Verse 17. "But I am poor " - yn[ ani, afflicted, greatly depressed.
"And needy " - wyba ebyon, a beggar. One utterly destitute, and seeking help.
"The Lord thinketh upon me " - The words are very emphatic; ynda Adonai, my prop, my support, thinketh, bjy yachshab, meditateth, upon me. On which he concludes: "Thou art my help and deliverer." Seeing that my miserable state occupies thy heart, it will soon employ thy hand. Thou, who meditatest upon me, wilt deliver me.
"Make no tarrying " - Seeing thou art disposed to help, and I am in such great necessity, delay not, but come speedily to my assistance. The old Psalter speaks to this effect: "Let us not be so long under distress and misery that we lose our patience, or our love to thee."
ANALYSIS OF THE FORTIETH PSALM
There are two main parts in this Psalm: - I. A thanksgiving, ver. 1-11.
II. A prayer, from ver. 12-17.
Thankfulness consists in the exercise of two virtues, truth and justice.
1. Truth calls upon us to acknowledge the benefit, and him from whom we receive it.
2. Justice obliges us to be grateful, and to perform some duties as evidences of our thankful minds; and both these we meet with in the first part.
I. David begins with a profession of thankfullness; shows his confidence: "I waited patiently for the Lord;" then shows the success, or what God did for him.
1. "He inclined his ear, and heard my cry." 2. "He brought me out of the horrible pit, and out of the miry clay." 3. "He set my feet upon a rock." Being redeemed from danger, he set me in a safe place.
4. "He established my goings." He confirmed my steps, so that I slipped and slided no more.
5. And he hath moved me to be thankful: "He hath put a new song in my mouth." The deliverance was not common, and therefore the praise should not be common, but expressed by a new and exquisite song.
And in this he supposed his example would be a common document.
Many shall see my deliverance and my thanksgiving, and shall fear God, and acknowledge his grace, his providence, and protection; and be led thereby to put their trust in him. And then he produces his form of thanksgiving. - First, He pronounces the man blessed who relies on God. 1. "Blessed is the man that maketh the Lord his trust." 2. "And blessed is he who respects not the proud;" men proud of their wealth and power, or such as turn aside to lies.
Secondly, Then by exclamation admires God's mercies, and goodness to his people. 1. For their grandeur and multitude: "Many, O Lord my God, are thy works." 2. For their supernatural appearance: "Thy wonderful works." 3. For the incomparable wisdom by which they are ordered: "Many, O Lord, are thy wondrous works; and thy thoughts to us-ward, they cannot be reckoned up," &c.
And having acknowledged his thankfulness, he speaks of the other part, his gratitude; to which, in equity, he thought himself bound, viz., to be obedient to God's voice, which is, indeed, the best sacrifice, and far beyond all those that are offered by the law; as is apparent in Christ, to whom these words and the obedience contained in them are principally attributed: by way of accommodation, they belong to every one of his members who means to be thankful for his redemption.
And, first, he tells us that outward worship is of little worth, if sincerity and true piety be wanting: "Sacrifice and offering thou didst not require." Not these absolutely, but as subservient to the true piety, and significative of the obedience of Christ unto death.
2. To this end "mine ears hast thou opened;" bored, made docile, and taken me for thy servant.
3. And I will be thy voluntary and obedient servant: "Then said I, Lo, I come!" I am ready to hear thy commands.
4. He describes his ready obedience: - 1. That he performed it cheerfully: "I delight to do thy will." 2. That he did it heartily: "Thy law is in my heart." The obedience of eyes, hands, and feet may be hypocritical; that which is of the heart cannot. The heart thou requirest, and the heart thou shalt have; and to that purpose "I have put thy law in my heart." 3. He did this for the benefit of others: he published the Gospel. 1. "I have preached righteousness in the great congregation." 2. "I have not refrained my lips; that thou knowest." 3. "I have not hid thy righteousness within my heart." 4. "I have declared thy faithfulness and thy salvation." 5. "I have not concealed thy loving-kindness and truth from the great congregation." In this verse we have the commendation of the gospel, that it is righteousness. Jesus, who is the sum and substance of it, justifies and sanctifies. It is God's truth and faithfulness, for in it his promises are performed. It is our salvation, freeing us from sin, death, the curse of the law, and hell-fire. It must, as such, be preached in the great congregation.
And to it obedience must be yielded; and to this four things are necessary: - 1. The help of God's Spirit: "Thou hast opened mine ears." 2. A ready and willing mind: "Then said I, Lo, I come." 3. A ready performance in the work: "I delight to do thy will." 4. That respect be had to God's law: "Thy law is within my heart." But all that is here spoken must be considered as resting on the sacrificial offering which Christ made; for we must be justified by his blood; and through him alone can we have remission of sins, the help of God's Spirit, or any power to do any kind of good.
II. This second part of the Psalm appears rather to be a part of another, or a Psalm of itself, as it relates to a different subject.
In the first part of the following prayer we have the sorrowful sighing of a distressed heart, vented in the most earnest petitions on account of the greatness of its sins, and the evils by which it was surrounded. A fear of being cut off causes the penitent to pray, "Withhold not thou thy mercy from me, O Lord." 1. "For innumerable evils have compassed me," &c. 2.
"My iniquities have taken fast hold upon me," &c. 3. "Therefore my heart faileth me." My agony is great, my vital spirit fails; and therefore he prays again, 4. "Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me! make haste to help me!" The second part of his prayer is for the confusion of his tricked enemies: "Let them be ashamed and confounded together, that say, Aha! aha! " The third part of the prayer is for all good men. Let all those who seek thee be joyful and glad in thee; let them say, "The Lord be magnified." In the close he prays for himself; and to move Divine mercy the sooner:-
1. He puts himself in the number of the poor and afflicted. He boasts not that he is a king, a prophet, a great man; but "I am poor and needy." 2. He shows his hope and confidence: "Yet the Lord thinketh upon me." 3. He casts himself wholly upon God: "Thou art my help and my deliverer." 4. Therefore delay not: "Make no tarrying, O my God!"