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THE BLESSEDNESS OF WAITING UPON GOD. Ps. Ixv. 4. Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest
to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts: we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple.
THE connexion between duty and happiness, though not seen by the generality of men, is certain. It may not presently appear: but it will approve itself, at last, to all who will wait for the issue of passing events. To the ungodly man it seems a drudgery to wait upon God: but to every humble and believing suppliant it will be found a source of unbounded bliss; so at least the Psalmist affirms in the words before us; from which we shall take occasion to notice, I. The habit of God's chosen people
It is the delight of every true Christian to approach unto his God
[He feels, like the Psalmist, that “ iniquity has prevailed against him” to a very fearful extent: but he sees that an all-sufficient atonement has been offered for him; and that, through the blood of Christ once shed on Calvary, “every transgression that he has ever committed may be purged
Hence he approaches God with all humility as a sinner, and with all earnestness, as one that desires mercy at his hands
Nor is it on some particular occasions only that his people draw nigh to him. They resemble the priests of old, whose apartments were in the temple, round about the sanctuary; and who therefore " dwelt in his courts :" for, in the habit of their minds at least, “ they dwell in God” by meditation and prayer; and “God dwells in them” by the abiding influence of his Spirit and grace ----]
And to this is he brought by the mighty working of the power of God-
[It is not by any natural power that the saints draw nigh unto God. Of themselves, they would flee from God, even as our first parents did in Paradise. It is “God himself who draws them," and who from all eternity "chose them” to this high honour. They are unto the Lord “ an holy priesthood";"
b John vi. 44.
c i Pet. ii. 9.
a ver. 3. VOL. V.
and what God said to Eli may, in a spiritual sense, be applied to them; “ Did I plainly appear unto the house of thy father, when they were in Egypt, in Pharaoh's house ? and did I choose him out of all the tribes of Israel to be my priest, to offer upon mine altar, to burn incense, to wear an ephod before me? and did I give unto the house of thy father all the offerings made by fire of the children of Israel? Yes, I did 4." and in like manner has God chosen from eternity, and “set apart for himself” in time, all those who by “a spirit of grace and of supplication” approach unto him. Hence it is, and hence alone, that they are "a people near unto him?."]
And it is not without reason that David declares, II. Their blessedness resulting from it.
The terms in which he states this, convey the idea most richly to our minds
[The priests, whilst serving at the altar, “partook of the altar," and "lived of the altar." See the particular account, as stated by Moses. “ The Lord spake unto Aaron, Behold, I also have given thee the charge of mine heave-offerings of all the hallowed things of the children of Israel; unto thee have I given them, by reason of the anointing, and to thy sons, by an ordinance for ever. This shall be thine of the most holy things, reserved from the fire: every oblation of theirs, every meat-offering of theirs, and every sin-offering of theirs, and every trespass-offering of theirs, which they shall render unto me, shall be most holy for thee, and for thy sons. In the most holy place shalt thou eat it; every male shall eat it: it shall be holy unto thee. And this is thine : the heave-offering of their gift, with all the wave-offerings of the children of Israel: I have given them unto thee, and to thy sons, and to thy daughters with thee, by a statute for ever; every one that is clean in thy house shall eat of it. All the best of the oil, and all the best of the wine, and of the wheat, the first-fruits of them, which they shall offer unto the Lord, them have I given thee. And whatsoever is first ripe in the land, which they shall bring unto the Lord, shall be thine ; every one that is clean in thine house shall eat of it. Every thing devoted in Israel shall be thinek." Let this be noticed ; and it will be seen that the priests of old were richly provided for, and well sustained by the fatness of God's house.
And here we see indeed the blessedness of waiting
[God's people, now, are " priests unto their God h.” And
d 1 Sam. ii. 27, 28.
e Ps. iv, 3. Zech. xii, 10.
this is the sustenance which, in a spiritual sense, is provided for them. Mark the wonderful correspondence between the Prophet Jeremiah, when describing the times of the Gospel, and Moses, in the fore-cited passage, declaring the ordinances of the Law : “ They shall come and sing in the height of Zion, and shall flow together to the goodness of the Lord, for wheat, and for wine, and for oil, and for the young of the flock and of the herd : and their soul shall be as a watered garden, and they shall not sorrow any more at all .... And I will satiate the soul of the priests with fatness; and my people shall be satisfied with my goodness, saith the Lordi.” Who does not see in this the accomplishment of my text? In communion with God, the souls of men are filled as with marrow and fatness, whilst their mouth praiseth him with joyful lips. “And in the communications which they receive from him, they are abundantly satisfied with the fatness of his house; and he makes them to drink of the river of his pleasures!.” In truth, no tongue can declare, no imagination can conceive, the full extent of those benefits which men obtain by waiting upon God: for "the riches that they obtain are unsearchable;" their "peace passeth all understanding;" and their “joy is unspeakable and glorified.”] SEE, then, I pray you, Brethren,
1. How different is the issue of men's different pursuits !—
[Is the worldling ever thus replenished to satiety? Never. He grasps a shadow; and " in the midst of his sufficiency he is in straitsm”
But the true Christian finds in his God all that his soul can desire: and “ drinking of the water that Christ gives him, he never thirsts again” for any thing that this vain world can afford" — -]
