David penned this psalm in his old age, as appears by several passages
in it, which makes many think that it was penned at the time of
Absalom's rebellion; for that was the great trouble of his later days.
It might be occasioned by Sheba's insurrection, or some trouble that
happened to him in that part of his life of which it was foretold that
the sword should not depart from his house. But he is not
over-particular in representing his case, because he intended it for
the general use of God's people in their afflictions, especially those
they meet with in their declining years; for this psalm, above any
other, is fitted for the use of the old disciples of Jesus Christ.
I. He begins the psalm with believing prayers, with prayers that God
would deliver him and save him
and not cast him off
or be far from him
and that his enemies might be put to shame,
He pleads his confidence in God
the experience he had had of help from God
and the malice of his enemies against him,
II. He concludes the psalm with believing praises
&c.). Never was his hope more established,
Never were his joys and thanksgivings more enlarged,
He is in an ecstasy of joyful praise; and, in the singing of it, we too
should have our faith in God encouraged and our hearts raised in
blessing his holy name.
|David Professes His Confidence in God; Believing Prayers.
1 In thee, O LORD, do I put my trust: let me never be put to
2 Deliver me in thy righteousness, and cause me to escape:
incline thine ear unto me, and save me.
3 Be thou my strong habitation, whereunto I may continually
resort: thou hast given commandment to save me; for thou art my
rock and my fortress.
4 Deliver me, O my God, out of the hand of the wicked, out of
the hand of the unrighteous and cruel man.
5 For thou art my hope, O Lord GOD: thou art my trust from
6 By thee have I been holden up from the womb: thou art he that
took me out of my mother's bowels: my praise shall be
continually of thee.
7 I am as a wonder unto many; but thou art my strong refuge.
8 Let my mouth be filled with thy praise and with thy
honour all the day.
9 Cast me not off in the time of old age; forsake me not when
my strength faileth.
10 For mine enemies speak against me; and they that lay wait
for my soul take counsel together,
11 Saying, God hath forsaken him: persecute and take him; for
there is none to deliver him.
12 O God, be not far from me: O my God, make haste for my help.
13 Let them be confounded and consumed that are adversaries
to my soul; let them be covered with reproach and dishonour
that seek my hurt.
Two things in general David here prays for--that he might not be
confounded and that his enemies and persecutors might be
I. He prays that he might never be made ashamed of his dependence upon
God nor disappointed in his believing expectations from him. With this
petition every true believer may come boldly to the throne of grace;
for God will never disappoint the hope that is of his own raising. Now
1. How David professes his confidence in God, and with what pleasure
and grateful variety of expression he repeats his profession of that
confidence, still presenting the profession of it to God and pleading
it with him. We praise God, and so please him, by telling him (if it be
indeed true) what an entire confidence we have in him
"In thee, O Lord! and in thee only, do I put my trust.
Whatever others do, I choose the God of Jacob for my help." Those that
are entirely satisfied with God's all-sufficiency and the truth of his
promise, and in dependence upon that, as sufficient to make them
amends, are freely willing to do and suffer, to lose and venture, for
him, may truly say, In thee, O Lord! do I put my trust. Those
that will deal with God must deal upon trust; if we are shy of dealing
with him, it is a sign we do not trust him. Thou art my rock and my
and again, "Thou art my refuge, my strong refuge"
that is, "I fly to thee, and am sure to be safe in thee, and under thy
protection. If thou secure me, none can hurt me. Thou art my hope
and my trust"
that is, "thou hast proposed thyself to me in thy word as the proper
object of my hope and trust; I have hoped in thee, and never found it
in vain to do so."
