King's Business - 1917-10



just as sure as His words of promise. But together with His words of warning He had said: “And if they shall confess their iniquity . . . i f then their uncircum­ cised heart shall be humbled, etc.; then will I remember my covenant . . . and I will remember the land.”- (Lev. 26:40-42). These ancient promises God had kept to the letter, but there are many prophecies in Jeremiah and Ezekiel and other proph­ ets concerning the return and increase and magnifying of Israel and blessing to the land which have not as yet been fulfilled, but which shall be fulfilled in the days to come to the very letter (e.g., Isaiah 11:11, 12; 49:22, 23 ; 66:19; Jer. 23:5, 6; 31:31- 34; Ezek. 36:24, 25, 27, 29, 33-38 ; 37:19; 21:22, 24; Zeph. 3:19, 20; Zech. 8:3-5, 22). The fulfilment of the prophecies that has already taken place makes us absolutely certain of the fulfilment of the larger prophecies that as yet remain unfilled. Verse two sets before us both the fact and the character of God’s forgiveness. The God of the Bible is a forgiving God (Micah 7:18; Isa. 55:7). Man’s sin and God’s forgiveness of that sin is the con­ stant theme of the inspired hymns of the Bible, and indeed of the whole book. All the manifold forms of blessedness set forth in the Bible root themselves in the forgive­ ness of sin. The blessed man of the Bible is not the man who has never sinned, but the man who has sinned and been forgiven (Ps. 32:1). Heaven’s own song will be the song of redeeming, forgiving love (Rev. 5:9, 10). The completeness of God’s forgiveness comes out here, as in other places: “Thou hast covered all their sin.” When God deals with sin in mercy He leaves not a trace of it (Micah 7:19; Isa. 38:17; 44:22; 43:25; Psalm 103:3, 12; 32:1, 2; Jer. 50:20). When God thus par­ dons our sins, there is no displeasure toward us left in His heart (v. 3), we are reckoned perfectly righteous (Acts 13:38, 39; 2 Cor. 5:21). God loves us even as He loves Jesus Christ (John 17:23). vs. 4-7. “Turn us, O God of our Salva­ tion, and cause thine indignation toward us

to cease. Wilt thou be angry with us for- ever? wilt thou draw out thine anger to all generations? Wilt thou not revive ( quick­ en ) us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee? Shew us thy mercy, O LORD, and grant us thy salvation.” In verse 4 there seems to be a going back in the thought; for the preceding verse tells of anger already ceased, and there is prayer that it may cease. The eyplanation is that verses 1-3 tell of a restoration that had already taken place; but sin had again en­ tered, and there were, therefore, new mani­ festations of God’s displeasure, and the Psalmist in asking Him to forgive again encourages his heart by recalling what God had done in the past. There is no better way to strengthen our faith in asking for new manifestations of God’s mercy and forgiving love than by recalling what God has already done in forgiving great sin in the past. The Psalmist recognizes that God’s people must turn from their sins, before God turns from His anger and from His judgments that result from that anger. Would that England and America would recognize that fact to-day, and repent of their forgetfulness of God, that He might speedily “grant us His salvation” from our mighty foes. We are very ready to call' upon God for His help (and even to blame Him for not giving it more speedily), but we are not ready to confess and forsake our sins: so salvation and victory are delayed. The Psalmist also recognizes that God Himself must “turn us,” if we are really to turn, true repentance is itself God’s own work. The prayer “turn us” is a frequent prayer in the Bible (Psalm 80:3, 7, 19; Jer. 31:18; Lam. 5:21). The God who thus brings men to repentance is “the God of Salvation”. Verse 6 is a prayer for a national revival 'o r quickening of Israel. There were many such revivals in response to the prayer of believing individ­ uals or a believing few (e.g. Ezra 9:8, 9). The church and believing individuals in the church have time and again taken up this prayer of ancient Israel for revival and God has wonderfully answered it. The cry

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