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Bible Commentaries

Hamilton Smith's Writings

Psalms 138

Verses 1-8

PSALM 138

The godly man praises the Lord for answering his cry in the midst of trouble.

(vv. 1-2) The psalmist praises the Lord, not only with lip profession, but, with his whole heart - an undistracted heart engrossed with its object. Moreover he publicly acknowledges the Lord by praising before the judges of the earth; here called gods, as representing God in their positions of authority ( Psa_82:1 ; Psa_82:6-7 ).

Furthermore the psalmist worships towards Jehovah's holy temple. This would indicate that the godly man is not yet established in the land. Like Daniel, though not in the temple, he prays towards it, in the faith of Solomon's prayer. Solomon had asked that God would hear His people if, in their time of trouble, they prayed toward the city that God had chosen, and toward the house that was built for the glory of His Name (cp. 1Ki_8:44 ; 1Ki_8:48 and Dan_6:10-11 ).

The praise is called forth by God's Name and God's Word. God's Name declares God's character as marked by loving-kindness and truth. God's Word declares His Name, and must ever be in accord with that Name. God is ever faithful to His Word, and, by fulfilling His Word, He magnifies it above all His Name. Men profess the Name of God, but set aside the Word of God. God, Himself, magnifies His Word above His Name.

(vv. 3-5) In his trouble the godly man had cried to the Lord, and had been answered. Thus the confidence of his soul is strengthened through the trouble.

The Lord's answer to his prayer encourages him to look on to the time when all the kings of the earth will praise Jehovah, when at last they will listen to His words, walk in His ways, and behold His glory.

(vv. 6-8) Though the Lord is high and His glory great, yet He has respect unto the lowly (cp. Psa_147:3-4 ). The proud He knows afar off. God regards them, but at a distance. He does not admit them into His favour or confidence.

The psalmist's heart is full of praise, though in circumstances he walks “in the midst of trouble.” Nevertheless if the trouble tends to cast him down, the Lord will revive him. The hand of the Lord that deals with the believer's enemies supports the believer himself (cp. Act_11:21 ; Act_13:11 ).

In the end the Lord will perfect that which concerns the godly. The trouble will pass, the enemies will be judged, and the godly will be blessed, for the mercy of the Lord endures for ever, and the Lord cannot forsake His own.

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Bibliographical Information
Smith, Hamilton. "Commentary on Psalms 138". "Hamilton Smith's Writings". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/hsw/psalms-138.html. 1832.