Turn you to the strong hold - Ye who feel your sins, and are shut up under a sense of your guilt, look up to him who was delivered for your offenses, and rose again for your justification. Ye have hope, let that hope lead you to faith, and that faith to the blood of the covenant; and, through that blood, to God, the Father of all.
I will render double unto thee - Give thee an abundance of peace and salvation.
Turn ye to the stronghold - that is, Almighty God; as the Psalmists so often say, “The Lord is the defense of my life” (Psalm 27:1, add Psalm 31:5; Psalm 37:39; Psalm 43:2; Psalm 52:9); and Joel, “The Lord shall be a stronghold of the children, of Israel”; and Nahum, “The Lord is a stronghold in the day of trouble” Nahum 1:7; And, David said, “Thou hast been a shelter for me, a strong tower against the enemy” Psalm 61:3; “the Name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous runneth into it and is safe” Proverbs 18:10; and again, “Be Thou to me a rock of strength, a house of defense to save me - Bring me forth out of the net that they have laid privily for me; for Thou art my stronghold”. The “stronghold,” “cut off” from all approach from an enemy, stands in contrast with the deep dungeon of calamity. The “return” must be a willing return, one in their own power; “return to the stronghold,” which is Almighty God, must be by conversion of heart and will. Even a Jewish commentator Kimchi paraphrases, “Turn ye to God; for He is a stronghold and tower of strength.”
Ye prisoners of - (the) hope Not, accordingly, any hope, or generally, “hope,” but the special hope of Israel, “the hope” which sustained them in all those years of patient expectations, as Paul speaks of “the hope of Israel,” for which he says, “I am bound with this chain” Acts 28:20. “I stand to be judged for the hope of the promise made by God unto our fathers, unto which promise our twelve tribes, serving God instantly day and night, hope to come; for which hope‘s sake, King Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews” Acts 26:6-7. And in his Epistles, “the hope laid up for you in heaven” Colossians 1:5; “the hope of the Gospel” Colossians 1:23; and, “looking for the blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” Titus 2:13. He writes also of “keeping the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end” Hebrews 3:6; of “the full assurance of the hope unto the end” Hebrews 6:11; of “fleeing to lay hold on the hope set before us; which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast” Hebrews 6:18-19. He does not speak of hope as a grace or theological virtue, but, objectively, as the thing hoped for. So Zechariah calls to them as bound, held fast by “the hope,” bound, as it were, to it and by it, so as not to let it go, amid the persecution of the world, or weariness of expectation; as Paul also says, “before faith came, we were guarded, kept in ward, under the law, shut up unto the faith which was about to be revealed” Galatians 3:23.
Even to-day - Amid all contrary appearances, “do I declare, that I will render double unto thee;” as He had said by Isaiah, “For your shame ye shall have double” Isaiah 61:7.
