God settles the lonely in families; He leads the prisoners out to prosperity, but the rebellious dwell in a sun-scorched land.
I. EARTHLY CROSSES. What significance in the terms "fatherless" and "widows"! They tell of death, of war and pestilence and famine, of desolated homes and broken hearts and innumerable sorrows. Then in "the solitary," all the ills of life seem gathered up.
II. HEAVENLY COMFORTS. It is a great comfort to believe that there is a God who made the world, and cares for the world that he has made. But there is much more here. God is represented as not only great, but kind; not only as mighty, but merciful; not only as ruling over all his works in righteousness, but as making the weak and the sorrowful his special care. There are three great comforts here.
1. God's Fatherhood. (Jeremiah 49:11.)
2. The brotherhood of man.
3. The blessedness of home. God setteth the solitary in families. This is in part fulfilled here. Perhaps "the solitary," like Moses in the desert, finds a home. instead of wandering alone, he is blessed with a wife and children, and the sweet joys of family life. Again, "the solitary" may have friends raised up to him. In the Church and in society he finds true companionships and healthy occupation, and walks no more with aimless feet. Or it may be that God works such a change in his heart that he rises superior to circumstances. There are "spiritual presences" with him. Though alone, he is yet not alone, because God is with him (Acts 8:39; 2 Timothy 4:17). But the highest fulfilment is to come. Heaven is the eternal home. There is no "solitary" there. It is the house of God, of many mansions, of happy families, and of endless fellowships and joys. While the text shows the Divine origin and the manifold blessings of "the family," it hints also at its immortality. It has withstood the greatest shocks of time, and it may, in some higher way, survive in the eternal world (Proverbs 12:7; cf. Ephesians 3:15, Revised Version). - W.F.
I. THE FAMILY IS A DIVINE INSTITUTION. In the case of other relationships, such, for example, as those of neighbourhood and partnership, each man has been left, always, of course, under the presiding providence of God, to follow his own inclinations. It is a matter of choice with any one as to whether he shall live in town or country, but unless where God's law has been contravened, every man belongs of necessity to some family. God has instituted the home on earth. What says our Lord on this matter? (Matthew 19:4). The fitness of the family constitution as God established it at first for securing the end which I have stated will be most convincingly seen by contrasting it with other systems which men have attempted to put in its place. Take, for example, that of polygamy, as seen either in the harem of an Eastern Mussulman or in that of a Western Mormon, and you will at once perceive that the very unity of which I have spoken is destroyed, and that there are few facilities for the training of children into highest nobleness of character.
God setteth the solitary in families.Dr. Watts, for reasons connected with man's depravity, preferred to find this world of ours "not a proper habitation for an upright being: its form is rude, irregular, abrupt, and horrid." It is curious to find Dr. Watts and Mr. Mill in such entire harmony about Nature. Dr. Watts sees a fallen and corrupted in what the other sees an originally ill-constructed and ill-compacted world. But the world has working in it the principle of progress, and this is continually refining, elevating, and developing both man and his world. Nature, like man, is saved by hope. The depreciation which has fallen upon the Order of Creation falls more heavily on the order of the human world. And, no doubt, the signs of strife, struggle, confusion, of waste and wreck manifest in Creation, are yet more so in the human sphere. The signs of dire disorder affront us everywhere. The skeleton stalks abroad; it saddens with its ghastly presence the sunlight of life. It is a great mystery. It is inevitable that these things should perplex us when we consider the large and far-reaching plan on which God has made the world. The key to it is the culture of a free being: his education for a free and noble eternity. No key but this will fit all the wards of Nature and of life. Much of the complaint that is heard is really against man's freedom, and because he is not more of a machine. If men were machines, and all filings were the result of a mechanical arrangement; if what looks like freedom were only reflex action, then one would be driven to the conclusion that the machine is extremely clumsy and ill-arranged. We could, in that case, readily conceive that a much more simple one might have been constructed, which would work much more smoothly, and with far less fret and friction. But, judging by the lights of Reason and Revelation, God has chosen to construct the world upon quite another scheme, in which the education of free, moral beings for an immortal life is the deep thought that underlies it. Everything must be judged absolutely by its fitness for this purpose. And if this be the purpose, then it is worth while to study profoundly this great scheme, and to search out all its depths. Contemplate, then, the Divine goodness in the order of human society, which grows out of the social instincts and aptitudes which are the special endowments of man. And at the root of them all lies the institution of the family. Out of that human society grows. We may understand the text as telling both of God's loving care for the solitary, or as indicating the loving provision for man's happiness, solace and development, which the institution of the family secures. Now, the immediate purposes of this order seem to be —
1. The drawing forth and the culture of the several faculties of the individual, and —
2. The continual elevation and purification of the life of society: its constant progress towards an ideal, the vision of which God has set before mankind. In the family you have, in little, the picture of society. It is there in miniature. It is under your eye and hand; you can study it readily and see how it works. And the pessimist philosophers would tell you that they find in the family constitution just the mischievous blundering of which they complain elsewhere. As the world, so the family is, they say, "capriciously governed." And some speak of it more harshly still. It hands over, they complain, the character and career of each successive generation to individual caprice and will, concerning which you can take and hold no security: it is all blind chance what the parents may he. Plato sought, and communistic ideals seek, to rectify this supposed flaw in the arrangement of society, which is the result of family life. It is said, "What sort of blundering is it which places young children in their formative years, on which everything depends, under the control of those who are tolerably certain to be capricious and foolish? Would it not be better to take possession of the children from the first and place them under the rule of those who will be certain to train them in wisdom and virtue?" And there does seem something to be said for this. For what awful consequences come from bad parental influences! How many myriads of children are ruined by it! Now, it is not a complete answer to say that man has gone aside from God's intention, because it allows that God made man capable of thus falling. But we must remember that all this is for our ,education, and is a mighty instrument in it, and we must take eternity into view. Then and there, if not here and now, we shall see God's ways justified.
