The Poor Satisfied!
James Smith, 1860
"I will abundantly bless her provisions; I will satisfy her poor with bread." Psalm 132:15
It is astonishing, when we think of the greatness and glory of God, that he would pay any attention to such insignificant and vile worms as we are. And yet it would appear from his word, that he pays more attention to us, than to any other part of his creation! Israel, and the land of promise, represented the Church of God and her privileges. Therefore we read, "The Lord has chosen Zion, he has desired it for his habitation." As a man chooses some lovely spot for his residence, and sets his heart upon it — so the Lord has chosen his people, and set his heart upon dwelling among them. "This is my rest forever, here will I dwell; for I have desired it." God finds rest and refreshment among his people, and desires to have them with him entirely and eternally. "I will abundantly bless her provisions; I will satisfy her poor with bread." Precious promise!
TO WHOM IS IT MADE?
To Zion, or the Church founded on the rock. The temple which typified the Church, was built on a rocky eminence; and the Church herself, is built on the rock Christ. Christ in his glorious person, finished work, and various offices, is the one and only foundation of his Church. On him, all the persons and interests of his people rest. He bears up the whole fabric of saving mercy. All the materials were . . .
chosen by him,
purchased by him,
collected by him, and
are united together by him.
It is his Church — and a costly Church it has been to him. To this Church, in all places, at all times, this promise belongs.
But the poor are especially singled out. Not that there is anything in poverty, considered in itself, to be prized or preferred — but rather the reverse. Yet as the graces of his Spirit thrive best, and as the character of his people is formed quickest in poverty — the majority of his people have ever been found among the poor.
To the poor he pays special attention.
To the poor he speaks loving words.
For the poor he has made special provision.
To the poor he gives his richest blessings.
His poor are hungry, and long for bread;
they are penniless, and cannot procure it;
they are dependent on him to supply it.
They must beg or starve — appeal to him or perish.
The poor in spirit are precious in his sight.
The hungry and thirsty are blessed, and shall be filled.
The Lord regards the poor, "He will satisfy his poor will bread."
WHAT DOES THIS PROMISE CONTAIN?
It is the promise of a blessing. God loves to bless his people. To bless their persons. To bless their bread and their water. To bless all they have, and bless them in all they do. He has made provision for his people in his ordinances. They present Jesus the bread of life. They are wells of salvation. They bring us into the presence of God, and set before us the feast which God has made. The gospel contains their provision. Here is . . .
pardon and peace,
righteousness and strength,
light and life,
relief and deliverance.
Here is the great supper of the great King, made to commemorate the marriage of his Son. The promises especially contain the provision he has made for us. Provision . . .
for every need,
for every day,
for every place,
for every circumstance.
Ever fresh supplies.
This provision God will bless — even his ordinances, his gospel, and his promises. When God blesses them — they impart light, infuse strength, and work our deliverance.
With his blessing, a little goes a great way, and lasts a long while. Everything is to us what God's blessing makes it, even his own ordinances and word. We need not only the means — but his blessing with them. By blessing his provision, he will satisfy his poor with bread. He will give them the true bread from Heaven, and his blessing with it, and then they feed upon it, enjoy it, and are fully satisfied with it. It just suits the craving desires of the soul.
It is sufficient to meet and supply all their needs. It gives them satisfaction — they are content, they desire nothing more. The health of the soul is not good, if we do not relish the bread of life. The state of the heart is not satisfactory, if we are not satisfied with Christ, and with Christ alone. We may enjoy music, we may admire flowers — but they are not food; so there are many things we may like in their places — but if the mind is spiritual, nothing will satisfy it but spiritual provision.
Observe, provision will not do without God's blessing. We do not expect our daily food to refresh and strengthen us, without God's blessing; and therefore we never think of partaking of it, without asking God's blessing upon it. Nor should we expect to get good from the ordinances, without God's blessing; nor should we expect God's blessing, without asking for it. Before going to ordinances, we should pray. When we are engaged in ordinances, we should pray. Let who will preach, or pray, or admonish — we should look up to God for his blessing. If this was more the case with us, the ordinances would be made a greater blessing to us.
But we look too much to man, depend too much on means, and expect too much from the institutions themselves. Even the gospel will not profit us, yes it may be a savor of death, without God's blessing. And the promises, as plain, pointed, and suitable as they are, will be like dry breasts without God's blessing. There is no satisfaction for any but Zion's poor. God will satisfy her poor with bread, they shall have enough, and a soul-satisfying blessing with it.
What a mercy it is to be stripped of everything of our own. To be emptied of self and self-importance. To feel that we are absolutely dependent on the Divine bounty. To have to look to God for all, and to have to look to God always. The poorer we are in self — the more we shall enjoy God's provision, and the more we shall relish the bread of God. Nothing in self — we shall find all in Christ. But even for God's people, there is no satisfaction — but as they feed on the bread of life.
"He who eats me," says Jesus, "shall live by me." Feeding upon Christ, proves that we have spiritual life, while at the same time, it increases and strengthens it. The more we have to do with Christ, and the more we receive from Christ — the more satisfaction we shall enjoy; and when we are ever with him, and wholly taken up with him, our satisfaction will be perfect and complete.
In God's Church there is provision for all hungry souls; let us therefore live in union and communion with that Church. In Christ's gospel there is enough and to spare of all, and everything, the sinner wants; let us therefore receive that gospel, and derive from it every spiritual blessing.
The promises of God are food for the soul; let us therefore believe them, feed on them, and expect to be strengthened and nourished by them.
Believer, the blessing of the Lord makes rich, and brings no sorrow with it. Do you live in the enjoyment of that blessing? Do you seek that blessing on all you do? Do you look through ordinances, promises, and the gospel itself — to the Lord, and depend on his blessing alone for supplies and satisfaction?
Poor sinner, you have no food for your soul, but husks, yet there is bread enough in our Father's house and to spare, and you may have it for asking for. You have no satisfaction in anything you do or possess; neither can you have, until you are found among Zion's poor, and then you will find, that God abundantly blesses her provision, and satisfies her poor with bread.
Jesus! you are the living bread,
By which our needy souls are fed;
In you alone your Children find
Enough to fill the empty mind.
Without this bread I starve and die,
No other can my need supply;
But this will suit my wretched ease,
Abroad, at home, in every place.
This precious food my heart revives;
What strength, what nourishment it gives!
O! let me evermore be fed
With this divine celestial bread!