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Bible Commentaries

The Biblical Illustrator
Psalms 29

 

 

Verses 1-11

Psalms 29:1-11

Give unto the Lord glory and strength.

The glory of God’s government in the natural world

This psalm has been explained, but without sufficient reason, as telling of the power and progress of the Gospel in the latter days. But it is intended to represent the majesty of God, the aids we may expect from Him, and the homage we ought to render to Him. It begins with a summons to the chiefs of the nations, especially the chiefs of Israel, to “give Unto the Lord glory and strength,” that is, the glory of all their victories; and to do this in the holy sanctuary--worship and praise Him there. There comes the description of the thunder which is declared to be the voice of God, as it rolls and resounds through the vast expanse on high. Beneath its deep-toned peals and reverberations, all living nature shrinks and trembles. It “breaketh the cedars”; the thunderbolt which in a moment rends and shatters the Strongest trees, such as were the cedars; or the tempest, which overwhelms and lays them prostrate in a moment. The earthquake is next described. “He maketh Lebanon and Sirion also to skip like a calf.” That is, the Mamir mountains are shaken and made, as it were, to dance, so that the cedars whirl as the plaything of a child. Not the thunder or the tempest would accomplish this, but the earthquake, which shakes the solid fabric of the globe, and tells so emphatically of the majesty and power of God. The lightning blaze is told of next. The voice of the Lord divides the flames of fire, bidding them either shine under the whole heaven, or retire into its chamber, so that all becomes dark again. He gives to the coruscations of the lightning its beautiful forms and tints, or causes it to descend from the sky in one continuous stream. The wondrous accompaniments of the giving of the law at Sinai--the wilderness of Kadesh--are referred to next (Psalms 68:7-8). The last circumstance introduced seems to be derived from the effect of all. “The voice of the Lord maketh the hinds to calve.” In their terror the pains of parturition come upon them prematurely, and the hurricane makes bare the forests, penetrates their thick array, discloses their dark recesses, strips and scatters their leaves, and lays their twining honours low. The beasts of prey are driven forth from their hiding-places, and their covert is concealed no longer.. But over all this wild war, as it seems, God rules, and from all receives homage, and His power is for His people. (John Mitchell, D. D.)


Verses 1-11

Psalms 29:1-11

Give unto the Lord glory and strength.

The glory of God’s government in the natural world

This psalm has been explained, but without sufficient reason, as telling of the power and progress of the Gospel in the latter days. But it is intended to represent the majesty of God, the aids we may expect from Him, and the homage we ought to render to Him. It begins with a summons to the chiefs of the nations, especially the chiefs of Israel, to “give Unto the Lord glory and strength,” that is, the glory of all their victories; and to do this in the holy sanctuary--worship and praise Him there. There comes the description of the thunder which is declared to be the voice of God, as it rolls and resounds through the vast expanse on high. Beneath its deep-toned peals and reverberations, all living nature shrinks and trembles. It “breaketh the cedars”; the thunderbolt which in a moment rends and shatters the Strongest trees, such as were the cedars; or the tempest, which overwhelms and lays them prostrate in a moment. The earthquake is next described. “He maketh Lebanon and Sirion also to skip like a calf.” That is, the Mamir mountains are shaken and made, as it were, to dance, so that the cedars whirl as the plaything of a child. Not the thunder or the tempest would accomplish this, but the earthquake, which shakes the solid fabric of the globe, and tells so emphatically of the majesty and power of God. The lightning blaze is told of next. The voice of the Lord divides the flames of fire, bidding them either shine under the whole heaven, or retire into its chamber, so that all becomes dark again. He gives to the coruscations of the lightning its beautiful forms and tints, or causes it to descend from the sky in one continuous stream. The wondrous accompaniments of the giving of the law at Sinai--the wilderness of Kadesh--are referred to next (Psalms 68:7-8). The last circumstance introduced seems to be derived from the effect of all. “The voice of the Lord maketh the hinds to calve.” In their terror the pains of parturition come upon them prematurely, and the hurricane makes bare the forests, penetrates their thick array, discloses their dark recesses, strips and scatters their leaves, and lays their twining honours low. The beasts of prey are driven forth from their hiding-places, and their covert is concealed no longer.. But over all this wild war, as it seems, God rules, and from all receives homage, and His power is for His people. (John Mitchell, D. D.)


Verse 2

Psalms 29:2

Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.

The worship of holiness

Worship meant at first worth-ship, or the condition of being worthy, as friendship is the condition of being friendly. The best worship is not merely to thank God for what He has done for us, but to show ourselves worthy of this. It is very clear that this is the best kind of worship for us; for it results not in mere words, but in character. We are better for our religion, which cannot always be said of the outward kind; and surely it must be more acceptable to God. You would rather have your boy thank you for what you give him, and recognize your kindness, than not. But you would rather even than this have him use what you give him wisely. As between the boy who thanked you very profusely, and even sincerely, and then spent your money in some degrading way, and the boy who took your money carelessly and without a word, but spent it in a way that made you proud of him, you would surely choose the latter. But what is it that makes us worthy? It is “the beauty of holiness.” And what is holiness? Here we have another word that has lost its first and best meaning. Our dictionary tells us that “holy” is the same word, essentially, as heal, hale, whale. A man is physically holy when he is healed, or in health, when he is hale, when he is whole. Holiness is wholeness. No man is holy who is not a whole man; and, to be a whole man, he must care for his body as well as for his soul. “What we shall be it doth not yet appear;” but it is very certain that while we are here, the body is part of the man. Holiness is wholeness; and wholeness means a sound body and a sound soul together. But it means more than that: it means sound judgment, common sense. Good people are the salt of the earth. But it is possible to have too much salt in proportion to your porridge. It would be hard to say that anybody is too good; but it is very certain that many a man’s goodness would be worth a great deal more if only he had a little practical judgment to direct it. The world needs its dreamers, its men and women of enthusiasm and ideals; but it needs also the calm, steady balance and ballast of the men and women of common sense. There are other things that one needs to be a whole man, as a warm heart and a strong will, without which he does not fulfil the Divine ideal, and so does not render back the worship that God loves. These are enough to show what is meant, so far, by the worship of wholeness. But we have yet to see that mere individual wholeness is not possible unless the individual recognizes larger wholes than himself, of which he is a part. In the first place, in so far as a man is a body, he is a part of the great whole of matter, or the universe. The man who does not realize that he is so far a part of the world cannot be a whole, cannot be holy. The farmer must put his work into line with the material laws of soil and season; the engineer must put his work into line with the laws of steam, and the physician with the laws of the human frame. If either tries to do otherwise, to set up a world of his own invention or imagination, the great universe calmly sweeps over it and him, as the sea sweeps over the child’s house of sand on the beach. Let a man in any way separate himself from this great universe, and he suffers. As a man faints when he shuts himself into a room, away from the atmosphere that clothes the world, so he faints if he shut himself into his own life and interests. Just as the value of his land grows, though he may do absolutely nothing to it himself, simply because other people come and settle near him, and make a city about him, so his life grows, though he may not try to cultivate it at all, simply because other people are about him, and with him day by day. There are things that a man can do better in solitude than in society. There are necessities that sometimes drive individuals away from their fellows. There are circumstances that sometimes compel men and women to live destitute of the companionship which makes life rich and deep for others. But, though there may be a gain on one side, there is loss on others. There is about the recluse something less than human. The great currents of thought and emotion that sweep through society and keep hearts and minds fresh, as the breezes keep the air fresh, are lost by the recluse. It is a great mistake for those who are in grief or misfortune to shut themselves away either from the fresh air of nature or the fresh air of human companionship. Health is wholeness with nature and with man. To-day, human sympathies are broadening out with the spread of commerce; and, as it slowly dawns upon us that the good of the world is the good of every nation, so into our hearts comes a thrill of pity and desire to help, when we hear of the suffering of any part of this variegated human race. This is the beauty of holiness that is the best worship. In old days, when the sacrifice was not of the soul, but of the body, it was counted an unworthy thing to bring to the altar of God a bullock that had spot or blemish. To-day, it is not a one-sided any more than a stained manhood that makes a man worthy of the Divine love. It must be a whole man, body, mind, heart, will, and soul, all rounded and complete, at one with the world of nature and the world of man,--that is the acceptable offering. (W. H. Lyon)

