You have also given me the shield of your salvation: and your right hand has held me up, and your gentleness has made me great.
Hengstenberg calls this Psalm the great hallelujah of David's life, and one with which he retires from the theatre of action. David was at his best when he wrote these words. There were times when he was not fitted to pen such an ode.
I. THE CHARACTER OF TRUE GREATNESS. The world has admired and even deified the human earthward side of greatness, and overlooked the spiritual, Godward side. Men have exalted power, wealth, intellectual superiority above character or moral greatness, founded in faith, purity, and trust in God. Since the religion of Jesus Christ has prevailed, men are beginning to put character in the light of His matchless Excellence. How far like Him is any admired character? It is a cheerful sign that Christian communities demand some degree of moral greatness in those called to posts of power. The greatest nations of the globe are Christian. The most influential statesmen are reverent in their attitude, if not professedly converted men. True greatness is moral goodness.
II. THE SOURCE OF THIS TRUE GREATNESS. David is here reviewing his life. He is getting at the force that wrought in all these years and led him safely on and up, that has developed an inward life as well as an outward opulence and power. It is God. "Thy gentleness hath made me great." This word "gentleness" is translated condescension or benignity. It is gracious kindness to one's referrer. The sun pours its fervid rays on the earth, kiting its flowers and fruits into beauty, and ripening its bounty year by year. So the face of God, like Divine sunshine, calls out of you and me all that is good and really great. We realise this fact as we muse on the Divine love, so unwearied and continuous through our lives. Let us all strive to realise that God's eye of love rests on us. He sees our joy and grief, our loss and gain, our sin and our sorrow. Let us ever keep the windows of our life open to Him. God's benignant grace makes us truly great.
(George E. Reed, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy right hand hath holden me up, and thy gentleness hath made me great.