Exposition - Explanatory Notes and Quaint Sayings
Hints to the Village Preacher
TITLE. A Psalm of David. This Psalm is wisely placed.
Whoever edited and arranged these sacred poems, he had an eye to apposition and
contrast; for if in Ps 137:1-9 we see the need of silence before revilers, here
we see the excellence of a brave confession. There is a time to be silent, lest
we cast pearls before swine; and there is a time to speak openly, lest we be
found guilty of cowardly not confessing. The Psalm is evidently of a Davidic
character, exhibiting all the fidelity, courage, and decision of that King of
Israel and Prince of Psalmists. Of course the critics have tried to rend the
authorship from David on account of the mention of the temple, though it so
happens that in one of the Psalms which is allowed to be David's the same word
occurs. Many modern critics are to the word of God what blowflies are to the
food of men: they cannot do any good, and unless relentlessly driven away they
do great harm.
DIVISION. In full confidence David is prepared to own his
God before the gods of the heathen, or before angels or rulers (Ps 138:1-3); he
declares that he will instruct and convert kings and nations, till on very
highway men shall sing the praises of the Lord (Ps 138:4-5). Having thus spoken,
he utters his personal confidence in Jehovah, who will help his lowly servant,
and preserve him from all the malice of wrathful foes.
Verse 1. I will praise thee with my whole heart. His mind is
so taken up with God that he does not mention his name: to him there is no other
God, and Jehovah is so perfectly realized and so intimately known, that the
Psalmist, in addressing him, no more thinks of mentioning his name than we
should do if we were speaking to a father or a friend. He sees God with his
mind's eye, and simply addresses him with the pronoun "thee." He is resolved to
praise the Lord, and to do it with the whole force of his life, even with his
whole heart. He would not submit to act as one under restraint, because of the
opinions of others; but in the presence of the opponents of the living God he
would be as hearty in worship as if all were friends and would cheerfully unite
with him. If others do not praise the Lord, there is all the more reason why we
should do so, and should do so with enthusiastic eagerness. We need a broken
heart to mourn our own sins, but a whole heart to praise the Lord's perfections.
If ever our heart is whole and wholly occupied with one thing, it should be when
we are praising the Lord.
Before the gods will I sing praise unto thee. Why should
these idols rob Jehovah of his praises? The Psalmist will not for a moment
suspend his songs because there are images before him, and their foolish
worshippers might not approve of his music. I believe David referred to the
false gods of the neighbouring nations, and the deities of the surviving
Canaanites. He was not pleased that such gods were set up; but he intended to
express at once his contempt of them, and his own absorption in the
worship of the living Jehovah by continuing most earnestly to sing wherever he
might be. It would be paying these dead idols too much respect to cease singing
because they were perched aloft. In these days when new religions are daily
excogitated, and new gods are set up, it is well to know how to act. Bitterness
is forbidden, and controversy is apt to advertise the heresy; the very best
method is to go on personally worshipping the Lord with unvarying zeal, singing
with heart and voice his royal praises. Do they deny the Divinity of our Lord?
Let us the more fervently adore him. Do they despise the atonement? Let us the
more constantly proclaim it. Had half the time spent in councils and
controversies been given to praising the Lord, the church would have been far
sounder and stronger than she is at this day. The Hallelujah Legion will win the
day. Praising and singing are our armour against the idolatries of heresy, our
comfort under the depression caused by insolent attacks upon the truth, and our
weapons for defending the gospel. Faith when displayed in cheerful courage, has
about it a sacred contagion: others learn to believe in the Most High when they
see his servant
"Calm 'mid the bewildering cry,
Confident of victory."
Verse 2. I will worship toward thy holy temple, or the place
of God's dwelling, where the ark abode. He would worship God in God's own way.
The Lord had ordained a centre of unity, a place of sacrifice, a house of his
indwelling; and David accepted the way of worship enjoined by revelation. Even
so, the true hearted believer of these days must not fall into the will worship
of superstition, or the wild worship of scepticism, but reverently worship as
the Lord himself prescribes. The idol gods had their temples; but David averts
his glance from them, and looks earnestly to the spot chosen of the Lord for his
own sanctuary. We are not only to adore the true God, but to do so in his own
appointed way: the Jew looked to the temple, we are to look to Jesus, the living
temple of the Godhead.
And praise thy name for thy loving kindness and for thy
truth. Praise would be the main part of David's worship; the name or
character of God the great object of his song; and the special point of his
praise the grace and truth which shone so conspicuously in that name. The person
of Jesus is the temple of the Godhead, and therein we behold the glory of the
Father, "full of grace and truth." It is upon these two points that the name of
Jehovah is at this time assailed-- his grace and his truth. He is said to be too
stern, too terrible, and therefore "modern thought" displaces the God of
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and sets up an effeminate deity of its own making. As
for us, we firmly believe that God is love, and that in the summing up of all
things it will be seen that hell itself is not inconsistent with the beneficence
of Jehovah, but is, indeed, a necessary part of his moral government now that
sin has intruded into the universe. True believers hear the thunders of his
justice, and yet they do not doubt his lovingkindness. Especially do we delight
in God's great love to his own elect, such as he showed to Israel as a race, and
more especially to David and his seed when he entered into covenant with him.
Concerning this there is abundant room for praise. But not only do men attack
the lovingkindness of God, but the truth of God is at this time assailed on all
sides; some doubt the truth of the inspired record as to its histories, others
challenge the doctrines, many sneer at the prophecies; in fact, the infallible
word of the Lord is at this time treated as if it were the writing of impostors,
and only worthy to be carped at. The swine are trampling on the pearls at this
time, and nothing restrains them; nevertheless, the pearls are pearls still, and
shall yet shine about our Monarch's brow. We sing the lovingkindness and truth
of the God of the Old Testament, --"the God of the whole earth shall he be
called." David before the false gods first sang, then worshipped, and then
proclaimed the grace and truth of Jehovah; let us do the same before the idols
of the New Theology.
For thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name. The
word of promise made to David was in his eyes more glorious than all else that
he had seen of the Most High. Revelation excels creation in the clearness,
definiteness, and fulness of its teaching. The name of the Lord in nature is not
so easily read as in the Scriptures, which are a revelation in human language,
specially adapted to the human mind, treating of human need, and of a Saviour
who appeared in human nature to redeem humanity. Heaven and earth shall pass
away, but the divine word will not pass away, and in this respect especially it
has a preeminence over every other form of manifestation. Moreover, the Lord
lays all the rest of his name under tribute to his word: his wisdom, power,
love, and all his other attributes combine to carry out his word. It is his word
which creates, sustains, quickens, enlightens, and comforts. As a word of
command it is supreme; and in the person of the incarnate Word it is set above
all the works of God's hands. The sentence in the text is wonderfully full of
meaning. We have collected a vast mass of literature upon it, but space will not
allow us to put it all into our notes. Let us adore the Lord who has spoken to
us by his word, and by his Son; and in the presence of unbelievers let us both
praise his holy name and extol his holy word.
