1 (A Psalm of Asaph.) [El Elohim], even Yahweh, hath spoken, and called the earth from the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof.
This is the one glorious fact of human history. Where should we be without it? In darkness. We might have escaped the fool's conclusion. We might have discerned and accepted the manifest truth that heaven and earth must have originated in power and wisdom adequate to their production, and that God possessing these must be one; but where would have been the practical value of this theoretical conclusion without a revelation?
How could we have known the relation of our own life to God? How could we have known whether there was any purpose in earth's history, or any goal to earth's strife, or any meaning to earth's sorrow? How could we have known whether God regarded individual man; whether He had any wish or will with regard to individual action, or any futurity for individual life?
We must have been without knowledge, and without even the power of inference. To have known that God existed without knowing these things would have been to know a terror, a mystery, a mockery. It was necessary that God should reveal Himself. It was necessary that He should speak. And He has spoken.
The fact that He has spoken is manifest to observant intelligence.
Seasons 2. 66
5 Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.
Who are the saints, and for what purpose is the gathering? Is it a gathering of good and bad for judgment?; or is it a gathering of the righteous for the consummation of their blessed hope-the eternal and all-glorious union with Christ?
The psalm sets the scene with Christ in the earth in power and glory, working overwhelming disaster on Yahweh's enemies; and then the Spirit is made to say,
"Gather my saints unto me."
The Spirit does not call such men as Judas, Annanias, and Alexander the coppersmith, saints. The word used in the psalm is chasid, which means, says Young, "kind, pious, virtuous." This rendering is confirmed by Ps. xxx. 4; xxxvii. 28; cxvi. 15; where the same word occurs.
The saints are those whom God preserves, not those whom He destroys (Ps. xcvii. 10). The wicked are never gathered to God in the sense of Psalm l. 5. Their temporary appearance whilst the saints are in process of being gathered is a mere passing incident of which no notice is taken in this passage, and many similar ones (Matt. xxxiv. 31; 1 Thes. iv. 16, 17; 2 Thes. ii. 1; Rev. xiv. 4).
The gathering is a gathering of faithful ones to be ever with the Lord. The time is that when the "saints" shall be "joyful in glory. This honour have "all His saints" (Ps. cxlix. 5-9).
The Christadelphian, Sept 1894. p340.
14 Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High:
WHAT God requires of us is thanksgiving and worship and joy and love for Him and intense desire to get closer to Him and to know more about Him, and please Him and serve Him with all our heart and strength. These things do not come naturally to the natural man. These are the things we must earnestly pray for.
Bro Growcott - Search Me O God
Thanksgiving Found Among Dr. Thomas's Papers
For these and all thy mercies given,
We bless and praise thy name, O Lord;
May we receive them with thanksgiving,
Ever trusting in thy word,
To thee alone be honour, glory.
Now and henceforth evermore.
The Christadelphian, July 1872
Pay thy vows
It is the mental attitude and its faithful carrying out in life that is well-pleasing to God.
Sacrifice under the Law - baptism and the breaking of bread under Christ - are the appointed and appropriate expressions of our submission to God; but their employment, apart from the mental state which they are designed to express, is an odious mockery, as God plainly told Israel by Isaiah (1:13) and other prophets afterwards (Hosea 8:12,13). This is according to reason, and will be noted and acted on by everyone desirous of acceptance with God at the last.
"But unto the wicked God saith, what hast thou to do to declare My statutes, or that thou shouldest take My covenant in thy mouth, seeing that thou hatest instruction, and castest My words behind thee."
This also, is according to true reason. What can be more nauseous than to see or hear a man handling scriptural things whose life is not in submission to the scriptural commandment? What further comment can there be than God's own words by Hosea,
"Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? prudent, and he shall know them? for the ways of Yahweh are right, and the just shall walk in them: but the transgressors shall fall therein."
Seasons 2. 65
15 And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.
David was in greater trouble than we are ever likely to be. He was more than once overwhelmed in spirit, for the flesh is a weak thing and cannot easily penetrate beyond the aspect of the moment. But he came out of the storm and tempest, and entered at last the desired haven of rest and prosperity and peace and joy....
