Even the wrath of man shall praise You; with the survivors of wrath You will clothe Yourself.
I. IT PRAISES GOD. The Bible is full of illustrations of this. It is part of God's universal purpose of overruling all evil for good. See this in the history of the Fall - it became the occasion of redemption. The cross of our Lord Jesus Christ - it draws all men unto him. Persecution of the Church caused its world wide extension. The corruption of the Church led to the Reformation. See the hand of God in history continually compelling what is "meant in malice to be changed to blessing."
II. BUT IS NOT, THEREFORE, TO BE HELD GUILTLESS. (Cf. Romans 3:8, and St. Paul's reply.) If evil were to be held guiltless because overruled for good, then there could be no judgment of the world; all punishment of sin now would be wrong, and all wickedness would be justified.
III. BUT IS THE HEIGHT OF SINFUL FOLLY. What madness it is and has ever been found to be!
IV. THE PEOPLE OF GOD ARE NOT TO BE TERRIFIED BY IT. (See Job 1:12; 1 Corinthians 10:13; Psalm 2.) Let them praise God for the blessed alchemy of his grace, whereby he transmutes the wrath of man into his praise. - S.C.
But I will declare for ever; I will sing praises to the God of Jacob.: — The praise resolved upon here is worthy of our imitation, inasmuch as it —
I. LOSES SIGHT OF SELF IN DEVOUT ADMIRATION OF THE CHARACTER AND DOINGS OF GOD.
1. He will praise God for His doings.(1) Undeserved by us. "While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."(2) Unsought by us. We did not seek God, but He sought us by Jesus Christ.(3) Freely and heartily given by God out of His own sovereign love. "Bless the Lord, O my soul."
2. He will praise God for His faithfulness. With Him there is "no variableness, neither shadow of turning."
3. He will praise God "for ever." "Let not thy praises be transient — a fit of music, and then the instrument hung by the wall till another gaudy day of some remarkable providence makes thee take it down. God comes not guest-wise to His saints' house, but to dwell with them. David took this up for a life-work: 'As long as I live, I will praise Thee.'"
II. EVINCES ITS REALITY BY RESOLVING TO IMITATE HIM. Our praise of the excellences of others is a very hollow affair unless we also cultivate those excellences. We praise God for His "unspeakable gift"; are we imitating His pure generosity? We praise Jesus Christ for His great self-sacrifice for us; are we denying ourselves in His spirit that others might be benefited? We bless God for the Gospel; are we exemplifying the spirit of the Gospel? A certain Dr. Whitaker, on reading the fifth chapter of Matthew, brake out, saying, "Either this is not the Gospel, or we are not of the Gospel." And is it not to be feared that the spirit of the Gospel for which men praise God, and the spirit of their lives, are often widely different? Let us evince the sincerity of our praise to God by imitating Him in our spirit and life. Let us admire Him, commune with Him, adore Him, until we are transformed into the same image.
In Judah is God known: His name is great in Israel.I. AS THE GLORIOUS RESIDENT IN THE MIDST OF HIS PEOPLE (vers. 1, 2). God is everywhere; but is in an especial sense present with holy souls. They are represented as His "temple," which implies —
1. Special connection with Him.
2. Special consecration to Him.
3. Special manifestation of Him.
II. As the triumphant conqueror of his enemies. He does His work —
1. Thoroughly (vers. 3-5).
2. Easily (ver. 6). His word is the fire that will burn up corruption, the hammer that will break the rocky heart, the sword that will slay moral evil.
3. Judicially (vers. 8, 9). God is infinitely just in crushing all evil. Satan is a usurper, and all his hosts are rebels. As a just God, He will put all-enemies under His feel. In a moral sense, God is a "God of battles." He is eternally warring against wrong.
III. AS THE ABSOLUTE MASTER OF MALIGN PASSIONS (ver. 10).
1. He subordinates human wrath. As the mariner makes the gale his servant to bear his vessel to the port, so God makes the malign passions of men and devils to bear on His great purposes to their complete fulfilment.
2. He restrains it. He allows the wrath of His creatures to go no further than He chooses. As He has set a boundary to the ocean, He has also to the human passions. "So far shalt thou go, and no further."
IV. AS THE SUPREME OBJECT OF HUMAN WORSHIP (ver. 11). This implies two things.
1. Devout resolutions. "Vow and pay unto the Lord your God." In this clause we have the fundamental God, and do right, and we shall get on as much as He thinks good for us.
(A. K. H. Boyd, D. D.)
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