Psalm 65:8

I. Here is A CONFESSION DEFEAT. When we look within we find that, instead of all being right, all is wrong. This alarms us. We rouse ourselves to action. We resolve to live a new life of love and holiness. But the more we try the less we succeed. Our strength is weakness. Our purposes are broken off. Our best endeavours end in defeat. Instead of overcoming evil, we are overcome of evil. Instead of gaining purity and freedom, our case grows worse, and we groan in misery as the bond slaves of sin. Confused and confounded, our cry is, "O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me?"

II. THANKSGIVING FOR VICTORY. Though we despair of ourselves, we must not despair of God. We know what God is, and what he has done for us, and therefore we turn to him with hope. Casting ourselves simply upon his mercy in Christ, we are able to grasp the gracious promise, "Sin shall not have dominion over you." God's love to us is a personal love. God's work in us is designed to make us pure from sin, and he will perfect it in the day of Christ. While we say, therefore, with grief and pain, "Iniquities prevail against me," let us with renewed hope proclaim, "As for our transgressions, thou shalt purge them away. - W.F.

Thou makest the outgoings of the morning and evening to rejoice.
The psalmist recognized a close relation between nature and nature's God. He saw all the beauty and blessedness of nature as divine.

I. THE INCOMPARABLENESS OF GOD'S FAVOURS. The matchless phenomena of the dawn and sunset are unique in nature. When God sows the "earth with orient pearl," and the fragrance of a thousand flowers exhales upon the morning air; or when eve, all clad in sober grey, comes forth, the "firmament with living sapphire glowing." We have a hint, too, of the kingdom of grace in our text. There is probably an allusion to the morning and evening sacrifice, a God-appointed ordinance, and therefore an allusion to Christ and His atonement.

II. THE FRESHNESS OF GOD'S FAVOURS. Each new morning and evening is as much a new thing as if just created. The beauty of dawn and sunset never pale. It is not only our lives that He crowns with lovingkindness and tender mercies, not only the year that He crowneth with goodness, but each morning and each evening He visiteth us. Day unto day uttereth speech. Night publisheth to night His mercies.

III. THE FITNESS OF GOD'S FAVOURS. "Thou makest the outgoings of the morning and evening to rejoice." Just the time when we most need a fresh supply. The issues of the day are taken at their fount and the results of the day are blessed at their fruition. Some of the outgoings of the morning are —

1. Forebodings. Bright mornings often usher in sad thoughts, 'tis well to be met at the threshold of the day by God's benison and smile.

2. Duty lies before us every morning. The law of duty transformed to blessed personal service, if we meet Jesus at the door of the day, His statutes then shall be our "songs in the house of our pilgrimage," and "the joy of the Lord shall be our strength."

3. Uncertainty. We never know what a day may bring forth, but if God bless its outgoings we shall not be afraid of evil tidings nor of sudden fear, our heart is fixed.

IV. THE FULNESS OF HIS FAVOURS. From outgoing to outgoing, He fills up the whole day with the light that comes ix the dawn, and the whole night with the sweet peace and protection that comes at eve.

V. THE UNIVERSALITY OF GOD'S FAVOURS. Once in twenty-four hours each hemisphere of the world is alternately bathed in light, or rests in the peaceful shadow of night. This is true also of His grace and Gospel.

VI. THE IMMUTABILITY OF GOD'S FAVOURS. The covenant of day and night was made with Noah. Every dawn and sunset is a pledge of His unchangeable fidelity to His promise (Genesis 8:22; Jeremiah 33:20, 21). The morning fails not by the thousandth part of a second, nor shall God's Word ever fail.

(F. A. Trotter.)

I. LIFE BOTH IN PROSPECT AND RETROSPECT IS BEAUTIFUL. To look on at the start, to look back at the close, are both a delight. Old age corroborates childhood, evening renews the morning; and whoever fails to enjoy life, both these succeed.

1. First, the glorious days of childhood, the sweet hours of early life. We often speak of youth's power of prophecy, of the young soul's anticipation of the future, the expectation of what life is going to be; oh, enchanting first days! But that is not what I mean. I speak of a time that comes before even that — of youth's pure enjoyment of life. You believe in life; you open out your souls trustfully to it; you have not begun yet to be suspicious; you do not imagine every cup which life sets to your lips to be poisoned; you dare smell every fragrant flower; you believe in to-day as well as yesterday, and you are not afraid of to-morrow with any fresh truth which it may bring. You never feel inclined to suspect every new prophet to be a traitor, and every new book to have the inspiration of the evil one in it. You are willing to hear every new call that comes; the charm has not disappeared for you from the work of the Lord, and you could know no shame so great as to be dismissed from His service. No prophecy has ever failed to you — "the Word of the Lord standeth sure"; you discount nothing which God has promised, and the fulfilment will be richer than the promise itself. Welcome, life! Hail, blessed future! "The outgoings of the morning... rejoice."

