If I say, I will speak thus; behold, I should offend against the generation of your children.…
A great preacher has reminded us of a truism that we are all in danger of forgetting, namely, how very old our difficulties are, that there is really very little of novelty about them. We are apt to think that they are new, that no one has ever faced the problems with which we are confronted; that human life at no period of its history has been crowded with problems and perplexities as it is crowded for us to-day. But all the time there is really very little of novelty about them. When the cry goes up, "It is too hard for me," what can religion say? "Until I went into the sanctuary of God" — that is what religion says.
1. To believe in God is to believe in His purpose; it is to be absolutely certain that there is a golden cord somewhere running through the history of the world, running through the story of my own personal life, often hidden, sometimes emerging, but continually there, the eternal purpose of God. If I am sure there is a purpose, though I have not found it yet, I can afford to wait if there is anything to be waited for. I can understand how the very waiting, the very imperfection of my knowledge, the very impossibility of explaining things to me as yet, may be invaluable to me, develop powers m me that will best enable me to see the light when it comes.
2. The man who prays, apart altogether from the answer to his prayer, prays humbly, feelingly, perhaps with moral consciousness, in the very act of prayer is calming his spirit, accumulating strength, exercising his highest powers in the highest way. "As He prayed He was transfigured." And the man who worships, without much thought of edification perhaps, in the very act of worship is realizing his dependence on his God, educating his whole nature.
3. The sense of immortality was borne in on him in the sanctuary of God. "Man doth not live by bread alone." The whole place rang with echoes of that cry. Those lives that were in his thought, those inequalities that troubled him, that suffering that was so undeserved, that prosperity that was so basely won — how small they all look beside that endless life of which the sanctuary spoke to him. God has a larger scheme than he has ever dreamt of, a vaster vision of prosperity a loftier standard of happiness — "then understood! the end of these men." The idea of consecration. The sanctuary of God! It speaks of a separate place, a hallowed house of men and things consecrated to the service of God. Do you remember that splendid picture, the vision of St. John, the crowned ones of the earth bringing their crowns and flinging them down before the throne? What were those crowns? Surely the completions, the highest developments of the power and the talent with Which God had endowed them. That is the picture of the future. But, tell me, may it not be the picture of to-day? Surely, it makes the grandeur of one's work when you dedicate your work. Those crowned ones were never so crowned as when they cast their crowns before the throne. It makes the value of their work. Everything is valuable, but for what, for whom is that work done? It lights up the whole career, it makes failure more bearable, success more sweet. It is all for God, it is brought into His sanctuary; we cast our crowns before Him.
(Bp. F. E. Ridgeway.)
Parallel VersesKJV: If I say, I will speak thus; behold, I should offend against the generation of thy children.
WEB: If I had said, "I will speak thus;" behold, I would have betrayed the generation of your children.