This a psalm, mainly, of comfort; but with comfort, prayer (Psalms 125:4) and threatening (Psalms 125:5) are blended. God's people are always under God's protection. He will always "be good" to them. But the double-minded he will infallibly cast out.
They that trust in the Lord shall be as Mount Zion; rather, are as Mount Zion; i.e. are as firmly fixed and established as "the mount of God," which cannot be removed, but abideth forever (comp. Isaiah 28:16).
As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the Lord is round about his people. This is the true cause of his people's stability, which is like that of his holy mountain. The ubiquitous God stands round about his people, and protects them on every side. The mountains that am "round about Jerusalem" are, on the east, the Mount of Olives; on the south, the Hill of Evil Counsel; on the west, the ridge beyond the valley of Jehoshaphat; and on the north, the high ground about Scopas. All these are higher than the platform upon which the city is built. From henceforth even forever. Always round about his true people, though he may have to forsake those who have first forsaken him.
For the rod of the wicked; literally, the scepter of wickedness. Shall not rest upon the lot of the righteous. The possession, or inheritance, of the righteous, i.e. the land in which they dwell. This may fall for a time under the dominion of the wicked, but shall not "rest"—i.e. continue—under such dominion. Lest the righteous put forth their hands unto iniquity; i.e. lest their patience be worn out, and they fall from grace. God will not try men beyond that they are able (1 Corinthians 10:13).
Do good, O Lord, unto those that be good. Give them their deservings. For their "goodness" repay them with "goodness." And to them that are upright in their hearts. Exegetical of the preceding clause. Only the "upright in heart" are really "good."
As for such as turn aside unto their crooked ways. The word translated "crooked ways" occurs only here and in 5:6. It means properly "by-paths," deviations from the straight path of right. The Lord shall lead them forth with the workers of iniquity. God shall give them no better portion than he assigns to the open evildoers, since their heart is not really whole with him. But peace shall be upon Israel; rather, but peace be upon Israel. The psalmist winds up with a prayer, not a prophecy.
Does righteousness answer? Is piety rewarded? Is the good man much the better for his goodness? That is the question, both old and new, suggested by the psalm. The reply is in the affirmative; but the fourth verse indicates that the writer's mind is not altogether untroubled by what he has seen. Nor is ours. There is much that, at first sight, perplexes us. We may see the usurper break his oath, cut down his countrymen with the sword, seize the reins of office, and reign for many years upheld by military power; we may see the statesman climbing by unscrupulousness and stratagem to the highest post in the kingdom, and maintaining himself there by the same devices; we may see the fraudulent merchant or director, the charlatan, the unprincipled adventurer, making himself rich at the expense of his dupes. Iniquity, impiety, roguery, triumphs. On the other hand, we sometimes see the good man brought down from the place of honor and of influence, the devout man struggling hard with financial difficulties or domestic trials, the whole company of afflictions gathering at the door and saddening the heart of the holy. And we say—Does not the red which belongs to the wicked rest on the lot of the righteous? Does God do good to those that are good? The answer is found in such truths as these. We find when we look on and in, that—
I. SIN, WRONGDOING, IS REWARDED AS IT DESERVES TO BE. It is not only that:
1. High-handed wrong is usually punished in the end; that the guilty empire goes out in defeat and disaster; that the unscrupulous statesman falls from power and is dishonored; that the fraudulent merchant and scheming adventurer come to exposure and ruin. That is very frequently, perhaps ordinarily, the case; for "the sword of Heaven is not in haste to smite, nor yet doth linger." But it is true that:
2. Sin is always tending downward. Vice, sloth, cruelty, fraud, falsity,—these lead down, step by step, to poverty and want, to sickness and suffering, to dishonor and disgrace, to early death. And:
3. Sin means misery. Unhappiness, arising not only from reduced circumstances, but from the condemnation and abandonment of the good, and from the stings and smarts of conscience. Moreover—and this is too often overlooked:
4. Sin means inward and spiritual ruin. Even if the human judge passes no sentence, and the guilty man enters no prison-door, is there no penalty paid? There is—in moral and spiritual degradation; in the sinking of the soul into a condition in which all is lost that makes manhood a noble thing, in which the spirit bears nothing of the image of its Maker, in which nothing is left of a character but what is mean and base and ugly in the sight of heaven. The rod that belongs to the wicked rests on the wicked. Guilt bears its penalty; the soul that sinneth dies.
