|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
89:38-52 Sometimes it is not easy to reconcile God's providences with his promises, yet we are sure that God's works fulfil his word. When the great Anointed One, Christ himself, was upon the cross, God seemed to have cast him off, yet did not make void his covenant, for that was established for ever. The honour of the house of David was lost. Thrones and crowns are often laid in the dust; but there is a crown of glory reserved for Christ's spiritual seed, which fadeth not away. From all this complaint learn what work sin makes with families, noble families, with families in which religion has appeared. They plead with God for mercy. God's unchangeableness and faithfulness assure us that He will not cast off those whom he has chosen and covenanted with. They were reproached for serving him. The scoffers of the latter days, in like manner, reproach the footsteps of the Messiah when they ask, Where is the promise of his coming? 2Pe 3:3,4. The records of the Lord's dealings with the family of David, show us his dealings with his church, and with believers. Their afflictions and distresses may be grievous, but he will not finally cast them off. Self-deceivers abuse this doctrine, and others by a careless walk bring themselves into darkness and distress; yet let the true believer rely on it for encouragement in the path of duty, and in bearing the cross. The psalm ends with praise, even after this sad complaint. Those who give God thanks for what he has done, may give him thanks for what he will do. God will follow those with his mercies, who follow him with praises.
Verse 47. - Remember how short my time is. Consider how short-lived is the whole race of men. Come, therefore, to our deliverance quickly. Wherefore hast thou made all men in vain? literally, for what vanity thou hast made all the sons of men. Another point suggested for God's consideration, as fitted to call forth his compassion.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Remember how short my time is,.... In this world man's time here is fixed, and it is but a short time; his life is but a vapour, which appeareth for a little while; his days are as an hand's breadth; they pass away like a tale that is told; the common term of life is but threescore years and ten, and few arrive to that: to know and observe this is proper and useful; it may awaken a concern for a future state, excite to a vigorous discharge of duty, and animate to patience under afflictions: the clause in connection with the preceding verse seems to be a plea for mercy; that, since time was short, it might not be consumed in bearing the wrath of God; but be spent in peace and comfort, like that of Job 10:20, Compare with this Psalm 103:13, the Targum is,
"remember that I am created out of the dust:''
but these words, with what follow, are the words of the psalmist, representing the apostles of Christ, and other saints, at the time of his sufferings and death, and when under the power of the grave, and when they were almost out of hope of his resurrection: see Luke 24:21, expostulating with the Lord on that account; and here entreat him to remember the shortness of their time, if there was no resurrection from the dead, as there would be none if Christ rose not; and therefore, as their life was a short one, it would be of all men's the most miserable:
wherefore hast thou made all men in vain? none of the sons of men are made in vain; for they are all made for the glory of God, which end is answered, some way or another, in everyone of them; either in the salvation of them by Christ, or in the just destruction of them through their own sin; and though the time of life is short, and afflictions many, yet men are not made in vain, and especially those of them who believe in Christ; for, for them to live is Christ, they live to his glory: whether they live a longer or shorter time, they live to the Lord; and when they die, they die to him; and their afflictions are always for good, temporal, or spiritual, and eternal: indeed, if there was no future state after this, men might seem to be made in vain, and there might be some reason for such a question or complaint; but so it is not; there is an immortal life and state after this, either of bliss or woe: also, if there was no such thing as the redemption, justification, and salvation of any of the sons of men, through the sufferings and death of Christ, and which could not be without his resurrection from the dead, with a view to which the question is put, then there would seem some room for it; but there is a redemption of them, and therefore are not made in vain; and Christ, who was delivered for their offences, is risen for their justification.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
47. These expostulations are excited in view of the identity of the prosperity of this kingdom with the welfare of all mankind (Ge 22:18; Ps 72:17; Isa 9:7; 11:1-10); for if such is the fate of this chosen royal line.
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