Psalm 5:11
But let all those that put their trust in you rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because you defend them: let them also that love your name be joyful in you.
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(11) Rejoice.—From root meaning primarily bright. Proverbs 13:9 : “The light of the righteous rejoiceth.”

Shield.—Heb., tsinnah. The long large shield fit for a giant (1Samuel 17:7; 1Samuel 17:41), which could protect the whole body.

Luther, when asked at Augsburg where he should find shelter if his patron, the Elector of Saxony, should desert him, replied, “under the shield of heaven.” The image is finely elaborated in Browning’s Instans Tyrannus:

“When sudden—How think ye the end?

Did I say without friend?

Say, rather, from marge to blue marge,

The whole sky grew his targe

With the sun’s self for visible boss;

While an arm ran across

Which the earth heaved beneath like a breast

Where the wretch was safe pressed.

Do you see? Just my vengeance complete.

The man sprang to his feet.

Stood erect, caught at God’s skirts, and prayed—

So I was afraid.”



Psalm 5:11 - Psalm 5:12

I have ventured to isolate these three clauses from their context, because, if taken in their sequence, they are very significant of the true path by which men draw nigh to God and become righteous. They are all three designations of the same people, but regarded under different aspects and at different stages. There is a distinct order in them, and whether the Psalmist was fully conscious of it or not, he was anticipating and stating, with wonderful distinctness, the Christian sequence-faith, love, righteousness.

These three are the three flights of stairs, as it were, which lead men up to God and to perfection, or if you like to take another metaphor, meaning the same thing, they are respectively the root, the stalk, and the fruit of religion. ‘They that put their trust in Thee . . . them also that love Thy Name . . . the righteous.’

I. So, then, the first thought here is that the foundation of all is trust.

Now, the word that is employed here is very significant. In its literal force it really means to ‘flee to a refuge.’ And that the literal signification has not altogether been lost in the spiritual and metaphorical use of it, as a term expressive of religious experience, is quite plain from many of the cases in which it occurs. Let me just repeat one of them to you. ‘Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful to me, for my soul trusteth in Thee; yea, in the shadow of Thy wings will I make my refuge.’ There the picture that is in the words is distinctly before the Psalmist’s mind, and he is thinking not only of the act of mind and heart by which he casts himself in confidence upon God, but upon that which represents it in symbol, the act by which a man flees into some hiding-place. The psalm is said in the superscription to have been written when David hid in a cave from his persecutor. Though no weight be given to that statement, it suggests the impression made by the psalm. In imagination we can see the rough sides of the cavern that sheltered him arching over the fugitive, like the wings of some great bird, and just as he has fled thither with eager feet and is safely hidden from his pursuers there, so he has betaken himself to the everlasting Rock, in the cleft of which he is at rest and secure. To trust in God is neither more nor less than to flee to Him for refuge, and there to be at peace. The same presence of the original metaphor, colouring the same religious thought, is found in the beautiful words with which Boaz welcomes Ruth, when he prays for her that the God of Israel may reward her, ‘under the shadow of whose wings thou hast come to trust.’

So, as a man in peril runs into a hiding-place or fortress, as the chickens beneath the outspread wing of the mother bird nestle close in the warm feathers and are safe and well, the soul that trusts takes its flight straight to God, and in Him reposes and is secure.

Now, it seems to me that such a figure as that is worth tons of theological lectures about the true nature of faith, and that it tells us, by means of a picture that says a great deal more than many a treatise, that faith is something very different from a cold-blooded act of believing in the truth of certain propositions; that it is the flight of the soul-knowing itself to be in peril, and naked, and unarmed-into the strong Fortress.

What is it that keeps a man safe when he thus has around him the walls of some citadel? Is it himself, is it the act by which he took refuge, or is it the battlements behind which he crouches? So in faith-which is more than a process of a man’s understanding, and is not merely the saying, ‘Yes, I believe all that is in the Bible is true; at any rate, it is not for me to contradict it,’ but is the running of the man, when he knows himself to be in danger, into the very arms of God-it is not the running that makes him safe, but it is the arms to which he runs.

If we would only lay to heart that the very essence of religion lies in this ‘flight of the lonely soul to the only God,’ we should understand better than we do what He asks from us in order that He may defend us, and how blessed and certain His defence is. So let us clear our minds from the thought that anything is worth calling trust which is not thus taking refuge in God Himself.

