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Bible Commentaries

Expositor's Dictionary of Texts

Psalms 29

Verses 1-11

War for the Sake of Peace

Psalms 29:11

I. There are many kinds of suffering and trial and effort that men may have to undergo, and war is only one of them. Now, when instead of fancying war as we guess it might be, we have seen war as it is brought almost under our eyes, we learn a truer notion of what it is. We have seen that victory is not to be won only by daring, by readiness to do some great thing, and strength of purpose in the action of a moment or an hour; it is patience, endurance, longsightedness, that secures the final victory.

II. Thus when we say that the Christian's life is a life of warfare, we do not contradict what may also be said, that it is a life of patience, a life of trouble. If we ask what the difference is, and why the Christian life is likened so much oftener in the Bible to the dangers and trials of war than to the dangers and trials of a pestilence or a storm (though these figures are used there once or twice), the best answer seems to be this: In a war we have a personal Enemy to deal with; we suffer not from causes that could not be helped, but from his acts and his deliberate intent to hurt us.

III. Thus we understand one part of our warfare: we are soldiers in the war of God against the devil. That the devil is trying to lead us into sin, trying in the same way that we are trying to resist him, viz. by the acts of his will, by deliberate choice seeking to accomplish the desires of his heart that is intelligible enough. But what do we mean by saying that we are to fight against the world and the flesh? The devil tries to lead us to rebel against God: we try to keep up the faith in God in spite of him. But how is it true that the world, the people we see around us, many of them more or less good Christians, try to lead us to sin, and that we have to resist their influence as we would the devil's? And how is it even possible to say that we ourselves are trying to lead ourselves into sin, and that we must resist ourselves as we would resist the devil? The last difficulty is in seeming the greatest; but it is the easiest to answer, because we can know our own hearts better than we know other people's. There is a desire in the soul in the regenerate soul to obey God, or at least to love God; there is also a real desire in the soul to rebel against God; and the soul that will serve God truly must be on its guard against itself, and overcome itself. It is the man himself who is on the devil's side; what is on Christ's side is not the man, but Christ in him. So likewise with the world without. We have to beware of the worldly influences of the good quite as much as of the solicitations of the wicked to what we know is sin. Thus we are at war with the world, the flesh and the devil; and it is good for us so to be. For what is war for? For Peace.

W. H. Simcox, The Cessation of Prophecy, p. 37.

References. XXIX. 10. R. Scott, Contemporary Pulpit, vol. iii. p. 303. C. F. Aked, The Courage of the Coward, p. 83. XXIX. 11. Parker, Pulpit Analyst, vol. ii. p. 121. W. M. Punshon, Sermons, p. 219. G. Brooks, Outlines of Sermons, p. 96. H. Melvill, Penny Pulpit, No. 1755. XXIX. International Critical Commentary, vol. i. p. 251. XXX. International Critical Commentary, vol. i. p. 257. XXX. 5. R. E. Hutton, The Crown of Christ, p. 547. Spurgeon, Morning by Morning, p. 134. R. Winterbotham, Sermons, p. 214. J. E. Vaux, Sermon Notes (1st Series), p. 66. XXX. 5, 6. C. W. Furse, Lenten Sermons, p. 44. XXX. 6. Spurgeon, Morning by Morning, p. 70. XXX. 6-8. T. Arnold, Sermons, vol. v. p. 250. Archbishop Thomson, Lincoln's Inn Sermons, p. 310. T. Arnold, Sermons, vol. iii. p. 250. XXX. 9-12. S. Baring-Gould, Village Preaching for a Year (1st Series), vol. i. p. 289.

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Bibliographical Information
Nicoll, William Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Psalms 29". Expositor's Dictionary of Text. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/edt/psalms-29.html. 1910.