August 15, 2014

Tom Lowe



Psalm 32 (KJV)



Title: The Sin Question

A psalm of David.

Psalm 32 (KJV)

1Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.

2Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.

3 When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long.

4 For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah.

5 I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah.

6 For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee in a time when thou mayest be found: surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto him.

7 Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah.

8 I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.

9 Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee.

10Many sorrows shall be to the wicked: but he that trusteth in the LORD, mercy shall compass him about.

11 Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart.





Sin is the cause of our misery; but the true believer’s transgressions of the Divine law are all forgiven, since they are covered with the atonement. The righteousness of Christ is reckoned (assigned, given) to us, and we who are made the righteousness of God in Him, do not have our iniquity imputed to us, because God has laid upon Him the iniquity of us all, and made him a sin-offering for us. Not to impute sin, is God's prerogative, for He is the Judge. It is God that justifies.





1Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.


Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven

Blessed is he”—like the Sermon on the Mount, this Psalm begins with beatitudes. This is the second Psalm of benediction (blessing). Psalm 1:1-6describes the result of holy blessedness; Psalm 32:1-11details the cause of it. The first pictures the tree in full growth, this depicts it in its first planting and watering. He who in Psalm 1:1-6 is a reader of God's book, is here a petitioner at God's throne who is heard and accepted. We are taught here in what true happiness consists, and what is the cause and foundation of it. It doesn’t reside in the possession of the wealth or honors of the world, or in the enjoyment of its pleasures, but in those spiritual blessings which flow from the favor and grace of God: 

a)     The free remission of sins, which is the chief point of our faith.

b)     To be justified by faith, have our sins freely remitted, and declared just—Even as David also describes the blessedness of the man, to whom God imputes righteousness without works” (Romans 4:6).


“Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven.” He is blessed (or, lifted up), and will be forever. Forgiveness is to be prized above all things in the world, for it is the only and sure way to happiness. "Happy is the man;" or "happy is the condition—the state of mind—happy are the prospects, of one whose sins are forgiven:”

a)     As compared with his former state, when he was force down or bowed down under a sense of guilt.

b)     In his true condition of a pardoned man—a man who has nothing now to fear as the result of his guilt, or who feels that he is at peace with God.

c)      In his hopes and prospects, since he is now a child of God and an heir of heaven.


To hear from God's own Spirit the words, “you are forgiven,” is joy unspeakable. ‘Blessedness,’ is not in this case ascribed to the man who has been a conscientious lawkeeper, for then it would never come to us, but rather to a lawbreaker, who by rich and free grace has been forgiven. Self-righteous Pharisees have no part in this blessedness. A full, instantaneous, irreversible pardon of transgression turns the poor sinner’s hell into heaven, and makes the inheritor of wrath a partaker in blessing.


“Whose transgression”—Sin is a transgression of the law; the guilt of it is laid upon the conscience of a sinner and is a heavy burden to carry, too heavy for him to bear, and the punishment of it is intolerable. There are three perspectives under which sin is viewed in Holy Scripture:

(1)   As an offence against God's Law. This is “transgression.”

(2)  As an offence against the eternal and immutable rule of right. This is “sin.” 

(3)  As an internal debasement and defilement of the sinner’s soul. This is “iniquity”Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, and on the children's children, to the third and to the fourth generation. (Exodus 34:7).


Each aspect of sin has its own distinctive remedy, or manner of removal. The “transgression” is “lifted up,” “taken away.” The “sin” is “covered,” “hidden.” The “iniquity” is not imputed. The union of all three, as we have here in verses 1 and 2, is complete remission or forgiveness.


“Is forgiven”—forgiveness is a removal of sin, guilt, and punishment. Sin was taken off first, and transferred from the sinner to Christ, the surety (down payment); and God laid it upon Him actually and judicially (as the sins of the people of Israel were put upon the scapegoat); and was bore by Him, both guilt and punishment, and taken away, finished, and made an end of; and by the application of His blood and sacrifice it is taken away from the sinner's conscience; it is caused to pass from him, and is removed and taken far off, as far as the east is from the west. It is so lifted off from him that it gives him comfort and peace, and so it will never return to destroy him; therefore such a man is a happy man; he has great peace, comfort, calmness, and serenity of mind, and now can appear before God with confidence, and serve Him without fear; no bill of indictment can ever be filed against him; no charge will be presented, and so, he will not be condemned along with unbelievers.


Forgiveness cost our Saviour a sweat of blood to bear our load; it cost him his life to bear it away. Samson carried the gates of Gaza, but what was that to the weight which Jesus bore on our behalf?


Whose sin is covered

“Whose sin is covered”—so that God no longer regards the sin—Thou hast taken away all thy wrath: thou hast turned thyself from the fierceness of thine anger” (Ps 85:3). The anger of God is very fierce against sin and sinners; it is poured forth like fire, and there is no tolerating it; but, with respect to the Lord's people, it is appeased by the death of His Son, therefore He pardons them for all that they have done, for the sake of His righteousness and sacrifice; and this takes place when he manifests his love and pardoning grace to their souls. Notice that he does not say, blessed is the man who never transgressed, for he knew no such man could be found.


The terms transgression, sin, and iniquity describe sin by its different features:

1)      Transgression is rebellion, or breaking away from God.

2)     Sin is wandering from the way, or missing the mark.

3)     Iniquity is depravity, or moral distortion. Compare: verse 5;Psalm 51:1-3Exodus 34:7)


Forgiveness is also described in three ways:

1)      as the taking away of a burden—“The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29)—and by the expression “to bear iniquity.”

2)     as covering, as here, so that the foulness of sin no longer meets the eye of the Judge and calls for punishment.

3)     as the cancelling of a debt, which is no longer reckoned against the offender—“and said to him, ‘May my lord not hold me guilty. Do not remember how your servant did wrong on the day my lord the king left Jerusalem. May the king put it out of his mind.’” (2 Samuel 19:19).


“Whose sin is covered?” Covered by God, as the ark was covered by the mercy-seat, as Noah was covered from the flood, as the Egyptians were covered by the depths of the sea. What a cover it must be which hides away for ever from the sight of the all-seeing God all the filthiness of the flesh and of the spirit! Anyone who has once seen sin in all of its horrible deformity, will appreciate the happiness of never seeing it again. The idea is, that the sin would be, as it were, covered over, hidden, concealed, so that it would no longer come into the view of either God or man; that is, the offender would be regarded and treated as if he had not sinned, or as if he had no sin. Christ's atonement is the propitiation, the covering, the making an end of sin; where this is seen and trusted in, the soul knows itself to be accepted in the Beloved, and therefore enjoys a conscious blessedness. It is clear from the text that a man may know that he is pardoned: where would be the blessedness of an unknown forgiveness? Clearly it is a matter of knowledge, for it is the ground of comfort.



2Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.


Blessed is the man to whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity

“Blessed is the man” whose sin is not “counted” against him, or “charged” to his account. The reference here is to his own sin. The idea is not that he is happy because God does not charge him with the guilt of other men, but that he is happy because he is not charged with his own guilt, or who is treated as if he had no guilt; that is, as if he were innocent. This is the true idea of justification. It is, that a man, although he is a sinner, and "is conscious" of having violated the law of God, is treated as if he had not committed sin, or as if he were innocent; that is, he is pardoned, and his sins are no longer remembered and reckoned against him; and it is the intention of God to treat him from this day forward as if he were innocent. The act of pardon does not change the facts in the case, or "make him innocent," but it makes it proper for God to treat him as if he were innocent. He is given to the same kind of treatment to which he would be entitled if he had always been perfectly holy. (See Romans 1:17Romans 3:24Romans 4:5Romans 5:1.)


“Unto whom the LORD imputeth not” or does not lay on them the responsibility or blame. With respect to men, His thoughts are thoughts of peace, and not of evil; He no longer remembers their sins and iniquities; He does not charge them with them, He does not reckon them against them, or place them to their account, having imputed them to His Son—To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, not imputing their trespasses to them; and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. (2 Corinthians 5:19).The idea here is that God did not charge them with inescapable severity and stern justice for their offences, but graciously provided a plan of pardon, and offered to lay aside their sins on the conditions of the Gospel. The Apostle Paul interprets this as including the imputation of righteousness without works; that is, the righteousness of Christ, in which the blessedness of a man lies—“Even as David also describes the blessedness of the man, to whom God imputes righteousness without works” (Romans 4:6); for such a man is accepted by God, is justified in His sight, and is safe from condemnation and wrath; it is well with him at all times, in life, at death, and at judgment; he is an heir of eternal life, will enter into it, and be forever glorified. 


“Iniquity” is the defilement of the sinner's own soul by sin; it is not immediately removable, and if it is removable at all, it is only so by a long lapse of time, and God's special mercy. But God can, at his own will and at any moment, not impute it—not count it against the sinner to his detriment. Then in God's sight the man is clean; it is as though the iniquity was never there.


And in whose spirit there is no guile

“And in whose spirit;” he isthoroughly convinced of his sin, he is sincere in his repentance for it, without deceit and hypocrisy in his confession of it; as David, the Apostle Paul, and the publican were, when they acknowledged themselves sinners. His faith, in looking to Christ for pardon and righteousness, is from the heart, and is genuine, and so is his profession of it before God, angels, and men; and whatever hypocrisy and guile are remaining in the old man, there is none in the new spirit that God has put into him; in the new man, which is created in him, and which sinneth not. He freely confesses all his sins without disguising and concealing them; which may seem to be the main thing intended here, and in the following verses; and is sincere in his repentance, turning from sin to God with all his heart. Just as the other phrases are expressive of pardon and justification, this one points at internal sanctification, and serves to complete the description of the happy man; like David himself was; and he illustrates this happiness with his own experiences.


“There is no guile” in hisspirit, that is, nothing that seems to be false, and no hypocrisy; their repentance has been sincere and real, and he has no false assessment of himself, nor insincerity before God—“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Romans 8:1).Hefreely confesses all his sins, without hedging, is truly sorry for, and sincerely hates them, and turns from sin to God with all his heart. The idea is not who are innocent, or without guilt, but who are sincere, frank, and honest in confessing their sins; who keep nothing back when they go before God. We cannot go before him and plead our innocence, but we may go before him with the feeling of conscious sincerity and honesty and confess our guilt. “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me” (Psalm 66:18). The idea is, that in order that prayer may be heard, there must be a purpose to forsake all forms of sin. This is a great and most important principle in regard to prayer. 



3 When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long.


When I kept silence

The psalmist now proceeds to state the condition his of mind before he found this peace, or before he had this evidence of pardon—he felt deeply that he was a sinner, yet was unwilling to confess his sin, and attempted to conceal it in his own heart. This he refers to by the expression, When I kept silence; that is, before I confessed my sin, or before I mentioned it to God. The condition of mind was evidently this: he had committed sin, but he tried to hide it in his own mind; he was unwilling to confess it, and to plead for pardon. He probably hoped that the conviction of sin would die away; or that his trouble would cease by itself; or that time would relieve his conscience; or that occupying himself in the affairs of the world would soothe the anguish of his spirit, and render it unnecessary for him to make a humiliating confession of his guilt. He thus describes a state of mind which is very common in the case of sinners. They know that they are sinners, but they are unwilling to confess their guilt. They attempt to conceal it. They put off, or try to remove the whole subject from their thoughts. They endeavor to divert their minds, and to turn their thoughts from a subject as painful as the idea of guilt by devoting themselves to their occupation, or by amusement, or even by plunging into scenes of degeneracy. Sometimes, often in fact, they are successful in this; but, sometimes, as in the case of the psalmist, the trouble caused by the remembrance of sins becomes deeper and deeper, destroying their rest, and wasting their strength, until they make a humble confession, and then the mind finds rest. David is speaking from his own experience; no instructor is better than the one who testifies to what he has personally known and felt (see verse 5). He kept silent, refusing to acknowledge his sin to himself and to God. The time he is speaking of is that which immediately followed the commission of the adultery, and which continued until Nathan uttered the words, "Thou art the man!" (2 Samuel 12:7). 


My bones waxed old; through my roaring all the day long


“My bones waxed old”—this man could not live smooth and smiling in his sin, but was so tortured by “remorseful pain” that his body bore the marks of his mental anguish, which, no doubt, had aged his face before his time. “My bones,” are those solid pillars of my frame, the strongest portions of my bodily construction. “My bones waxed old,” means that my bones began to decay with weakness, for my grief was so intense that it sapped my health and destroyed my vital energy. My strength was exhauster and failed; it felt like the feebleness of age was coming upon me. All of us, at one time or another, have witnessed the helplessness, physical weakness and exhaustion of excessive grief. Sin is such a killing thing! It is a deadly disease! A fire in the bones! While we smother our sin it rages within, and like an agonizing wound, it swells horribly and torments terribly. Yet, I did not consider that sin lay at the bottom, and was the cause of it—For my days are consumed like smoke, and my bones are burned as an hearth” (Psalm 102:3).


