All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD. All the families of the nations will bow down before Him.
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.
I. TO GLORIFY AND ENJOY GOD ARE THE GREAT ENDS OF OUR CREATION AND REDEMPTION. This is the great and fundamental article of religion. God's design in the creation and government of the world must have been the manifestation of His perfection, and the conferring happiness on intelligent creatures in proportion to their capacities. To what purpose hath God distinguished man with a rational and immortal soul resembling Himself, but to make him capable of religion and eternal life. What the character of God and the nature of man so clearly demonstrate on principles of reason, God hath expressly declared to us in His Word.
I. REFLECTION. "Shall remember." We use the word reflection here because the usual Bible significance of the word "remember" is not simply "recollect," but meditate, consider. The act described is far more than one of memory; witness the words, "Remember now thy Creator." Here also the Psalmist means "remember the Lord." Thought is the first stage in true life. Right thought on a right subject is essential to right life. "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he."
All the ends of the world shall remember, and turn unto the Lord.
I. THE PROSPECT FROM THE CROSS. So taken, the text suggests to us our Lord's consciousness of the virtue that lay in His atoning sacrifice. The life of perfect holiness and perfect love was crowned by the death in which He put away sin. Exceeding glory to God and good to man were to be unfolded from it. This lay fully before our Lord's eye from the first. What He saw it becomes us to believe — the ends of the world shall remember, and turn to the Lord.
II. THE SOUL'S AWAKENING. "They shall remember." It is as though something long forgotten had come to mind, had melted their hearts within them. In what sense is the truth in Christ new? It is not so new but that it has also something old in it. Just this lay behind many a transient conviction, many a vague and dim impression. Whatever of new has come has put unspeakable meaning into all the old.
III. MAN'S PLACE WITH GOD. This is not so only with those for whom conversion comes after years of acquaintance with the Christian creed, and with the form of Godliness. It holds for men as men. The God who in Christ becomes ours is the very God for whom man was made. This is the meaning of man. And the blessedness which redemption brings is for the heart of man, as man was planned and made.
IV. THE INEVITABLE RETURN. The text points to a time when turning to God shall be the main thing, the prevailing thing, as if a mighty tide setting that way, carried all before it. For the present we do not see this.
(Robert Rainy, D. D.)
1. Think about God.
2. Think what God's ways with men are.
3. Think of your relationship to God. In the past; now; for the future.
II. CONVERSION. "Turn unto" would be a synonym; or "return." "Turn ye, turn ye, why will ye die?" These passages, with that in our text, remind us —
1. That man is turned away from God. There is aversion and alienation.
2. Man may be restored to God. His face may yet look into the face of the Father, his life spent in Godward sympathies and activities.
3. This conversion, i.e. moral turning round, implies human effort and Divine help. Man is to turn, and God will turn him. Then, and then only, will his back be towards vanities and sins, and his face towards the true and the pure. More than passing sentiment is needed. There must be the putting forth of all the strongest forces of manhood, and the energising grace of God.
III. ADORATION. "Shall worship." This is the climax. It is the fullest development of the higher life, the crown of human destiny. Adoration of God is —
1. The instinct.
2. The obligation.
3. The satisfaction of souls.
(U. R. Thomas.)
II. GOD HAS GIVEN MEN PROPER INFORMATION OF HIS CHARACTER, WILL, AND GRACE AS THEIR RULE OF DUTY AND THEIR GUIDE TO HAPPINESS. The existence of the creation demonstrates the existence of the Creator; its greatness proves His immensity; its order, His wisdom; and the provision made for the happiness of His creatures, His boundless goodness. In every state of man the only perfect rule of religion is Divine revelation, which confirms all the principles of natural religion, and informs us of many things necessary to be known which our own reason could not have discovered. The dispensations of God's providence subserved the design of His revelations for preserving religion and virtue in the world.
III. THAT BEFORE THE COMING OF CHRIST THE WORSHIP OF THE TRUE GOD SHOULD BE GENERALLY FORGOTTEN AND NEGLECTED BY MANKIND. This melancholy truth the history of the world hath but too amply verified. True religion must always have the true God for its object, and His moral character and revealed will for its rule. False religion originates in a departure from the worship of the true God to that of idols; either as objects of religious adoration or as the means of it. To this cause Moses ascribed the idolatry of Israel. The sun, moon, etc., from being worshipped only as representations of God, came to be considered and worshipped as so many distinct deities. As the multitude of gods worshipped by the heathen distracted their religion, and turned it away from the only true God, so their mean and immoral characters shamefully debased it. Religion is the chief part and foundation of moral righteousness. As before the coming of Christ the Gentiles had grossly departed from the knowledge and profession of the true religion, so the Jews had greatly degenerated from the sincere belief and practice of it.
