They said in their hearts, "We will crush them completely." They burned down every place where God met us in the land.
Genesis 17:7, 8). It shows how the Church of God and individual believers are to conduct themselves in times when everything appears to be lost and to lie in ruins. The whole psalm may suggest two general points for consideration - the destructive work of man, and the constructive work of God.
I. THE DESTRUCTIVE WORK OF MAN. (Vers. 3-9.) The enemy had destroyed everything in the sanctuary, and burnt up the holy place itself. Look at some destructive work in our day.
1. The material tendencies of physical science. Leading to a denial of God and immortality, and striking at the foundation of morals by denying the freedom of man's nature. Ideas destructive, as well as conduct.
2. The critical spirit which is abroad. A spirit of denial, almost universally pulling down, and not building up. This and that not true - in history and creed.
3. The selfish spirit, wherever it rules, is destructive. In politics and commerce, and in our social relations - tending to antagonism and separation, and breaking all law - moral, Divine, and social.
4. The absence of true prophets - inspired men - is also a sign of the destructive process. (Ver. 9.) The true prophet is the constructor, and not the destroyer; the inspirer, and not the critic.
II. THE CONSTRUCTIVE WORK OF GOD.
1. God's greatest work of old was redemptive. (Vers. 12-15.) "For God is my King of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth." His work in Christ is reconstructive, building men up after the highest pattern. Christ came not to destroy, but to fulfil.
2. His work in the physical creation is constructive. (Vers. 16, 17.) He prepared the light and the sun, made summer and winter. The same mind ordained and continues the precious seasons as ordained the laws and works of redemption.
3. God's covenant is a covenant of salvation. (Ver. 20.) And the world is still in urgent need of redemption. "The dark places," etc.
4. The work of redemption is God's own - "his own cause. (Ver. 22). And therefore he will not abandon it. We can therefore pray as the psalmist did. - S.
They have burned up all the synagogues of God in the land.
I. LET US GLANCE AT THE SYNAGOGUES OF JUDAEA AND IN THE ANCIENT WORLD. And we note —
1. That they express one of the greatest marvels of Providence. They were to be the places where, and by means of which, the message of the Gospel was to be delivered. The Jews had synagogues everywhere, and thus God by His providence had prepared the field in which first the Gospel seed was sown.
2. They were intimately connected with our Lord's work.
3. And with the ministry of the apostles.
II. AT THE SYNAGOGUES OF GOD TO-DAY. The word means a coming together, and it expresses an essential idea of Christian worship. And they are synagogues of God. This the main thing. There God works and blesses souls. And think of them all, and of those especially in our own land. May God's power be manifested in them more and more.
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