1 O Elohim, thou art my El; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;
It is a reasonable state of mind when the claims of reason are fully seen. God is necessarily the highest object of desire with a mind made to reach after the delight in the infinite and the perfect and the everlasting. Such is the ultimate desire of the human mind when developed to its full capacity...
"To see Thy power and Thy glory"
was David's strong desire in which he has the company of everyone of like mind.
"Better is Thy love than life,"
exclaims he. If we are tempted to ask how can this be, we may see the fullness of our answer if we reflect. Life is only a transient thing, hanging on conditions that cannot last, whereas to be loved of God, who is everlasting, is to be made sure at last of every gift and every good. For a man to possess the love of God in the sense of being loved of God is to be the subject of the highest possession possible to a created being, for the Lord will at last withhold no good thing from such.
To such, the statement "All things are yours," will ultimately apply in the most absolute sense. God requires our love as the condition of the continuance of His.
"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart,"
is the first and the great command. We must come to this if we are to come to final good. Surely it ought to be easy for a man to love God. Love is invariably drawn out by excellence. What excellence lacks in the Eternal? Yea, what excellence is there that has not its first cause in Him?
What has man in the way of wisdom or strength that he has not received? To love God is to love the perfect, the only wise, and good, and true, the incorruptible and glorious, powerful and kind, incorporate in a self-subsistence which never began and cannot end. In God is the fountain of life, the source of all power, mentality and existence. The love of Him seems the inevitable effect of the knowledge of Him; and the knowledge of Him is within the reach of every man who has eyes to see and ears to hear what is manifest in nature and history.
... The knowledge of Him-the love of Him---the obedience to Him, seem shadowy things to those whose senses are engrossed by the proximate expressions of physical life. How real and of what operative potency they appear, when seen in their ultimate connections! You look back upon the beginningless past from which, though beginningless to Eternal Power, the wonderful present has emerged with a beginning.
You look around upon the vast and beautiful universe in which we fill so small a place, and to whose sustenance we contribute less than nothing. You look forward to the endless futurity in which some things will last for ever.
2 To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee [shekinyah glory] in the sanctuary.
I long for something more
Than comfort of the Word.
This is but faith, and faith is toilsome
To the frail mind of earth-borns,
Standing in the dark and silence of the night.
My soul, remember faith is well-pleasing
To the Father. Without it
'Tis not possible you should please Him.
Yes, I know it, and in this rejoice;
Yet must I not desire to hear His voice?
I yearn, I sigh, I mourn,
Nearly I am forlorn,
I wish for day; I pant like breathless hart.
My flesh hath constant longing
To come into His presence.
To see His face, to hear His voice,
To be covered with the mantle of His spirit;
To have communion in the thrill of His eternal joy
To exult in the fulness of His glorious praise.
To see His name exalted in the earth,
To see men happy in the doing of His will;
To behold the nations saved
From darkness, from poverty, from ignorance:
From godlessness, from sin, from vanity,
From badly-built cities, from horrid dwellings, from grinding toil,
From demoralising pleasures, from destructive vice, from false philosophy,
From selfish monopolists of land, from soulless hoarders of gold,
From oppressive masters, faithless servants, unprincipled traders,
From skinflint attorneys, cruel law courts, and unfeeling governments.
The Christadelphian, Dec 1873
4 Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name.
The Spirit of God in the Holy Scriptures
Their infinite superiority to all ideas of man is manifest on even a superficial comparison of their effects with those produced by the philosophy which is bounded by the horizon of human life as it now is.
There is something sterile and unsatisfying in the highest of merely human thoughts and attainments. It is not in the nature of life as it now is, to satisfy the mind. The mind is so constituted that nothing short of the infinite can satisfy. In all merely human projects, it matters not in what direction, riches, power, fame, art, science _ there is an end, which when once reached, becomes the grave of enterprise and the seed bed of discontent.
There is nothing satisfying in what man proposes for himself. He cannot find peace in that boundless mental action which lays hold of God for its delight and stay; Christ as the ideal of its affection, and an endless futurity of perfection as the vista of its anticipations.
This, dear brethren and sisters, is what the understanding of the truth has brought us. It has conferred upon us entire liberty.
What remains for us but to stand fast in it? It is a position we may lose if we neglect the conditions of its preservation. We must beware of the enticements suggested to us in the spectacle of cultured men and women "without God and without hope in the world."
They are interesting in the present desolation, but it is a mere picture- a mere appearance-hollow if we penetrate it - absolutely ephemeral if we follow it to its close. We must beware of the zests and honours arid emulations connected with society as it now is. It is a society that is not the friend of God, however amiable and attractive.
We must not surrender to its seductions, or accept its embraces. It is written, "The friendship of the world is enmity" that is liable to overtake the patient continuance in godliness. It is not in vain that we addict ourselves to the ways and the studies of godliness, and decline the leeks and garlic of the Egyptians.
The issue of things will justify the choice of wisdom, and reward beyond what tongue can utter or heart conceive, the faithful endurance of the monotonies and self-denials of this time of probation. "Yet a little while, and he that shall come will come," from whose bright presence will fly all clouds and darkness for ever.
6 When I remember Thee upon my bed, and meditate on Thee in the night watches [ashmurot].
Spiritual life is an affair of remembering spiritual things with the vividness and power that leads to action: and this remembrance is an affair of renewing those impressions that constitute memory, and this renewal of the mental picture of things can only be accomplished by periodical contact with the things that make the picture in the first instance.
When memory of truth is excited, motive is powerfully affected: it is forgetfulness or unbelief that leads to spiritual decay.
8 My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me.
...it is the Word of God in revelation that is the principal access to acquaintance with Him. Without this, we should only know that He must be; we should know His stupendous greatness and His terrible self-existent majesty: but what He might be, or what His purpose with us, or His wish concerning us, we could not know. With the attested Word of His revelation in our hands, the case stands entirely different.
We have it in our power to make His full acquaintance. The history of His whole work with Israel, from Moses to Christ, and the full evolution of His mind and character in the numberless communications He sent to them by the Prophets, put it in our power to know Him so thoroughly as to come into touch with Him, to confide in Him, to pray the prayer of faith to Him, to love Him, and to find in His worship and in His praise our fullest joy, as David did.