Exposition - Explanatory Notes and Quaint Sayings
Hints to the Village Preacher
TITLE AND SUBJECT. Again, the title "A Psalm
of David," is too general to give us any clue to the occasion on which it was
written. Its position, as following the twenty-seventh, seems to have been
designed, for it is a most suitable pendant and sequel to it. It is another of
those "songs in the night" of which the pen of David was so prolific. The thorn
at the breast of the nightingale was said by the old naturalists to make it
sing: David's griefs made him eloquent in holy psalmody. The main pleading of
this Psalm is that the suppliant may not be confounded with the workers of
iniquity for whom he expresses the utmost abhorrence; it may suit any slandered
saint, who being misunderstood by men, and treated by them as an unworthy
character, is anxious to stand aright before the bar of God. The Lord Jesus may
be seen here pleading as the representative of his people.
DIVISION. The first and second verses earnestly entreat
audience of the Lord in a time of dire emergency. From Ps 28:2-5, the portion of
the wicked is described and deprecated. In Ps 28:6-8, praise is given for the
Lord's mercy in hearing prayer, and the Psalm concludes with a general petition
for the whole host of militant believers.
Verse 1. Unto thee will I cry, O Lord, my rock. A cry is the
natural expression of sorrow, and is a suitable utterance when all other modes
of appeal fail us; but the cry must be alone directed to the Lord, for to cry to
man is to waste our entreaties upon the air. When we consider the readiness of
the Lord to hear, and his ability to aid, we shall see good reason for directing
all our appeals at once to the God of our salvation, and shall use language of
firm resolve like that in the text, "I will cry." The immutable Jehovah is our
rock, the immovable foundation of all our hopes and our refuge in time of
trouble: we are fixed in our determination to flee to him as our stronghold in
every hour of danger. It will be in vain to call to the rocks in the day of
judgment, but our rock attends to our cries. Be not silent to me. Mere
formalists may be content without answers to their prayers, but genuine
suppliants cannot; they are not satisfied with the results of prayer itself in
calming the mind and subduing the will--they must go further and obtain actual
replies from heaven, or they cannot rest; and those replies they long to receive
at once, if possible; they dread even a little of God's silence. God's voice is
often so terrible that it shakes the wilderness; but his silence is equally full
of awe to an eager suppliant. When God seems to close his ear, we must not
therefore close our mouths, but rather cry with more earnestness; for when our
note grows shrill with eagerness and grief, he will not long deny us a hearing.
What a dreadful case should we be in if the Lord should become for ever silent
to our prayers! This thought suggested itself to David, and he turned it into a
plea, thus teaching us to argue and reason with God in our prayers. Lest, if
thou be silent to me, I become like them that go down into the pit.
Deprived of the God who answers prayer, we should be in a more pitiable plight
than the dead in the grave, and should soon sink to the same level as the lost
in hell. We must have answers to prayer: ours is an urgent case of dire
necessity; surely the Lord will speak peace to our agitated minds, for he never
can find it in his heart to permit his own elect to perish.
Verse 2. This is much to the same effect as the first verse,
only that it refers to future as well as present pleadings. Hear me! Hear me!
Hear the voice of my supplications! This is the burden of both verses. We
cannot be put off with a refusal when we are in the spirit of prayer; we labour,
use importunity, and agonize in supplications until a hearing is granted us. The
word "supplications, "in the plural, shows the number, continuance, and variety
of a good man's prayers, while the expression "hear the voice, "seems to
hint that there is an inner meaning, or heart voice, about which spiritual men
are far more concerned than for their outward and audible utterances. A silent
prayer may have a louder voice than the cries of those priests who sought to
awaken Baal with their shouts. When I lift up my hands toward thy holy
oracle: which holy place was the type of our Lord Jesus; and if we would
gain acceptance, we must turn ourselves evermore to the blood besprinkled mercy
seat of his atonement. Uplifted hands have ever been a form of devout posture,
and are intended to signify a reaching upward towards God, a readiness, an
eagerness to receive the blessing sought after. We stretch out empty hands, for
we are beggars; we lift them up, for we seek heavenly supplies; we lift them
towards the mercy seat of Jesus, for there our expectation dwells. O that
whenever we use devout gestures, we may possess contrite hearts, and so speed
well with God.
