By Henry Law
Exhortations to praise the Lord are reiterated. Motives to this exercise are boundless, and are piously set forth.
1-3. "Praise the Lord. Praise the name of the Lord; praise Him, O you servants of the Lord, you who stand in the house of the Lord, in the courts of the house of our God, praise the Lord; for the Lord is good; sing praises to His name; for it is pleasant."
Fervor never should relax in awakening others to give praise. Every faculty should burn in efforts to promote this duty. Let ministering servants lead the van and wave the standard. It is most true that no praises can adequately extol God's goodness. Think of His mercies and overflowing love. The infinitude of His love is shown in the gift of His dear Son to accomplish salvation, to endure our curse, to bring us safely to the heaven of heavens, to present us faultless before the presence of His glory. Can we reflect on such grace and not exclaim, The Lord is good! This exercise of praise fills the soul with exquisite delight. It is the joy of joys. It is the foretaste of heaven. Let us then call upon all that is within us and around us to bless His holy name.
4. "For the Lord has chosen Jacob for Himself, and Israel for His peculiar treasure."
No height of praise can measure the wondrous grace of God in setting His love on sinful sons of men. Everything in them is calculated to excite alienation. Justice, holiness, and truth seem terribly to frown. Still He loves. The gift of Jesus for them is the main evidence. In this love He regards them as His peculiar treasure. He honors them as the riches of His kingdom, as the brightest jewels in His crown.
5-6. "For I know that the Lord is great, and that our Lord is above all gods. Whatever the Lord pleased, that He did in heaven, and in earth, in the seas, and all deep places."
We cannot too often ponder the almightiness of God. Every view awakens admiration. The gods of the heathen are vanity, and less than dust and chaff. His will is power in the highest. His decrees prevail in every part of His dominions, in all the earth, in all above it, in all beneath it. His power rules unlimited and supreme.
7. "He causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth; He makes lightnings for the rain; He brings the wind out of His treasuries."
The wild elements seem to unenlightened observation to act capriciously and without control. But His power holds them fast bound in His hands. No vapors arise, no lightning flashes, no rain descends, no wind blows furiously, but in accordance with His sovereign will. Let us bless God for His unbounded rule.
8-9. "Who smote the first-born of Egypt, both of man and beast. Who sent tokens and wonders into the midst of you, O Egypt, upon Pharaoh, and upon all his servants."
Memory should review the manifestations of His power, when with mighty arm He rescued His people from the iron furnace of Egypt. Then wailing filled every house, for the first-born was stretched among the dead. Then terrible plagues swept the whole land with the broom of destruction. O God, who will not reverence Your glorious power!
10-12. "Who smote great nations, and slew mighty kings; Sihon king of the Amorites, and Og king of Bashan, and all the kingdoms of Canaan; and gave their land for an heritage, an heritage to Israel His people."
He who rescued His children from Egypt left them not in the perils of the wilderness. Many foes confronted them, but their heavenly Lord raised them above all perils. Mighty potentates with powerful armies opposed their progress, but resistance opposed in vain. The victorious host marched in triumph into the promised land. But they entered not without a struggle. The kings of Canaan mustered all their forces to repel the invaders. But they vanished as the chaff of the summer threshing floor. The whole land fell prostrate before their feet.
In this sustaining and enabling help, we have a precious picture of God's unfailing care of His people. He who begins a good work in them performs it to the end. They are kept by the power of God through faith to eternal life. He never leaves them nor forsakes them until they sit as conquerors on their thrones of glory. Let us bless God for His converting grace. Let us bless Him not less for His guardian arm and for His ever-watchful aid.
13-14. "Your name, O Lord, endures forever; your fame, O Lord, is known to every generation. For the Lord will vindicate his people and have compassion on his servants."
From everlasting to everlasting the name of the Lord shall be magnified. His wondrous works shall be the theme of never-ending praise. He will never fail to vindicate His people. If for a little season He may seem to be regardless of their trials, the purpose is to strengthen their grace. In due time it shall be apparent that His love failed not.
15-18. "The idols of the heathen are silver and gold, the work of men's hands. They have mouths, but they speak not; eyes have they, but they see not; they have ears, but they hear not; neither is there any breath in their mouths. Those who make them are like them; so is every one that trusts in them."
The infatuation of those who form material images and call them gods is astonishing. Alas! multitudes as senseless as these idols still throng the benighted regions of this earth. Shall we remit our efforts to send to them the knowledge of the true and only God, and Jesus Christ whom He has sent?
19-21. "Bless the Lord, O house of Israel; bless the Lord, O house of Aaron; bless the Lord, O house of Levi; you who fear the Lord, bless the Lord. Blessed be the Lord out of Zion, who dwells at Jerusalem. Praise the Lord."
Blessings should ever sound from the lips of the ministers of His truth. His faithful servants should re-echo His praise. Who should bless Him more than ourselves? Let us loudly shout and never end our grateful hallelujahs.