Psalm 116:5
Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; yes, our God is merciful.
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Psalm 116:5-6. Gracious is the Lord — Therefore he will maintain my just cause against my unrighteous oppressors, will perform his promises, and save those who faithfully serve and trust in him. The Lord preserveth the simple — That is, those who are upright and sincere, and make use of no crafty arts or counsels, no indirect or unlawful means for their deliverance; who, as the original word implies, depend wholly upon God, as little children do upon their parents. I was brought low — Plunged into the depth of distress and misery; and he helped me — Patiently to bear what was laid upon me, and to hope for deliverance at the proper time.116:1-9 We have many reasons for loving the Lord, but are most affected by his loving-kindness when relieved out of deep distress. When a poor sinner is awakened to a sense of his state, and fears that he must soon sink under the just wrath of God, then he finds trouble and sorrow. But let all such call upon the Lord to deliver their souls, and they will find him gracious and true to his promise. Neither ignorance nor guilt will hinder their salvation, when they put their trust in the Lord. Let us all speak of God as we have found him; and have we ever found him otherwise than just and good? It is of his mercies that we are not consumed. Let those who labour and are heavy laden come to him, that they may find rest to their souls; and if at all drawn from their rest, let them haste to return, remembering how bountifully the Lord has dealt with them. We should deem ourselves bound to walk as in his presence. It is a great mercy to be kept from being swallowed up with over-much sorrow. It is a great mercy for God to hold us by the right hand, so that we are not overcome and overthrown by a temptation. But when we enter the heavenly rest, deliverance from sin and sorrow will be complete; we shall behold the glory of the Lord, and walk in his presence with delight we cannot now conceive.Gracious is the Lord - This fact was his encouragement when he called on God. He believed that God was a gracious Being, and he found him to be so. Compare the notes at Hebrews 11:6.

And righteous ... - Just; true; faithful. This, too, is a proper foundation of appeal to God: not that we are righteous, and have a claim to his favor, but that he is a Being who will do what is right; that is, what is best to be done in the case. If he were an unjust Being; if he were one on whose stability of character, and whose regard for right, no reliance could be placed, we could never approach him with confidence or hope. In this sense we may rely on his justice - his justness of character - as a ground of hope. Compare the notes at 1 John 1:9 : "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us Our sins."

5-8. The relief which he asked is the result not of his merit, but of God's known pity and tenderness, which is acknowledged in assuring himself (his "soul," Ps 11:1; 16:10) of rest and peace. All calamities [Ps 116:8] are represented by death, tears, and falling of the feet (Ps 56:13). Gracious is the Lord: this he mentions either,

1. As that which he found by experience in answer to his prayers; or,

2. As the argument by which he encouraged himself to pray.

And righteous; therefore he will maintain me and my just cause against my unrighteous oppressors, and perform his promises, and save those who faithfully serve aim and put their trust in him. Gracious is the Lord,.... So the psalmist found him, calling upon him; so he is in Christ, the author and giver of all grace, to help in time of need.

And righteous; faithful to his promises, just in every dispensation of his providence, even in afflictive ones; righteous in punishing the enemies of his people, and in saving, justifying, and pardoning them for Christ's sake.

Yea, our God is merciful; compassionate, tenderhearted, a heart full of pity, as a father to his child; and sympathizes with his people under all their afflictions, and saves them out of them; see Psalm 86:5.

Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; yea, our God is {c} merciful.

(c) He shows forth the fruit of his love in calling on him, confessing him to be just and merciful and to help them who are destitute of aid and counsel.

5. Cp. Psalm 111:4, and passages referred to there, all based on the fundamental passage, Exodus 34:6.

5, 6. The character of Jehovah, realised in the Psalmist’s experience.Verse 5. - Gracious is the Lord, and righteous. God's answers to prayer show him to be both "gracious" and "righteous" - gracious, because it is of his mercy that he listens to men; righteous, because, having promised to hear prayer, he is bound to keep his promises. Yea, our God is merciful; or, "compassionate." The voice of consolation is continued in Psalm 115:15, but it becomes the voice of hope by being blended with the newly strengthened believing tone of the congregation. Jahve is here called the Creator of heaven and earth because the worth and magnitude of His blessing are measured thereby. He has reserved the heavens to Himself, but given the earth to men. This separation of heaven and earth is a fundamental characteristic of the post-diluvian history. The throne of God is in the heavens, and the promise, which is given to the patriarchs on behalf of all mankind, does not refer to heaven, but to the possession of the earth (Psalm 37:22). The promise is as yet limited to this present world, whereas in the New Testament this limitation is removed and the κληρονομία embraces heaven and earth. This Old Testament limitedness finds further expression in Psalm 115:17, where דּוּמה, as in Psalm 94:17, signifies the silent land of Hades. The Old Testament knows nothing of a heavenly ecclesia that praises God without intermission, consisting not merely of angels, but also of the spirits of all men who die in the faith. Nevertheless there are not wanting hints that point upwards which were even better understood by the post-exilic than by the pre-exilic church. The New Testament morn began to dawn even upon the post-exilic church. We must not therefore be astonished to find the tone of Psalm 6:6; Psalm 30:10; Psalm 88:11-13, struck up here, although the echo of those earlier Psalms here is only the dark foil of the confession which the church makes in Psalm 115:18 concerning its immortality. The church of Jahve as such does not die. That it also does not remain among the dead, in whatever degree it may die off in its existing members, the psalmist might know from Isaiah 26:19; Isaiah 25:8. But the close of the Psalm shows that such predictions which light up the life beyond only gradually became elements of the church's consciousness, and, so to speak, dogmas.
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