Verse 3. Draw me not away with the wicked. They shall be
dragged off to hell like felons of old drawn on a hurdle to Tyburn, like logs
drawn to the fire, like fagots to the oven. David fears lest he should be bound
up in their bundle, drawn to their doom; and the fear is an appropriate one for
every godly man. The best of the wicked are dangerous company in time, and would
make terrible companions for eternity; we must avoid them in their pleasures, if
we would not be confounded with them in their miseries. And with the
workers of iniquity. These are overtly sinful, and their judgment will be
sure; Lord, do not make us to drink of their cup. Activity is found with the
wicked even if it be lacking to the righteous. Oh! to be "workers" for the Lord.
Which speak peace to their neighbours, but mischief is in their hearts.
They have learned the manners of the place to which they are going: the doom of
liars is their portion for ever, and lying is their conversation on the road.
Soft words, oily with pretended love, are the deceitful meshes of the infernal
net in which Satan catches the precious life; many of his children are learned
in his abominable craft, and fish with their father's nets, almost as cunningly
as he himself could do it. It is a sure sign of baseness when the tongue and the
heart do not ring to the same note. Deceitful men are more to be dreaded than
wild beasts: it were better to be shut up in a pit with serpents than to be
compelled to live with liars. He who cries "peace" too loudly, means to sell it
if he can get his price. "Good wine need no bush:" if he were so very peaceful
he would not need to say so; he means mischief, make sure of that.
Verse 4. When we view the wicked simply as such, and not as
our fellow men, our indignation against sin leads us entirely to coincide with
the acts of divine justice which punish evil, and to wish that justice might use
her power to restrain by her terrors the cruel and unjust; but still the desires
of the present verse, as our version renders it, are not readily made consistent
with the spirit of the Christian dispensation, which seeks rather the
reformation than the punishment of sinners. If we view the words before us as
prophetic, or as in the future tense, declaring a fact, we are probably nearer
to the true meaning than that given in our version. Ungodly reader, what will be
your lot when the Lord deals with you according to your desert, and weighs out
to you his wrath, not only in proportion to what you have actually done, but
according to what you would have done if you could. Our endeavours are
taken as facts; God takes the will for the deed, and punishes or rewards
accordingly. Not in this life, but certainly in the next, God will repay his
enemies to their faces, and give them the wages of their sins. Not according to
their fawning words, but after the measure of their mischievous deeds, will the
Lord mete out vengeance to them that know him not.
Verse 5. Because they regard not the works of the Lord, nor
the operation of his hands. God works in creation--nature teems with
proofs of his wisdom and goodness, yet purblind atheists refuse to see him: he
works in providence, ruling and overruling, and his hand is very manifest in
human history, yet the infidel will not discern him: he works in
grace--remarkable conversions are still met with on all hands, yet the ungodly
refuse to see the operations of the Lord. Where angels wonder, carnal men
despise. God condescends to teach, and man refuses to learn. He shall destroy
them: he will make them "behold, and wonder, and perish." If they would not
see the hand of judgment upon others, they shall feel it upon themselves. Both
soul and body shall be overwhelmed with utter destruction for ever and ever.
And not build them up. God's cure is positive and negative; his sword has
two edges, and cuts right and left. Their heritage of evil shall prevent the
ungodly receiving any good; the ephah shall be too full of wrath to contain a
grain of hope. They have become like old, rotten, decayed houses of timber,
useless to the owner, and harbouring all manner of evil, and, therefore, the
Great Builder will demolish them utterly. Incorrigible offenders may expect
speedy destruction: they who will not mend, shall be thrown away as worthless.
