|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
136:23-26 God's everlasting mercy is here praised for the redemption of his church; in all his glories, and all his gifts. Blessed be God, who has provided and made known to us salvation through his Son. May we know and feel his redeeming power, that we may serve him in righteousness all our days. May He who giveth food to all flesh, feed our souls unto eternal life, and enliven our affections by his grace, that we may give thanks and praise to his holy name, for his mercy endureth for ever. Let us trace up all the favours we receive to this true source, and offer praise continually.
Verse 23. - Who remembered us in our low estate. When we were brought low. The time meant is probably that of the Babylonian captivity, which is the subject of the next psalm. For his mercy, etc.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Who remembered us in our low estate,.... The Israelites; either in Egypt, as Jarchi, when in bondage and distress there, and sent them a deliverer; or in the times of the Judges, whom God raised up one after another, to save his people out of the hands of their enemies, by whom they were oppressed; or in the Babylonian captivity, as Aben Ezra and Kimchi: though the latter thinks their present captivity is rather intended; but as yet they are not remembered in a gracious way and manner. This may be applied to the people of God in a spiritual sense; who, before conversion, are in a low estate through sin, which has brought them into deep poverty, into debt they are not able to discharge, but are liable to a prison; it has stripped them of their original righteousness, instead of which at best they are clothed with filthy rags; it has left them, starving and famishing, to feed on ashes, sensual lusts and pleasures; it has brought them to a dunghill, from whence they are taken as beggars; yea, to a ditch, a pit wherein is in no water; even an horrible pit, the mire and clay of corrupt nature. Man, that was lord of all, is by sin reduced to the utmost slavery to it, and to Satan; and is in the greatest distress and misery; filled with diseases, loathsome and incurable by him; quite lost and undone, helpless, and hopeless, and under the sentence of condemnation and death: but the Lord has remembered his chosen people, and provided a Saviour for them; who has paid all their debts; brought in an everlasting righteousness to clothe them; given his flesh for the life of them; healed all their diseases; delivered them from thraldom and bondage; saved them from condemnation and death, and raised them to sit in heavenly places with him: and not only so, but he sends down his Spirit to convince and convert them, renew and sanctify them; to bring them from death to life; out of darkness into marvellous light; from bondage to liberty; from fellowship with wicked men, into communion with Christ and his people; and to make them meet for heaven and happiness. These are sometimes in a low estate after conversion; when corruptions prevail, and the temptations of Satan are strong; when grace is weak; or God hides his face; or they are grown carnal and secure, lukewarm and indifferent to spiritual things; yet the Lord remembers them again, his lovingkindness, his covenant and promises; and with everlasting kindness has mercy on them, heals their backslidings, and loves them freely Hosea 14:4. The Targum is,
"he hath remembered his covenant with us;''
for his mercy endureth for ever; which appears in the mission of his Son to save; in giving his Spirit to regenerate and quicken when dead in sin, and to revive and restore when backslidden.
The Treasury of David
23 Who remembered us in our low estate: for his mercy endureth for ever:
24 And hath redeemed us from our enemies; for his mercy endureth for ever.
"Who remembered us in our low estate." Personal mercies awake the sweetest songs "he remembered us." Our prayer is, "Lord remember me," and this is our encouragement - he has remembered us. For the Lord even to think of us is a wealth of mercy. Ours was a sorry estate, - an estate of bankruptcy and mendicancy. Israel rested in its heritage, but we were still in bondage, groaning in captivity, the Lord seemed to have forgotten us, and left us in our sorrow; but it was not so for long: he turned again in his compassion, bethinking himself of his afflicted children. Our state was once so low as to be at hell's mouth; since then it has been low in poverty, bereavement, despondency, sickness, and heart-sorrow, and we fear, also, sinfully low in faith, and love, and every other grace; and yet the Lord has not forgotten us as a dead thing out of mind; but he has tenderly remembered us still. We thought ourselves too small and too worthless for his memory to burden itself about us, yet he remembered us. "For his mercy endureth for ever." Yes, this is one of the best proofs of the immutability of his mercy, for if he could have changed towards any, it would certainly have been towards us who have brought ourselves low, kept ourselves low, and prepared ourselves to sink yet lower. It is memorable mercy to remember us in our low estate: in our highest joys we will exalt Jehovah's name, since of this we are sure, - he will not now desert us -
For his mercy full and free
Lasteth to eternity.
"And hath redeemed us from our enemies." Israel's enemies brought the people low; but the Lord intervened, and turned the tables by a great redemption. The expression implies that they had become like slaves, and were not set free without price and power; for they needed to be "redeemed." In our case the redemption which is in Christ Jesus is an eminent reason for giving thanks unto the Lord. Sin is our enemy, and we are redeemed from it by the atoning blood; Satan is our enemy and we are redeemed from him by the Redeemer's power; the world is our enemy, and we are redeemed from it by the Holy Spirit. We are ransomed, let us enjoy our liberty; Christ has wrought our redemption, let us praise his name.
"For his mercy endureth for ever." Even to redemption by the death of his Son did divine mercy stretch itself. What more can be desired? What more can be imagined? Many waters could not quench love, neither could the floods drown it.
E'en to death upon the tree
Mercy dureth faithfully.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
23. remembered us—or, "for us" (Ps 132:1).
our low estate—that is, captivity.
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