Psalm 73:25
Whom have I in heaven but You? And on earth I desire no one besides You.
Supreme Delight in GodS. Conway Psalm 73:25
A Perplexing Problem, and Satisfactory SolutionG. Woodcock.Psalm 73:1-28
Asaph's Trial and DeliveranceS. Conway Psalm 73:1-28
Bad Men in Good Circumstances, and a Good Man in a Bad TemperHomilistPsalm 73:1-28
The Asaph PsalmsA. Alexander.Psalm 73:1-28
The Goodness of God to IsraelEvangelical PreacherPsalm 73:1-28
The Grievous Conflict of the Flesh and the SpiritS. Conway Psalm 73:1-28
The Solution of a Great ProblemC. Short Psalm 73:1-28
The Trouble of AsaphE. Bersier.Psalm 73:1-28
DoubtHenry Varley.Psalm 73:15-28
Searching and Finding Relief in the Right DirectionHomilistPsalm 73:15-28
The Problem of SufferingBp. F. E. Ridgeway.Psalm 73:15-28
A Pilgrim's ProgressW. Arnot.Psalm 73:22-25
Flesh and Spirit a RiddlePsalm 73:22-25
God the Only Adequate PortionN. Hill.Psalm 73:25-26
God the Only Adequate Portion of the SoulH A. Boardman, D. D.Psalm 73:25-26
God the Only Happiness of ManJ. Tillotson, D. D.Psalm 73:25-26
God the Only PortionA. Raleigh, D. D.Psalm 73:25-26
Moral Character Tested by the Estimate of God, the Chief GoodHenry Melvill, B. D.Psalm 73:25-26
Reasonable RaptureA. Maclaren, D. D.Psalm 73:25-26
Tenderness of DesireE. Garbett, M. A.Psalm 73:25-26
The Believer's Portion in His GodW. E. Light, M. A.Psalm 73:25-26
The Desolate Soul Finding Rest in GodS. Charters.Psalm 73:25-26
The Discipline of DesireW. R. Britton.Psalm 73:25-26
The Good Man's RewardPsalm 73:25-26
The Home of the HeartA. Maclaren, D. D.Psalm 73:25-26
The Necessity of an Infinite Being to Make Men HappyN. Marshall, D. D.Psalm 73:25-26
Why Should a Man Love Jesus ChristG. B. Austin.Psalm 73:25-26

It is not - What have I, but - Whom? Things, however many, rich, glorious, beautiful, cannot satisfy the soul, neither in heaven any more than on earth. Not in things, but in persons, the personal soul must find its portion. And not in many, but in One; to whom the soul can look, to whom at all times it can come, and to whom, as here, it can lift up its cry, "Thou art the Strength of my heart, and my Portion forever." But -


1. Calvin, a learned, devout, and in the main a true expositor of Scripture, but sadly wanting in those more gentle and tender instincts which are absolutely essential to its full and accurate understanding, has, in commenting on our text, actually said, "If we give the smallest portion of our affections to the creatures, we in so far defraud God of the honour which belongs to him." Now, that is utterly untrue and in dire contradiction to the Word which says, "If we love not our brother, whom we have seen, how can we love God whom we have not seen?"

2. And there are many devout souls haunted with the fear that, in loving those around them with the intense affection which they know they bear towards them, they are somehow defrauding God of what is due only to him. And yet more, when they compare the love which they have for God with the love which they cherish for those dear to them on earth, the latter love seems so much warmer and deeper than the former that, when they come to a text like this, they hesitate, and confess to themselves that such words are not for them - for them they would not be true. And they are sore troubled about this, and scarce know what to do. They would like to be able to say them, but they feel they cannot. Now, of course, there are many people in whom it would be hypocrisy, gross and palpable, were they to speak as does the psalmist here. They are cold, hard, worldly, and so earth-bound that they never think about loving God. The utmost you can get from them is a vague confession that they "suppose they ought to." But we are thinking of really devout, godly souls, who nevertheless sorrowfully confess that the words of our text, and the many others like them, are far beyond what they can say. Such people believe, apparently, that, though our blessed Lord has commanded them to love the Lord their God with all their heart, they do not, and they doubt if any one ever has done so, or can. They do not seem to see how serious is the charge they thus bring against the Lord - that he has commanded what it is impossible to obey. Earthly parents do not deal with their children so, but they seem to think our heavenly Father does.


1. Here, at any rate, stands one declaration of it. The psalmist, if he did not express, as we are certain he did, his own deep and sincere feeling, must have been the victim of delusion, or else a wretched hypocrite. But who thinks that?

2. And he is not alone in such utterance. The psalms are full of them, and we have already referred to the first and great commandment. The New Testament also speaks of "perfect love" - just that sentiment which our text tells of.

3. And there have been and are thousands of souls in which such love dwells, to whom God is their "exceeding Joy," whose supreme delight is in God.

4. And what seems to does not really contradict this. For consider the elements of our love to God. They are - complete distrust of self; confidence in God only for the supply of our souls' deepest needs, such as pardon, peace, purity, eternal life; holy reverence and awe and gratitude. But all these are far other than what we cherish to our fellow men; so that they do not clash one with the other. On the contrary, the lower love may help the higher, and the higher cannot exist if the lower do not.