Let us be very attentive to all the lessons of God's word and work, lest being
found disobedient to the divine will, we be made to suffer the divine wrath.
Verse 6. Blessed be the Lord. Saints are full of
benedictions; they are a blessed people, and a blessing people; but they give
their best blessings, the fat of their sacrifices, to their glorious Lord. Our
Psalm was prayer up to this point, and now it turns to praise. They who pray
well, will soon praise well: prayer and praise are the two lips of the soul; two
bells to ring out sweet and acceptable music in the ears of God; two angels to
climb Jacob's ladder: two altars smoking with incense; two of Solomon's lilies
dropping sweet smelling myrrh; they are two young roes that are twins, feeding
upon the mountain of myrrh and the hill of frankincense. Because he hath
heard the voice of my supplications. Real praise is established upon
sufficient and constraining reasons; it is not irrational emotion, but rises,
like a pure spring, from the deeps of experience. Answered prayers should be
acknowledged. Do we not often fail in this duty? Would it not greatly encourage
others, and strengthen ourselves, if we faithfully recorded divine goodness, and
made a point of extolling it with our tongue? God's mercy is not such an
inconsiderable thing that we may safely venture to receive it without so much as
thanks. We should shun ingratitude, and live daily in the heavenly atmosphere of
Verse 7. Here is David's declaration and confession of
faith, coupled with a testimony from his experience. The Lord is my
strength. The Lord employs his power on our behalf, and moreover, infuses
strength into us in our weakness. The psalmist, by an act of appropriating
faith, takes the omnipotence of Jehovah to be his own. Dependence upon the
invisible God gives great independence of spirit, inspiring us with confidence
more than human. And my shield. Thus David found both sword and shield in
his God. The Lord preserves his people from unnumbered ills; and the Christian
warrior, sheltered behind his God, is far more safe than the hero when covered
with his shield of brass or triple steel. My heart trusted in him, and I
am helped. Heart work is sure work; heart trust is never
disappointed. Faith must come before help, but help will never be long
behindhand. Every day the believer may say, "I am helped, "for the divine
assistance is vouchsafed us every moment, or we should go back unto perdition;
when more manifest help is needed, we have but to put faith into exercise, and
it will be given us. Therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my
song will I praise him. The heart is mentioned twice to show the truth of
his faith and his joy. Observe the adverb "greatly, "we need not be
afraid of being too full of rejoicing at the remembrance of grace received. We
serve a great God, let us greatly rejoice in him. A song is the soul's fittest
method of giving vent to its happiness, it were well if we were more like the
singing lark, and less like the croaking raven. When the heart is glowing, the
lips should not be silent. When God blesses us, we should bless him with all our
Verse 8. The Lord is their strength. The heavenly experience
of one believer is a pattern of the life of all. To all the militant church,
without exception, Jehovah is the same as he was to his servant David, "the
least of them shall be as David." They need the same aid and they shall have it,
for they are loved with the same love, written in the same book of life, and one
with the same anointed Head. And he is the saving strength of his
anointed. Here behold king David as the type of our Lord Jesus, our covenant
Head, our anointed Prince, through whom all blessings come to us. He has
achieved full salvation for us, and we desire saving strength from him, and as
we share in the unction which is so largely shed upon him, we expect to partake
of his salvation. Glory be unto the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who
has magnified the power of his grace in his only begotten Son, whom he has
anointed to be a Prince and a Saviour unto his people.