Verse 3. In the day when I cried thou answerest me. No proof
is so convincing as that of experience. No man doubts the power of prayer after
he has received an answer of peace to his supplication. It is the distinguishing
mark of the true and living God that he hears the pleadings of his people, and
answers them; the gods hear not and answer not, but Jehovah's memorial is--"the
God that heareth prayer." There was some special day in which David cried more
vehemently than usual; he was weak, wounded, worried, and his heart was wearied;
then like a child he "cried", --cried unto his Father. It was a bitter, earnest,
eager prayer, as natural and as plaintive as the cry of a babe. The Lord
answered it, but what answer can there be to a cry? --to a mere inarticulate wail
of grief? Our heavenly Father is able to interpret tears, and cries, and he
replies to their inner sense in such a way as fully meets the case. The answer
came in the same day as the cry ascended: so speedily does prayer rise to
heaven, so quickly does mercy return to earth. The statement of this sentence is
one which all believers can make, and as they can substantiate it with many
facts, they ought boldly to publish it, for it is greatly to God's glory. Well
might the Psalmist say, "I will worship" when he felt bound to say "thou
answeredst me." Well might he glory before the idols and their worshippers when
he had answers to prayer to look back upon. This also is our defence against
modern heresies: we cannot forsake the Lord, for he has heard our prayers. And strengthenedst me with strength in my soul. This was a
true answer to his prayer. If the burden was not removed, yet strength was given
wherewith to bear it, and this is an equally effective method of help. It may
not be best for us that the trial should come to an end; it may be far more to
our advantage that by its pressure we should learn patience. Sweet are the uses
of adversity, and our prudent Father in heaven will not deprive us of those
benefits. Strength imparted to the soul is an inestimable boon; it means
courage, fortitude, assurance, heroism. By his word and Spirit the Lord can make
the trembler brave, the sick whole, the weary bright. This soul might will
continue: the man having been strengthened for one emergency remains vigorous
for life, and is prepared for all future labours and sufferings; unless, indeed,
he throw away his force by unbelief, or pride, or some other sin. When God
strengthens, none can weaken. Then is our soul strong indeed when the Lord
infuses might into us.
Verse 4. All the kings of the earth shall praise thee, O Lord,
when they hear the words of thy mouth. Kings have usually small care
to hear the word of the Lord; but King David feels assured that if they do hear
it they will feel its power. A little piety goes a long way in courts; but
brighter days are coming, in which rulers will become hearers and worshippers:
may the advent of such happy times be hastened. What an assembly! --"all the
kings of the earth!" What a purpose! Gathered to hear the words of Jehovah's
mouth. What a preacher! David himself rehearses the words of Jehovah. What
praise! when they all in happy union lift up their songs unto the Lord. Kings
are as gods below, and they do well when they worship the God above. The way of
conversion for kings is the same as for ourselves: faith to them also cometh by
hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Happy are those who can cause the word
of the Lord to penetrate palaces; for the occupants of thrones are usually the
last to know the joyful sounds of the gospel. David, the king, cared for kings'
souls, and it will be wise for each man to look first after those who are of his
own order. He went to his work of testimony with fall assurance of success: he
meant to speak only the words of Jehovah's mouth, and he felt sure that the
kings would hear and praise Jehovah.
Verse 5. Yea, they shall sing in the ways of the LORD. Here
is a double wonder--kings in God's ways, and kings singing there. Let a man once
know the ways of Jehovah, and he will find therein abundant reason for song; but
the difficulty is to bring the great ones of the earth into ways so little
attractive to the carnal mind. Perhaps when the Lord sends us a King David to
preach, we shall yet see monarchs converted and hear their voices raised in
devout adoration. For great is the glory of the LORD. This glory shall
overshadow all the greatness and glory of all kings: they shall be stirred by a
sight of it to obey and adore. O that Jehovah's glory were revealed even now! O
that the blind eyes of men could once behold it, then their hearts would be
subdued to joyful reverence. David, under a sense of Jehovah's glory, exclaimed,
"I will sing" (Ps 138:1), and here he represents the kings as doing the same
Verse 6. Though the Lord be high. In greatness, dignity, and
power, Jehovah is higher than the highest. His nature is high above the
comprehension of his creatures, and his glory even exceeds the loftiest soarings
of imagination. Yet hath he respect unto the lowly. He views them with
pleasure, thinks of them with care, listens to their prayers, and protects them
from evil. Because they think little of themselves he thinks much of them. They
reverence him, and he respects them. They are low in their own esteem, and he
makes them high in his esteem. But the proud he knoweth afar off. He does not need to come
near them in order to discover their utter vanity: a glance from afar reveals to
him their emptiness and offensiveness. He has no fellowship with them, but views
them from a distance; he is not deceived, but knows the truth about them,
despite their blustering; he has no respect unto them, but utterly abhors them.
To a Cain's sacrifice, a Pharaoh's promise, a Rabshakeh's threat, and a
Pharisee's prayer, the Lord has no respect. Nebuchadnezzar, when far off from
God, cried, "Behold this great Babylon which I have builded"; but the Lord knew
him, and sent him grazing with cattle. Proud men boast loudly of their culture
and "the freedom of thought", and even dare to criticize their Maker: but he
knows them from afar, and will keep them at arm's length in this life, and shut
them up in hell in the next.
Verse 7. Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt
revive me. If I am walking there now, or shall be doing so in years
to come, I have no cause for fear; for God is with me, and will give me new
life. When we are somewhat in trouble it is bad enough, but it is worse to
penetrate into the centre of that dark continent and traverse its midst: yet in
such a case the believer makes progress, for he walks; he keeps to a quiet pace,
for he does no more than walk; and he is not without the best of company, for
his God is near to pour fresh life into him. It is a happy circumstance that, if
God be away at any other time, yet he is pledged to be with us in trying hours:
"when thou passest through the rivers I will be with thee." He is in a blessed
condition who can confidently use the language of David, -- "thou wilt revive
me." He shall not make his boast of God in vain: he shall be kept alive, and
made more alive than ever. How often has the Lord quickened us by our sorrows!
Are they not his readiest means of exciting to fulness of energy the holy life
which dwells within us? If we receive reviving, we need not regret affliction.
When God revives us, trouble will never harm us. Thou shalt stretch forth thine hand against the wrath of
mine enemies, and thy right hand shall save me. This is the fact
which would revive fainting David. Our foes fall when the Lord comes to deal
with them; he makes short work of the enemies of his people, --with one hand he
routs them. His wrath soon quenches their wrath; his hand stays their hand.
Adversaries may be many, and malicious, and mighty; but our glorious Defender
has only to stretch out his arm and their armies vanish. The sweet singer
rehearses his assurance of salvation, and sings of it in the ears of the Lord,
addressing him with this confident language. He will be saved, --saved
dexterously, decidedly, divinely; he has no doubt about it. God's right hand
cannot forget its cunning; Jerusalem is his chief joy, and he will defend his
Verse 8. The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me. All
my interests are safe in Jehovah's hands.
