Verse 14. "Let the words of my mouth " - He has prayed against practical sin, the sins of the body; now, against the sins of the mouth and of the heart. Let my mouth speak nothing but what is true, kind, and profitable; and my heart meditate nothing but what is holy, pure, and chaste.
"Acceptable in thy sight " - Like a sacrifice without spot or blemish, offered up with a perfect heart to God.
"O Lord, my strength " - yrwx tsuri, "my fountain, my origin." My redeemer. - ylag goali, my kinsman, he whose right it is to redeem the forfeited inheritance; for so was the word used under the old law. This prayer is properly concluded! he was weak, he felt the need of God's strength. He had sinned and lost all title to the heavenly inheritance, and therefore needed the interference of the Divine kinsman; of HIM who, because the children were partakers of flesh and blood, also partook of the same. NO prayer can be acceptable before God which is not offered up in his strength; through HIM who took our nature upon him, that he might redeem us unto God, and restore the long-lost inheritance. "Lord my helpar and my byer." -Old Psalter. He who is my only help, and he that bought me with his blood. This prayer is often, with great propriety, uttered by pious people when they enter a place of worship.
ANALYSIS OF THE NINETEENTH PSALM
I. There are TWO parts in this Psalm. The first is doctrinal; the second, penitential. The doctrinal part has two members: - 1. The first teaches us to know God by natural reason, from the book of creation, ver. 1-7.
2. But because this way is insufficient to save a soul, therefore in the second part we have a better way prescribed, which is the book of the Scriptures; the excellences of which are described, ver. 7-11.
II. The penitential part begins at the twelfth verse, for since the reward to be expected proceeds from the keeping of God's law, and David's heart told him he had not kept it, therefore, he begs pardon and grace, ver. 12-14.
I. "The heavens declare," &c. By the glory of God we are to understand his goodness, wisdom, power; in a word, all his attributes, of which we have a double declaration: - 1. A testimony from the creatures, but especially the heavens, whose magnitude, beauty, order, variety, perpetual motion, light, influences, &c., declare that there is an omnipotent, wise, good, and gracious God, who is their Creator; with this David begins: "The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth forth," &c.
2. The vicissitude of day and night, proceeding from their motions, declares this also: "Day unto day uttereth speech," &c. 1. The heavens are diligent preachers; for they preach all day and all night, without intermission. 2. They are learned preachers, for they preach in all tongues: "There is no speech-where their voice is not heard." 3.
They are universal preachers, for they preach to the whole world: "Their sound is gone through all the earth," &c.
3. But among all these creatures the SUN, for which God in heaven has set a throne, makes the fairest and clearest evidence, and that in the three following ways: - 1. By his splendour, light, and beauty; he riseth as gloriously as a bridegroom coming from under his canopy.
2. By his wonderful celerity, not only in revolving round his own axis, which revolution, although he is one million three hundred and eighty-four thousand four hundred and sixty-two times bigger than the earth, he performs in twenty-five days fourteen hours of our time, but also in the swiftness with which his light comes to the earth. It travels at the rate of one hundred and ninety-four thousand one hundred and eighty- eight miles in a second of time; and reaches our earth in eight minutes and about twelve seconds, a distance of ninety- five millions five hundred and thirteen thousand seven hundred and ninety-four English miles, at a mean rate.
3. His strange and miraculous heat, from which nothing is hidden, and by which every thing is benefited.
II. But as the declaration, even from the most glorious of creatures, is not sufficient to make men wise and happy, he has been pleased to declare himself by his WRITTEN WORD, called here the LAW generally; and is commended to us by the following reasons: - 1. From the author: It is the "law of Jehovah." 2. From its sufficiency: It is "perfect." 3. From its utility: "It converts the soul:gives wisdom to the simple." 4. From its infallibility: "The testimony of the Lord is sure." 5. From its perspicuity: "The statutes of the Lord are right." 6. From the effects it works on the soul: "They rejoice the heart." They quiet the troubled conscience; "being justified by faith, we have peace with God." 7. From its purity: "The commandment of the Lord is pure." It is opposed to all bad opinions and evil practices.
8. From its effects in the understanding: "It enlightens the eyes." It dispels all darkness and ignorance, all doubts and fears, diffidence, carnal security, false worship, &c., and gives us to see our own deformities.
9. From its uncorruptness: "The fear of the Lord is clean." Other religions are polluted with human inventions, strange ceremonies, uncommanded sacrifices, false gods, &c.
10. From its perpetuity: "It endureth for ever." It is an endless law, and an everlasting Gospel.
11. From its truth and equity: "It is altogether true and righteous." From all which David concludes, that it is both precious and delightful.
1. The price of it is beyond the best gold: "More to be desired than gold; yea, than much fine gold." 2. It is delightful: "Sweeter than honey and the honey-comb." 3. This he knew by his own experience: "Moreover, by them is thy servant illuminated." 4. It is profitable to observe them: "For in keeping of them there is, 1.
A reward. 2. A great reward." III. But this last consideration sent David to the throne of mercy. What! a reward, a great reward! and only to those who keep God's law? My conscience tells me that the reward is not for me, I cannot plead this observance. David had public sins, secret faults and errors, to deplore. But he had at hand three means of help:
1. Confession of sin. 2. Petition for grace. 3. Faith in the Divine mercy, through the great Redeemer.
1. He knew he was an offender, but he knew not how greatly he had offended. He saw that he was guilty, and asked pardon. He felt that he was impure, and asked cleansiny: "Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from my secret faults." 2. He prays that he may be preserved from presumptuous sins; that he might not be hardened in transgression: "Keep back also thy servant from presumptuous sins." For which he gives two reasons:
1. If he were not kept back from them, sin would get the dominion over him.
Sin would become a king, who would command, rule, and enslave him. 2. If thus kept back, he would be innocent from the great transgression; for he that gets under the strong habit of sin may at last deny God himself, renounce the blood of the covenant, and become a castaway.
3. Lastly, that his prayer may be heard, he prays for his prayer: "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight." This is pleading, or supplication.
That prayer and supplication may be successful he acts faith in God, whom he, 1. Claims as his strength; literally, his rock, by whom alone he could resist and overcome.
2. His redeemer, through whom alone he could get pardon for the past, and grace to help him in time of need. To this word he adds nothing, as it includes every thing necessary to saint and sinner. See the notes.