Verse 9. This is a prayer for the church militant, written
in short words, but full of weighty meaning. We must pray for the whole church,
and not for ourselves alone. Save thy people. Deliver them from their
enemies, preserve them from their sins, succour them under their troubles,
rescue them from their temptations, and ward off from them every ill. There is a
plea hidden in the expression, "thy people:" for it may be safely
concluded that God's interest in the church, as his own portion, will lead him
to guard it from destruction. Bless thine inheritance. Grant positive
blessings, peace, plenty, prosperity, happiness; make all thy dearly purchased
and precious heritage to be comforted by thy Spirit. Revive, refresh, enlarge,
and sanctify thy church. Feed them also. Be a shepherd to thy flock, let
their bodily and spiritual wants be plentifully supplied. By thy word, and
ordinances, direct, rule, sustain, and satisfy those who are the sheep of thy
hand. And lift them up for ever. Carry them in thine arms on earth, and
then lift them into thy bosom in heaven. Elevate their minds and thoughts,
spiritualise their affections, make them heavenly, Christlike, and full of God.
O Lord, answer this our petition, for Jesus' sake.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 1. Unto thee do I cry. It is of the utmost importance
that we should have a definite object on which to fix our thoughts. Man,
at the best of times, has but little power for realising abstractions; but least
of all in his time of sorrow. Then he is helpless; then he needs every possible
aid; and if his mind wander in vacancy, it will soon weary, and sink down
exhausted. God has graciously taken care that this need not be done. He has so
manifested himself to man in his word, that the afflicted one can fix his mind's
eye on him, as the definite object of his faith, and hope, and prayer. "Call
unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty
things, which thou knowest not." Jer 33:3. This was what the psalmist did; and
the definiteness of God, as the object of his trust in prayer, is very clearly
marked. And specially great is the privilege of the Christian in this
matter. He can fix his eye on Jesus; he, without any very great stretch of the
imagination, can picture that Holy One looking down upon him; listening to him;
feeling for him; preparing to answer him. Dear reader, in the time of your
trouble, do not roam; do not send out your sighs into vacancy; do not let your
thoughts wander, as though they were looking for some one on whom to fix; for
some one to whom you could tell the story of your heart's need and desolation.
Fix your heart as the psalmist did, and say, "Unto thee will I cry." ...
Oh! happy is that man, who feels and knows that when trouble comes, he cannot be
bewildered and confused by the stroke, no matter how heavy it may be. Sorrow
stricken he will be, but he has his resource, and he knows it, and will
avail himself of it. His is no vague theory of the general sympathy of God for
man; his is a knowledge of God, as a personal and feeling God; he says with the
psalmist, "Unto thee will I cry." Philip Bennett Power.
Verse 1. My rock. One day a female friend called on the Rev.
William Evans, a pious minister in England, and asked how he felt himself. "I am
weakness itself, "he replied; "but I am on the Rock. I do not experience
those transports which some have expressed in the view of death; but my
dependence is on the mercy of God in Christ. Here my religion began, and here it
Verse 1. My rock. The Rev, John Rees, of Crownstreet, Soho,
London, was visited on his deathbed by the Rev. John Leifchild, who very
seriously asked him to describe the state of his mind. This appeal to the honour
of his religion roused him, and so freshened his dying lamp, that raising
himself up in his bed, he looked his friend in the face, and with great
deliberation, energy, and dignity, uttered the following words: --"Christ in his
person, Christ in the love of his heart, and Christ in the power of his arm, is
the Rock on which I rest; and now (reclining his head gently on the pillow),
Death, strike!" K. Arvine.
Verse 1. Be not silent to me. Let us next observe what
the heart desires from God. It is that he would speak. Be not
silent to me. Under these circumstances, when we make our prayer, we
desire that God would let us know that he hears us, and that he would appear for
us, and that he would say, he is our Father. And what do we desire God to say?
