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    January 27, 1909

    “Comfort from Adversity,” The Medical Missionary 18, 4.

    EJW

    E. J. Waggoner

    “Surely the wrath of man shall praise Thee; the remainder of wrath shalt Thou restrain.” Psalm 76:10.MEDM January 27, 1909, page 77.1

    These words have doubtless given comfort to many Christians in times of persecution. They remind us that God rules even among wicked men, saying to them, as he does to the raging sea, “Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further; and here shall the proud waves be stayed.” They show believers that even though the heathen may rage against them, they can still give thanks always for all things.MEDM January 27, 1909, page 77.2

    A little analysis of the text, however, will make it possible for us to read it more understandingly, and so to receive from it more spiritual consolation. The thoughtful reader can not fail to have been struck by the statement concerning the “remainder of wrath.” The words would seem to imply that God will “restrain” the wrath that remains beyond what he is able to make to praise Him. Then the question arises: Why does he not make all the wrath of man to praise him? This, indeed, is what is implied in the first clause of the verse, for there is no qualification. Since all things, without limitation, are possible with God, it is certain that this “remainder of warth” can not be that which it is beyond his power to make praise him. If he has power to “restrain” it, that in itself is to get praise from it.MEDM January 27, 1909, page 77.3

    A clearer idea is suggested by the reading of the Revision: “The residue of wrath shalt Thou gird upon Thee.” This is the exact meaning of the Hebrew like gar-“to bind around, to gird upon oneself, as clothing, or a sword.” From the fact that the personal pronoun does not appear in the Hebrew text, the translators of the old version probably thought that the verb meant here merely to hold back; but there can be no doubt that it means to gird upon, as in every other instances of its occurrences, and the pronoun is naturally implied.MEDM January 27, 1909, page 77.4

    Now a word about the “remainder.” That which is left of anything obviously includes all that there is of it, and so we way and should read the text as it is in the Norwegian: “The wrath of man prepares Thy praise; with the utmost limit of wrath Thou girdest Thyself about.” The scholarly version of M. Segond hasMEDM January 27, 1909, page 77.5

    L’homme te célèbre même dans sa fureur,
    Quand tu te revêts de tout ton courroux,
    MEDM January 27, 1909, page 77.6

    “Man praises Thee even in his fury, when Thou clothest Thyself with all his rage.”MEDM January 27, 1909, page 77.7

    Now we see that we have here a much stronger statement than that in the second psalm, that God laughs at the raging of the heathen. Yes, he takes the utmost limit of seemingly unbounded human wrath and binds it upon himself as a garment, making it minister to his pleasure.MEDM January 27, 1909, page 77.8

    A striking illustration of this truth in found in the case of Joseph and his brethren. The brothers, “moved with envy,” sold Joseph into Egypt, intending that to be a substitute for death as a means of putting an end to him, but it was in reality the means of advancing him to royal honor and power, and of making him the saviour of the world. So Joseph said to his brethren: “Ye meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.” With a still stronger statement, the psalmist leaves the wicked brothers and their wrath altogether out of the question, saying that God “sent a man before them, even Joseph, who was sold for a servant.”MEDM January 27, 1909, page 77.9

    Still more forcibly is the truth of our text illustrated in that which embraces all Christian experience in connection with Satanic rage. The high priest counseled the death of Christ, in order to put an end to his influence, and thereby was an instrument in making the “good tidings of great joy” effective to “all people.” Thus in the prayer of the Spirit-filled disciples: “For of a truth against Thy holy child Jesus, whom Thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together for to do whatsoever Thy hand and Thy counsel determined before to be done.” They didn’t mean it so, but all the rage of men against Jesus was simply a means of working out God’s purpose for the salvation of the world.MEDM January 27, 1909, page 78.1

    And so it must ever be. It becomes us, therefore, ever to keep alive such living faith that instead of being dismayed or discouraged by any sort of adversity, we may give thanks for it, knowing that it is working God’s praise, and so our salvation. It matters not that we can not see how any good can come of it; we may then rejoice the more, because God is preparing for us a great surprise.MEDM January 27, 1909, page 78.2

    The text gives us another thought that should always be kept in mind as a support to the weakest of us: Since God makes the wrath of man to praise him, using their utmost fury as a garment of praise, how much more will he not glorify himself by the feeble, often erring, yet sincere, and loyal, service of those who love him.MEDM January 27, 1909, page 78.3

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