2. The retrospect will be blither still. Believe me, the brightest season is yet to be. "And the evening to rejoice." The surging process through which your faith may be passing will be over, and your faith will be richer than ever. The scares which many of us have through criticism; through the testing fires into which the Word of God is cast; through the rapid succession of books that crime questioning the authority of the Bible, absolutely denying its right to the deference it has always received; through the breaking up of old forms of thought, the recasting of old theories, the new terms in which we have got to speak of the Atonement and future retribution; — this scare will have ceased. The confusion and uncertainty in which you feel as if everything were breaking up and you were losing every truth you had treasured most, will have passed into a firm hold of all absolute verities.

II. THE PROSPECT AND THE RETROSPECT ARE BOTH MADE BEAUTIFUL BY GOD. Youth and old age — it is God touches both into beauty. Not one word of what I have said is true apart from God. Youth possesses no power of icy but in Him, old age is ugly severed from Him; the morning opens with the mutterings of a storm, evening closes in blackness and hopelessness God puts into both the lines that constitute their charm. You have climbed through a narrow mountain-pass. Morning was radiant when you started, and every foot you climbed the scene became more enchanting, and your spirits rose with every step. But presently the prospect narrows, the mountains close in upon you, the sun is hidden, and a cold wind sweeps through the defile; your spirits droop, and you can only doggedly plod along. But by and by the mountains open out again, the pass is over, and far away under your feet stretches a fairer scene than that which thrilled you in the early morning. Many of you, perhaps, are to-day in the pass. Youth is a memory which you find it hard to realize; you have left it far behind you. But you will be out of the pass soon. The prospect will open out again, and the sun will set upon a fairer world than you have ever seen. The best of life is yet to come. "Thou makest the outgoings of the morning and evening to rejoice."

(J. Morlais Jones.)

Nature is here conceived of as rejoicing before her God, and uttering her joy, in glad and grateful song, praising Him whose power sustains her, and whose wisdom guides. It is not strange, if the psalmist found song in nature at all, that he should have found it in the phenomena of the day's dawn and decline, "The breezy call of incense-breathing morn," and "the balmy sigh which vernal zephyrs breathe in evening's ear"; for of all that is impressive, inspiring and suggestive of high thought in nature's scenic effects, surely it is the phenomena of morn and even; and whatever else is such in itself the light of opening and closing day gives it most transcendent revelation. Thus should it be with man. Our best performance, our highest reaches of thought, and our noblest forms of expression should be divine worship, and the song of our life be evermore a psalm of praise to God. The text conveys a hint also as to the seasons for prayer. This song of dawning and declining day is nature's matin and vesper service of worship to her God. That which is a sentiment in nature's heart, all day and all the night, attains the tuneful gladness of a song at morn and even. Thus should it be with man. When morning calls him from the realm of slumber to the world of conscious life, and the activities of the day are about to begin, he should make his first business worship. Before he opens the door to the world and gives it audience he should open the window that looks heavenward, and himself seek audience with his God, nor let the world's cares and toils descend again upon him until he has refreshed himself by communion with the Father of lights. Each new dawn lights man to a new life, which should be hallowed in its inception by prayer and praise. And so when the daylight hours have sped, and the day's toils are over, in the still hour "when hopes and memories meet and join, and in the light of suns gone down we wait the unveiling of the quiet stars, those suns which shine upon us from afar," the human spirit should again uplift itself to God, and the day close, even as it began, with prayer and praise. But the text has yet deeper suggestiveness. Morning and evening may fitly represent the beginnings and ends of things, and in this construction what great truths the text brings to our thought. It is in the beginnings and ends of things that we see most of God. "He is the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end." His presence pervades even as His power sustains all things. He fills all time as all space. But we recognize Him most in the inception and culmination of fact and event. In the intermediate stages we see more of law and less of God. We trace a development in which we note the play of finite agencies, and the factorship of finite force and will. But in the beginnings and ends of things the finite is less apparent, and the infinite absorbs the view. Thus "He maketh the outgoings of the morning and evening to sing." Creation as it sprang from the forming hand of God and stood in its unsullied beauty, unstained by human sin, was "very good." And not less so shall be that new creation, the new heavens and the new earth, which shall appear when the first heaven and the first earth are done away. At creation's dawn "the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy." Nor shall creation's evening song be wanting; for o'er the final consummation ten thousand times ten thousand tongues, untuned when the creation was being celebrated, shall blend in song with those who raised the earlier strain.

(J. W. Earnshaw.)

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