|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
25:8-14 We are all sinners; and Christ came into the world to save sinners, to teach sinners, to call sinners to repentance. We value a promise by the character of him that makes it; we therefore depend upon God's promises. All the paths of the Lord, that is, all his promises and all his providences, are mercy and truth. In all God's dealings his people may see his mercy displayed, and his word fulfilled, whatever afflictions they are now exercised with. All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth; and so it will appear when they come to their journey's end. Those that are humble, that distrust themselves, and desire to be taught and to follow Divine guidance, these he will guide in judgment, that is, by the rule of the written word, to find rest for their souls in the Saviour. Even when the body is sick, and in pain, the soul may be at ease in God.
Verse 8. - Good and upright is the Lord. A transition. From prayer the psalmist turns to reflection, and meditates awhile (vers. 8-10) on the character and ways of God. God is, indeed, "good," as he has implied in the preceding verse - i.e., kind, tender, gentle, merciful; but he is also "upright" (יָשָׁר) - just, straight, strict, undeviating from the path of right. As Bishop Butler observes, "Divine goodness, with which, if I mistake not, we make very free in our speculations, may not be a bare single disposition to produce happiness, but a disposition to make the good, the faithful, the honest man happy" ('Anal.,' 1:2, p. 41) - s disposition, i.e., to be just as well as merciful to distribute happiness by the canon of right. Therefore will he teach sinners in the way. He will not abandon sinners - this is his "goodness;" but will reclaim them, chasten them, make them to walk in his way - this is his uprightness.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Good and upright is the Lord,.... He is essentially, originally, and independently good of himself in his own nature, and he is providentially good to all his creatures; and he is in a way of special grace and mercy good to his own people: and he is "upright", just in himself, righteous in all his ways and works, and faithful in all his promises; and the consideration of these excellent perfections of his encouraged the psalmist to entertain an holy confidence, that his petitions, respecting instruction and guidance in the ways of the Lord, Psalm 25:4; would be heard and answered, notwithstanding his sins and transgressions;
therefore will he teach sinners in the way; such who are in sinful ways, he will teach them by his word and Spirit the evil of their ways, and bring them out of them, and to repentance for them; and he will teach them his own ways, both the ways and methods of his grace, in saving sinners by Christ, and the paths of faith and duty in which he would have them walk; see Psalm 51:13.
The Treasury of David
8 Good and upright is the Lord: therefore will he teach sinners in the way.
9 The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way.
10 All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies.
These three verses are a meditation upon the attributes and acts of the Lord. He who toils in the harvest field of prayer should occasionally pause awhile and refresh himself with a meal of meditation.
"Good and upright is the Lord: therefore will he teach sinners in the way." Here the goodness and the rectitude of the divine character are beheld in friendly union; he who would see them thus united in bonds of perfect amity must stand at the foot of the cross and view them blended in the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus. It is no less true than wonderful that through the atonement the justice of God pleads as strongly as his grace for the salvation of the sinners whom Jesus died to save. Moreover, as a good man naturally endeavours to make others like himself, so will the Lord our God in his compassion bring sinners into the way of holiness and conform them to his own image; thus the goodness of our God leads us to expect the reclaiming of sinful men. We may not conclude from God's goodness that he will save those sinners who continue to wander in their own ways, but we may be assured that he will renew transgressors' hearts and guide them into the way of holiness. Let those who desire to be delivered from sin take comfort from this. God himself will condescend to be the teacher of sinners. What a ragged school is this for God to teach in! God's teaching is practical; he teaches sinners not only the doctrine, but the way.
"The meek will he guide in judgment." Meek spirits are in high favour with the Father of the meek and lowly Jesus, for he sees in them the image of his only-begotten Son. They know their need of guidance, and are willing to submit their own understandings to divine will, and therefore the Lord condescends to be their guide. Humble spirits are in this verse endowed with a rich inheritance; let them be of good cheer. Trouble puts gentle spirits to their wits' ends, and drives them to act without discretion, but grace comes to the rescue, enlightens their mind to follow that which is just, and helps them to discern the way in which the Lord would have them to go. Proud of their own wisdom fools will not learn, and therefore miss their road to heaven, but lowly hearts sit at Jesus' feet, and find the gate of glory, for "the meek will he teach his way." Blessed teacher! Favoured scholar! Divine lesson! My soul, be thou familiar with the whole.
This is a rule without an exception. God is good to those that be good. Mercy and faithfulness shall abound towards those who through mercy are made faithful. Whatever outward appearances may threaten we should settle it steadfastly in our minds that while grace enables us to obey the Lord's will we need not fear that Providence will cause us any real loss. There shall be mercy in every unsavoury morsel, and faithfulness in every bitter drop; let not our hearts be troubled, but let us rest by faith in the immutable covenant of Jehovah, which is ordered in all things and sure. Yet this is not a general truth to be trampled upon by swine, it is a pearl for a child's neck. Gracious souls, by faith resting upon the finished work of the Lord Jesus, keep the covenant of the Lord, and, being sanctified by the Holy Spirit, they walk in his testimonies; these will find all things co-working for their good, but to the sinner there is no such promise. Keepers of the covenant shall be kept by the covenant; those who follow the Lord's commands shall find the Lord's mercy following them.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
8, 9. upright—acting according to His promise.
sinners—the general term, limited by the
meek—who are penitent.
the way—and his way—God's way of providence.
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