I will walk before the LORD in the land of the living.
I. THAT REST IS ONE OF THE RIGHTFUL POSSESSIONS OF THE SOUL. It was designed for the soul. God would not have created a soul to be the perpetual victim of fret, worry, and distress, as we see many souls now are. It must have belonged to the soul. Hence it is called "thy rest." In the primal paradise, in which our first parents were placed, they enjoyed this rest. Theirs was the repose of the intellect, of the affections, of the will; all were at rest in God.
II. BUT THE SOUL HAS GOT AWAY FROM THIS REST. What need to labor any proof of this?
1. You can read the fact in men's very looks - the careworn countenance, the anxious mien, the sad, disappointed air.
2. In their words, whether spoken or written; weariness is written on them all.
3. In the frantic but futile efforts they make to find a substitute for what they have lost.
III. THAT IT CAN, IF IT WILL, RETURN UNTO ITS REST. Yes, in forsaking sin, surrender to Christ, and trust in him, rest is still attainable. - S.C.
I. TO WALK BEFORE THE LORD IS A STYLE OF SPEAKING MADE USE OF TO REPRESENT THAT MANNER OF LIFE PECULIAR TO GOOD MEN. It may be considered as including in it —
I. TO WALK BEFORE THE LORD IN THE LAND OF THE LIVING INCLUDES RECONCILIATION WITH GOD AS A PARDONED SINNER.
I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living.1. The matter of the duty in which the psalmist promiseth to engage — "I will walk." It signifies the practice of what is good and lovely, as the words following intimate.
2. The manner in which he purposed to walk before the Lord, that is, in such a manner, that God, the searcher of hearts, would be pleased with it, and approve of it.
3. The place and time: while he continued on earth, and remained among the living.
I. CONFIRM THE PROPOSITION, THAT INWARD AFFECTION TO GOD MUST BE DECLARED BY OUR OUTWARD CONVERSATION.
1. The one cannot be without the other.
2. This duty is frequently pressed in Scripture. Abraham; Noah; Zacharias; and Elizabeth.
3. Walking before the Lord has been abundantly rewarded. Enoch.
II. SHOW WHY OUR INWARD AFFECTION TO GOD MUST BE DECLARED BY OUR OUTWARD CONVERSATION.
1. In this way God is glorified.
2. Others are benefited.
3. Our own good is promoted. It is by a good conversation, that the security of our hearts, the integrity of our consciences, the soundness of our faith, and, in a word, the truth of all graces are clearly manifested, cherished, and increased.
III. CONSIDER THE NECESSITY OF GOOD WORKS.
1. They are commanded and expressly required by God Himself.
2. They are the way to the Kingdom of God.
3. They are an evidence or demonstration of our faith.
4. The not doing of them merits eternal death.
5. They are necessary as expressions of our gratitude.
1. This subject teacheth us that those who walk not in God's ways cannot be esteemed His affectionate people.
2. The knowledge, affection and profession of persons who walk not before the Lord are all in vain.
3. Walking with God, in the external duties of religion, will best stop the mouths of the adversaries of the truth.
4. Those who walk not before the Lord in the land of the living are exposed to the most dreadful ruin.
(G. Faitoute, M.A.)
II. TO WALK BEFORE GOD IN THE LAND OF THE LIVING REQUIRES A REALIZING SENSE OF HIS PRESENCE AND PERFECTIONS.
III. TO WALK BEFORE GOD IN THE LAND OF THE LIVING COMPREHENDS A SUPREME REGARD TO THE AUTHORITY AND THE REQUIREMENTS OF HIS WORD.
IV. THAT WE MAY WALK BEFORE THE LORD IN THE LAND OF THE LIVING, WE MUST HAVE RESPECT UNTO THE RECOMPENSE OF REWARD.
(J. Smyth, D.D.)
1. That men live under a lively impression of the presence of God.
2. The exercise of a sincere love to Him, and such friendly intercourse with Him as this imperfect state admits.
3. To live in dutiful and constant subjection to His will.
II. THE EXCELLENCE OF SUCH A COURSE OF LIFE.
1. There is joy in it. If you are really desirous to know whether it be so, go and consult the words of Him who cannot lie. They say that "gladness is sown for the upright in heart"; that "the voice of rejoicing is in the tabernacles of the righteous"; that "great peace have they who love God's law"; that "everlasting joy shall be upon them." If you ask, again, how these things are so, they will reply, that the righteous rejoice before God; that their hearts rejoice in Him, because they have trusted in His holy name; that their rejoicing is this, the testimony of their conscience, that, "in simplicity and godly sincerity, not in fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God," they have their conversation in the world.
2. There is honour in it. There is a dignity connected with walking before the Lord superior to everything celebrated by that name among men. "I will," says the Almighty, "guide them with Mine eye. I will never leave them nor forsake them. I will be to them a God, and they shall be to Me a people."
3. There is a preparation for heaven in it. Every step they take in walking "before the Lord in the land of the living" is just so much progress in the path of life — every temptation overcome is a new advance to glory — every good disposition acquired will increase their happiness in the paradise of God.
(W. F. Ireland, D.D.)
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