|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
85:1-7 The sense of present afflictions should not do away the remembrance of former mercies. The favour of God is the fountain of happiness to nations, as well as to particular persons. When God forgives sin, he covers it; and when he covers the sin of his people, he covers it all. See what the pardon of sin is. In compassion to us, when Christ our Intercessor has stood before thee, thou hast turned away thine anger. When we are reconciled to God, then, and not till then, we may expect the comfort of his being reconciled to us. He shows mercy to those to whom he grants salvation; for salvation is of mere mercy. The Lord's people may expect sharp and tedious afflictions when they commit sin; but when they return to him with humble prayer, he will make them again to rejoice in him.
Verse 5. - Wilt thou be angry with us forever? This is equivalent to "Wilt thou still go on punishing us?" Wilt thou draw out thine anger to all generations? or, "from generation to generation?" This suits well the first period after the return from the Captivity, when the depressed condition of Israel continued for several generations.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Wilt thou be angry with us for ever?.... God is angry with the wicked every day, their life being a continued series of sin, without repentance for it, or confession of it; and he will be so for ever, of which they will have a constant sense and feeling; and is the worm that never dies, and the fire that is inextinguishable; but he does not retain his anger for ever with his own people; though he is displeased with them, and chastises them for their sins, his anger endures but for a moment; he is pacified towards them and turns away his anger from them, by discovering his pardoning love, and withdrawing his afflicting hand:
wilt thou draw out thine anger to all generations? out of his heart, where it is supposed to be conceived; and out of his treasury, where it is thought to be laid up: this has been drawn out to a great length of time upon the Jewish nation; it has been upon them for almost twenty centuries, or ages, and still remains, and will until the fulness of the Gentiles is brought in; but it will not be drawn out to "all" ages or generations; for they shall return to the Lord, and seek him; and he will come to them, and turn away iniquity from them, and so all Israel shall be saved.
The Treasury of David
5 Wilt thou be angry with us for ever? wilt thou draw out thine anger to all generations?
6 Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?
7 Shew us thy mercy, O Lord, and grant us thy salvation.
"Wilt thou be angry with us for ever?" See how the Psalmist makes bold to plead. We are in time as yet and not in eternity, and does not time come to an end, and therefore thy wrath! Wilt thou be angry always as if it were eternity? Is there no boundary to thine indignation? Will thy wrath never have done? And if for ever angry, yet wilt thou be angry "with us," thy favoured people, the seed of Abraham, thy friend? That our enemies should be always wroth is natural but wilt thou, our God, be always incensed against us? Every word is an argument. Men in distress never waste words. "Wilt thou draw out thine anger to all generations?" Shall sons suffer for their fathers' faults, and punishment become an entailed inheritance? O merciful God, hast thou a mind to spin out thine anger, and make it as long as the ages? Cease thou, as thou hast ceased aforetime, and let grace reign as it has done in days of yore. When we are under spiritual desertion we may beg in the like manner that the days of tribulation may be shortened, lest our spirit should utterly fail beneath the trial.
"Will thou not revive us again?" Hope here grows almost confident. She feels sure that the Lord will return in all his power to save. We are dead or dying, faint and feeble, God alone can revive us, he has in other times refreshed his people, he is still the same, he will repeat his love. Will he not? Why should he not? We appeal to him - "Wilt thou not?" "That thy people may rejoice in thee." Thou lovest to see thy children happy with that best of happiness which centres in thyself, therefore revive us, for revival will bring us the utmost joy. The words before us teach us that gratitude has an eye to the giver, even beyond the gift - "thy people may rejoice in thee." Those who were revived would rejoice not only in the new life but in the Lord who was the author of it. Joy in the Lord is the ripest fruit of grace, all revivals and renewals lead up to it. By our possession of it we may estimate our spiritual condition, it is a sure gauge of inward prosperity. A genuine revival without joy in the Lord is as impossible as spring without flowers, or daydawn without light. If, either in our own souls or in the hearts of others, we see declension, it becomes us to be much in the use of this prayer, and if on the other hand we are enjoying visitations of the Spirit and bedewings of grace, let us abound in holy joy and make it our constant delight to joy in God.
"Shew us thy mercy, O Lord." Reveal it to our poor half-blinded eyes. We cannot see it or believe it by reason of our long woes, but thou canst make it plain to us. Others have beheld it, Lord shew it to us. We have seen thine anger, Lord let us see thy mercy. Thy prophets have told us of it, but, O Lord, do thou thyself display it in this our hour of need. "And grant us thy salvation." This includes deliverance from the sin as well as the chastisement, it reaches from the depth of their misery to the height of divine love. God's salvation is perfect in kind, comprehensive in extent, and eminent in degree; grant us this, O Lord, and we have all.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
5. draw out—or, "prolong" (Ps 36:10).
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