James Smith, 1860
"I will love you, O Lord, my strength!" Psalm 18:1
On another occasion, David had been looking back over his trying path, and bitter experience, and out of pure gratitude exclaimed, "I love the Lord, because he has heard my voice and my supplication." But here he looks up, and realizing what the Lord was to him, exclaims, "I will love you, O Lord my strength!" It is sweet to trace out what the Lord has done for us — but it is sweeter, to realize what the Lord is to us. What do we need so much as strength? And the Lord not only promises to give it — but to be our very strength himself! As though, by virtue of being brought into union with himself, his omnipotence is to be put forth in us; or as Jesus said to Paul, his strength is to be made perfect in our weakness. Let us notice,
The view he took or the Lord. "My strength." Here is God condescending to sympathize with man, in his weakness and needs; and adapting himself to man's circumstances and necessities. The Lord is my strength — he has appeared to me, and strengthened me; he has appeared for me, and delivered me. In my extreme weakness and danger — he has imparted comfort, and has strengthened me with strength in my soul. When I said, "My foot is slipping!" — his mercy caught me, and held me up. And having obtained help from him, I continue until the present day. He is engaged to help me still. His word, on which he has caused me to hope, is, "I will strengthen you!" In trust of this promise, I meet my foes, brave the difficulties and dangers in my path, and anticipate complete deliverance.
My God is absolutely necessary to me, and, blessed be his holy name, he has promised to hold my right hand, to cover my head in the day of battle, and to save me with an everlasting salvation! Well then may he form,
The Purpose Expressed. "I will love you, O Lord, my strength." This is just what the Lord prizes, and therefore when he gave the law, he said, "Love Me;" and when he framed the gospel, he so arranged it, as to lead all who believed it — to love Him.
"I will love you" — then I must often hold communion with you. To love and not to speak, is next to impossible. To love and seldom speak, is improbable. No, no, if I love the Lord, I must often be alone with him. I must open my heart to him. I must live in fellowship with him.
If I love the Lord — I must place confidence in him. I cannot love one, in whom I cannot confide. Nor can I please the object of my love, if I have no confidence in him. In proportion as I love the Lord, I shall trust in him, commit myself to him, and in all my ways acknowledge him.
If I love the Lord — I shall speak of him and for him. Can my heart glow with love to him, and my tongue be silent respecting him? Can I sincerely love him — and not commend him? Can I sincerely love him — and not defend him? Can I sincerely love him — and not wish everyone to know and love him too?
If I love the Lord — I shall prepare to dwell with him. Love always longs for the presence of the beloved object; and to dwell with the loved one, is the great object and aim. If my love is simple, sincere, and enlightened — I shall long to be with Jesus, and shall therefore seek to be prepared for his presence and his home.
If I love the Lord — I shall consort with his people. I shall love — whom he loves; meet — where he meets with his people; and take them for my companions — who know and love him.
If I love the Lord — I shall obey his holy will. It will be a pleasure to do what he bids me, and to go where he sends me. I shall think no duty too difficult, nor too self-denying to perform for him. Love always says, "I made haste, and delayed not, to keep your precepts."
Once more, if I love the Lord — I shall adore and praise him. My sweetest thoughts will be filled with him. My deepest adorations will ascend to him. My loftiest songs will be sung in honor of him.
Well, my soul, can you still say, "I will love you, O Lord, my strength!" If so, some of,
The reasons of our love, are the same as David's. I love him — for he has revealed his love to me. For if we love him, it is because he first loved us. Our love to him — had its origin in heaven. It began with God, and therefore it terminates in God.
I love him — for he has wrought deliverances for me. Yes, he has delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, and my feet from falling. With adoring reverence I may say, "Great is your mercy towards me, for you have delivered my soul from the lowest hell! You have given me the shield of your salvation; and your right hand has held me up, and your gentleness has made me great." He has richly furnished me with supplies. Not one thing has failed of all that he promised. Not one need has been overlooked, forgotten, or neglected. Therefore with David, I would say, "The Lord lives, and blessed be my rock; and let the God of my salvation be exalted."
I love him — for he has opened glorious prospects before me. A throne, a crown, a kingdom! Peace, plenty, and perfection! All that heaven can furnish — all that God can give! All that my immortal nature can enjoy! O what cause have I to love the Lord!
Reader, do you love the Lord? If the Lord was to put the same question to you, as he put to Peter, "Do you love me?" — could you answer with him, "Lord, you know all things — you know that I love you!" If you do not love him as you wish — is it a grief to you? Do you ardently desire to love him above all? If the Lord works for you as he did for David, or if his love is shed abroad in your heart by the Holy Spirit — then, then will you say, "I will love you, O Lord, my strength!"
But have you proved the Lord to be your strength? Have you felt your own weakness? Have you been brought to feel entire prostration of soul before him? Have you laid hold on his promise, pleaded at his throne, and ventured forth to duty and to conflict — in his name? If so, you have found the Lord to be the strength of your heart, a very present help in trouble! In his strength — you have carried your cross; in his strength — you have conquered your foes; in his strength — you have held on your way; and now out of pure gratitude, you should say, "I will love you, O Lord, my strength!"