|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
119:113-120 Here is a dread of the risings of sin, and the first beginnings of it. The more we love the law of God, the more watchful we shall be, lest vain thoughts draw us from what we love. Would we make progress in keeping God's commands, we must be separate from evil-doers. The believer could not live without the grace of God; but, supported by his hand, his spiritual life shall be maintained. Our holy security is grounded on Divine supports. All departure from God's statutes is error, and will prove fatal. Their cunning is falsehood. There is a day coming which will put the wicked into everlasting fire, the fit place for the dross. See what comes of sin Surely we who fall so low in devout affections, should fear, lest a promise being left us of entering into heavenly rest, any of us should be found to come short of it, Heb 4:1.
Verse 113. - I hate vain thoughts; rather, unstable or double-minded men (Kay, Cheyne, Revised Version); i.e. "those who are undecided in religion" (Cheyne). But thy Law do I love (comp. vers. 97, 119, 127, 159, 163). There is nothing "unstable" or ',double-minded" in thy Law. It is clear direct, unmistakable.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
SAMECH.--The Fifteenth Part.
SAMECH. I hate vain thoughts,.... Or thoughts: evil thoughts are undoubtedly meant, no other can be the object of hatred to a good man; they are such as are contrary to the law of God, and forbidden by it, mentioned in the next clause as the object of love, in opposition to these; and which are abominable to God, and defiling to men; should be forsaken, need pardon; and, if not pardoned, will be brought into judgment, and there exposed, and men punished for them. There are multitudes of these rise up in the minds of men, not only bad men, but good men; even sometimes atheistical blasphemous thoughts, as well as proud, haughty, revengeful, lustful, impure, and worldly ones; which, when observed by a good man, give him great concern and uneasiness, and raise a holy indignation in him against them. The word is used for the "opinions" of men; the ambiguous, doubtful, wavering, and inconstant sentiments of the mind, 1 Kings 18:21, and is used of branches, or the tops of trees, waved with the wind to and fro: and may be applied to all heterodox opinions, human doctrines, damnable heresies; such as are inconsistent with the perfections of God, derogate from his grace, and from the person and offices of Christ; and are contrary to the word, and which are therefore rejected and abhorred by good men. The Targum is,
"I hate those who think vain thoughts;''
and so Jarchi and Aben Ezra interpret it of persons, thinkers, or devisers of evil things; and to this sense are the Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, and all the Oriental versions; and which is approved of by Gussetius (k); even free thinkers, such as devise things out of their own brains, and regard not the law, doctrine, or word of God;
but thy law do I love; which forbids and condemns such vain and wicked thoughts, and requires pure and Holy Ones. Or, "thy doctrine"; which comes from God, is concerning him, and reveals his mind and will, his grace and love, to men; the doctrine of Christ, concerning his person, office, and work; the doctrine of the Scriptures, which contain the whole Gospel of Christ, as well as the law of God; the doctrine according to godliness, and which is good, sound, and wholesome, and to be received in the love of it.
(k) Ebr. Comment. p. 564.
The Treasury of David
113 I hate vain thoughts; but thy law do Ilove.
114 Thou art my hiding place and my shield - I hope in thy word.
115 Depart from me, ye evildoers: for I will keep the commandments of my God.
116 Uphold me according unto thy word, that I may live: and let me not be ashamed of my hope.
117 Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe: and I will have respect unto thy statutes continually.
118 Thou hast trodden down all them that err from thy statutes: for their deceit is falsehood.
119 Thou puttest away all the wicked of the earth like dross: therefore I love thy testimonies.
120 My flesh trembleth for fear of thee; and I am afraid of thy judgments.
"I hate vain thoughts: but thy law do I love." In this paragraph the Psalmist deals with thoughts and things and persons which are the opposite of God's holy thoughts and ways. He is evidently in great fear of the powers of darkness, and of their allies, and his whole soul is stirred up to stand against them with a determined opposition. Just as he began the octave, Psalm 119:97, with "O how I love thy law," so here he begins with a declaration of hatred against that which breaks the law. The opposite of the fixed and infallible law of God is the wavering, changing opinion of men David had an utter contempt and abhorrence for this; all his reverence and regard went to the sure word of testimony. In proportion to his love to the law was his hate of men's inventions. The thoughts of men are vanity; but the thoughts of God are verity. We hear much in these days of "men of thought," "thoughtful preachers," and "modern thought": what is this but the old pride of the human heart? Vain man would be wise. The Psalmist did not glory in his thoughts; and that which was called "thought" in his day was a thing which be detested. When man thinks his best, his highest thoughts are as far below those of divine revelation as the earth is beneath the heavens. Some of our thoughts are specially vain in the sense of vain-glory, pride, conceit, and self-trust; others in the sense of bringing disappointment, such as fond ambition, sinful dreaming, and confidence in man; in the sense of emptiness and frivolity, such as the idle thoughts and vacant romancings in which so many indulge; and, yet once more, too many of our thoughts are vain in the sense of being sinful, evil, and foolish. The Psalmist is not indifferent to evil thoughts as the careless are; but upon them he looks with a hate as true as was the love with which he clung to the pure thoughts of God.
The last octave was practical, this is thoughtful; there the man of God attended to his feet, and here to his heart, the emotions of the soul are as important as the acts of the life, for they are the fountain and spring from which the actions proceed. When we love the law it becomes a law of love, and we cling to it with our whole heart.
"Thou art my hiding place and my shield." To his God he ran for shelter from vain thoughts; there he hid himself away from their tormenting intrusions, and in solemn silence of the soul he found God to be his hiding-place. When called into the world, if he could not be alone with God as his hiding-place, he could have the Lord with him as his shield, and by this means he could ward off the attacks of wicked suggestions. This is an experimental verse, and it testifies to that which the writer knew of his own personal knowledge: he could not fight with his own thoughts, or escape from them, till he flew to his God, and then he found deliverance. Observe that he does not speak of God's word as being his double defence, but he ascribes that to God himself. When we are beset by very spiritual assaults, such as those which arise out of vain thoughts, we shall do well to fly distinctly to the person of our Lord, and to cast ourselves upon his real presence. Happy is he who can truly say to the triune God, "Thou art my hiding-place." He has beheld God under that glorious covenant aspect which ensures to the beholder the surest consolation. "I hope in thy word." And well he might, since he had tried and proved it: he looked for protection from all danger, and preservation from all temptation to him who had hitherto been the tower of his defence on former occasions. It is easy to exercise hope where we have experienced help. Sometimes when gloomy thoughts afflict us, the only thing we can do is to hope, and, happily, the word of God always sets before us objects of hope and reasons for hope, so that it becomes the very sphere and support of hope, and thus tiresome thoughts are overcome. Amid fret and worry a hope of heaven is an effectual quietus.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
SAMECH. (Ps 119:113-120).
113. vain thoughts—better, "unstable persons," literally, "divided men," those of a divided, doubting mind (Jas 1:8); "a double-minded man" [Hengstenberg], skeptics, or, skeptical notions as opposed to the certainty of God's word.
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