III. BUT IF SUCH SUPREME DELIGHT IN GOD BE POSSIBLE, IT IS ALSO INFINITELY DESIRABLE. All life, even the most mean and poor, becomes transformed, transfigured, glorified, by means of it. The soul becomes independent of all earthly favour, and heeds not this world's frown, nor all "the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune." Unspeakably blest, and blessing is the characteristic of the soul in whom this love of God dwells. See Paul's "sorrowful, but always rejoicing," etc.

IV. IT IS ATTAINED THROUGH OBEDIENCE AND TRUST. "He that keepeth my commandments, he it is that loveth me," said our Lord. Such obedience is not only the fruit, but the root, of the love which grows out of it. We obey, and we come to love him whom we obey. Serving is the secret - not alone the sign, but the source also - of loving. Our love for our children is in proportion to the sacrifices we make for them. It is so everywhere and forever. - S.C.

Whom have I in heaven but Thee? end there is none upon earth that I desire beside Thee.
— "Whom have I in heaven but Thee?" Not "what." Not in things, but in persons, the personal soul must find its portion. Not in many, but in One, to whom the soul can look, and to whom, as here, it can lift up its cry.

I. GOD ALONE CAN MEET OUR SINFULNESS. This is our first need, for we are sinners, and this fact affects everything else. There may be any amount of slumbering grandeur in us, but it cannot get out for sin. None of us would be willing or able to reveal to another all that he is conscious of in himself. Hence men are reserved with one another. A man is accosting his neighbour in neighbourly kindness, and thinking the while, "He does not know me, and I durst not tell him what I think and what I feel and what I am. If I were sure he would understand everything just as it is, I might be able to tell him; but being sure that he would not understand, I cannot." Now we are not speaking of any great sins or vices which particular men may have committed, and the remembrance of which they carry within, like ghastly skeletons shut up in closed rooms, but just of the secret of sinfulness which is in every heart. A terrible secret! A secret which must be told, which cannot be shut up for ever. But to whom? To Him who is greater than the heart, and who knoweth all things. To Him, in fact, because He knoweth all things. And then, according to His own promise, He will meet us and take all our sin away. "He that covereth his sins shall not prosper; but he that con-fesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy." God is for ever declaring His willingness to forgive. Thus He makes Himself our God by meeting our sinfulness.

II. GOD ALONE CAN MEET OUR FEEBLENESS. We are compassed with infirmities, we are made up of needs. Some are so utterly blinded and bewitched that for a while they seem to indulge the hope that this world is the foundation-rock on which they can rest. How we should pity such men! And how pitiable indeed they become when they are undeceived; when the seeming rock shows itself to be but shifting sand; when the fair house shivers itself to atoms in their hands, and they stand houseless and homeless in the storm.

III. GOD ONLY CAN MEET OUR NOBLENESS. For we are noble, as well as frail and sinful. Things high and low meet strangely in our nature. We are made in the image of God. The image is marred but not erased. We belong to a fallen but also to a rising race. And this is our nobleness that we are still God's sons, and that we are awakening to this consciousness. And God alone can meet us in this. As He alone can understand the vastness of our needs, so He only can understand the greatness of our desire and the strength of our endeavour to be like Him, and with Him again. We misread, and then we misreport, each other woefully. We are on the homeward way together, and no doubt there is thus great mutual help, but there is mutual hindrance as well. One often casts a shadow on the path of another. He seems to see nothing but the wrong things, and the weaknesses; the rightness and the growing strength are within, and are seen only by Him who looks from above. It is not only that the wrong things are seen, and the weaknesses are noted, but often the right is called the wrong, and treated so. No doubt the temper of suspicion and distrust is fostered by the publicity which everything now receives, or rather by the malign prominence given in our daily literature to the vile and the wrong things. For the good things are not published; they are put into quiet corners; a thousand of them may be enacted by effort and by sacrifice, by patience and perseverance and love, and no notice will be taken of them. This uncandid temper, this extreme unwillingness to see moral inequalities among men, this strange desire to strike down the lofty and lay them with the low, rather than toil for the elevation of the low to the level of the lofty, is becoming quite one of the operative principles of our intellectual and social life, and of course it affects the Church also. Suspicion is bred among Christian men. One does not see how God is working in another, how the glorious image is shining out again. All this is trying enough, but at least it should enhance and endear to us the truth we are now enforcing, that God alone can meet our nobleness. How precious the privilege of being able to turn to Him when we can turn to no one else!

IV. GOD ALONE CAN MEET AND SATISFY OUR IMMORTALITY. He only is "the strength of our heart, and our portion for ever." Even if the things and the persons we are so apt. in our haste and blindness to put in the place of Him could be to us what we hope, the question still remains, "For how long?" and turn where we will, we can find no answer of such a kind as to furnish the ground of confidence for a single day. Try to apply the great language of the text to any person, to anything, but Him, and what a mockery it will be! Turn, then, from sin to God, from frailty to God, from trouble to God, from baffled endeavours to God, from unrequited love to God, from self to God, from men to God, from the world to God, from heaven to God, from eternity to God; and standing, separated and alone, on the height of this decisive hour, say, while heaven hears the cry, and angels register the vow — "Whom have I in heaven but Thee? and there is none," etc.

(A. Raleigh, D. D.)

