Daily Family Worship

Psalm 129: The Purification Psalm

by | Jul 2, 2024

psalm 129

This Psalm is intended to be a description of the depths of calamity into which the Lord may permit His Church to fall – not, indeed, without scathe or scar; but in which and from which, she shall be ultimately delivered. God’s promise to each individual believer also holds true for His entire Church collectively: “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee, and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee; when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned, neither shall the flames kindle upon thee.” There have been times when this promise has been literally fulfilled, as it was to the three Jewish youths in the Babylonian furnace – upon whom, not even the smell of fire had passed. But the Lord’s more usual dealings with His people are to bring them into the fire so that they may be purified, so that their dross may be purged away, and so that they may come forth as gold that has been well-refined. In Egypt, God’s people were brought very low; but they were not consumed. The very emblem of the burning bush indicates a purifying but not destroying fire. And it has always been thus with His people, even down to the present hour; they have been in the very midst of the burning fiery furnace, and the flames have sometimes burned very fiercely. Many a time have the nations of the earth – although at variance on every other point – agreed on their endeavors to persecute and crush the Lord’s children, and yet these enemies have not prevailed against them! We cannot help acknowledging how the Lord, in His righteousness, has cut down forever those cords of the wicked which once bound them in fierce confederacy against His people; while His Church continues to be like that tree of which Job speaks: “Though it be cut down, yet will it sprout again, and the tender branch thereof will not cease; it will bud and bring forth boughs like a plant.”

It is a very sweet rural picture of a harvest-field which the last few verses of this Psalm bring before us. No doubt it was often witnessed in the olden days in that region of the world, during that happy and joyous time when “the Lord of the harvest” so abundantly scatters His gifts, and the valleys are so covered over with corn that they are said to shout for joy – with the little hills rejoicing on every side. The reaper, the gleaner, and the binder of the sheaves are seen together; and their master is mingling among them with words of blessing on his lips. “The Lord be with you,” he says; and they, with affectionate goodwill, return his blessing: “The Lord bless thee and prosper thee!”

Lord Jesus, we give thanks for the sweet consolation in the consciousness that You do not leave us alone in the fire, but You Yourself have fellowship in all our exercises and trials and needs and difficulties. Thank You for the assurance that when You appoint trials for us, You Yourself support us under them and will bless them! Amen.

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