Now, I need not remind you, I suppose, that all this is just as true about us as it was about David, and that the emotion or the act of his will and heart which he expresses in these words of my text is neither more nor less than the Christian act of faith. There is no difference except a difference of development; there is no difference between the road to God marked out in the Psalms, and the road to God laid down in the Gospels. The Psalmist who said, ‘Trust ye in the Lord for ever,’ and the Apostle who said, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved,’ were preaching identically the same doctrine. One of them could speak more fully than the other could of the Person on whom trust was to be rested, but the trust itself was the same, and the Person on whom it rested was the same, though His Name of old was Jehovah, and His Name to-day is ‘Immanuel, God with us.’

Nor need I do more than point out how the context of the words that I have ventured to detach from their surroundings is instructive: ‘Let all those that put their trust in Thee rejoice because Thou defendest them.’ The word for defending there continues the metaphor that lies in the word for ‘trust,’ for it means literally to cover over and so to protect. Thus, when a man runs to God for His refuge, God

‘Covers his defenceless head With the shadow of His wings.’

And the joy of trust is, first, that it brings round me the whole omnipotence of God for my defence, and the whole tenderness of God for my consolation, and next, that in the very exercise of trust in such defence, so fortified and vindicated by experience, there is great reward. All who thus flee into the refuge shall find refuge whither they flee, and shall be glad.

II. Then the next thought of my texts, which I do not force into them, but which results, as it seems to me, distinctly from the order in which they occur in the context, is that love follows trust.

‘All those that put their trust in Thee-they also that love Thee.’ If I am to love God, I must be quite sure that God loves me. My love can never be anything else than an answer to His. It can only be secondary and derived, or I would rather say reflected and flashed back from His. And so, very significantly, the Psalmist says, ‘Those that love Thy Name,’ meaning by ‘Name,’ as is always meant by it, the revealed character of God. If I am to love God, He must not hide in the darkness behind His infinity, but must come out and give me something about Him that I know. The three letters G O D mean nothing, and there is no power in them to stir a man’s heart. It must be the knowledge of the acts of God that brings men to love Him. And there is no way of getting that knowledge but through the faith which, as I said, must precede love. For faith realises the fact that God loves. ‘We have known and believed the love that God hath to us.’ The first step is to grasp the great truth of the loving God, and through that truth to grasp the God that loves. And then, and not till then, does there spring up in a man’s heart love towards Him. But it is only the faith that is set on Him who hath declared the Father unto us that gives us for our very own the grasp of the facts, which facts are the only possible fuel that can kindle love in a human heart. ‘We love Him because He first loved us,’ and we shall never know that He loves us unless we come to the knowledge through the road of faith. So John himself tells us when he says, in the words that I have already quoted, ‘We have known and believed.’ He puts the foundation last, ‘We have known,’ because ‘we have believed’ ‘the love that God hath to us.’

And so faith is the only possible means by which any of us can ever experience, as well as realise, the love that kindles ours. It is the possession of the fact of redemption for my very own and of the blessings which accompany it, and that alone, that binds a man to God in the bonds of love that cannot be broken, and that subdues and unites all vagrant emotions, affections, and desires in the mighty tide of a love that ever sets towards Him. As surely as the silvery moon in the sky draws after it the heaped waters of the ocean all round the world, so God’s love draws ours. They that believe contemplate, and they that believe experience the effects of that divine love, which must be experienced ere our answering love can be flashed back to heaven.

Students of acoustics tell us that if you have two stringed instruments in adjacent apartments, tuned to the same pitch, a note sounded on one of them will be feebly vibrated upon the other as soon as the waves of sound have reached the sensitive string. In like manner a man’s heart gives off a faint, but musical, little tinkle of answering love to God when the deep note of God’s love to him, struck on the chords of heaven up yonder, reaches his poor heart.

Love follows trust. So, brethren, if we desire to be warmed, let us get into the sunshine and abide there. If we desire to have our hearts filled with love to God, do not let us waste our time in trying to pump up artificial emotions or to persuade ourselves that we love Him better than we do, but let us fix our thoughts and fasten our refuge-seeking trust on Him, and then that shall kindle ours.

