|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
119:153-160 The closer we cleave to the word of God, both as our rule and as our stay, the more assurance we have of deliverance. Christ is the Advocate of his people, their Redeemer. Those who were quickened by his Spirit and grace, when they were dead in trespasses and sins, often need to have the work of grace revived in them, according to the word of promise. The wicked not only do not God's statutes, but they do not even seek them. They flatter themselves that they are going to heaven; but the longer they persist in sin, the further it is from them. God's mercies are tender; they are a fountain that can never be exhausted. The psalmist begs for God's reviving, quickening grace. A man, steady in the way of his duty, though he may have many enemies, needs to fear none. Those that hate sin truly, hate it as sin, as a transgression of the law of God, and a breaking of his word. Our obedience is only pleasing to God, and pleasant to ourselves, when it comes from a principle of love. All, in every age, who receive God's word in faith and love, find every saying in it faithful.
Verse 153. - Consider mine affliction (see above, vers. 50, 67, 71, 75, 92, etc.). And deliver me. The "affliction" intended is that which the psalmist suffers at the hands of his enemies, who "reproach" him (ver. 22), "deride" him (ver. 51), and otherwise "persecute" him (ver. 161). For I do not forget thy Law (comp. vers. 16, 83, 93, 109, 141, 176).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
RESH.--The Twentieth Part.
RESH. Consider mine affliction, and deliver me,.... Or, "look upon mine affliction" (e); as in Psalm 25:18. The Lord seems as if he did not, when he does not grant his gracious presence to his people; or does not arise to the help and deliverance of them so soon as they desire and expect: but he always sees and beholds their afflictions; he cannot do otherwise, since he is the omniscient God; and not only so, but he is the author, appointer, and orderer of them; yea, he looks upon them with an eye of pity and compassion, which is what is here prayed for: he sympathizes with his people in all their afflictions, supports them under them, pays kind visits to them, sanctifies his hand, and in his own time delivers them out of all; which none else can but himself, and he has power to do it, and has promised it, and does perform: see Psalm 50:15;
for I do not forget thy law: the precepts of it; to observe it as a rule of walk and conversation, as a lamp to the feet, and a light to the path, as a directory of the good and perfect will of God: or, "thy doctrine"; the doctrine of the word, the precious truths of it, which were his support under afflictions; and when either of them have a place in the heart, and are written there, they cannot easily be forgotten. This the psalmist mentions, not as if his not forgetting the law or doctrine of God was meritorious of deliverance from affliction, but as a descriptive character of such the Lord does deliver.
(e) "vide", Pagninus, Montanus, Musculus, Cocceius; "intuere", Gejerus.
The Treasury of David
153 Consider mine affliction, and deliver me, for I do not forget thy law.
154 Plead my cause, and deliver me: quicken me according to thy word.
155 Salvation is far from the wicked: for they seek not thy statutes.
156 Great are thy tender mercies, O Lord: quicken me according to thy judgments.
157 Many are my persecutors and mine enemies; yet do I not decline from thy testimonies.
158 I beheld the transgressors, and was grieved; because they kept not thy word.
159 Consider how I love thy precepts: quicken me, O Lord, according to thy lovingkindness.
160 Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.
In this section the Psalmist seems to draw still nearer to God in prayer, and to state his case and to invoke the divine help with more of boldness and expectation. It is a pleading passage, and the key-word of it is, "Consider." With much boldness he pleads his intimate union with the Lord's cause as a reason why he should be aided. The special aid that he seeks is personal quickening, for which he cries to the Lord again and again.
"Consider mine affliction, and deliver me." The writer has a good case, though it be a grievous one, and he is ready, yea anxious, to submit it to the divine arbitration. His matters are right, and he is ready to lay them before the supreme Court. His manner is that of one who feels safe at the throne. Yet there is no impatience: he does not ask for hasty action, but for consideration. In effect he cries - "Look into my grief, and see whether I do not need to be delivered. From my sorrowful condition judge as to the proper method and time for my rescue." The Psalmist desires two things, and these two things blended: first, a full consideration of his sorrow; secondly, deliverance; and, then, that this deliverance should come with a consideration of his affliction. It should be the desire of every gracious man who is in adversity that the Lord should look upon his need, and relieve it in such a way as shall be most for the divine glory, and for his own benefit. The words, "mine affliction," are picturesque; they seem to portion off a special spot of woe as the writer's own inheritance: he possesses it as no one else had ever done, and he begs the Lord to have that special spot under his eye: even as a husbandman looking over all his fields may yet take double care of a certain selected plot. His prayer is eminently practical, for he seeks to be delivered; that is, brought out of the trouble and preserved from sustaining any serious damage by it. For God to consider is to act in due season, men consider and do nothing; but such is never the case with out God. "For I do not forget thy law." His affliction was not sufficient, with all its bitterness, to drive out of his mind the memory of God's law; nor could it lead him to act contrary to the divine command. He forgot prosperity, but he did not forget obedience. This is a good plea when it can be honestly urged, if we are kept faithful to God's law we may be sure that God will remain faithful to his promise. If we do not forget his law the Lord will not forget us. He will not long leave that man in trouble whose only fear in trouble is lest he should leave the way of right.
"Plead my cause, and deliver me." In Psalm 119:153 he had prayed, "Deliver me," and here he specifies one method in which that deliverance might be vouchsafed, namely, by the advocacy of his cause. In providence the Lord has many ways of clearing the slandered of the accusations brought against them. He can make it manifest to all that they have been belied, and in this way he can practically plead their cause. He can, moreover, raise up friends for the godly who will leave no stone unturned till their characters are cleared; or he can smite their enemies with such fearfulness of heart that they will be forced to confess their falsehood, and thus the righteous will be delivered without the striking of a blow. Alexander reads it, "Strive my strife, and redeem me" - that is, stand in my stead, bear my burden, fight my fight, pay my price, and bring me out to liberty. When we feel ourselves dumb before the foe, here is a prayer made to our hand. What a comfort that if we sin we have an advocate, and if we do not sin the same pleader is engaged on our side. "Quicken me." We had this prayer in the last section, and we shall have it again and again in this. It is a desire which cannot be too often felt and expressed. As the soul is the centre of everything, so to be quickened is the central blessing. It means more love, more grace, more faith, more courage, more strength, and if we get these we can hold up our heads before our adversaries. God alone can give this quickening; but to the Lord and giver of life the work is easy enough, and he delights to perform it. "According to thy word." David had found such a blessing among the promised things, or at least he perceived that it was according to the general tenor of God's word that tried believers should be quickened and brought up again from the dust of the earth; therefore he pleads the word, and desires the Lord to act to him according to the usual run of that word. What a mighty plea is this - '"according to thy word." No gun in all our arsenals can match it.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
RESH. (Ps 119:153-160).
153-155. Though the remembering of God's law is not meritorious, yet it evinces a filial temper and provides the pious with promises to plead, while the wicked in neglecting His law, reject God and despise His promises (compare Ps 9:13; 43:1; 69:18).
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