Pulpit Commentary Homiletics
Romans 15:4). We have in this psalm the story of one of God's rescues. We see -
I. RESCUE SORELY NEEDED. The enemies of the soul are represented as strong, crafty, and merciless. They are savage as "lions." They use guile and deceit, and "hunt every man his brother with a net" (Micah 7:2). Though they wound body and soul, this is not enough. Blood is what they want. If they had their will, they would cast the Joseph of their hate into the "pit," caring not if he perish miserably. In this world of sin and sorrow and temptation, we are always in danger; but there are times when peril comes closer, and "calamities" crowd on every side, leaving no way of escape. Happy are we if, in our helplessness and, fear, we "flee for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us"!
II. RESCUE EARNESTLY SOUGHT. (Vers. 1-3.) Here is a difference between the ungodly and the godly. The ungodly seeks deliverance by his own devices; the godly seeks deliverance from God. He cries for rescue, not in his own way, but in the way that accords with God's character and will. When it comes, it must be in the line of "mercy and truth." What God was, he is. What God has done is earnest of what God will do. What God undertakes, he will carry out. Man promises more than he performs. God performs more than he promises. The nearer we get to God, the more clearly we see things in God's light. Our faith gains force and our hopes grow stronger. If dangers press, we cry with the more urgency for help. God is "able to do for us exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think" (Ephesians 3:20).
III. RESCUE GRATEFULLY ACKNOWLEDGED. (Vers. 7-11.) Religion is for the whole of life, but there are times when special services are proper. Deliverances wrought for us by God are not to be kept secret, but to be openly acknowledged. Our gratitude should be sincere, hearty, and demonstrative. Like the woman of Capernaum, who was healed of the issue of blood, we should yield to the gentle solicitings of love, and declare unto our Lord, before all the people, what he has done for us. Like the Samaritan cured of his leprosy, though alone, we should come with a full heart to God, and to give thanks for his goodness and wonderful works (Luke 8:47; Luke 17:18). How inspiring and comforting it is to read of the great deliverances which God wrought for David and the prophets, and for the saints of every land and tongue! When we remember these things, our hearts burn within us; for this God is our God, this Saviour is our Saviour. Nay, more; in thought of what God is and has done, we rise to the sight of the things not yet seen, and to the vision of the latter day when the kingdom shall not be limited to Israel, but the glory of the Lord shall fill the whole earth. - W.F.
I. THE PSALMIST'S EXPECTATION OF DELIVERANCE FROM DANGER. (Vers. 1-6.) Founded:
1. Upon his trust in God's tender protection. (Ver. 1; Deuteronomy 22:11, 12.) This faith in the tender love of God "has no parallel in heathen literature."
2. God could not fail to perform or complete the work he had begun for him. (Ver. 2.) "He who hath begun a good work in you," etc. God does not abandon his own work.
3. God's retributive justice must give the victory to the righteous. (Vers. 3, 4, 6.) The designs of wicked men recoil in the end upon themselves, and ensure their own destruction. This is true, in the long run, of God's providence.
II. THE JOYFUL, INWARD ASSURANCE OF DELIVERANCE. (Vers. 7-12.)
1. His heart is steadfast with fearless confidence in God. (Ver. 7.) The psalm records the gradual progress of his mind towards the highest rejoicing in the Divine deliverance.
2. He calls upon himself to celebrate the praise of God in the highest strains. (Ver. 8.) "His glory," equivalent to "his soul." He will wake the dawn with his earnest, fervent songs.
3. He will make his praises to sound forth among the heathen. (Ver. 9.) Not only among his own people.
4. He calls upon heaven to unite with earth in praising the glory of God. (Ver. 12.) His triumph in God over his enemies has now reached its culminating point. - S.
I. MARK GOD'S CHARACTER. When God proclaimed his Name to Moses, he put "mercy" in the forefront: "The Lord God merciful;" but "truth" had also its place, for it is added," abundant in truth" (Exodus 34:6). The same order is observed in the Psalms. Thus it is said (Psalm 86:15), "Thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, long suffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth (cf. Psalm 89:2).
II. SHINE FORTH IN GOD'S JUDGMENTS. What God does shows what he is. His works express his character. Mercy and truth" are, so to speak, the rails on which his judgments travel (Psalm 25:10; Psalm 103:17).
III. CHARACTERIZE GOD'S DEALINGS WITH HIS PEOPLE. They need "mercy; and unto the Lord "belongeth mercy" (Psalm 62:12). They need "truth," and God is "the God of truth" (Psalm 31:5). In the salvation which God has wrought, both are blended in beautiful harmony (Psalm 85:10). As has been quaintly said, "Mercy and truth are but the transverse arms of the cross of Christ. Righteousness and peace are but its upper and lower limbs. The one springs out of the earth, the other has looked down from heaven, and they have kissed each other, in token of God's love and of his reconciliation with the sons of men."
IV. FOUNDATION OF HOPE TO THE CHILDREN OF MEN. Mercy and truth are the two outspread wings of God. Under them there is sure shelter and peace (Psalm 36:7; Psalm 61:1-4). Here there is hope for the sinner (Psalm 33:18, 22; Psalm 78:7; 167:11). Here there is comfort for the troubled in heart (Psalm 57:3-10). Here there is inspiration for all who are minded to serve God (Psalm 69:13; Psalm 98:3; Psalm 115:1). Here there is earnest and foreshadowing of the everlasting rest (Psalm 61:7; Psalm 63:7; Psalm 138:8). - W.F.