|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
56:8-13 The heavy and continued trials through which many of the Lord's people have passed, should teach us to be silent and patient under lighter crosses. Yet we are often tempted to repine and despond under small sorrows. For this we should check ourselves. David comforts himself, in his distress and fear, that God noticed all his grievances and all his griefs. God has a bottle and a book for his people's tears, both the tears for their sins, and those for their afflictions. He observes them with tender concern. Every true believer may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and then I will not fear what man shall do unto me; for man has no power but what is given him from above. Thy vows are upon me, O Lord; not as a burden, but as that by which I am known to be thy servant; as a bridle that restrains me from what would be hurtful, and directs me in the way of my duty. And vows of thankfulness properly accompany prayers for mercy. If God deliver us from sin, either from doing it, or by his pardoning mercy, he has delivered our souls from death, which is the wages of sin. Where the Lord has begun a good work he will carry it on and perfect it. David hopes that God would keep him even from the appearance of sin. We should aim in all our desires and expectations of deliverance, both from sin and trouble, that we may do the better service to the Lord; that we may serve him without fear. If his grace has delivered our souls from the death of sin, he will bring us to heaven, to walk before him for ever in light.
Verse 10. - In God will I praise his word; rather, through God (see the comment on ver. 4). In the Lord (rather, through the Lord) will I praise his word. Professor Cheyne looks upon this as "a feeble Jehovistic interpolation, which interrupts the refrain." But other commentators see in it a certain force.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
In God will I praise his word,.... These words are repeated from Psalm 56:4; and for the greater certainty of the thing, and to show his fixed resolution to do it, and his strong affection for the Lord and his word, they are doubled;
in the Lord will I praise his word: in the former clause the word "Elohim" is made use of, which, the Jews say, denotes the property of justice, and in the latter Jehovah, which with them is the property of mercy; and accordingly the Targum paraphrases the words,
"in the attribute of the justice of God will I praise his word; in the attribute of the mercies of Jehovah will I praise his word;''
and to the same sense Jarchi: that is, whether I am in adversity or prosperity, receive evil or good things from the hand of the Lord; yet will I praise him: I will sing of mercy and of judgment, Psalm 101:1; or rather the one may denote the grace and goodness of a covenant God in making promises, and the other his truth and faithfulness in keeping them; on account of both which he is worthy of praise. The word "his" is not in either clause in the original text, and they may be rendered, "in God will I praise the word; in the Lord will I praise the word": in and by the help, assistance, and grace of Jehovah the Father, will I praise the eternal and essential Word, his Son. The Targum renders it his "Memra"; a word often used in it for a divine Person, the eternal Logos; the loveliness of his person, the love of his heart to his people, the fulness of grace that is in him, the offices he sustains on their account, and the virtue of his blood, righteousness, and sacrifice, render him praiseworthy in their esteem.
The Treasury of David
10 In God will I praise his word: in the Lord will I praise his word.
11 In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me.
12 Thy vows are upon me, O God: I will render praises unto thee.
13 For thou hast delivered my soul from death: wilt not thou deliver my feet from falling, that I way walk before God in the light of the living?
"In God will I praise his word." Now comes the thanksgiving. He is a wretch who, having obtained help, forgets to return a grateful acknowledgment. The least we can do is to praise him from whom we receive such distinguished favours. Does David here mean "by God's grace I will praise him?" If so, he shows us that all our emotions towards God must be in God, produced by him and presented as such. Or does he mean, "that which in God is most the object of my praise is his word, and the faithfulness with which he keeps it?" If so, we see how attached our hearts should be to the sure word of promise, and especially to him who is the Word incarnate. The Lord is to be praised under every aspect, and in all his attributes and acts, but certain mercies more peculiarly draw out our admiration towards special portions of the great whole. That praise which is never special in its direction cannot be very thoughtful, and it is to be feared cannot be very acceptable. "In the Lord will I praise his word." He delights to dwell on his praise, he therefore repeats his song. The change by which he brings in the glorious name of Jehovah is doubtless meant to indicate that under every aspect he delights in his God and in his word.
"In God have I put my trust." This and the former verse are evidently the chorus of the Psalm. We cannot be too careful of our faith, or see too sedulously that it is grounded on the Lord alone. "I will not be afraid what man can do unto me." Faith has banished fear. He views his foes in their most forcible character, calling them not flesh, but indicating them as man, yet he dreads them not; though the whole race were his enemies he would not be afraid now that his trust is stayed on God. He is not afraid of what they threaten to do, for much of that they cannot do; and even what is in their power, what they can do, he defies with holy daring. He speaks for the future, "I will not," for he is sure that the security of the present will suffice for days to come.
"Thy vows are upon me, O God." Vows made in his trouble he does not lightly forget, nor should we. We voluntarily made them, let us cheerfully keep them. All professed Christians are men under vows, but especially those who in hours of dire distress have re-dedicated themselves unto the Lord. "I will render praises unto thee." With heart, and voice, and gift, we should cheerfully extol the God of our salvation. The practice of making solemn vows in times of trouble is to be commended, when it is followed by the far less common custom of fulfilling them when the trouble is over.
"For thou hast delivered my soul from death." His enemies were defeated in their attempts upon his life, and therefore he vowed to devote his life to God. "Wilt not thou deliver my feet from falling?" One mercy is a plea for another, for indeed it may happen that the second is the necessary complement of the first. It little boots that we live, if we are made to fall in character by the thrusts of our enemies. As lief not be, as live to be bereft of honour, and fallen prostrate before my enemies. "That I mall walk before God in the light of the living," enjoying the favour and presence of God, and finding the joy and brightness of life therein. Walking at liberty, in holy service, in sacred communion, in constant progress in holiness, enjoying the smile of heaven - this I seek after. Here is the loftiest reach of a good man's ambition, to dwell with God, to walk in righteousness before him, to rejoice in his presence, and in the light and glory which it yields. Thus in this short Psalm, we have climbed from the ravenous jaws of the enemy into the light of Jehovah's presence, a path which only faith can tread.
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