The more perplexed and sad the music at first, the more triumphant and jubilant is the orchestral close. This singer's first notes were both perplexed and sad. He was wrestling in vain with the old problem of the apparent disconnection between goodness and happiness, his "steps had well nigh slipped"; he was down in the depths, burrowing there. He has soared now to the heights. He has caught hold of God's hand, and feels that he is ever with Him, and so the distribution of life's uncertain ill and good becomes a less difficult and a far less important problem. Therefore the end of his song circles back to the beginning. He began by saying, and saying it when he could scarcely believe it to be true — "truly God is good to Israel, but as for me" — and He ends with "it is good for me to draw near to God." In this utterance we have —

I. THE PERFECTION OF WISDOM. What did the psalmist mean by the rapturous question, "Whom have I in heaven but Thee"? Perhaps, he was thinking, amongst other things, of false gods, and proclaiming the monotheism of Israel and disowning the gods of the nations. Perhaps he had no such specific idea in his mind; but simply looking up into the heavens with all their stars, and with all their possible inhabitants, he felt that they were nought to him. And then does he come down, or does he go up, in the next clause? "There is none upon earth that I desire beside Thee." In one respect that is a descent; more truly it is a climax. What does he mean? This is not the utterance of a foolish, false, unnatural, impossible effort to denude him of what makes man. God desires no vacuum in the heart into which He comes. He does not "make a solitude and call it peace." Mark that "beside Thee" — "none upon earth that I desire beside Thee." Does not that suggest that there is to be none else on a level with Him; that His throne is to overtop all other golden seats? It implies, also, that all other delights and desires are held, not only in subordination to, but in association with, the supreme desire and delight which is fixed upon Him. A-s many loves as you will, as many desires as the heart can frame, if only all are linked with God, and you love and aim at all other loves and aims in God, and at God in all others.

II. A PRACTICABLE IDEAL. Can it be realized perfectly? No. Permanently? No. Approximately? Yes. Progressively? Yes. Do you ask how? The first thing to do, because men are meant to be guided by their brains, is .to familiarize our minds, by frequent contemplation and meditation, with the truth that God is our all-sufficient good. There is no depth in religion unless that lies at the very root of it all. And there will be no power in the practical life, for the sake of the clamant demands of which so many of us are strangers to God and ourselves, unless, in the midst of the bustle and the crowd, we do clear for ourselves a little space, and .there, in the silence of our own souls, learn to know how good God is. And another thing that is necessary in order that we shall progressively approximate to this great ideal is diligent and honest direction and suppression of desires that draw us away from Him. You have to cut off the suckers and the side-shoots if you want the leader to go straight towards the sky. You have to dam up the side-streams if you want the river to run with a power and a scour. And you have to exercise coercion, violence sometimes, on these vagrant desires, and gather them together, if they are to be directed successfully and triumphantly to Him. But there must be further distinct efforts, not only of a negative kind, and in the way of suppression and withdrawal, but of the positive kind, in the way of seeking after a closer union with God, and a more continuous experience of His all-sufficiency. If we practise these three things, meditation, self-control, and the aspiration after God, in the measure in which we do we shall be able to make this psalmist's word our own, and we shall find it true what God Himself has declared, "I have never said to any of the seed of Jacob, Seek ye My face in vain."

III. THE SECRET OF BLESSEDNESS. The misery of human life is its being torn asunder by the multiplicity of aims and objects. The blessedness of human life is its being simplified and unified into search after one. All of us know how the number of vulnerable points in a life is increased, just in the measure in which its aims and desires are manifold. And we might all of us know how we become lords of circumstances, and cased in triple armour against all sorrows, when we bring our lives down to the simplest form, and say, "God only is my good and my desire." It is bad business to put all your capital into one speculation. It is good trading to put all your desires on God. God, and God alone, will unify our lives. This saying discloses the secret of peace. It is something to be delivered from all painful and perpetual and profitless quests after the manifold, and instead of wandering about the world seeking for goodly pearls, to have no need to roam, because at home we have the one pearl of great price. Need I remind you, again, how this great utterance reveals to us the secret o! blessedness, in that it points us to the only path on which he that seeks is sure to find. To seek for anything else than God is to lay up for ourselves sore hearts some day. To seek after Him, and Him only, is to secure blessedness in the search, and blessedness in the fruition.

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

1. We are here taught that God is the portion of His people. God not only gives us His grace and favour, pardon of our sins, a perfect righteousness, and a glorious inheritance, but He gives us Himself. He bids us find our happiness not merely in the streams which flow from His goodness, but in Himself, the fountain of all.

2. While the psalmist professes to take nothing short of God Himself as his portion, he expressly excludes all other claimants upon his supreme regard and affection. He can survey the whole firmament, and range through all the courts of heaven's glorious palace; and though his eye falls upon myriads of noble and blessed objects — angels and archangels, cherubim and seraphim — prophets, apostles, and martyrs — saints of all climes and all ages — all these he passes by, he will set his hopes upon none of them, he will fix his heart's trust upon nothing short of the eternal God Himself.

3. If the believer thus excludes all in heaven from competition with the one Lord of all for the supreme place in his heart's affections, much more will he not allow anything on earth to interfere with such a claim. The kind benefactor, the sympathizing fellow-sufferer, the beloved Jonathan who is as his own soul; none of these must be permitted to usurp a place reserved for only one. They have their own appointed places, but they must not presume to occupy that throne in his heart which of right is his Lord's.