II. GOODNESS, WORTH, IS REWARDED AS IT DESERVES TO BE. It is true that the good man is not always fortunate or successful, has not always abundance of gold and silver. Should we wish that he had? Should we wish that piety and purity, that unselfishness and nobility of spirit, that mercy and patience, were always paid in cash, or even in human honor or in high position? Should we like holiness to have its price in the market? No. Our God is too wise and kind to place it at that level. To do that would be to dishonor it and to injure us. What he does for his own is, nevertheless, very much and very great. Consider:
1. The evils from which he saves them. The good man looks back and thanks God with fervent spirit for saving him from the worst evils into which he might have fallen; not only from suffering and sorrow, but from remorse and shame, from darkness and degradation, from the wreck and ruin into which he has seen many of his fellows fall. He has trusted in the Lord, and he has been as Mount Zion, which cannot be removed; he has been preserved in his integrity. God's upholding power has been beneath him, his Divine protection has been around him, even as the mountains are round about Jerusalem.
2. The positive good which he does them.
HOMILIES BY S. CONWAY
Such as cannot be moved.
There can be little doubt, so it seems to me, that these psalms, from one of which our text is taken, were all of them songs of the exiles returning from their captivity in Babylon. Their very name—"Songs of Degrees"—denotes that they were sung as the people went up towards their land, their city, and the sanctuary of the Lord. But the frequent allusions to the Exile, to its degradation and sorrow, to the almost complete destruction which had there all but overtaken them, and then to their preservation and restoration, all show that in these fifteen psalms we have the devout utterances of those whom God had once suffered to be in exile, but whom he had not only graciously preserved therein, but now had wonderfully restored. So that we may picture the long line of the returning captives as they journeyed on over the weary waste of rock and sand which stretched between the place of their exile and their beloved home. We listen to them refreshing and cheering their hearts from time to time by singing one or other of these holy psalms. Alter their return, these psalms appear to have been collected together, and to have formed part of their national liturgy, and were sung, as they well deserved to be, when their city and temple were again built and dedicated to the Lord. There is a beautiful progression in them—an advance in thought and expression, harmonizing with the commencement, progress, and completion of the return from Babylon to the city of God. The first tells how, in their distress, the exiles cried unto the Lord, and utters their lament over their long sojourn in the strange land. The next—the hundred and twenty-first—is one which, it is probable, formed the evening psalm, as the tents were pitched, and the whole encampment lay down to rest. Then did they lift up their eyes to the Lord—the Lord that kept Israel and who neither slumbered nor slept. The next is a song of gladness in view of their once more standing in the house of the Lord—the gladness of those who had long been hindered in the enjoyment of any such privilege. The next recalls their prayer—their earnest, pleading prayer, which they offered up because of the contempt of the proud and the scorning of their luxurious stranger-lords. And the next celebrates with joyous rapture the great deliverance which God gave them: "Blessed be the Lord, who has not given us as a prey to their teeth." Such is the spirit of the whole. And then comes the devout conclusion from all their experience—the blessedness of trusting in the Lord. Perhaps it was sung as the exiles drew near to Jerusalem and Mount Zion, and saw the mountains round about her, and the Mount Zion which abideth for ever. As those beloved heights, on which their fathers had gazed with delight, reared themselves on high, unchanged amid all the storm and tumult which had surged around and upon them, they seemed to the devout Israelites a type, not only of the Divine guard over Israel, encompassing his people even as these mountains "were round about Jerusalem," but a type also of the stability, the permanence, the immovability, of all those who trust in the Lord. "They who trust in the Lord shall be," etc. No object was more familiar to the devout Jew than Mount Zion and the mountains round about Jerusalem. As often as they went up to the house of the Lord, and day by day, all those who dwelt in or near Jerusalem, as did most of those who came back from the Exile, Zion and the surrounding heights were conspicuous before them. And good was the use they made of them. They beheld in them a symbol of their God, and a promise of what they themselves should be if they put their trust in him. Thus did this familiar everyday scene speak to them. Happy are they who, from the common surroundings of their everyday life, the many gifts of God's love which daily they enjoy, hear and listen to a voice which speaketh to them such holy truths as these! As one has well said, "Believing Englishmen, you may specially bless God that your country gives you an admirable picture of your own security, by dwelling alone, separated by the floods from all other nations. This is the security of our beloved isle."
