I was rejoicing in His whole world, delighting together in the sons of men.
I. FROM THE BEGINNING THE WELFARE OF MAN ENGAGED THE COMPLACENT REGARD OF GOD OUR SAVIOUR.
I. SHE IS OF THE DIVINE BEGINNINGS OR ELEMENTS. (Ver. 22.) An element in chemistry is the last simple substance we can reach in analysis. An element in thought is the last simple notion yielded by the dialectic of the understanding. Wisdom is thus before the visible creation - the earth, the sea, the mountains. The verses do but repeat and iterate this one simple and sublime thought. We may in like manner vary it in any form of thought and expression familiar to us. She is the Divine a priori; the logic of nature and spirit; the last and first, the ground of all existence; the eternal reason, the transcendent cause, the alpha and omega of the cosmic alphabet. We are trying to express the inexpressible, utter the unutterable, define the undefinable, find out God to perfection, if we press beyond these poor forms of speech and ignore the limit which separates the known from the unknowable, and reason from faith.
II. THE CREATION PROCEEDING FROM THE DIVINE WISDOM FULFILS ITS COURSE BY WISDOM. (Ver. 27.) What we term in science the discovery of law is for religion the revelation of the mind of God in the world and in us. The cosmos is here conceived under the forms of the poetic imagination - the heavens and their outstretched circle or vault; the clouds as massive bags or skins; the springs on earth as set in motion by direct Divine activity; the sea as bounded by a positive fiat; the earth as fixed on firm pillars, by one act as it were of the Divine Architect. And then was Wisdom at his side as mistress of the work (ver. 30), and was in delight day by day (ver. 30), "playing before him always; playing on the circle of the earth, and I had my delight in men" (ver. 31). One of the best illustrations of the poetical force and sense of this passage is in the Wisdom of Sirach 24: "I went forth from the mouth of the Highest, and as a mist I covered the earth. I pitched my tent in the heights, and my throne was as a pillar of cloud. The gyre of heaven I encircled alone, and in the depths of abysses I walked about. In the billows of the sea, and in all the earth, and among every people and nation, I was busy" (vers. 3-6).
III. WISDOM'S APPEAL AND PROMISES, (Vers. 32-36.)
1. The appeal. "Listen to me, listen to instruction!" Drink out of this spring of eternity, whose currents flow through all the tracts of nature and of man. "Resist not!" for to resist is to oppose the law of things and to invite destruction. Let them be so eager to listen and to know that they shall daily apply, daily stand as suppliants or visitors at her door!
2. The promises. Happiness is repeatedly foretold (vers. 32, 34). Life in all senses, intensive and extensive (ver. 35). Favour with Jehovah (ver. 35). And it follows, as the night the day, that he who sins against Wisdom, whether by neglect or direct disobedience, is guilty of a moral suicide, and shows a contempt for life and happiness, a perverse preference for death (see on Proverbs 4:13, 22; Proverbs 7:27; comp. Ezekiel 18:21). - J.
Rejoicing in the habitable part of His earth.I. WHERE DID THE SON OF GOD BY ANTICIPATION REJOICE? "Habitable part of His earth." "Sons of men."
1. The simple fact in itself. Of all creation this insignificant globe of earth is singled out. And of this globe its habitable part. It is with souls He would have to do. It was the empire of mind upon the earth that He in time expected to assume. This puts an honour and dignity upon our poor human nature which it is impossible fully to estimate.
2. Certain circumstances connected with this fact. What claims had earth's inhabitants upon His regard? We can think of none. Man is an insignificant being and a sinner.
II. WHY DID THE ETERNAL JOY OF THE SON OF GOD CENTRE IN THIS EARTH? This joy could not have arisen from contemplation of our misery, and far less of our guilt. When He cast a glance down to this earth, what did His mind's eye discover in its habitable parts? He saw men ruined, and purposed to save them. His atonement was the chief ground of joy to Himself, because the great occasion of glory to His Father and of good to His people. Lessons —
1. Of reproof to careless and Christless sinners.
2. Of consolation to believers.
(N. Morren, M. A.)