2. How his confidence in God is supported and encouraged by his
"Thou hast been my trust from my youth; ever since I was capable
of discerning between my right hand and my left, I stayed myself upon
thee, and saw a great deal of reason to do so; for by thee have I
been holden up from the womb." Ever since he had the use of his
reason he had been a dependent upon God's goodness, because ever since
he had had a being he had been a monument of it. Note, The
consideration of the gracious care which the divine Providence took of
us in our birth and infancy should engage us to an early piety and
constant devotedness to his honour. He that was our help from our birth
ought to be our hope from our youth. If we received so much mercy from
God before we were capable of doing him any service, we should lose no
time when we are capable. This comes in here as a support to the
psalmist in his present distress; not only that God had given him his
life and being, bringing him out of his mother's bowels into the world,
and providing that he should not die from the womb, nor give up the
ghost when he came out of the belly, but that he had betimes made him
one of his family: "Thou art he that took me out of my mother's bowels
into the arms of thy grace, under the shadow of thy wings, into the
bond of thy covenant; thou tookest me into thy church, as a son of thy
handmaid, and born in thy house,
(1.) "I have reason to hope that thou wilt protect me; thou that hast
held me up hitherto wilt not let me fall now; thou that madest me wilt
not forsake the work of thy own hands; thou that helpedst me when I
could not help myself wilt not abandon me now that I am as helpless as
I was then."
(2.) "Therefore I have reason to resolve that I will devote myself unto
thee: My praise shall therefore be continually of thee;" that
is, "I will make it my business every day to praise thee and will take
all occasions to do it."
3. What his requests to God are, in this confidence.
(1.) That he might never be put to confusion
that he might not be disappointed of the mercy he expected and so made
ashamed of his expectation. Thus we may all pray in faith that our
confidence in God may not be our confusion. Hope of the glory of God is
hope that makes not ashamed.
(2.) That he might be delivered out of the hand of his enemies
"Deliver me in thy righteousness. As thou art the righteous
Judge of the world, pleading the cause of the injured and punishing the
injurious, cause me in some way or other to escape" (God will, with the
temptation, make a way to escape,
1 Corinthians 10:13):
"Incline thy ear unto my prayers, and, in answer to them, save
me out of my troubles,
Deliver me, O my God! out of the hands of those that are ready to pull
me in pieces." Three things he pleads for deliverance:--
[1.] The encouragement God had given him to expect it: Thou hast
given commandment to save me
that is, thou hast promised to do it, and such efficacy is there in
God's promises that they are often spoken of as commands, like that,
Let there be light, and there was light. He speaks, and it is
[2.] The character of his enemies; they are wicked, unrighteous,
cruel men, and it will be for the honour of God to appear against
for he is a holy, just, and good God.
[3.] The many eyes that were upon him
"I am as a wonder unto many; every one waits to see what will be
the issue of such extraordinary troubles as I have fallen into and such
extraordinary confidence as I profess to have in God." Or, "I am looked
upon as a monster, am one whom every body shuns, and therefore am
undone if the Lord be not my refuge. Men abandon me, but God will
(3.) That he might always find rest and safety in God
Be thou my strong habitation; by thou to me a rock of repose,
whereto I may continually resort. Those that are at home in God,
that live a life of communion with him and confidence in him, that
continually resort unto him by faith and prayer, having their eyes ever
towards him, may promise themselves a strong habitation in him, such as
will never fall of itself nor can ever be broken through by any
invading power; and they shall be welcome to resort to him continually
upon all occasions, and not be upbraided as coming too often.
(4.) That he might have continual matter for thanksgiving to God, and
might be continually employed in that pleasant work
"Let my mouth be filled with thy praise, as now it is with my
complaints, and then I shall not be ashamed of my hope, but my enemies
will be ashamed of their insolence." Those that love God love to be
praising him, and desire to be doing it all the day, not only in their
morning and evening devotions, not only seven times a day
but all the day, to intermix with all they say something or
other that may redound to the honour and praise of God. They resolve to
do it while they live; they hope to be doing it eternally in a better
(5.) That he might not be neglected now in his declining years
Cast me not off now in the time of my old gage;
forsake me not when my strength fails. Observe here,
[1.] The natural sense he had of the infirmities of age: My strength
fails. Where there was strength of body and vigour of mind, strong
sight, a strong voice, strong limbs, alas! in old age they fail; the
life is continued, but the strength is gone, or that which is his
labour and sorrow,
[2.] The gracious desire he had of the continuance of God's presence
with him under these infirmities: Lord, cast me not off; do
not then forsake me. This intimates that he should look upon
himself as undone if God should abandon him. To be cast off and