"The work which his goodness began,
The arm of his strength will complete;
His promise is yea and Amen,
And never was forfeited yet."
God is concerned in all that concerns his servants. He will see
to it that none of their precious things shall fail of completion; their life,
their strength, their hopes, their graces, their pilgrimage, shall each and all
be perfected. Jehovah himself will see to this and therefore it is most sure. Thy mercy, O Lord, endureth for ever. The refrain of the
former Psalm is in his ears, and he repeats it as his own personal conviction
and consolation. The first clause of the verse is the assurance of faith, and
this second one reaches to the full assurance of understanding. God's work in us
will abide unto perfection because God's mercy towards us thus abideth. Forsake not the works of thine own hands. Our confidence
does not cause us to live without prayer, but encourages us to pray all more.
Since we have it written upon our hearts that God will perfect his work in us,
and we see it also written in Scripture that his mercy changeth not, with holy
earnestness entreat that we may not be forsaken. If there be anything good in
us, it is the work Of God's own hands: will he leave it? Why has he wrought so
much in us if he means to give us up? --it will be a sheer effort. He who has
gone so far will surely persevere with us to the end. Our hope for the final
perseverance of the believer lies in the final perseverance of believer's God.
If the Lord begins to build, and does not finish, it will not be his honour. He
will have a desire to the work of his hands, for he knows it has cost him
already, and he will not throw away a vessel upon which he has expended so much
of labour and skill. Therefore do we praise him with our, whole heart, even in
the presence of those who depart from his Holy Word, and, set up another God and
another gospel; which are not another, but there be some that trouble us.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Psalm 138:1 to 145:21. These eight Psalms are composed in the first
person, and they follow very happily after the fifteen "Songs of Up goings", and
the three Psalms of praise uttered by the chorus of those who have gone
up to Sion. Those Psalms were the united utterances of national devotion.
These eight Psalms are the devout Israelite's Manual of private prayer
and praise. --Christopher Wordsworth.
Whole Psalm. This is the first of a series of eight Psalms
(Ps 138:1-145:21), probably the last composed by David, a kind of commentary on
the great Messianic promise in 2Sa 7:1-29. They are found in this part of the
psalter, in consequence of having been made the basis, or rather the body, of a
system or series (Ps 135:1-146:10) by a later writer. --Joseph Addison
Whole Psalm. If this Psalm refers to the promise in 2Sa
7:1-29, there can be no doubt of the correctness of the superscription, which
ascribes it to David. For he, on whom the promise has been conferred, himself
stands forth as the speaker. Proof also of David's authorship is found in the
union, so characteristic of him, of bold courage, see especially Ps 138:3, and
deep humility, see Ps 138:6. And in proof of the same comes, finally, the near
relationship in which it stands with the other Psalms of David, especially those
which likewise refer to the promise of the everlasting kingdom; and with David's
thanksgiving in 2Sa 7:1-29, the conclusion of which remarkably agrees with the
conclusion of our Psalm: "And now, Lord God, the word which thou hast spoken
upon thy servant and upon his house, that fulfil even to eternity, and do as
thou hast spoken." --E.W. Hengstenberg.
Verse 1. I will praise thee with my whole heart. It
is a part of our thankfulness to engage our heart to praise God in time to come,
since we find that all the thanks we can give for the present are short of our
duty or desire to praise him: "I will praise thee", saith David.
Sometimes the believer will find his heart set at liberty in God's worship,
which at another time he will find to be in bands, and then he should take the
opportunity of an enlarged heart to run in the way of God's service, as David
doth here: "I will praise thee with my whole heart." --David
Verse 1. I will praise thee. Up, dear soul! What though thou
hast once complained like Israel of thy captivity in Babylon, Ps 137:1, yet now
sing once more a song of joy to the Lord. Thou hast been pressed like a cluster
of grapes, now give forth thy ripe juice. --Christoph Starke.
Verse 1. I will praise thee. Alas, for that capital crime of
the Lord's people--barrenness in praises! Oh, how fully I am persuaded that a
line of praises is worth a leaf of prayer, and an hour of praises is worth a day
of fasting and mourning! --John Livingstone, 1603-1672.
Verse 1. With my whole heart. This expression, as in Ps 9:1,
points to the surpassing greatness of the benefit received, which filled the
whole heart with thankfulness, and did not proceed, as it were, from some
particular corner of it. It corresponds also to the greatness of the
benefaction, in the expression, before the gods, --demanding of these,
whether they would verify their godhead by pointing to any such boon conferred
by them on their servants. The benefit which could afford such a demonstration,
and give occasion and ground for raillery, must have been a surpassingly great
one. --E.W. Hengstenberg.
Verse 1. Before the gods. There is much diversity in the
meaning assigned to "gods" in this verse. It may mean literally in an
idolatrous country, in the very temples of false gods, as so many Christian
martyrs bore testimony to the faith. The LXX., Vulgate, Ethiopic, and Arabic
translate angels. The Chaldee has judges, the Syriac kings,
and the earlier Greek fathers explain it as a reference to the choirs of
Priests and Levites in the Temple. --Zigabenus, in Neale and
Verse 1. Before the gods. Some (LXX., Luther, Calvin, etc.)
interpret these words of the angels, and compare Ps 29:1; but it is doubtful if
the Hebrew word Elohim, used nakedly and without any explanation, can have this
meaning: it is also, as it would seem, in this connection, pointless: others
(Rabbins, Flamin., Delitzsch, etc.) interpret "the great ones of the earth", and
compare Ps 138:4 below, and Ps 82:1 119:46, etc.; but this interpretation, too,
seems to give no special force to the passage. Probably (Aq., Symm., Jer., etc.)
the meaning is, "Before, or in the presence of, the gods of the heathen,
i.e., in scorn of, in sight of, the idols, who can do nothing, I will
praise Jehovah, who does miracles for me and his people." For a similar
expression, see Ps 23:5, see also Ps 95:8, 96:5, for places in which the Hebrew
word "gods" is used probably for idols. --Speaker's Commentary.
Verse 1. Before the gods, etc. The Vulgate hath, in
conspectu angelorum, "before the angels"; their presence should awe
men and women, and keep them from all dishonesty, evil words, acts, gestures,
secret grudging, all discontents and distempers. For as they are rejoiced to
discern a good frame of spirit in you, to see you keep that order God hath set
in the church and state, to walk as Christians to the honour of God; so they are
grieved to see the contrary, and you must answer for your sins against these
great officers in the great family of heaven and earth. --William
Verse 2. I will worship toward thy holy temple. The holy
temple was a type and figure of the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore we find Daniel
opening his windows toward the temple, where he prayed three times a day; and we
find Jonah saying, "Yet will I look again toward thy holy temple." So looking to
Jesus, he is our temple. There is no acceptable worship except through him; but
we can offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. Then,
set the Lord Jesus Christ before your eyes, that you may worship God and draw
near to the footstool of mercy through him, that you may offer an acceptable
sacrifice, and praise his name for his lovingkindness and for his truth.
