James Smith, 1860
"How excellent is your loving-kindness, O God! therefore the sons of men put their trust under the shadow of your wings." Psalm 36:7
The more we know of God, by means of his own revelation, the more we shall admire his perfections, and the more we shall love him. And the more we know of his dealings with his people, and what he is to them, the more steadily and firmly shall we trust in him. This appears evidently to have been the Psalmist's case, looking at men as apostate and opposed to God — he turns from the sickening sight, to admire the mercy, faithfulness, righteousness, and preserving goodness of God; and then with delight and rapture exclaims, "How excellent is your loving-kindness, O God! therefore the sons of men put their trust under the shadow of your wings." Psalm 36:7.
Loving-kindness is a compound word, and represents God's love as adapting itself to man's weakness, misery, and needs. It is love sympathizing with us, and comforting us tenderly and with care. As mercy is represented in another place, "Let, I pray you, your merciful-kindness be for my comfort, according to your word unto your servant." Not merely mercy, not only kindness — but merciful-kindness.
Thus God's loving-kindness stoops to our circumstances, visiting us when sick, and making our bed — relieving us when poor and oppressed — pardoning us when guilty and condemned — and comforting us when sorrowful and cast down. The loving-kindness of God is like himself — vast beyond conception, and tender beyond description — it is perfect, perpetual, and holy. And in its appearances for us, it appears truly marvelous, as David sang, "Blessed be the Lord; for he has showed me his marvelous kindness in a strong city."
The loving-kindness of God is excellent, for it has a hand to work, an eye to see, an ear to hear, an arm to bear, wealth to supply, a wing to cover, and glory to give!
"O how excellent is your loving-kindness, O God!" It is precious, valued beyond all price, relished above everything beside. It is admired by all the saints, and commended by all who enjoy it. It is improved and turned to account too, for "therefore the sons of men put their trust under the shadow of your wings." The reference may be to the wings of the hen, which covers, screens, and protects her brood; or to the wings of the cherubim, which were over the ark, covering the mercy-seat. There the children of God, as taught by the Holy Spirit, come for support, supply, and safety; for here the God of Israel is represented as the object of confidence, and the source of safety. Here they see the blood, which made atonement for all their sins; here they hear the voice, which banishes all their fears; and here they bring their burdens — and leave their loads.
Rest for the weary, is found here. Peace for the troubled, is found here. Hope for the hopeless, is found here. Salvation for the lost, is found here. "How excellent is your loving-kindness, O God, therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of your wings."
Let us then study God's loving-kindness, as it is revealed in his word, illustrated in his Son, and enjoyed by his people. Let us admire its excellency and its glory, for it is divinely excellent and beautiful. Let us improve our knowledge of it for comfort and safety. When all within is dark and dreary, when all without is depressing and saddening — let us look to the loving-kindness of our God for comfort and consolation! And when justice appears against us, or guilt intimidates us, or men seek to injure us — let us put our trust, for deliverance and salvation, under the shadow of his wings!