'Precious Bible: what a treasure!' The testimonies of God—the declaration of his will in doctrine—obligation—and privilege! David had felt their value, as the stay of his soul in shaking and sifting trial. But how did he claim his interest in them? Not by purchase, or by merit, it was his heritage. As a child of Abraham, he was an "heir according to promise." They—all that is contained in them, "the Lord Himself," the sum and substance of all, "was the portion of his inheritance." Man looks at his heritage. 'This land—this estate—or this kingdom is mine.' The child of God looks round on the universe—on both worlds—on God Himself with His infinite perfections—and says, "All things are mine." My title is more sure than to any earthly heritage. Every promise is sprinkled with "the blood of the everlasting covenant," as the seal of its blessings, and the pledge of their performance.
But not only are they my heritage;—by my own intelligent choice I have taken them to be so. A blessing is it to have them. But the blessing of blessings is to have them made good—applied—sealed—made my own; so that, like the minor come to age, I take possession of my heritage, I live on it, I live in it, it is my treasure, my portion. If a man is known by his heritage, let me be known by mine. Let it "be known and read of all men," that I count not the world my happiness, but that I take my Bible, 'Here is my heritage. Here I can live royally—richer upon bare promises than all the treasures of earth could make me. My resources never fail when all besides fail. When all earthly heritage shall have passed away, mine endures forever.'
Let me not then entertain a low estimate of this precious heritage. "Heirs of promise" are entitled to "strong consolation." What belongs to a "joint-heir with Christ," interested in the unchanging love of Jehovah from eternity, but the language of triumphant exultation? The first view, as it passed before my eyes, was the rejoicing of my heart; and never could I be satisfied, until I had taken it as my soul-satisfying and eternal portion.
Need we then entreat you, believer, to show to the world, that the promises of your heritage are not an empty sound—that they impart a Divine reality of support and enjoyment—and that an interest in them habitually realized is a blessed, a heavenly portion? Should your heart, however, at any time be captivated by the transient prospect before your eyes: should you be led to imagine some substantial value in this world's treasures—you will have forgotten the peculiar preeminence of your heritage—its enduring character. But what are the gaudy follies—the glittering emptiness of this passing scene, in comparison with your heavenly prospects, or even of your present sources of enjoyment!
We can readily account for the affecting indifference with which "the men of the world" barter away these treasures, as Esau did his birthright, for very trifles. They have no present interest in them. "They have their portion in this life. They have received their consolation." But, oh! how soon, having spent their all, will they "begin to be in" infinite, eternal "want!" Yet, having no interest in this heavenly heritage, they can have no pleasure in surveying it. If, therefore, conscience imposes upon them the drudgery of casting their careless eye over it, what wonder if they should find nothing to enliven their hopes, or to attract their hearts? What communion can worldly hearts hold with this heavenly treasure? What spiritual light, as the source of heavenly comfort, can penetrate this dark recess? As well might the inhabitant of the subterraneous cavern expect the cheerful light of the sun, as the man, whose eyes and heart are in the center of the earth, enjoy the spiritual perception of an interest in the heritage of the people of God. If, however, the darkness and difficulties of the word are pleaded in excuse for ignorance; let those indolent triflers confess, how small a portion of that persevering devotedness, which has been employed in gathering together the perishing stores of this world, has been given to search into this hidden mine of unsearchable riches!
O my soul, if I can lay claim to this blessed heritage, I envy not the miser his gold! Rather would I adore that grace, which has "made me to differ" from him; and given me a far happier and far richer heritage. But let me be daily enriching myself from this imperishable store; so that, poor as I am in myself, and seeming to "have nothing," I may in reality be "possessing all things." Let the recollection of the rich heritage of light, comfort, peace, and strength, furnished in the word, be my abundant joy: and bind my heart to a closer adherence to its obligations, and to a more habitual apprehension of its privileges.
"Your testimonies have I taken as an heritage forever." He chose them as his lot, his portion, his estate; and what is more, he laid hold upon them and made them so—taking them into possession and enjoyment. David's choice is our choice. If we might have our desire, we would desire to keep the commands of God perfectly. To know the doctrine, to enjoy the promise, to practice the command—be this a kingdom large enough for us. Here we have an inheritance which cannot fade and cannot be alienated; it is forever, and ours forever, if we have so taken it. Sometimes, like Israel at their first coming into Canaan, we have to take our heritage by hard fighting, and, if so, it is worthy of all our labor and suffering; but always it has to be taken by a decided choice of the heart and grip of the will. God's election must be our election. What God gives by grace we must take by faith.
"For they are the rejoicing of my heart." The gladness which had come to him through the word of the Lord had caused him to make an unalterable choice of it All the parts of Scripture had been pleasing to David, and were so still, and therefore he stuck to them, and meant to stick to them forever. That which rejoices the heart is sure to be chosen and treasured. It is not the head-knowledge but the heart-experience which brings the joy.
In this verse, which is the seventh of its octave, we have reached the same sweetness as in the seventh of the last eight (103). It is worthy of observation that in several of the adjoining sevenths delight is evident. How good a thing it is when experience ripens into joy, passing up through sorrow, prayer, conflict, hope, decision, and holy content into rejoicing! Joy fixes the spirit: when once a man's heart rejoices in the divine word, he greatly values it, and is therefore forever united to it.