--Joseph C. Philpot, 1802-1869.
Verse 2. Thy holy temple. This Psalm is entitled "a Psalm of
David", and Calvin considers him to be its author agreeably to the title; but
the mention of "the temple" in this verse seems to render such an opinion
doubtful. If, however, we translate this word by "mansion", which is the proper
rendering of the original--the mansion of thy sanctity, --this
objection to its composition by David falls to the ground. --James Anderson's
Note to Calvin in loc.
Verse 2. I will...praise thy name for thy lovingkindness.
There are two beautiful thoughts brought out here; one is, "God's condescension
in thought"; the other, "his tenderness in action." These are both included in
"loving kindness." And both of these are shown by God to his own people.
He humbleth himself to behold the things of the children of men; he condescends
to men of low estate. Of the blessed Jesus it is said, that "though he was rich,
yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich":
2Co 8:9. Who can tell the depths to which God condescends in loving thought? We
are told that the very hairs of our head are all numbered; and if the hairs of
our head, then surely all else beside. God, as the Heavenly Father, takes an
interest in everything about his people; he takes this interest in matters which
they think beneath his notice, or of which they, from their ignorance, do not
know the importance. The mother may draw whole stores of comfort from a
realization of the condescending thoughtfulness of God. He will be
interested about her babe; if she commit it to him, he who made the universe
will, with his infinite mind, think upon her cradle and the helpless creature
that is rocked to sleep therein. The sick man may draw whole stores of comfort
from the same source, for he can believe the ONE by whom the body was fearfully
and wonderfully made will think over the sufferings of that body, and alleviate
them, or give strength for the endurance of them if they must be borne.
Condescension of thought marks all the dealings of God with his people. And hard
following upon it comes tenderness in action. Now this "tenderness in
action" is a great part of the lovingkindness of God; it is meet that a
thoughtful mind and tender hand should go together in the perfection of love.
God is not only energetic, but tender also in action; he is the God of the dew
drops, as well as the God of the thunder showers; the God of the tender grass
blade, as much as of the mountain oak. We read of great machines, which are able
to crush iron bars, and yet they can touch so gently as not to break the shell
of the smallest egg; as it is with them, so is it with the hand of the Most
High; he can crush a world, and yet bind up a wound. And great need have we of
tenderness in our low estate; a little thing would crush us: we have such
bruised and feeble souls, that unless we had One who would deal tenderly with us
we must soon be destroyed. --Philip Bennett Power, in "The I Wills' of the
Verse 2. Thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.
His "word" being here annexed to "lovingkindness and truth",
must needs be that part of his word to which these two are applicable,
i.e., his promise, the matter whereof is mercy or
lovingkindness, and in the performance of which is truth or
fidelity. And then to "magnify" this "word" of promise seems to signify
two things; 1, the making very great and excellent promises, and then, 2, the
performing them most punctually; and the doing it above all his name is
promising and performing most superlative mercies above all that is famed or
spoken or believed of God. Then thus it will run; I will worship, etc.,
"and praise thy name above thy lovingkindness and above thy truth";
i.e., it will be too low, too short a compilation, to call thee merciful or
veracious, or style thee after any other of thy attributes; thou art all these,
and more than so, "thou hast magnified thy word", given and performed
most glorious promises, "above all thy name", above all that men have
apprehended or spoken of thee. This verse and Psalm may easily be interpreted of God's mercies
in Christ, so far above what could be famed, or said, or believed, or
apprehended of him. --Condensed from H. Hammond.
Verse 2. Thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.
Beyond all question there are higher and clearer manifestations of himself, of
his being, of his perfection, of his purposes in the volume of revelation, than
any which his works have disclosed or can disclose. There are very many points
in relation to God, of the highest interest to mankind, on which the disclosures
of science shed no light; there are many things which it is desirable for man to
know, which cannot be learned in the schools of philosophy; there are
consolations which man needs in a world of trouble which cannot be found in
nature; there is especially a knowledge of the method by which sin may be
pardoned, and the soul saved, which, can never be disclosed by the blowpipe, the
telescope, or the microscope. These things, if learned at all, must be learned
from revelation, and these are of more importance to man as a traveller to
another world than all the learning which can be acquired in the schools of
philosophy--valuable as that learning is. --Albert Barnes.
Verse 2. For thou hast magnified thy word above all thy
name, etc. This is a dark sentence at the first view, but as a judicious
expositor upon the place well observes, the words may be thus read, and will
better agree with the Hebrew; "thou hast magnified thy name above all
things, in thy word", that is, in fulfilling thy word thou hast magnified
thy name above all things, in that thou hast fulfilled thy word. What thou
freely promisedst, thou hast faithfully performed; what thou hast spoken with
thy mouth thou hast fulfilled with thy hand; for which thy name is wonderfully
to be magnified. --James Nalton, 1664.
Verse 2. Thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.
Every creature bears the name of God; but in his word and truth therein
contained it is written at length, and therefore he is more choice of this than
of all his other works; he cares not much what becomes of the world and all in
it, so that he keeps his word, and saves his truth. Ere long we shall see the
world in flames; the heavens and earth shall pass away, "but the word of the
Lord endures for ever." When God will, he can make more such worlds as this; but
he cannot make another truth, and therefore he will not lose one jot thereof.
Satan, knowing this, sets all his wits to work to deface this and disfigure it
by unsound doctrine. The word is the glass in which we see God, and seeing him
are changed into his likeness by his Spirit. If this glass be cracked, then the
conceptions we have of God will misrepresent him unto us; whereas the word, in
its native clearness, sets him out in all his glory unto our eye. --William
Verse 2. Thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.
Thou hast bestowed the promise of perpetuity to my house and to my kingdom,
which rises in grandeur and goodness above all thy past manifestations of
thyself in behalf of thy people (2Sa 7:10 12-13 15-16 7:21-22 2Sa 24-26 29; 2Sa
7:21 especially, "For thy Word's sake ...hast thou done all these
great things"; 2Sa 7:26, "And let thy name be magnified for ever"
--an undesigned coincidence of language between the history and the Psalm). In
the Messiah alone the greatness of the promise finds, and shall hereafter more
fully find, its realization for Israel and the whole world. --Andrew Robert
Verse 2. Thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.
