I will strengthen them in the LORD, and in His name they will walk," declares the LORD.
I. SELF-MASTERY. Reason must rule, and not passion. The Spirit, not the flesh.
II. DIVINE INVIGORATION. Need constant aid. The plant thrives by commerce with the sun, so the soul gains energy from God. The prayer of all true men is that favourite one of David, "Quicken thou me."
III. DEVOTION TO THE RIGHT. Doing evil is dissipation of strength. Doing good brings its own recompense. The Sandwich Islanders believed that the souls of the braves slain in war pass into those who slay them, and that therefore the more a man kills the stronger he becomes. This is true spiritually. It was fabled of the giant Antares that when he touched the earth he renewed his strength; so when we touch right we are renewed after the image of God.
IV. ASSOCIATION WITH THE NOBLEST. To be allied with the bad is not only criminal, but ruinous. Fellowship with the good elevates and ennobles.
V. GROWING NOBLENESS OF CHARACTER, There is the consciousness of advance. Settled principles. Enlarged experience. Progress in faith and godliness. All this prophesies of victory. Peter was far stronger at Pentecost than when he made his great confession; when he wrote his Epistles than when Paul had to withstand him to the face for dissembling at Antioch.
VI. HOPE OF IMMORTALITY. The strength won will never be lost. The life given by God in Christ is everlasting.
Whene'er right feelings fire thy languid heart,
And I will strengthen them in the Lord
1. When the Lord hath done greatest things for Him people, it is yet a new gift to give them the use thereof, to encourage and strengthen them thereby, for it is a new promise. "I will strengthen them."
2. I As God can easily encourage the most feeble and faint hearted, so their Sure grip of it is to have it laid up in God for them, and by faith and depend once draw it forth as there is need.
3. Encouragement in God is only well improven when it is made use of to strengthen unto holiness and perseverance, which is the only sweet fruit of all mercies, rendering them comfortable to the receiver, when he is led nearer God by them. "They shall walk" in their duty.
4. Holiness is then rightly set about, when we are constantly in it, when we adhere close to the rule, when by faith we drag furniture out of God, and aim at His glory, and give Him the glory of all our performances.
5. The Lord needs not be hindered to show Himself gracious, by the unworthiness and unholiness of His people, but when He is about to do them good, He can be surety to Himself, that the fruit thereof shall be forthcoming to His glory, and can make them He doth much for, to be such a people as His dealing toward them obliges them to be, therefore, after all the former promises, the Lord Himself undertakes to make them holy.
6. The sweet comfort and refreshment of the promises will only be felt by those who dwell much on the study of God the Promise Maker, and consider how all-sufficient He is, and how worthy to be credited for the performance of what He promiseth. Therefore doth He subscribe His name to all this prophecy. "Saith Jehovah."
Christian World Pulpit.The Rev. John McNeil says, "I owe more than I can tell to my father. He had a habit of which he never spoke to us, nor we to him. He was a quarryman, and I used to hear him going downstairs in the dark mornings, and, standing on the threshold before passing out, he would say aloud, 'I go today in God's name.' Then, strong in that strength, would trudge off to the quarry, the blasting and risks of the work. I can never forget the impression this made upon me, and thankfully say today, 'My father's God is mine.'"
(Christian World Pulpit.).
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