2. What a preparation for heaven is the Christian's employment upon earth!
[It is the delight of the Christian to draw nigh to God, and to offer to him the sacrifices of prayer and praise. And what, I pray you, are they doing in heaven? The only difference is, that here they pour forth their prayers under the influence of hope; but there, their one sacrifice is praise, called forth without ceasing, under a sense of complete, uninterrupted fruition.
Let, then, every soul amongst you adopt the habit of holy David: “One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will Í seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his templeo."]
i Jer. xxxi. 12, 14. k Ps. lxiii. 5. | Ps. xxxvi. 7, 8. m Job xx. 22.
n John iv, 14. . Ps. xxvii. 4.
God's workS OF PROVIDENCE AND GRACE. Ps. lxv. 9–13. Thou visitest the earth, and waterest it: thou
greatly enrichest it with the river of God, which is full of water: thou preparest them corn, when thou hast so provided for it. Thou waterest the ridges thereof abundantly : thou settlest the furrows thereof : thou makest it soft with showers ; thou blessest the springing thereof. Thou crownest the year with thy goodness; and thy paths drop fatness : they drop upon the pastures of the wilderness : and the little hills rejoice on every side. The pastures are clothed with flocks : the valleys also are covered over with corn : they shout for joy; they also sing.
ON what occasion this psalm was written is not certainly known: but it is probable that the inspired penman wrote it on the removal of the famine which God sent to punish the cruelty of Saul and of his bloody house towards the Gibeonites, whom he was bound by covenant to protect. This famine lasted three years : but at last, David having inquired of the Lord on what account this heavy judgment had been sent, and how the removal of it might be obtained, he was informed, that it was sent as a punishment of Saul's treachery, in which the people, no doubt, had too willingly concurred; and that he must execute on Saul's posterity such a judgment as the Gibeonites themselves should award to them. The Gibeonites demanded that seven of Saul's sons should be put to death. Seven of his sons were accordingly delivered into their hands, and were hanged up by them, as an atonement for their father's sina. The Gibeonites being now satisfied with this act of retributive justice, the favour of God was restored to the land, and the whole nation was gladdened with the return of plenty. Under this great calamity, David and all the pious of the land had humbled themselves before God; and in this psalm they acknowledge God as the merciful Answerer of prayer to his penitent people, whilst he was the just Punisher of sin to those who continued impenitent.
“ He had lately a 2 Sam. xxi. 1-9.
answered them by terrible things in righteousness” for their transgressions: and now he had mercifully “ heard their prayer,” and “ purged away their transgressions."
The words before us give a lively and beautiful description of the change wrought upon the earth through the rich showers with which God, in his mercy, had watered it. Of course our attention therefore must, in the first place, be fixed on those blessings of providence with which we also are favoured: yet, as throughout all the inspired writings there will be found a reference to spiritual blessings, under those terms which at first sight appear to have only a literal and carnal import, it will be proper to notice, also, what we conceive to be mystically contained in this passage. Agreeably to this view, we shall consider the text, I. As literally fulfilled in the blessings of God's Pro
videnceGod is, in reality, “ the giver of every good and perfect gift”
[Because God, in the first creation of the world, assigned to every thing its proper place and office, we are apt to overlook his agency in the things of daily occurrence, and to ascribe them to what are called the laws of nature. But the hand of God is as necessary to uphold the universe, as ever it was to create it at first. The heavenly bodies, it is true, have had their motions given them from the beginning; and have, for the most part, continued to obey the laws of their creation. But they have occasionally had those laws suspended; as when the sun stood still upon Gibeon, and the moon in the valley of Ajalon, for the space of a whole day: and from hence it appears, that they move in subserviency to the will of their Creator, and execute his righteous purposes of vengeance or of love, according to his command. The same may be said respecting the elements of this terraqueous globe. 'Fire and water have their properties; according to which, for the most part, they act : but at God's command the waters stood like a wall, to form a passage and a rampart for his chosen people; and the fire lost its power even to singe the clothes of his faithful servants, who were cast into it for their fidelity to him. In like manner, the earth produces fruits of different kinds ; and the rains at certain seasons descend to call forth into activity its vegetative powers. But the agency both of the