God has sent his word to us,
1. As a mirror, to reflect his glory. "The heavens
declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork"; from them
may his eternal power and Godhead be clearly seen. Ps 19:1, 3-4. In his
providential dealings, also, is much of his wisdom and goodness exhibited. But
of his perfections, generally, we can form no idea from these things; of his
purposes we can know nothing. The state of the Heathen world clearly attests
this; for they behold the wonders of Creation and Providence, as well as we:
"There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard. Their
line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the
world": Ps 19:3-4. But in the sacred volume all the glory of the Godhead shines:
there we are admitted, so to speak, even to the council chamber of the Most
High; to hear the covenant entered into between the Father and the Son; the
Father engaging to give to him a seed, whom he should have for his inheritance,
if he, on his part, would "make his soul an offering for their sins", and, in
their nature, expiate the guilt of their iniquities. This mysterious transaction
having taken place in the incarnation and death of the Lord Jesus Christ, we
behold all the perfections of God united and harmonizing in a way that they
never did, or could, by any other means: we see justice more inexorable, than if
it had executed vengeance on the whole human race; and mercy more abundant, than
if it had spared the human race without any such atonement. There, as it is well
expressed, "Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have
kissed each other": Ps 85:10. Of this great mystery we find not a trace in the
whole creation besides; but in the word it is reflected, as in a mirror (2Co
3:18); and it shines so brightly, that the very angels around the throne are
made wiser by the revelation of it to the Church: Eph 3:10.
2. As a standard, to which everything may be referred.
Of God's will we know nothing, but from the word: "we know neither good nor evil
from all that is before us." What God requires of us, nothing in Creation or
Providence can inform us: what he will do for us, we cannot ascertain: how he
will deal with us, we cannot ascertain. But, in the sacred volume, all is
written as with a sunbeam. There is nothing which God expects us to do for him,
which is not there most explicitly declared: nothing which he engages to do for
us, that does not form the subject of a distinct promise. The whole of his
procedure in the day of judgment is there laid open: the laws by which we shall
be judged: the manner in which the testimony, whether against us or in our
favour, shall be produced; the grounds on which the sentence of condemnation or
acquittal shall be passed; yea, the very state to which every person, either as
acquitted or condemned, shall be consigned; all is so clearly made known, that
every person, who will judge himself with candour now, may assuredly anticipate
his fate. There is nothing left to conjecture. Every man has a standard to which
he may refer, for the rectifying of his judgment in every particular: so that
nothing can be added for the instruction of our minds, or the regulation of our
3. As a fountain, from whence all his blessings emanate.
Great blessings, beyond all doubt, flow down to us through the works of Creation
and Providence: in fact, they are incessantly administering to our welfare; for
"God opens his hands, and fills all things living with plenteousness." Still,
however, the benefits derived from them are only temporal; whereas those which
the inspired volume imparts are spiritual and eternal; from whence we derive all
our knowledge of Divine truth, and all our hopes of everlasting salvation. Nor
is it the knowledge only of truth that we obtain, but the operation and efficacy
of it on our souls. There is in Divine truth, when applied by the Holy Spirit, a
power to wound, to sanctify, to save: Ps 19:7-11. When it comes to the soul with
power, the stoutest heart in the universe is made to tremble: when it is poured
out as balm, the most afflicted creature under heaven is made to leap for joy.
Look over the face of the globe, and see how many, who were once under the
unrestrained dominion of sin, are now transformed into the image of their God.
And then ascend to heaven, and behold the myriads of the redeemed around the
throne of God, uniting their hallelujahs to God and to the Lamb: to this state
were they all brought by that blessed word, which alone could ever prevail for
so great a work. Thus it is that God has magnified his word; and thus it is that
he will magnify it, to the end of time; yea, through eternity will it be
acknowledged as the one source of all blessings that shall ever be enjoyed.
--Charles Simeon, in Horae Homileticae.
Verse 2. For thou hast magnified thy word above all thy
name. This is one of those expressions of Scripture that seem so
comprehensive, and yet so amazing. To my mind it is one of the most remarkable
expressions in the whole book of God. "Thou hast magnified thy word
above all thy name." The name of God includes all the perfections of God;
everything that God is, and which God has revealed himself as having--his
justice, majesty, holiness, greatness, and glory, and whatever he is in himself,
that is God's name. And yet he has "magnified" something "above his
name" --his word -- his truth. This may refer to the Incarnate
Word, the Son of God, who was called "the Word." "There are three that
bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and
these three are one": 1Jo 5:7, "In the beginning was the Word, and the
Word was with God": Joh 1:1. You may take the words either as meaning
that God has magnified his Word, his eternal Son-- above all his great
name, that is, he has set Jesus on high above all the other perfections of his
majesty; or take it as meaning his written word, which is written in the sacred
Scriptures. So, in that case, not only the Incarnate Word in the person
of Jesus; but also the written word in the Scriptures of truth. He has magnified
it above all his name in the fulfilment of it: God's faithfulness being so dear
to him, he has exalted his faithfulness above all his other perfections. We see
this in nature. Here is a man so to be depended upon, so faithful to his word,
that he will sacrifice anything sooner than depart from it: that man will give
up his property, or life itself, rather than forfeit his word. So God has spoken
of magnifying his word above all his name. He would sooner allow all his other
perfections to come to naught, than for his faithfulness to fail. He has so
magnified his faithfulness, that his love, his mercy, his grace, would all
sooner fail than his faithfulness--the word of his mouth and what he has revealed
in the Scripture. What a firm salvation, then, is ours, which rests upon his
word, when God has magnified that word above all his name! What volumes of
blessedness and truth are contained therein! so that, if God has revealed his
truth to your soul, and given you faith to anchor in the world of promise,
sooner than that should fail, he would suffer the loss of all; for he has
magnified his word above all his name. --Joseph C. Philpot.
Verse 2. Thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.
God has a greater regard unto the words of his mouth, than to the works
of his hand: heaven and earth shall pass away, but one jot or tittle of what he
hath spoken shall never fall to the ground. Some do understand this of Christ
the essential Word, in whom he has set his name, and whom he has so highly
exalted, that he has given him "a name above every name." --Ebenezer Erskine,
Verse 2. Thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.
Meaning that his Word or promise shall have, as it were, and exercise a kind of
sovereignty over all his prerogatives and attributes, wisdom, justice, power,
etc. So that men need not fear that any of them shall at any time, or in any
case whatsoever, move in the least contrariety thereunto. --John Goodwin,
Verse 2. Thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name. It
may be when there are some extraordinary works of God in the world, thunder and
lightning, etc., we are ready to be afraid, and oh! the great God that doth
appear in these great works! Were our hearts as they ought to be when we read
the Word, we would tremble at that more than at any manifestation of God
since the world began in all his works; and if so be thou dost not see more of
the glory of God in his Word than in his works, it is because thou hast
little light in thee. --Jeremiah Burroughs, 1599-1646.
Verse 2. Thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.
"By the word of the Lord were the heavens made, and all the host of them by the
breath of his mouth." But mightier far is the word by which a lost world is
redeemed. This is the "word" that he hath "magnified above all
his name", as displaying at once the exceeding greatness of his power, the
resources of his manifold wisdom, and the blended glories of holiness and love.
