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Bible Commentaries

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

Psalms 105



Verse 17


‘But He had sent a man before them.’

Psalms 105:17. (Prayer Book Version).

I. Israel went down into Egypt to buy food, and found one of themselves at the head of the government; and from that Divine provision flowed in natural order the whole after-Bible story.—A local famine ministered to the scheme of the world’s salvation; out of partial evil came universal good. The Gospel feast was remotely spread through the jealousy of Jacob’s sons, and in the pressure of the great dearth. The presence of evil in God’s world must ever remain an unfathomable mystery. The book of Genesis shows us, indeed, the beginning of evil upon the earth; but it represents evil as already existent, and as being brought into this world by a tempter not of this world. There is thus a chapter before the first chapter of Genesis, which remains unwritten. A lesser mystery than the creation of evil is the sufferance of evil. God, who created it not, permits it, uses it for His own purposes. The darkness which hangs about even the sufferance of evil, both moral and physical, is in a measure lightened by the remembrance that He who permits evil sees at the selfsame moment, not as a future, but as a present, thing, the good which comes out of it. It was so with the history of Joseph. It was so with the scheme of man’s redemption through Christ. And so with the discipline of our daily life. To us the multitude of events which mark the lapse of the years, even in the most uniform lives, appear to come tumbling upon one another, like the waves of the sea. He in whose hand is the soul of every living thing has laid long before the whole train of circumstances by which we are to be tried. The ministering angel was commissioned ere the messenger of Satan was permitted to buffet. Nay more, the increased hope and strength, all those high spiritual graces which are formed in saintly souls by endurance, were present things to the eternal eye, not visions of the future, when He arranged the trial.

II. From this doctrine flow several principles of faith and practice.—(1) In the light of these truths, how strongly comes out to view the supernatural character of the commonest events in which we play our part! (2) A keen recognition of these ‘previsions of God’ leads to spiritual repose in the midst of worldly disquiet. God employs evil for His purposes of good. Man may not do evil that good may come. Three great attributes of God account for the difference: (a) His infinite knowledge; (b) His certain control; (c) His perfect holiness.

—Bishop Woodford.


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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography Information
Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Psalms 105:4". Church Pulpit Commentary. 1876.

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