Thy gentleness hath made me great.
Thy gentleness hath made me great. 2 Sam. xxii. 36.
THE triumph of God's gentle goodness will be our song for ever. In those far distant ages, when we look back on our earthly course, as a grown man on his boyhood, and when the words of this Psalm shall express our glad emotions, we shall recognise that the Hand which brought us thither was as gentle as our mother's; and that the things we craved, but faileth to receive, were withheld by his gentle goodness. Our history tells what gentleness will do.
The Apostle besought the Corinthian converts by the gentleness of Christ (2 Cor. x. 1). Though there were abuses amongst them that seemed to call for stringent dealing, he felt that they could be best removed by the gentle love which he had learned from the heart of Christ. The wisdom which is from above is gentle as well as pure; and in dealing with the sin that chokes our growth, it is probable that gentleness will do more than severity. The gentleness of the nurse that cherishes her children; of the lover to her whom he cherishes above himself; of the infinite love which bears and endures to the uttermost ‑‑ is the furnace before which the foul ingredients of our hearts are driven never to return. We might brave the lion; we are vanquished by the Lamb. We could withstand the scathing look of scorn; but when the gentle Lord casts on us the look of ineffable tenderness, we go out to weep bitterly.
That He has borne with us so lovingly; that He has filled our lives with mercy even when compelled to correct; that He has never altered in his tender behaviour towards us; that He has returned our rebuffs and slights with meekness and forbearance; that He has never wearied of us ‑‑ this is an everlasting tribute to the gentleness that makes great.
Thy gentleness hath made me great
The blessed Comforter is gentle, tender and full of patience and love. How gentle are God's dealings even with sinners. How patient His forbearance. How tender His discipline with His own erring children. How He led Jacob, Joseph, Israel, David, Elijah and all His ancient servants until they could truly say, Thy gentleness hath made me great. The heart in which the Holy Spirit dwells will always be characterized by gentleness, lowliness, quietness, meekness and forbearance. The rude, sarcastic spirit, the brusque manner, the sharp retort, the unkind cut-all of these belong to the flesh and have nothing in common with the gentle teaching of the Comforter. The Holy Dove shrinks from the noisy, tumultuous, excited and vindictive spirit and finds His home in the peaceful soul. The fruit of the Spirit is . . . gentleness, . . . meekness. Lord, make me gentle. Hush my spirit. Refine my manner. Let me have Christ in my bearing and my very tones, as well as in my heart.
Thy gentleness hath made me great
The words are capable of being translated, "Thy goodness hath made me great." David gratefully ascribed all his greatness not to his own goodness, but the goodness of God. "Thy providence," is another reading; and providence is nothing more than goodness in action. Goodness is the bud of which providence is the flower, or goodness is the seed of which providence is the harvest. Some render it, "Thy help," which is but another word for providence; providence being the firm ally of the saints, aiding them in the service of their Lord. Or again, "Thy humility hath made me great." "Thy condescension" may, perhaps, serve as a comprehensive reading, combining the ideas mentioned, including that of humility. It is God's making Himself little which is the cause of our being made great. We are so little, that if God should manifest His greatness without condescension, we should be trampled under His feet; but God, who must stoop to view the skies, and bow to see what angels do, turns His eye yet lower, and looks to the lowly and contrite, and makes them great. There are yet other readings, as for instance, the Septuagint, which reads, "Thy discipline"--Thy fatherly correction--"hath made me great;" while the Chaldee paraphrase reads, "Thy word hath increased me." Still the idea is the same. David ascribes all his own greatness to the condescending goodness of his Father in heaven. May this sentiment be echoed in our hearts this evening while we cast our crowns at Jesus' feet, and cry, "Thy gentleness hath made me great." How marvellous has been our experience of God's gentleness! How gentle have been His corrections! How gentle His forbearance! How gentle His teachings! How gentle His drawings! Meditate upon this theme, O believer. Let gratitude be awakened; let humility be deepened; let love be quickened ere thou fallest asleep to-night.