Grateful Acknowledgment of Divine Goodness
William Nicholson, 1862
"The Lord has done great things for us; whereof we are glad." Psalm 126:3
A deep sense of entire dependence upon God as the source of all true enjoyment, will ever pervade the mind of the Christian.
I. A Pleasing Statement: "The Lord has done great things." This statement implies:
1. An acknowledgment of the Divine Hand. "The Lord has done." God is the fountain of all our mercies — temporal, spiritual, and eternal. Whatever may be the streams — he is the Source! Whatever may be the instruments to promote his designs — he is the Agent! "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights." James 1:17. "All my springs are in you!"
2. The statement refers to "great things." What "great things" God has done for His people! He has done great things for us . . .
(1.) In Redemption. By remembering us in our low estate, He laid help upon one that was mighty, even Christ Jesus, who came into the world to save sinners.
(2.) In Conversion. By enlightening the sin-darkened mind, arousing the conscience, and leading to the cross as the only source of mercy.
(3.) In the bestowal of Divine freedom. Liberty to the spiritual captive . . .
from guilt and condemnation,
from the impurity of sin,
from the love of sin,
from the domination of sin,
from the presence of sin in Heaven.
(4.) By providential interpositions and deliverances. "The hairs of your head are all numbered." How often does the Divine Shepherd save His sheep . . .
in the hour of peril,
from the designs of enemies,
He might have cut me down as a cumberer of the ground.
(6.) By Spiritual advancement. He is carrying on the good work; the inward man is renewed day by day. Through His grace, I am ripening for glory. I am voyaging through life, and He steers my bark, and points me to the port of glory. I have a good hope through grace. He has prepared for me a crown — a kingdom — an exceeding and eternal weight of glory! These are "great things."
II. A Joyful Statement: "Whereof we are glad."
The Christian can never forget past mercies, present mercies, and "great things" to come, laid up in Heaven for him. This gladness implies,
1. Sensibility. Lost sinners are asleep — dead — unmindful of the hand that feeds and sustains them. A believer is a ransomed one, the Spirit has quickened him, he praises the Fountain of all his mercies. He constantly takes a retrospective view of God's gracious dealings with him.
2. Real enjoyment. Actual participation. I constantly feel that God is doing "great things" for me. I daily, hourly enjoy them, and shall I not praise Him?
3. It is heartfelt gladness. "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name."
4. This gladness is greatly increased by considering the great unworthiness of the recipient of "great things." "I am not worthy of the least of your mercies." "Behold, I am vile, what shall I answer you?"
5. Gladness manifests itself by a practical regard for the Divine glory. "What shall I render unto the Lord for all his goodness to me?"
1. Mourn your ingratitude and forgetfulness.
2. Pray for quickening grace.
3. Anticipate the time when you shall be made eternally glad.