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The Psalmist voweth perpetual praises to God: he exhorteth not to trust in man. God for his power, justice, mercy, and kingdom, is only worthy to be trusted.
THESE five last psalms are particularly stiled the Hallelujahs, because they both begin and end with that word. The Vulgate, LXX, and other ancient versions, ascribe this psalm to Haggai and Zechariah. It was probably written after the captivity, when the Jews found it was in vain to rely upon the favour of princes; some of whom hindered the building of the temple, as much as Cyrus at the first had furthered it.
Psalms 146:4. His thoughts perish— His projects perish. Mudge. "All the designs which he had formed in favour of his dependants are frustrated and disappointed."
Psalms 146:8. The Lord openeth the eyes, &c.— Illuminates their minds; or even restores their natural sight, when it is defective and weak; or, when perfectly gone, and there are no hopes of human cure. But this part of the psalm was most exactly and literally fulfilled in our Lord Jesus Christ, when he came to give salvation to us.
Psalms 146:9. But the way, &c.— The way—he will overthrow. Mudge. Their steps shall be perplexed and puzzled, so that they shall stumble and fall, and all their projects be defeated.
REFLECTIONS.—1st, David's heart overflowed with gratitude, and therefore his lips were filled with praise. He could say, with deeper sensibility of the blessing, My God, and could not therefore but add, I will praise him while I have any being. Sensible of the vanity of all besides to help, and the insignificance of every creature, he bids us put no trust in any son of man, not even in the mightiest princes. They are changeable, their favour precarious, their promises often delusive: but be they never so able to help us, never so willing, the greatest are dying worms, returning to the dust from whence they came; their breath expires, their projects vanish, and all their thoughts of aggrandizing themselves, or their friends, are at an end. Note; (1.) Whatever a man may possess in this world, all that he can properly call his earth, is that pittance of a grave allotted for his last abode. (2.) Hope in man is delusory; hope in God knows no disappointment. (3.) Though in man there is no help, there is a Son of Man mighty to save; and blessed are they that put their trust in him.
2nd, What is the true happiness of man? The question is here resolved. Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, in all his trials, temptations, and afflictions; whose hope is in the Lord his God, the never-failing refuge of all who fly to him for succour; the Saviour of the faithful in every distress, and to the uttermost. For he is,
1. Able to save them. He is the creator of all things; heaven, and earth, and sea, with all their inhabitants, are the works of his hands; and he that is the almighty Author of all, must needs be as almighty to preserve.
2. He hath promised to help them. He keepeth truth for ever; he is the Amen, the faithful and true witness; and truth itself must fail before his word of promise can disappoint the faithful soul.
3. He is just. He executeth judgment for the oppressed; vindicates their injured innocence, and brings deserved vengeance on their enemies; as in the last day, if not before, will abundantly appear.
4. His tender mercies are over all his works. He giveth food to the hungry; not only the bread of earth to nourish their bodies, but himself, the bread of life, which cometh down from heaven, to nourish the immortal soul.
5. The distressed who seek him, have ever found him their ready friend. He looseth the prisoners, bound by disease, or bound with chains of iron. He opens the eyes of the blind, and raises up those that are bowed down with infirmity. Abundant instances of which appeared, when in the days of his flesh he wrought such miraculous cures, Luke 13:11-12., Matthew 11:5., John 9:32; John 9:41. But greater works than these he doth. The prisoners of sin are loosed by the preaching of his gospel, and the power of Satan broken. The eyes of our mind, blinded by corruption, receive divine illumination; and the impotent faculties of our souls are delivered from their infirmities. The burdens of sin, of sorrow, of temptation, are loosed by him; and with the discoveries of his love, the heads bowed down as the bulrush, under a sense of guilt, are lifted up in praise and joy.
6. His love is upon his people, the righteous, completely such by virtue of their union with him, and as such the objects of his high regard; who are also renewed by his Spirit, and enabled to walk before him and please him.
7. The destitute are relieved by him. The strangers, whom no man careth for; the fatherless and widow, whose situation lays them open to oppression, he preserves. The Syro-Phoenician woman, the Samaritans, the widow of Nain, proved the truth of this: and the strangers of the Gentiles, the spiritually destitute, have found him a merciful God.
8. The wicked will be destroyed by him. Their way he turneth upside down; he will blast their designs, and break their power; and, if not prevented by a timely and penitent return to him, will turn them into hell, to receive the eternal punishment of their sins.
9. The kingdom of Christ shall endure for ever. He shall reign, and therefore his faithful people may be satisfied he will assuredly help them: even thy God, whose perfections are all engaged for their salvation, unto all generations: and such reviving hope cannot but make their souls happy, and engage their everlasting praises. Hallelujah!
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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 146". Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany