Young lions go lacking and hungry, but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.
The fear of God described the whole of practical religion. There are various kinds and degrees of fear caused by our relation to God, combined in various proportions with other sentiments, he is the great and powerful, and we are the weak; and we are naturally ignorant of his nature; and till we know whether he is a malignant or a benevolent being, we naturally dread him. The fear which dreads him is the first feeling which springs up. When we have passed out of and beyond the feeling of dread, we may still be overpowered by awe. We feel that God is greater than our highest, most perfect knowledge of his nature; his vastness overcomes and prostrates us. Jacob; Job; David. But the strangest cause of fear is the sense of transgression and the fear of punishment. We dread the judgment of God upon lives and actions. He must know the realities that lie beneath all appearance - the good and the evil. We may well fear when we think of his knowledge of us. The revelations of God's impersonal nature alarm us. They are all love and no feeling. The hurricane and the tempest are pitiless. The revelations of his personal nature in man and in Christ are full of compassion. God in Christ is the -Physician; but we cannot help fearing what he may have to do upon us for our healing, before we can be made whole. But we ought to believe and know that, like a good physician, he never inflicts any but necessary pain, and how much the infliction costs him in his sympathy with us. Our theology often teaches that there are reasons for servile fear; that our relation to God is that of a courtier to an Eastern despot; or that of a Jew debtor to a Jew creditor, who has no generosity, but exacts the uttermost farthing; or that of a criminal to a Judge who tries to compound with the law by getting an innocent person to suffer for his crimes instead of himself; or who thinks God, in his providential discipline, a cruel Being, who calls upon him to suffer the loss of his children, as he called upon Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, in order to test his faith. But faith casts out the terrors of fear, not inspires them, and does not need such cruel experiments for our discipline. Then there is the fear inspired by faith and love, but which has no torment. A man who has a great undertaking before him, calling for the skill and energy of his highest functions, naturally trembles lest he should fail; like a painter, who stands at his task, but his heart trembling with the great pulses of his conception. He is fearful in proportion as he sees the perfection of the thing he is trying to embody. Turner watching the storm - that he might know how to paint it. So there is a lofty and noble fear of aspiration lest we should not fulfil the Divine purpose of love in our lives. The fear felt towards a good mother, who would sacrifice her life for her child. "How awful goodness is!" - S.
I. THE STRUGGLE THAT ALWAYS FAILS. "The young lions do lack and suffer hunger." The suggestion is, that the men whose lives are one long fight to appropriate to themselves more and more of outward good, are living a kind of life that is fitter for beasts than for men. What is the true character of the lives of the majority of people but a fight, a desire to have, and a failure to obtain? Beasts of prey, naturalists tell us, are always lean. It is the graminivorous order that meekly and peacefully crop the pastures that are well fed and in good condition — "which things are an allegory." "The young lions do lack and suffer hunger." There is no satisfaction or success ever to be won by this way of fighting and scheming and springing at the prey. For if we do not utterly fail, which is the lot of so many of us, still partial success has little power of bringing perfect satisfaction to a human spirit. You remember the old story of the Arabian Nights, about the wonderful palace that was built by magic, and all whose windows were set in precious stones, but there was one window that remained unadorned, and that spoiled all for the owner. His palace was full of treasures, but an enemy looked on all the wealth and suggested a previously unnoticed defect by saying, "You have not a toe's egg." He had never thought about getting a roc's egg, and did not know what it was. But the consciousness of something lacking bad been roused, and it marred his enjoyment of what he had and drove him to set out on his travels to secure the missing thing. There is always something lacking, for our desires grow far faster than their satisfactions, and the more we have the wider our longing reaches out, so that as the wise old Book has it, "He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver, nor he that loveth abundance with increase." You cannot fill a soul with the whole universe, if you do not put God in it.
The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger; but they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing.I. A SHORT BUT BEAUTIFUL DESCRIPTION OF A TRUE CHRISTIAN. He is one that seeks the Lord. This description of a Christian is invariably correct. It. THE PROMISE SET FORTH BY WAY OF CONTRAST. "They shall not want any good thing." "The young lions do lack and suffer hunger;" that is the foil to set off the jewel and make it shine more brightly. "They shall not want any good thing." We have heard of the celebrated cheque for a million pounds which has been preserved; here is one for millions of millions. Here is a promise wide as our wants, large as our necessities, deep as our distresses. But here is a contrast. "The young lions do lack," etc. There are certain men in the world who, like the lions, are kings over others. They are great and mighty men; they have no need of a Saviour, or of the Holy Spirit! You may think, perhaps, like David, that "they are not plagued like other men." But you don't know that. They are very often plagued when they do not tell you. "The young lions do lack and suffer hunger; but they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing." Poor and helpless though they are, having no works of righteousness of their own, confessing their sin and depravity, they shall want no good thing. Is it not amazing?
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
Helps for the Pulpit.I. THE CHARACTER HERE SPECIFIED.
1. They have been given to see and feel the necessity of seeking the Lord.
2. They have sought the Lord in the appointed way.
3. Seeking the Lord is a constant duty.
4. They seek Him with earnestness and diligence.
II. THE ADVANTAGE OF SEEKING THE LORD. They shall not want any good thing —
1. Connected with their salvation or acceptance with God.
2. Connected with Divine providence.
3. Necessary for their protection and guidance through the wilderness of this world.
4. To comfort them in darkness and trouble.
5. In reference to communion with God.
6. As respects support in death.
7. To secure their safe arrival in heaven.
1. Learn to trace all this goodness to its proper source. God has given you His choicest gift, even Christ, therefore the inferior ones will not be withheld (Romans 8:32).
2. As nothing human can ever become a substitute for the Divine care, constantly live in its enjoyment.
3. How great must be the poverty and wretchedness of the sinner. He is destitute of all these good things.
(Helps for the Pulpit.)
II. THE SEEKING WHICH ALWAYS FINDS. Now, how do we "seek the Lord"? We do not seek Him as if He had not sought us, or was hiding from us. But our search of Him is search after one who is near every one of us, and who delights in nothing so much as in pouring Himself into every heart. It is a short search that the child by her mother's skirts, or her father's side, has to make for mother or father. It is a shorter search that we have to make for God. We seek Him by desire, by communion, by obedience. And they who thus seek Him find Him in the act of seeking Him, just as certainly as if I open my eye I see the sun, as if I dilate my lungs the atmosphere rushes into them. For He is always seeking us. "The leather seeketh such to worship Him." So that if we do seek Him, we shall surely find. We each of us have, accurately and precisely, as much of God as we desire to have. If there is only a very little of the Water of Life in our vessels, it is because we do not care to possess any more. "Seek, and ye shall find."
(A. Maclaren, D. D.)
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