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Psalms 138:1 « [A Psalm] of David. » I will praise thee with my whole heart: before the gods will I sing praise unto thee.
Ver. 1. I will praise thee with my whole heart ] Which no hypocrite can do; though he may pray in distress from the bottom of his heart. A grateful man is a gracious man, viz. if he come with a true heart, as the apostle hath it, Hebrews 10:22 (Aben Ezra).
Before the gods will I sing praise unto thee ] That is, before angels, who are present in holy assemblies, 1 Corinthians 11:10 (as was represented by those cherubims pictured in the temple), as also before princes and potentates, see Psalms 138:4 . (Kimchi).
Psa 138:2 I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.
Ver. 2. I will worship toward thy holy temple ] Wheresoever I am the face of my soul shall turn, like the needle of a dial, by sacred instinct, towards thee, in the ark of thy presence, in the Son of thy love (Abbot).
For thy lovingkindness and for thy truth ] For thy grace and truth, which come by Jesus Christ: the ark and mercy seat were never sundered. God’s lovingkindness in Christ moved him to promise, his truth binds him to perform, and hence our happiness.
For thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name ] Or, Thou hast magnified thy name in all thy words. Or, Thou hast magnified above all things thy name by thy word; that is, Thou hast got thee a very great name, by fulfilling thy promises, and by setting on thy word with power.
Psa 138:3 In the day when I cried thou answeredst me, [and] strengthenedst me [with] strength in my soul.
Ver. 3. In the day when I cried, &c. ] This he worthily celebrateth as a singular favour, a badge of grace, Psalms 66:18 , and pledge of glory, Acts 2:21 .
And strengthenedst me with strength in my soul ] With strength in the inward man, Ephesians 3:16 ; Ephesians 3:20 , with spiriual mettle, with supporting grace; keeping head above water. My body is weak, my soul is well, said that dying saint. I am as full of comfort as heart can hold, said a certain martyr. The apostle speaketh of the new supplies of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, επιχορηγεω , Philippians 1:19 ; the joy of the Lord is strengthening, Nehemiah 8:10 .
Psa 138:4 All the kings of the earth shall praise thee, O LORD, when they hear the words of thy mouth.
Ver. 4. All the kings of the earth shall praise thee ] Such of them as shall read these psalms of my composing; or otherwise shall hear of thy gracious dealing with me, according to thy promise. Such also as shall hereafter be converted to the faith; for though "Not many mighty, not many noble, are called," 1 Corinthians 1:26 , yet some are, and these shine in the Church like stars of the first magnitude.
Psa 138:5 Yea, they shall sing in the ways of the LORD: for great [is] the glory of the LORD.
Ver. 5. .Yea, they shall sing in the ways of the Lord ] As having tasted the excellence of the comforts of godliness (far surpassing those of the crown and sceptre), and felt the power of God’s word subduing them to the obedience of faith, whereby they come to rule with God, to be faithful with his saints, and to sing their songs.
Psa 138:6 Though the LORD [be] high, yet hath he respect unto the lowly: but the proud he knoweth afar off.
Ver. 6. Though the Lord be high, &c. ] Even "the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity," Isaiah 57:15 . See on Psalms 113:6-7 .
Yet hath he respect unto the lowly ] This maketh that ancient cry out, Videte magnum miraculum, See here a great miracle; God is on high; thou liftest thyself up, and he flieth from thee; thou bowest thyself down, and he descendeth unto thee (Aug. de Temp.). Low things he looketh close upon, that he may raise them higher; lofty things he knoweth afar off, that he may crush them down lower. The proud Pharisee pressed as near God as he could; the poor publican, not daring to do so, stood aloof off; yet was God far from the Pharisee, near to the publican. The Lord Christ is a door to heaven, but a low door; he who will enter in thereby, humiliet se oportet, ut sano capite intrare contingat, saith Austin, he must needs stoop to save his head piece.
But the proud he knoweth afar off ] As not vouchsafing to come near such loathsome lepers. For pride is like a great swelling in the body, apt to putrefy, break, and run with loathsome and foul matter. Hence God stands off from such, as odious and abominable; be cannot abide the sight of them; Superbos a coelo longe propellit, as the Chaldee here paraphraseth, he driveth the proud far enough off from heaven, yea, he thrusteth them into hell, to their father Lucifer, that king of all the children of pride, as leviathan is called, Job 41:34 .
Psa 138:7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me: thou shalt stretch forth thine hand against the wrath of mine enemies, and thy right hand shall save me.
Ver. 7. Though I walk in the midst of trouble ] Even in the vale of the shadow of death, so that I seem little different from a dead man.
Thou wilt revive me ] That is, restore me from so great a death, as 2 Corinthians 1:10 .
Thou shall stretch forth thine hand ] Thou shall interpose thy help between me and them, and save me harmless; as the poets feign their gods did those whom they favoured. Thou shall strike them with thy left hand, and save me with thy right; so Tremellius senseth it.
Psa 138:8 The LORD will perfect [that which] concerneth me: thy mercy, O LORD, [endureth] for ever: forsake not the works of thine own hands.
Ver. 8. The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me ] He will not do his business to the halves, leave it in the midst, but carry it on to a consummation, and lay the top stone of grace; this I am well assured of. See Philippians 1:6 . Only I must pray, and do my part; having an eye still to God’s everlasting mercy in Christ.
Forsake not the works of thine own hands ] Look upon the wounds of thy hands, and forsake not the works of thy hands, prayed Queen Elizabeth. And Luther’s usual prayer was, Confirm, O God, in us that thou hast wrought, and perfect the work that thou hast begun in us, to thy glory; so be it. Though the good work of grace be begun in us, yet we can neither persevere in that grace, nor bring it forth to act, without new grace; even as trees, though they be fitted to bear fruit, yet, without the influence of the heavens, they cannot put forth that fitness in fruit, &c.
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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Psalms 138". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 5 / Ordinary 10