In holy attire

Do we really worship God?

I. We worship God in the beauty of holiness when worship is characterized by reality. We should act with the same propriety, feel as much awe, dread of vulgarity, entering the old meeting house, as into the court and presence of an earthly king. As much? Yea, how much morel

II. We worship God in the beauty of holiness when our worship is characterized by recollection. Let the soul withdraw its faculties from men and time and affairs, come face to face with God and His righteousness, His truth, and His love. Bring by the process of recollection, as Miss Havergal says, your sins for cleansing, your uninterpretable heart, the cares from which you cannot flee, griefs you cannot utter, the joys of love, and the life you would no longer know as your own.

III. We worship God in the beauty of holiness when our worship is characterized by receptivity. The open souls are not sent empty away.

IV. We worship God in the beauty of holiness when our worship is characterized by responsiveness. I mean, carrying the ideals, impressions, determinations of the sanctuary back into the world and allowing them to mould our temper, habits and sentiments in the labours and recreations of life. If worship be true, character shall grow in strength and gentleness, and influences shall stream from us, bearing no tardy fruits, to our fellow-men. (D. B. Williams.)


Verse 3-4

Psalms 29:3-4

The voice of the Lord is upon the waters.

The voice of Jehovah upon the waters

The very pathway of the Lord’s people is said to be “through the waters”; and they are a people “that do business in deep waters.” How Israel, how Peter, found the truth of our text. But when passing through deep waters we are more inclined--and it is a crying evil--to listen to the roar of the waves than to the voice of my precious Christ.

I. afflictions are compared to “waters,” “billows, . . . deep waters.” And these may come upon the Church at large through hatred of the truth by Papists, Arminians and Socinians and others. And upon private persons, through temporal trials and persecutions. But these are other waters, blessed ones, such as told of in Ezekiel 47:1-23.

II. the Lord’s voice on these waters. It is an overruling and comforting voice, in waters of affliction: of conviction, comfort and direction, in the waters of the sanctuary.

III. the attention demanded to such a voice. Listen for it more than to any other whether persecutor or preacher. Supernatural joy comes from listening to the Lord’s voice. Have you all heard it? If not, may it awaken you now. (Joseph Irons.)

The voice of the Lord is full of majesty.--

The majestic voice

All God’s works praise Him, but there are some which praise Him more than others. There are some of His doings upon which there seems to be graven in larger letters than usual the name of God. Such as the lofty mountains, the thunders and lightnings. The old and universal belief was, that the thunder was the voice of God. But there are spiritual voices of God, and of these we would speak. Samuel on his bed heard it. Saul at his conversion. And God often speaks to man by the Holy Spirit. And the voice of God is ever full of majesty. It is so--

I. essentially; it must be so. Think whose voice it is. How God’s voice is full of majesty because--

1. It is true.

2. Commanding.

3. Very powerful. “Let there be light, and there was light.”

4. And because God’s voice is His Word, and His Word was His Son the Lord Jesus Christ.

II. always. God’s voice, like man’s, has various tones, but it is always full of majesty.

1. Let the tone be what it may, whether harsh as in threatening, or sweet as when consoling, or august as when commanding. “Speak to the children of Israel, that they go forward.” And at the Resurrection of the dead, and at the Judgment Day.

2. And in all the different degrees of its loudness. Some calls of God are loud, others gentle but all majestic.

3. And in all its mediums. The meanness of a speaker for God does not hinder this.

III. in its effects.

1. It is a breaking voice. “The voice of the Lord breaketh the cedars.” The proudest and most stubborn sinner is broken before Him.

2. Moving. “He maketh them (the mountains) also to skip like a calf.” No mountain of error, falsity, or sin can stand unmoved when He speaks.

3. Dividing. “Divideth the flames of fire.” Where God’s Word is faithfully preached it is ever a dividing power.

4. Shaking “shaketh the wilderness.” God’s Word does this in men’s hearts.

5. Bringing forth--“maketh the hinds to calve.” So God’s Word makes the soul bring forth holy desire and joy, and whatever a man has in him it has to come forth.

6. Discovering--“discovereth the forests.” Hypocrites hide, but God discovers them. Oh, listen to His voice bidding you believe and be saved. (C. H. Spurgeon.)

The Voice of the Lord

This sacred poem from which our text is taken, is one of the most elevated and sublime to which the poetry of inspiration itself has given birth. But the words are capable of other than their primary application.

I. consider the modes in which God speaks to man.

1. Through Nature--see this psalm,

2. Through the dispensations and in the government of Providence.

3. Through His revealed truth, and--

4. Chief of all, through His Son.

II. the attributes by which these communications are prominently distinguished--Power and Majesty. Consider--

1. The glory of His nature from whom they proceed.

2. The contents of the communications themselves. They speak of the Divine perfections and chiefly of God’s method of redeeming sinful man.

3. The issues in which attention to, or neglect of, these communications is to terminate. They are identified with the destinies of man’s deathless soul.