forsaken of God is a thing to be dreaded at any time, especially in the
time of old age and when our strength fails us; for it is God that is
the strength of our heart. But it intimates that he had reason to hope
God would not desert him; the faithful servants of God may be
comfortably assured that he will not cast them off in old age, nor
forsake them when their strength fails them. He is a Master that is not
wont to cast off old servants. In this confidence David here prays
"O God! be not far from me; let me not be under the apprehension
of thy withdrawings, for then I am miserable. I my God! a God in
covenant with me, make haste for my help, lest I perish before
II. He prays that his enemies might be made ashamed of their designs
against him. Observe,
1. What it was which they unjustly said against him,
Their plot was deep and desperate; it was against his life: They lay
wait for my soul
and are adversaries to that,
Their powers and policies were combined: They take counsel
together. And very insolent they were in their deportment: They
say, God has forsaken him; persecute and take him. Here their
premises are utterly false, that because a good man was in great
trouble and had continued long in it, and was not so soon delivered as
perhaps he expected, therefore God had forsaken him and would have no
more to do with him. All are not forsaken of God who think themselves
so or whom others think to be so. And, as their premises were false, so
their inference was barbarous. If God has forsaken him, then persecute
and take him, and doubt not but to make a prey of him. This is
talking to the grief of one whom God has smitten,
But thus they endeavour to discourage David, as Sennacherib endeavoured
to intimidate Hezekiah by suggesting that God was his enemy and fought
against him. Have I now come up without the Lord against this city,
to destroy it?
It is true, if God has forsaken a man, there is none to deliver him;
but therefore to insult over him ill becomes those who are
conscious to themselves that they deserve to be for ever forsaken of
God. But rejoice not against me, O my enemy! though I fall, I shall
rise. He that seems to forsake for a small moment will gather with
2. What it was which he justly prayed for, from a spirit of prophecy,
not a spirit of passion
"Let them be confounded and consumed that are adversaries to my
soul. If they will not be confounded by repentance, and so saved,
let them be confounded with everlasting dishonour, and so ruined." God
will turn into shame the glory of those who turn into shame the glory
of God and his people.
|Joyful Praises; Rejoicing in Hope.
14 But I will hope continually, and will yet praise thee more
15 My mouth shall show forth thy righteousness and thy
salvation all the day; for I know not the numbers thereof.
16 I will go in the strength of the Lord GOD: I will make
mention of thy righteousness, even of thine only.
17 O God, thou hast taught me from my youth: and hitherto have
I declared thy wondrous works.
18 Now also when I am old and grayheaded, O God, forsake me
not; until I have showed thy strength unto this generation,
and thy power to every one that is to come.
19 Thy righteousness also, O God, is very high, who hast done
great things: O God, who is like unto thee!
20 Thou, which hast showed me great and sore troubles, shalt
quicken me again, and shalt bring me up again from the depths of
21 Thou shalt increase my greatness, and comfort me on every
22 I will also praise thee with the psaltery, even thy truth,
O my God: unto thee will I sing with the harp, O thou Holy One of
23 My lips shall greatly rejoice when I sing unto thee; and my
soul, which thou hast redeemed.
24 My tongue also shall talk of thy righteousness all the day
long: for they are confounded, for they are brought unto shame,
that seek my hurt.
David is here in a holy transport of joy and praise, arising from his
faith and hope in God; we have both together
where there is a sudden and remarkable change of his voice; his fears
are all silenced, his hopes raised, and his prayers turned into
thanksgivings. "Let my enemies say what they will, to drive me to
despair, I will hope continually, hope in all conditions, in the
most cloudy and dark day; I will live upon hope and will hope to the
end." Since we hope in one that will never fail us, let not our hope in
him fail us, and then we shall praise him yet more and more. "The more
they reproach me the more closely will I cleave to thee; I will
praise thee more and better than ever I have done yet." The longer
we live the more expert we should grow in praising God and the more we
should abound in it. I will add over and above all thy praise,
all the praise I have hitherto offered, for it is all too little. When
we have said all we can, to the glory of God's grace, there is still
more to be said; it is a subject that can never be exhausted, and
therefore we should never grow weary of it. Now observe, in these
I. How his heart is established in faith and hope; and it is a good
thing that the heart be so established. Observe,
1. What he hopes in,
(1.) In the power of God: "I will go in the strength of the Lord
God, not sit down in despair, but stir up myself to and exert
myself in my work and warfare, will go forth and go on, not in any
strength of my own, but in God's strength--disclaiming my own
sufficiency and depending on him only as all-sufficient--in the
strength of his providence and in the strength of his grace." We must
always go about God's work in his strength, having our eyes up unto him
to work in us both to will and to do.