I. IT WAS DESTINED TO BE THE PLACE IN WHICH HE SHOULD PERFORM THE MOST WONDERFUL OF HIS WORKS. There He would obtain His greatest victory, make the most glorious display of His moral perfections, and in the most signal manner glorify the Father.
II. BECAUSE THE HABITABLE PARTS OF THE EARTH WERE THE DESTINED RESIDENCE OF HIS THEN FUTURE CHURCH. They are all destined to be filled with His disciples. Everywhere Churches are to be established.
III. OUR REDEEMER'S CHIEF DELIGHTS AND PLEASURES WERE WITH MEN.
1. Because He intended Himself to become a man.
2. To many the Divine Redeemer was to become still more nearly related. As His Church.
3. His delights partly lay in its being more blessed to give than to receive. How ungrateful and inexcusable does the treatment which Christ has received from men appear when viewed in the light of this subject!
(E. Payson, D. D.)
1. He represents Himself here as deriving delight from the spectacle even of the material creation, because it was subservient to man. He looked on material objects as visible realisations of eternal types. On comparing them with the originals in His own infinite mind He beheld the perfect resemblance, and was satisfied. He beheld them in their prospective application, serving as indexes or intimations of His infinite greatness to myriads of minds which He purposed to create. He looked on these objects as the first in an endless series yet to come. In His first acts of creation the Great Architect was laying the foundation of an all-comprehending and eternal temple. And it was all present in His mind, and He rejoiced in the glorious prospect.
2. There was the happiness of prospectively beholding the activity, enlargement, and progress of the whole system of creation and providence. The prospect of this development of His great plan afforded Him profound satisfaction. This is evident because He has sought at times to throw His Church into an ecstasy of delight by affording them glimpses of its onward course; for the disclosures of prophecy are such glimpses.
3. There was the happiness of prospectively beholding the effects arising from His gratuitous interposition for human salvation.
4. Then there was the happiness derivable from knowing that, important as the recovery of man is, in attaining it He should be attaining an end greater still — attaining the greatest of all ends — the manifestation of the Divine glory.
II. ALL THE MEDIATOR'S COMMUNICATIONS AND INTERCOURSE WITH US ARE MADE TO HARMONISE WITH OUR WELFARE ALSO. Tell us the distinguishing wants of human nature, and we will tell you the distinguishing excellences of Divine revelation.
1. From their eager inquiries and their signs of reflection you infer that they are intelligent beings, and from other signs you infer that the subjects which most deeply interest them are those which refer to their origin, their character, and their relation to the invisible and the future. Man's solution of these problems is puerile, contradictory, and absurd. What is the Divine explanation of the mystery?
2. Man is manifestly a sufferer. Sorrow has but two places of refuge — the sanctuary and the grave.
3. Man is a personally sinful being. The Mediator has made special provision for the necessities thus arising. The vicarious sacrifice of Christ, while providing a complete satisfaction for human guilt, provides that which we equally require — means for the renovation of our sinful nature and motives to a constant progress in holiness. So wonderfully adapted to the susceptibilities, so exquisitely adjusted to all the springs of our nature is the Cross of Christ, that in the hand of the Spirit it relieves our apprehensions, while it quickens our sensibility — gives peace to the conscience while it increases its activity and power — inspires hope while it produces humility, by the very magnitude and splendour of the objects which inspire it — demands perfection, by presenting the affections with an object calculated to produce it.
4. But man is not only a rational, suffering, sinful being. He is groaning and travailing together in pain, casting anxious looks on the future, gazing on the distant darkness, invoking the dead. The burden of his great anxiety is this, "If a man die, shall he live again?" Answering that, Jesus is "the Resurrection and the Life." Such are parts of that great system of saving truth by which the Saviour seeks to realise those purposes of mercy toward us, the bare contemplation of which filled Him with delight.
