|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
73:21-28 God would not suffer his people to be tempted, if his grace were not sufficient, not only to save them from harm, but to make them gainers by it. This temptation, the working of envy and discontent, is very painful. In reflecting upon it, the psalmist owns it was his folly and ignorance thus to vex himself. If good men, at any time, through the surprise and strength of temptation, think, or speak, or act amiss, they will reflect upon it with sorrow and shame. We must ascribe our safety in temptation, and our victory, not to our own wisdom, but to the gracious presence of God with us, and Christ's intercession for us. All who commit themselves to God, shall be guided with the counsel both of his word and of his Spirit, the best counsellors here, and shall be received to his glory in another world; the believing hopes and prospects of which will reconcile us to all dark providences. And the psalmist was hereby quickened to cleave the closer to God. Heaven itself could not make us happy without the presence and love of our God. The world and all its glory vanishes. The body will fail by sickness, age, and death; when the flesh fails, the conduct, courage, and comfort fail. But Christ Jesus, our Lord, offers to be all in all to every poor sinner, who renounces all other portions and confidences. By sin we are all far from God. And a profession Christ, if we go on in sin, will increase our condemnation. May we draw near, and keep near, to our God, by faith and prayer, and find it good to do so. Those that with an upright heart put their trust in God, shall never want matter for thanksgiving to him. Blessed Lord, who hast so graciously promised to become our portion in the next world, prevent us from choosing any other in this.
Verse 25. - Whom have I in heaven but thee? Who is there in all the host of heaven on whom I can place any reliance, excepting thee? None of thy "holy ones," neither angel nor archangel, can afford me any support or sustenance, preserve or guide or save me, but THOU only (comp. Job 5:1). And there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. Much less can earth supply me with a substitute for God. On him my heart's affections are centred (comp. Psalm 63:1, "My soul thirsteth top thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is").
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Whom have I in heaven but thee,.... Which includes God the Father, Son, and Spirit; God the Father, as his only covenant God and Father; Christ as his only Mediator, Saviour, and Redeemer, Head, Husband, Advocate, and Intercessor; the Spirit as his only sanctifier, Comforter, earnest, and sealer; and is expressive of their being the one and only Lord God, the sole object of worship, trust, and confidence; his only helper and guide; and in whom his supreme happiness and glory lay; and it excludes the sun, moon, and stars, in the lower heavens, from being the object of worship and trust; and angels and glorified saints in the highest heavens: the words may be rendered, "who is for me in heaven?" (e) on my side, my protector and defender; see Romans 8:31.
and there is none upon earth that I desire besides thee; or "with thee" (f); there are many things on earth desirable, as riches, health, friends, food, raiment, &c. but not to be compared with God and Christ, and the blessed Spirit; with the love of God, the grace of Christ, and the communion of the Holy Ghost; there are none to be loved and delighted in as they, nor anything so desirable as fellowship with them: or "with thee I desire not the earth" (g); the whole world, and all things in it, are nothing in comparison of God; if a man was possessed of the whole of it, and had not interest in the Lord, he would be miserable; and if he has an interest in him, he has enough without it; for all things are his, God is all in all; wherefore he is willing to leave all, and be with him for ever: the Targum is,
"who is like unto thee, that is, mine in heaven but thee? and with thee I do not desire a companion on earth.''
See Psalm 89:6.
(e) "quis pro me?" Gejerus. (f) "tecum", Pagninus, Montanus, Tigurine version, Masculus, Gejerus. (g) "nec terram totam diligo tecum", Gejerus.
The Treasury of David
25 Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee.
26 My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.
27 For, lo, they that are far from thee shall perish: thou hast destroyed all them that go a whoring from thee.
28 But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord God, that I may declare all thy works.
"Whom have I in heaven but thee?" Thus, then, he turns away from the glitter which fascinated him to the true gold which was his real treasure. He felt that his God was better to him than all the wealth, health, honour, and peace, which he had so much envied in the worldling; yea, He was not only better than all on earth, but more excellent than all in heaven. He bade all things else go, that he might be filled with his God. "And there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee," No longer should his wishes ramble, no other object should tempt them to stray; henceforth, the Everliving One should be his all in all.
"My flesh and my heart faileth." They had failed him already, and he had almost fallen; they would fail him in the hour of death, and, if he relied upon them, they would fail him at once. "But God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever." His God would not fail him, either as a protection or a joy. His heart would be kept up by divine love, and filled eternally with divine glory. After having been driven far out to sea, Asaph casts anchor in the old port. We shall do well to follow his example. There is nothing desirable save God; let us, then, desire only him. All other things must pass away; let our hearts abide in him, who alone abideth for ever.
"For, lo, they that are far from thee shall perish." We must be near God to live; to be far off by wicked works is death. "Thou hast destroyed all them that go a whoring from thee." If we pretend to be the Lord's servants, we must remember that he is a jealous God, and requires spiritual chastity from all his people. Offences against conjugal vows are very offensive, and all sins against God have the same element in them, and they are visited with the direst punishments. Mere heathens, who are far from God, perish in due season; but those who, being his professed people, act unfaithfully to their profession, shall come under active condemnation, and be crushed beneath his wrath. We read examples of this in Israel's history; may we never create fresh instances in our own persons.
"But it is good for me to draw near to God." Had he done so at first he would not have been immersed in such affliction; when he did so he escaped from his dilemma, and if he continued to do so he would not fall into the same evil again. The greater our nearness to God, the less we are affected by the attractions and distractions of earth. Access into the most holy place is a great privilege, and a cure for a multitude of ills. It is good for all saints, it is good for me in particular; it is always good, and always will be good for me to approach the greatest good, the source of all good, even God himself. "I have put my trust in the Lord God." He dwells upon the glorious name of the Lord Jehovah, and avows it as the basis of his faith. Faith is wisdom; it is the key of enigmas, the clue of mazes, and the pole star of pathless seas. Trust and you will know. "That I may declare all thy works," He who believes shall understand, and so be able to teach. Asaph hesitated to utter his evil surmisings, but he has no diffidence in publishing abroad a good matter. God's ways are the more admired the more they are known. He who is ready to believe the goodness of God shall always see fresh goodness to believe in, and he who is willing to declare the works of God shall never be silent for lack of wonders to declare.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
25, 26. God is his only satisfying good.
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