Verse 8. "The Lord will perfect " - Whatever is farther necessary to be done, he will do it.
Forsake not the works of thine own hands. ] My body-my soul; thy work begun in my soul; thy work in behalf of Israel; thy work in the evangelization of the world; thy work in the salvation of mankind. Thou wilt not forsake these.
ANALYSIS OF THE HUNDRED AND THIRTY-EIGHTH PSALM
I. In the three first verses of this Psalm David promises a grateful heart, and to sing the praises of God, because he had heard his cries, and sent him comfort and deliverance.
II. In the three next he shows what future kings would do, when the works and truth of God should be made known to them.
III. In the two last verses he professes his confidence in God; shows what he hopes for from him; and, in assurance that God will perfect his works, prays him not to desert or forsake him.
I. The prophet shows his thankfulness, which he illustrates and amplifies.
1. "I will praise thee with my whole heart." Sincerely, cordially.
2. "Before the gods," &c. Publicly, before potentates, whether angels or kings.
3. "I will worship toward," &c. It is true God ruleth as King in his palace: there will I bow; it is the symbol of his presence.
4. "And praise thy name," &c. From a feeling sense of thy goodness. 1.
"For thy lovingkindness," &c. In calling me to the kingdom from the sheepfold. 2. "And for thy truth." In performing thy promise. By which, 5. "Thou hast magnified," &c. This clause is differently read. "Thou hast magnified thy name in thy word; by performing thy word above all things." Or, "Thou hast magnified thy name and thy word above all things." See the notes.
6. "In the day when I cried," &c. Finite creatures as we are, we must sometimes faint in our temptations and afflictions, if not strengthened by God.
II. The prophet, having set down what God had in mercy done for him in calling him from following the ewes, &c., and making him king, and performing his promises to him; seeing all this, the prophet judges it impossible but that the neighbouring and future kings should acknowledge the miracle and praise God. This appears the literal sense: but it may have reference to the conversion of kings in future ages to the faith.
1. "All the kings of the earth," &c. Or the future kings of Israel.
2. "Yea, they shall sing in the ways," &c. His mercy, truth, clemency, &c.: "For great is the glory of the Lord." Righteous and glorious in all his works, of which this is one. "Though the Lord be high," &c.
Of which David was an instance. "But the proud," &c., he removes far from him. Saul and others are examples of this.
III. Because God who is high, &c. And David, being conscious of his own humility of mind, confidently expects help from God.
1. "Though I walk," &c. Exposed on all sides to trouble.
2. "Thou wilt revive me." Preserve me safe and untouched.
3. "Thou shalt stretch forth thy hand," &c. Restrain the power of my enemies.
4. "And thy right hand," &c. Thy power; thy Christ, who, in Isaiah liii. is called the arm of the Lord.
The last verse depends on the former. Because the prophet knew that many troubles and afflictions remained yet to be undergone; therefore he was confident that the same God would still deliver and make his work perfect.
1. "The Lord will perfect," &c. Not for my merits, but his mercy.
2. Of which he gives the reason: "Thy mercy, O Lord," &c. It does not exist only for a moment, but it is eternal.
3. And he concludes with a prayer for God to perfect his work: "Forsake not the work," &c. Thou who hast begun this work, increase and perfeet it; because it is thy work alone, not mine. If we desire that God should perfect any work in us, we must be sure that it is his work, and look to him continually.