Verse 2. It is not with the truth merely excogitated, but
with the truth expressed, that we have any concern; not with the truth as seen
by our inspired teacher, but with the truth as by him spoken to us. It is not
enough that the Spirit hath made him to see it aright--this is not enough if he
have not also made him to speak it aright. A pure influx into the mind of an
apostle is no sufficient guarantee for the instruction of the world, unless
there be a pure afflux also; for not the doctrine that has flowed in, but the
doctrine that has flowed out, is truly all that we have to do with. Accordingly,
it is to the doctrine in afflux, that is to the word, that we are bidden
to yield ourselves. It is the word that is a light unto our feet and a lamp unto
our path; it is his word that God hath exalted above all his name; it is the
word that he hath settled fast in heaven, and given to it a stability surer and
more lasting than to the ordinances of nature. We can take no cognizance of the
doctrine that is conveyed from heaven to earth, when it has only come the length
of excogitation in the mind of an apostle; and it is not till brought the
farther length of expression, either by speech or by writing, that it comes into
contact with us. In short our immediate concern is with, not what apostles
conceive inwardly, but what they bring forth outwardly--not with the schemes or
the systems which they have been made to apprehend, but with the books which
they have written; and had the whole force and effect of this observation been
sufficiently pondered, we feel persuaded that the advocates of a mitigated
inspiration would not have dissevered, as they have done, the inspiration of
sentiment from the inspiration of language. --Thomas Chalmers.
Verse 2. "Thy word", or, "Thy promise." So great are
God's promises, and so faithful and complete is his performance of them, as even
to surpass the expectations which the greatness of his name has excited.
--Annotated Paragraph Bible.
Verse 3. In the day when I cried, etc. God granted him a
speedy answer; for it was in the very day that he cried that he was heard: and
it was a spiritual answer; he was strengthened with strength in his
soul. Would you have soul strength for the work you have in view? Then cry
unto him who is the "strength of Israel" for it; for "he giveth power to the
faint, and he increaseth strength to them that have no might." --Ebenezer
Verse 3. In the day when I cried thou answeredst me, etc.
That part of an army which is upon action in the field is sure to have their
pay, if their masters have any money in their purse, or care of them; yea,
sometimes when their fellows left in their quarters are made to wait. I am sure
there is more gold and silver (spiritual joy, I mean, and comfort) to be found
in Christ's camp, among his suffering ones, than their brethren at home in peace
and prosperity ordinarily can show. What are the promises but vessels of cordial
wine, turned on purpose against a groaning hour, when God usually broacheth
them! "Call upon me", saith God, "in the day of trouble." Ps 50:15. And may we
not do so in the day of peace? Yes; but he would have us most bold with him in
the day of trouble. None find such quick despatch at the throne of grace as
suffering saints. "In the day that I cried", saith David, "thou
answeredst me, and strengthenedst me with strength in my soul." He
was now in a strait, and God comes in haste to him. Though we may keep a well
friend waiting should he send for us, yet we will give a sick friend leave to
call us up at midnight. In such extremities we usually go with the messenger
that comes for us; and so doth God with the prayer. Peter knocked at their gate,
who were assembled to seek God for him, almost as soon as their prayer knocked
at heaven gate in his behalf. And truly it is no more than needs, if we consider
the temptations of our afflicted condition; we are prone then to be suspicious
that our best friends forget us, and to think every stay a delay, and neglect of
us; therefore God chooseth to show himself most kind at such a time. "As the
sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ":
2Co 1:5. As man laid on trouble, so Christ laid in consolation: both tides rose
and fell together; when it was spring tide with him in affliction, it was so
with him in his joy. We relieve the poor as their need increaseth; so Christ
comforts his people as their troubles multiply. And now, Christian, tell me,
doth not thy dear Lord deserve a ready spirit in thee to meet any suffering
with, for, or from him, who gives his sweetest comforts where his people are put
to bear their saddest sorrows? Well may the servant do his work cheerfully when
his master is so careful of him as with his own hands to bring him his breakfast
into the fields. The Christian stays not till he comes to heaven for all his
comfort. There indeed shall be the full supper, but there is a breakfast,
Christian, of previous joys, more or less, which Christ brings to thee into the
field, to be eaten on the place where you endure your hardship. --William
Verse 3. Thou answeredst me, and strengthenedst me with strength
in my soul. It is one gracious way of answering our prayers when God
doth bestow upon us spiritual strength in our souls; if he do not give the
things we desire, yet if he gives us strength in our souls, he graciously
answers our prayers. What is this spiritual strength? I answer, it is a work of
the Spirit of God, enabling a man to do and suffer what God would have him
without fainting or backsliding. --James Nalton.
Verse 3. Thou strengthenedst me with strength in my soul.
Other masters cut out work for their servants, but do not help them in their
work; but our Master in heaven doth not only give us work, but strength. God
bids us serve him, and he will enable us to serve him, Eze 36:27: "I will cause
you to walk in my statutes." The Lord doth not only fit work for us, but fits us
for our work; with his command he gives power. --Thomas Watson.
Verse 3. Thou makest me brave in my soul (with) strength.
The common version of this clause ("strengthenedst me with strength in
my soul") contains a paronomasia not in the original, where the verb and
noun have not even a letter in common. The verb is by some translated made me
proud, i.e., elated me, not with a vain or selfish pride, but with a lofty
and exhilarating hope. --Joseph Addison Alexander.
Verse 4. All the kings of the earth shall praise thee. In a
sense sufficiently striking this promise was fulfilled to David, and to the
nation of Israel, as surrounding monarchs beheld the wonderful dispensations of
divine providence which attended their steps (2Sa 5:11 8:10); but in its
completest sense, it shall realize its accomplishment in the future conquests of
Messiah, when the princes and potentates of the earth receive his word, learn by
divine grace to celebrate the glorious methods of his love, and see in the light
of faith the greatness of Jehovah's glory as the God of salvation. "All the
kings of the earth" shall yet praise the Lord, and shall hasten with their
numerous subjects to hail the triumphs of his grace. --John Morison.
Verse 5. Yea, they shall sing in the ways of the LORD. There
will come a time when the praise of Jahve, which according to Ps 137:4 was
obliged to be dumb in the presence of the heathen, will be sung by the kings of
the heathen themselves. --Franz Delitzsch.
Verse 5. Yea, they shall sing in the ways of the LORD.
Walking with God is a pleasant walk: the ways of wisdom are called "ways of
pleasantness": Pr 3:17. Is not the light pleasant Ps 89:15: "They shall walk, O
LORD, in the light of thy countenance." Walking with God is like walking among
beds of spices, which send forth a fragrant perfume. This is it which brings
peace, Ac 9:31: "Walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy
Ghost." While we walk with God, what sweet music doth the bird of conscience
make in our breast! "They shall sing in the ways of the Lord."
