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The same delightful subject is continued through this Psalm as in the two preceding, but in a more general way. All men are called upon, in the review of divine goodness, to praise the Lord; and the redeemed, in a yet more awakened manner. God's mercies are instanced in a great variety of ways, both by sea and land, in sickness and in health, and brought forward as so many motives to praise him.
The Psalm opens with giving a general invitation to all men to praise the Lord. And there is enough in every man's life, the most unworthy the most unawakened, to prompt him to this service: for everything short of hell is mercy. And if the sinner that is living without God, could but be prevailed upon to pause and ask himself, Wherefore it is that a life such as his is still in mercy lengthened? Wherefore the bounty which he lives only to abuse, is still vouchsafed him? Such a thought, if blessed of God, might cause the tear to fall, and the heart to lift itself in praise!
How very beautifully does this special call to the redeemed come in after the former verse! Pause, Reader! Pause, my soul! What sayest thou to this subject? Are we among the redeemed? Hath sovereign grace gathered us to Jesus, to whom the gathering of the people must be? Genesis 49:1 ; John 11:52 . My soul! look, into thine own account, and see what causes arise there for joining in the Psalmist's song. Surely thou wast a long wanderer, like the prodigal who left his father's house: surely in hunger of soul, and thirst, and weariness, didst thou long go. And never, until God the Spirit put a cry in thine heart, didst thou find peace or comfort. And hath the God of thy salvation brought thee by a right way, however thorny, or painful to flesh and blood; and in Jesus hast thou found that city of habitation, whose builder and maker is God? Well then may I shout aloud this hymn of praise to him who hath satiated my weary soul, and replenished my sorrowful soul. Luke 15:13-14 ; Hebrews 11:9-10 ; Jeremiah 31:25 ; Isaiah 28:12 ; Matthew 11:28 .
Here is another striking representation, whether considered with respect to God's providence or his grace, to show the miseries of our nature by the fall. How do souls groan in their prison-houses! Whether the cry be from grace or nature, yet misery will cause it to be put forth. Elihu describes the state of carnal men under misery: they cry out, he saith, by reason of the multitude of oppressors; but none saith, Where is God my maker, who giveth songs in the night? In all this no cry to God, no seeking to him! Job 35:9-10 . But the people of God under their affliction, direct their cries to God. Seek deliverance, not so much from sorrow, as from the bondage of sin, death, and hell; and when those cries come up from a broken and contrite heart, induced by the Spirit, and offered in the name of Jesus; the Lord breaks their bands asunder, and brings them out of their prison-house. Here again as before, a renewed occasion presents itself for chanting hymns of praise. See Isaiah 42:6-7 ; Psalms 51:17 ; Zechariah 9:11 .
Under another similitude, the Psalmist here sets forth the miseries of our fallen nature, in order to display the benignity and compassion of Heaven in our recovery. When sin entered into the world, sickness and death followed. Jesus the Son of God came to bear our sickness, and to carry our sorrows. And he by his own death hath overcome death, and by taking out the sting of death, which is sin, hath brought his people to the right of inheritance in that happy climate, where the inhabitant shall not say, I am sick; the people that dwell therein shall be forgiven their iniquity. Isaiah 33:24 . Hence a new occasion ariseth for praising the divine mercy in Jesus.
The Psalmist in these verses takes up another representation, by way of setting forth man's wants, and God's gracious provision for him; and this subject he draws from the events which occur upon the mighty waters. He draws out, in a most finished portrait, the terrors of a storm; describes the fears and horrors of the sailor whilst subjected to its power; and having carried the picture to the extreme point of coloring, sets forth the Lord as interposing and sending deliverance. And then again, he beautifully shows the vast claim there must be upon all such to bear in everlasting remembrance the loving-kindness of the Lord. Reader! whether or not you have ever seen the wonders of the deep, the spiritual sense of the passage is the same. Life is in jeopardy every hour. By reason of sin, and the storms and tempests of our unruly passions, the malice of the world, and the fury of the enemy, what shipwreck do not the people of God continually fear, that they shall make of faith? If in such seasons Jesus commands the waves and sea to be still, and at length, by his grace, and the leadings of his Holy Spirit, like the mariner's compass, he brings them to himself, as to the haven where they would be; ought not the hymn again to break forth from every heart so delivered, and the language to everyone they meet be, Come and hear, all ye that fear God; and I will declare what he hath done for my soul. Psalms 66:16 .
From the wonders of redeeming grace upon the mighty waters, the Psalmist makes a transition to the dry and barren land of the wilderness, whence he takes occasion to set forth another striking representation of the Lord's goodness. He describes under this similitude, a barren land where no water is, and purposely made so for the wickedness of the inhabitants. Such was the plain of Jordan, where were Sodom and Gomorrah; Genesis 13:10 ; and such were the seven churches, to whom the Epistles of John were delivered, of which scarce a vestige remains. Revelation 2:3 . He next describes the visitation of God in mercy, when the Lord makes the wilderness to blossom as a rose, and draws an unanswerable argument for the righteous to mark God's gracious dealings, and rejoice, while such views must stop the mouth of iniquity.
This seems to be a general conclusion. The man of God having taken up the subject from the beginning, and shown how all men, and especially the redeemed, ought to bless God for his goodness: and having instanced, in the different and diversified events which are going on in life, as well in the world of providence as in grace, how the Lord is watching over his people for good, and will ultimately punish the evil; he makes this the closing reflection: "The wise will ponder and observe it; and they that do so shall understand the loving-kindness of the Lord."
AND now, Reader, what ought to be the result of all this long and beautiful discourse, but in a direct application of it to ourselves, to bless God, and to give him thanks forever? And oh! if you and I can mark down in our own history, the subject of redemption, what loud and increased notes of praise ought to swell our song: He remembered us in our low estate, for his mercy endureth forever. Say, my soul! hath the Lord gathered thee out of the lands! Hath he taken thee home to himself? Did he find thee in a waste and barren land, hungry and thirsty, and every hope dried up within thee? And hath he brought thee by a right way, to a city of habitation? Oh! then, praise the Lord for his goodness, and declare the wonders which he doeth to the children of men.
And see that Jesus is increasingly precious to thee for the time to come. All thine interest and security is from God's covenant love in Christ. There is no mercy out of Christ; all the acceptation of our persons, and the everlasting security of the redeemed, all is in Jesus. See to it, then, that all thy fresh springs are in him.
And oh! that a sense of past mercies might be made the dependence and security of the future! If the Lord remembered thee in thy low estate, when thinking nothing of him; surely his grace will have respect to thee now, when desiring his knowledge and his love. For if while thine heart was harder than stone, Jesus passed by, and bid thee live; he will not cast thee off now he hath softened thine heart by his grace. Precious Lord Jesus! in thee I find all things, both for present peace and future happiness; and therefore to thee I come, on thee I depend, and from thee I look for all things. The Lord is my strength and my song; and he is become my salvation, Amen.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Psalms 107". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the First Week of Advent