Brethren and sisters, we may suffer from the chill that blights all spiritual life in our unbelieving age if we are not on our guard. It is a matter of command and the behest of reason, that we -pray without ceasing," -that in everything we give thanks and make our requests known unto God," that we -cast all our care upon God who careth for us," and that we -come boldly to the throne of grace to find help in time of need."
... Did God hear David, and will He turn a deaf ear to David's brethren? Is He, then, a respecter of persons? In no wise...
But you may say, -I have called upon Him in my distress, times without number, and there has been no answer." Well, David had sometimes to say this. We must not be premature in our conclusions. We must wait. God's ways are great, slow, and involved though He can deal short and decisive strokes when the case calls for it. The work of developing the right attitude towards Himself on the part of His children, and the work of preparing an effectual and appreciated deliverance for them, is a slow work.
His deliverances are not instantaneously vouchsafed. He does not run at the instant like a mother to her baby's cry, that belongs to the lowest plane of things. He waits the full issue of things, and comes in at the ripe moment when His children have waited for Him.
Bro Roberts - Never Despair
He will hear us when we pray, for He cannot lie...
Surely, amid the accumulating cares of life, feeling oftentimes the need of wisdom to guide, of courage and strength to pursue the steady path of duty amid conflicting elements, we shall do unwisely if we neglect to retire to our closets and make our requests known unto God.
Paul also encourages the same attitude of mind toward God. He says,
"in everything by prayer and supplicaton, with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God." Heb 4:16 "Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving."
Sis Jane Roberts - 'The assistance of prayer' from THE VIRTUOUS WOMAN
16 But unto the wicked God saith, What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or that thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth?
Not regarding God's words, even the words of the covenant, is the criterion of wickedness.
"In my name shall the Horn of David (Lk 1: 69) be exalted. I will set his hand also in the sea, and his right hand in the rivers. He shall cry unto me, Thou art my Father, my God, and the rock of my salvation. Also I will make Him my First-born; higher than the kings of the earth. My mercy will I keep for Him for evermore, and my covenant shall stand fast with Him. His seed also will I make to endure forever, and his throne as the days of heaven. My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips. Once have I sworn by my holiness that I will not lie unto David. His seed shall endure forever, and his throne as the sun before me. It shall be established forever as the moon, and as a faithful witness in heaven. Selah (Psa 139: 24-29, 34-37)".
"The Lord will ever be mindful of his covenant. He hath shewed his people the power of his works, that he may give them the heritage of the nations. He hath commanded his covenant forever: holy and reverend is His name" (Psa 111: 6,9).
Concerning Messiah it is written,
"I Yahweh have called Thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep Thee, and give Thee for a covenant of the people, for a light to the Gentiles; to open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison-house (Isa 43: `6,7).
"Christ is a covenant of the people," because the blood with which the covenant is dedicated was his life. As Christ is "our life" so is he the covenant; without him neither we nor it are any thing. The "prison-house" is the grave, and the prisoners in darkness the righteous dead; of whom Yahweh says elsewhere to the King who rode into Jerusalem on a colt the foal of an ass.
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, Oct 1855.
18 When thou sawest a thief, then thou consentedst with him, and hast been partaker with adulterers.
To pass an article for what it is not is an act of fraudulent misrepresentation, and...such involves falsehood and robbery; for a lie is told-whether in so many words is immaterial-and money is wrongfully taken from a customer.
It is a class of unrighteousness which is almost universal and extenuated in the several branches of industry as "the custom of the trade." Such a plea may suit those who recognise no higher tribunal than that of human law, and who think only of the commercial or social consequences of a line of action.
...Iniquity in trade is no new thing in the world's history. It was a common thing, even in Israel; and the divine estimate of it is indicated in Christ's treatment of the traders of the Temple, in ejecting whom, he said they had converted the Father's house into a "den of thieves."
"A false balance is abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is His delight."-(Prov. 11:1.)
...As to the duty of a brother required to acquiesce in the perpetration of iniquity because it is "the custom of the trade," it is equally free from doubt. He must refuse if he desire to escape the Lord's condemnation.
This may be inconvenient, but he has to make a choice between this inconvenience and the dreadfulness of having addressed to him the following words, when the world, with all its iniquitous conveniences, will have passed away.
The Christadelphian, Feb 1873