III. Lastly, righteousness follows trust and love.

The last description here of the man who begins as a believer and then advances to being a lover is righteous. That is the evangelical order. That is the great blessing and beauty of Christianity, that it goes an altogether different way to work to make men good from that which any other system has ever dreamed of. It says, first of all, trust, and that will create love and that will ensure obedience. Faith leads to righteousness because, in the very act of trusting God, I come out of myself, and going out of myself and ceasing from all self-admiration and self-dependence and self-centred life is the beginning of all good and has in it the germ of all righteousness, even as to live for self is the mother tincture out of which we can make all sins.

And faith leads to righteousness in another way. Open the heart and Christ comes in. Trust Him and He fills our poor nature with ‘the law of the Spirit of life that was in Christ Jesus,’ and that ‘makes me free from the law of sin and death.’ Righteousness, meaning thereby just what irreligious men mean by it-viz. good living, plain obedience to the ordinary recognised dictates of morality, going straight-that is most surely attained when we cease from our own works and say to Jesus Christ, ‘Lord, I cannot walk in the narrow path. Do Thou Thyself come to me and fill my heart and keep my feet.’ They that trust and love are ‘found in Him, not having their own righteousness, but that which is of God by faith.’

And love leads to righteousness because it brings the one motive into play in our hearts which turns duty into delight, toil into joy, and makes us love better to do what will please our beloved Lover than anything besides. Why did Jesus Christ say, ‘My yoke is easy and My burden is light’? Was it because He diminished the weight of duties or laid down an easier slipshod morality than had been enjoined before? No! He intensified it all, and His Commandment is far harder to flesh and blood than any commandments that were ever given. But for all that, the yoke that He lays upon our necks is, if I may so say, padded with velvet; and the burden that we have to draw behind us is laid upon wheels that will turn so easily that the load is diminished, inasmuch as for Duty He substitutes Himself and says to us, ‘If ye love Me, keep My Commandments.’

So, dear brethren! here is a very easily applied, and a very far-reaching test for us who call ourselves Christians: Does our love and does our trust culminate in practical righteousness? We are all tempted to make too much of the emotions of the religious life, and too little of its persistent, dogged obedience. We are all too apt to think that a Christian is a man that believes in Jesus Christ. ‘Justification by faith alone without the works of the law’ used to be the watchword of the Evangelical Church. It might be so held as to be either a blessed truth or a great error, and many of us make it an error instead of a blessing.

On the other hand, there is only one way by which righteousness can be attained, and that is: first by faith and then by love. Here are three steps: ‘we have known and believed the love that God hath to us’; that is the broad, bottom step. And above it ‘we love Him because He first loved us,’ that is the central one. And on the top of all, ‘herein is our love made perfect that we keep His Commandments.’ They that trust are they also who love Thy Name, and they who trust through love are, and only they are, the righteous.Psalm 5:11-12. But let those that put their trust in thee — That dare rely on thy word and promise when all human hopes and refuges fail; rejoice —

Let them have cause of great joy from thy love and care of them; because thou defendest them — As it follows. Let them also that love thy name — That is, thy majesty and glory, thy word and worship, all which is called God’s name, in Scripture; be joyful — Hebrew, יעלצו, jangletzu, exult in thee. Thus David does not confine his prayer to his party, but prays for, and predicts the happiness of all good men, though some of them, through their own mistakes, or other men’s artifices, might now be in a state of opposition to him. And so, as the preceding verse foretold the perdition of the ungodly, this describes the happiness of the saints. For thou, Lord, wilt bless the righteous — Thou hast engaged thyself by promise and covenant, and art resolved to bless them, and therefore my prayer for them is agreeable to thy will; with favour — With thy love and gracious providence; wilt thou compass him as with a shield — That is, keep him safe on every side. 5:7-12 David prayed often alone, yet was very constant in attendance on public worship. The mercy of God should ever be the foundation both of our hope and of our joy, in every thing wherein we have to do with him. Let us learn to pray, not for ourselves only, but for others; grace be with all that love Christ in sincerity. The Divine blessing comes down upon us through Jesus Christ, the righteous or just One, as of old it did upon Israel through David, whom God protected, and placed upon the throne. Thou, O Christ, art the righteous Saviour, thou art the King of Israel, thou art the Fountain of blessing to all believers; thy favour is the defence and protection of thy church.But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice - Compare the notes at Psalm 2:12. That is, they have occasion to rejoice in thee and in thy protection. The wicked have everything to dread, for they must be cut off; but the righteous have every reason to be happy, for they shall partake of the favor of God. This is, at the same time, the earnest expression of a desire that they might rejoice, and that the dealings of God with them might be such that they would ever "have occasion" for joy.

