Psalm 84:12

What God is to his people, and what he does for them, may be put into two figures, and expressed in two plain statements. But what he is to them, and what he does for them, depend on what they are in themselves, and what they are toward him. This the sincerely good man is always willing to recognize.


1. Suggested by two figures.

(1) "The Lord God is a Sun. This figure for God is only used in this place. The sun in nature is the source of light, life, warmth, beauty, fruitfulness. The psalmist seems, even in this figure, to have God's defendings chiefly in mind. God is Light against darkness, which Easterns so greatly fear.

(2) The Lord God is a Shield." See this figure treated in the homily on ver. 9. We may add the picture of the tents of the army ranged in circles round the king's tent, and forming an almost impregnable shield; so "the Lord is round about his people." Some have suggested making one figure of the two, and reading it, "The Lord God is a bright and shining Shield." They think reference may be to the brazen shields, which were kept polished, so that, catching the sun's rays, they might dazzle the enemy.

2. Suggested by two statements.

(1) "The Lord will give grace and glory." We may think of Divine bestowment exactly according with human necessities. Grace fits into all present needs; glory fits into all future needs. But the psalmist probably used the terms as figures for the two things he needed - help and success.

(2) "No good thing will he withhold." A carefully qualified promise. It does not say, "Nothing will he withhold." It is "no good thing;" and no one can decide what is good for us as he can who has the infinite knowledge, and is the infinite Wisdom and Love.

II. THE DIVINE CONDITIONS. "From them that walk uprightly." That being regarded as the sure sign that the heart is right with God. A man may walk uprightly before his fellows who is not heart right with God. But this is quite certain - if a man does not walk uprightly, he cannot be right with God. God is an unstinted Giver; we put the limitations by the failure of our faith, love, submission, and obedience. God would have his bestowmeuts to be the best possible blessing to us; and therefore they are withheld until it is quite plain that we are prepared to make the best of them. - R.T.

O Lord of Hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in Thee.
I. The exercise itself.

1. Man is altogether insufficient for his own happiness.

2. God alone is all-sufficient for the happiness of man.

3. God in His Word has made a revelation of His grace, mercy, and goodwill towards sinners.


1. Universal, for all good things.

2. Fixed, close, continual.

3. Heroic and fearless.

4. Joyful.

5. Resolute and determined.

6. Reverential and humble.

7. Regular; i.e. corresponding to God's revealed will, and to the tenor of His promises.

8. Everlasting.


1. God Himself pronounces him so.

2. His state, with regard to God and eternity, is perfectly safe.

3. In being thus exercised he gives glory to God.

4. His trust frees him from all care and fear.

5. In thus trusting, he is filled with hope and joy.

6. In so doing, he is strengthened both for doing duty and suffering affliction.

7. His trust shall not be disappointed.

(A. Swanston.)

I. THE NATURE AND GROUNDS OF A RELIGIOUS TRUST IN GOD. To trust in God is to repose a steady confidence in His protection, and to have an invariable acquiescence of mind under all the dispensations of His providence. This notion of a Supreme Being, and submission to His will, cannot fail in producing proper sentiments of those Divine attributes, upon which this duty of affiance is grounded; which are His wisdom, power, goodness, and faithfulness.


1. It teacheth us to entertain a modest and humble opinion of ourselves, and it is the best expedient to prevent those dangerous consequences that naturally flow from our supposed excellences.

2. By entertaining an humble opinion of our own endowments, our minds are more sensibly affected with juster apprehensions of God's goodness, and more disposed to patience and resignation under His dispensations.

3. To form a true notion of Divine providence will afford an additional strength to this argument: pursuant to this we must consider, that the same all-powerful, all-wise Being, who created the world, must of necessity be the Governor of it, and so order affairs and dispose circumstances as He thinks fit.


1. A believing trust in God's help naturally produces the firmest persuasion and gives us the strongest security of His almighty protection.

2. We have the contemplation of a future state to cure all our discontentedness and to secure the stability of our peace.

(W. Adey.)

I. THE HEART OF RELIGION ALWAYS HAS BEEN, AND IS, TRUST IN GOD. The bond that underlies all the blessedness of human society, the thing that makes the sweetness of the sweetest ties that can knit men together, the secret of all the loves of husband and wife, friend and friend, parent and child, is simple confidence. And the more utter the confidence the more tranquilly blessed is the union and the life that flow from it. Transfer this, then — which is the bond of perfectness between man and man — to our relation to God, and you get to the very heart of the mystery. Not by externalisms of any kind, not by the clear dry light of the understanding, but by the outgoing of the heart's confidence to God, do we come within the clasp of His arms and become recipients of His grace. Trust knits to the unseen, and trust alone. And trust is blessed, because the very attitude of confident dependence takes the strain off a man. To feel that I am leaning hard upon a firm prop, to devolve responsibility, to give the helm into another steersman's grasp, whilst I may lie down and rest, that is blessedness, though there be a storm.

