere repeaters of a prayer, but those who really seek the Lord.

2. Who know that they are at a distance from Him.

3. But are anxious that that distance should be taken away.

4. And would feel themselves to be the friends of God.

5. And desire all this now. All this prepares the man to praise when he finds the Lord.

II. THE PROMISE. "They shall," etc.

1. It is fulfilled unconsciously while the man is seeking.

2. The praise abounds when the desire is granted. You who seek, you shall surely find salvation, and that ere long. God may try yon, let you wait a while before He gives you the joy of realised pardon; but seek on still.

3. You shall go on seeking and go on praising.

III. THE PRAISE. It will be —

1. Because we found Him. as we did.

2. That we found such a Saviour.

3. Because of our security.

4. Because we ever sought the Lord at all.Conclusion: Let us who have sought the Lord praise Him. Let us show our poor friends the seekers the way. We sought and we found; let us magnify the Lord at once.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

All his seeking, I say, helps him to prize Divine mercy when he receives it, and trains him to praise God according to the promise of our text, "They shall praise the Lord that seek Him." Never is a babe so dear to its mother as when it has just been restored from a sickness which threatened his life; never does a father rejoice over his little child so much as when he has been long lost in the woods, and after a weary search is at last brought home. No gold is so precious to a man as that which he has earned by hard labour and self-denial: the harder he has toiled to gain it, the more rejoiced is he when at length he has enough to permit him to rest. No freedom is so precious as the new found liberty of a slave, no enlargement so joyous as that of one who has long been sitting in the valley of the shadow of death bound in affliction and iron. No return to a country is so full of delight as that of sorrowful exiles who come back from cruel Babylon, by whose waters they sat and wept, yea, wept when they remembered Zion.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

As a bird lies hidden among the heather, but is seen when at last it is startled and made to take to the wing, so doth praise take to the wing and display itself when at last those who seek the Lord are permitted to find Him. What thunderclaps of praise come from poor sinners when they have just found their all in all in God in the person, of Christ Jesus. Then their joy becomes almost too much for them to hold, vastly too much for them to express. Oh, the praises, the day and night praises, the continuous praises, which rise from the returning, repenting soul which has at last felt the Father's arms around its neck and the Father swarm kisses on its cheek, and is sitting down at the table where the happy household eat and drink and are merry. Praising time has come indeed when finding time has arrived. Happy day! Happy day! when we meet with God in Jesus Christ.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

Your heart shall live forever.
The heart has been employed by the inspired writers as the symbol of human affections. So the heart of man is said to be tried by God — to be opened, established, enlightened, strengthened, searched by God. The text asserts the absolute indestructibility of our religious affections. Work up to this through the intervening lessons.

1. There is one thing in this fleeting world which is immortal. Man wears on his forehead the crown of his regnant majesty; for his nature is undying. No soul has ever yet passed out of existence.

2. The text draws a distinction between life and mere existence. Into this word "live" we must suffer a new increment of meaning to enter. These hearts of ours may have one of two moral states. Whichever of these is possessed as a permanent character decides destiny. The heart that "seeks God" enters immediately into the nearness of God's presence, where there is fulness of joy. The heart that wilfully refuses to "seek God" is forced into the darkness of utter banishment from God for the unending future. The first of these conditions is "life," the second is "death."

3. The text evidences its authority by language peremptory and plain. The word "shall" is of itself sovereign and conclusive But the form of speech employed is not that of prediction so much as that of promise. There are also three fixed laws of human nature which, fairly working together, render it absolutely certain that our affections will survive the shock of death, and reassert themselves hereafter.(1) One is the law of habit. The pressure of such a law holds more surely in our mental and moral nature than in our physical. Loves are stronger and hates are more inveterate than simple habits of body and mind.(2) Another law is that of exercise. "Practice makes perfect." Under this law the memory is often so wonderfully strengthened that it disdains data of aid. The most curious working of this law will appear in the fact that when our affections are wrought upon their increase is supreme. One's prejudices become his master.(3) Then there is the law of association. Most of all, this is subtle and forceful. When its action reaches a man's moral and mental natures working together it seems almost irresistible. These three laws actually intertwine themselves together, and accelerate the action of each other.