4. But besides these various claimants upon the believer's affections, there is one who is often a more formidable rival to their rightful Lord than any other, and that is himself. It is very rarely that a man does not love himself better than any one else; and too often he occupies in his own heart the very throne of God. His dependence is upon his own wisdom and his own strength. He trusts in his physical or his mental capacity, or it may be his spiritual understanding and Christian experience. His trust is divided between his Lord and himself — his Lord's mercy and goodness, and his own faith and holiness; and so when these fail, as fail they always will, then of course he is disquieted and discouraged.

5. What then is the conclusion to which all this leads us? I do not know that we can express it more forcibly than in the closing words of the psalmist himself — "It is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord God, that I may declare all Thy works."

(W. E. Light, M. A.)

The text indicates the very high-water mark of religious experience, the very apex and climax of what some people would call mystical religion to which this man has climbed because he fought with his doubts, and by God's grace was able to lay them. To him the world's uncertain ill or good becomes infinitely insignificant, because for the future he has a clear vision of a continued life with God, and because for the present he knows that to have God in his heart is all that he really needs.

I. A NECESSITY WHICH, MISDIRECTED, IS THE SOURCE OF MAN'S MISERY. We all of us need, though, alas! so few of us know that we need, a living possession of a living perfect person, for mind, for heart, for will. You try to fill that deep and aching void in your hearts, which is a sign of your possible nobleness, and a pledge of your possible blessedness, with all manner of minute rubbish, which can never fill up the gap that is there. Cartload after cartload may be tilted into the bottomless bog, and there is no more solid ground on the surface than there was at the beginning. Oh I consult thine own deepest need; listen to that voice, often stifled, often neglected, and by some of you always misunderstood, which speaks in your wills. minds, consciences, hopes, desires, hearts; and is it not this: "My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God"?

II. THE LONGING WHICH, RIGHTLY DIRECTED AND CHERISHED, IS THE VERY SPIRIT OF RELIGION. He, and only he, is the religious man, who can take these words of my text for the inmost words of his conscious effort and life. And only in the measure in which you and I recognize that God is our sole and all-sufficient good, in that measure have we any business to call ourselves devout or Christian people.

III. THE BLESSED POSSESSION WHICH DEADENS EARTHLY DESIRES. The sun when it rises quenches the brightest stars, that can but fade in his light and die. And so when, in answer to our longing, God lifts the light of His countenance — a better sunrise — upon us, that new affection dims and quenches the brightness of these little, though they be lustrous, points, that shed a fragmentary and manifold twinkling over the darkness of our former night. Only remember that this supreme, and in some sense exclusive, love and longing does not destroy the sweetness of lower possessions and blessings. A new deep love in a man's or a woman's heart does not make their former affections less, but more sweet and noble and strong.

IV. THE POSSESSION WHICH IS THE PLEDGE OF PERPETUITY. The whole context requires us to suppose that the psalmist's eye is looking across the black gorge of death to the shining tableland beyond. So here we are admitted to see faith in the future life in the very act of growth. The singer soars to that sunlit height of confidence in the endless blessedness of union with God, just because He feels so deeply the sacredness and the blessedness of his present communion with God. Next to the resurrection of Jesus Christ the best proof of immortality lies in the present experience of communion with God. If there be a God at all, anything is more reasonable than to believe that the union, formed between Him and me, by faith here can ever come to an end until I have exhausted Him, and drawn all His fulness into myself. This communion, by its very sweetness, yieldeth proof that it was "born for immortality." And the psalmist here, just because to-day God is the Rock of his heart, is sure that that relation must last on, through life, through death, aye I and for ever, "when all that seems shall suffer shock."

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

I. THEY EXPRESS A CONSCIOUS NECESSITY WHICH GOD ALONE IS ABLE TO MEET. "Lord, to whom shall we go?" God alone can meet the varied needs of our nature.

II. STRONG AND ABSORBING LOVE FOR GOD. This no hireling love for what it gets, but love for the giver, for the Lord Himself. And it need not come into collision with the love of our earthly friends. If we put the love of man first, all is wrong: but put the love of Christ first, and then all is right.

(E. Garbett, M. A.)

? —

I. BECAUSE OF THE SUPERLATIVE BEAUTY OF HIS CHARACTER. Jesus Christ is the purest, truest, highest, most gracious human character which this world has seen. Every lofty virtue had in His life its natural home; every rich grace flowered in faultless perfectness, in coherence, and congruity, and symmetry. In the great worlds of character and conduct, in the realms of thought and feeling, speech and act, He has a sovereign pre-eminence. Without the thought of His character and the power of His influence, the moral wealth of the world would suffer an irreparable impoverishment, and the strength of the world's ethical energy would be seriously diminished.

II. BECAUSE OF THE DEPTH OF HIS APPEAL TO US. He never appeals to us for small things, but asks for those higher consecrations which tax to the very limit every power of life.

III. BECAUSE OF THE ELEVATION TO WHICH HE RAISES LIFE. We have no need, and no desire, to disparage the delicate beauty of the lives of some splendid Pagans, nor are we unmindful of the nobility of some characters which have even neglected the Gospel of our Lord — unconsciously to them, Christ is the root of every bit of their goodness. In every walk of life, and in every realm, Jesus has lifted some noble spirit into an excellent grandeur; He has fertilized his thought, inspired his genius, deepened every noble enthusiasm, strengthened every holy purpose, lifted every power to its best energy, created and sustained the highest tastes and sweetest dispositions, and given to the whole life symmetry and influence.

(G. B. Austin.)