It was impossible for the sinner to keep the law of God, which was holy, just, and good; but this impossibility was removed by the impartation of the righteousness of Christ to the repenting, believing soul. The life and death of Christ in behalf of sinful man were for the purpose of restoring the sinner to God's favor, through imparting to him the righteousness that would meet the claims of the law and find acceptance with the Father. FW 118.1
But it is ever the purpose of Satan to make void the law of God and to pervert the true meaning of the plan of salvation. Therefore he has originated the falsehood that the sacrifice of Christ on Calvary's cross was for the purpose of freeing men from the obligation of keeping the commandments of God. He has foisted upon the world the deception that God has abolished His constitution, thrown away His moral standard, and made void His holy and perfect law. Had He done this, at what terrible expense would it have been to Heaven! Instead of proclaiming the abolition of the law, Calvary's cross proclaims in thunder tones its immutable and eternal character. Could the law have been abolished, and the government of heaven and earth and the unnumbered worlds of God maintained, Christ need not have died. The death of Christ was to forever settle the question of the validity of the law of Jehovah. Having suffered the full penalty for a guilty world, Jesus became the Mediator between God and man, to restore the repenting soul to favor with God by giving him grace to keep the law of the Most High. Christ came not to destroy the law or the prophets, but to fulfill them to the very letter. The atonement of Calvary vindicated the law of God as holy, just, and true, not only before the fallen world but before heaven and before the worlds unfallen. Christ came to magnify the law and to make it honorable. FW 118.2Read in context »
When those who have reached the years of youth and manhood see no difference between our schools and the colleges of the world, and have no preference as to which they attend, though error is taught by precept and example in the schools of the world, then there is need of closely examining the reasons that lead to such a conclusion. Our institutions of learning may swing into worldly conformity. Step by step they may advance to the world; but they are prisoners of hope, and God will correct and enlighten them, and bring them back to their upright position of distinction from the world. I am watching with intense interest, hoping to see our schools thoroughly imbued with the spirit of true and undefiled religion. When the students are thus imbued, they will see that there is a great work to be done in the lines in which Christ worked, and the time they have given to amusements will be given up to doing earnest missionary work. They will endeavor to do good to all about them, to lift up souls that are bowed down in discouragement, and to enlighten those who are in the darkness of error. They will put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh to fulfill the lusts thereof.—The Review and Herald, January 9, 1894. FE 290.1
Jesus died for mankind, and in giving His life He exalted humanity in the scale of moral value with God. The Son of the infinite God clothed His divinity with humanity, and submitted to the death of the cross, that He might become a steppingstone by which humanity might meet with divinity. He made it possible for man to become a partaker of the divine nature, and escape the corruptions that are in the world through lust. Christ is continually working to uplift and ennoble man, and He requires that every soul whom He has redeemed from hopeless misery, shall co-operate with Him in the great work of saving the lost. We are not to lay snares and make secret plans to draw souls into temptation. FE 291.1Read in context »
We should cherish gratitude of heart all the days of our life because the Lord has put on record these words: “For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” The reconciliation of God to man, and man to God, is sure when certain conditions are met. The Lord says, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise.” Again He says, “The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.” “Though the Lord be high, yet hath He respect unto the lowly: but the proud He knoweth afar off.” “Thus saith the Lord, The heaven is My throne, and the earth is My footstool: where is the house that ye build unto Me? and where is the place of My rest? For all those things hath Mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the Lord: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at My word.” “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me; because the Lord hath anointed Me to preach good tidings unto the meek; He hath sent Me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified.” The psalmist writes, “He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.” Though He is the restorer of fallen humanity, yet “He telleth the number of the stars; He calleth them all by their names. Great is our Lord, and of great power: His understanding is infinite. The Lord lifteth up the meek: He casteth the wicked down to the ground. Sing unto the Lord with thanksgiving; sing praise upon the harp unto our God.... The Lord taketh pleasure in them that fear Him, in those that hope in His mercy. Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem; praise thy God, O Zion.” FE 370.1
How precious are the lessons of this psalm. We might well devote study to the last four psalms of David. The words also of the prophet are very precious: “Will a man leave the snow of Lebanon which cometh from the rock of the field? or shall the cold flowing waters that come from another place be forsaken? Because my people hath forgotten Me, they have burned incense to vanity, and they have caused them to stumble in their ways from the ancient paths, to walk in paths, in a way not cast up.” “Thus saith the Lord; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord. For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited. Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.”—Special Testimonies On Education, April 22, 1895. FE 371.1Read in context »
We have done great dishonor to our Master in turning away from Christ to seek wisdom from finite human beings. Shall we continue to cherish the sin of unbelief, which doth so easily beset us, or shall we cast away this weight of unbelief, and go to the Source of strength believing that we shall receive pity and compassion from the One who knows our frame, who loves us so well that He gave His own life for us, who bore in His own body the strokes which fell because of our transgression of the law of God. All this He did that we might become prisoners of hope. LHU 93.5Read in context »