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13 Be thou exalted, Yahweh, in thine own strength: so will we sing and praise thy power.
We are expressly made subject to evil, "that we may become partakers of His holiness"; without evil, we should be liable to become heedless and strange towards God. If we remember this in all the burdened days of our pilgrimage, and especially when we are dashed against the sharp pricks of adversity, it will, greatly help us to endure and to be profitably exercised. Nay, it will actually give us seasons of joy, and these seasons will become brighter and more enduring as faith grows stronger.
This joy will be of the complexion of David's and his Lord's.
"The king shall joy in Thy strength; and in Thy salvation how greatly shall he rejoice."
This joy in God is what is commanded: - Rejoice in the Lord, O ye righteous." It is what Paul enjoins: "Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice." To the man of the world this is unintelligible; to enlightened experience it is one of the sweetest facts of existence.
There are various kinds of joy. Most people's joys are of creature origin. A friend comes to see them from a distance, or they get a better situation, or they are invited to some great man's house, or they succeed in making a great profit, or they get well married, or they get children, or they come to some estate, or they acquire some fame; some such matter is the fuel by which the flame of their gladness is fed.
God is unknown in their experience, and joy in Him a thing impossible. It is the mission of Christ, through the Gospel, to reach men to rejoice in God. And an unfailing source of joy is God when once the mind opens to the great fact of His existence, excellence and power; for is not He beyond all minor causes of joy? Those minor causes fail; He never. He is from everlasting to ever lasting. With Him is strength; not the strength that belongs to man: man owes his strength to the bread he eats; and the bread he eats, with man himself, is a perishable thing. Man dieth and wasteth away. But when we turn our eyes to God, we see the full meaning of the words:
"Be Thou exalted in Thine own strength: so will we sing and praise Thy power."
What an admirable idea! Oh, peerless truth! Oh, measureless ocean of comfort, in whose healing waters it is life to bathe! Men appreciate intrinsic excellence in small things. The glittering gold, the sparkling gem, are valued because in themselves enduring and cankerless; but where are the fine gold and precious stones when we lift our eyes to ETERNAL, UNDECAYING, SELF-CONSISTING STRENGTH, WISDOM, LIFE, LOVE and POWER?
There is no glory but this; no good but God, He is the fountain of all the little good we see, and Himself the highest good of all. No wonder that His invitations to eternal fellowship with him should be qualified with the request that He should be first. No wonder that His advances to us are so planned that no flesh should glory in His presence. No wonder that evil should prevail when sin against His holy name is so rampant in the earth.
"Many there be which say, Who will show us any good?"
What is the answer of the instructed?
"Lord, lift upon us the light of Thy countenance."
The righteous shall be glad in the Lord, and all the upright in heart shall trust in Him. This is their present joy. Vain is every other satisfaction. They fix their eyes on Him, knowing that even during the present night of darkness, during which He hides His face for a moment, He guides them with His hand unseen; and that in due time, the night will flee away, and His glory shine forth with the brightness of morning, which shall revive their hearts and fill their mouths with song.