(J. Baldwin Brown, B. A.)
1. Every one who takes the Bible as his guide must believe that the family is Divine in its origin. It was instituted in Eden by God Himself for the preservation of the race, for the welfare and happiness of His creatures. It has stood the test of time. Sin has corrupted, but could not destroy it. Christ came to a sinning world to redeem and regenerate it. Sin had polluted all the relations of man and those institutions which God had established for man's happiness and glory, so pure in their first inception. The family had not been exempt from this downward drag of sin. Christ would touch this centre of influence and bring the family back to its original place. He re-emphasized its sacredness. He put Himself in direct opposition to the theories of His age. Nowhere in the literature that preceded Him can you find such exalted views of marriage and the home as were presented by Him. That which by the perversion of sin had become such a power for evil He aimed to transform into a ministry of light and love. Through it He sought to propagate His faith and to establish the kingdom of heaven on earth.
2. Consider next the unity of the family — its oneness of life. The family is treated as a unit in the Bible. The members of it are not so many isolated beings, each one independent and thoughtless of the other. They have a common interest and a common life; what affects one affects the other. This is true not only of every living generation, but of all subsequent generations. Every family has a history distinct from all others. It is a link binding the past and the future. Receiving from its fathers the heritage of their virtues, it is expected to transmit them to those who follow. Just as surely as every Church and nation has its unmistakable tone and spirit, so, surely, is there a common family life. Every household has its marked characteristics, natural aptitudes, its distinctive views, tastes, and ideas: Too much has been made of heredity in certain quarters, but the basis of truth in connection with it we must all recognize.(1) It is interesting to note, even from a physiological point of view, the physical traits which reappear in the same family in successive generations. You take the child of to-day and trace a very close resemblance between him and the pictures of ancestors who lived one hundred or two hundred years ago. You detect the same features, the same colour of the hair and expression of the eye.(2) Mental traits also descend from parents to children. The prominent and remarkable men of the world have, as a rule, had a remarkable mother. Distinguished women have borne the impress of a distinguished father. Say what we will, blood has much to do in deciding what we are to be and do in this short life.(3) If it be generally admitted that physical and mental traits are transmitted, it will not be difficult to show that the spiritual nature of the child takes its direction very largely from the spiritual nature of the parent. Given parents who are gluttonous, intemperate, licentious, who are the slaves of their sensual appetites, what may we expect of the children who partake of their natures, who breathe the air and imbibe the teachings of their home. Who can measure the power of this family spirit? How often it is the very opposite to what it should be! Here it is money, money written on every face; here it is good living; here it is show; here scandal and detraction. Sometimes the sense of religion and of spiritual things will seem to be nearly lost or obliterated. Not that God permits this evil spirit of the household to have full and undisputed sway. He has established remedies and counter forces to resist it. Wicked homes are often broken up. Children whose natural parents will not care for them are gathered into public institutions or private homes by Christian workers. Families, too, are constantly intermingling. Better influences from without may overcome the wicked spirit at home. But that does not disprove the unity of the family, that oneness of spirit and character which manifests itself in successive generations. It is something more than influence, direct or indirect. "Every child is born into the peculiar life of its own family, partakes of its nature, and feels its power.
(S. W. Dana, D. D.)
II. THE FAMILY IS INTIMATELY CONNECTED WITH OUR EARTHLY HAPPINESS. It is not in the magnificence of your dwelling, or the gorgeousness of your furniture, or the luxuries of your table, or the costliness of your attire that your home happiness depends, for you may have all these and be miserable still. Neither is it the absence of these things that causes discord and division in a house, for you may meet the highest felicity in the humblest abode. The question is, Do you honour God or not?
III. THE FAMILY INTERCOURSE HAS THE MOST POWERFUL INFLUENCE ON HUMAN CHARACTER. The law of the physical world is that action and reaction are equal, and there is something like that in the moral. We are assimilated to those with whom we come into most frequent and intimate contact. There is a family likeness, in spiritual character, as well as in outward form and feature, between the members of the same household. The husband moulds the wife and the wife the husband, until, as it has been often remarked, they come to resemble each other even in the expression of the countenance, and the one will often anticipate the very expressions which the other was about to utter. John Randolph said to an intimate friend, "I should have been a French atheist if it had not been for one recollection, and that was the memory of the time when my departed mother used to take my little hand in hers and cause me on my knees to say, 'Our Father, who art in heaven.' "The mother of John Newton died when he was but six years old, but during these six years she had stored his mind with Divine truth, and those early lessons, as he himself records, he never could get rid of, even during the wildest part of his career. Oh, mothers, what a power is yours[ See to it that you remember your trust, and seek by faith, and prayer, and perseverance to be faithful to it.
IV. THE EARTHLY FAMILY IS NOT A PERMANENT AND ABIDING THING.
(W. M. Taylor, D. D.)
(H. Melvill, B. D.)
LinksPsalm 68:6 NIV
Psalm 68:6 NLT
Psalm 68:6 ESV
Psalm 68:6 NASB
Psalm 68:6 KJV
Psalm 68:6 Bible Apps
Psalm 68:6 Parallel
Psalm 68:6 Biblia Paralela
Psalm 68:6 Chinese Bible
Psalm 68:6 French Bible
Psalm 68:6 German Bible
Psalm 68:6 Commentaries