4. The text teaches that human immortality is quite independent of all accidents and surroundings. says, "Our life is so brief and insecure that I know not whether to call it a dying life or a living death." It is not in the body that our immortality resides. Your "heart" is yourself. There is one thing in man, only one, that is immortal — the soul. Human affections will live forever in the line of their "seeking." The heart therefore is independent of all surroundings.

5. The text fixes all its force by an immediate application of its doctrine to such as are meek enough to receive it. If your heart is to live forever, then much consideration ought to be given to your aims in life, for they are fashioning the heart that is to be immortal. And our companionships ought to be chosen with a view to the far future which is coming. If our hearts are to live forever, then some care should be had concerning our processes of education by which our affections are trained. And if our hearts are to live forever, then surely it is now time some hearts were changed powerfully by the Spirit of Divine grace.

(C. S. Robinson, D. D.)

Transient and occasional bursts of inspiration in the Old Testament anticipate what Christianity was afterwards to teach. They seem like lightning flashes, illuminating the deep obscurity for a moment. How much is implied in these words, "Your heart shall live forever." They mean that the body shall not, — in its present elements it shall not; it has nothing to do with the life immortal. The happiness of the future existence shall not come from the body, from the gratification of its passions nor the exercise of its powers; and just so far as a man depends for his enjoyment on these earthly indulgences he is unfit for that spiritual state to which death will soon translate us, and for which it is our wisdom now to prepare. These words of the text also imply that the mind, though it shall endure, will not be the source of happiness in another existence. We know too little of its nature to say whether death will change it; but certainly it will change our estimation of it; for now, in this world, talent, force of mind, genius are set highest among the gifts of God. The affections (or the heart) are as much above the understanding as the mind is above the body. It is in the affections that the elements of heavenly happiness are to be found. These words teach us what should be our constant object, and lead us also to consider how abundantly God has provided for it on every side. Consider —

1. How all the arrangements of this life favour the growth of those affections which are the elements of life immortal. The home, requiring of each within it to suppress those selfish passions which darken over everything which they touch, and making it manifest that all the sunshine and comfort of the dwelling depend, not on its magnificence, not on the luxuries within it, but simply and entirely on the spirit of love within. And the circle of friendship carries out those same affections into wider range. That these are Divine arrangements may be seen from the moral and spiritual laws which run through theme — which ordain that these affections shall move in paths of duty. But these arrangements of life for a certain purpose are not meant to effect that purpose of themselves; it rests with us to trace out, to follow, and improve them. The first business of the Christian life is to deny ourselves, which means not to deny ourselves a blessing here and there, but to resist the strong selfish tendency of our nature, to train our affections in the right Way, to regard them as the beginnings and indications of our future destiny, and to keep our heart with all diligence, since out of it are the fountains of immortal life. Once attach this thought of immortality to the affections, and how mighty and solemn those interests become!

2. All the arrangements of death, all of which have a purpose and meaning, are even more fitted to form for immortality the heart which is to live forever. The world is changed by the presence of death; wherever it comes we feel that a new influence is there, a power is there which was not there before. Each one who feels at all feels that something is meant by it, that it is a communication addressed to him. Never do the affections come forth in purer or more disinterested action than in the presence of death.

3. The arrangements of the future existence are also of a kind to favour the growth of the affections. The foresight of the future state, the vision of it which lies before us in the light of the Gospel, must necessarily have a great effect on the efforts we make to reach it. Awake, then, to a sense of the importance of the heart. See how all your welfare for this world and the other depends on the right unfolding and care of its affections.

(W. B. O. Peabody, D. D.)

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