1. In those moments when the soul is left desolate, do not still seek comfort from the world. Why would you set your heart upon that which is not?

2. Be not overwhelmed with over-much sorrow. Such feelings are natural in the first flowings of affliction; but it is not meet to indulge and brood over them, so as to abandon the duties of life and sink in melancholy.

3. Harbour not revenge against those who have injured you, or in any way been the cause of your affliction. Revenge stops the sources of Divine consolation.

4. Beware of interrupting your desires toward God by any wilful sin. Afflictions do not intercept, they rather raise the desires to heaven; but every wilful deliberate sin overspreads the soul with a thick cloud, and separates betwixt us and our God.

5. Improve distresses of every kind as means of virtue, and grounds of praise.

(S. Charters.)


1. The nature of man in his present state makes it impossible for him to be completely happy. He hath hopes which cannot be answered, fears which cannot be silenced, desires will not be satisfied.

2. The nature of things, or at least the posture of them, will not and cannot render us completely happy. They have too much uncertainty to be depended on, and too much alloy mixed up with them to pass for durable or solid riches.

II. THE ABSOLUTE NECESSITY OF AN INFINITELY PERFECT BEING, TO MAKE MAN COMPLETELY HAPPY. Let us therefore examine what are the essential qualifications of an all-sufficient good, that we may be sure we are right, in resorting to God for it.

1. God is Almighty, and so can do whatever He pleaseth in heaven and earth. Wherever therefore the ingredients of our happiness are scattered, He can bring them together, and make the faculty and its object meet.

2. Infinite wisdom knows how to employ an infinity of power with all advantage for our interests.

3. His goodness assures us that He will exert these great perfections in our favour, so that whatever infinite wisdom can contrive, or infinite power do for us, His infinite goodness assures us will be contrived and done for us.

4. Eternity and unchangeableness are necessary to finish and complete our happiness.

(N. Marshall, D. D.)

I. THE PSALMIST HAD ASCERTAINED WHAT THE NATURE AND PROPERTIES OF AN ADEQUATE PORTION FOR MAN MUST BE. He had, without doubt, considered himself, his nature, his wants, his capacities — had thought on his situation, and the dangers to which he was exposed from every quarter. He must have ascertained what influence that must have on his soul, and on those scenes of trial and temptation through which he might be called to pass — what it must do when strength and flesh fail, when death shall call him away from every created comfort, dissolve the dearest and tenderest connections — what it must do for his departing spirit, and that throughout eternity — to which he could direct his thoughts, and say, "This is all I want."

II. THE PSALMIST HAD RESOLVED THE QUESTION, WHETHER THE PROPER PORTION AND FELICITY OF MAN WAS IN CREATED NATURE, OR IN GOD. This would be his language: — "Could I ensure the favour and friendship of Jehovah; His power, my shield; His light, my sun; His wisdom, my counsellor; His arm, my support; that consolation and joy He can at present create; and that never-ending felicity He can give me to possess; should I not then have what will satisfy my soul? May I not rest here, and say — 'It is enough'?"


1. God is all-sufficient. There is no difficulty from which He cannot extricate the soul, no enemy out of the reach of His arm, no evil impending which He cannot prevent, nor any sum of felicity but what He can bestow.

2. God is an unchangeable good.

3. God is a portion of which the pious can never be deprived.




(N. Hill.)

1. God is the proper portion of the soul, because He is the only underived and absolute good. Whatever of virtue and truth, of moral worth and spiritual beauty, there may be in any part of the universe, among our race or other races, all must be referred to Him as its source.

2. He is a good adapted to the nature and necessities of the soul. Man was made originally in the Divine image; and whatever changes may have occurred in His character and condition, His nature is unchanged. A sick man is still a man; and a soul, dislocated and enervated by sin, is still a soul. As such it can find its supreme happiness only in God.

3. This will be further evident from considering that God is an infinite God. Here is a God we can adore. Here the intense longings of the soul are satisfied. In this august, ever-present, all-seeing, all-controlling Divinity, our minds repose with the assurance that His nature is not only suited to our nature, but absolutely boundless and unsearchable.

4. This implies that God is an eternal good — which may be mentioned as another proof that He is the only adequate portion for the soul. 5 As the crowning argument to show that God is the proper portion of the soul, it may be added that He is a most comprehensive good. Where He gives Himself, He gives every other good.

(H A. Boardman, D. D.)

The psalmist here uses the largest possible terms to assert his preference for God over all else. There is something very noble in such an assertion, so unqualified and so fearless, appealing, as it does, to the great Searcher of all hearts. Bow far off we are from being able to make the like assertion! Where is the single eye to God's glory? and how frequent the attempt to "serve two masters," and these irreconcilable. But such noble assertions as this are not to be regarded as beyond Christians generally. We have no proof that Asaph was a man of extraordinary piety. But though few only can adopt such language without presumption, still, to be a righteous man at all, it is necessary that he prefer God to aught besides, whether in heaven or in earth. A man may distrust himself whether he really does thus prefer God, and desire that he may do so far more, but the fact may be, all the same, that God is supreme in his affections. It is not the same thing our making God our chief good, and our being able to appeal to Him that we do. Just as there may be faith without assurance. There can be no real religion without God being first in our regard, but there may be this and yet no realization of it in our feelings. But our purpose now is to take the psalmist's words and to use them as a measure by which all may judge men's distance from moral excellence. And we do this —

