Gratitude for Divine Mercies
William Nicholson, 1862
"Blessed be the Lord, who daily loads us with benefits, even the God of our salvation." Psalm 68:19
A review of the Divine mercies will always produce gratitude.
Christian character and grateful acknowledgments, are ever identical. Gratitude is the effusion of the Christian's heart while he lives, and it will be the emanation of his soul in eternity when he sings the song of Moses and the Lamb.
I. The Character of God."The God of our salvation." In respect to temporal and spiritual deliverance, he is often styled "the God of our salvation." As such,
1. He commiserated us in our need of salvation. He "so loved," pitied, and commiserated the state of man. John 3:16.
2. He originated and devised the plan of salvation. His infinite compassion called into requisition his infinite wisdom to form the plan of mercy.
3. He appointed the Agent of salvation — even his only-begotten Son. Sent him to be a sacrifice — to endure the penalty of a broken law, etc. 1 Timothy 1:15; Ephesians 1:7.
4. He grants the means of salvation. His word — and the preaching of the Gospel.
5. He applies salvation to the soul by his own immediate agency. By his Spirit, who "convicts the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment." John 16:8
6. He will ultimately and forever receive all the honors of salvation. By the great number of the redeemed which no man can number, he will be adored as the "God of salvation."
II. What He Does For His People:"He daily loads us with benefits."
An alternative translation would be, "Blessed be the Lord, who supports us day by day." The word translated "load," signifies to lift, to bear up, support, or to bear a burden for another.
1. God daily loads us with temporal benefits, by which life is sustained. Intellectual benefits — the continuance of our intellectual faculties. National benefits; what nation is like ours? Civil and religious benefits. "The lines have fallen unto me in pleasant places" etc.
2. God daily loads us with spiritual benefits. To this there is reference, verse 18, which the Apostle applies to the finished work, triumphant ascension, and gracious communications of Christ. Ephesians 4:8. His atoning death — his advocacy for his people at the right hand of God is a daily benefit, precious and unspeakable! This lifts up, supports, and sustains the mind. Christ bears our load or burden of sin and guilt for us.
"You have received gifts for men, even for the rebellious also," verse 18. Paul says, "He gave gifts." He has dispensed them, and he will dispense them.
Kings at their coronation, conquerors in their triumphs, have scattered silver and gold. The pretended successor of Peter at Rome, scatters copper money among the people when he obtains the popedom, because the Apostle had said, "Silver and gold have I none." But, "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ." Ephesians 1:3. Think of the number of these blessings. Pardon, peace, access, faith, hope, joy, the Spirit, the precious promises, etc. etc And they are "for the rebellious!" For a Magdalene — a malefactor — murderous Jews — bloody persecutors — and filthy idolaters!
3. The translation conveys the idea of daily support. This is required, and a rich blessing it is in adversity — in temptation — in bodily or relative affliction — under every trial. Delightful then to hear God say, "Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you." etc. Psalm 55:22. "My grace is sufficient for you." etc.
4. It is correct too that he loads us with his favors. So many, so weighty are the gifts of God's bounty to us, that he loads us with them; he pours out blessings (especially to those of his grace), until there is no room to receive them, Malachi 3:10; Psalm 23:5.
5. His munificence is constant. Never suspended; it is always flowing, Lamentations 3:22, 23. "I will never leave, nor ever forsake you!" etc.
III. The Return Which the People of God Should Make.Praise: "Blessed be the Lord!"
The term means to extol, exalt, praise, or speak well of a person. To bless the Lord is to speak good of his name. "All your works praise you, and your saints bless you." Psalm 145:10. Even the inanimate creation, the works of God, manifest his attributes and his praises; but his saints do more, they bless his name. They dwell on the attributes and glories of God with inward delight. "We delight, O Lord, to see your name honored in the world, yes, exalted above all; we triumph in the perfections of your nature, and give thanks to you for all your goodness."
They wish, and pray, and strive that his name may be honored. "May the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, be forever ascribed to him! May all generations do homage to him, and make his name glorious in the earth!"
A disposition to praise God is a most invaluable treasure. He who has it, has an inward enjoyment akin to heavenly blessedness, and which renders the celestial land the most desirable and glorious spot in the vast domains of Jehovah.
A true Christian will:
1. Praise the Lord sincerely.
2. Praise him affectionately. Be it the effusions of a heart tuned by Divine love.
3. Praise him constantly. "I will bless the Lord at all times."
4. Let praise be practical. By holy efforts to promote his glory in the world.