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.
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.
The disciples did not ask for a blessing for themselves. They were weighted with the burden of souls. The gospel was to be carried to the ends of the earth, and they claimed the endowment of power that Christ had promised. Then it was that the Holy Spirit was poured out, and thousands were converted in a day. 8T 21.1
So it may be now. Let Christians put away all dissension and give themselves to God for the saving of the lost. Let them ask in faith for the promised blessing, and it will come. The outpouring of the Spirit in the days of the apostles was “the former rain,” and glorious was the result. But the latter rain will be more abundant. What is the promise to those living in these last days? “Turn you to the stronghold, ye prisoners of hope: even today do I declare that I will render double unto thee.” “Ask ye of the Lord rain in the time of the latter rain; so the Lord shall make bright clouds, and give them showers of rain, to every one grass in the field.” Zechariah 9:12; 10:1. 8T 21.2
Christ declared that the divine influence of the Spirit was to be with His followers unto the end. But the promise is not appreciated as it should be; and therefore its fulfillment is not seen as it might be. The promise of the Spirit is a matter little thought of; and the result is only what might be expected—spiritual drought, spiritual darkness, spiritual declension and death. Minor matters occupy the attention, and the divine power which is necessary for the growth and prosperity of the church, and which would bring all other blessings in its train, is lacking, though offered in its infinite plenitude. 8T 21.3Read 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 »
Those in the service of God must show animation and determination in the work of winning souls. Remember that there are those who will perish unless we as God's instrumentalities work with a determination that will not fail nor become discouraged. The throne of grace is to be our continual dependence. 6T 418.1
There is no excuse for the faith of our churches to be so faint and feeble. “Turn you to the Stronghold, ye prisoners of hope.” Zechariah 9:12. There is strength for us in Christ. He is our Advocate before the Father. He dispatches His messengers to every part of His dominion to communicate His will to His people. He walks in the midst of His churches. He desires to sanctify, elevate, and ennoble His followers. The influence of those who truly believe in Him will be a savor of life in the world. He holds the stars in His right hand, and it is His purpose to let His light shine through these to the world. Thus He desires to prepare His people for higher service in the church above. He has given us a great work to do. Let us do it with accuracy and determination. Let us show in our lives what the truth has done for us. 6T 418.2
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“Shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the lawful captive delivered?” “Thus saith the Lord, Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered.” Isaiah 49:24, 25. “They shall be greatly ashamed, that trust in graven images, that say to the molten images, Ye are our gods.” Isaiah 42:17. PK 378.1
“Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God!” Psalm 146:5. “Turn you to the stronghold, ye prisoners of hope!” Zechariah 9:12. Unto all the honest in heart in heathen lands—“the upright” in the sight of Heaven—“there ariseth light in the darkness.” Psalm 112:4. God hath spoken: “I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them.” Isaiah 42:16. PK 378.2Read in context »
Jesus loves you, and I am made glad as I read of the experience through which you are passing, not because you are a sufferer, but because this is an evidence to me that the Lord Jesus is testing and proving you, to see if you will come to Him, to see if you will put your trust in Him and find peace and rest in His love. I am praying for you, that you may come to Him, the Fountain of living water. This is the experience that every one of us must have if we ever dwell with Christ in the mansions that He has gone to prepare for us. You have lessons of the highest value to learn in the school of Christ, lessons that will lead you to work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 8T 124.1
It is when you are prospered, when all men speak well of you, that you are in danger. Be on your guard, for you will be tried. My greatest fear for you has been that you would have too great prosperity, and that you would fail to learn that your dependence is alone upon God. You have been placed in a position of great trust and honor, and there has been danger of your becoming dizzy and forgetting your dependence upon God. You have been placed where you can exert a far-reaching influence for good if you keep your eye single to the glory of God. Your heavenly Father loves you, and He will draw you to Himself by the trials that seem to you severe. 8T 124.2
I have a most earnest desire that you shall enter the city of God, not as a culprit barely pardoned, but as a conqueror. My brother, will you think of this? If you are true and humble and faithful in this life, you will be given an abundant entrance. Then the tree of life will be yours, for you will be a victor over sin; the city whose builder and maker is God will be your city. Let your imagination take hold upon things unseen. Let your thoughts be carried away to the evidences of the great love of God for you. In contemplating the object of which you are in pursuit, you will lose the sense of pain brought by the light afflictions that are but for a moment. 8T 125.1Read in context »