|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
34:11-22 Let young persons set out in life with learning the fear of the Lord, if they desire true comfort here, and eternal happiness hereafter. Those will be most happy who begin the soonest to serve so good a Master. All aim to be happy. Surely this must look further than the present world; for man's life on earth consists but of few days, and those full of trouble. What man is he that would see the good of that where all bliss is perfect? Alas! few have this good in their thoughts. That religion promises best which creates watchfulness over the heart and over the tongue. It is not enough not to do hurt, we must study to be useful, and to live to some purpose; we must seek peace and pursue it; be willing to deny ourselves a great deal for peace' sake. It is the constant practice of real believers, when in distress, to cry unto God, and it is their constant comfort that he hears them. The righteous are humbled for sin, and are low in their own eyes. Nothing is more needful to true godliness than a contrite heart, broken off from every self-confidence. In this soil every grace will flourish, and nothing can encourage such a one but the free, rich grace of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The righteous are taken under the special protection of the Lord, yet they have their share of crosses in this world, and there are those that hate them. Both from the mercy of Heaven, and the malice of hell, the afflictions of the righteous must be many. But whatever troubles befal them, shall not hurt their souls, for God keeps them from sinning in troubles. No man is desolate, but he whom God has forsaken.
Verse 14. - Depart from evil, and do good. From words the psalmist proceeds to acts, and, in the briefest possible way, says all that can be said. First, he enjoins negative goodness - "depart from evil," i.e. do nothing that is wrong; break no laws of God, no command of conscience; have a conscience void of offence, both towards God and towards man. Secondly, he requires positive goodness - "Do good;" i.e. actively perform the will of God from the heart; discharge every duty; practise every virtue; carry out the precepts of the moral law in every particular. Seek peace, and pursue it. It is not clear why this virtue - one of many - is specially enjoined; but probably some circumstances of the time made the recommendation advisable.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Depart from evil,.... This denotes that evil is near to men; it keeps close to them, and should be declined and shunned: and it regards all sorts of evil; evil men, and their evil company; evil things, evil words and works, and all appearance of evil; and the fear of the Lord shows itself in an hatred of it, and a departure from it, Proverbs 8:13;
and do good; not only acts of beneficence to all in necessitous circumstances, but every good work; whatever the word of God directs, or suggests should be done; and which should be done from right principles of faith and love, and to right ends, the glory of God, and the good of his interest; and Christ should be looked and applied unto for grace and strength to perform; all which are evidences of the true fear of God;
seek peace, and pursue it; in the world, and with all men, as much as possibly can be; in neighbourhoods, cities, and states, and in the churches of Christ, and with the saints, as well as with God through Christ; and which in every sense is to be pursued after with eagerness, and to be endeavoured for with diligence; see Romans 12:18.
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