 “Through my roaring” refers to my cries of anguish and distress—My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? why are you so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?” (Psalm 22:1). My roaring lasted all the day long; because of the continual horrors of my conscience, and sense of God’s wrath, I was oppressed and overwhelmed, instead of being brought to thorough repentance.


“My bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long.” The meaning here is, that his sorrow was so great that it lead to loud and passionate cries; and this describes the condition of a mind under deep trouble at the remembrance of sin and the apprehension of the wrath of God. He was silent as far as his confession was concerned, but not with regard to his sorrow. Horror at his great guilt, drove David to unremitting expressions of grief, until his voice was no longer like the articulate speech of man, but so full of sighing and groaning, that it resembled the hoarse roaring of a wounded animal. No one know the pangs of conviction like those who have endured them. The rack, water boarding and all other tortures are comfort compared with the Tophet[i] which a guilty conscience kindles within the breast: it would be better to suffer all the diseases which flesh and blood can inherit, than lie under the crushing sense of the wrath of almighty God. The Spanish inquisition with all its tortures was nothing when compared to the inquest which conscience holds within the heart.


“All the day long” means continually; without rest.But meanwhile God did not leave him to himself (Job 33:16 ff.); His chastening hand was heavy upon him (Psalm 38:2Psalm 39:10), making itself felt partly by the remorse of conscience, partly perhaps by actual sickness. He suffered and complained (Psalm 22:1Psalm 38:8); but such complaint was no prayer (Hosea 7:14), and brought no relief, while he would not confess his sin. His sufferingwas not eased by silence or crying, signifying that before the sinner is reconciled to God, he feels a perpetual torment.Because of the continual horrors of my conscience, and sense of God’s wrath, I was, oppressed and overwhelmed, rather than brought to a thorough repentance.


4 For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah.


For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me


“For day and night”—they continued without pause both by day and by night. His conscience was never entirely at rest. I found no relief even at night. The burden was constant, and was unbearable.


“Thy hand was heavy upon me”—thy hand (the hand of God) seemed to press me down. It weighed brutally upon me,bringing my sins to remembrance, and filling me with terror. (See Job 13:21Psalm 39:10.) It was the remembrance of guilt that troubled him, but that seemed to him to be the hand of God. It was God who brought that guilt to his recollection; and God "kept" the recollection of it before his mind, and on his heart and conscience, so that he could not throw it off.The afflicting hand of God, is not joyous, but grievous, and difficult to put up with; especially without His gracious presence, and the discoveries of His love: and may create some vicious disease, such as a cancer or diabetes. David sees now that his sufferings at this time came from God, and were a part of the punishment for his sin.


My moisture is turned into the drought of summer

“My moisture”—the Hebrew word rendered moisture means juice or sap, as in a tree; and then, vital-moisture, the vital juices of the body or, as we would say, life-blood. It is used to denote vigor or strength.


“Is turned into the drought of summer”—literally, my sap was changed through summer drought; that is, the vital principle, which had been strong in him, was changed—burnt up and exhausted—by the heat of God's wrath. The essential moisture in him was almost dried up, like brooks during the summer season; his body was parched, as it were, with the burning heat of the disease; or with an apprehension that it was brought upon him by the wrath of God, or both. He felt all dried up. “I am, that is, I was at the time referred to—like plants in the heat of summer, in a time of drought, when all rain and dew is withheld, and when they dry up and wither. I was, in a manner dried up, and wasted through excessive fears and sorrows.” Nothing could more strikingly represent the distress of mind under long-continued conviction of sin, when all strength and vigor seem to waste away. This condition continued until he was brought to a true sense of his sin, and to the point where he acknowledged it, when he had discovered the pardoning love of God, as expressed in verse 5.


“Selah”is used to call attention, either to something that is remarkably bad and distressing; or remarkably good, and a matter of rejoicing, as in Psalm 3:4“I cried to the LORD with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill. Selah.Others consider it as an affirmation of the truth of anything, good or bad; and render it verily, truly, so be it, so it is, or shall be; it is the truth of the thing.



5 I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah.


I acknowledged my sin unto thee

David uses various words to express his sins in this and the following clauses; such as sin, iniquity, and transgressions. He calls them his own, seeing that nothing is more a man's own than his sins are; and he acknowledged them to the Lord, even his private and secret sins, which no one knew except God and himself. It is not that any sin is unknown to God, even the most secret ones; but they may be said to be made known to God, when a sinner makes a sincere and whole-hearted acknowledgment of them to God, and expresses his own sense of them; how they are with him, and always before him, how much he is affected by them, and repentant for having committed them; but the Lord expects and requires His people to make such an acknowledgment. 


 David said, “I acknowledged my sin unto thee;” then, the Lord took them away—“Then David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the LORD.’ Nathan replied, ‘The LORD has taken away your sin. You are not going to die.’” (2 Samuel 12:13). Once his conscience was fully awakened, all reticence was broken down, and David confessed his sin fully and freely. The idea is, that he could find no relief in any other way. He could not banish these serious and troublesome thoughts from his mind; his days and nights were spent in anguish. He resolved to go to God and to confess his sin, and to see what relief could be found by such an acknowledgment of guilt.


And mine iniquity have I not hid

“And mine iniquity have I not hid, that is, I did not attempt to hide it. I made a frank, and full confession. I acknowledged it all, without any attempt to gloss over or conceal the extent of my guilt, to apologize for it, or to defend it; but laid my soul bare before the Lord. Previously, he had endeavored to conceal it, and it was a burden that was crushing him to the earth. He now resolved to confess it all, and he found relief. The psalmist is probably not speaking of making his sins known by the spoken word, but by an inward confession, which is usually accompanied with painful repentance and sorrow, and with begging of pardon for sin and for the offence given to the Divine Majesty.  He not only acknowledged it, but forsook it; he was not like Achan who did not confess his sin; for not confessing sin is the same as hiding it; nor did he deny it like Ananias and Sapphira; nor did he try to mitigate or conceal the gravity of his sin by excuses, apologies, etc.; and he did not try to shift the blame to others, as Adam and his wife did; or to cover it with a pretense of holiness and religion. 


