Psalm 44:18
Our heart is not turned back, neither have our steps declined from thy way;
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44:17-26 In afflictions, we must not seek relief by any sinful compliance; but should continually meditate on the truth, purity, and knowledge of our heart-searching God. Hearts sins and secret sins are known to God, and must be reckoned for. He knows the secret of the heart, therefore judges of the words and actions. While our troubles do not drive us from our duty to God, we should not suffer them to drive us from our comfort in God. Let us take care that prosperity and ease do not render us careless and lukewarm. The church of God cannot be prevailed on by persecution to forget God; the believer's heart does not turn back from God. The Spirit of prophecy had reference to those who suffered unto death, for the testimony of Christ. Observe the pleas used, ver. 25,26. Not their own merit and righteousness, but the poor sinner's pleas. None that belong to Christ shall be cast off, but every one of them shall be saved, and that for ever. The mercy of God, purchased, promised, and constantly flowing forth, and offered to believers, does away every doubt arising from our sins; while we pray in faith, Redeem us for thy mercies' sake.Our heart is not turned back - That is, We have not turned away from thy service; we have not apostatized from thee; we have not fallen into idolatry. This must mean that such was not at that time the characteristic of the nation; it was not a prominent thing among the people; there was no such general and pervading iniquity as to explain the fact that these calamities had come upon them, or to be properly the cause of these troubles.

Neither have our steps declined from thy way - Margin, goings. The idea as expressed by our translators is, that the people had not departed from the path prescribed by God; that is, from what he required in his law. The Septuagint and the Vulgate render it, "Thou hast turned our steps from thy way;" that is, though our heart is not turned back, and we have not revolted from thee, yet thou hast turned our steps from thy way, or hast turned us from the way of thy favor and from prosperity. The rendering in the common version, however, is more in conformity with the idea in the original.

18. declined—turned aside from God's law. Is not turned back, to wit, from thee, or thy worship and service, unto idols, as it follows, Psalm 44:20.

Neither have our steps declined from thy way: because it is easy and ordinary falsely to pretend sincerity of heart, which men cannot discern nor confute, they prove it from the unblamableness of their lives and actions.

Our heart is not turned back,.... To its original hardness, blindness, and bondage, to its former sin and folly, to cherish, gratify, and fulfil its lusts and desires; not from God, from love to him, faith in him, and desires after him; nor from his worship and service; their trials had no such influence upon them as to cause them to apostatize from God, neither in heart, nor in action;

neither have our steps declined from thy way; from the way of his commandments, from the paths of holiness, truth, and faith, being directed and guided therein by the counsel of the Lord, and kept and preserved by his power.

Our heart is not turned back, neither have our steps declined from thy way;
Verse 18. - Our heart is not turned back; i.e. turned away from God, as it was when they passed through the wilderness (Psalm 78:41). Neither have our steps declined from thy way. Neither in respect of inward feeling nor of outward act have we strayed from the right path. Psalm 44:18(Heb.: 44:18-22) If Israel compares its conduct towards God with this its lot, it cannot possibly regard it as a punishment that it has justly incurred. Construed with the accusative, בּוא signifies, as in Psalm 35:8; Psalm 36:12, to come upon one, and more especially of an evil lot and of powers that are hostile. שׁקּר, to lie or deceive, with בּ of the object on whom the deception or treachery is practised, as in Psalm 89:34. In Psalm 44:19 אשּׁוּר is construed as fem., exactly as in Job 31:8; the fut. consec. is also intended as such (as e.g., in Job 3:10; Numbers 16:14): that our step should have declined from, etc.; inward apostasy is followed by outward wandering and downfall. This is therefore not one of the many instances in which the לא of one clause also has influence over the clause that follows (Ges. 152, 3). כּי, Psalm 44:20, has the sense of quod: we have not revolted against Thee, that Thou shouldest on that account have done to us the thing which is now befallen us. Concerning תּנּיּם vid., Isaiah 13:22. A "place of jackals" is, like a habitation of dragons (Jeremiah 10:22), the most lonesome and terrible wilderness; the place chosen was, according to this, an inhospitable מדבר, far removed from the dwellings of men. כּסּה is construed with על of the person covered, and with בּ of that with which (1 Samuel 19:13) he is covered: Thou coveredst us over with deepest darkness (vid., Psalm 23:4). אם, Psalm 44:21, is not that of asseveration (verily we have not forgotten), but, as the interrogatory apodosis Psalm 44:22 shows, conditional: if we have ( equals should have) forgotten. This would not remain hidden from Him who knoweth the heart, for the secrets of men's hearts are known to Him. Both the form and matter here again strongly remind one of Job 31, more especially Job 31:4; cf. also on תּעלמות, Job 11:6; Job 28:11.
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