We want him to let us know that he hears us; we want to hear him speak as
distinctly to us, as we feel that we have spoken to him. We want to know, not
only by faith that we have been heard, but by God's having spoken to us
on the very subject whereupon we have spoken to him. When we feel
thus assured that God has heard us, we can with the deepest confidence leave the
whole matter about which we have been praying, in his hands. Perhaps an answer
cannot come for a long time; perhaps things, meanwhile, seem working in a
contrary way; it may be, that there is no direct appearance at all of God upon
the scene; still faith will hold up and be strong; and there will be comfort in
the heart, from the felt consciousness that God has heard our cry about the
matter, and that he has told us so. We shall say to ourselves, "God knows all
about it; God has in point of fact told me so; therefore I am in peace." And let
it be enough for us that God tells us this, when he will perhaps tell us no
more; let us not want to try and induce him to speak much, when it is his will
to speak but little: the best answer we can have at certain times is simply the
statement that "he hears; "by this answer to our prayer he at once encourages
and exercises our faith. "It is said, "saith Rutherford, speaking of the
Saviour's delay in responding to the request of the Syrophenician woman, "he
answered not a word, "but it is not said, he heard not a word.
These two differ much. Christ often heareth when he doth not answer --his
not answering is an answer, and speaks thus--"pray on, go on and
cry, for the Lord holdeth his door fast bolted, not to keep you out, but that
you may knock, and knock, and it shall be opened." Philip Bennett Power.
Verse 1. Lest...I become like them that go down into the
pit. Thou seest, great God, my sad situation. Nothing to me is great or
desirable upon this earth but the felicity of serving thee, and yet the misery
of my destiny, and the duties of my state, bring me into connection with men who
regard all godliness as a thing to be censured and derided. With secret horror I
daily hear them blaspheming the ineffable gifts of thy grace, and ridiculing the
faith and fervour of the godly as mere imbecility of mind. Exposed to such
impiety, all my consolation, O my God, is to make my cries of distress ascend to
the foot of thy throne. Although for the present, these sacrilegious blasphemies
only awaken in my soul emotions of horror and pity, yet I fear that at last they
may enfeeble me and seduce me into a crooked course of policy, unworthy of thy
glory, and of the gratitude which I owe to thee. I fear that insensibly I may
become such a coward as to blush at thy name, such a sinner as to resist the
impulses of thy grace, such a traitor as to withhold my testimony against sin,
such a self deceiver as to disguise my criminal timidity by the name of
prudence. Already I feel that this poison is insinuating itself into my heart,
for while I would not have my conduct resemble that of the wicked who surround
me, yet I am too much biased by the fear of giving them offence. I dare not
imitate them, but I am almost as much afraid of irritating them. I know that it
is impossible both to please a corrupt world and a holy God, and yet I so far
lose sight of this truth, that instead of sustaining me in decision, it only
serves to render my vacillation the more inexcusable. What remains for me but to
implore thy help! Strengthen me, O Lord, against these declensions so injurious
to thy glory, so fatal to the fidelity which is due to thee. Cause me to hear
thy strengthening and encouraging voice. If the voice of thy grace be not lifted
up in my spirit, reanimating my feeble faith, I feel that there is but a step
between me and despair. I am on the brink of the precipice, I am ready to fall
into a criminal complicity with those who would fain drag me down with them into
the pit. Jean Baptiste Massillon, 1663-1742, freely translated by
Verse 2. I lift up my hands toward thy holy oracle. Called
(rybd), debhir, because there
hence God spake and gave answer. Toward this (a type of Christ, the Word
essential), David lifteth up his hands, that it might be as a ladder, whereby
his prayer might get up to heaven. John Trapp.
Verse 3. Draw me not away with the wicked...which speak peace
to their neighbours, but mischief is in their hearts. The godly man
abhors dissimulation towards men; his heart goes along with his tongue, he
cannot flatter and hate, commend and censure. "Let love be without
dissimulation." Ro 12:9. Dissembled love is worse than hatred; counterfeiting of
friendship is no better than a lie Ps 78:36, for there is a pretence of that
which is not. Many are like Joab: "He took Amasa by the beard to kiss him, and
smote him with his sword in the fifth rib, that he died." There is a river in
Spain, where the fish seem to be of a golden colour, but take them out of the
water, and they are like other fish. All is not gold that glitters; there are
some pretend much kindness, but they are like great veins which have little
blood; if you lean upon them they are as a leg out of joint. For my part, I much
question his truth towards God, that will flatter and lie to his friend. "He
that hideth hatred with lying lips, and he that uttereth a slander is a fool."
Pr 10:18. Thomas Watson.
Verse 3. Draw me not out with. An allusion, I conceive, to a
shepherd selecting out a certain portion of his flock. "Reckon me not
among." Professor Lee.
Verse 3. Draw me not away. (ynkvmt-la) from (Kvm); that
signifies, both to draw and apprehend, will be best rendered here, seize not
on me, as he that seizes on any to carry or drag him to
execution. Henry Hammond.
Verse 4. Give them according to their deeds, etc. Here,
again, occurs the difficult question about praying for vengeance, which,
however, I shall despatch in a few words. In the first place, then, it is
unquestionable, that if the flesh move us to seek revenge, the desire is wicked
in the sight of God. He not only forbids us to imprecate evil upon our enemies
in revenge for private injuries, but it cannot be otherwise than that all those
desires which spring from hatred must be disordered. David's example, therefore,
must not be alleged by those who are driven by their own intemperate passion to
seek vengeance. The holy prophet is not inflamed here by his own private sorrow
to devote his enemies to destruction; but laying aside the desire of the flesh,
he give judgment concerning the matter itself. Before a man can, therefore,
denounce vengeance against the wicked, he must first shake himself free from all
improper feelings in his own mind. In the second place, prudence must be
exercised, that the heinousness of the evils which offend us drive us not to
intemperate zeal, which happened even to Christ's disciples, when they desired
that fire might be brought from heaven to consume those who refused to entertain
their Master. Lu 9:54. They pretended, it is true, to act according to the
example of Elias, but Christ severely rebuked them, and told them that they knew
not by what spirit they were actuated. In particular, we must observe this
general rule, that we cordially desire and labour for the welfare of the whole
human race. Thus it will come to pass, that we shall not only give way to the
exercise of God's mercy, but shall also wish the conversion of those who seem
obstinately to rush upon their own destruction. In short, David, being free from
every evil passion, and likewise endued with the spirit of discretion and
judgment, pleads here not so much his own cause as the cause of God. And by this
prayer, he further reminds both himself and the faithful, that although the
wicked may give themselves loose reins in the commission of every species of
vice with impunity for a time, they must at length stand before the judgment
seat of God. John Calvin.
Verse 4. Give them according to their deeds, and according to
the wickedness of their endeavours. Yes, great God, since thou hast
from the beginning been only occupied in saving men, thou wilt surely strike
with an eternal malediction these children of iniquity who appear to have been
born only to be lost themselves, and to destroy others. The very benevolence
towards mankind solicits thy thunders against these corrupters of society. The
more thou hast done for our race, the more surely will the severity of thy
justice reveal itself in destroying the wretches whose only study is to
counteract thy goodness towards mankind. They labour incessantly to put men far
away from thee, O my God, and in return thou wilt put them far away from thee
for ever. They count it great gain to make their fellows thine enemies, and they
shall have the desperate consolation of being such themselves to all eternity.
What more fitting punishment for the wretches who desire to make all hearts
rebel against thine adorable Majesty, than to lie through the baseness of their
nature, under the eternal and frightful necessity of hating thee for ever.
Jean Baptiste Massillon, rendered very freely by C. H. S.
Verse 4. Give them according to their deeds. The
Egyptians killed the Hebrew male children, and God smote the firstborn of
Egypt. Sisera, who thought to destroy Israel with his iron chariots, was
himself killed with an iron nail, stuck through his temples. Adonibezek,
Jud 1:5-7. Gideon slew forty elders of Succoth, and his sons were
murdered by Abimelech. Abimelech slew seventy sons of Gideon upon one
stone, and his own head was broken by a piece of millstone thrown by a woman.
