James Smith, 1860
In the midst of wrath, God remembers mercy, and therefore in his word, we find threatening and promises following each other. He threatens all offenders, he punishes his enemies, chastises his friends — and glorifies his name in dealing with all. How severely he threatens that he will punish Jerusalem by the prophet Isaiah, and then immediately predicts a restoration, the sanctification of trouble, the endearing of his own word, and the increasing happiness of his lowly ones. Hence we read, "The meek also shall increase their joy in the Lord, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel." Isaiah 29:19. This promise belongs to, and may be claimed by, similar characters, even in the present day, let us therefore look at it, and endeavor to derive benefit from it. Here is,
A Character. "the meek, the poor among men." The word rendered meek, is sometimes rendered afflicted, bruised, and refers to those who by bruising afflictions, and divine teachings, are humbled and made meek. The spiritually meek have their pride humbled, their spirits softened, and are made willing to be saved by sovereign grace. They give up all controversy with God, and are glad to be saved upon God's terms; and rejoice, that those terms are a free salvation, all of grace, to be received, and enjoyed, by faith, to the glory and praise of God.
They are willing to live on God's bounty, and daily look to the Lord to work in them, to will and to do of his good pleasure; and to work for them, by his providence and Spirit. They depend on him alone, look to him for all they need, and ascribe all they have, and are — to the riches of his free grace.
They are willing to submit to his sovereignty, both in nature and grace, they do not cavil at his decrees, nor quarrel with his dispensations — but reply to all objections, "Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?"
They are willing to walk by rule, by God's rule — going where he directs, doing what he commands, and avoiding what he prohibits. They think the best of others, and the worst of themselves, and are therefore peaceable and pleasant companions, not striving for the highest seat, or seeking their own glory. They mourn over the pride and hardness of their own hearts — and daily seek humbling, softening, and sanctifying grace.
These meek ones, are very often of the poor among men, and sometimes the very poorest. They are dependent on divine providence as well as divine grace; they are despised by the self-sufficient who dwell at ease; and they are often kept needy — for their good. But though poor, they are not unhappy, for they are content with God's allotments, pleased with God's arrangements, and look from present needs — to future plenty. Here is for them,
A Precious Promise. "The meek shall increase their joy in the Lord, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel." The meek are happy, they have joy — but they shall have greater, deeper, sweeter joy. The source of their joy is the Lord — it flows from him. The object of their joy is the Lord — it centers in him. They joy in God as their Father, Friend, and eternal portion. Their joy shall increase, it shall be more profound, more constant, more spiritual. They shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel. They shall rejoice in his immutable love for them — in consequence of which they are not consumed. They shall rejoice in his holiness — which sanctifies all who walk with him. They shall rejoice in his power — which works deliverance for them in every time of trouble. They have wells of salvation — from which they draw supplies with joy. They have rivers of pleasure — from which they may drink their fill. They have an ocean of joy — in which they may bathe and delight themselves forever!
Reader, are you meek? If so, you may eat, and be satisfied; you may drink, and rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory. Are you poor? You may yet be happy. The Holy One of Israel, may be your God, your exceeding joy. Are you happy? Your joy may be increased. There is fullness of joy to be realized on earth. Jesus desires that our joy should be full. The early disciples, though poor, persecuted, and despised, "were filled with joy, and with the Holy Spirit." Let us seek grace then, that we may rejoice in the Lord; and "rejoice in the Lord always."
Are you distinguished by meekness, poverty of spirit, and holy joy? Then be grateful for the honor conferred upon you, and for the happiness provided for you. True religion is a joyful thing, and the more we have of it — the more joyful we shall be.
Reader, when we press true religion upon your attention, it is because we wish you to be happy. Happy now, and happy forever. There is a fountain of joy in Jesus, ever flowing and ever free; to that fountain you are invited; of that joy you may partake, and with that joy you may be filled.
O if you did but realize your need of Jesus, if you did but come to Jesus, if you did rely solely on Jesus — then you would be prepared to say of him, "Whom having not seen — we love; in whom, though now we see him not — yet believing, we rejoice with joy unspeakable, and full of glory."