An earnest call invites to universal praise. The story of
God's dealings with His ancient people is used to quicken this hymn.
1-4. "O give thanks to the Lord; call upon His name;
make known His deeds among the people. Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him; talk
of all His wondrous works. Glory in His holy name; let the heart of those
rejoice who seek the Lord. Seek the Lord, and His strength; seek His face
It is a blessed task to seek the Lord rejoicingly in
praise. Supplications should be intermixed. Prayer should awaken praise, and
praise enliven prayer. God's mighty deeds afford large scope. It should be
incessant joy to recall His wonders, and to encircle them with outbursts of
adoring hymns. Thus let us seek the Lord, and magnify His strength, and come
into His presence.
5-7. "Remember His marvelous works that He has done;
His wonders, and the judgments of His mouth; O seed of Abraham His servant,
you children of Jacob His chosen. He is the Lord our God; His judgments are
in all the earth."
Memory is a precious gift. It places past events in vivid
light. Let our minds be as a well-written narrative of Israel's story. The
especial call here is to the lineal seed of Abraham. But if we are Christ's,
then we are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise. In His
dealings with the fathers of the Church we may trace our interest in His
8-12. "He has remembered His covenant forever, the
word which He commanded to a thousand generations; which covenant He made
with Abraham, and His oath unto Isaac; and confirmed the same to Jacob for a
law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant; saying, To you will I give
the land of Canaan, the lot of your inheritance; when they were but a few
men in number; yes, very few, and strangers in it."
In the plenitude of His grace He called Abraham from the
land of idolatry to be the progenitor of a mighty nation. He blessed him
with rich and large promises, and He solemnly confirmed the same to the son
in whom his seed was called. He decreed that His covenant should endure from
age to age. He especially declared that a lovely portion of this earth
should be their abode; Free grace alone was the moving motive of this favor.
At that time Abraham's household was but a little band, small and homeless.
In the promised Canaan we may behold our heavenly rest. Let faith clasp the
assurance that in due time this rest shall be our everlasting portion.
13-15. "When they went from one nation to another,
from one kingdom to another people, He permitted no man to do them wrong;
yes, He reproved kings for their sakes; saying, Touch not My anointed, and
do My prophets no harm."
The early story shows them strangers and pilgrims upon
earth. They wandered from place to place. They were regarded with jealousy
by the potentates of this world. Constant perils threatened their
destruction. But God was their shield. He permitted no violence to injure.
16-22. "Moreover, He called for a famine upon the
land; He broke the whole staff of bread. He sent a man before them, even
Joseph, who was sold for a servant; whose feet they hurt with fetters; he
was laid in iron; until the time that His word came; the word of the Lord
tried him. The king sent and loosed him; even the ruler of the people, and
let him go free. He made him lord of his house, and ruler of all his
substance; to bind his princes at his pleasure, and teach his senators
They were cradled and nurtured in perilous providences.
Famine oppressed them. A favorite son was carried as a slave to Egypt. He
was immured in prison and shackled in galling chains. But he emerged to sit
beside the monarch on his throne, and to guide the rulers with wise
counsels. At every point in this story let us pause and marvel; but at no
pause let praise be silent. For love to His chosen is preeminently shown.
The sun at times might be obscured; but soon the rays resumed their power.
Let, then, the truth delight our hearts, I have loved you with an
everlasting love therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn you.
23-24. "Israel also came into Egypt; and Jacob
sojourned in the land of Ham. And He increased His people greatly, and made
them stronger than their enemies."
Constraining circumstances brought Jacob and his
household into Egypt. Here God's smile crowned them with prosperity. Their
numbers rapidly increased. The surrounding natives witnessed their growing
power. Jealousy was quick to see where strength resided.
25. "He turned their heart to hate His people, to deal
subtly with His servants."
God allowed the vile passions to intensify. The king's
heart was hardened and his eyes were blinded. He did not see the
all-directing hand of God. Crafty schemes were devised to extirpate. Impiety
strove by subtle arts to keep them low.
26. "He sent Moses His servant, and Aaron whom He had
When God has a purpose to accomplish He raises suitable
instruments. His work can never fail because means are insufficient. Is it
not written, that of the very stones He can raise up children unto Abraham!
So He called Moses and Aaron to their destined posts. They came forth
fearless of the tyrant, and exhibited credentials that they were sent of
27-36. "They showed His signs among them, and wonders
in the land of Ham. He sent darkness, and made it dark; and they rebelled
not against His word. He turned their waters into blood, and slew their
fish. Their land brought forth frogs in abundance in the chambers of their
kings. He spoke, and there came different sorts of flies, and lice in all
their coasts. He gave them hail for rain, and flaming fire in their land. He
smote their vines also and their fig-trees, and broke the trees of their
coasts. He spoke, and the locusts came, and caterpillars, and them without
number, and ate up all the herbs in their land, and devoured the fruit of
their ground. He smote also all the first-born in their land, the chief of
all their strength."
Terrible plagues afflicted the persecuting land. With
appalling deeds God showed His wrath. The sun concealed its light. Darkness
spread its thickest pall around. The trembling people sat in more than
midnight gloom. The waters of their noble river flowed in blood and poison.
All nature warred against them, and encircled them in hopeless ruin. Noisome
reptiles filled their houses with distress. There was no escape. Herbage
withered. The fruits of the field were blasted. Death entered into every
dwelling, and loud cries bewailed the smitten first-born. God, who never
lacks means to save, now sent forth instruments to destroy.
37-38. "He brought them forth also with silver and
gold; and there was not one feeble person among their tribes. Egypt was glad
when they departed; for the fear of them fell upon them."
His chosen people left their bondage enriched with
treasures and invigorated with health. Egypt, which had exulted in
oppression, was more delighted to witness their departure.
39-45. "He spread a cloud for a covering, and fire to
give light in the night. The people asked, and He brought quails, and
satisfied them with the bread of heaven. He opened the rock, and the waters
gushed out; they ran in the dry places like a river. For He remembered His
holy promise, and Abraham His servant. And He brought forth His people with
joy, and His chosen with gladness; and gave them the lands of the heathen;
and they inherited the labor of the people; that they might observe His
statutes, and keep His laws. Praise the Lord."
It is sweet profit to contemplate God's gracious care of
Israel in the wilderness, and the power with which He planted them
triumphant in the promised land. There can be no limits to the praise thus
swelling in the heart. By day a cloudy covering was their screen; by night
it brightened into a vast luminary. At their request fowls fell in abundance
round the camp. Water from the smitten rock flowed for them. Not one word of
promise failed. Goodness and mercy followed their advancing steps, until
they reaped the plenty of their promised home. Hallelujah. Praise the Lord.