To the faithful You show Yourself faithful, to the blameless You show Yourself blameless;
I. THE MERCIFUL EXPERIENCE HIS MERCY. Our Lord declares the same truth, when he says, "Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy" (Matthew 5:7); and when he declares, "If ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you" (Matthew 6:14); and teaches us to pray, "Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors" (Matthew 6:12, Revised Version). But how does this consist with the doctrine of justification by faith? It must be in harmony with it, since both are Divine. If it do not accord with some human statements of the doctrine, it must be because these are erroneous or defective. Faith is not a mere assent to the truth, or reliance on the atonement of Christ and the mercy of God in him; but it involves acceptance of Christ as Teacher and Lord as well as Redeemer, and therefore a willing obedience to his instructions, of which part is that we should be forgiving, and that only those who are shall be forgiven - only the merciful shall find mercy. Moreover, faith in the love of God in Christ works love in the heart; a faith which does not is of no avail. From another point of view, "repentance toward God" is as essential to salvation as "faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ" (Acts 20:21), and will be produced by it. It is vain, therefore, for the unmerciful to trust in the mercy of God, or to cry to him for mercy; his mercy is shown only to the merciful. But to them it is shown; and that not only in the forgiveness of their sins, but in the bestowment of all needful blessings. They also should bear in mind that their enjoyment of the love of God will be in proportion to the love which they cherish and display; and that every degree of selfishness will deprive them of some blessing.
II. THE UPRIGHT EXPERIENCE GOD'S UPRIGHTNESS. He is essentially upright, just, faithful; but the happy experience of his uprightness is for those who "walk uprightly" (Psalm 84:11) - those who are sincere and true hearted towards God and men. To these he will show himself upright by manifesting to them his favour, and fulfilling to them all his promises (comp. Psalm 92:12-15); while to others he will show the same quality by the execution of his threatenings.
III. THE PURE EXPERIENCE HIS PURITY. "Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God" (Matthew 5:8).
1. Genuine Christians are holy. Truly so, though not perfectly. They have been cleansed by the Word and Spirit of God, and "the blood of Jesus Christ his Son" (1 John 1:7). They have turned from sin, and it is their abhorrence. They watch and pray against it; and, when they fall into it, mourn with sincere grief. They cherish purity of heart, lip, and life. They desire and strive after perfect holiness.
2. To such God shows himself holy.
(1) He reveals to them his holiness. They are capable of such a revelation, because of their purity of heart. Sin blinds the soul, incapacitating it from discerning and appreciating the holy.
(2) He acts towards them holily. He requires holiness of them, and works it in them. All his dealings with them are in accordance with holiness, and have for their end to promote their sanctification. Hence he does not indulge his children, but, when necessary, afflicts them, that they may become more and more "partakers of his holiness" (Hebrews 12:10). He will not be satisfied until they perfectly reflect his image, and he can "present them holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight" (Colossians 1:22).
IV. THE FROWARD FIND HIM FROWARD.
1. Sinners are froward. They are perverse, unreasonable, ungovernable, impracticable. They show this in their feeling and conduct towards God, his Word and ways. They will not submit to his instructions or obey his commands. They "walk contrary unto" him (Leviticus 26:21), do the opposite to that which he enjoins.
2. To them God shows himself froward. It is a bold expression, and therefore, perhaps, the translators of this book softened it into "unsavonry," or distasteful. But the same word is rightly translated in Psalm 18:26, "froward." The meaning is clear. God acts as if perverse towards the perverse. As they will not pay regard to his will, he will not to their desires and prayers. As they oppose him, he opposes them, thwarts their purposes, disappoints their hopes. As they "walk contrary unto" him, he "will also walk contrary unto" them (Leviticus 26:24). It is a universal truth, discernible:
(1) In nature. If we would have nature work good to us, we must learn and obey its laws. If we will not, they will work us harm.
(2) In the affairs of life - in business and association with men. If we will not ascertain and live according to the laws which should regulate our conduct, they will avenge themselves, inflicting pain, loss, perhaps utter ruin.
(3) In respect to religion and salvation. These originate in the benevolent will of God; and if we would experience their benefits, we must have humble and obedient regard to that will. We must ask of him, "What must I do to be saved?" and "What wilt thou have me to do?" If we choose to reject the Divine revelations and requirements, and in pride and perversity take a course opposed to them, the Almighty will not alter his plans to please us, but will bring upon us the just consequences of our frowardness. He will appear froward to the froward, in that, when they call upon him, he will not answer; when they seek him early, they shall not find him (see Proverbs 1:24-29). It is vain and foolish for man to assert his own proud, capricious will; he will find that there is another and stronger will, that will assert itself to his discomfiture and destruction, unless he repent. - G.W.
With the merciful thou wilt show thyself merciful.
TopicsBlameless, Faithful, Gracious, Kind, Loyal, Merciful, Mercy, Perfect, Shew, Shewest, Thyself, Upright, Wilt
Outline1. David's psalm of thanksgiving for God's deliverance and blessings
Dictionary of Bible Themes2 Samuel 22:26
8609 prayer, as praise and thanksgiving
LibraryDavid's Hymn of victory
'For Thou hast girded me with strength to battle: them that, rose up against me hast Thou subdued under me. 41. Thou hast also given me the necks of mine enemies, that I might destroy them that hate me. 42. They looked, but there was none to save; even unto the Lord, but He answered them not. 43. Then did I beat them as small as the dust of the earth, I did stamp them as the mire of the street, and did spread them abroad. 44. Thou also hast delivered me from the strivings of my people, Thou hast …
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