(2.) In the promise of God: "I will make mention of thy
righteousness, that is, thy faithfulness to every word which thou
hast spoken, the equity of thy disposals, and thy kindness to thy
people that trust in thee. This I will make mention of as my plea in
prayer for thy mercy." We may very fitly apply it to the righteousness
of Christ, which is called the righteousness of God by faith,
and which is witnessed by the law and the prophets; we must
depend upon God's strength for assistance and upon Christ's
righteousness for acceptance. In the Lord have I righteousness and
2. What he hopes for.
(1.) He hopes that God will not leave him in his old age, but will be
the same to him to the end that he had been all along,
[1.] What God had done for him when he was young: Thou hast taught
me from my youth. The good education and good instructions which
his parents gave him when he was young he owns himself obliged to give
God thanks for as a great favour. It is a blessed thing to be taught of
God from our youth, from our childhood to know the holy scriptures, and
it is what we have reason to bless God for.
[2.] What he had done for God when he was middle-aged: He had
declared all God's wondrous works. Those that have not good when
they are young must be doing good when they are grown up, and must
continue to communicate what they have received. We must own that all
the works of God's goodness to us are wondrous works, admiring he
should do so much for us who are so undeserving, and we must make it
our business to declare them, to the glory of God and the good of
[3.] What he desired of God now that he was old: Now that I am old
and gray-headed, dying to this world and hastening to another, O
God! forsake me not. This is what he earnestly desires and
confidently hopes for. Those that have been taught of God from their
youth, and have made it the business of their lives to honour him, may
be sure that he will not leave them when they are old and gray-headed,
will not leave them helpless and comfortless, but will make the evil
days of old age their best days, and such as they shall have occasion
to say they have pleasure in.
[4.] What he designed to do for God in his old age: "I will not only
show thy strength, by my own experience of it, to this
generation, but I will leave my observations upon record for the
benefit of posterity, and so who it to every one that is to
come." As long as we live we should be endeavouring to glorify God
and edify one another; and those that have had the largest and longest
experience of the goodness of God to them should improve their
experiences for the good of their friends. It is a debt which the old
disciples of Christ owe to the succeeding generations to leave behind
them a solemn testimony to the power, pleasure, and advantage of
religion, and the truth of God's promises.
(2.) He hopes that God would revive him and raise him up out of his
present low and disconsolate condition
Thou who hast made me to see and feel great and sore troubles,
above most men, shalt quicken me again. Note,
[1.] The best of God's saints and servants are sometimes exercised with
great and sore troubles in this world.
[2.] God's hand is to be eyed in all the troubles of the saints, and
that will help to extenuate them and make them seem light. He does not
say, "Thou hast burdened me with those troubles," but "shown them to
me," as the tender father shows the child the rod to keep him in awe.
[3.] Though God's people be brought ever so low he can revive them and
raise them up. Are they dead? he can quicken them again. See
2 Corinthians 1:9.
Are they buried, as dead men out of mind? he can bring them up again
from the depths of the earth, can cheer the most drooping spirit
and raise the most sinking interest.
[4.] If we have a due regard to the hand of God in our troubles, we may
promise ourselves, in due time, a deliverance out of them. Our present
troubles, though great and sore, shall be no hindrance to our joyful
resurrection from the depths of the earth, witness our great Master, to
whom this may have some reference; his Father showed him great and sore
troubles, but quickened him and brought him up from the grave.
(3.) He hopes that God would not only deliver him out of his troubles,
but would advance his honour and joy more than ever
"Thou shalt not only restore me to my greatness again, but shalt
increase it, and give me a better interest, after this shock,
than before; thou shalt not only comfort me, but comfort me on every
side, so that I shall see nothing black or threatening on any
side." Note, Sometimes God makes his people's troubles contribute to
the increase of their greatness, and their sun shines the brighter for
having been under a cloud. If he make them contribute to the increase
of their goodness, that will prove in the end the increase of their
greatness, their glory; and if he comfort them on every side, according
to the time and degree wherein he has afflicted them on every side,
they will have no reason to complain. When our Lord Jesus was quickened
again, and brought back from the depths of the earth, his greatness was
increased, and he entered on the joy set before him.