I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord

“I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord”—I will no longer attempt to hide them, or to suppress the convictions of guilt. I will seek relief by confessing my sin, and by obtaining forgiveness. This resolution was substantially the same as that of the prodigal son: “I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned” (Luke 15:18).He does not mention confessing unto men, though in some cases confession of sin is to be made to men; a confession of it in general is to be made to the churches and their pastors in order to be admitted into a church fellowship, and to conform to the ordinances of Christ, “Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. (Matthew 3:6). In the case of private offences, faults are to be confessed one to another, and forgiveness granted; and in case of public offences, a confession should be made to a church publicly; partly for the satisfaction of the church, and partly for the glory of divine grace; but confession is not to be made to a priest, or to a person in a ministerial character, in order for absolution; but to the Lord only, against whom sin is committed, and who is the only One who can pardon it. And the psalmist said in his heart that he would do it, and did do it; he not only confessed the facts of it, but that he was at fault for committing them, and their evil circumstances, and that he deserved punishment for them; and he did so from his heart, with loathing of the sins committed by him, and in faith, with a belief in the pardoning mercy of God in Christ. Upon David's confession, whether it were inward or outward, God's forgiveness followed without any interval between.


And thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin.

“And thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin”—David found that God was willing to pardon; he no sooner confessed his sin than he obtained the evidence of pardon. All the guilt, or the iniquity of his sin, was forgiven at once; and, as a consequence, he found peace. How he had obtained evidence that his sin was forgiven is not stated. It may have been in his case by direct revelation, but it is more probable that he obtained this evidence in the same way that sinners do today, by the internal peace and joy which follows such an act of contrite and remorseful confession. In regard to this, we may observe the following:

a)     The very act of confession tends to give relief to the mind; and, in fact, relief can never be found when confession is not made.

b)     We have the assurance that when confession is made in a proper manner, God will pardon—“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).Pardon in the Scriptures, always supposes that there is confession, and there is no promise that it will be imparted unless a full acknowledgment has been made.

c)      When such confession is made, peace will flow into the soul; God will show himself merciful and gracious. The peace which follows from a true confession of guilt before God, proves that God has heard the prayer of the penitent, and has been merciful in forgiving his offences. Thus, without any miracle, or any direct revelation, we may obtain evidence that our sins are washed away, which will give comfort to the soul.


Forgiveness does not rule out the payment of a penalty for the justification of God's ways to man—“However, because by this deed you have given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born to you shall surely die” (2 Samuel 12:14) [This was the penalty imposed on David for his great sin]and also, perhaps, to impress upon the offender himself, the heinousness of his sin, which would not be the case if it had gone unpunished. 

Forgiveness may include, either the guilt of his sin, which He took away from him; or the punishment of it, which He delivered him from, or both: moreover, this phrase may denote the exceeding sinfulness of sin, and so may both express the sense which the psalmist had of it, and exalt the grace of God in the forgiveness of it. A person is not forgiven for the sake of his confession of sin, but it is for Christ's sake that sin is forgiven; and those who truly repent of sin, sincerely confess it, hate it, and have made a hearty resolution to walk in newness of life, are the persons to whom the Lord manifests his forgiving love—“He that covers his sins shall not prosper: but whoever confesses and forsakes them shall have mercy” (Proverbs 28:13). 

6 For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee in a time when thou mayest be found: surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto him.


For this shall everyone that is godly pray unto thee

“For this,”—that is, with reference to this state of mind, or to this happy result; or, encouragement by my example and my success. The idea seems to be that others would find encouragement from what had occurred to him. In other words, his case had furnished an illustration of the way in which sinners are pardoned, and a proof of the mercy of God, which would be instructive and encouraging to others in similar circumstances. The conversion of one sinner, or the fact that one sinner obtains pardon, becomes thus an encouragement to all others, because:

(1)   Pardon is always obtained in the same way—by humble and repentant confession of sin, and by casting ourselves entirely on the mercy of God.

(2)  The fact that one sinner has been pardoned, is full proof that others may obtain forgiveness also, for God is always the same. All those who have been pardoned and saved in the world have become examples to the rest, and have furnished proof that all others may be pardoned and saved if they will come in the same manner—But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life” (1 Timothy 1:16).


Where one man finds a golden nugget others feel inclined to dig. The benefit of our experience to others is that it should encourage us to be godly men. No doubt the experiences of David has led thousands to seek the Lord, who, without such an example to bring them hope, might have died in despair. Perhaps the Psalmist meant that all will draw near to God in the same manner as he did when godliness rules their heart.


 “Shall every one that is godly,”—that is, truly repentant, and dreads thy wrath on account of his past sins, and has resolved to serve thee in the future, pray unto thee—namely, for the forgiveness of his sins, and for a testimony by thy Spirit in his heart, that You have forgiven him—“The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God” (Romans 8:16). 


Everyone that is godly means those who are godly and pious; pious in the sense of Ps 4:3—Know that the LORD has set apart his faithful servant for himself; the LORD hears when I call to him.”—or who are already converted. A godly man is a man that is created after the image of God, is born again of Christ, and possesses powerful internal godliness, and has all things pertaining to it; and particularly has a godly sorrow over his sin, and the fear of God in his heart: and such a man is a praying man; having the spirit of grace, and prays with the Spirit and with the understanding; and his praying for the pardon of sin shows that he is not without it, but commits it daily, and so needs fresh discoveries of forgiving love, which he prays for.“Godly” is the common word used in the Scriptures to denote saints, and is usually so translated. But, as used here, it would seem to denote those who are inclined to be pious, or who are seeking how they may become pious; in other words, those who are religiously disposed. The encouragement is for those who feel that they are sinners; who desire some way of relief from the burden of sin; who are convinced that there is no other source of relief but God, and who are disposed to do the same as the psalmist did—to find peace by confessing their sin. All such persons, the psalmist says, might see in his case encouragement to come to God, and should they do so, would find Him willing to pardon.


Pray unto thee

“For this shall everyone that is godly pray unto thee”—means either that the success he had experienced from acknowledging his sin, would encourage others to take a similar step, and also make their appeals to the Lord; or that every godly person should likewise pray to God for the same blessing of pardoning grace. Pardon of sin is something that should be prayed for; not only Moses, David, Daniel, and other Old Testament saints, prayed for it; but Christ directed his disciples and followers, to do the sameunder the Gospel dispensation—“And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil” (Luke 11:4). The manifestation of pardoning grace to our consciences is something we must pray for; for God has by one act forgiven all trespasses at once, for Christ's sake. And no new act of pardon will arise in the mind of God, nor a fresh one ratified in the court of heaven, nor the blood of Christ be shed again for the remission of it.