III. THE tribute which these communications made by God to man imperatively require.

1. Faith.

2. Gratitude.

3. Prayer for ourselves and for our fellow-men. How, then, shall you who are despising these communications of God answer it in the great day of Judgment? Oh, come to Jesus now. (James Parsons.)


Verse 9

Psalms 29:9

In His temple doth every one speak of His glory.

Nature’s should of praise

“In His temple everything saith Glory!” The temple of which the psalmist here speaks is the temple of Nature. He believed that every object in the visible universe was engaged in singing paeans of praise to its Creator--“fire and hail.” Too many of us lack almost entirely this sixth sense, “the vision and the faculty divine;” we hear scarce a whisper of this great shout of praise that goes up from all creation. But in what sense does everything in Nature cry, Glory! In what sense does the material universe sing the praises of God? It does so, I doubt not, directly. For God’s pleasure all things are and were created, and doubtless the incense which arises from Nature’s altars, the songs which are chanted in her leafy aisles, the perfume of her flowers, the beauty of her landscapes, are as grateful to the Creator as man’s acts of worship. “The trees clap their hands, and She little hills rejoice together before the Lord.” But there is another sense in which natural objects praise God, and it is this we shall meditate upon; they awaken gratitude in the heart of man and thus transmute themselves into conscious praise. Man’s soul is the great organ upon which Nature plays her anthems of praise; the five senses are the keys; and through the medium of this instrument every created thing in God’s Temple crieth, Glory!

I. nature incites man to praise by her beauty, Think of one or two of those myriad appeals to our admiration which Nature makes, and which, for the most part, go unregarded.

1. Reflect how God’s glory reacheth unto the clouds. The clouds, perhaps more than all other objects in Nature, teach us the immanence of God, teach us how His presence may penetrate and transfigure even what is most commonplace and familiar. For what are clouds? When they rest on the surface of the earth they are just choking fogs and clinging mists disfiguring everything they touch. But raise them away into the purer strata of the air to which they rightly belong; let the wind churn them into flakes of snow, and the moon pierce them with its silver arrows; and the sun suffuse them with its golden ardours; let them become the womb of the lightning and the chariot of the storm--and they present such visions of glory as can be seen nowhere else. Thus God would teach us that evil is but good in its wrong place, and that the fogs and mists of earth’s sins and sorrows are the substance out of which God will weave hereafter golden visions of ethereal beauty.

2. Think what praise we owe God for the loveliness of all watery forms with which He has robed and adorned the earth, and of which clouds are but a part. The brooklet seeks the river, and the river empties itself into the sea, and the sea sends aloft its multitude of clouds, and the clouds form themselves anew on the face of the earth. That which is part of a stagnant ditch to-day may be a radiant dewdrop tomorrow, and what is now a peaceful pool may anon be a part of the stormy ocean which writhes its white fingers in the shrouds of sinking ships. But whether in forms of sublimity or of tenderness, how varied is its loveliness, and how varied are the notes of praise it should educe from man. Think of it as the iceberg and the glacier; as the snow that robes the mountain, and the hoar-frost that bejewels the branches; as the foam ball upon the torrent and the dewdrop on the rose; as the cataract spanned by the rainbow, and the crystal pool, the mirror of the woods 1 And then, perceiving how beautiful these things are in themselves, and what a throb of gratitude they awaken in the heart of him who feels their beauty, you will be impelled to link the gratitude of conscious and unconscious nature together, and to cry with the psalmist, “All Thy works praise Thee, O God, and Thy saints give thanks unto Thee.”

3. Whether we gaze downward at our feet, where God has covered the earth with a carpet of emerald, and embroidered it with flowers, and, lest we should weary of their colours, has decreed that they shall bloom and fade, and be succeeded by others, month by month, and season by season; or visit those mountain regions which are, as an eminent writer has said, “the great cathedrals of the earth, with their gates of rock, pavements of cloud, choirs of stream and stone, altars of snow, and vaults of purple traversed by the continual stars”; whether it be the lichen which softens the scarred ruin or the forest which clothes a mountain side which engages our attention; the insect which flutters its hour of sunshine and is gone, or the star whose light takes a thousand years to bridge the space between it and us--alike, if we have indeed ears to hear, shall we be impelled to confess that everything in God’s temple crieth, “Glory!”--alike we shall declare with the psalmist, “Thou, Lord, hast made me glad through Thy works, and I will rejoice in giving praise for the operation of Thy hands.”

II. nature incites us to praise by her bounty. The beauty of those natural objects of which I have spoken appeals to our higher nature, but our lower nature also needs ministering to. “Man shall not live by bread alone,” but without bread he cannot live at all. And, therefore, Nature awakens our gratitude by her material as well as her spiritual gifts. The clouds not only delight the eye; they are, as a psalmist calls them, “the river of God,” and rain plenteousness on the earth. The flowers of the field do not merely charm us by their loveliness, they yield up to us their colours and their perfumes; they serve us with their seeds and their fibres; they give us medicine to heal our sickness. The oak, the pine, the cedar, and the ash are not only types of strength and gracefulness; they yield timber for the ships and rafters for the homestead. The mountains serve not only to sanctify and delight the human heart by their sublimity, they help to make the earth habitable by purifying the air and giving birth to the rivers; without them the ground would become stagnant morass and the atmosphere would breathe pestilence. The mighty ocean, which is, in calm, as a waving veil of iridescent colours, and in storm--

The mirror where th’ Almighty’s form

Glasses itself in tempests,

is also the helper of man, bearing on its bosom the argosies of many nations, and in its depths the harvest of the sea, without which the harvest of the land would be insufficient for our needs. All nature thus ministers to us--

The whole is either our cupboard of food,

Or cabinet of pleasure,

And, moreover, nothing is too insignificant to be serviceable. Says Dr. Macmillan: “Even the hoary lichen on the dusky rock, that has drunk ill all the hues of the spectrum and made no sign, yields, when artificially treated, its hidden store of colour, and produces a violet and golden hue not unworthy of the fairest garden flower.”

III. nature incites to praise by the moral qualities she educes in man. This is Nature’s chief glory, her highest honour, that she is the instrument by which God educates human souls and fits them for their immortal destiny, For we are placed here under the discipline of Nature, and she is a severe task-mistress, from whom nothing is to be had for the mere asking. Nature exacts laborious toil in exchange for all her gifts. She hides her pearls in the depths of the sea, her gold in the sands of the river or the crevices of the rocks; she buries the metals, man’s most useful allies, and the coal to smelt those metals, deep down in the heart of the earth; she secretes her balms and her subtle essences where even the cunning chemist can scarce track them. Her most powerful forces, such as electricity, are ever the most elusive and the hardest to be subdued. Everything man extorts from Nature he must win, not only by the sweat of his brow, but by the sweat of his brain. He wrestles with her for her blessing as Jacob wrestled with the angel at Penuel, till almost he seems crippled with the strain. But the conflict proves at last that as a prince he has power with God and has prevailed; he wins the blessing, and, lo! it is not only corn and oil and wine, but rich endowments of mind and heart as well. Think about it, and you will see that almost all the highest moral qualities of our race--patience, endurance, forethought, courage, mutual helpfulness--are the outcome of the necessity to work which Nature lays upon us. (A. M. Mackay, B. A.)

