The Psalmist remembers the ‘name’ of God, the expression implying, not a transient thought, but meditation, consideration; and yet the result of the recollection is gladness and confidence.
I. When the mind gives itself to the contemplation of the Divine perfections, it launches on an ocean unfathomable and without a shore.—But we may certify ourselves of truths which we cannot fathom or scan. And the Divine perfections, while we readily confess that they transcend all our powers, may be objects of our faith, of our study, of our adoration. Wheresoever there are the simple desire and the earnest endeavour to obey the Divine precepts, the properties of our Maker have only to be made the subject of careful remembrance, and they must furnish the materials of comfort.
II. We go on to admit that there are properties or attributes of God which, because they seem arrayed against sinful beings, can hardly be supposed to be the subjects of encouraging remembrance.—The name of the Lord our God includes justice and holiness; and these are qualities from which we seem instinctively to shrink, as though we felt that they must necessarily be opposed to rebellious and polluted creatures. But the attributes of Deity meet and harmonise in the plan of our redemption. It is the Christian alone who can view God in every character and yet view Him without dread. The Christian, when he would remember the name of the Lord, may place himself beneath the shadow of the tree on which the Lord Jesus died.
III. The Psalmist’s reference would seem to be specially to seasons of fear and anxiety.—In times of sorrow Christians call to remembrance their grief rather than God, the blow rather than the hand whence it comes; but let them call to mind the Divine attributes, the evidences which they have already had of God’s love and the reasons which they have for being persuaded that all things are ordered by Him so as to work together for good, and come trouble, come death, they may still exclaim, ‘Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; but enough for us that we can remember the name of the Lord our God.’
‘This is the song which welds and ennobles ordinary men into Ironsides.
Jehovah Nissi: that is the Lord’s name. He is my Banner. He goes in front of me into every encounter. The enemy is near, but He is nearer still. The enemy is strong, but He is stronger by far. God’s flag has never been worsted, never put to shame. It is the emblem of victory. It is invincible.
Jehovah Jireh: that is His name. He is the Lord Who provides for me. If I am to fight to purpose, I need an ample equipment; and I have it in Him. The pardon which lifts away the burden of past guilt, the holiness which renders me impervious to the craft and power of the adversary, the joyous assurance which sends me into the strife without fear—He furnishes them all.
Jehovah Shalom: that is His name. He is the Lord who gives peace. I shall not live always among the blare of trumpets and the clash of arms. Here, in this world, He brings me to many “a. season of calm weather.” And, by and by, He will open to me the gates of the city where nothing hurts or annoys.’