Verse 24. Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart - In 1 Cor. xvi. 13, St. Paul says, "Watch ye, stand fast in the faith; quit you like men; be strong:" grhgoreite, sthkete en th pistei, andrizesqe, krataiousqe. The latter words he seems to have borrowed from the Septuagint, who translate, "Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart," by andrizesqe kai krataiousqw h kardia umwn "Act like men, and your hearts shall be strengthened." They that hope in God, and are endeavouring to walk carefully before him, may take courage at all times, and expect the fullness of the blessing of the Gospel of peace.
ANALYSIS OF THE THIRTY-FIRST PSALM
This Psalms is composed and mixed of divers affections; for David sometimes prays, sometimes gives thanks; now he complains, now he hopes; at one time fears, at another exults. This vicissitude of affection is six-fold, and it may very well divide the Psalm.
I. With great confidence he prays to God; ver. 1-6.
II. He exults for mercy and help received; ver. 7, 8.
III. He grievously complains of the misery he was in; ver. 9- 14.
IV. He prays again, upon the strength of God's goodness; ver. 15-18.
V. He admires, exults in, and proclaims God's goodness, ver. 19-22.
VI. He exhorts others to love God, and be courageous; ver. 23, 24.
I. In the six first verses he prays to God, and shows his reasons: - 1. That he be never ashamed in his hope: "Let me never be ashamed." 2. That he be delivered, "speedily delivered." 3. That God would be "his rock, and a house of defense, to save him." 4. That God would lead and guide him: "Lead me, and guide me." 5. That God would "pull his feet out of the net which they had laid for him." The reasons on which he founds his prayer and expectations: - 1. His faith and confidence: "In thee, O Lord I put my trust." 2. The reason of his faith: "Thou art my ROCK and FORTRESS." 3. His deliverance would be to the honour of God: "For thy name's sake." 4. Thou art my strength; exert it in my behalf.
5. I rely upon thee: "Into thy hands I commit my spirit." 6. I expect thee to do for me as thou hast ever done: "Thou hast redeemed me." 7. I rely on thee alone, I seek no vain helps: "I have hated them that regard lying vanities; but I trust in the Lord." His petitions and his reasons are in effect the same; his confidence in God to be his Deliverer, Fortress, Rock, Redeemer, &c.
II. He exults for mercy and help already received, and by the experience of that, doubts the less in this: "I will be glad and rejoice in thy mercy." And his reason follows from his experience:
1. "For thou hast considered my trouble." 2. "Thou hast known my soul in adversity." 3. "Thou hast not shut me up into the hand of the enemy." 4. But "hast set my feet in a large room." III. He prays, and grievously complains of what he suffered within and without.
1. He prays: "Have mercy upon me, O Lord." 2. Then he complains, and his complaint shows the reason of his prayer.
1. Within-at home, he was in a distressed state: "I am in trouble; my eye is consumed with grief; my years with sighing; my strength faileth; my hones are consumed." 2. Without-I have no comfort either from friends or enemies.
1. "I was a reproach among all my enemies." 2. My friends stand afar off: "I was a reproach, especially among my neighbours."A fear to my acquaintance."They that did see me without fled from me." 3. He shows the greatness of his grief, and the scorn he endured: "I am forgotten as a dead man;"I am as a broken vessel," vile and useless.
4. I am mocked by the people: "I have heard the slander of many." 5. And the consequence was mischievous. 1. "Fear is on every side." 2.
While they conspired, or "took counsel against my life." 3. And their counsel was, "to take away my life." What more could my enemies do, or my friends permit? IV. After his complaint he comforts himself with his chief reason, the goodness of God. I have trusted in thee, O Lord, and said, Thou art my God. Let them conspire, take counsel, and devise what they can; yet I know, except thou permit them, they are not able to do it. "My times are in thy hand," not in theirs.
He then begins to pray again, and his prayer consists of three parts:
1. Deprecation. 2. Supplication. 3. Imprecation.
1. A deprecation: "Deliver me from the hands of my enemies," &c.
2. A supplication: "Make thy face to shine upon thy servant; save me."Let me not be ashamed, for I have called upon thee." 3. An imprecation:
1. "Let the wicked be ashamed, and be silent in the grave." 2. "Let the lying lips be put to silence, which speak grievous things," &c.
In this imprecation four arguments are used to enforce it: - 1. The quality of their persons: "They are wicked, impious men." 2. There is no truth in them: "They have lying lips." 1. Their words are false. 2. Their actions are worse: They speak grievous things, and that against the righteous. 3. But their intention is worst of all, for they do it proudly, contemptuously, disdainfully, despitefully; all proceeding from a bad heart.
V. In the fifth part he sets out the abundant goodness of the Lord to his people, and exclaims, in holy rapture, "O how great is thy goodness which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee-which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men!" This goodness of God is always treasured up and to be had at all times.
1. It is laid up for none, nor wrought for any one, but them that fear the Lord. 2. And for those who put their trust in him, and acknowledge him, his cause, his people, and his cross, before the sons of men. And the acts of his goodness are here specified: - 1. "Thou shalt hide them in the secret of thy presence from the pride of man." 2. "Thou shalt keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues." Upon which consideration he breaks out into praise:
1. "Blessed be the Lord, for he hath showed me his marvellous kindness." 2. He corrects his error, and former mistake: "I said in my haste, (rashly, imprudently,) I am cut off from before thine eyes; nevertheless thou heardest the voice of my supplication." VI. The last part is an exhortation to the saints:
1. That they love God. 2.
That they be of good courage; for he was the same God still, and would be as good to others as he was to him.
1. That they love God, and that for two reasons: - 1. Because the "Lord preserveth the faithful." This is his mercy. 2. That he "plentifully rewardeth the proud doer." This is his justice.
2. That they be of good courage; for then "he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord." They were not to despair, but keep their hearts firmly fixed in the profession of the truth, which would be a seal of their hope.