Verse 40. "The Lord-shall deliver them " - For they are always exposed to trials, and liable to fall.
"Because they trust in him. " - They keep faith, prayer, love, and obedience in continual exercise. They continue to believe in, love, and obey God; and he continues to save them.
ANALYSIS OF THE THIRTY-SEVENTH PSALM
What is here delivered may be reduced to these two general heads: - I. He sets down the duty of a good man, which is to be patient, and put his confidence in God when he sees the wicked prosper and flourish.
II. He gives many reasons to prove the propriety of such conduct.
I. He begins with an interdict, and then descends to give some directions.
1. His interdict is, "Fret not thyself," &c. Be not angry nor envious; to which he adds this reason, that their prosperity is but short: "For they shall be cut down," &c.
2. Then he sets down some directions and rules to prevent fretting and anger.
1. The first is a perpetual rule for our whole life: "Trust in the Lord." Rely not on human helps, friends, riches, &c.
2. "Be good." Increase not thy state by evil arts or means.
3. "Dwell in the land." Desert not thy station.
4. "And verily thou shalt be fed." Enjoy quietly what thou hast at present.
5. "Delight thyself in the Lord." Be pleased with his way.
6. "Commit thy way unto the Lord." labour in an honest vocation, and leave the rest to him; for "he will work for thee." 7. "Rest in the Lord." Acquiesce in his will and the dispensations of his providence; wait patiently for him; his time is the best. And then he repeats his interdict: "Fret not thyself." II. Then he resumes his former reason, mentioned ver. 2, and amplifies it by an antithesis, viz., that it shall be well with the good, ill with the wicked, ver. 9-11; and so it falls out for the most part, but not always; which is enough for temporal blessings.
1. "Evil doers shall be cut off, but those who wait on the Lord shall inherit the land." 2. "Yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be," &c.
To this he adds a second reason, taken from the providence of God: - 1. In protecting the righteous, and confounding their enemies.
2. In blessing the little they have; in which he seems to remove a double objection: the first, about the tyranny of the wicked over the righteous; the second, that they are commonly in want and poverty.
The first temptation, by which many pious souls are troubled, is the power, the cruelty and the implacable hatred of wicked men: "The wicked plotteth against the just, and gnasheth upon him." To which the psalmist answers "The Lord shall laugh at him; for he seeth that his day of punishment is coming." Yea, "but the wicked have drawn out their sword and bent their bow," which is beyond plotting and derision, "to cast down the poor, and slay such as are of an upright conversation." To which he answers, Be it so: "Their sword shall enter into their own heart, and their bow shall be broken." The other temptation is beggary and poverty, than which nothing is more afflictive, The ungodly swim in wealth; but the godly are commonly poor, and therefore exposed to contempt; for poverty reckons up no reputable genealogy. To this he answers: "A little that the righteous hath is better than the riches of many wicked." Better, because used better; better, because possessed with contentment; better because it has God's blessing upon it. And this he proves by many reasons: - 1. "For the arms of the wicked (their riches) shall be broken; but the Lord upholdeth the righteous. " 2. "The Lord knoweth the days (good or bad) of the upright." He loves them, and they are his care; and "their inheritance shall be for ever," firm and stable.
3. "They shall not be ashamed in the evil time," nor destitute, nor forsaken of necessaries; for "in the days of famine they shall be satisfied." But with rich wicked men it is not so. Though they abound in wealth, yet they shall insensibly consume and perish, "as the fat of lambs," burnt upon the altar, "vanisheth into smoke and passeth away." 4. And yet there is another blessing on the good man's little: he has often over and above, and something to spare to gave, whereas the wicked is a borrower, with this bad quality, that he payeth not again. "But the righteous showeth mercy, and giveth." Of which he gives this reason: for "such as God blesseth shall possess the earth;" and "they that be cursed of him shall be cut off." They may have, but not enjoy, the goods of this life.
And thus much the psalmist proved by his own experience: "I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging their bread." His liberality was the cause of it; "He is ever merciful, and lendeth; and his seed is blessed." A third reason of God's protection is, that God upholds him: "The steps of a good man are ordered of the Lord;" and should he by infirmity fall into error, or get into trouble or affliction, "he shall not be utterly cast down, for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand." He shall have his judgment corrected by God's teaching, and no disease shall be able to remove him till God's work be done in him, and by him.
In the rest of the Psalm he makes a repetition of all that went before: he repeats his chief rule, his promises, his comforts, and his threatenings.
He begins with this rule, ver. 3: "Depart from evil and do good, and dwell for evermore." In which he exhorts to obedience, and in both parts brings instances of repentance, mortification, and vivification, which he fortifies with a double reason, as before.
1. A promise to the godly: "For the Lord loveth righteousness; he forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved for ever." 2. A threatening to the wicked: "But the seed Of the wicked shall be cut off." These two reasons he resumes, amplifies, and illustrates.
First, That of the righteous: "The righteous shall inherit the land," &c.; and that you may know whom he means by the righteous, he sets down his character.
1. He is one whose mouth speaks wisdom. He speaks reverently of God's justice and providence.
2. One whose mouth talks of judgment; i.e., of that only which is just and right.
3. "The law of God is in his heart;" not in his tongue alone, or in his brain.
4. "None of his steps shall slide." He keeps on his right way, and will not be seduced. Yet this righteous man has his enemies, ver. 13-15: "For the wicked watcheth the righteous, and seeketh to slay him." But although he has his enemies, yet has he also his protector: "The Lord will not leave him in his hand," &c.; therefore "wait on the Lord, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee. When the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it." Second by, For they shall be cut off, as was said before, ver. 28; and this he knew from his own experience: "I have seen the wicked in great power, and flourishing like a green bay-tree; yet I passed by, and lo, he was gone; I sought him, but he could not be found." And what he observed, others, if attentive and diligent, may observe also, both in respect of the righteous and the wicked. 1. For "mark the perfect man, and behold the upright; for the end of that man is peace." 2. "But the transgressors shall be destroyed together; the end of the wicked shall be cut off." Should the cause be inquired why God does these things, it is added, that this sums up all the doctrine of the Psalm: - 1. "The salvation of the righteous is of the Lord; he will save them because they trust in him." 2. On the contrary, "the wicked shall be cut off and perish, because they trust not in him."