In a time when thou mayest be found

The Hebrew is “in the time of finding thee.” Let’s look first at what this does not mean, and then, at what the psalmist means by this clause. It does not mean that there were appointed or set times in which God would be gracious; or that there were periods when He was of a mind to "give audience" to people, and times when he could not be approached. The idea is not that God is anymore willing to show mercy at one time than another.


The meaning of this clause is that there is an opportune time for finding God, which is, while God continues to offer grace and mercy to sinners. The psalmist seems to allude to the difference between the truly repentant or godly, who pray and cry earnestly to God for mercy; and the wicked and unrepentant, who will not do so until it is too late, and the opportunity is lost forever. When people call upon God in truth, and seek him with their whole heart, He is found by them, and they find grace and mercy with him to relieve their distress. Whenever they come with this penitent feeling, and confess their sins they would find that time of mercy—they would find Him "always" ready to show mercy when they came in that manner: that would be the time to obtain His favor; the time of finding. The real time of mercy for a sinner, therefore, is the time when he is willing to come in repentance, and confess his sins.


There are not any specifically stated times for prayer, such as morning, noon, and night; for the throne of grace is always open, and God can be found, and He has grace and mercy with him at all times There is, however, a set time for prayer, beyond which it will be pointless; between the time of sin and the day of punishment mercy rules the hour, and God may be found, but once the sentence has been handed out, pleading will be useless, for the Lord will not be found by the condemned soul. The whole Gospel dispensation is a day of grace; and that will not be over until all the elect of God are gathered in.


Surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto him

“Surely in the floods of great waters,”—that is, in the time of great calamities or afflictions, which are frequently compared to great waters; they shall not come close to him—where they can overwhelmed or hurt him. Or, God will set him on a high and safe place, out of the reach of them. Those who are close to God, which is the case with all upright, repentant, praying people, are guarded by the Lord and His angels, so that no waters, no great waters, no floods, can even come close enough to hurt them. Just as the temptations of the evil one cannot touch them—“We know that everyone who has been born of God does not sin, but the One who is born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him” (1 John 5:18); and neither do the troubles of this evil world; both kinds of these fiery darts, drop short of them.


“The floods” may either be an image of Divine judgment, as in Nahum 1:8but with an overwhelming flood he will make an end of Nineveh; he will pursue his foes into the realm of darkness. Or it may refer to temptation and trial, as in Matthew 7:24-27—“Therefore, everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them will be like a sensible man who built his house on the rock. The rain fell, the rivers rose, and the winds blew and pounded that house. Yet it didn't collapse, because its foundation was on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of Mine and doesn't act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. David was probably very familiar with those great land-floods, which fill up the usually dry beds of rivers with rushing torrents: these overflowing waters often did great damage


“They shall not come nigh unto him,” that is, unto the godly man. It is not that afflictions do not reach godly persons; it is that they do not overwhelm them and destroy them, because they are delivered out of them. The phrase seems to denote safety in the greatest calamities; that even though a deluge of vengeance and awful judgments should come upon the world, yet the godly man is safe; he is in the hands of Christ, and is enclosed in the arms of everlasting love, from which he can never be snatched away by men or devils. The reference here is, doubtless, to the floods that will come upon the ungodly—upon a wicked world. The illustration is probably drawn from the deluge in the time of Noah. So, when God sweeps away the wicked in His wrath—when He shall consign them to destruction in the Day of Judgment—the pardoned sinner will be safe. He will be secure. He shall not be swept off with the others. Safe, as a forgiven man—safe as a child and a friend of God—he shall be protected as Noah was in the great deluge that swept away a guilty world. A pardoned man has nothing to fear, though flood or fire should sweep over the world. He who is saved from sin has no need to fear anything else.



7 Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah.


Thou art my hiding place

“Thou art my hiding place”—the idea is that he would be safe under the protection of God. The general reference is to concealment from an enemy, but here the reference is to sin, and the consequences of sin. By fleeing to God he would be protected from all the evils which sin brings upon human beings. When by faith I have access to thee, I see all the reason in the world to be at ease, and to think myself out of the reach of any real evil. Compare:

  • Psalm 9:9: The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.” The saints have many troubles, when God hides his face and temptations are strong, yet, even then Christ is the refuge from the storm; the salvation of his people, and their strength in every time of trouble. 
  • Psalm 27:5: “For He will conceal me in His shelter in the day of adversity; He will hide me under the cover of His tent; He will set me high on a rock.”This is the reason why the psalmist desired to dwell in the house of the Lord; because he considered it as a place where he would be hid by the Lord, in times of trouble and distress, caused either by the heat of persecution, or the inward anxiety of mind.


Thou shalt preserve me from trouble

“Thou shalt preserve me from trouble”—not from having it; for in this world the saints must have tribulation, and through it enter the kingdom, but from being swallowed up with it; the Lord will bring them safe out of it, and of them it shall be said, “these are they that came out of great tribulation” (Revelation 7:14)—He shall keep me from the trouble which comes from guilt, sadness and sorrow from the remembrance of sin, and apprehension of the wrath of God in the world to come. You will guard me (Psalm 12:7Psalm 25:21Psalm 31:23) from distress (Psalm 31:9); You will surround me with shouts (Psalm 32:11) of deliverance. Occasions for rejoicing arise wherever he turns: or possibly the glad shouts of the godly rejoicing at his deliverance is meant.


If, when God has pardoned our sins, He were to leave us to ourselves, we would soon lapse back into sin, and become infected with fresh guilt, and by that means plunge ourselves again into the same abyss of distress and misery; therefore, when we have received the comfort of our forgiveness and salvation, we must have access to the grace of God in order to be preserved from returning to foolishness and having our hearts hardened again by the deceitfulness of sin. God keeps his people from trouble, by keeping them from sin. 


Thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance.

“Thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance,” or bind me with gladness, as in Psalm 30:11—“You turned my lament into dancing; You removed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness.The meaning is that God would give him plenty of reason for praise and thankfulness; and an opportunity of attending him with songs of deliverance out of the hands of his enemies, and from trouble; and that both in his earthly house below, where the saints, His loving people and faithful subjects, would join with him in songs of praise; or in heaven above, where he would sing the song of Moses, and of the Lamb, and be surrounded with the hallelujahs of angels and glorified saints.