Glory! glory! glory! -

I. The statement of this verse holds good when we consider the temple of the universe. In it everything says, Glory! The whole universe is, to the devout mind, as one huge sanctuary in which all things show forth the praise of their Creator. Incline your ears to listen, open your hearts to catch the sweet sounds, as flowers, and clouds, and beasts, and birds, rocks, hills and trees, declare that God is worthy to be praised! We must not let them sing alone. We’ll take our key from them, and say, Glory, too.

II. in the temple at Jerusalem everything saith, Glory. I know that when this psalm was written the wondrous pile on Zion’s hill had not been commenced. But it was already in David’s heart to build it, and, for aught I know, some of the plans of the sacred premises were by this time in his hands. With a prophet’s eye he foresaw the building of that holy Temple--its grace, and its grandeur. As Abraham saw Christ’s day and was glad, so David, with a seer’s vision, perceived the temple crowning Mount Moriah, and said of it, “In His temple everything saith, Glory.”

III. We may refer this also to our blessed saviour, for Jesus called His body the Temple of God. I sometimes think that David, who already foresaw his greater Son, may have thought of Jesus when he said, “Everything in His Temple saith, Glory.” A greater than the temple is here. Study Christ’s life, and you will find that He lived to God’s glory from first to last. At His birth the angels sang, “Glory to God in the highest.” In His boyhood He must be about His Father’s business, and all through life He did always the things that pleased Him. Everything about Christ, God’s Temple, said, Glory: every word was to the praise of the Father, every work glorified Him upon the earth, every grace and characteristic reflected the glory of God the Father, for Christ was the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His Person. “Twas when He came to die that His body, broken for our sakes, said, Glory! loudest and most emphatically.

IV. Is Christ’s church everything says, glory. Oh, to get out of the set-Hess of our proprieties. “Everything in His temple saith, Glory.”

V. This brings me to a still more personal matter, viz. the temples of our persons. “Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost?” Does everything in the temple say, Glory? Are all your powers devoted to the service of God? Are all the wondrous influences that you exercise employed to the praise of Jesus? Is the royal standard flying over every gate of Mansoul? Does it float above the citadel? Do our highest faculties of thought, and memory, and affection, and imagination, pay to God the homage that is due unto His Name? “The chief end of man is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him for ever.” Oh, for this full consecration, this entire surrender.

VI. Let me remind you of the heavenly temple to which, as the years fly past, we are hastening on. Oh, for a peep into the land of light. John helps us, for it was his privilege to gaze right into the Glory. There His servants serve Him day and night in His Temple. There the hearts of the redeemed sing out His praise, like the voice of many waters. (T. Spurgeon.)


Verse 10

Psalms 29:10

The Lord sitteth upon the flood; yea, the Lord sitteth King for ever:

God’s throne upon the flood; or, Divine control

There is a well-known line of an English poet, which tells us to “look through Nature up to Nature’s God.
” And not a few of our national poets have nobly done this. But the Bible is the supreme example. Its writers did not refuse to look at Nature; they were ever doing so.

I. That the course of events on earth is full of changes. Calm today, storm to-morrow.

II. but “jehovah sits upon the flood.” The changes of human life do not disturb Him. Yet more, He controls them all, “He sitteth King for ever.” Natural science shows how the smallest and seemingly most insignificant events are all guided by law. Nothing is arbitrary or of chance. God watches over and controls them all.

1. Scripture asserts this. There may be seasons when His people seem to be forsaken so that their enemies ask exultingly, “Where is now their God?” And yet, even then, the answer is, “Our God is in the heavens; He hath done whatsoever He hath pleased.”

2. Fulfilled prophecies confirm it. For example, the Advent of Christ. That was predicted seven hundred years before He came, and that He should be born at Bethlehem.

3. The continuance of true religion in spite of all opposition.

III. the manner in which events are overruled.

1. By general laws. See the illustration of the text, “the flood.” That obeys the law of its nature. Now one of God’s general laws is this--that sin is always followed by suffering--and another is--that generation shall be followed by generation: wicked men are removed to make way for better.

2. By special interposition. See the miracles.

IV. lessons.

1. Let the Church of Christ be comforted.

2. Also each individual Christian. (F. Tucker, B. A.)

King at the flood

The king is revealed in the time of the flood. Smaller personalities appear kingly when the waters are smooth; they disappear at the flood. Military officers are very much alike when they are on the parade ground; their genius and quality are revealed on the battlefield. The captain of the boat and the landsmen seem equally efficient when the boat glides over still waters, and the days pass in a long picnic, and games are played on the deck; but when the whirlwind awakes, and the boat staggers like a drunken man, the king is seen enthroned! I will measure and judge any one who seeks the throne of my life by his demeanour and worth amid my crises. Among all the candidates for honour and homage I will yield the crown of my obedience to the one who proves to be king at the flood. Let us look round upon two or three men who have come to one of life’s emergencies, and who are in need of a sovereign helper.

1. “I am come unto deep waters where the floods overflow me.” What is the character of this man’s crisis? “Iniquities prevail against me.” He is the victim of unclean desire. The inner rooms of the spirit, the holy place, is defiled. He is unable to contemplate the beautiful and to love it. The floods of carnality overflow him. Or perhaps the victim is overborne by the spirit of envy which too frequently manifest itself in deceit and treachery, or he is possessed by the passion of jealousy which makes him a conspirator against his neighbour’s good. Whatever may be the type of the man’s besetment, the flood is at the gate, and he is overpowered by the invasion of its unclean deeps. What shall we say to him? One would perhaps advise him that the secret of his redemption will consist in “plain living and high thinking.” But the counsel is worthless. We are advising a man who is overborne by appetite to control the appetite, and suggesting that a man who is the victim of his own thought should order it in beautiful regularity. How fares it if we call in the Lord Himself? The Master’s speech is full of healing confidence and hope. He speaks of a clean heart and a right spirit. He not only unfolds an ideal, but He offers the power by which it can be realized. The unclean channels are flushed and cleansed, and all the powers in the life are quickened and revived.

2. “Save me, O Lord! for the waters are come into my soul.” What is the type of this man’s sorrow? It is a flood of trouble, perhaps arising from common circumstances such as we are familiar with in our own life.

