You will show me the path of life: in your presence is fullness of joy; at your right hand there are pleasures for ever more.
Beyond the fact that this Psalm was written by David, we know nothing of the circumstances of its authorship. It is evidently called forth by some signal display of the Divine goodness. The Psalmist felt round about him the strengthening sense of that protecting power and presence of God which filled his heart with confidence and made his cup to overflow with the wine of joy.
I. EVERY TRUE RELIGIOUS SENTIMENT MEETS WITH UNIVERSAL RESPONSE. Like as the aesthetic sentiments of mankind, our best feelings of the beautiful in art and music, were given to the Greeks to preserve and develop; so the religious sentiments of mankind, our feelings of the Divine and spiritual, seem to have been the especial care and heritage of the Jewish race. And as our feelings of beauty are eternal, so that Greek art and poetry will never be unappreciated, so are our intuitions of righteousness, our yearnings for the Divine eternal, and hence the Bible will never die, its perennial fountain will never dry up.
II. LIFE IS UNIVERSALLY DESIRED. Else why the frantic struggles to maintain it, even in its most wretched conditions. Only when reason has lost her sway does the suicide do his work.
III. BUT NONE CAN SAY WHAT LIFE IS, any more than we can say what electricity is, what gravitation is. We see it, we feel it, we are conscious of it; but that is all. We know it only by its manifestations, and if we can see in what these agree, what they have in common, our text will have much meaning. The exotic cannot bear frost, the camellia from the hothouse perishes before it. The luxuriously reared child suddenly flung into poverty and want would probably die. Now, in all these cases there has been change in the surroundings; but if, with the changed outward conditions in each case, the inward conditions as well could have been changed, the mischief in each case would not have happened. But they were not so changed, and so there was either death or else a diminution of the powers of living. For life, then, there is needed the complete correspondence between the inward nature and the outward surroundings, harmony between them and our nature. Apply all this to the spiritual life. For this life also there must be harmony between itself and its surroundings. What are these, what its soil, atmosphere, elements of growth, its habitat or dwelling place? God — is the answer; there is none other. God revealed as our spiritual Father is the spirit's fit outward surroundings, its external relations. Hence, would we live the true spiritual life we must be in harmony with God, our environment. The low, sensual, selfish life kills the spiritual life, as the frost killed the flower. But where, as in Christ supremely, there is harmony between God and the soul, there is the true life. Christ is the way, because He is the revelation of God.
(H. Varley, B. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.