March 28.—Morning. [Or June 22.]
“Quicken thou me according to thy word.”
AS we have now ended the book of Joshua, we will select a few passages from other portions of the Bible before we continue the history. We will again read a part of David’s wonderful panegyric upon the book of God in—
17 Deal bountifully with thy servant, that I may live, and keep thy word. (Our lives are preserved by God’s bounty, and should be devoted to his service. True life is the product of rich grace, and always reveals itself by holy obedience to the divine will.)
18 Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law. (The Scriptures are full of wonders, and especially they reveal him whose name is “Wonderful,” but we need to have our eyes opened by the Holy Spirit, or we shall see nothing aright. Far enough are we by nature from being able to keep the law, for we cannot even understand it without divine teaching.)
19 I am a stranger in the earth: hide not thy commandments from me. (Stranger as I am to the world, let me not be a stranger to thy will. With thy precepts as my map I shall find my road, even in this foreign country; without them I shall be as a traveller lost in the desert.)
20 My soul breaketh for the longing that it hath unto thy judgments at all times. (His desire was importunate even to heartbreak, and it was constant “at all times.” Such a desire is a sure token that the Spirit of God dwells within.)
21 Thou hast rebuked the proud that are cursed, which do err from thy commandments.
Pride brings forth error, and error provokes God to inflict the curse, of which his rebukes are but the fore-runners.
22 Remove from me reproach and contempt; for I have kept thy testimonies. (The best of men are slandered, their appeal is to God, their comfort is the testimony of their conscience.)
23 Princes also did sit and speak against me: but thy servant did meditate in thy statutes.
He was not so disturbed or disheartened as to give up his faith, but he was in earnest to sustain it with the best spiritual food.
24 Thy testimonies also are my delight and my counsellors. (In consequence of his meditating in the word, David was kept both from sadness and perplexity. We can only gain comfort from the Bible by following its directions, and living upon its doctrines.)
25 My soul cleaveth unto the dust: quicken thou me according to thy word. (Here we find nature’s disease confessed, and a cry directed to the Lord for the only remedy. Dust will cleave to dust; only the divinely regenerated rises to God, and even that needs daily renewal. The Lord has promised us quickening, let us seek it.)
26 I have declared my ways, and thou heardest me: teach me thy statutes. (Confession into the ear of God is good for the soul, and divine instruction is the best preservative for the life. If we confess past failure, we can only avoid future sin by seeking heavenly teaching.)
27 Make me to understand the way of thy precepts: so shall I talk of thy wondrous works.
It were well if all talk were upon such themes. When there is gold in the understanding, our speech will be golden, but how seldom is it so. When God instructs us we talk to profit, but not else.
28 My soul melteth for heaviness: strengthen thou me according unto thy word. (Lord, when we dissolve with weakness, make thy word to be the bread of heaven to strengthen us.)
29 Remove from me the way of lying: (Take it from me as well as me from it; for its presence is grievous to me:) and grant me thy law graciously.
30 I have chosen the way of truth: thy judgments have I laid before me. (Like a boy’s copy, or an artist’s model. We cannot learn unless we have our great class-book open before us.)
31 I have stuck unto thy testimonies: O Lord, put me not to shame.
32 I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart. (The more God gives us of comfort and knowledge, the more will we serve him. The weight of his grace shall lead us to put off “every weight” of sin. May the Lord make more room in our hearts for himself and his love.)
Smile on thy servant, bounteous Lord!
Grant me to live, and keep thy word:
Grant me to view, with eyes unsealed,
The wonders by thy law revealed.
Shine on me still, while far from home,
A stranger here on earth I roam;
While pines my soul with restless love,
Thy righteous judgments, Lord, to prove.
March 28.—Evening. [Or June 23.]
“I trust in thy word.”
TEACH me, O Lord, the way of thy statutes; and I shall keep it unto the end. (Bernard says, “He who is his own teacher has a fool for his master.” We cannot teach ourselves what we do not know, and to know anything aright we must be taught of God. Those whom the Lord himself instructs, become practical scholars and persevering disciples. Lessons divinely learned are never forgotten.)
34 Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart. (Where the Spirit of God gives a spiritual understanding of the Word, the whole nature is sanctified and set upon keeping the Lord’s commands. This prayer is suitable for each one in the family; let us stop a moment, while we breathe it from our hearts.)
35 Make me to go in the, path of thy commandments; for therein do I delight. (I am like the poor impotent man who could not move; therefore, Lord, make me to go. Where my heart already runs, there let all my faculties follow.)
36 Incline my heart unto thy testimonies, and not to covetousness. (Covetousness is the rival of religion. Those who love not God, frequently make a god of their gold. This sin is sure to bring ruin upon those who fall into it. It made Judas a traitor, and dragged him down to hell.)
37 Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken thou me in thy way.
Looking brings longing, and longing leads to sin, therefore let not the eye gage on evil.
38 Stablish thy word unto thy servant, who is devoted to thy fear. (My whole nature is set upon honouring thee; therefore, O Lord, make all thy promises to stand firm for me.)
39 Turn away my reproach which I fear: for thy judgments are good. (The reproach of Christ we rejoice in, but from the reproach of inconsistency we should daily pray to be delivered.)
40 Behold, I have longed after thy precepts: quicken me in thy righteousness. (Mere professors long after the promises, but genuine saints long after the precepts also. He who does not desire holiness will be shut out of heaven. Lord, send us more grace that we may be more holy.)
41 Let thy mercies come also unto me, O Lord, even thy salvation, according to thy word.
Mercy, yea, many mercies, we need, and we cannot be saved without them, but then they are promised in the Word, and here is our ground of comfort. Let us plead the promise in prayer.
42 So shall I have wherewith to answer him that reproacheth me: for I trust in thy word.
Faith, by the help of realised joy and manifested holiness, shuts the mouths of gainsayers.
43 And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth; for I have hoped in thy judgments. (If we are somewhat straitened in spiritual enjoyments, yet do not quite prevent our praising Thee. Let us rather stammer out Thy praises, than be entirely silent.)
44 So shall I keep thy law continually for ever and ever. (This would be heaven upon earth; it is heaven in heaven.)
45 And I will walk at liberty: for I seek thy precepts. (Holiness is the truest liberty.)
46 I will speak of thy testimonies also before kings, and will not be ashamed. (What is there to be ashamed off? God grant us the boldness of true faith in all companies.)
47 And I will delight myself in thy commandments, which I have loved.
“I live a voluptuous life,” said holy Joseph Alleine; “but it is upon spiritual dainties, such as men of the world know not and taste not of.”
48 My hands also will I lift up unto thy commandments, which I have loved; and I will meditate in thy statutes.
He longed to embrace the truth, and therefore held up his hands to receive it with inward delight. He felt encouraged to practise diligently the law of his God, because he loved the Lord’s Word, and daily meditated therein. It should be our daily habit to search the Scriptures. We must not be content with this family reading, but must each, in private, feed upon the precious Word. Are we all mindful of this?
In thee I live, and move and am;
Thou dealest out my days:
Lord, as thou dost my life renew,
Let me renew thy praise.
To thee I come, from thee I am;
For thee I still would be;
’Tis better for me not to live,
Than not to live to thee.