3. All Thy waves and Thy billows have gone over me.” “The sorrows of death compass me.” This type of overwhelming sorrow is one of the most familiar sights in the common way. Here is a beautiful wedded, life. The early intimacy was like a spring day. The wedding was only the welding of ties already sanctified. The home was a haunt of love and peace. Then a storm came, and the billows rolled against the little sanctuary. The sorrows of death compassed it, and the wife is gone I Now, leave God outside, and let us go inside. What shall we say to the bereaved husband? Shall we tell him that “other friends remain,” that “loss is common to the race”? Let us call in Jesus. “Thy brother shall rise again.” “I go to prepare a place for you, that where I am there ye shall be also.” “There remaineth therefore a rest for the people of God.” “Weeping may endure for a night, but-joy cometh in the morning.” “He that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.” Who is King? “The Lord sat as King at the flood.” (J. H. Jowett, M. A.)

A turbulent scene and a tranquil God

This psalm shows the influence of Godliness upon the intellectual faculties, the social sympathies, and the religious instincts of human nature. The text gives us:--

I. A turbulent scene. “A flood.” A flood suggests--

1. Commotion. The moral domain is all commotion. Look at it spiritually: “There is no peace, saith my God,” etc. Look at it socially,--nationally. Souls are all in commotion here.

2. Innovation. It was broken down barriers, etc. So have souls.

3. Distress. It is furious and violent, etc. The moral world is not like a river, flowing on peacefully in its channel. Nor like the ocean, moving, even when most tumultuous, within its own proper boundaries. It is a “flood.”

II. A tranquil God. “The Lord sitteth.” This implies on His part--

1. A consciousness of His right to reign. If He had any moral misgivings He would not be at ease. An usurper could not be tranquil over such a tumultuous empire.

2. A consciousness of a supremacy of power to reign. He has no feeling of incapacity, lie can control with consummate ease the whole. We rejoice in His supremacy over the flood. (Homilist.)


Verse 11

Psalms 29:11

The Lord will give strength unto His people: the Lord will bless His people with peace.

God’s gifts to His own

I. the blessings promised,

1. Strength. How needed this is, for sin has made man weak. He tries to hide his weakness, but in vain. Nor can he heal himself. And after he is converted he still needs God’s strength, “who giveth power to the faint.” He would certainly fall and perish without it. And from this gift of strength comes--

2. Peace. The mariner in the storm is at peace because he knows that his ship is sound and strong and his pilot skilful.

II. the recipients of these promises. “His people.” These are they who have been chosen from the beginning, brought to Christ, and received His adoption as Sons of God. Two chief marks of His people are--1 Humility.

2. Faith. And these shall be blessed with peace. Some men are cursed with it--the peace of indifference, hypocrisy, and the hardened heart. For unbelief produces a counterfeit peace when God lets a sinner alone in his sin. (Stephen Bridge, M. A.)

Promise of strength and peace

I. what is the value of the blessings here promised?

1. Strength--to contend with--

2. Peace--the great blessing of the Gospel (John 14:27).

II. who are the Lord’s people, to whom these blessings belong? Those who value them; feel their need of them; and are earnestly seeking of Him an interest in them. (E. Cooper, M. A.)

The peace of God, the strength of His people

Our text in its first clause points out the process by which we are prepared, and the second is a declaration of the privileges which are to be enjoyed by Christians.

I. what is that peace which God promises to his people? “My peace I give unto you.” The peace of Christ--enjoyed by Him, and bequeathed to His followers--was not a peace resulting from a sense that sin was forgiven, for He had done “no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth.” It must have been the thorough harmony which there was between His will and the Divine, His perfect acquiescence in every appointment of the Father, His undeviating confidence in His protection, and His imperturbable assurance of His love. These we may believe to have been the elements in the peace of a being, who was “holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners”; but who, notwithstanding His freedom from all guilt, had to make His way through much tribulation to a throne prepared for Him at His Father’s right hand. And, though there must be respects in which the peace attainable by ourselves will differ from that enjoyed by our Saviour, still, forasmuch as He left His own peace to His Church, we may expect that the points of resemblance will be more numerous than those of distinction. We have every right to contend that there will enter into the constituent elements of a Christian’s peace, that harmony with the Divine will, that acquiescence in the Divine dealings, that confidence in the Divine protection, and that assurance of the Divine love, which must have composed thee peace of Christ; for these belonged not to the Saviour as He differed from ourselves, but rather as He was a man, living the life of faith in the midst of trials and temptations. If the peace of God reigns in your heart, you will have a consciousness that sin is forgiven; an ever-growing earnestness in striving after holiness; a tranquillity undisturbed by the calamities of life; a hope superior to the terrors of death.

II. the connection between this peace and that strength with which it is identified in the text, In spiritual things, the Christian has need of being strengthened both in the head and heart; and now let us see whether in giving him “peace,” God does not give him “strength” both in the one and in the other.

1. First as to the head. You are always to distinguish very carefully between what we may call the offensive and the defensive weapons of a Christian; between the arguments with which he may attempt to beat down the infidelity of another, and those which may suffice to the keeping off infidelity from himself. If the believer know little or nothing of the external testimony on the side of revelation, he will be no match for his opponent, and must not expect to undermine his scepticism. But will he, on this account, be himself an easy prey to the infidel? is there nothing to be expected but that, because unequipped with weapons for an offensive war, he will be found unprepared to maintain a defensive? We reply, that, on the contrary, his mind is too well strengthened to be carried by the assaults of an enemy. We are speaking of a man who, although he may not have studied what are called the evidences of Christianity, has been long acting on the supposition that the Bible is divine, obeying its precepts as the precepts of God, and relying on its promises as the promises of God. And we can be sure of such a man, that he has not proceeded in this course without becoming his own witness to the truth of the Scriptures; acting on the precepts, he has found himself partaker of the promises, and thus has obtained simple, irresistible evidence that the book is true, and therefore divine.