III. THE SAVIOUR REJOICES IN SUCH PARTS OF THE EARTH AS ARE SET APART FOR THE DIFFUSION OF HIS TRUTH AND THE PROMOTION OF HIS DESIGNS. Man was to have moved over the face of the earth as amidst the types and symbolic services of a temple, where everything was adapted to remind Him of God. Sin has disturbed this adjustment and thrown it in confusion. If this is to be remedied, some counter-force must be employed.
IV. WHAT DOES CHRIST EXPECT FROM A PLACE THUS DISTINGUISHED?
1. He expects you to sympathise with Him in His regard for human happiness.
2. He expects you to aim at results and to look for them.
3. Not only expect the results, but anticipate the consequences of those results.
(J. Harris, D. D.)And My
delights were with the sons of men.—
Christ's delight in the sons of men: —
1. "Rejoicing in the habitable part of His earth."(1) "The habitable parts of His earth" are such places where the gospel comes, bringing the good tidings of Jesus Christ and His salvation for lost sinners.(2) "The habitable part of His earth" is especially intended of such as are, through grace, become "the habitation of God through the Spirit" (Ephesians 2:22; Ephesians 3:17; John 4:13). The Lord Jesus Christ rejoiced in this habitable part of this earth from everlasting, before there was an earth to be inhabited.
2. The delights of Jesus Christ, from all eternity, were "with the sons of men."(1) He knew that by standing as a Surety for His people, and bearing their guilt and punishment, He should also bear away their sins.(2) He knew that in saving His people, through His obedience in life and death, all the Divine perfections would be more remarkably displayed and glorified than in all the other works of God.(3) His delight proceeded from the pleasing prospect that He had of men being united to Himself by faith.(4) He delighted in the prospect of conveying the riches of grace to their souls.(5) He delighted in the prospect of their sincere services done in faith and love.(6) He delighted in the prospect of His acting towards them, as the Prophet of His Church, to teach them the mind and will of God for their salvation.(7) He delighted in the prospect that He had from everlasting, of His people being all brought home to glory, to be for ever with Him. The greatest honour that Jesus Christ can do to men upon earth is to delight in them. "Such honour have all His saints" (Isaiah 62:4). This implies —
1. His interest in them.
2. His continual remembrance of them.
3. His readiness to bestow His best favours upon them. Did Jesus Christ delight in His people from everlasting; then all the disciples of Christ should delight in Him (1 Peter 2:7; Song of Solomon 5:10).
(Arthur Brooks.)I. THE JOY OF GOD IN THIS MATERIAL WORLD. The Divine Wisdom approved the result of the Divine power and skill.
II. HIS DELIGHTS WERE WITH THE SONS OF MEN. Humanity has always held a foremost place in the thoughts of God.
1. Man as a creature of God. The noblest work that God has placed upon the earth; he is the crown and glory of this terrestrial creation.
2. Man has sinned. The prescient eye of God from eternity looked upon man, not only as a creature endowed with high capabilities, and as an offender against law and a sufferer because of sin, but He looked upon him as a transgressor redeemed. He looked on men not only in their connection with the first Adam, but also in their connection with the second Adam. He foresaw the success which should crown the mission and sacrifice of His well-beloved Son.
(T. Stephens.)I. OUR BLESSED LORD REJOICED IN THE HABITABLE PART OF THE EARTH BECAUSE HE FORESAW THAT THE PERFECTIONS OF GOD WOULD BE MANIFESTED AND GLORIFIED. The human race appears to have been created for a twofold purpose.
1. To glorify God upon the earth.
2. That our Lord might defeat the infernal purposes of the malicious spirits, destroy the works of the devil.
II. HIS DELIGHTS WERE WITH THE SONS OF MEN, THAT HE MIGHT MINISTER TO THE COMFORT AND HAPPINESS OF THEIR BODIES. What an amazing constellation of virtues did He exhibit, and how boundless must have been that love which led Him day after day, amidst hunger, and thirst, and fatigue, and suffering, and sorrow, to relieve the wants of the needy and restore to the soundness of health and activity the miserable and forlorn sufferers of calamity and woe!
