Verse 22. "Let thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us " - We cannot abide in this state unless upheld by thee; and, as we disclaim all merit, we seek for a continuance of thy mercy, and this we cannot expect but in a continual dependence on thee. "Let thy mercy, O Lord be upon us, according as we hope in thee."
ANALYSIS OF THE THIRTY-THIRD PSALM
This Psalms is eucharistic: the contents are: - I. An exhortation to praise God, ver. 1-3.
II. The arguments he uses to enforce the duty, 4-19.
III. The confidence of God's people in his name. Their happiness, and petition, 20-22.
I. In the three first verses he exhorts men to praise God: but whom? 1. The upright; those who are not upright, cannot praise God.
2. That it be done with zeal and affection; with singing, with voice, and the instruments then in use; with some new song, composed on the occasion, for some new mercy; and that the whole be skilfully expressed.
II. This he urges on several good grounds: - 1. The first argument, in general drawn from the truth, the faithfulness, the justice, and goodness of God:
1. "For the word of the Lord is right." 2. "All his works are done in truth." 3. "He loveth righteousness and judgment." 4. "The earth is full of his goodness." 2. His second argument is drawn from God's power in the creation of all things, and that by his word alone, ver. 6-9; and upon it introduces, "Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him." 3. His third argument is drawn from God's providence in governing the world, which may easily be discerned by those who will diligently consider his ways and proceedings, both to other people and to his Church.
1. He makes void all enterprises undertaken against his will, not only of single men, but of whole nations. "The Lord bringeth the counsel of the heathen to naught; he maketh the devices of the people of none effect." 2. Whereas, on the contrary, what he hath decreed shall be done. "The counsel of the Lord standeth for ever; the thoughts of his heart to all generations." On the consideration of which he breaks out into this epiphonema, or joyous reflection: "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord! and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance!" After which he returns to his discourse on God's providence, and by a hypotyposis, or splendid imagery, amplifies his former argument. For he sets God before us, as some great king on his throne, providing for all the parts of his empire, examining all causes, and doing justice to every one.
1. "The Lord looks from heaven, and beholds all the sons of men." 2. "From the place of his habitation he looks upon all the inhabitants of the earth." 3. And he is not an idle spectator: "He sees and considers their hearts and their works." And he sees in what they put their confidence; in their armies, their strength, their horse, but not in him. But all in vain; for "there is no king saved by the multitude of a host: a mighty man is not delivered by much strength. A horse is a vain thing for safety." Multitude, strength, &c., without God, are useless.
Hitherto he had given a proof of God's providence towards all men, but now he descends to a particular proof of it, by his care over his Church, which he wonderfully guides, defends, and protects, in all dangers and assaults: and that notice may be taken of it, he begins with, Behold! 1. "Behold, the eye of the Lord," his tenderest care, "is over them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy." 2. "To deliver their soul from death, and keep them alive in famine." III. The three last verses contain the acclamation of God's people, who place all their hope and trust in him; for, being stimulated by the former arguments, they do three things: - 1. They profess and express their faith and dependence on God: "Our soul waiteth on God, he is our help and our shield." 2. They declare the hope by which they are upheld, and how comforted: "For our heart shall rejoice in him, because we have trusted in his holy name." 3. Upon this hope they commend themselves by prayer to God; "Let thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us, according as we hope in thee."