Verse 6. Though the LORD be high. We have here God's
transcendent greatness; he is the high Lord, or Jehovah: he is "the high
and lofty One, who inhabits eternity, and who dwells in the high and lofty
place, to which no man can approach." Who can think or speak of his highness in
a suitable manner? It dazzles the eyes of sinful mortal worms to behold "the
place where his honour dwells." Oh how infinite is the distance between him and
us! "There are none of the sons of the mighty that can be compared unto him";
yea, "the inhabitants of the earth are before him but as the drop in the bucket,
and the small dust in the balance." He is not only "high" above men, but
above angels: cherubims and seraphims are his ministering spirits. He is
"high" above the heavens; for "the heaven, yea, the heaven of heavens
cannot contain him"; and he "humbleth himself" when "he beholds things that are
in heaven." Oh, sirs, study to entertain high and admiring thoughts and
apprehensions of the glorious majesty of God; for "honour and majesty are before
him; strength and beauty are in his sanctuary." --Ebenezer Erskine.
Verse 6. The LORD hath respect unto the lowly. God has such
a respect unto the lowly, not as if this frame of soul were meritorious of any
good at his hand, but because,
1. This is a disposition that best serves God's great design of
lifting up and glorifying his free grace. What think you, sirs, was God's design
in election, in redemption, in the whole of the gospel dispensation, and in all
the ordinances thereof? His grand design in all was to rear up a glorious high
throne, from which he might display the riches of his free and sovereign grace;
this is that which he will have magnified through eternity above all his other
name. Now, this lowliness and humility of spirit suits best unto God's design of
exalting the freedom of his grace. It is not the legalist, or proud Pharisee,
but the poor humble publican, who is smiting on his breast, and crying, "God be
merciful to me, a sinner", that submits to the revelation of grace.
2. God has such respect unto the humble soul because it is a
fruit of the Spirit inhabiting the soul, and an evidence of the soul's union
with the Lord Jesus Christ, in whom alone we are accepted.
3. This is a disposition that makes the soul like Christ; and
the more alike that a person is to Christ, God loves him all the better. We are
told that Christ was "meek and lowly"; "he did not cry, nor lift up, nor cause
his voice to be heard in the streets"; though he was "the brightness of his
Father's glory", yet he was content to appear "in the form of a servant"; though
he was rich, yet he was content to become poor, that we through his poverty
might be rich. Now, the humble soul, being the image of Christ, who is the
express image of his Father, God cannot but have a regard unto him. --Ebenezer
Verse 6. He hath respect unto the lowly. Give me the homely
vessel of humility, which God shall preserve, and fill with the wine of his
grace; rather than the varnished cup of pride, which he will dash in pieces,
like a potter's vessel. Where humility is the corner stone, there glory shall be
the top stone. --William Seeker, in "The Nonsuch Professor in his Meridian
Verse 6. The proud he knoweth afar off. He that meets a
spectacle or person which he cannot endure to look upon, avoids it, or turns
from it while he is yet afar off; whereas, if the object be delightful, he
draweth near and comes as close as he can. When therefore it is said, The
Lord knoweth a proud man afar off, it shows his disdain of him: he will
scarce touch him with a pair of tongs (as we say); he cannot abide to come near
him. He knows well enough how vile he is even at the greatest distance.
Verse 6. The proud he knoweth afar off. By punishing them in
hell. --Richard Rolle, 1340.
Verse 7. Though a walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt
revive me. So as to the three youths in the fiery furnace, their
persecutor, Nebuchadnezzar, said, "Lo, I see four men loose, walking
in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt, and the form of the
fourth is like the Son of God." --Andrew Robert Fausset.
Verse 7. In the midst of trouble thou wilt revive me. The
wisdom of God is seen in helping in desperate cases. God loves to show his
wisdom when human help and wisdom fail. Exquisite lawyers love to wrestle with
niceties and difficulties in the law, to show their skill the more. God's wisdom
is never at a loss; but when providences are darkest, then the morning star of
deliverance appears. Sometimes God melts away the spirits of his enemies. Jos
2:24. Sometimes he finds them other work to do, and sounds a retreat to them, as
he did to Saul when he was pursuing David. "The Philistines are in the land."
"In the mount God will be seen." When the church seems to be upon the altar, her
peace and liberty ready to be sacrificed, then the angel comes. --Thomas
Verse 7. Thou shalt stretch forth thine hand, etc. Thou
shalt interpose thine help betwixt me and them, and save me harmless; as the
poets feign their gods did those whom they favoured. Thou shalt strike
them with thy left hand, and save me with thy right; so Tremellius senses
it. --John Trapp.
Verse 8. The LORD will perfect, etc. God's work is perfect,
man's is clumsy and incomplete. God does not leave off till he has finished.
When he rests, it is because, looking on his work, he sees it all "very good."
His Sabbath is the Sabbath of an achieved purpose, of a fulfilled counsel. The
palaces which we build are ever like that in the story, where one window remains
dark and without jewels, while the rest blaze in beauty. But when God builds
none can say, "He was not able to finish." In his great palace he makes her
"windows of agates", and all her "borders of pleasant stones."
I suppose that if the medieval dream had ever come true, and an
alchemist had ever turned a grain of lead into gold, he could have turned all
the lead in the world, in time, and with crucibles and furnaces enough. The
first step is all the difficulty, and if you and I have been changed from
enemies into sons, and had one spark of love to God kindled in our hearts, that
is a mightier change than any that yet remains to be effected in order to make
us perfect. One grain has been changed, the whole mass will be in due time.
--Alexander Maclaren, Sermon in "Wesleyan Methodist Magazine," 1879.
Verse 8. Forsake not the works of thine own hands. When we
are under such afflictions as threaten to ruin us, 'tis seasonable to tell the
Lord he made us. David strengthens prayer upon this argument: "Forsake not
the works of thine own hands." All men love their own works, many dote upon
them: shall we think God will forsake his? See how the people of God plead with
God in greatest distress (Isa 64:8): "But now, O Lord, thou art our father; we
are the clay, and thou our potter; and we are all the work of thy hand. Be not
wroth very sore, O LORD." --Joseph Caryl.
Verse 8. Forsake not the works of thine own hands. Look upon
the wounds of thine hands, and forsake not the works of thine hands, prayed
Queen Elizabeth. And Luther's usual prayer was, Confirm, O God, in us that thou
hast wrought, and perfect the work that thou hast begun in us, to thy glory. So
be it. --John Trapp.
Verse 8. Forsake not the works of thine own hands. Behold in
me thy work, not mine: for mine, if thou seest, thou condemnest; thine, if thou
seest, thou crownest. For whatever good works there be of mine, from thee are
they to me; and so they are more thine than mine. For I hear from thine apostle,
"By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift
of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship,
created in Christ Jesus": Eph 2:8-10. --Augustine.
Verse 8. Thine own hands. His creating hands formed our
souls at the beginning; his nail pierced hands redeemed them on Calvary; his
glorified hands will hold our souls fast and not let them go for ever. Unto his
hands let us commend our spirits, sure that even though the works of our hands
have made void the works of his hands, yet his hands will again make perfect all
that our hands have unmade. --J.W. Burgon.
