|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
119:25-32 While the souls of the children of this world cleave to the earth as their portion, the children of light are greatly burdened, because of the remains of carnal affections in their hearts. It is unspeakable comfort to a gracious soul, to think with what tenderness all its complaints are received by a gracious God. We can talk of the wonders of redeeming love, when we understand the way of God's precepts, and walk in that way. The penitent melts in sorrow for sin: even the patient spirit may melt in the sense of affliction, it is then its interest to pour out its soul before God. The way of lying means all false ways by which men deceive themselves and others, or are deceived by Satan and his instruments. Those who know and love the law of the Lord, desire to know it more, and love it better. The way of serious godliness is the way of truth; the only true way to happiness: we must always have actual regard to it. Those who stick to the word of God, may in faith expect and pray for acceptance with God. Lord, never leave me to do that by which I shall shame myself, and do not thou reject my services. Those that are going to heaven, should still press forward. God, by his Spirit, enlarges the hearts of his people when he gives them wisdom. The believer prays to be set free from sin.
Verse 25. - My soul cleaveth unto the dust. My soul is greatly depressed - lies, as it were, in the dust of death (comp. Psalm 44:25). Quicken thou me according to thy Word. Raise me up to life and health and vigor.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
DALETH.--The Fourth Part.
DALETH. My soul cleaveth unto the dust,.... Either to the dust of death, having the sentence of it; being almost in despair of life, upon the brink of the grave seemingly, and free among the dead: or in a very low estate of mind, in great dejection and humiliation, rolling himself in the dust, and putting his mouth in it; if there might be any hope of deliverance; but despairing of it, unless the Lord appeared; or finding a proneness in him to the corruption of nature, the body of sin and death, which was very powerful and prevalent, ensnaring and captivating; and particularly to worldly things, comparable to dust, for their lightness, emptiness, and unprofitableness; which often have an undue influence on good men, and to which their affections are too much glued; and which greatly affect the exercise of grace and religious duties, and bring a deadness upon the soul, and make the following: petition necessary:
quicken thou me according to thy word; such who are quickened together with Christ, and who are quickened by his Spirit and grace, when they were dead in trespasses and sins, have often need to be quickened again, and to have the work of grace revived in them; which is done when grace is drawn forth into lively exercise, and which is necessary to the performance of duty; and this is done both by means of the word of God, which, as it is used for the quickening dead sinners, so for the reviving of drooping saints; see Psalm 119:50. And according to his word of promise, who has promised never to leave his people, nor forsake the work of his hand, but perform it until the day of Christ; Jarchi and Kimchi think reference is had to the promise in 2 Samuel 12:13; and Aben Ezra to Deuteronomy 32:39.
The Treasury of David
25 My soul cleaveth unto the dust: quicken thou me according to thy word.
26 I have declared my ways, and thou heardest me: teach me thy statutes.
27 Make me to understand the way of thy precepts: so shall I talk of thy wondrous works.
28 My soul melteth for heaviness: strengthen thou me according unto thy word.
29 Remove from me the way of lying: and grant me thy law graciously.
30 I have chosen the way of truth: thy judgments have I laid before me.
31 I have stuck unto thy testimonies: O Lord, put me not to shame.
32 I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart.
Here, it seems to me, we have the Psalmist in trouble bewailing the bondage to earthly things in which he finds his mind to be held. His soul cleaves to the dust, melts for heaviness, and cries for enlargement from its spiritual prison. In these verses we shall see the influence of the divine word upon a heart which laments its downward tendencies, and is filled with mourning because of its deadening surroundings. The word of the Lord evidently arouses prayer (Psalm 119:25-29), confirms choice (Psalm 119:30), and inspires renewed resolve (Psalm 119:32): it is in all tribulation whether of body or mind the surest source of help.
This portion has D for its alphabetical letter: it sings of Depression, in the spirit of Devotion, Determination, and Dependence.
"My soul cleaveth unto the dust." He means in part that he was full of sorrow; for mourners in the east cast dust on their heads, and sat in ashes, and the Psalmist felt as if these ensigns of woe were glued to him, and his very soul was made to cleave to them because of his powerlessness to rise above his grief. Does he not also mean that he felt ready to die? Did he not feel his life absorbed and fast held by the grave's mould, half choked by the death-dust? It may not be straining the language if we conceive that he also felt and bemoaned his earthly-mindedness and spiritual deadness. There was a tendency in his soul to cling to earth which he greatly bewailed. Whatever was the cause of his complaint, it was no surface evil, but an affair of his inmost spirit; his soul cleaved to the dust; and it was not a casual and accidental falling into the dust, but a continuous and powerful tendency, or cleaving to the earth. But what a mercy that the good man could feel and deplore whatever there was of evil in the cleaving! The serpent's seed can find their meat in the dust, but never shall the seed of the woman be thus degraded. Many are of the earth earthy, and never lament it; only the heaven-born and heaven-soaring spirit pines at the thought of being fastened to this world, and bird-limed by its sorrows or its pleasures.
"Quicken thou me according to thy word." More life is the cure for all our ailments. Only the Lord can give it. He can bestow it, bestow it at once, and do it according to his word, without departing from the usual course of his grace, as we see it mapped out in the Scriptures. It is well to know what to pray for, - David seeks quickening: one would have thought that he would have asked for comfort or upraising, but he knew that these would come out of increased life, and therefore he sought that blessing which is the root of the rest. When a person is depressed in spirit, weak, and bent towards the ground, the main thing is to increase his stamina and put more life into him: then his spirit revives, and his body becomes erect. In reviving the life, the whole man is renewed. Shaking off the dust is a little thing by itself, but when it follows upon quickening, it is a blessing of the greatest value; just as good spirits which flow from established health are among the choicest of our mercies. The phrase, "according to thy word," means. - according to thy revealed way of quickening thy saints. The word of God shows us that he who first made us must keep us alive, and it tells us of the Spirit of God who through the ordinances pours fresh life into our souls; we beg the Lord to act towards us in this his own regular method of grace. Perhaps David remembered the word of the Lord in Deuteronomy 32:39, where Jehovah claims both to kill and to make alive, and he beseeches the Lord to exercise that life-giving power upon his almost expiring servant. Certainly, the man of God had not so many rich promises to rest upon as we have, but even a single word was enough for him, and he right earnestly urges "according to thy word." It is a grand thing to see a believer in the dust and yet pleading the promise, a man at the grave's mouth crying, "quicken me," and hoping that it shall be done.
Note how his Psalm 119:25 tallies with the first of the third (Psalm 119:17). - "That I may live:"..."Quicken me." While in a happy state he begs for bountiful dealing, and when in a forlorn condition he prays for quickening. Life is in both cases the object of pursuit' that he may have life, and have it more abundantly.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
DALETH. (Ps 119:25-32).
25-27. Submitting ourselves in depression to God, He will revive us by His promises, and lead us to declare His mercy to others.
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