Let them even shout for joy - Internal joy or happiness is often expressed by shouting, or singing, as the word used here frequently signifies. The meaning is, that they should give every proper expression to their feeling of joy. This may be done by singing, or by grateful ascriptions of praise and gratitude.

Because thou defendest them - While the wicked are cut off Psalm 5:10. The psalmist, in this expression, doubtless had a primary reference to himself and to those who adhered to him in his righteous cause; but, as is common in the Psalms, he gives to the sentiment a general form, that it might be useful to all who fear and love God.

Let them also that love thy name - That love thee - the name being often put for the person. This is but another form of designating the righteous, for it is one of their characteristics that they love the name of God.

Be joyful in thee - Rejoice in thee - in thine existence, thy perfections, thy government, thy law, thy dealings, thy service; in all that thou hast revealed of thyself, and in all that thou doest. Compare Philippians 3:1, note; Philippians 4:4, note. It is one of the characteristics of the truly pious that they do find their happiness in God. They rejoice that there is a God, and that he is just such a being as he is; and they take delight in contemplating his perfections, in the evidences of his favor and friendship, in communion with him, in doing his will.

11. defendest—(compare Margin).

love thy name—Thy manifested perfections (Ps 9:10).

11 But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee.

Joy is the privilege of the believer. When sinners are destroyed our rejoicing shall be full. They laugh first and weep ever after; we weep now, but shall rejoice eternally. When they howl we shall shout, and as they must groan for ever, so shall we ever shout for joy. This holy bliss of ours has affirm foundation, for O Lord, we are joyful in thee. The eternal God is the well-spring of our bliss. We love God, and therefore we delight in him. Our heart is at ease in our God. We fare sumptuously every day because we feed on him. We have music in the house, music in the heart, and music in heaven, for the Lord Jehovah is our strength and our song; he also is become our salvation.

Those that put their trust in thee; that dare rely upon thy word and promise when all human hopes and refuges fail; which was oft the case of David and his followers.

Rejoice; let them have cause of great joy from thy love and care of them, and because thou defendest them, as it follows.

Thy name, i.e. thy majesty, thy word, and worship, and glory; all which is called God’s name in Scripture. David doth not confine his prayer to his party, but prays for all good men, though by their own mistakes, Or other men’s artifices, some of them might now be in a state of opposition against him. But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice,.... Who trust not in themselves, in their own hearts, in their righteousness, or riches, or strength; but in the name, righteousness, and strength of the Lord: who betake themselves to him, and put all their confidence in him: let them rejoice in the salvation of the Lord, and in hope of eternal glory and happiness;

let them even shout for joy: not only rejoice inwardly, but express their joy externally, with their voices, and in the loudest manner; and that always, the matter and foundation of a believer's joy always continues; and so does the grace itself: though it is not always in exercise, yet it is an everlasting joy; and with it the redeemed of the Lord will come to Zion, and no man will be able to take away their joy. Which distinguishes it from the triumphing of the wicked, and the joy of the hypocrite, which is but for a moment;

because thou defendest them, or "coverest them" (w); with the feathers of divine protection, under the shadow of his wings, and with the hollow of his hand: so God preserves his people, keeps them by his power, as the apple of his eye, and is a wall of fire round about them. Which is a good reason why they should rejoice, and shout for joy;

let them also that love thy name; as all that put their trust in the, Lord do; they love the Lord himself, because of the perfections of his nature, and the works of his hands, and for what he has done for them: they love all they know of him; they love him in all his persons, Father, Son, and Spirit; and every name of his, by which he has made himself known. They love, admire, and adore all his attributes and perfections, as they are displayed in the works of creation and providence; and especially in redemption by Jesus Christ, where they all gloriously meet together; and in whom God has proclaimed his name gracious and merciful. They love his word, his Gospel, by which he is made known; and they love his people, on whom his name is called, and who call upon his name. And let such, says the psalmist,

be joyful in thee: not rejoice in their boasting of their wisdom, strength, riches, and righteousness; all such rejoicing is evil: but in the Lord, in his grace, righteousness, and salvation. He is the only true proper object of spiritual joy; and there is good reason for it, from what follows.

