Verse 9. Thou, O God, didst send a plentiful rain. The march of God was not signalized solely by displays of terror, for goodness and bounty were also made conspicuous. Such rain as never fell before dropped on the desert sand, bread from heaven and winged fowl fell all around the host; good gifts were poured upon them, rivers leaped forth from rocks. The earth shook with fear, and in reply, the Lord, as from a cornucopia, shook out blessings upon it; so the original may be rendered.
Whereby thou didst confirm thine inheritance, when it was weary. As at the end of each stage, when they halted, weary with the march, they found such showers of good things awaiting them that they were speedily refreshed. Their foot did not swell all those forty years. When they were exhausted, God was not. When they were weary, He was not. They were his chosen heritage, and, therefore, although for their good he allowed them to be weary, yet he watchfully tended them and tenderly considered their distresses. In like manner, to this day, the elect of God in this wilderness state are apt to become tired and faint, but their ever loving Jehovah comes in with timely succours, cheers the faint, strengthens the weak, and refreshes the hungry; so that once again, when the silver trumpets sound, the church militant advances with bold and firm step towards "the rest which remaineth." By this faithfulness, the faith of God's people is confirmed, and their hearts established; if fatigue and want made them waver, the timely supply of grace stays them again upon the eternal foundations.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 9. The Thou in the Hebrew is emphatic: Thine inheritance, even when it was wearied (i.e., worn out) thou didst confirm; or, "fortify it." Thou who alone couldest strengthen one worn out, didst so for thy people. A. R. Fausset.
Verse 9. A liberal rain. The words translated a liberal rain, read literally in the Hebrew a rain of freenesses; and I agree with interpreters in thinking that he alludes to the blessing as having come in the exercise of free favour, and to God, as having of his own unprompted goodness provided for all the wants of his people. Some read, a desirable rain; others a rain flowing without violence, or gentle; but neither of these renderings seems eligible. Others read, a copious or plentiful rain; but I have already stated what appears to me to be the preferable sense. John Calvin.
Verse 9. A gracious rain; that is, of manna. Edmund Law (1703- 1787), quoted by Richard Warner in loc., 1828.
Verse 9. Rain. One fountain, says Cyril, waters thy paradise, and the rain that falls upon all the world is the same; it is white in the bloom of the hawthorn, red in the rose, purple in the hyacinth, and diverse kinds, and all in all; yet it itself is the same and of the same kind...
So also the Holy Spirit, though he is one and the same and not divisible, yet to every one he divideth grace according as he wills. Thomas Le Blanc.
Verse 9. A plentiful rain. Thy love has been as a shower! The returns, but a dew drop, and that dew drop stained with sin. James Harrington Evans, 1785-1849.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
- God's mercy compared to a shower.
- It is direct from heaven; not through priests.
- It is pure and unmixed.
- No one has a monopoly of it.
- There is no substitute for it.
- It is sovereignly dispensed, as to
- manner; and
- It works efficiently. Isa 55:
- Prayer can get it.
- There are seasons when these showers fall.
- In the house of God.
- In the means of grace.
- In prayer.
- In affliction.
- When saints are weary
- through working;
- through sickness;
- through non success.
- By the Holy Spirit refreshing the heart.
These showers are meant to "confirm God's people."
IV. They are wanted now.
- The church is God's inheritance.
- Though his inheritance, at times it may be weary.
- When weary, it will be refreshed by him. G. R.