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God is to be praised for his goodness, for his power, and for his providence. Confidence is to be placed in God.
A Psalm of David.
Title— This is said to be a psalm of David; but the particular occasion of its composition is not known: It seems probable, however, that it was composed by David in commemoration of the great deliverance of their forefathers, when God overthrew the chariots and the horses of the Egyptian king in the sea, and afterwards fed his people in the wilderness. See Psalms 33:7; Psalms 33:9-10; Psalms 33:15-16; Psalms 33:18. Be this, however, as it may, without any reference to an immediate subject, it is an excellent hymn on the power and providence of God.
Psalms 33:2. The psaltery, &c.— The psaltery of ten strings.
Psalms 33:7. He gathereth the waters, &c.— Though this may allude to the passage of the Israelites through the Red Sea, when the waters were as a wall unto them on the right hand and on the left; yet Mr. Lowth's Observation upon Jer 5:22 may very properly be applied here. The keeping of the waters within bounds, so that they cannot overflow the earth, is often mentioned in Scripture as an immediate effect of God's over-ruling power and providence. Job 38:10-11.Psalms 104:9; Psalms 104:9. Proverbs 8:29. For water being specifically lighter than earth, by the common laws of gravitation it should rise above and overflow it; and then the adjusting the proportion of the tides, so that they rise no higher to the prejudice of the lower grounds, is another remarkable instance of God's especial providence. The last clause may be rendered, He layeth them up in the storehouses of the deep.
Psalms 33:9. And it stood fast— The word ויעמד vaiiangamod in the Hebrew should be rendered, and it stood up; i.e. at God's command: or, more suitably to the subject spoken of, it arose into being. The verb עמד amad may likewise be rendered, it stood firm. See Green, and Lowth's Prelections, p. 45. 4to.
Psalms 33:15. He fashioneth their hearts alike— He formed their hearts, one and all, and consequently must know what are their thoughts and intentions. Mudge.
Psalms 33:17. An horse is a vain thing, &c.— The expression is the same in this and the preceding verse; and therefore the meaning must be the same. After having particularized the stout man and the horse; that is to say, the infantry and cavalry, the strength and the swiftness of an army; and said, that neither of them could save a king; he repeats again what he had said before in general, that no number of forces could do it; pointing out in the next verses, wherein is the true defence, and the only sure dependance of man.
Psalms 33:19. To keep them alive in famine— This verse is plain enough, if the psalm refers, as was hinted at the beginning, to the case of the Israelites in the wilderness; but if to any particular victory of David's, it seems to import that he and his people had been in great want of provisions, occasioned, perhaps, by that stratagem of the enemy's conduct, which God is said above to have defeated; and that possibly might be one reason, why here, particularly, numbers were of no service.
REFLECTIONS.—1st, They who know the happiness of praising God with joyful lips will be provoking others to the same blessed work.
1. The Psalmist calls upon the righteous to join him in the grateful song of praise. It is comely work, most justly due to God, most becoming a soul so deeply bound in gratitude and love. Renewed mercies call for new songs. Note; Praise is a noble part of worship, in which the heart, affected with the sense of God's love, will be frequently engaged.
2. He suggests abundant matter for our praise. [1.] For God's pure and perfect word, which, next to the gifts of his Son and Spirit, may be well reckoned our chief blessing, where the paths of truth and holiness are marked out, and the way to glory made plain before our faces. [2.] For his providential dispensations, which are righteousness and judgment; all God's dealings with the sons of men, and, above all, his goodness, are seen throughout the earth; goodness to all, giving them life, and breath, and all things, and peculiar goodness to his believing people, who share the richer mercies of gospel grace. [3.] For the creation, rising at the word of Almighty power, and instantly starting into being at the command of God, by the word of the Lord, the Logos, his Son, the great agent, by whom all things were made, and by the breath of his mouth, the powerful operations of his holy Spirit. The heaven, the earth, the sea, and all that dwell therein, hence derive their original, and, by the same omnipotence preserved, continue steadfast and unchangeable; till, by a second mighty word, the heavens shall be wrapped together as a scroll, the earth dissolve, and all the elements melt with fervent heat. [4.] For his disappointing the devices of the wicked, however craftily laid or deeply hidden. [5.] For his designs of grace and love toward his faithful people. Note; These are not the subjects of praise to any one saint merely, but to every righteous man in every age.
3. He infers from all these views of God's word, works, and providence, the universal obligation to reverence and fear Him who, having all the creatures in his hand, can quickly arm them for our ruin; and therefore highly is it our interest, as well as duty, to pay him our bounden service, and not provoke his indignation.
2nd, We have,
1. The blessedness of God's believing people. Their God beholds all the sons of men; their thoughts are naked and open before him. Though some wickedly say, 'God hath forsaken the earth,' his eyes go to and fro in it, and none of the devices of the ungodly are unknown or unnoticed by him. He fashioneth their hearts: as the God of the spirits of all flesh, he must needs be acquainted with the work of his own hands; and he over-rules all the imaginations that they entertain, directing them all in such a way as to be subservient to the purposes of his own glory; and considereth all their works; the deeds of the wicked, to reserve them for judgment; and of the righteous to reward them. Nor can any creature act independently of him, either to save or to destroy: in which consideration, the people of God may take the greatest satisfaction. The greatest kings, with the most numerous hosts, avail nothing if God prosper them not: the strength of a giant is weakness if God be against him, as David had experienced: and all the horses prepared for battle cannot protect or save their riders if the Lord be not on their side: so that, while all creature-dependence must be renounced by us, all creature-opposition need not be feared, if the Lord be our God. And his eyes are upon them that fear him; whilst in general he regards and governs all the rest, with peculiar favour he looks upon his faithful children, whose trust is placed on his rich mercy in Christ; and whose fear is, lest they offend him. Against these, though kings and armies, and mighty men and horses of war, rise up, they cannot hurt or destroy them: God will deliver their soul from death, from temporal death, from spiritual death, from eternal death. In time of public calamity, when famine stalks through the land, they shall have bread to eat; and when the famine of the word prevails, and they are deprived of the ministry of the word and ordinances, they shall be fed with secret supplies of grace, and their souls shall live. Note; (1.) They are truly blessed and happy who are God's people, whom he regards with love, and who regard him with confidence and reverential filial fear. (2.) Whatever thoughts are in a man's heart,—the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand. (3.) The thought of the universal power, influence, and operations of God, should ever engage our quiet and contented resignation of ourselves into his hands.
2. Having described the blessedness of the people of God, he directs them in their duty. Our soul waiteth for the Lord, in patient hope, expecting the fulfilment of his promises. He is our help and our shield, the strength on which we depend, and the protection under which we are safe. For our heart shall rejoice in him; as we are bound to do under the rich experience of his grace and love, and in hope of the glory which shall be revealed in us, because we have trusted in his holy name, which trust itself originates in his grace and the operations of his ever-blessed Spirit. Therefore, let thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us, as we are ever called to pray; for in this way we must expect those gracious supplies which he has promised; according as we hope in thee, renouncing every other hope, and expecting by faith and prayer to be made partakers of thy present mercy in every time of need, and of thy eternal mercy when all our requests shall be finally and fully accomplished.
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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 33". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28