III. HIS DELIGHTS WERE WITH THE SONS OF MEN, THAT HE MIGHT ENLIGHTEN THEIR MINDS BY HIS WORD AND SPIRIT. Many theories have been propounded to solve the mystery of the introduction of moral evil into the world, but no hypothesis is so credible or intelligible as that of the Scripture account of the fall of man. Our blessed Lord interposed on our behalf, and generously undertook to redeem us from the curse of the law and regain that immortal life which we had forfeited by our disobedience. How can we account for such a display of unparalleled benevolence but from His ardent desire to promote the best interests of men?
IV. HIS DELIGHTS WERE WITH THE SONS OF MEN, THAT HE MIGHT SANCTIFY THEIR SOULS AND PREPARE THEM FOR THE ENJOYMENTS OF HEAVEN. We ought to be extremely solicitous for the salvation of our souls, and never dare to imagine that, because Christ has died for our sins, we shall be saved without that holiness of heart and life which are the fruits of the Spirit in all them that believe.
I. "MY DELIGHTS WERE WITH THE SONS OF MEN." Wisdom, then, has her delights; and where does she find them? The prime of these delights is that which He finds in Himself. He has complacential delight in Himself, for He only is perfection, independent, and eternal. The communications of His glorious attributes are also His delight. These rest on the sinful sons of men. The words include the idea of dwelling with the sons of men. What led the Saviour to such condescension? It was purely of His tender love towards mankind. Whence originates this love? In His own bosom, and we can say no more and see no farther.
II. REJOICING IN THE HABITABLE PARTS OF GOD'S EARTH. The Hebrew is forcible and poetical —"playing or disporting on the orb of God's earth." God formed the earth and the world with wisdom, but also with love, and not only for the benefit, but also for the happiness of His creatures, and with a special view to the pleasure of the sons of men. In Christ, the Wisdom of God, the same wonderful condescension continues still. He adapts Himself to our human conceptions; brings His mysteries near to us in a most gracious manner; and the same graciousness is seen in God's everyday communion with His beloved children. The word "rejoicing" reminds of sweet music, and all the music on earth is made by Christ or for Him.
(F. W. Krummacher, D. D.)
TopicsDelight, Delighting, Delights, Habitable, Inhabited, Mankind, Playing, Rejoicing, Sons
Outline1. the fame
6. and evidence of wisdom
10. The excellence
12. the nature
15. the power
18. the riches
22. and the eternity of wisdom
32. Wisdom is to be desired for the blessedness it brings
Dictionary of Bible ThemesProverbs 8:1-32
1180 God, wisdom of
'That I may cause those that love me to inherit substance.'--PROVERBS viii. 21. The word here rendered 'substance' is peculiar. Indeed, it is used in a unique construction in this passage. It means 'being' or 'existence,' and seems to have been laid hold of by the Hebrew thinkers, from whom the books commonly called 'the Wisdom Books' come, as one of their almost technical expressions. 'Substance' may be used in our translation in its philosophical meaning as the supposed reality underlying appearances, …
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture
Wisdom and Christ
"But Whereunto Shall I Liken this Generation?"
Fragrant Spices from the Mountains of Myrrh. "Thou Art all Fair, My Love; There is no Spot in Thee. " --Song of Solomon iv. 7.
Wisdom. Pr 8:22-31
The Invitation of Wisdom. --Prov. viii.
Having Said This, when they had Kissed Him...
Introduction to Proverbs viii. 22 Continued. Absurdity of Supposing a Son or Word Created in Order to the Creation of Other Creatures; as to the Creation
Introduction to Proverbs viii. 22 Continued. Contrast Between the Father's Operations Immediately and Naturally in the Son...
Texts Explained; Sixthly...
Texts Explained; Sixthly...
Of the Council of Antioch and what was done There against the Holy Meletius.
A String of Pearls
The Glorious Master and the Swooning Disciple
His Name --The Counsellor
Of the Decrees of God.
The Synagogue at Nazareth - Synagogue-Worship and Arrangements.
Organic and Individual.
The Third Exile, 356-362.
An Explanation of Acts ii. ...
Covenanting Provided for in the Everlasting Covenant.
Covenanting According to the Purposes of God.
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