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Bible Commentaries

Philpot's Commentary on select texts of the Bible

Psalms 89

Verse 1

Ps 89:1

"I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever." Ps 89:1

We are surrounded with mercies; mercies for the body, and mercies for the soul. There are indeed times and seasons when all the mercies of God, both in providence and grace, seem hidden from our eyes, when, what with the workings of sin, rebellion, and unbelief, with a thorny path in the world, and a rough, trying road in the soul, we see little of the mercies of God, though surrounded by them. Like Elisha’s servant, though the mountain is surrounded by the horses and chariots of fire, and the angels of God are round about us, yet our eyes are blinded, we cannot see them; and at the very moment when God is already showering mercies upon us, and preparing others in reserve, through some trying dispensation, we are filled, perhaps, with murmuring and rebellion, and cry, "Is his mercy clean gone forever, will he be favorable no more?"

This is our infirmity, our weakness; but it no more arrests the shower of God’s mercies than the parched field arrests the falling rain. The mercies of God, like himself, are infinite, and he showers them in rich profusion upon his Church and people. They come freely as the beams of the sun shining in the sky; as the breezes of the air we breathe; as the river that never ceases to flow. Everything testifies of the mercy of God to those whose eyes are anointed to see it, and are interested in it. To them all things in nature, in providence, and in grace, proclaim with one united harmonious voice, "The mercy of the Lord endures forever."

Now, as these mercies of God are sensibly felt in the soul, they soften, meeken, and subdue the spirit, melt it into the obedience of faith, and raise up in it the tenderness of love. By this we are prepared to enter into the beauty and blessedness of the precept as an integral part of the gospel. If I take a review of the mercies of God, and feel no saving interest in them; if they are not personally and individually mine, I slight, perhaps even rebel, against the precept as too hard and severe. The yoke is too heavy for my neck to bear. My Jewish mind, my stiff-necked disposition, shrinks from obedience to God’s word.

But let my soul be favored with a sweet discovery of the mercies of God; let them reach my heart, soften and subdue my spirit, then there is no cross too heavy to be taken up, no trial too hard to be endured, no path of suffering and sorrow in which we cannot patiently, if not gladly, walk. The reason why the precepts are not obeyed is because the mercies of God are not felt. Love and obedience attend each other as the shadow waits upon the sun.

Verse 33

Ps 89:33

"Nevertheless my loving-kindness will I not utterly take from him, nor allow my faithfulness to fail. My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that has gone out of my lips." Ps 89:33-34

We live in a changeable, ever-changing world. All outside of us is stamped with variation, death, and decay; and as regards ourselves, everything within us tells us how frail, weak, and mutable we are. Thus, as viewed by the eye of sense and reason, uncertainty and changeability are ever seen to be deeply stamped, not only on every event of time, but on all we are and have in body and soul; and this experience of what we feel in ourselves and see in all around us often greatly tries both our faith and hope, for we are apt to measure God by ourselves, and judge of our state before him, not according to his word, but according to the varying thoughts and exercises of our mind.

But when we can look by faith through all these mists and fogs which, as resting on the lower grounds of our soul, so often obscure our view of divine realities, to the fixed purposes of God as manifested in an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and sure, and have at the same time some testimony of our interest therein, ground is thus afforded both for faith and hope as resting, not on our ever-changing feelings, but on the word and promise of him who cannot lie. It was thus David was comforted on his bed of languishing when the cold damps of death sat upon his brow (2Sa 23:5). It was then in this "everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure," that even before the world was formed, or man created, or sin committed, a Savior was provided, a Redeemer set up, and the persons of the redeemed chosen in him and given to him. How can we think, then, that any changing and changeable events in time can alter and frustrate what was thus absolutely fixed by firm and sovereign decree, or that any mutable circumstances in ourselves or others can defeat and disannul the eternal purposes of God?

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Bibliographical Information
Philpot, Joseph Charles. "Commentary on Psalms 89". Philpot's Commentary on select texts of the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jcp/psalms-89.html.