C.H. Spurgeons's The Treasury of David
Verse 28. But it is good for me to draw near to God. Had he done so at first he would not have been immersed in such affliction; when he did so he escaped from his dilemma, and if he continued to do so he would not fall into the same evil again. The greater our nearness to God, the less we are affected by the attractions and distractions of earth. Access into the most holy place is a great privilege, and a cure for a multitude of ills. It is good for all saints, it is good for me in particular; it is always good, and always will be good for me to approach the greatest good, the source of all good, even God himself.
I have put my trust in the Lord God. He dwells upon the glorious name of the Lord Jehovah, and avows it as the basis of his faith. Faith is wisdom; it is the key of enigmas, the clue of mazes, and the pole star of pathless seas. Trust and you will know.
That I may declare all thy works. He who believes shall understand, and so be able to teach. Asaph hesitated to utter his evil surmisings, but he has no diffidence in publishing abroad a good matter. God's ways are the more admired the more they are known. He who is ready to believe the goodness of God shall always see fresh goodness to believe in, and he who is willing to declare the works of God shall never be silent for lack of wonders to declare.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 28. It is good for me to draw near to God. When he saith, it is good, his meaning is it is best. This positive is superlative. It is more than good for us to draw nigh to God at all times, it is best for us to do so, and it is at our utmost peril not to do so; For, lo, saith the psalmist (Psalms 73:27), they that are far from thee shall perish: thou hast destroyed all them that go a whoring from thee. It is dangerous to be far from God, but it is more dangerous to go far from him. Every man is far off by nature, and wicked men go further off: the former shall perish, the latter shall be destroyed. He that fares best in his withdrawing from God, fares bad enough; therefore, it is best for us to draw nigh unto God. He is the best friend at all times, and the only friend at sometimes. And may we not say that God suffers and orders evil times, and the withdrawing of the creature, for that very end, that we might draw nearer unto him? Doth he not give up the world to a spirit of reviling and mocking that he may stir up in his people a spirit of prayer? Joseph Caryl.
Verse 28. It is good; that is, it puts in us a blessed quality and disposition. It makes a man to be like God himself; and, secondly, it is good, that is, it is comfortable; for it is the happiness of the creature to be near the Creator; it is beneficial and helpful. To draw near. How can a man but be near to God, seeing he filleth heaven and earth: "Whither shall I go from thy presence?" Psalms 139:7. He is present always in power and providence in all places, but graciously present with some by his Spirit, supporting, comforting, strengthening the heart of a good man. As the soul is said to be tota in toto, in several parts by several faculties, so God, is present to all, but in a diverse manner. Now we are said to be near to God in diverse degrees: first, when our understanding is enlightened; intellectus est veritatis sponsa; and so the young man speaking discreetly in things concerning God, is said not to be far from the kingdom of God, Mark 12:34. Secondly, in minding: when God is present to our minds, so that the soul is said to be present to that which it minds; contrarily it is said of the wicked, that "God is not in all their thoughts," Psalms 10:4. Thirdly, when the will upon the discovery of the understanding comes to choose the better part, and is drawn from that choice to cleave to him, as it was said of Jonathan's heart, "it was knit to David," 1 Samuel 18:1. Fourthly, when our whole affections are carried to God, loving him as the chief good. Love is the firstborn affection. That breeds desire of communion with God. Thence comes joy in him, so that the soul pants after God, "as the hart after the water springs," Psalms 41:1. Fifthly, and especially, when the soul is touched with the Spirit of God working faith, stirring up dependence, confidence, and trust on God. Hence ariseth sweet communion. The soul is never at rest till it rests on him. Then it is afraid to break with him or to displease him; but it groweth zealous and resolute, and hot in love, stiff in good cases; resolute against his enemies. And yet this is not all, for God will have also the outward man, so as the whole man must present itself before God in word, in sacraments; speak of him and to him with reverence, and yet with strength of affection mounting up in prayer, as in a fiery chariot; hear him speak to us; consulting with his oracles; fetching comforts against distresses, directions against maladies. Sixthly, and especially, we draw near to him when we praise him; for this is the work of the souls departed, and of the angels in heaven, that are continually near unto him. The prophet here saith, It is good for me. How came he to know this? Why, he had found it by experience, and by it he was thoroughly convinced. Richard Sibbes.
Verse 28. To draw near to God. It is not one isolated act. It is nor merely turning to God, and saying, "I have come to him." The expression is draw. It is not a single act; it is the drawing, the coming, the habitual walk, going on, and on, and on, so long as we are on earth. It is, therefore, an habitual religion which must be pressed and enforced upon us. Montagu Villiers. 1855.
Verse 28. To draw near to God. To draw near to God,
- A man should make his peace with God, in and through the Mediator Jesus Christ; for, until once that be done, a man must be said to be far from God, and there is a partition wall standing betwixt God and him. It is the same with that advice given by Eliphaz to Job: "Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace: thereby good shall come unto thee," Job 22:21. Be friends with God, and all shall be well with you.
- It is to seek more after communion and fellowship with God, and to pursue after intimacy and familiarity with him; and to have more of his blessed company with us in our ordinary walk and conversation; according to that word, "Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O Lord, in the light of thy countenance," Psalms 89:15.
- As it stands here in the text, it is the expression of one who hath made up his peace already, and is on good terms with God; and doth differ a little from what the words absolutely imply; and so we may take it thus,
- It implies the confirming or making sure our interest in God, and so it supposes the man's peace to be made with God; for, whoever be the author of this Psalm, it supposes he has made his peace; and, therefore, in the following words it is subjoined, I have put my trust in the Lord, etc.; that is, I have trusted my soul unto God, and made my peace with him through a mediator. It is good, whatever comes, it is always good to be near to God, that way, and to be made sure in him.
(b) It implies to be more conformed unto the image of God, and, therefore, this nearness to him is opposed to that of being far from God. It is good, says he to draw near to God in our duty; when so many are far from him.
(c) It implies, to lay by all things in the world, and to seek fellowship and communion with God, and to be more set apart for his blessed company, and to walk with him in a dependence upon him as the great burden bearer, as he who is to be all in all unto us.
In a word, to draw near unto God, is to make our peace with him, and to secure and confirm that peace with him, and to study a conformity unto him, and to be near unto him in our walk and conversation; in our fellowship, and whole carriage, and deportment, to be always near unto him. William Guthrie.
Verse 28. The Epicurean, says Augustine, is wont to say, It is good for me to enjoy the pleasures of the flesh: the Stoic is wont to say, For me it is good to enjoy the pleasures of the mind: The Apostle used to say (not in words but in sense), It is good for me to cleave to God. Lorinus.
Verse 28. The Lord God. The names The Lord Jehovah are a combination expressive of God's sovereignty, self existence, and covenant relation to his people. Joseph Addison Alexander.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 28. To draw near to God is our wisdom, our honour, our safety, our peace, our riches. Thomas Watson's Sermon, "The Happiness of Drawing near to God." 1669. See also, "The Saint's Happiness," R. Sibbes's Sermons.
Verse 28. David's conclusion; or, the saint's resolution. R. Sibbes.
- The language of prayer: It is good, etc.
- Of faith: I have put, etc.
- Of praise: That I may declare. G. R.
Verse 28. See "Spurgeon's Sermons," Nos. 287-8, "Let us pray." No. 879, "An assuredly good thing."