Samson fell by the "lust of the eye, "and before death the Philistines
put out his eyes. Agag, 1Sa 20:33. Saul slew the Gibeonites, and
seven of his sons were hung up before the Lord. 2Sa 21:1-9. Ahab, after
coveting Naboth's vineyard, 1Ki 21:19, fulfilled 2Ki 9:24-26. Jeroboam,
the same hand that was stretched forth against the altar was withered, 1Ki
13:1-6. Joab having killed Abner, Amasa, and Absalom, was put to death by
Solomon. Daniel's accusers thrown into the lion's den meant for Daniel.
Haman hung upon the gallows designed for Mordecai. Judas purchased
the field of blood, and then went and hanged himself. So in the history of
later days, Bajazet was carried about by Tamerlane in an iron cage, as he
intended to have carried Tamerlane. Mazentius built a bridge to entrap
Constantine, and was overthrown himself of that very spot. Alexander VI.
was poisoned by the wine he had prepared for another. Charles IX. made
the streets of Paris to stream with Protestant blood, and soon after blood
streamed from all parts of his body in a bloody sweat. Cardinal Beaton
condemned George Wishart to death, and presently died a violent death himself.
He was murdered in bed, and his body was laid out in the same window from which
he had looked upon Wishart's execution. G. S. Bowes, in "Illustrative
Verse 4. Render to them their desert. Meditate on God's
righteousness, that it is not only his will, but his nature to punish sin; sin
must damn thee without Christ, there is not only a possibility or probability
that sin may ruin, but without an interest in Christ it must do so; whet much
upon thy heart that must; God cannot but hate sin, because he is holy;
and he cannot but punish sin, because he is righteous. God must not forego his
own nature to gratify our humours. Christopher Fowler, in "Morning Exercises," 1676.
Verse 4. He prayeth against his enemies, not out of any
private revenge, but being led by the infallible spirit of prophecy, looking
through these men to the enemies of Christ, and of his people in all ages.
Verses 4-5. In these verses, as indeed in most of the
imprecatory passages, the imperative and the future are used promiscuously:
Give them--render them--he shall destroy them. If therefore, the verbs, in
all such passages, were uniformly rendered in the "future, "every objection
against the Scripture imprecations would vanish at once, and they would appear
clearly to be what they are, namely, prophecies of the divine judgments, which
have been since executed against the Jews, and which will be executed against
all the enemies of Jehovah, and his Christ; whom neither the "works" of
creation, nor those of redemption, can lead to repentance. George Horne.
Verses 4-5. See Psalms on "Ps 28:4" for further
information. In these verses, as indeed in most of the imprecatory passages, the
imperative and the future are used promiscuously: Give them--render them--he
shall destroy them. If therefore, the verbs, in all such passages, were
uniformly rendered in the "future, "every objection against the Scripture
imprecations would vanish at once, and they would appear clearly to be what they
are, namely, prophecies of the divine judgments, which have been since executed
against the Jews, and which will be executed against all the enemies of Jehovah,
and his Christ; whom neither the "works" of creation, nor those of redemption,
can lead to repentance. George Horne.
Verse 6. He hath heard. Prayer is the best remedy in a
calamity. This is indeed a true catholicum, a general remedy for every
malady. Not like the empiric's catholicum, which sometimes may work, but
for the most part fails: but that which upon assured evidence and constant
experience hath its probatum est; being that which the most wise,
learned, honest, and skilful Physician that ever was, or can be, hath
prescribed--even he that teacheth us how to bear what is to be borne, or how to
heal and help what hath been borne. William Gouge.
