Scripture Notes.

p. 109.


Psalm 37:3-6.

Whatever the differences in the translation of this scripture the meaning is but little affected. It is scarcely to be questioned that verse 3 should be rendered as follows: "Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land, and feed on faithfulness." The Revised Version has "follow after faithfulness," but their alternative rendering in the margin shows that the translators had no foundation for the idea of "following," and hence that they were seeking to expound rather than to translate. If the context is studied, the wonderful appropriateness of the word "feed" will at once be discovered. The application of the Psalm is to the remnant in the last days (see vv. 9, 11, 22, 29, etc.; and and especially compare v. 11 with Matt.5:5); and the exhortations in verses 1, 7, 8 are given for the encouragement of the feeble few who, in the time of Jacob's trouble, will be surrounded by evil of every kind. To the outward eye the wicked and the persecutors are in prosperity, and work out their own will without let or hindrance. The temptation therefore would be to flee, to seek an asylum outside of the borders of the land where evil was, to all appearances, triumphant. No, says the Spirit of God, "Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land, and feed on faithfulness" - on God's faithfulness, in the assurance that He would not forget His tried and oppressed people; and that He would in His own time deal with their oppressors. (See vv. 12-15, 17-22.) We would also do well to remember this injunction when cast down on account of the prevalence of corruption and evil. Then there is another question as to the connection between verses 3 and 4. In our translation verse 4 is a separate, even if consequent, exhortation. Some take it as immediately connected with verse 3, in this way: "Feed on faithfulness, and delight thyself in the Lord, and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart." There is no doubt that the one that "pastures upon" the faithfulness of God will soon come to delight himself in the Lord, and that then his inmost desires or petitions will be granted; for when the Lord Himself is the object before us, and when He is enshrined in our affections, His own desires are produced in our souls. Taken either way, as it stands in our Bibles, or as now suggested, verse 4 contains most blessed instruction. It is also thought that a similar intimate connection exists between verses 5, 6. If indeed a comma be substituted for the full-stop at the end of verse 5, this is at once apparent. The way of this persecuted remnant might seem to be hemmed in, hedged up, on every hand, and what is to be their resource? To commit it to, to "roll it off" upon, the Lord, and trust in Him. Leave it all in His hands; for "the steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and He delighteth in his way." Trust in Him, and He will bring it to pass; and He will also vindicate His oppressed people before the very eyes of their enemies: "He shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday." Well might the Psalmist proceed, "Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him;" for, as we learn from all the dealings of God with His saints, they that put their trust in Him will never be confounded. We may thus at all times, in all trials and difficulties, simply trust, and simply rest!


Romans 8:29; Philippians 3:21.

It is not without significance that the word translated in the first of these two scriptures as "conformed" is not found elsewhere, except in Philippians. In Romans we are said to be predestinated by God to be "conformed" to the image of His Son; that is, plainly, to the image of His Son as glorified at His own right hand as Man, because, it adds, "that He might be the firstborn among many brethren." We are thus introduced to the full result of the counsels of God. The first man having been for ever set aside in judgment by the cross, Christ, as risen and glorified, is, as the second Man, the Head and Pattern of a new race, to whom all the redeemed will be conformed; and amongst the redeemed, as His brethren, He will be throughout eternity the Firstborn. In Philippians it is a question of the body. The apostle speaks of the bodies which we now have as bodies of humiliation, witnesses as they are of the consequences of sin, both in present suffering, and as being mortal and corruptible. But when the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, shall come, He will change, or transform, our body of humiliation into conformity with, or so that it will be conformed to, His body of glory. His glorified body is thus the model of the glorified bodies of all His people. The first scripture includes more than the second, pointing to the blessed truth John speaks of; that when we see Him "we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is." Another form of the word is found also in Philippians 3, rendered there, "being made conformable to His death," as Stephen was, for example, inasmuch as like Christ he died as a martyr; for it is only in this aspect of the death of Christ that it is possible for any of His servants to be made conformable to it. Nowhere else in the New Testament is this word used. The Spirit of God has reserved it for these cases, and He thereby teaches us the singular and wonderful character of the grace of God, which has displayed the prospect before our eyes of being conformed to the image of His Son, and of our mortal bodies being changed so as to be conformed to the glorified body of Christ. The effect of this prospect on the soul of Paul was thus expressed: "That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death; if by any means I might attain unto" (or, if in any way I might arrive at) "the resurrection of" (or, from among) "the dead." May the same effect be produced on our souls!

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An angel can serve God in this world. Little would it concern him in what way, provided that way was God's; but to associate himself with its interests as forming a part of it - to ally himself with those who are governed by the motives that influence the men of this world, so that a common conduct would show that one and the other acted according to its principles - would be, to those heavenly beings, to lose their character and position.