Good and upright is the LORD; therefore He shows sinners the way.
Psalm 25:8-14Psalm 25:8-14. Here we may learn something as to
God's revelation to man.
I. That God's revelation MUST BE IN HARMONY WITH HIS CHARACTER. With God there can be no contradiction. What he does shows what he is. His words and his works agree. If we were created in the image of God, then we reasonably infer that, when God makes a special revelation to us, it will be in accord with our moral nature. This is what gives the gospel its preciousness and its power. "God was in Christ."
II. That God's revelation IS MADE TO THE SPIRITUALLY SUSCEPTIBLE. (Vers. 8, 9.) In this there is nothing arbitrary or strange. It must be so, from the very nature of things. As Coleridge sings -
"O lady, we receive but what we give, III. That God's revelation CAN ONLY BE RECEIVED IN ITS FULNESS BY THE OBEDIENT. (Vers. 10-14.) The question is asked, "Who is the man that feareth the Lord?" and this is as good as saying, "Find me such a man, and I will tell you how it will fare with him. God will reveal himself to him otherwise than he does to the world. Between them there is sympathy and sweet accord." God opens his mind to those who love him. He lets them into his secrets. They are in the way of light, and evermore, as they advance, the light shines on them more fully. The word of the psalmist is confirmed and completed in the teaching of our Lord (John 15:7-15). This has been the experience of God's people in all ages. Abraham in his tent (Genesis 18:17), David with his flocks, Daniel in the king's palace, the apostle in the dungeon at Philippi, - all have felt alike that God reveals himself to those who truly serve him. - W.F.
III. That God's revelation CAN ONLY BE RECEIVED IN ITS FULNESS BY THE OBEDIENT. (Vers. 10-14.) The question is asked, "Who is the man that feareth the Lord?" and this is as good as saying, "Find me such a man, and I will tell you how it will fare with him. God will reveal himself to him otherwise than he does to the world. Between them there is sympathy and sweet accord." God opens his mind to those who love him. He lets them into his secrets. They are in the way of light, and evermore, as they advance, the light shines on them more fully. The word of the psalmist is confirmed and completed in the teaching of our Lord (John 15:7-15). This has been the experience of God's people in all ages. Abraham in his tent (Genesis 18:17), David with his flocks, Daniel in the king's palace, the apostle in the dungeon at Philippi, - all have felt alike that God reveals himself to those who truly serve him. - W.F.
Notre Dame, who impersonates all ugliness, and had said 'Be Apollo, he is the one mould of physical perfection into which you may try and compass yourself.' It would be insane stupidity if Tadema or Burne Jones were to go to some limbless monstrosity in a penny show and say, 'Join our school, paint according to our methods, reproduce our best characteristics.'" The poor wretch lacks the natural endowments which fit him to take his first lessons in art.
Good and upright is the Lord; therefore will He teach sinners in the way.
I. THE PSALMIST'S THOUGHT OF GOD. "Good and upright." God equals here, kind, beneficent. He binds the two quantities together in the feeling of their profoundest harmony. Neither of these reaches its highest beauty and supremest power except it be associated with the other. In the spectrum analysis of that great light there are the two lines; the one purest white of righteousness, and the other tinged with a ruddier glow, the line of love. We are always tempted to wrench the two apart. Hence you get types of religion in which one or the other is emphasised to such a degree as almost to blot out the other. God is love. We cannot make too much of His love, unless by reason of it we make too little of His righteousness.
II. THE CALM CONFIDENCE BUILDED ON THIS CONCEPTION OF THE DIVINE CHARACTER. What a wonderful "therefore" that is! — the logic of faith, not of sense. The co-existence of these two aspects in the perfect Divine character is for us a guarantee that He cannot leave men, however guilty they may be, to grope in the dark, or keep His lips locked in silence. The Psalmist does not mean guidance as to practical advantages and worldly prosperity. He means guidance as to the one important thing, the sovereign conception of duty, the eternal law of right and wrong. What is love, in its loftiest, purest, and therefore in its Divine aspect? What, except an infinite desire to impart, and that the object on which it falls shall be blessed. God is the "giving" God. Not our happiness, but our rectitude, is God's end in all that He does for us. Since righteousness is blended with love, therefore He comes, and must desire to bring all wanderers back into the paths which are His own. God can find His way to my heart, and infuse there illumination, and pure affections, and make my eye clear to discern what is right.
III. THE CONDITION ON WHICH THE FULFILMENT OF THIS CONFIDENCE DEPENDS. "The meek WILL HE GUIDE," etc. The condition of our hearing and profiting, by the guidance is meekness; or what we might call docility, of which the prime element is the submission of our own wills to God's. The reason why we go wrong about our duties is mainly that we do not supremely want to go right, but rather to gratify inclinations, tastes, or passions. Some of us do not wish to know what God wishes us to do. Some of us cannot bear suspense of judgment, or of decision, and are always in a hurry to be in action, and think the time lost that is spent in waiting to know what God the Lord will speak. If you do not clearly see what to do, then clearly you may see that you are to do nothing. Wait till God points the path, and wish Him to point it, and hush the noises that prevent your hearing His voice, and keep your wills in absolute submission; and, above all, he sure that you act out your convictions, and have no knowledge of duty which is not represented in your practice, and you will get all the light which you need: sometimes being taught by errors, no doubt, often being left to make mistakes as to what is expedient in regard to worldly prosperity, but being infallibly guided as to the path of duty and the path of peace and righteousness.
(A. Maclaren, D. D.)
Homilist.God guides the soul in a certain way. What is it?
I. IT IS THE WAY OF MORAL EXCELLENCE. It is described as —
1. "Judgment," i.e. rectitude.
2. "His way," the way which is in accordance with their nature.
3. "His covenant." All these expressions mean holiness, for thereinto doth God guide the soul.
II. OF EXPERIMENTAL BLESSEDNESS. "All the paths of the Lord are mercy (ver. 10).
1. They experience the mercy of God in their use. In healing their diseases, sustaining their existence, removing their perplexities, etc.,
2. The truth of God in their use. "Mercy and truth."
III. OF FORGIVENESS. "Pardon mine iniquity," etc. (ver. 11).
1. There is an urgent need for pardon; and —
2. A sovereign reason, — "Thy name's sake."
IV. OF MORAL WEALTH. Such wealth is —
1. Abundant. "His soul shall dwell at ease." He shall lodge in goodness, as the margin has it.
2. Permanent, "dwell."
3. Transmissible. "His seed shall inherit the earth." A truly gooey man can transmit his goodness to his children, and bring them into the spiritual inheritance. And these — not the owners of broad acres — are the true inheritors of the earth.
4. Free. "What man is he that feareth the Lord? Him," etc. It does not matter who he is, if he has true religion.
V. OF DIVINE FRIENDSHIP. "The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him." The man who walks in this way gets so intimate and grows so friendly with God that he becomes initiated into His secrets, acquainted with His counsels. There is no mystery in this. We see it every day where there is strong mutual sympathy between two minds.
VI. OF ULTIMATE DELIVERANCE. "He shall pluck my feet out of the net."
1. Men are entangled in dangers. The devil has laid his snares in all directions.
2. True men will be delivered. The "net" will be broken, the snarer confounded, and the soul set free.
3. For their eyes are ever towards the Lord. God fills up the horizon of a good man's soul.
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