IV. BY THE GOSPEL AND THE GRACE OF CHRIST ALL NATIONS SHOULD BE BROUGHT TO REMEMBER AND TURN UNTO THE LORD. The coming of the Saviour was the era of light, reformation, and happiness to the world As to the proper improvement of these truths, let us ever live under the serious belief and impression that, to glorify and enjoy God, our Creator and Saviour, are the great ends of our existence, and can be attained only by the knowledge and practice of true religion.
(W. Dalgleish, D. D.)
1. It is to remember. It is fitly expressed by the ease of the prodigal, who is said to have "come to himself." The Holy Spirit is ever seeking to make us remember. Sometimes by adverse providences, as with Joseph's brethren. At other times by His Word. Sometimes it is without any apparent cause. "I thought on my ways," says David, "and turned my feet unto Thy testimonies." And there will, however brought, be many ways which we shall remember with sorrow and shame. As our ways of open immorality: things which we thought were no harm, since other people did them; and ways which we have thought nothing about — sins of the heart. And ways, too, that you have counted good you will thus remember. All your religion while unconverted will appear odious to you.
2. It is turning unto the Lord. This is very important, for it is possible to remember our evil ways without turning from them. And it is possible both to remember and turn, and yet not to turn to the Lord. And —
3. There will be worship — the homage of the heart presented to God according to His will.
II. THE EXTENT. "All the ends of the world"; "all the kindreds of the nations," etc. It was fit that the accessions of the Gentiles should be reserved for the Gospel day, that it might grace the triumph of Christ over His enemies. And the good work then begun must go on, no longer limited to the seed of Abraham. But the time will come when our text will be abundantly fulfilled. Nor can the time of fulfilment be far distant. The last branch of the last of the four beasts foretold by Daniel is now in its dying agonies. But while we are concerned for all the world, let us not forget our own souls.
I. WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF THE IMPROVEMENT WE HAVE NOTICED? They are —
1. General experience, though there are instances in which the moral and religious condition of the people are no better now than they were ages ago. The reason of this is that these communities have possessed no literature, and hence the teachings of experience have been lost and each generation has to begin anew.
2. Letters and learning. Hence these teachings no longer die with those who have acquired them, but are handed on to their successors. But we have instances in which — as in Egypt, Greece, and Rome, where there have been letters and learning, but because separated from true religion — the world has not been morally advanced by them. The experience of France in the eighteenth century is in point here.
3. The revelation of Christianity. But this from an early period down to the time of the Reformation being loaded with superstition, the moral life of men was but little benefited. Hence we gather that there must be the union of Learning and Christianity if any real progress is to be made.
II. WHAT ASSISTANCE CHRISTIANITY HAS RECEIVED FROM HUMAN LEARNING. This learning may be distinguished —
1. As the study of ancient languages and composition. Hence now we have the Scriptures translated, and this learning is useful not only to translate but to teach us the rules of interpretation, and of just criticism, and of the best models of composition, and to give freedom and strength to the imagination. Even the elegance of ancient writers, though often considered as merely ornamental, is not without its use towards the perfection of Christian morals. There is a connection and a sympathy which, though they do not always appear, have yet a tendency to prevail, between whatever is simple and elegant in the arts, and a simplicity and elegance of manners. By this connection we are rendered more sensible of any thing that can soften the human mind, can heighten the enjoyment of social life, or prepare us for that Christian charity which is the bond of peace and of all virtue.
2. The study of philosophy, which is not merely useful in the discovery of curious and useful arts. It serves a much nobler and more generous purpose, that of promoting our progress towards the perfection of our nature, and of advancing the interests of true religion.
(W. Pearce, D. D.)
I. THE CONVERSION OF THE NATIONS TO GOD MAY BE EXPECTED. It is much to be desired. But the battle is long and weary and the end is not yet. Some think it is not to be looked for. But —
1. Our newborn nature craves for it; and —
2. Is it not unlikely that on this earth where God has stood in the person of His Son, that evil, after all, should vanquish Him?
3. And see the promises of reward made to our Redeemer. "He shall see of the travail of His soul and shall be satisfied." And the Scriptures are full of such promises, in the Psalms and in all the prophets. It is good to be reminded of them, for we shall not labour well if we do not labour in hope. And as yet we have not done so much as to give the fragments of the Gospel feast to the nations. When the Church is ready for great events they shall occur to her.
II. SUCH CONVERSION WILL OCCUR IN THE USUAL MANNER OF OTHER CONVERSIONS. "The nations," says our text, "shall remember, and shall turn unto the Lord, and shall worship before Him."
1. They shall remember. In this manner conversion begins.
2. They shall turn.
3. They shall worship.
III. THE MEANS TO ACCOMPLISH THIS RESULT ARE TO BE FOUND AT CALVARY. This is a Calvary Psalm; its connection is full of sacrificial suffering. Every conversion is the result of Christ's death. And His death is our motive for spreading the Gospel. And it is the security of future triumph. We shall conquer the world, but it will be by the Cross. The old legend of Constantine, "In hoc signo vinces," hath truth in it for us. By this we shall conquer — by the Cross, by the preaching of Jesus Christ.
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
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