|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
116:1-9 We have many reasons for loving the Lord, but are most affected by his loving-kindness when relieved out of deep distress. When a poor sinner is awakened to a sense of his state, and fears that he must soon sink under the just wrath of God, then he finds trouble and sorrow. But let all such call upon the Lord to deliver their souls, and they will find him gracious and true to his promise. Neither ignorance nor guilt will hinder their salvation, when they put their trust in the Lord. Let us all speak of God as we have found him; and have we ever found him otherwise than just and good? It is of his mercies that we are not consumed. Let those who labour and are heavy laden come to him, that they may find rest to their souls; and if at all drawn from their rest, let them haste to return, remembering how bountifully the Lord has dealt with them. We should deem ourselves bound to walk as in his presence. It is a great mercy to be kept from being swallowed up with over-much sorrow. It is a great mercy for God to hold us by the right hand, so that we are not overcome and overthrown by a temptation. But when we enter the heavenly rest, deliverance from sin and sorrow will be complete; we shall behold the glory of the Lord, and walk in his presence with delight we cannot now conceive.
Verses 1, 2. - An introduction, in which the writer declares his love to God, and his resolution to call on him continually, on ac count of his having been delivered from an imminent peril. Verse 1. - I love the Lord, because he hath heard; literally, I love, because the Lord (Jehovah) hath heard. The object of this love is not expressed, but can only be Jehovah. Still, the grammatical construction is unusual, and has caused the suggestion of an emendation. For אהבתי Professor Cheyne would read האמנתי as at the beginning of ver. 10. My voice and my supplications; literally, my voice, my supplications - the latter expression being exegetical of the former.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
I love the Lord,.... As the Messiah, David's antitype, did; of which he gave the fullest proof by his obedience to his will; and as David, the man after God's own heart, did, and as every good man does; and the Lord is to be loved for the perfections of his nature, and especially as they are displayed in Christ, and salvation by him; and for his works of creation, providence, and grace, and particularly for his great love shown in redemption, regeneration, and other blessings of grace, as well as for what follows.
Because he hath heard my voice and my supplication; in the original text the words lie thus, "I love, because the Lord hath heard", or "will hear"; and so read the Septuagint and Vulgate Latin, Ethiopic, Syriac, and Arabic versions, and so the Targum; and may be rendered, "I love that the Lord should hear me", so the Syriac and Arabic versions; nothing is more desirable and grateful to good men than that the Lord should hear them; but Kimchi and others transpose the words as we do, which gives a reason why he loved the Lord; because he heard his prayers, which were vocal, put up in a time of distress, in an humble and submissive manner, under the influence of the Spirit of grace and supplication, in the name of Christ, for his righteousness sake, and through his mediation; and such supplications are heard and answered by the Lord, sooner or later; and which engages the love of his people to him; see Psalm 34:1. It may be applied to Christ, who offered up prayers and supplications, with strong crying and tears, and was always heard; and for which he thanked his Father and loved him, Hebrews 5:7.
The Treasury of David
1 I love the Lord, because he hath heard my voice and my supplications.
2 Because he hath inclined his ear unto me, therefore will I call upon him as long as Ilive.
3 The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell gat hold upon me: I found trouble and sorrow.
4 Then called I upon the name of the Lord; O Lord, I beseech thee, deliver my soul.
5 Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; yea, our God is merciful.
6 The Lord preserveth the simple: I was brought low, and he helped me.
7 Return unto thy rest, O my soul; for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee.
8 For thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling.
"I love the Lord." A blessed declaration: every believer ought to be able to declare without the slightest hesitation, "I love the Lord." It was required under the law, but was never produced in the heart of man except by the grace of God, and upon gospel principles. It is a great thing to say "I love the Lord" : for the sweetest of all graces and the surest of all evidences of salvation is love. It is great goodness on the part of God that he condescends to be loved by such poor creatures as we are, and it is a sure proof that he has been at work in our heart when we can say, "Thou knowest all things, thou knowest that I love thee." "Because he hath heard my voice and my supplications." The Psalmist not only knows that he loves God, but he knows why he does so. When love can justify itself with a reason, it is deep, strong, and abiding. They say that love is blind; but when we love God our affection has its eyes open and can sustain itself with the most rigid logic. We have reason, superabundant reason, for loving the Lord; and so because in this case principle and passion, reason and emotion go together, they make up an admirable state of mind. David's reason for his love was the love of God in hearing his prayers. The Psalmist had used his "voice" in prayer, and the habit of doing so is exceedingly helpful to devotion. If we can pray aloud without being overheard it is well to do so. Sometimes, however, when the Psalmist had lifted up his voice, his utterance had been so broken and painful that he scarcely dared to call it prayer; words failed him, he could only produce a groaning sound, but the Lord heard his moaning voice. At other times his prayers were more regular and better formed' these he calls "supplications." David had praised as best he could, and when one form of devotion failed him he tried another. He had gone to the Lord again and again, hence he uses the plural and says "my supplications," but as often as he had gone, so often had he been welcome. Jehovah had heard, that is to say, accepted, and answered both his broken cries and his more composed and orderly supplications; hence he loved God with all his heart. Answered prayers are silken bonds which bind our hearts to God. When a man's prayers are answered, love is the natural result. According to Alexander, both verbs may be translated in the present, and the text may run thus, "I love because Jehovah hears my voice, my supplications." This also is true in the case of every pleading believer. Continual love flows out of daily answers to prayer.
"Because he hath inclined his ear unto me" : - bowing down from his grandeur to attend to my prayer; the figure seems to be that of a tender physician or loving friend leaning over a sick man whose voice is faint and scarcely audible, so as to catch every accent and whisper. When our prayer is very feeble, so that we ourselves can scarcely hear it, and question whether we do pray or not, yet God bows a listening ear, and regards our supplications. "Therefore will I call upon him as long as I live," or, "in my days." Throughout all the days of my life I will address my prayer to God alone, and to him I will unceasingly pray. It is always wise to go where we are welcome and are well treated. The word "call" may imply praise as well as prayer: calling upon the name of the Lord is an expressive name for adoration of all kinds. When prayer is heard in our feebleness, and answered in the strength and greatness of God, we are strengthened in the habit of prayer, and confirmed in the resolve to make ceaseless intercession. We should not thank a beggar who informed us that because we had granted his request he would never cease to beg of us, and yet doubtless it is acceptable to God that his petitioners should form the resolution to continue in prayer: this shows the greatness of his goodness, and the abundance of his patience. In all days let us pray and praise the Ancient of days. He promises that as our days our strength shall be; let us resolve that as our days our devotion shall be.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Ps 116:1-19. The writer celebrates the deliverance from extreme perils by which he was favored, and pledges grateful and pious public acknowledgments.
1, 2. A truly grateful love will be evinced by acts of worship, which calling on God expresses (Ps 116:13; Ps 55:16; 86:7; compare Ps 17:6; 31:2).
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