By Henry Law
Incessant praise is God's undoubted due. Countless are the motives which awaken it. May it be the exercise in which our souls unweariedly delight!
1. "Praise waits for You, O God, in Zion; and unto You shall the vow be performed."
Among God's people in the Zion of His dwelling, praise is ever ready to break forth. At every moment, in every circumstance, it strives to issue from adoring lips. How happy are God's people if praise is happiness; for their happiness flows as a river. They may have been in trouble--they may have known affliction's darkest hour--they may have felt desertion's misery. In these trials they sought deliverance, and vowed to pay the tribute of thanksgiving. Deliverance has come--their vows are duly paid. They call upon their souls and all that is within them to bless God's Holy name and to remember all His benefits.
2. "O You who hears prayer, unto You shall all flesh come."
Many sweet titles tell of our Lord's abundant goodness. We read of Him as a God ready to forgive--as a God who receives sinners. Here He is proclaimed as a God who hears prayer. Time would fail to recount all the promises which assure us of accepting favor. We are invited--we are importuned--to draw near to the mercy-seat by repeated promises that if we ask we shall receive. What is the saint's life, but the recital of prayers heard and prayers fulfilled! This truth rolls as an unceasing flood throughout the pages of the Bible. Oh! for more faith to clasp these grand assurances to our hearts. It would make earth one communion with heaven--it would show heaven descending unto earth on wings of glad reply.
Why are we so poor and needy, so scanty in grace, so downcast in spirit? It is because our prayers are faithless. How different would be our state if earnest prayer gave God no rest--if wrestling supplications took heaven by storm! Then praises would proclaim that God is true; and praying lips can never pray in vain. This truth put forth into action would make this world a house of prayer. "Unto You shall all flesh come."
3. "Iniquities prevail against me; as for our transgressions, You shall purge them away."
The believer is ever conscious of his sin-soiled state. He meekly cries, "My sin is ever before me." But still praise super-abounds. He knows that Christ has by His one offering purged away all his sins. He knows that the blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son, cleanses from all sin. Mindful of this pardon, what praises, what thanksgivings he pours forth!
4. "Blessed is the man whom You choose, and cause to approach You, that he may dwell in Your courts; we shall be satisfied with the goodness of Your house, even of Your holy temple."
The Book of Life, written before the foundation of the world, is here. Blessed indeed are they whose names are therein inscribed! The cause of this blessedness is everlasting love--its source is far above, out of our sight. But the effects are manifest. The happy objects of this love are won and drawn by grace. They cannot rest but in the presence of their God; and this they seek in holy ordinances, and here their souls are satisfied with tokens of God's goodness.
5-13. "By awesome things in righteousness will You answer us, O God of our salvation; who are the confidence of all the ends of the earth, and of those who are afar off upon the sea; which by His strength sets fast the mountains, being girded with power; who stills the noise of the seas, the noise of their waves, and the tumult of the people. Those also who dwell in the uttermost parts are afraid of Your tokens; You make the outgoings of the morning and evening to rejoice. You visit the earth, and water it; You greatly enrich it with the river of God, which is full of water; You prepare them corn, when You have so provided for it. You water its ridges abundantly; You settle its furrows; You make it soft with showers; You bless the springing thereof; You crown the year with Your goodness; and Your 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."
Prayer calls God to manifest His power--answers are not withheld. Terrible is the overthrow of all evil--faith is confirmed, and the glory of God is widely seen. His power shines brightly through the realms of nature. The operations of His hand declare it. The mighty mountains stand fast through His resolve. The raging waves repose at His word; morning sweetly smiles, and evening closes on a rejoicing world. Refreshing streams irrigate the thirsty soil; abundance richly follows; the year displays God's goodness as its diadem; fertility follows where His feet are set. Pastures and valleys are luxuriant plenty. Praise, then, is His just due. Let all within us praise His name.