I. IN REGARD TO THE UNCONVERTED. God is not in all their thoughts, much less supreme in them. Nor do they wish Him to be. The psalmist desired, but they do not, to be for ever with God. It is said that men dread annihilation, the soul dying with the body. But do men dread this? Have not poetry and philosophy greatly exaggerated here? Unquestionably, man's dissatisfaction with the present is proof of his being designed for another state of being. But whilst a man may have the witness in himself that he is not to be annihilated, he yet may have no horror at the thought of it. He would be glad to. know that death is but an everlasting sleep. For they cannot endure to look forward. Wrath and retribution are there. Hence they cannot shrink, as do the godly, from ceasing to exist. But is not this the most affecting of all evidences of the vast extent of human degeneracy — that any should be willing to perish as do the brutes: that the soul should not shrink from annihilation? But the psalmist — how different his desire! And this not only as to the future, but as to the chief good of the present.

II. THE RIGHTEOUS. Too often they love life over-much. If their circumstances be easy, how they shrink from death; how few are "ready to depart and be with Christ, which is far better." Christians who cling to this world are more blameworthy than the ungodly who shrink from the next. For the psalmist, God alone could suffice. And in regard to our hope of the future, take heed lest our delight in heaven be that there our loved ones are, rather than that God is there. The presence of God and Christ make heaven. Let us learn to say, "Whom have I in heaven," etc.

(Henry Melvill, B. D.)

Man himself is not sufficient for his own happiness. Because he is liable to so many evils; so full of wants; compassed about with so many infirmities, and this from youth to old age. Think what evils would happen to man if the providence of God did not rule the world. Man, therefore, needs a source of happiness outside himself.

1. It must be an all-sufficient good.

2. It must be perfect goodness.

3. It must be firm and unchangeable in itself.

4. It must be such a good as none can deprive us of, and take away from us.

5. It must be eternal.

6. It must be able to support and comfort us in every condition, and under all the accidents and adversities of human life.

7. It must be such a good as can give perfect rest and tranquillity to our minds.Nothing that is short of all this can make us happy: and no creature, no, not the whole creation, can pretend to be all this to us. All these properties meet only in God, who is the perfect and supreme good; and, consequently, God is the only happiness of man.

(J. Tillotson, D. D.)

The disciplining of our desire lays upon us no small or light or fleeting duty. On the contrary, it has to do with the weightier matters of the law. The issues are far-reaching, and the application must be constant.

1. Be watchful of your desire for possession. A man may have a greed for gold without having the gold. A poor man may love money.

2. Be watchful of your desire for pleasure. Be on your guard that it does not take the moral grit out of your soul. Work and play should go hand in hand, and both should be hallowed.

3. Watch your desire for praise. Don't let it tone down the energetic strokes that give strength and value to your virtues.

4. Watch your desire for ease. I suppose it is true that there is a vein of laziness in all of us. We don't want to be bothered; but the world has a right to expect us to evince that we possess will, character, and to evince also that that character is supreme.

5. Watch your desire in reading. Be on your guard against books which make no requirement upon your thinking powers, and take care they do not wound your sympathy. Some persons will weep profusely over pathetic scenes described in books, and have no tears to shed or help to give in the actual needs and griefs of life.

6. Train your desire to make the best of your circumstances. We may not be able to choose our circumstances, but we can use them. Every man is a king or a slave. Don't ask to be "coddled," but let your request be: "Get out of the sunlight; give me opportunities." Be on your guard against wandering desires, refit is these that give emptiness to life.

7. Finally, bring your desires to Christ. Put that desire which is spoiling you into His hands. Let His love cleanse and direct and complete it. There is nothing that will kill an old love like a new love, and higher. Make faith the teacher of desire.

(W. R. Britton.)

There is a beautiful story of , that one day, while worshipping in the chapel in which he was accustomed to perform his devotions, the Saviour appeared to him and said, "Thomas, thou hast written much and well concerning Me. What reward shall. I give thee for thy work?" Whereupon he answered, "Nihil nisi to; Domino" — "Nothing but Thyself, O Lord."

Asaph, Psalmist
Anything, Beside, Besides, Desire, Desired, Heaven, Heavens, None, Nothing
1. The prophet, prevailing in a temptation
2. Shows the occasion thereof, the prosperity of the wicked
13. The wound given thereby, diffidence
15. The victory over it, knowledge of God's purpose.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Psalm 73:25

     5787   ambition, positive
     5832   desire
     8297   love, for God
     8656   longing for God

Psalm 73:23-26

     8604   prayer, response to God

Psalm 73:23-28

     5945   self-pity
     8131   guidance, results

Psalm 73:25-26

     8632   adoration

Nearness to God the Key to Life's Puzzle
'It is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord God, that I may declare all Thy works.'--PSALM lxxiii. 28. The old perplexity as to how it comes, if God is good and wise and strong, that bad men should prosper and good men should suffer, has been making the Psalmist's faith reel. He does not answer the question exactly as the New Testament would have done, but he does find a solution sufficient for himself in two thoughts, the transiency of that outward prosperity, and the
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Reasonable Rapture
'Whom have I in heaven but Thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire besides Thee. 26. My flesh and my heart faileth; but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.' --PSALM lxxiii. 25, 26. We have in this psalm the record of the Psalmist's struggle with the great standing difficulty of how to reconcile the unequal distribution of worldly prosperity with the wisdom and providence of God. That difficulty pressed more acutely upon men of the Old Dispensation than even upon us,
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

