Psalm 63:3
Because your loving kindness is better than life, my lips shall praise you.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(3) Because.—Such a sense of the blessedness of Divine favour—here in its peculiar sense of covenant favour—that it is better than life itself, calls for gratitude displayed all through life. “Love is the ever-springing fountain” from which all goodness proceeds, and a sense of it is even more than the happy sense of being alive. The following lines convey in a modern dress the feeling of this part of the psalm:—

“So gazing up in my youth at love,

As seen through power, ever above

All modes which make it manifest,

My soul brought all to a single test—

That He, the Eternal, First and Last,

Who in His power had so surpassed

All man conceives of what is might,

Whose wisdom too showed infinite—

Would prove as infinitely good.”

R. BROWNING: Christmas Eve.

Thusi.e., in the spirit in which he now speaks. For the attitude of the uplifted hands, see Note, Psalm 28:2.

Psalm 63:3. Because, &c. — Here we see the reason of the psalmist’s thirst after God, as is expressed in the two preceding verses; thy loving-kindness is better than life — That is, the discoveries and influences of thy grace and favour, which thou usually impartest to thy people in thy sanctuary, are more durable, and comfortable, and satisfactory than the present life, with all the imaginary advantages belonging to it. Mark well this declaration of the psalmist, reader. God’s loving-kindness is in itself, and in the account of all the saints, better than life, and all the comforts of life; life in its best estate; long life and prosperity. It is our spiritual and eternal life, and that is better than our natural and temporal life. It is better, a thousand times, to die in God’s favour, than to live under his wrath, under which we should of course be if we were deprived of his loving-kindness. My lips shall praise thee — Both for my former tastes and experiences of this truth, which I have just expressed, and for the assurance I have of being restored to the same blessed enjoyments which I have formerly had. Observe again, reader, those that have their hearts refreshed with the tokens of God’s favour, ought to have them enlarged in his praises. Great reason indeed have such to bless God, for they have better provisions and better possessions than the wealth of this world could afford them; and in the service of God, and in communion with him, have better employments and better enjoyments than they could have in the business and converse of this life.63:3-6 Even in affliction we need not want matter for praise. When this is the regular frame of a believer's mind, he values the loving-kindness of God more than life. God's loving-kindness is our spiritual life, and that is better than temporal life. We must praise God with joyful lips; we must address ourselves to the duties of religion with cheerfulness, and speak forth the praises of God from a principle of holy joy. Praising lips must be joyful lips. David was in continual danger; care and fear held his eyes waking, and gave him wearisome nights; but he comforted himself with thoughts of God. The mercies of God, when called to mind in the night watches, support the soul, making darkness cheerful. How happy will be that last morning, when the believer, awaking up after the Divine likeness, shall be satisfied with all the fulness of God, and praise him with joyful lips, where there is no night, and where sorrow and sighing flee away!Because thy loving-kindness is better than life - Thy favor; thy mercy. This is of more value than life; more to be desired than life. Life is the most valued and valuable thing pertaining to this world which we can possess. See the notes at Job 2:4. But, above this, David valued the favor and friendship of God. If one or the other was to be sacrificed, he preferred that it should be his life; he would be willing to exchange that for the favor of God. Life was not desirable, life furnished no comforts - no joys - without the divine favor.

"My life itself, without Thy love,

No taste of pleasure could afford;

'Twould but a tiresome burden prove,

If I were banished from the Lord."

My lips shall praise thee - That is either

(a) because of this loving-kindness; because I have this trust in thy character; or

(b) because thou wilt restore me to the place of public worship, and I shall be permitted again to praise thee.

Probably the latter is the true idea.

3. Experiencing God's mercy, which exceeds all the blessings of life, his lips will be opened for his praise (Ps 51:15). This is the reason of the foregoing thirst after God.

Thy loving-kindness, i.e. the discoveries and influences of thy grace and favour, which thou usually impartest to thy people in the sanctuary.

Is better than life; is more durable, and comfortable, and satisfactory than the present life, with all imaginable advantages belonging to it.

My lips shall praise thee, both for my former taste and experiences of this truth, and for the assurance of my restitution to the same blessed enjoyments. Because thy lovingkindness is better than life,.... For life without the love of God is nothing else than death: a man that has no share in the love of God is dead while he lives; all the enjoyments of life, health, riches, honour, friends, &c. are nothing without the love of God; the meanest temporal blessings with it are preferable to the greatest without it, Proverbs 15:17; it lasts longer than life, and therefore must be better than that; death cannot separate from it; it continues to all eternity. And that the saints prefer it to this natural life appears by their readiness to lay it down for the sake of Christ and his Gospel, in which the lovingkindness of God is so richly manifested unto them; to which may be added, that it is the love of God which gives to his people spiritual life, and which issues in eternal life, and therefore must be better than a temporal one. The Targum is,

"for better is thy kindness, which thou wilt do for the righteous in the world to come, than the life which thou givest the wicked in this world;''

my lips shall praise thee; that is, for thy lovingkindness, and because it is better than life, and any enjoyment of it.

Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
3. Because thy lovingkindness &c.] R.V. renders, For thy lovingkindness &c., a further reason for the longing of Psalm 63:1. But it is best to retain the rendering of the A.V. He has waited to see God’s power and glory, yet after all it is the lovingkindness of which he has personal experience that tunes his lips to praise. When Moses desired to see God’s glory, he was granted a revelation of His goodness (Exodus 33:18 ff). It is better than life, than that which men count most precious, for without it life would be a desert. His life was threatened, but the danger fades out of sight in the consciousness of God’s love. Note the connexion of God’s strength and lovingkindness (Psalm 63:2-3), as in Psalm 62:11-12.

shall praise thee] Shall laud thee, a different word from that in Psalm 63:5. The word is supposed to be a proof of the late date of the Psalm, as it is an Aramaic word, and is found elsewhere only in the later parts of the O.T. But it is precarious to argue from a single word, when the remains of Heb. literature are so comparatively scanty.

3–5. The joy of grateful praise.Verse 3. - Because thy loving kindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee. The complete resignation of the psalmist, his sense of God's "loving kindness," and his desire to "praise," not to complain, are, under the circumstances, most wonderful, most admirable, and furnish a pattern to the Church in all ages. Just as all men with everything earthly upon which they rely are perishable, so also the purely earthly form which the new kingship has assumed carries within itself the germ of ruin; and God will decide as Judge, between the dethroned and the usurpers, in accordance with the relationship in which they stand to Him. This is the internal connection of the third group with the two preceding ones. By means of the strophe vv. 10-13, our Psalm is brought into the closest reciprocal relationship with Psalm 39:1-13. Concerning בּני־אדם and בּני־אישׁ vid., on Psalm 49:3; Psalm 4:3. The accentuation divides Psalm 62:10 quite correctly. The Athnach does not mark בּמאזנים לעלות as an independent clause: they are upon the balance לעלות, for a going up; they must rise, so light are they (Hengstenberg). Certainly this expression of the periphrastic future is possible (vid., on Psalm 25:14; Psalm 1:1-6 :17), still we feel the want here of the subject, which cannot be dispensed within the clause as an independent one. Since, however, the combining of the words with what follows is forbidden by the fact that the infinitive with ל in the sense of the ablat. gerund. always comes after the principal clause, not before it (Ew. 280, d), we interpret: upon the balances ad ascendendum equals certo ascensuri, and in fact so that this is an attributive that is co-ordinate with כּזב. Is the clause following now meant to affirm that men, one and all, belong to nothingness or vanity (מן partitivum), or that they are less than nothing (מן comparat.)? Umbreit, Stier, and others explain Isaiah 40:17 also in the latter way; but parallels like Isaiah 41:24 do not favour this rendering, and such as Isaiah 44:11 are opposed to it. So also here the meaning is not that men stand under the category of that which is worthless or vain, but that they belong to the domain of the worthless or vain.

The warning in Psalm 62:11 does not refer to the Absalomites, but, pointing to these as furnishing a salutary example, to those who, at the sight of the prosperous condition and joyous life on that side, might perhaps be seized with envy and covetousness. Beside בּטח בּ the meaning of הבל בּ is nevertheless not: to set in vain hope upon anything (for the idea of hoping does not exist in this verb in itself, Job 27:12; Jeremiah 2:5, nor in this construction of the verb), but: to be befooled, blinded by something vain (Hitzig). Just as they are not to suffer their heart to be befooled by their own unjust acquisition, so also are they not, when the property of others increases (נוּב, root נב, to raise one's self, to mount up; cf. Arabic nabata, to sprout up, grow; nabara, to raise; intransitive, to increase, and many other verbal stems), to turn their heart towards it, as though it were something great and fortunate, that merited special attention and commanded respect. Two great truths are divinely attested to the poet. It is not to be rendered: once hath God spoken, now twice (Job 40:5; 2 Kings 6:10) have I heard this; but after Psalm 89:36 : One thing hath God spoken, two things (it is) that I have heard; or in accordance with the interpunction, which here, as in Psalm 12:8 (cf. on Psalm 9:16), is not to be called in question: these two things have I heard. Two divine utterances actually do follow. The two great truths are: (1) that God has the power over everything earthly, that consequently nothing takes place without Him, and that whatever is opposed to Him must sooner or later succumb; (2) that of this very God, the sovereign Lord (אדני), is mercy also, the energy of which is measured by His omnipotence, and which does not suffer him to succumb upon whom it is bestowed. With כּי the poet establishes these two revealed maxims which God has impressed upon his mind, from His righteous government as displayed in the history of men. He recompenses each one in accordance with his doing, κατὰ τὰ ἔργα αὐτοῦ, as Paul confesses (Romans 2:6) no less than David, and even (vid., lxx) in the words of David. It shall be recompensed unto every man according to his conduct, which is the issue of his relationship to God. He who rises in opposition to the will and order of God, shall feel God's power (עז) as a power for punishment that dashes in pieces; and he who, anxious for salvation, resigns his own will to the will of God, receives from God's mercy or loving-kindness (חסד), as from an overflowing fulness, the promised reward of faithfulness: his resignation becomes experience, and his hoping attainment.

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