Men sing songs of deliverance when they have been delivered from danger. God will make such songs to sound in the psalmist's ears or in his heart. It is not merely one song or a single expression of gratitude. While he travels on the pathway to another world he will be attended with songs and rejoicing; he will seem to be surrounded with songs He himself will sing. Others, redeemed like him, will sing, and will seem to chant praises because he is redeemed and forgiven. All nature will seem to rejoice over his redemption. Nature is full of songs. The birds of the air; the wind; the running stream; the ocean; the seasons—spring, summer, autumn, winter; hills, valleys, groves—all, seem to be full of songs, to one redeemed. The feeling that we are pardoned fills the universe with melody, and makes us feel like the heaven and the earth are glad we are. The Christian is a happy man, and he feels like everything around him joins with him in his joy.



See verse 4.

8 I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.


I will instruct thee

“I will instruct thee” or “cause thee to understand.” This and the next verse are the words:

  1. Of God; whom David represents as God’s answer to his prayers, and the profession of his trust in Him.
  2. Of David himself; who having received remarkable blessings from God, and having declared what the godly would do in that case (see verse 6), he now undertakes to instruct the wicked on what they should do; which he does, partly to express his thankfulness to God for delivering him, and his zeal to advance the honour and service of God in the world; and partly, as an act of justice, so that he might make some amends to those whom he had injured, and incite them to repentance, whom by his sins he had scandalized, and either drawn into sin, or encouraged them to sin; and partly, for the discharge of his office and duty, since he was both a king and a prophet, and a good man. In all these capacities he was obligated to attempt the conversion and salvation of sinners. 


Who is the speaker? The Psalmist or God? Most commentators suppose that it is the Psalmist, who now assumes the part of teacher, as in Psalm 34:11“Come, children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord;”and fulfils the promise of Psalm 51:13“Then I will teach the rebellious Your ways, and sinners will return to You. Many others have regarded this and the following verses as an utterance of God, who first admonishes David, and then passes on to an admonition of the Israelites in general. But such a sudden intrusion by a Divine utterance, without any notice of a change of speaker, is without parallel in the Psalms, and should certainly not be accepted as fact without some substantiation. But there is no substantiation at all. The words are quite suitable in the mouth of David, or as an admonition from the Lord to the Israelites of his time; and they fulfil the promise made in Psalm 51:15“Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare Your praise.” It is the Lord, who gives to a man an understanding of spiritual things; He instructs by his providence, and even by afflictive dispensations of providence; and by his word, which is written for the learning of men, and is profitable for doctrine and instruction in righteousness, and by the ministers of it, who are called instructors in Christ; and by His Spirit, when he instructs effectively; He instructs men in the knowledge of themselves, and of himself in Christ, and of peace, pardon, righteousness, and salvation by Christ; and leads them into all truth as it is in Jesus; and opens the understanding to understand the Scriptures, and the doctrines contained in them.


And teach thee in the way which thou shalt go

“And teach thee in the way which thou shalt go”—the way which you are to take to find pardon and peace; or, the way to God; the path, from which men are apt to wander, when the Lord hedges up the way they would like to go with thorny providences. He shows them the right path by his ministers, and His word, and His Spirit directs them in the right way; saying, this is the way, walk in it; and the way of truth, which is clearly pointed to in the Scriptures of truth, and by the Spirit of truth; and also the way of life and salvation by Christ, revealed in the Gospel and which the preachers of it show men who want to know the way.


In another of his penitent Psalms, he resolves that when God restores to him the joy of his salvation, he would teach transgressors His ways, and do what he could to convert sinners to God, as well as comfort those that were converted—“Restore the joy of Your salvation to me, and give me a willing spirit” (Psalm 51:12).Those who have experienced the grace of God are the best at teaching others about it. And those who are themselves taught by God ought to tell others what He has done for their souls.


Our Saviour is our instructor. The Lord himself condescends to teach His children to walk in the way of integrity, his holy word and the admonitions of the Holy Spirit are the directors of the believer's daily behavior. We are not pardoned so that we may from then on live to pursue our own lusts, but so that we may be educated in holiness and trained for perfection. A heavenly training is one of the covenant blessings which adoption gives to us: “All thy children shall be taught by the Lord.” Practical teaching is the very best instruction, and they are happy, who, although they never sat at the feet of Gamaliel, and are ignorant of Aristotle, and the ethics taught in their schools, have nevertheless learned to follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth.


I will guide thee with mine eye

“I will guide thee with mine eye”—the Hebrew may be rendered either “I will advise—with mine eye upon thee,” or “I will fix mine eye upon thee,” which is the preferred translation. The literal meaning is, “I will counsel thee; mine eye shall be upon thee.” This may refer to God’s conduct toward, and direction of, His people. He guides them with His eye, by His clear view and discernment of the way in which they ought to go, giving them information in His word, and secret telltale signs of His will and their duty, by His Spirit and the twists and turns of His providence, which He enables His people to understand and take directions from, like a master makes a servant know his mind by the look or motion of his eye. I will guide thee, as the rider does his horse, (to which the person guided is compared in Psalm 32:9,) or as a master does his scholar, or as a guide does those who do not know the right way.


“I will guide” them by directing them to take the same steps he did; namely, to go to the Lord, and acknowledge and confess their sins to Him, and they might expect to find pardoning mercy and grace, as he did; and to "teach" them what their duty is—to respect the Lord and His goodness, and to serve Him in righteousness and holiness all the days of their lives; and “I will guide them with mine eye” by declaring to them the gracious experiences David had been favored with and by telling them what he had seen and had come to know.I will instruct, admonish, and watch over you. I will give you the best counsel I can, and then observe whether you take it or not. I will watch over you with as much care and tenderness as if you were the apple of My eye—He found him in a desolate land, in a barren, howling wilderness; He surrounded him, cared for him, and guarded him as the pupil of His eye.”    (Deuteronomy 32:10)or the words may be rendered, “I will counsel,” or “give counsel;” as He does, who gives wonderful counsel by his Son, who is the wonderful Counsellor. The Lord is the great overseer, whose eye in providence overlooks everything. It is well for us to be the sheep of His pasture, following the guidance of His wisdom. The idea is that of one who is telling another what way he is to take in order that he may reach a certain place; and he says he will watch him, or will keep an eye upon him; he will not let him go the wrong way. The eye of the Lord is upon the righteous, to watch over them for good, to provide for them, guide and direct them. The idea is more fully expressed in Numbers 10:31Genesis 44:21,  Jeremiah 24:6, and Jeremiah 40:4.



9 Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee.


Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding

“Be ye not as the horse or as the mule”—the object of this warning is to inform men how to behave under the instructions given; not as brute animals, which have no rational faculties, but as men; so that they would not show themselves thoughtless, stupid, and unteachable, as these animals are; nor stubborn and obstinate, headstrong and pig-headed, having made up their minds not to be taught; nor bad-tempered and mischievous; not only hating instruction, and throwing away the law of the Lord; but kicking, despising, and persecuting all who attempt to instruct them; like horses and mules that sometimes attempt to throw their riders, and, when down, to kick at them. 


“Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding.” The singular is exchanged for the plural, since the "instruction" is now intended, not for the godly man only, but for all. Israel had always been stiff-necked (Exodus 32:9Exodus 33:3, 5;Exodus 34:9Deuteronomy 9:6, 13Deuteronomy 10:162 Chronicles 30:8Acts 7:51), like a stubbornly restive horse or mule. This is a warning addressed to all not to resist God’s will, and neglect His instruction.


“The horse” is wild by nature, hard to control, and unwilling to be caught and made obedient. The counsel referred to in the previous verse is given here; and it is, that one who wishes to obtain the favor of God should not be as the wild and unbroken horse, an animal that can be controlled only by a curb bit, but should show a calm, submissive spirit—a spirit “willing” to obey and submit. If a man becomes a subject of God's kingdom, he is not to be subdued and secured like the horse is—by mere force; there must be the cheerful submission of the will. People are not brought into the service of God by physical power; they are not kept there by an iron “curb bit.” They come and yield themselves willingly to His law; they "must" come with that spirit if they would find the favor of God.


“The mule” is known for its stubbornness, which is where we get the well-known maxim, “as stubborn as a mule,” and this is evidently the ground for comparison here. The meaning is; be obedient, gentle, yielding; submit to the guidance and direction of God and His truth.


“Which have no understanding”—David exhorts them to no longer be like the horse and mule that cannot be controlled by reason and conscience.They are governed only by power and by fear. People have reason and conscience, and they should allow themselves to be controlled by appeals to their reason and to their sense of morality. They are not made to be governed as brutes creatures are. Since they have a higher nature, they should permit themselves to be governed by it. The horse and mule are excusable, since they “have no understanding, or “no discernment”—Israel would be inexcusable, since it had the gift of reason. God has endowed you with reason, both to inform you what you ought to do. and to stop you when you would do wrong, and has also made you capable of receiving warnings for your own good, from others; do not therefore follow your own unbridled lusts and appetites; much less be rebellious and pig-headed, when God would keep you from the error of your ways.

The Hebrew is unclear and possibly corrupt in some points; but the general sense is clear. Brute animals without reason must be controlled and compelled by force to learn to submit to man’s will. If man will not draw near to God and obey Him of his own free will, he lowers himself to the level of a brute creature, and must expect to be treated accordingly and disciplined by God’s judgment—I long for You in the night; yes, my spirit within me diligently seeks You, for when Your judgments are [in] the land, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness. [But if] the wicked is shown favor, he does not learn righteousness. In a righteous land he acts unjustly and does not see the majesty of the Lord. Lord, Your hand is lifted up [to take action], but they do not see it. They will see [Your] zeal for [Your] people, and they will be put to shame. The fire for Your adversaries will consume them!” (Isaiah 26:9-11).


Whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee

“Whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle.”There is in these words an implied insinuation, which is, that men are commonly, and for the most part, like these creatures, stupid, stubborn, and mischievous; and therefore severe methods are used by the Lord—stinging chastening, to humble and instruct them—“I have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself thus; You have chastised me, and I was chastised, as a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke: turn you me, and I shall be turned; for you are the LORD my God” (Jeremiah 31:18).The mule is well-known for its stupidity, and though the horse is docile, yet he is sometimes stubborn and unmanageable. 


Horses and mules can only be rendered obedient by restraints that are not fit for a rational creature. How foolish are men who can rule brute beasts, but they do not think that God will not bridle and tame their rage? For the thought that man who will not listen to God’s teaching ‘becomes brutish,’ see Jeremiah 10:14Jeremiah 10:21Psalm 49:10Psalm 49:12Psalm 49:20Psalm 73:22.


“Lest they come near unto thee”—this clause may mean, “Lest they come too near to thee,” in an attempt to hurt you, like when a riding horse tosses his head and strikes the rider in the face, or when a carriage horse rears-up and falls back upon the driver; or it may mean, “Otherwise they will not come near to thee,” that is, until they are controlled with bit and bridle, they will refuse to come near you, that is, because the horse and the mule will not come to thee of their own accord, they must be restrained and controlled. Horses and mules are usually not thought of as dangerous beasts, whose common practice it is to kick or bite, nor is the proper use of a bit or bridle, to keep them from doing so; but rather to keep them under his control and power, from whom they are apt to run away, because they do not or will not come near them, unless they are forced to do it by a bit or bridle.



10Many sorrows shall be to the wicked: but he that trusteth in the LORD, mercy shall compass him about.


Many sorrows shall be to the wicked

“Many sorrows (calamities and chastisements) shall be to the wicked.” The meaning here is, probably, that those who will not submit themselves to God in the manner which the psalmist recommends; who are like the horse and the mule, needing to be restrained, and who can be restrained only by force, will experience bitter sorrows. The psalmist may refer here, in part, to sorrows which he experienced when he attempted to suppress his convictions of guilt (vs.3, 4); and partly to the punishment that will come upon the unrepentant sinner for his sins. The sorrows referred to are probably both internal and external; those arising from remorse, and those which will be brought upon the guilty as a direct punishment. The sorrows of the unrepentant (wicked) are contrasted with the peace and safety secured by God's mercy. The warning given in the preceding verse is confirmed by the contrast between the destiny of the ungodly and the faithful—A person may be disciplined on his bed with pain and constant distress in his bones” (Job 33:19).


Many outward sorrows or afflictions go to them who will not be instructed and reformed, but are like the horse and mule, without understanding; loathsome and consuming diseases come upon their bodies through self-indulgence and depravity; and they and their families are brought low because of their vicious ways; and sorrow, horror and terror, seize them when their consciences are awakened, and are open to conviction; when a load of guilt lies on them, what remorse of conscience they feel! And they are pierced through with many sorrows! And though, for the most part, wicked men have their good things in this life, and appear to be prosperous, and not in trouble, like other men; yet what they have has come with a curse; and they have no true peace, pleasure, and satisfaction in what they delight in; and everlasting destruction is prepared for them in the other world, when they will have many sorrows; their worm will not die, and the fire of divine fury will not be quenched; there will be eternal indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon the soul of every man that does evil.


