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Bible Commentaries

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary
Psalms 148



Verse 14


‘A people near unto Him. Praise ye the Lord.’

Psalms 148:14

There was a time when we could not take these words to ourselves. We were not a people near unto God. Our sins had separated us from God, and we had no idea that we had gone so far from God until we tried to come back again to God. The prodigal had no idea he had gone into such a far country until he tried to come back to his father. But whilst he was yet a great way off the father saw him, ran, fell upon his neck and kissed him. And now we who once were afar off are ‘made nigh by the blood of Christ.’ And I trust we can take up the words of the Psalmist, and say we are ‘a people near unto Him. Praise ye the Lord.’

I want to suggest two simple questions for our consideration. First, how are we brought near to God? And, secondly, how near, practically, have we been brought?

I. How are we brought near?—How were we brought near to God? We are brought nigh by the blood of Christ. Now this is true both objectively and subjectively. It is true objectively. The only power which will save us is the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. There is only one old Gospel, that Jesus Christ died for our sins, according to the Scripture. He died, ‘the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God.’ It was God Himself upon yonder Cross of Calvary, in the person of the Incarnate Son, bearing our sins in His own Body upon the tree. This is the only truth which will not only satisfy my heart and conscience, but my intellect also. And as that is true objectively, so is it true subjectively, for I thus judge that if He died for me, then I must be dead to all the world beside, that I should live only henceforth unto Him.

II. How near have we been brought?—But, then, let us spend a few moments upon the second question. If it is by the blood of Christ that we are brought near to God, how near, practically have you and I been brought to God? Do you know what it is to be brought near to God, so near that we lose sight of everything else, and God alone is the great reality in your life, and God speaks to you, and as God speaks to you you tremble? This nearness of impression is very solemn, it is not something to be treated lightly; and yet the nearness of impression is not enough. You stood up at your Confirmation, and in answer to the Bishop’s question you said ‘I do,’ and you meant it. You were not a hypocrite. That day was one of the most solemn in your life. As you look back upon it now, alas! it is like one of those broken columns in our cemeteries—it snapped asunder. And yet it is not enough. We must get nearer to God than that; nearer than the nearness of impression. The nearness of communion is very precious, when you are brought so near God that you are able to look right through the clouds and see His presence, and His hand over you, and you eat and drink in the presence of God. Do you remember the first time you knelt there at the rail? It was a very solemn moment. I almost wish that all our communions were as solemn as that first communion. As you knelt there it almost seemed as if God’s hand was hovering in blessing over your head. The nearness of communion is very precious, but you must get nearer than that. Can you wait for God when everything is dark, when you do not even get an answer to your prayers; when you have to stand absolutely alone, with no human friend beside you; when the heavens seem to be as brass above you; can you wait near God? A man who can wait near God like that must be a brave man. And yet God calls you to come nearer still. He called Moses to the very top of the hill, and there He spake to Moses as a man speaketh to his friend. I would ask you to note this, that as He spake with Moses, the fashion of Moses’ countenance was changed, and he came down from the mountain having caught something of the reflection of the glory of God. Thus may it be with us.

—Canon E. A. Stuart.


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Bibliography Information
Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Psalms 148:4". Church Pulpit Commentary. 1876.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, December 11th, 2019
the Second Week of Advent
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