Lord, You have been our dwelling place through all generations.
I. THE BLESSED FACT. The Lord our Dwelling place, which this psalm tells of at its beginning. Weary wanderers as the Israelites were, with no settled resting place, here today, gone tomorrow, how blessed for them that there was refuge, a dwelling place, a home, in God! And this, Moses and such as he had realized and may realize still.
1. Here there may be, there is, perpetual change; but in God a settled abode.
2. Here, weariness and turmoil; in God, rest and peace.
3. Here, continual disappointment; in God, the soul's satisfaction. (Cf. Psalm 63:5.)
4. Here, perpetual peril; in God, perfect security.
5. Here, the coldness and enmity of men; in God, unfailing sympathy and love. Yes, God is the Home of the believing soul.
II. THE SUSTAINING POWER OF THIS FACT. It enables us to meet with calmness the heart breaking events of life. The psalmist enumerates a number of them.
1. The brevity of our life. (Vers. 3-6.)
2. The real cause of human misery. (Ver. 7.) It is our sin, and God's displeasure thereat. Hence is it (ver. 9) that the sense of that displeasure overwhelms us as with lightning flash, and our lives are as a breath. And so all life is sad, even at the best (ver. 10).
3. The fearfulness of the Divine anger. (Ver. 11.) "Who knoweth the might of thine anger and thy wrath, according to the fear that is due unto thee?" (Perowne). None can even rightly estimate it, much less overestimate it.
III. THE RELIEVING PRAYER TO WHICH IT LEADS.
1. That we may not miss the instruction which these sad facts should impart. The "wisdom" craved is that we may make the Lord our Dwelling place.
2. For brighter days. (Vers. 13-15.)
3. For the promised salvation - the work and the glory of God (ver. 16).
4. For the beauty of holiness. There had been none of this in Israel in all these many years.
5. That life may be worth living. Not a perpetual disappointment, such as it had been hitherto, but that the work of their hands might be established (ver. 17). Such are some of the prayers which the soul whose home is in God will be led to offer in view of the brevity, the frailty, and the sinfulness of life. Let the Lord be our Dwelling place, and all is well. "Our life is hid with Christ in God." - S.C.
The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed.I. THE LORD ALSO WILL BE A REFUGE FOR THE OPPRESSED.
1. What is a refuge? Shelter — in the cities of refuge; strongholds (2 Samuel 22:23); a harbour of refuge, as on a rocky, dangerous coast. Thus the leading idea is shelter. Now the Lord Jehovah as Father, Son, and Spirit is such refuge.
2. But who are the oppressed? Not only those who are oppressed in natural things, as many are; but in things spiritual. The heavy burden of sin. By Satan. Daily conflict with sin. Now the Lord is a refuge for such.
II. A REFUGE IN TIMES OF TROUBLE. The Scriptures always put together the malady and the remedy. As to these times of trouble, they are sometimes —
1. Seasons of temporal trouble;
2. Of spiritual trouble. These make us know that the Lord is our refuge, for we can find none elsewhere. There is no definition of what troubles, so that in all trouble we may claim this promise.
III. AND THEY THAT KNOW THY NAME WILL PUT THEIR TRUST IN THEE. The name means the revealed perfections of God. His eternal faithfulness. His loving kindness and tender mercy. His infinite wisdom. But who are they that know His name? They to whom the name of God has been revealed to their consciences. It is an experimental knowledge, and here is the grand line betwixt life and death.
IV. FOR THOU, LORD, HAST NOT FORSAKEN THEM THAT SEEK THEE. This takes in the poor, the halt, the lame, the little ones of God's family. In order to seeking God —
1. We must have a desire to find something; and then,
2. Know that God, from whom we seek what we would find.
(J. C. Philpot.)
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