II. A LIFE OF FAITH IS A BLESSED LIFE, BECAUSE IT TALKS WITH GOD (vers. 9-11). The ordinary Christian life of this day is terribly wanting in this experience of frank, free talk with God, and that is one reason why so many of us professing Christians know so little of the blessedness of the man that trusts in God. You have religion enough to keep you from doing certain gross acts of sin; you have religion enough to make you uncomfortable in neglected duty. You have religion enough to impel you to certain acts that you suppose to be obligatory upon you. But do you know anything about the elasticity and spring of spirit in getting near God, and pouring out all your hearts to Him? The life of faith is not blessed unless it is a life of frank talking with God.

III. THE LIFE OF FAITH IS BLESSED, BECAUSE IT HAS FIXED ITS DESIRES ON THE TRUE GOOD. "A day in thy courts," etc. This psalmist, speaking with the voice of all them that trust in the Lord, here declares his clear consciousness that the true good for the human soul is fellowship with God. But the clearest knowledge of that fact is not enough to bring the blessedness. There must be the next step — "I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness" — the definite resolve that I for my part will act according to my conviction, and, believing that the best thing in life is to have God in life, and that that will make life, as it were, an eternity of blessedness even while it is made up of fleeting days, will pub my foot clown and make my choice, and, having made it, will stick to it. It is all very well to say that "a day in Thy courts is better than a thousand": have I chosen to dwell in the courts; and do I, not only in estimate but in feeling and practice, set communion with God high above everything besides?

IV. A LIFE OF FAITH IS A LIFE OF BLESSEDNESS, BECAUSE IT DRAWS FROM GOD ALL NECESSARY GOOD. "The Lord God is a Sun and Shield" — brightness and defence. "The Lord will give grace and glory": "Grace," the loving gifts which will make a man gracious and graceful; "glory," not any future lustre of the transfigured soul and glorified body, but the glory which belongs to the life of faith here on earth; link that thought with the preceding one. "The Lord is a sun... the Lord will give glory"; like a little bit of broken glass lying in the furrows of a ploughed field, when the sun smites down upon it, it flashes, outshining many a diamond. If a man is walking upon a road with the sun behind him, his face is dark. He wheels himself round, and it is suffused with light, as Moses' face shone. If we walk in the sunshine we shall shine too. If we "walk in the light" we shall be "light in the Lord." "No good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly." Trust is inward, and the outside of trust is an upright walk; and if a man has these two, which, inasmuch as one is the root and the other is the fruit, are but one in reality, nothing that is good will be withheld from him. For how can the sun but pour its rays upon everything that lives?

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

I. THE JOY OF TRUSTFULNESS. The deepest and purest joys are the outcome of trustfulness and the abandonment of oneself to another. The law holds good of our relationship to God, as of our relationship to each other, namely, that we receive according to our faith. Trustful people have a way of communicating their own simplicity and generosity to those with whom they have dealings. To trust the goodness of another is to make goodness seem to him at once more desirable and more possible of attainment. God has created us with this natural capacity for trustfulness, and the exercise of it is a source of joy. The dearest and most precious relationships are founded upon it. The joys of love and friendship are deeper and purer than those of material possessions.

II. THE BELIEVER'S JOY IS THE OBJECT OF HIS TRUST. Trust is sometimes misplaced. There are those who are base enough to take advantage of trust reposed in them. Many tragedies are caused by the discovery of untrustworthiness in the man or woman in whose hands we have placed our lives. The most interesting stories in literature are those of heroes and heroines whose trustworthiness is for long under a cloud, but which is finally vindicated. That which underlies our trust in each other is our love for goodness itself. "We needs must love the highest when we see it." Our real love is for God, who is goodness itself. We love persons in whom we trust that goodness is to be found in large measure. The believer who makes God his trust is happy indeed, nor. is there any danger of shock and disappointment to such a trust. If other trusts bring much joy, this brings supreme joy.

III. THE SUPREME CHARACTER OF THE BELIEVER'S JOY — BLESSEDNESS. There is something heavenly about the word. The kind and degree of joy which God experiences is known by this name. He is "the ever-blessed God," "blessed for evermore." Blessedness is calm and tranquil; it brings a sense of steadiness to the mind, and enables it to do its work without distraction or anxiety.

(R. C. Ford, M. A.).

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