"Let us Pray"
Nevertheless, prayer is the best used means of drawing near to God. You will excuse me, then, if in considering my text this morning, I confine myself entirely to the subject of prayer. It is in prayer mainly, that we draw near to God, and certainly it can be said emphatically of prayer, it is good for every man who knoweth how to practice that heavenly art, in it to draw near unto God. To assist your memories, that the sermon may abide with you in after days, I shall divide my discourse this morning
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 6: 1860

What is Meant by "Altogether Lovely"
Let us consider this excellent expression, and particularly reflect on what is contained in it, and you shall find this expression "altogether lovely." First, It excludes all unloveliness and disagreeableness from Jesus Christ. As a theologian long ago said, "There is nothing in him which is not loveable." The excellencies of Jesus Christ are perfectly exclusive of all their opposites; there is nothing of a contrary property or quality found in him to contaminate or devaluate his excellency. And
John Flavel—Christ Altogether Lovely

How to Make Use of Christ, as Truth, for Comfort, when Truth is Oppressed and Born Down.
There is another difficulty, wherein believing souls will stand in need of Christ, as the truth, to help them; and that is, when his work is overturned, his cause borne down, truth condemned, and enemies, in their opposition to his work, prospering in all their wicked attempts. This is a very trying dispensation, as we see it was to the holy penman of Psalm lxxiii. for it made him to stagger, so that his feet were almost gone, and his steps had well nigh slipt; yea he was almost repenting of his
John Brown (of Wamphray)—Christ The Way, The Truth, and The Life

Of a Low Estimation of Self in the Sight of God
I will speak unto my Lord who am but dust and ashes. If I count myself more, behold Thou standest against me, and my iniquities bear true testimony, and I cannot gainsay it. But if I abase myself, and bring myself to nought, and shrink from all self-esteem, and grind myself to dust, which I am, Thy grace will be favourable unto me, and Thy light will be near unto my heart; and all self-esteem, how little soever it be, shall be swallowed up in the depths of my nothingness, and shall perish for ever.
Thomas A Kempis—Imitation of Christ

The Bride, the Lamb's Wife
"Whom have I in Heaven but Thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside Thee."--Ps. lxxiii. 25. Mechthild of Hellfde, 1277. tr., Emma Frances Bevan, 1899 Thus speaks the Bride whose feet have trod The chamber of eternal rest, The secret treasure-house of God, Where God is manifest: "Created things, arise and flee, Ye are but sorrow and care to me." This wide, wide world, so rich and fair, Thou sure canst find thy solace there? "Nay, 'neath the flowers the serpent glides, Amidst the bravery
Frances Bevan—Hymns of Ter Steegen and Others (Second Series)

My God
J. Tauler Ps. lxxiii. 25 As the bridegroom to his chosen, As the king unto his realm, As the keep unto the castle, As the pilot to the helm, So, Lord, art Thou to me. As the fountain in the garden, As the candle in the dark, As the treasure in the coffer, As the manna in the ark, So, Lord, art Thou to me. As the music at the banquet, As the stamp unto the seal, As the medicine to the fainting, As the wine-cup at the meal, So, Lord, art Thou to me. As the ruby in the setting, As the honey in the
Frances Bevan—Hymns of Ter Steegen, Suso, and Others

The Two Awakings
'I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with Thy likeness.' --PSALM xvii. 15. 'As a dream when one awaketh; so, O Lord, when Thou awakest, Thou shalt despise their image.'--PSALM lxxiii. 20. Both of these Psalms are occupied with that standing puzzle to Old Testament worthies--the good fortune of bad men, and the bad fortune of good ones. The former recounts the personal calamities of David, its author. The latter gives us the picture of the perplexity of Asaph its writer, when he 'saw the prosperity
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Joy of the Lord.
IT is written "the joy of the Lord is your strength." Every child of God knows in some measure what it is to rejoice in the Lord. The Lord Jesus Christ must ever be the sole object of the believer's joy, and as eyes and heart look upon Him, we, too, like "the strangers scattered abroad" to whom Peter wrote shall "rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory" (1 Pet. i:8). But it is upon our heart to meditate with our beloved readers on the joy of our adorable Lord, as his own personal joy. The
Arno Gaebelein—The Lord of Glory

Of the Trinity and a Christian, and of the Law and a Christian.
EDITOR'S ADVERTISEMENT. These two short treatises were found among Mr. Bunyan's papers after his decease. They probably were intended for publication, like his 'Prison Meditations' and his 'Map of Salvation,' on a single page each, in the form of a broadside, or handbill. This was the popular mode in which tracts were distributed; and when posted against a wall, or framed and hung up in a room, they excited notice, and were extensively read. They might also have afforded some trifling profit to aid
John Bunyan—The Works of John Bunyan Volumes 1-3

The Great Gain of Godliness
'And Judah and Israel dwelt safely, every man under his vine and under his fig tree, from Dan even to Beer-sheba, all the days of Solomon. 26. And Solomon had forty thousand stalls of horses for his chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen. 27. And those officers provided victual for king Solomon, and for all that came unto king Solomon's table, every man in his month: they lacked nothing. 28. Barley also and straw for the horses and dromedaries brought they unto the place where the officers were,
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Of Meditating on the Future Life.
1. The design of God in afflicting his people. 1. To accustom us to despise the present life. Our infatuated love of it. Afflictions employed as the cure. 2. To lead us to aspire to heaven. 2. Excessive love of the present life prevents us from duly aspiring to the other. Hence the disadvantages of prosperity. Blindness of the human judgment. Our philosophizing on the vanity of life only of momentary influence. The necessity of the cross. 3. The present life an evidence of the divine favour to his
John Calvin—The Institutes of the Christian Religion

