Vs. 151 — You are near, O Lord, And all Your commandments are truth.
James Harrington Evans, 1785–1849:
“Thou art near, O LORD.” This was once man’s greatest blessing, and source of sweetest consolation. It was the fairest flower which grew in Paradise; but sin withered it, the flower faded, it drooped, it died. Gen. 3:8; 4:16. It must be so once more; the flower must once again bloom, again it must revive; even upon earth must it blossom, or in heaven it will never put forth its fragrance.
“Thou art near.” Even in thy works of creation, in the sun in his glory, in the moon in her softness, gleaming in the firmament, I see thee. In the halm of this fragrant air, in the light of this cheerful day, in the redolence of these shrubs around me, whose flowery tops, as they drink in the soft and gentle shower as it falls, seem to breathe forth a fresh perfume in gratitude to him who sends it. In the melody of these birds which fill the air with their songs, thou, O Lord, art near. I perceive thee not with my bodily eyes, although by these I discern thy workmanship, and with the eye of the mind behold thee in thy works, a present God.
“Thou art near.” Even in the book of thy providence, dark and mysterious though it be, I see thee. There do I read thy wisdom, as developed in thy world, thy church, thy saints, thy servant before thee; the wisdom that guides, the wisdom that guards, the wisdom that bestows, the wisdom that encourages, the wisdom that corrects, that kills and makes alive. There do I read thy power, thy justice, thy faithfulness, thy holiness, thy love.
But it is in thy Son, thy beloved Son, that I most clearly and distinctly see thee as near. If in creation, if in providence, thou art near, in him thou art very near, O Lord. Near as a sin-forgiving God. Rom. 8:1. Near as a promise keeping God. 2 Cor. 1:20. Near as a prayer-hearing God. John 16:20; Ps. 145:18. Near as a covenant-keeping God. Heb. 8:10. Near as a gracious, tender Father. John 20:17.
“Thou art near, O LORD.” O that I might live in the constant sense of thy nearness to me! How often, far too often, alas, do I seem quite to forget it!
Art thou near? Then may I realizingly remember, that by the blood of thy dear Son, and by that alone, have I been brought nigh (Eph. 2:13); that it required nothing less than the stoop of Deity, and the sufferings and death of his perfect humanity, to remove those hindrances which interposed between a holy God and an unholy creature. Oh, to walk before thee with a grateful spirit, and with a broken, contrite heart!
Art thou near? Then may I walk as before thee, as seeing thee, in holy fear, in filial love, in simple faith, in child-like confidence. Gen. 17:1. When sin would tempt and solicit indulgence, when the world presents some new allurement, when Satan would take advantage of constitution, society, circumstances, oh, that I may ever remember “Thou art near.”
If my dearest comforts droop and die, if friends are cool, if the bonds once the firmest, the closest, the tenderest, are torn asunder, and dissevered, yet may I still remember, “Thou art near, O Lord,” and not afar off. And when the solemn moment shall come, when heart and flesh shall fail, when all earthly things are seen with a dying eye, when I hear thee say, “Thou must die, and not live,” then, oh then may I remember, with all the composedness of faith, and all the liveliness of hope, and all the ardour of love, “Thou art near, O LORD.” (Spurgeon, C. H. (2009). The treasury of David: Psalms 111-119 (Vol. 5, pp. 410–411). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.)
You are near, O Lord, and all Your commandments are truth. I do not know where to rank this grace among all that You have given me–to know Thy nearness. Yet I know and have sure confidence in Your nearness only because of the divine gift of eternal life through the Son of Righteousness. You are near; such comfort, such peace, such assurance, such confidence this brings to my soul, to my whole life. You are near; ever near. Such knowledge is a sweet fragrance that draws me closer into communion with Thee. You have captivated my soul with Your love and desire for me. I rejoice and proclaim: Blessed be the name of the Lord, my Lord, forever and ever. Amen.