Pulpit Commentary Homiletics
I. DRIVING THE GODLY MAN TO PRAYER. We see many evils we cannot remedy. They move our pity, they stir our indignation. Perhaps we argue and remonstrate; perhaps in a moment of generous impulse we may try our hand at redress. But how little can we do! and our best efforts not only fail, but may even bring ourselves and others into greater trouble (Exodus 2:11-14). In our grief and despair we turn to God; his ear is ever open to the cry of the poor; his arm is ever ready to bring help to the oppressed. Into his great, fatherly heart we can pour all our woes; and under his sheltering wings we may ever find sweet security.
II. DEPLORED AS A SORE EVIL UNDER THE SUN. There are differences. Inhumanity breaks forth more furiously at times. Some men see and suffer vastly more than others. It has been said of poets that "they learn in suffering what they teach in song," and this was the experience of the psalmist. Inhumanity is characterized by secrecy. Men who do evil hate the light. By combinations. Sin is weakness. Hand had to join with hand so as to give power. Cooperation for good is praiseworthy; but men banded together for evil are branded with infamy. Inveterate malice. There is no relenting, no mercy. The heart grows hardened in selfishness. Utter godlessness. (Ver. 5.) The more men indulge in sin, the blinder they become; the more persistently they break the second great commandment, the more indifferent they grow to the first. The thought of God troubles them, and they put it away. If it returns, they still reject it. By and by it will cease to come. Their hearts are set in them to do iniquity. How distressing it is for the man who fears God to behold all this! He thinks how different it might have been; he grieves over the waste and, worse still, the awful misapplication of human power; he confesses with shame and sorrow of heart the sins that have brought such terrible woes into the world; and mourns the guilt of which he must bear his share.
III. DOOMED TO THE RIGHTEOUS JUDGMENT OF GOD. Even here, where we know but in part, we cannot but see that it is ill with the wicked. In spite of their vauntings, they are not at peace. Though they call their lips their own, they are in reality held in by bit and bridle; though they boast of their successes, their rejoicing is vain and futile; retribution will in the end surely come upon them. So it was with Pharaoh and Sennacherib and Herod; so it was with Ahab, who thought to escape by disguising himself; but a certain man drew his bow at a venture, and smote him between the joints of his harness, and he died. God's arrows never miss their mark. Learn three great lessons.
1. That to do right is always best.
2. That we can only overcome evil with good.
3. That vengeance belongeth to God alone. - W.F.
I. DANGER. (Vers. 2-6.)
1.. To character. From slander.
2. To life. (Ver. 1.) From secret plots and conspiracies.
II. FAITH IN GOD.
1. Expressed in prayer for protection.
2. That God will destroy the plots of his enemies. (Vers. 7, 8.) The Divine judgment is now painted as if actually fulfilling itself before the very eyes of the psalmist.
III. THE SALUTARY EFFECTS OF GOD'S RETRIBUTIVE PROVIDENCE.
1. Upon the companions of the wicked. (Ver. 8.) They shake the head, or flee away, so that they become separate and scattered.
2. Upon men generally. (Ver. 9.) They shall declare the work of God, and consider his doings.
3. Upon the righteous. They shall trust, rejoice, and glory in the Lord, in his righteousness and goodness. - S.