Verse 7. The Lord is my strength. Oh, sweet consolation! If
a man have a burden upon him, yet if he have strength added to him, if
the burden be doubled, yet if his strength be trebled, the burden will
not be heavier, but lighter than it was before to his natural strength; so if
our afflictions be heavy, and we cry out, Oh, we cannot bear them! yet if we
cannot bear them with our own strength, why may we not bear them with the
strength of Jesus Christ? Do we think that Christ could not bear them? or if we
dare not think but that Christ could bear them, why may not we come to bear
them? Some may question, can we have the strength of Christ? Yes; that very
strength is made over to us by faith, for so the Scripture saith frequently,
The Lord is our strength; God is our strength; The Lord Jehovah is our
strength; Christ is our strength Ps 28:7 43:2 Ps 118:14 Isa 12:2 Hab 3:19
Col 1:11; and, therefore, is Christ's strength ours, made over unto us, that we
may be able to bear whatsoever lies upon us. Isaac Ambrose.
Verse 7. The Lord is my strength inwardly, and my
shield outwardly. Faith finds both these in Jehovah, and the one not without
the other, for what is a shield without strength, or strength without a shield?
My heart trusted in him, and I am helped: the idea of the former sentence
is here carried out, that outward help was granted to inward confidence. W.
Verse 7. My heart trusted in him, and I am helped. Faith
substantiates things not yet seen; it altereth the tense, saith one, and putteth
the future into the present tense as here. John Trapp.
Verse 8. The Lord is their strength: not mine only, but the
strength of every believer. Note--the saints rejoice in their friends' comforts
as well as their own; for as we have not the less benefit by the light of the
sun, so neither by the light of God's countenance, for others sharing therein;
for we are sure there is enough for all, and enough for each. This is our
communion with all saints, that God is their strength and ours; Christ their
Lord and ours. 1Co 1:2. He is their strength, the strength of all Israel,
because he is the saving strength of his anointed, i.e., 1. Of David in the type: God in strengthening him that was
their king and fought their battles, strengthened the whole kingdom. He calls
himself God's anointed, because it was the unction he had received that exposed
him to the envy of his enemies, and therefore entitled him to the divine
protection. 2. Of Christ, his Anointed, his Messiah, in the antitype. God was
his saving strength, qualified him for his undertaking, and carried him
through it. Matthew Henry.
Verse 9. Lift them up. The word here used may mean
sustain them, or support them; but it more properly means bear,
and would be best expressed by a reference to the fact, that the shepherd
carries the feeble, the young, and the sickly of his flock in his arms, or that
he lifts them up when unable themselves to rise. Albert Barnes.
HINTS TO THE VILLAGE PREACHER
Verse 1. (first clause). A sinner's wise resolution
in the hour of despondency.
Verse 1. The saint's fear of becoming like the ungodly.
Verse 1. God's silence--what terror may lie in it.
Verse 1. (last clause). How low a soul may sink when
God hides his face.
Verses 1-2. Prayer.
1. Its nature--a "cry": (a) The utterance of life, (b) The expression of
pain, (c) The pleading of need, (d) The voice of deep earnestness.
2. Its object--"O Lord, my rock." God as our Foundation,
Refuge, and immutable Friend.
3. Its aim--"Hear, ""Be not silent." We expect an answer,
a clear and manifest answer, a speedy answer, a suitable answer, an effectual
4. Its medium--"Towards thy holy oracle." Our Lord Jesus,
the true mercy seat, etc.
Verse 3. The characters to be avoided, the doom to be
dreaded, the grace to keep us from both.
Verse 4. Measure for measure, or punishment proportioned to
Verse 4. Endeavour the measure of sin rather than mere
result. Hence some are guilty of sins which they were unable to commit.
Verse 5. Culpable negligence constantly persisted in, losing
much blessing, and involving terrible condemnation.
Verse 6. Answered prayers, a retrospect and song.
Verse 7. The heart's possessions, confidence, experience,
joy, and music.
Verse 7. Adoring God for his mercies.
1. What God is to the believer.
2. What should be the disposition of our hearts towards him. --C. Simeon.
Verse 8. All power given to believers because of their union
Verse 9. "A prayer for the church militant." See Exposition
and Spurgeon's Sermons, No. 768.