|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
107:33-43 What surprising changes are often made in the affairs of men! Let the present desolate state of Judea, and of other countries, explain this. If we look abroad in the world, we see many greatly increase, whose beginning was small. We see many who have thus suddenly risen, as suddenly brought to nothing. Worldly wealth is uncertain; often those who are filled with it, ere they are aware, lose it again. God has many ways of making men poor. The righteous shall rejoice. It shall fully convince all those who deny the Divine Providence. When sinners see how justly God takes away the gifts they have abused, they will not have a word to say. It is of great use to us to be fully assured of God's goodness, and duly affected with it. It is our wisdom to mind our duty, and to refer our comfort to him. A truly wise person will treasure in his heart this delightful psalm. From it, he will fully understand the weakness and wretchedness of man, and the power and loving-kindness of God, not for our merit, but for his mercy's sake.
Verses 33-42. - Professor Cheyne finds in this passage - which he views as an "appendix" to the psalm - a falling off from the earlier portion of the psalm, and a set of "sentences strung together without much reflection." But to others the transition from special deliverances to God's general dealings with mankind seems an enlargement and an advance in the thought, although the language may be less graphic and more commonplace than in the former portion of the composition. Verse 33. - He turneth rivers into a wilderness. God can, and does, by the operation of his providence, turn lands naturally fertile - lands abounding with streams - into arid wastes, either by such a physical catastrophe as that which blasted the cities of the plain (Genesis 19:24, 25), or by such moral changes as have turned Babylonia from a garden into a desert, a miserable howling wilderness (comp. Isaiah 13:15-22; Isaiah 50:2; Jeremiah 50:13-15, 38-40; Jeremiah 51:13, 37-43, etc.). And the water springs into dry ground. The phrase is varied, but the meaning is the same. God has full control over nature, and can either take back his blessings, or render them of no avail.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
He turneth rivers into a wilderness,.... A country abounding with rivers, as the country round about Sodom and the land of Canaan were, Genesis 13:10. Such an one is sometimes, by the just judgment of God, turned into a desert.
And the water springs into dry ground: what was like a well watered garden becomes like dry and barren earth, on which nothing grows.
The Treasury of David
33 He turneth rivers into a wilderness, and the watersprings into dry ground;
34 A fruitful land into barrenness, for the wickedness of them that dwell therein.
35 He turneth the wilderness into a standing water, and dry ground into watersprings.
36 And there he maketh the hungry to dwell, that they may prepare a city for habitation;
37 And sow the fields, and plant vineyards, which may yield fruits of increase.
38 He blesseth them also, so that they are multiplied greatly and suffereth not their cattle to decrease.
39 Again, they are minished and brought low through oppression, affliction, and sorrow.
40 He poureth contempt upon princes, and causeth them to wander in the wilderness, where there is no way.
41 Yet setteth he the poor on high from affliction, and maketh him families like a flock.
42 The righteous shall see it, and rejoice; and all iniquity shall stop her mouth.
"He turneth rivers into a wilderness, and the watersprings into dry ground." When the Lord deals with rebellious men he can soon deprive them of those blessings of which they feel most assured, their rivers and perennial springs they look upon as certain never to be taken from them, but the Lord at a word can deprive them even of these. In hot climates after long droughts streams of water utterly fail, and even springs cease to flow, and this also has happened in other parts of the world when great convulsions of the earth's surface have occurred. In providence this physical catastrophe finds its counterpart when business ceases to yield profit and sources of wealth are made to fail; as also when health and strength are taken away, when friendly aids are withdrawn, and comfortable associations are broken up. So, too, in soul matters, the most prosperous ministries may become dry, the most delightful meditations cease to benefit us, and the most fruitful religious exercises grow void of the refreshment of grace which they formerly yielded. Since
"'Tis God who lifts our comforts high,
Or sinks them in the grave,"
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
33-41. He turneth rivers into a wilderness, &c.—God's providence is illustriously displayed in His influence on two great elements of human prosperity, the earth's productiveness and the powers of government. He punishes the wicked by destroying the sources of fertility, or, in mercy, gives fruitfulness to deserts, which become the homes of a busy and successful agricultural population. By a permitted misrule and tyranny, this scene of prosperity is changed to one of adversity. He rules rulers, setting up one and putting down another.
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