2. See next how this peace will strengthen the heart, or the affections. It is through our not setting the standard of Christian privilege sufficiently high, that even believers are so often overcome, whether by the world or the flesh. If they aimed at what we are sure they might acquire--an abiding, elevating sense of God’s love and favour; an actual delight in Him; and such an anticipation of heavenly joys as would make them already dwellers in His presence; they would have comparatively no relish for base and transient pleasures, and would therefore be little moved by the solicitations which now too frequently prevail. If the heart were thoroughly and deeply engaged in religion, they might oppose, as it were, pleasures to pleasures, riches to riches, honours to honours--the pleasures, riches, honours, which God alone can bestow, to those which are proffered by the world; and thus would they be attached to the service of piety, by the very same ties which attach others to the service of sin, even the ties of inclination and preference. It ought to be thus; and it would be thus, if greater heed were given to religion, as an internal, vital, happy-making thing. But so long as Christians remain in a languid, half-hearted condition, slaving through duties in place of finding them privileges, talking about heaven in place of obtaining its foretastes, obeying God as a master, in place of delighting in Him as a Father,--what wonder if the world often gain an easy victory, so that what is ignoble attracts them, what is transient detains, what is worthless fascinates? And it is in thorough agreement with these statements that the psalmist in our text identifies strength with peace. We have shown you, that in this peace are included an abiding sense of Divine favour, a firm hope of future happiness, and such earnests of heaven as shall stimulate, whilst they gratify, the Christian. And what power will the world, with its vanities, its gauds, its riches, its pleasures, have over an individual in whom this peace abides?

III. How This peace of God may be obtained. If you would enjoy this peace, you must cultivate a devotional habit--a habit of communion with your Father which is in heaven. We can hardly doubt that one great reason why Christians make so little progress, and have so little enjoyment is, that they are so scant in their private devotions. God is ready to bestow great blessings; but then they must be asked for, and importuned for. “Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.” We have but to enlarge our desires; and God will increase His supplies. Let none of us then wonder if he have not much of that Divine “peace which passeth all understanding,” and if, in consequence, he be often overcome by temptations and disturbed by fears, if he be little in the habit of secret prayer and meditation. It is a good thing to be diligent in public worship; but nothing can make up for negligence in private. You may learn and obtain much in church, and so forsake not the assembling of yourselves; but it is, after all, in the closet that you may expect the best lessons, and the finest glimpses of immortality. See to it, then, ye who name the name of Christ, that ye be frequent and fervent in private prayer to God. Thus shall our text be fulfilled in your experience, and the Lord Himself shall “bless you with peace.” (H. Melvill, B. D.)

The Christian’s peace

Our text closes this wondrously beautiful psalm. There seems to be an allusion to the priestly benediction with which the sacred services of Israel were concluded--“The Lord bless thee and keep thee . . . and give thee peace.” And it points us to that which, through Christ, we now obtain. Consider, therefore--

I. the nature of the blessing promised,--peace.

1. The peace, or sweet and delightful composure of mind, which arises from the sense of reconciliation with God.

2. The peace which arises from the practical influence and operation of religion upon the human passions. Let the unconverted confess the truth that these are the sources of most painful and distressing agitation. Do they not carry the elements of wild disturbance within them? Now the influence of religion is to subdue all these and thus exempt the people of God from the chief miseries which have yet been felt upon earth. Christians--is it not so?

II. what are the considerations by which this blessing may be most fully exhibited in its surprising value? It is evidently intended, by the manner in which it is here spoken of, that we should consider it as of high and incomparable worth. It is the climax of the psalm. And this estimate of it is just, for--

1. This peace greatly exalts and dignifies the nature of those who possess it.

2. It is a sure antidote and support amidst all possible visitations of sorrow. See Isaiah 32:1-20, at end; Hebrews 11:1-40., and see the history of the apostles, the martyrs and Christ’s Church in all ages. And the sweetness of this peace is the beginning of the quiet of the skies, the Sabbath of our God.

III. what are the impressions this subject should produce?

1. Gratitude and devotedness.

2. Those who have it not should be filled with desire for it. You cannot know real peace until this is yours. (James Parsons.)

The blessings of peace--they are the gift of God

I. the blessings of peace. Man appears from the harmless make of his body, the tenderness of his affections, the sovereignty of his mind, and his dependence upon others’ help, as well as by the rules of life prescribed to him by express revelation, to be formed for a social inoffensive creature. Now the natural state of each being is the happy one. And the happiness of peace is like that of health, it spreads through the whole of the civil, as that doth of the animal, constitution. We do not perceive the value of either until we have lost them. Therefore, to discern the advantages of peace, we must recollect the miseries of war.

1. The expense, which falls mainly on the poor.

2. The toil, hardship and suffering, and the loss by death.

3. The disaster done to commerce.

4. Its wickedness in its origin, in its progress, and in its effect. Nevertheless it is sometimes unavoidable. It was so in our own case. But we have made terms of agreement, and we rejoice that war is at an end.

II. the blessing of peace is God’s gift. He puts men’s minds upon the seeking after it. He is the giver of all good. And such events as peace and war cannot but occupy a distinguished place in the scheme of Providence.

III. To entitle us to the blessings of peace we must be his people. What is our case? Are we God’s people? Do we live as set forth in Titus 2:11-14? Do we know ourselves by this picture? Is it not rather as told in Jeremiah 4:22? How can we hope for the favour of Providence if we continue ungodly and regardless of religion and virtue as our nation too much is? What must follow? Read Jeremiah 23:14; Jeremiah 23:17; Jeremiah 23:19; Jeremiah 23:22. Remember, too, what Azariah said to Asa (2 Chronicles 15:1-2). A tottering state cannot be supported or a sinking one raised without national reformation (Jeremiah 6:9; Jeremiah 6:14; Isaiah 57:21). And in this each individual must bear his own share. The fewer that’ will amend, the more need we add to their number. Therefore we speak as bidden (2 Timothy 4:1-2; 2 Corinthians 5:20). (T. Seeker.)