“Many sorrows shall be to the wicked.” Like headstrong horses and mules, they have many cuts and bruises. Now, and in the future the lot of the wicked is undesirable. Their joys are fleeting, their sorrows are multiplying and ripening. He who sows sin will reap sorrow in heavy doses. Sorrows of conscience, of disappointment, of terror, are the sinner's certain heritage in time, and then forever they will experience sorrows of remorse and despair. Let those who boast of present sinful joys, remember what and where they shall be in the future, and take it as a warning.


 This is an argument that enforces the preceding admonition; as if he had said, “If any are stubborn or unruly, God has many ways to curb and chastise them, and force them to submit to his will.” Those who are not reformed by gentler methods, must learn righteousness under the rod of affliction, in the school of the cross; and happy are they if their sorrows may so turn to their advantage. But happy are those who, led by the goodness of God to repentance and faith, enjoy the light and protection of mercy.


But he that trusteth in the LORD

“But he that trusteth in the Lord;” not in his wealth and riches, in his wisdom and strength, in himself, and his own righteousness; for those who do so are wicked persons; but in the Lord; in His righteousness to justify him, in His blood to pardon him, in His strength to support him, and in His grace to supply him with everything he needs. He commits himself to God’s care, waiting upon Him, and not turning aside to crooked or sinful paths for safety or comfort.


Mercy shall compass him about

Mercy shall surround him; not only follow him and overtake him, but surround him; he shall be crowned with loving-kindness and tender mercies: the phrase denotes the abundance of mercies that shall be bestowed upon him here and hereafter—both grace and glory. Mercy will be on every side of him, and prevent him from departing from God on the one hand, and prevent any real evil from assaulting him on the other.He shall be "surrounded" with mercy—as one is surrounded by the air, or by the sunlight. He shall find mercy and kindness everywhere; at home and abroad; by day and by night; in the company of others and in solitude; in sickness and in health; in life and in death; in time and in eternity. He shall walk in the midst of mercies; he shall die amidst mercies; he shall live in a better world in the midst of eternal mercies.


Faith in God is the great remedy of life's troubles, and he who possesses it, dwells in an atmosphere of grace, surrounded with a body-guard of mercies. May it be given to us by the Lord at all times so that we might believe in the mercy of God, even when we cannot see traces of its working, for to the believer, mercy is as all-surrounding as omniscience, and every thought and act of God is perfumed with it. “I will rejoice and be glad in Your faithful love because You have seen my affliction. You have known the troubles of my life” (Psalm 31:7).



11 Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart.


Be glad in the Lord

“Be glad in the Lord”—in Christ the essential Word; in Him as the Lord of their righteousness, and because of His righteousness imputed to them, by which they become righteous; and in Him as their Saviour and Redeemer, and because of the salvation which He has accomplished for them—“I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels” (Isaiah 61:10). (Compare: Psalm 5:11; Psalm 33:1; Nehemiah 8:10; Philippians 3:1Philippians 4:4; 1 Thessalonians 5:16) All kindred spirits must share the joy of a pardoned soul, and rejoice in the contemplation of God’s gracious dealings with His people.Rejoice that there is a God; rejoice that He is like He is; rejoice in His favor; find your joy - your supreme joy - in Him.

And rejoice, ye righteous

Ye righteous refers to those who are willing to go to Him and confess their sins; those who are willing to serve and obey Him. See the notes on verse 6. The meaning is that those who are willing to confess their sins, and are willing to submit to Him without being forced to do so, as the horse and the mule are, will find plenty of reasons for rejoicing. They will find a God who is worthy of their love, and they will find true happiness in Him.


This is not a carnal, but spiritual joy, which the psalmist strongly urges them to manifest, the same as in Philippians 4:4“Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.”As believers in Christ, children and heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ of the heavenly, incorruptible inheritance, and as persons assured that all things, even those that are the most distressing, shall work together for your good, have sufficient reason for always rejoicing.  


“Ye righteous” refers to all those who are driven to rejoice, who are not righteous in appearance only, or in their own conceit, or by the deeds of the law, or in and of themselves; for there is none made righteous in this way: but who are made righteous by obedience to Christ and His word, and are righteousness itself in Him; and under an awareness of such grace they live soberly, righteously, and godly; and they have plenty of reasons to rejoice and be glad. 


 David's psalms almost always end with a note of joy, or at any rate in a tone that is cheerful and encouraging. The present psalm, though reckoned among the repentant ones, both begins and ends with joyful expressions. In verses 1 and 2 David pours out the feeling of gladness which fills his own heart. Here he calls upon the "righteous" to rejoice with him. 


And shout for joy all ye that are upright in heart

“And shout for joy,” or give expression to your joy; don’t let it remain in the heart; but give voice to it in the language of song. If anyone on earth has reason to give out loud utterances of praise, it is those who are redeemed; whose sins are forgiven; who have the assurance of heaven. If there is any occasion when the heart should be full of joy, and when the lips should express loud utterances of praise, it is when one who is pressed down with the consciousness of guilt, and overwhelmed with the forebodings of wrath, confesses to God, and secures the hope of heaven.


“All ye that are upright in heart,” that is, who are sincere in your confession of sin, and in your desires to acquire the favor of God. These have justification for joy, for to such God will show himself merciful, as He did to the psalmist when He made confession of sin; to such God will give the signs of his favor, and the hope of heaven, as he did to him. The experience of the psalmist, therefore, as recorded in this psalm, should be full of encouragement for all who are burdened with a sense of sin. Warned by his experience, they should not attempt to conceal their transgressions in their own heart, but they should go immediately, as he was forced at last to do, and make full and free confession to God. By so doing, they will find that God is not slow to pardon them, and to fill their hearts with peace, and their lips with praise. These ought to rejoice, and even “shout for joy,” because of the grace that is fashioned in them, and bestowed upon them, and the glory they shall be partakers of; for both grace and glory are given to them, and no good thing is withheld from them; the culmination of these upright souls is peace; and when they have done their work, they shall lie down and rest easy in their beds, and each one shall walk in his uprightness—“For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.”  (Psalm 84:11)


[i] A place in the valley of Hinnom, near Jerusalem, where, contrary to the law, children were offered as sacrifices, especially to Moloch. It was later used as a dumping ground for refuse.