(w) "et operies super eos", Vatablus; "operies et proteges eos", Michaelis.

But {h} let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee.

(h) Your favour toward me will confirm the faith of all others.

11. We may render more exactly:

So shall all those that take refuge in thee rejoice,

They shall ever shout for joy while thou protectest them,

And they that love thy name shall exult in thee.

The punishment of the wicked according to their deeds is an occasion for the universal rejoicing of the godly. Not only do they sympathise with their fellow-saint in his deliverance, but they see in it a vindication of Jehovah’s righteous government, and an assurance that those who have put themselves under His protection will not find their confidence misplaced.

that love thy name] Cp. Psalm 69:36, Psalm 119:132. ‘The Name of Jehovah’ is the compendious expression for His character and attributes as He has revealed them to men. See Oehler’s O.T. Theology, § 56. Needs must those who love Him as He has revealed Himself rejoice when He proves Himself true to His promises.

defendest them] Protectest, or shelterest them; in Thy secret pavilion (Psalm 27:5, Psalm 31:20); or, under Thy outspread wings (Psalm 91:4).Verse 11. - But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice. David is fond of contrasts. Here he sots the lot of the righteous over against that of the wicked. While the wicked "fall," and are "cast out," or "thrust down' to hell, the righteous "rejoice " - nay, ever shout for joy, displaying their feelings in the true Oriental manner. Because thou defendest them. There is no "because" in the original. The passage runs on without any change of construction, "Let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice; let them ever shout for joy, and do thou defend them; and let them that love thy Name be joyful in thee." (Heb.: 5:5-7) The basing of the prayer on God's holiness. The verbal adjective חפץ (coming from the primitive signification of adhering firmly which is still preserved in Arab. chfd, fut. i.) is in the sing. always (Psalm 34:13; Psalm 35:27) joined with the accusative. רע is conceived as a person, for although גּוּר may have a material object, it cannot well have a material subject. יגרך is used for brevity of expression instead of יגוּר עמּך (Ges. 121, 4). The verb גּוּר (to turn in, to take up one's abode with or near any one) frequently has an accusative object, Psalm 120:5, Judges 5:17, and Isaiah 33:14 according to which the light of the divine holiness is to sinners a consuming fire, which they cannot endure. Now there follow specific designations of the wicked. הוללים part. Kal equals hōlalim, or even Poal equals hôlalim ( equals מהוללים),

(Note: On the rule, according to which here, as in שׁוררי Psalm 5:9 and the like, a simple Sheb mobile goes over into Chateph pathach with Gaja preceding it, vid., the observations on giving a faithful representation of the O.T. text according to the Masora in the Luther Zeitschr. 1863. S. 411. The Babylonian Ben-Naphtali (about 940) prefers the simple Sheb in such cases, as also in others; Ben-Asher of the school of Tiberias, whom the Masora follows, and whom consequently our Masoretic text ought to follow, prefers the Chateph, vid., Psalter ii.-460-467.)

are the foolish, and more especially foolish boasters; the primary notion of the verb is not that of being hollow, but that of sounding, then of loud boisterous, non-sensical behaviour. Of such it is said, that they are not able to maintain their position when they become manifest before the eye of God (לנגד as in Psalm 101:7 manifest before any one, from נגד to come forward, be visible far off, be distinctly visible). פעלי און are those who work (οἱ ἐργαζόμενοι Matthew 7:23) iniquity; און breath (ἄνεμος) is sometimes trouble, in connection with which one pants, sometimes wickedness, in which there is not even a trace of any thing noble, true, or pure. Such men Jahve hates; for if He did not hate evil (Psalm 11:5), His love would not be a holy love. In דּברי כזב, דּברי is the usual form in combination when the plur. is used, instead of מדבּרי. It is the same in Psalm 58:4. The style of expression is also Davidic in other respects, viz., אישׁ דּמים וּמרמה as in Psalm 55:24, and אבּד as in Psalm 9:6, cf. Psalm 21:11. תּעב (in Amos, Amos 6:8 תּאב) appears to be a secondary formation from עוּב, like תּאב to desire, from אבה, and therefore to be of a cognate root with the Aram. עיּב to despise, treat with indignity, and the Arabic ‛aib a stain (cf. on Lamentations 2:1). The fact that, as Hengstenberg has observed, wickedness and the wicked are described in a sevenfold manner is perhaps merely accidental.

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