Peace

Peace is interior repose of spirit: and this repose of spirit, as we know, is the result of the satisfaction of spiritual needs. In the degree in which we are possessed by any conscious need, and know that that need is not met, in that condition, of necessity, we are in a position of restlessness. But when this need is met, then immediately our inner being passes into a state of peace, and then we say that, the Christian life is a life of peace. This, then, is the life to which God calls us--a life of interior spiritual satisfaction in which we rest in the satisfaction of possession, and in the satisfaction of well-based hope. What we are craving for as the condition of peace is this--that we should be living in right union with our God, for in that union is the satisfaction of our every need. When, then, we are told that the Lord shall give His people the blessing of peace, what we are taught is this--that God, and especially now in the days of the Christian economy, is bringing His people into that right relation with Himself in which they find their peace in Him, What is the first essential condition of our being in right union with God? It is, is it not?--the fruit of that great primal religious need, the need of the conscience. We are perfectly aware that we have passed into wrong relations with God, that the cause of that wrong relation is sin, and that of necessity sin involves this separation from God, this passing into wrong relations with Him. Forgiveness means always, the restitution of relations of peace between him who forgives and he who is forgiven. It carries with it much more, but it does mean this--if there is variance between one who is wronged and the wrong-doer, that variance can only be changed into right relations and ensuing peace by the forgiveness of him who is wronged. This is the first thing God does. He reveals Himself to us in Christ Jesus our Lord, who is the great High Priest of humanity, in the power of His passion, who has passed into right-hand relationship with Himself, to reinstate them in right relationship by His forgiveness. And this is not all. You see forgiveness is never really effected unless the one to whom that forgiveness is extended is in a position in which he will receive that forgiveness. And God by His Holy Spirit works upon the heart’s of sinners, makes them penitents, speaks to them as penitents, speaks to them His forgiveness, and that forgiveness is effectual in reinstating in union with Himself the one who has been alienated from Him by sin. This is the first condition, but there is peace even greater than the peace of reconciliation; peace deeper than that of the conscience rejoicing in the Divine forgiveness--I mean the peace of fruition. I am in union with God, and the effect of that is this--His light illuminates my mind; He reveals Himself to me; I know Him not simply with the external knowledge in which a student attains to the knowledge of Him, but I know by a direct interior revelation of Himself unto my mind. He speaks to me and I know; I see with the eyes of my understanding the fair beauty of my God. And when 1 know God, and in the measure in which I know God, I know mental rest. What is the only rational position of the creature in the presence of the Creator? What is the only true exercise of that moral freedom wherewith I am endowed, and consciously through the mysterious possession of my will? It is a mystery. “Our wills are ours we know not how,” but the meaning of this mysterious gift is clear. “Our wills are ours to make them Thine.” “Thy service is perfect freedom,” and my will yields to the attraction of that vision in which my heart delights, only it is drawn into conformity with the will of God; and the end of that conformity of will breathed out here in active obedience and in patient endurance is the very ascension of my spirit unto God. It is the realizing of the law of sacrifice. By it I return unto God, lie upon the altar of God’s heart, and am consumed with the fire of God’s communicated grace. And if rest of heart is in God’s knowledge, if rest of heart is in God’s love, rest of will is in conformity with God’s will. But, yet again, He calls me to another rest, and that is the rest of activity. Filled with the knowledge and love of God, the will raised up into active conformity with the will of God, activity becomes necessary; and thus lifted up into union with God, I pass into His Sabbath. But what is the Sabbath of God? Is it a life of inactivity? Is the attitude even consistent with inactivity? “My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.” Within the limits of His Divine Being the work ceaseth not. As the God of nature His work ceaseth not. Within the Church as the God of grace His work ceaseth not. And what is His work in Himself? What is His work in the universe? What is His work in the Church? What is His work in the individual soul but the work of peacemaker I Behold, maintaining the harmony of His own eternal life within Himself, maintaining the harmony of all these forces combined in such marvellous unity in creation, restoring broken harmony in man’s interior being, restoring the true harmony of man with man because He has restored the true harmony between God and man; the Lord shall give His people the blessing of peace, and in this great work He associates Himself with us. And yet once more, still it is true our rest is partial as far as present experience. The peace of conscience is often troubled by our fight with renewed failures and sins. Our knowledge is partial, our love fluctuates, our wills tremble, our service here is maimed; but all this is transitory. Here in a measure our position is a position of a hunger and thirst; and yet in that hunger and thirst there is rest. “Blessed are they that do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.” In restlessness there is rest to-day. And the rest of hop"fountain of all that courage and boldness"e! Quickly the years are flying by, shorter and shorter is the way that lies before us in our earthly pilgrimage; clearer and clearer before our gaze as the years go by comes the vision of Jerusalem the Golden, the vision of peace. I dare not say that that is mine, for I may fail even yet; but as year by year goes by, and I know the constancy of His love and the mighty power of His grace, each flying year that finds me at its close, not by my fidelity but through His mercy, with God’s hope in my heart and His peace in my conscience, strengthens within me the blessed hope of perseverance to the end of life--the blessed hope of perfected peace. (G. Body, D. D.)

Peace considered as God’s blessing

I. How valuable a good peace is in itself, as it stands opposed to bloody and destructive wars.

1. Consider war in its causes--the wickedness of men, and the just vengeance of God.

2. Consider war in itself--the destruction of creatures made after the image of God.

3. Consider war in its consequences and effects.

II. what things are requisite to make this a real and complete blessing, capable of being appropriated unto god’s own peculiar people.

1. Conjunction with copious effusion of the Spirit of God (Ezekiel_29:23-29).

2. When the gospel of peace has its free course, and a large spread in the world (Micah 4:2-3).

3. When, according to Divine dictates, kings do reign and princes decree justice (Proverbs 7:15; Isaiah 1:26).

4. When God gives pastors after his own heart.

5. When hereupon the Divine government obtains, and takes place in the minds and consciences of men (Psalms 67:1-7).

6. When there is a manifest prevalency of Divine love among men that bear the same name of Christians.

7. When God appears to be reconciled to such a people. For in His favour is life. There is a spiritual sort of blessing that may be enclosed in the external blessing, and particularly in this of peace. Such an external blessing as that of peace is not a complete blessing. Because it is no argument of Gold’s special favour. Men are not made by it the better men. They may by it become so much the worse men. “The prosperity of fools destroys them.” The first Scipio opened the way to the Roman power, the second to their luxury. Their virtue languished, and they were conquered by their own vices, who before could conquer the world. Man, notwithstanding an external peace, may be as miserable in this, and in another world, as if they had never known it.

III. see what cause of thanksgiving we have, with reference to peace as a general good; and also what cause of supplication, that we may have peace as the special blessing of God’s people. Let us pray--

1. That there may be a larger diffusion of vital religion, wherein stands, indeed, man’s being at peace with God.

2. That there may be that spirit as a spirit of mutual love among Christians, to reconcile them to one another. (John Howe, M. A.)

The peace of the devil, and the peace of God

Peace and rest are two names for a flower which buds on earth, but is only found full-blown in heaven; yet even the faint perfume of the unopened blossom excites our strong desire. Every precious thing in this world is sure to be counterfeited. If the government mint issues gold and silver money, rogues will be found to make spurious coin. Satan is the cunning ape of God; and whatever God does, he tries to do the like with his enchantments. Hence, while there is a peace more precious than the gold of Ophir, there is another peace which is worse than worthless. When a soul is borne up upon the waters of false peace, its ease is hopeless till that peace is dried up, and the soul is stranded in self-despair.

I. the devil’s peace (Luke 11:21).

1. This peace is often merely outward. The plough-boy, when he goes through the churchyard, is afraid of ghosts, and therefore whistles to keep his courage up; and so, many who are loaded with apprehension try to conceal it by those flippant songs in which they boast of “driving dull care away.” In the secret of their soul that same dull care sits on the throne of their hearts, and is not to be driven away by the ballad, and the fiddle and the dance.