(4.) He hopes that all his enemies would be put to confusion,
He speaks of it with the greatest assurance as a thing done, and
triumphs in it accordingly: They are confounded, they are brought to
shame, that seek my hurt. His honour would be their disgrace and
his comfort their vexation.
II. Let us now see how his heart is enlarged in joy and praises, how he
rejoices in hope, and sings in hope for we are saved by hope.
1. He will speak of God's righteousness and his salvation, as great
things, things which he was well acquainted with, and much affected
with, which he desired God might have the glory of and others might
have the comfortable knowledge of
My mouth shall show forth thy righteousness and thy salvation;
My tongue shall talk of thy righteousness, and this all the
day. God's righteousness, which David seems here to be in a
particular manner affected with, includes a great deal: the rectitude
of his nature, the equity of his providential disposals, the righteous
laws he has given us to be ruled by, the righteous promises he has
given us to depend upon, and the everlasting righteousness which his
Son has brought in for our justification. God's righteousness and his
salvation are here joined together; let no man think to put them
asunder, nor expect salvation without righteousness,
If these two are made the objects of our desire, let them be made the
subjects of our discourse all the day, for they are subjects that can
never be exhausted.
2. He will speak of them with wonder and admiration, as one astonished
at the dimensions of divine love and grace, the height and depth, the
length and breadth, of it: "I know not the numbers thereof,
Though I cannot give a particular account of thy favours to me, they
are so many, so great (if I would count them, they are more in
number than the sand,
yet, knowing them to be numberless, I will be still speaking of them,
for in them I shall find new matter,"
The righteousness that is in God is very high; that which is done by
him for his people is very great: put both together, and we shall say,
O God! who is like unto thee? This is praising God,
acknowledging his perfections and performances to be,
(1.) Above our conception; they are very high and great, so high that
we cannot apprehend them, so great that we cannot comprehend them.
(2.) Without any parallel; no being like him, no works like his: O
God! who is like unto thee? None in heaven, none on earth, no
angel, no king. God is a non-such; we do not rightly praise him if we
do not own him to be so.
3. He will speak of them with all the expressions of joy and
(1.) How he would eye God in praising him.
[1.] As a faithful God: I will praise thee, even thy truth. God
is made known by his word; if we praise that, and the truth of that, we
praise him. By faith we set to our seal that God is true; and so we
praise his truth.
[2.] As a God in covenant with him: "O my God! whom I have
consented to and avouched for mine." As in our prayers, so in our
praises, we must look up to God as our God, and give him the glory of
our interest in him and relation to him.
[3.] As the Holy One of Israel, Israel's God in a peculiar
manner, glorious in his holiness among that people and faithful to his
covenant with them. It is God's honour that he is a Holy One; it is his
people's honour that he is the Holy One of Israel.
(2.) How he will express his joy and exultation.
[1.] With his hand, in sacred music--with the psaltery, with the
harp; at these David excelled, and the best of his skill shall be
employed in setting forth God's praises to such advantage as might
[2.] With his lips, in sacred songs: "Unto thee will I sing, to
thy honour, and with a desire to be accepted of thee. My lips shall
greatly rejoice when I sing unto thee, knowing they cannot be
[3.] In both with his heart: "My soul shall rejoice which
thou hast redeemed." Note, First, Holy joy is the very heart
and life of thankful praise. Secondly, We do not make melody to
the Lord, in singing his praises, if we do not do it with our hearts.
My lips shall rejoice, but that is nothing; lip-labour, though ever so
well laboured, if that be all, is but lost labour in serving God; the
soul must be at work, and with all that is within us we must bless his
holy name, else all about us is worth little. Thirdly, Redeemed
souls ought to be joyful thankful souls. The work of redemption ought,
above all God's works, to be celebrated by us in our praises. The Lamb
that was slain, and has redeemed us to God, must therefore be counted
worthy of all blessing and praise.