is; what relations he bears to his people; and what things he has been doing in all ages for his people.
I. IN VIEW OF WHAT WE KNOW HE IS. Whatever side of his revelation of himself to us we may study, the impression left on us is that he is infinitely trustworthy. Take his Creatorship, involving the reliance of all existence on his upholding. Take his independence, as indicated in the term, "I am," given to Moses as a substitute for a name. Take his holiness, as the indication of absolute perfection in character. We want, in those on whom we can rely, power - we must know that they can; independence - we must be sure that they are above being biassed; and character - we must be sure of their response, in feeling, to our need. On this line it may be shown that none but God can have the right to claim our perfect trust. We may "trust in the Lord forever."
II. IN VIEW OF THE RELATIONS HE BEARS TO HIS PEOPLE. These have a special character. Beyond what God is to all his creatures, he bears special relations to his people. These gather up into the terms, Redeemer, Saviour, Father. Redeemer from Egypt, and from sin. Saviour from peril, and from self. Father, as hearing on himself the burden of his children's well being. If these relations are unfolded in their Christian developments, the call to full trust will be shown as every way reasonable.
III. IN VIEW OF THE THINGS HE HAS BEEN DOING IN ALL AGES. This brings us to the psalm. We may select illustrations from this historical retrospect. The two things immediately connected with the text are - the failure to trust God to provide needful daily bread. They might have trusted, for he could, he did, provide. With this lesson, the people failed to trust God for needed drink. But they might have trusted fully, for he could, he did, provide. - R.T.
H. Melvill, B. D.)
And had rained down manna upon them to eat, and had given them of the corn of Heaven.
1. The manna in the wilderness was the bread which the Lord gave the Israelites to save them from perishing. Even so Christ crucified is the heavenly bread which God hath given to "save our souls alive"; to preserve them from that eternal decay, which, through sin, would otherwise have been their portion, and to nourish them to eternal life.
2. The manna descended freely, as the gift of God; and so the blessings of salvation through Christ are offered freely in the Gospel. Desert is no more required in the one case than in the other. "By grace ye are saved," etc. The Gospel salvation is no less freely offered than it has been provided. It is a gift for which no price is demanded, and which looks for nothing in its recipient but want and misery. Though unspeakably precious, it is placed within the reach of all; and if we do but ask in faith, it will be made ours. Those, therefore, who refuse to partake of it are entirely without excuse.
3. The manna was suitable alike to all; and so the blessings of Christ's purchase are precisely such as are suited to the circumstances of His people. In their natural condition they are hungering and thirsting after true happiness; but nothing in the wide range of the universe can ever satisfy the cravings of their immortal spirits. But that satisfaction which all created objects are unable to yield is to be found in Jesus Christ — "He that cometh to Me," He declared, "shall never hunger; and he that believeth on Me shall never thirst." How diversified soever their circumstances, they find in Him that spiritual food which is fitted to satisfy all the wants of their souls. Are they guilty? "In Him they have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace." Are they estranged from God? They are "made accepted in the Beloved." Do they need deliverance from the power of sin? He "gave Himself for us that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify us unto Himself, a peculiar people, zealous of good works." Are they doomed to die, and moulder away into dust? He "is the resurrection and the life," and has promised to "redeem them from death, and ransom them from the power of the grave."
4. It was necessary for the Israelites to gather the manna, though freely given of God; and it is required of us that we believe to the saving of our souls. Nor is the faith by which we obtain a personal interest in Christ's salvation a mere transient act. As the Israelites gathered the manna daily, so we must be daily feeding upon the heavenly Bread offered to us in the Gospel. Our whole life must be a life of faith upon the Son of God. And blessed be God! we may always have the grace that we need.
5. As the manna sustained the Israelites from day to day, so are they supported and strengthened who live by faith upon the Son of God. By believing on Him who is the living Bread that cometh down from heaven, they dwell in Him, and He dwells in them. He that eateth this Bread shall live for ever.
6. The appointed mode of distributing the manna among the Israelites is not without its significance. Some gathered more, and others less, according to their activity, but all received a plentiful supply. So believers receive liberally out of the "exceeding abundant grace" of Christ. "It pleased the Father that in Him should all fulness dwell"; and if we only come to Him, we shall receive "out of His fulness grace for grace," abundance of every kind of heavenly and spiritual blessings.
7. A portion of the manna was laid up in the golden vessels of the tabernacle, where it remained for ages without suffering corruption. Even so, Jesus Christ liveth for ever in the heavenly sanctuary, as the "hidden manna," which He promises for the support and nourishment of His conflicting and overcoming people. And as He is represented in Scripture as "dwelling in their hearts by faith, the hope of glory," should not the purity of the golden vessels, in which the manna was hidden, teach us to cleanse our hearts from all sin and corruption, that they may be fit receptacles for Jesus Christ our heavenly manna?
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