There be many that say, Who will show us any good? LORD, lift you up the light of your countenance on us.
I. WHAT ARE WE TO UNDERSTAND BY THE LIGHT OF GOD'S COUNTENANCE. The light of one's countenance denotes that peculiar aspect which bespeaks affection and favour. By the light of God's countenance we understand that clear and full manifestation of God to the soul, which assures it of an interest in His favour. There is a manifestation of God to the soul of the Christian, which is not enjoyed by other men, even with the Bible in their hands, nor always by the Christian himself. Though he does not pass beyond the limits of the written revelation, yet he sees in a peculiar manner what lies within its limits. He sees God, the great object of this revelation, in the light and radiance of reality. This manifestation of God is made to the Christian in the exercise of holy affections, and he is therefore assured of the Divine favour through the promises. In proportion to the strength and intenseness of holy affections, the misgivings of doubt, and fluctuations of faith, vanish. The assurance consequent on this manifestation of God to the soul is through the medium of the Divine promises. Whether God has promised — whether God is faithful, is not a matter of doubt to the Christian's mind.
II. WHY THE CHRISTIAN DESIRES THE LIGHT OF GOD'S COUNTENANCE ABOVE ALL EARTHLY GOOD.
1. He thus values and desires it, as it removes a sense of quilt from his mind.
2. He desires it for its own inherent consolation. This state of mind implies the serenity of unreserved confidence. Confidence in God, under a full manifestation of God. In this state there is a peculiar manifestation of God's love to the Christian. There is, also, between the soul and God, a delightful fellowship of affection and of interests.
3. He desires it, as it gives assurance of those future blessings which are the objects of hope. Thus we see why Christians so often mourn the hidings of God's face. The subject addresses those who have been taught to value and desire the light of God's countenance above all things.
(N. W. Taylor, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: There be many that say, Who will shew us any good? LORD, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us.