HINTS TO THE VILLAGE PREACHER
Verses 1-3. David vexed with rival gods, as we are with rival
gospels. How will he act?
1. Sing with whole hearted praise.
a) It would generously show his contempt of the false.
b) It would evince his strong faith in the true.
c) It would declare his joyful zeal for God.
d) It would shield him from evil from those about him.
2. Worship by the despised rule.
a) Quietly ignoring all will worship.
b) Looking to the person of Christ, which was typified by the
c) Trusting in sacrifice.
d) Realizing God himself, for it is to God he speaks.
3. Praise the questioned attributes.
a) Lovingkindness in its universality, in its speciality. Grace
b) Truth. Historic accuracy. Certainty of promises. Correctness
of prophecies. Assured of the love of God and the truth of his word, let us
cling the closer to these.
4. Reverence the honoured word. It is beyond all
revelation by creation and providence, for it is--
a) More clear.
b) More sure.
c) More sovereign.
d) More complete, unique.
e) More lasting.
f) More glorifying to God.
5. Prove it by experience.
a) By offering prayer.
b) By narrating the answer.
c) By exhibiting the strength in soul which was given in answer
Verse 2. The Christward position.
1. Worship and praise are to be blended.
2. They are to be presented with an eye to God in Christ, for
he is the temple: the place of divine indwelling, sacrifice, intercession,
priesthood, oracle, and manifestation.
Verse 2. (first clause). --
1. The soul's noblest attitude: "Toward thy temple."
2. The soul's noblest exercise: "worship," "praise."
1. The worshipper's contemplation. Gaze fixed on Holy
Temple. Material temple not yet built. Christ the sanctuary. Heb 8:2 All worship
through him. Eye of worshippers fixed on him.
2. The worshipper's song. Love and truth. Note the
combination. Truth by Moses. Grace and truth Jesus Christ.
3. The worshipper's argument. Because Christ "The Word"
is the embodiment and most glorious manifestation of God. Heb 1:2-3. --Archibald G. Brown.
1. Prayer answered in the day.
2. Prayer answered by giving strength for the day. See
1. Answers to prayer should be noted and acknowledged: "Thou
2. Speedy answers should have special praise: "In the when I
cried, thou", etc.
3. A strengthened soul is sometimes the best answer to prayer:
"Strengthened me with strength."
Verse 3. Remarkable answer to prayer.
1. The prayer: feeble, earnest, sorrowful, inarticulate.
2. The answer: prompt, divine, effectual, certain.
3. The praise deserved by such grace. See preceding verses.
1. A special day.
2. A specific form of prayer: "I cried."
3. A special method of response.
1. A royal audience.
2. A royal orchestra.
1. They who hear the words of God will know God.
2. They who know God will praise him, however exalted they may
be amongst men: "All the kings, "etc.
3. They who praise God will walk in his ways.
4. They who walk in the ways of the Lord will glorify him, and
he will be glorified in them.
Verse 5. See "Spurgeon's Sermons", No. 1615: "Singing in the
Ways of the Lord."
Verse 5. This is spoken of kings, but it is true of the
humblest pilgrims. The Lord hath respect unto the lowly, and will make them
1. They shall sing in the ways.
a) They take pleasure in them.
b) They do not go out of them to find pleasure.
c) They sing as they proceed in service, in worship, in
holiness, in suffering.
d) They are in a case for singing. They have strength, safety,
guidance, provision, comfort.
2. They sing of the ways of the Lord.
a) Of God's ways to them.
b) Of their way to God. They know whence they came out. They
know where they are going. It is a good road; prophets went by it, and the Lord
of the prophets. Therein we have good company, good accommodation, good
prospects, good daylight.
3. They sing of the Lord of the way. His loving
kindness. His truth. Answers to prayer. His condescension. His reviving us in
trouble. His delivering us. His perfecting us. His everlasting mercy.
4. They shall sing to the Lord of the way.
a) To his honour.
b) To the extending of that honour.
c) As a preparation to eternally honouring him.
Verse 6. Divine inversions.
1. Lowliness honoured to its great surprise.
2. Pride passed by to its eternal mortification.
Verse 7. (first clause).
1. The Psalmist's dismal excursion: walking "in the midst of
trouble"; this is not a spectator, but one assailed. Troubles--personal, social,
2. His cheering anticipation--of revival, defence, deliverance. --W.J.
1. Good men are sometimes in the midst of troubles: these are
many, and continue long.
2. They interfere not with their progress. They "walk in the
midst" of them; faint, yet pursuing; sometimes they "run with patience", etc.
3. They have comfort in them: "Though I walk", etc., "thou wilt
4. They are benefited by them.
a) Their enemies are overthrown.
b) Their deliverance is complete. --G.R.
Verse 7. The child of God often revived out of
trouble; more frequently in trouble; not seldom through trouble.
Delivered from, sustained in, sanctified through, trouble. --A.G.B.
Verse 7. An incident of the road to the city.
1. Pilgrims beset by thieves and struck down.
2. The arrival of Great heart and flight of the enemy.
3. The flask to the lips: "thou wilt revive me." Sweet
awakening to know the beauty of his face and strength of his hand! --W.B.H.
Verse 7. (third clause). Right hand salvation.
1. It shall be wrought of God.
2. He shall throw his strength into the deed.
3. His utmost dexterity shall be displayed.
Verse 8. (first clause).
1. A wide subject "That which concerneth me." Not necessarily
that which gives me concern.
2. A promise that covers it: "the Lord will perfect." --A.G.B.
Verse 8. (first and last clauses). Faith in divine
purpose no hindrance to prayer, but rather an encouragement in it: "The Lord
will perfect." "Forsake not." --A.G.B
Verse 8. See "Spurgeon's Sermons", Nos. 231 and 1506: "Faith
in Perfection", and, "Choice Comfort for a Young Believer."
Verse 8. The grace of God makes a man thoughtful, and leads
him to concern about himself, his life, his future, and the completeness of the
work of grace. This might lead us to sadness and despair, but the Lord worketh
in us for other ends.
1. He fills us with assurance.
a) That the Lord will work for us.
b) That he will complete his work.
c) That he will do this in providence; if it be properly a
concern of ours.
d) That he will do this within us. Our graces shall grow. Our
soul shall become Christly. Our whole nature perfect.
e) That he will do this with our work for him.
2. He gives us rest in his mercy.
a) Thou wilt forgive my sins.
b) Thou wilt bear with my nature.
c) Thou wilt support me in suffering.
d) Thou wilt supply me in need.
e) Thou wilt succour me in death.
3. He puts prayer into our hearts.
a) That he will not forsake me.
b) That he will not leave his own work in me undone.
c) Nor his work by me unfinished. Why did he begin? Why carry
so far? Why not complete?
1. Faith's full assurance: "The Lord will perfect that which
2. Faith's firm foundation: "Thy mercy, O Lord, endureth for
3. Faith's fervent prayer: "Forsake not the works of thine own