2. This peace is false. A sinner may say, “I am at peace as to God”; but if this comes of forgetting or ignoring Him, it is a sorry sham. If a man has to forget God before he has peace, that fact betrays a fatal secret. If the man, on remembering God, is troubled, then his peace is a mere writing on the sand. Better know that we are at war, if it be so, than dote upon a peace which is a fool’s, paradise, and only exists in fancy.

3. To many this peace comes through ignorance. They know not that sin is a deadly viper, and therefore they toy with it as with a bird.

4. With many, however, it is not so much ignorance as thoughtlessness. This is one of the devil’s great nets, in which he entangles many. If he can keep you from thinking; he will keep you from believing.

5. This peace, in many cases, is the result of carnal security. Will things always be as they have been? Can you be sure of it? Are you not warned that it will not be so? Your eye is not so clear as once it was; your limbs are not so vigorous as once they were. If there be no change in the world, there is a great change in you during the last few years. Before to-morrow’s sun has risen you may lie upon the bed of death.

6. Some have a peace that comes of superstition. No outward performance can enable you to dispense with inward repentance and faith.

7. Unbelief brings false peace to thousands. Sin must be punished, and if your peace is built upon the supposition that it will not be so, your foundation is even less to be depended upon than the sand. Hazard not your soul upon a lie,

8. Many are kept in peace through companionship. Choose rather as friends those who roughly tell you solemn truths, than those who with excess of sweetness would flatter you to your everlasting undoing.

9. Peace caused by the devil is often the awful prelude of the last tremendous storm. Beware of insensibility! Your unfeeling state should warn you that you are given over to destruction. In the higher and colder latitudes, when men feel a sleepiness stealing over them, their companions stir them up, and rub them, and will not leg them slumber; for to sleep is to wake no more.

II. the Lord’s peace. A man of God lay dying, but he was very calm; yea, more--supremely happy. One said to him: “Friend, how is it that you have such peace?” He answered, “I can see no ground or cause for it save this: it is written, ‘Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee, because he trusteth in Thee..’” Was not that, a satisfactory reply? There is a weight of argument in it. If your mind is stayed on God, He will keep you in perfect peace.

1. The peace that we should desire to possess is a peace which is a blessing. False peace is a curse; but to be soundly at peace with God is an unalloyed blessing, and it bringeth no sorrow with it. To fail back upon the Father’s bosom, and say, “I know that He Himself loves me, and I know that I love Him”; to look up to Jesus, and to say, “He loved me, and gave Himself for me”; to feel the movings of the Holy Spirit, and to yield ourselves up to His influences--this is peace unspeakable. Do you know it? It is not only a blessing in itself, but it is a blessing in its consequences. There is no man so humble as the man that is at perfect peace with God: he wonders at the blessing lie enjoys. There is no man so grateful; there is no man so courageous; there is no man so little affected by the world; there is no man who bears suffering so patiently; there is no man who is so ready for heaven as the man who is at perfect peace with God, and knows it.

2. This peace only comes from God. Here we have peace from lips that cannot lie, from a heart which cannot change, through the blood which has made a full atonement.

3. This peace comes only to His own people. If you have done with self, the world, and sin, as the main desire of your heart, you are among His people.

4. This is peace in the time of tempest, and peace after storm. Some of us enjoy our greatest peace when the Lord is abroad, and the thunders roll like drums in the march of the God of armies. We feel a rapture as we perceive that our Father is very near, and is speaking so that we hear His voice. In spiritual storms that voice is our comfort; and after the tempests are over, the Lord speaks a sweet hush to the hearts of His children. He allays our fears, while He whispers, “It is I be not afraid.” (C. H. Spurgeon.)

A boundless promise of peace

I should like an everlasting cheque from some millionaire, running thus: “So often as this cheque is presented at the bank, pay the bearer what he asks.” Few persons possessed of such a document would fail to put in an appearance at the bank. We should be regular visitors. O ye children of God, you have such a promissory note in the text before you! The Lord hath endless, boundless peace within Himself, and when you have long enjoyed peace with Him you may go to Him again and say, “Lord, renew my peace. I am troubled, but Thou art unmoved: bless me with Thy peace.” When you are rich, and find that riches bring cares, bring these to your God, who will bless His people with peace. When you are poor, do the same. When children are born to you, and with them come family cares, take the new burden to the Lord, for He giveth peace. And if the children die, and you weep as your young shoots are cut off, still turn to the Lord, and believe that He will bless you with peace. If you grow sick yourself, and the tokens of a deadly disease appear upon you, still be calm, for lie will bless you with peace. When you must go upstairs and lie down upon your last bed to rise no more, then, even then, the Lord will bless you with His ever-living peace; and when you wake up at the sound of the last trump the Lord will still keep you in perfect peace. (C. H. Spurgeon.)

Peace

You knew what peace is, do you? Few common terms are less understood. Silence is not peace; nor is indifference; nor is insensibility; nor is the quiescence which comes of selfish fear of consequences. There cannot be peace where there cannot be passion. It is only in a modified sense that we speak of a barn, or a pool sheltered on every side, being at peace; but when we speak of a peaceful sea we speak accurately, for the sea is exposed to forces which rouse it into terrible tempests. Peace must, then, be understood as a composite term,--as an affirmative, not as a negative condition. Some men have no sensibilities towards God; they see Him, hear Him, feel Him, nowhere; not in the light, not in the wind, not in the day’s story of gift and love and mercy; they are in a state of moral torpor. Are they at peace with God? Most truly not, for peace is other than death. Where there is true peace there is of necessity a right relation of forces; nothing preponderant, nothing conflicting; everything has its due. In the case of the heart there must be life; that life must balance the entire nature, judgment, conscience, will, affection; towards God there must be intelligence, devotion, constancy; towards man there must be justice, modesty, honour. Finding all this, and we find peace; finding a tendency towards this, and we find a tendency towards peace; finding this in perfection, and we find a peace which passeth understanding. (J. Parker, D. D.)

Peace, not indolence

In calling us to peace, God has not called us to indolence; a deep sleep must not be mistaken for a deep peace. We must resemble in some degree the worlds which are at rest by reason of their velocity. The earth is at rest, yet no wing of flying bird can travel so fast; the light gives no sign of motion, yet no runner can give us the faintest idea of its speed. Rest is the ultimate expression of motion. God is at rest, yet energy is streaming out of Him constantly to vivify all the creations of His power. We refer to these things to save the text from abuse, lest the alien should claim the child’s heritage, and lest the child himself should forget his duty to the alien. Such is peace, and such are they to whom the blessing is given. (J. Parker, D. D.)
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Psalms 30:1-12

 


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Bibliography Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Psalms 29:4". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/psalms-29.html. 1905-1909. New York.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, September 15th, 2019
the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24
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