|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
73:1-14 The psalmist was strongly tempted to envy the prosperity of the wicked; a common temptation, which has tried the graces of many saints. But he lays down the great principle by which he resolved to abide. It is the goodness of God. This is a truth which cannot be shaken. Good thoughts of God will fortify against Satan's temptations. The faith even of strong believers may be sorely shaken, and ready to fail. There are storms that will try the firmest anchors. Foolish and wicked people have sometimes a great share of outward prosperity. They seem to have the least share of the troubles of this life; and they seem to have the greatest share of its comforts. They live without the fear of God, yet they prosper, and get on in the world. Wicked men often spend their lives without much sickness, and end them without great pain; while many godly persons scarcely know what health is, and die with great sufferings. Often the wicked are not frightened, either by the remembrance of their sins, or the prospect of their misery, but they die without terror. We cannot judge men's state beyond death, by what passes at their death. He looked abroad, and saw many of God's people greatly at a loss. Because the wicked are so very daring, therefore his people return hither; they know not what to say to it, and the rather, because they drink deep of the bitter cup of affliction. He spoke feelingly when he spoke of his own troubles; there is no disputing against sense, except by faith. From all this arose a strong temptation to cast off religion. But let us learn that the true course of sanctification consists in cleansing a man from all pollution both of soul and body. The heart is cleansed by the blood of Christ laid hold upon by faith; and by the begun works of the Lord's Spirit, manifested in the hearty resolution, purpose, and study of holiness, and a blameless course of life and actions, the hands are cleansed. It is not in vain to serve God and keep his ordinances.
Verse 11. - And they say, How doth God know? Their wickedness breeds scepticism in them. They wish God not to know, and therefore begin to question whether he does or can know (comp. Psalm 10:4, 11, 13). And is there knowledge in the Most High? Does God concern himself at all with the things that take place on earth (comp. Psalm 94:7)? IS not man too weak and contemptible to attract his attention?
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And they say, how doth God know?.... Owning there is a God, but questioning his knowledge; for the words are not an inquiry about the way and manner of his knowing things; which is not by the senses, as hearing and seeing; eyes and ears are improperly ascribed to him; nor in a discursive way, by reasoning, and inferring one thing from another; for he knows things intuitively, beholding all things in his own eternal mind and will: but they are a question about his knowledge itself, as follows:
and is their knowledge in the most High? they acknowledge God to be the most High, and yet doubt whether there is knowledge in him; and indeed the higher with respect to place, and at the greater distance he was from them, the less they imagined he knew of affairs below; see Job 22:13 for the knowledge called in question is to be understood of his providential notice of human affairs, which they thought he did not concern himself with, as being below his regard; see Ezekiel 9:9 and therefore concluded that their acts of oppression and violence, and their insolent words against God and men, would pass unobserved, and with impunity. If these are the words of good men, of the people of God under affliction, they are to be considered as under a temptation from their affliction, and the prosperity of the wicked, to call in question the providence of God in the government of the world, and his love to them, which is sometimes expressed by his knowledge of them, Psalm 1:6.
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