The Present Life as Related to the Future.
LUKE xvi. 25.--"And Abraham said, Son remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented." The parable of Dives and Lazarus is one of the most solemn passages in the whole Revelation of God. In it, our Lord gives very definite statements concerning the condition of those who have departed this life. It makes no practical difference, whether we assume that this was a real occurrence, or only an imaginary
William G.T. Shedd—Sermons to the Natural Man

Covenanting a Privilege of Believers.
Whatever attainment is made by any as distinguished from the wicked, or whatever gracious benefit is enjoyed, is a spiritual privilege. Adoption into the family of God is of this character. "He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power (margin, or, the right; or, privilege) to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name."[617] And every co-ordinate benefit is essentially so likewise. The evidence besides, that Covenanting
John Cunningham—The Ordinance of Covenanting

Covenanting Adapted to the Moral Constitution of Man.
The law of God originates in his nature, but the attributes of his creatures are due to his sovereignty. The former is, accordingly, to be viewed as necessarily obligatory on the moral subjects of his government, and the latter--which are all consistent with the holiness of the Divine nature, are to be considered as called into exercise according to his appointment. Hence, also, the law of God is independent of his creatures, though made known on their account; but the operation of their attributes
John Cunningham—The Ordinance of Covenanting

Cæsarius of Arles.
He was born in the district of Chalons-sur-Saone, A. D. 470. He seems to have been early awakened, by a pious education, to vital Christianity. When he was between seven and eight years old, it would often happen that he would give a portion of his clothes to the poor whom he met, and would say, when he came home, that he had been, constrained to do so. When yet a youth, he entered the celebrated convent on the island of Lerins, (Lerina,) in Provence, from which a spirit of deep and practical piety
Augustus Neander—Light in the Dark Places

The Noble Results of this Species of Prayer
The Noble Results of this Species of Prayer Some persons, when they hear of the prayer of silence, falsely imagine, that the soul remains stupid, dead, and inactive. But, unquestionably, it acteth therein, more nobly and more extensively than it had ever done before; for God Himself is the mover, and the soul now acteth by the agency of His Spirit. When S. Paul speaks of our being led by the Spirit of God, it is not meant that we should cease from action; but that we should act through the internal
Madame Guyon—A Short and Easy Method of Prayer

The Nature of Spiritual Hunger
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness Matthew 5:6 We are now come to the fourth step of blessedness: Blessed are they that hunger'. The words fall into two parts: a duty implied; a promise annexed. A duty implied: Blessed are they that hunger'. Spiritual hunger is a blessed hunger. What is meant by hunger? Hunger is put for desire (Isaiah 26:9). Spiritual hunger is the rational appetite whereby the soul pants after that which it apprehends most suitable and proportional
Thomas Watson—The Beatitudes: An Exposition of Matthew 5:1-12

The Poetical Books (Including Also Ecclesiastes and Canticles).
1. The Hebrews reckon but three books as poetical, namely: Job, Psalms, and Proverbs, which are distinguished from the rest by a stricter rhythm--the rhythm not of feet, but of clauses (see below, No. 3)--and a peculiar system of accentuation. It is obvious to every reader that the poetry of the Old Testament, in the usual sense of the word, is not restricted to these three books. But they are called poetical in a special and technical sense. In any natural classification of the books of the
E. P. Barrows—Companion to the Bible

The Unchangeableness of God
The next attribute is God's unchangeableness. I am Jehovah, I change not.' Mal 3:3. I. God is unchangeable in his nature. II. In his decree. I. Unchangeable in his nature. 1. There is no eclipse of his brightness. 2. No period put to his being. [1] No eclipse of his brightness. His essence shines with a fixed lustre. With whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.' James 1:17. Thou art the same.' Psa 102:27. All created things are full of vicissitudes. Princes and emperors are subject to
Thomas Watson—A Body of Divinity

This State of Prayer not one of Idleness, but of Noble Action, Wrought by the Spirit of God, and in Dependence Upon Him --The Communication Of
Some people, hearing of the prayer of silence, have wrongly imagined that the soul remains inactive, lifeless, and without movement. But the truth is, that its action is more noble and more extensive than it ever was before it entered this degree, since it is moved by God Himself, and acted upon by His Spirit. St Paul desires that we should be led by the Spirit of God (Rom. viii. 14). I do not say that there must be no action, but that we must act in dependence upon the divine movement. This
Jeanne Marie Bouvières—A Short Method Of Prayer And Spiritual Torrents

Of Meditating on the Future Life.
The three divisions of this chapter,--I. The principal use of the cross is, that it in various ways accustoms us to despise the present, and excites us to aspire to the future life, sec. 1, 2. II. In withdrawing from the present life we must neither shun it nor feel hatred for it; but desiring the future life, gladly quit the present at the command of our sovereign Master, see. 3, 4. III. Our infirmity in dreading death described. The correction and safe remedy, sec. 6. 1. WHATEVER be the kind of
Archpriest John Iliytch Sergieff—On the Christian Life

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