"He bade the ocean round thee flow;
Not bars of brass could guard thee so."
They that trust in the Lord shall be as these happy islands, which shall not know the rod of the oppressor, for the Lord has guarded them with a better defense than walls or bulwarks. Hebrew comparisons were most fit for Hebrew believers, but those nearer home should serve us as theirs served them. But now to turn to this blessed truth itself which our text declares—the ever-abiding, the immovable stability of them that trust in the Lord.
I. CONSIDER THE BLESSING HERE PROMISED. To "be as Mount Zion, which cannot," etc. From the days of Melchizedek, in the early patriarchal ages, right on and down to our own, Jerusalem has been an historic place. It has never been moved. Other great cities, like that of Nineveh, Babylon, and the cities of Asia, we can now but taintly trace where they stood. But Jerusalem has not only preceded, but has long survived them all. But in what sense can God's people be said to be as Mount Zion!
1. Of the Church of God it is historically true. If by violent persecution or other calamity she has been driven from one region—as from all North Africa—it has only been to settle more immovably in other and wider lands. There is no more reassuring argument to the mind anxious for the welfare of the Church of God than her history in the past. This psalm is truer of her than it was of Israel.
2. Of the individual believer it is also true; for he cannot be moved. His feelings may be. He may, as did the psalmists oftentimes, imagine that "the Lord has cast him off for ever, and hath in anger shut up his tender mercies." But it is not so really. Read the triumphant challenge of St. Paul at the close of Romans 8:1-39. That tells the real truth, as doth this psalm here. For the city of Divine grace lieth foursquare, like the city of God told of in the Apocalypse, and is defended with all those within it—as God's people are—by the mighty walls of God's omnipotence, righteousness, love, and grace—even the grace of the Holy Spirit working within us. Therefore is this psalm true.
II. THOSE FOR WHOM THIS BLESSING IS DESIGNED. "They that trust in the Lord." Now, this trust is:
1. A very simple thing. Anybody can trust—old and young, rich and poor. It requires no long study, no store of learning.
2. And it may be a very imperfect thing. Not mature, not strong and mighty at all; but yet it is trust, like him who cried, "Lord I believe: help thou mine unbelief."
3. It does not matter how or where we may have been brought to it. Blessed be God!
III. THE CONNECTION BETWEEN THIS TRUST AND SO GREAT BLESSING.
1. Because God so delights in our trust.
2. It is the transforming grace.
3. It identifies us with Christ in his life.
4. It devitalizes our connection with the first Adam, and grafts us into Christ.—S.C.
The lot of the righteous.
The previous verses have told how secure it is; these add other facts concerning it.
I. THE ROD OF THE WICKED SHALL NOT REST UPON IT.
1. It may come upon the righteous. Often had done so; but it should not continue. It has been thought that reference is made here to the troubles of the righteous Nehemiah, by reason of the opposition and treachery he had to meet with (see Nehemiah 2:16; Nehemiah 6:10-14, Nehemiah 6:17). It may be so; but the truth is ever applicable.
2. If it continue outwardly, it will not inwardly. With the wicked, when suffering comes, there is no alleviation, no blessed peace of God, no communion with him, no bright hope, no sustaining Holy Spirit. But these are all in the lot of the righteous. God's saints have ever enjoyed them. Hence it matters but little, if the inward grace be given, whether the outward rod be removed or no.
3. But it generally is removed both outwardly and inwardly. It is not suffered to be permanent. The troubles of the righteous are but as going through a tunnel; it may be very long and very dark and very drear, but it is only a tunnel, and ere long the light is reached again.
II. GOD WILL NOT SUFFER THEM TO BE TEMPTED ABOVE THAT THEY ARE ABLE TO BEAR. This is the reason given why "the rod of the wicked shall not rest," etc.
1. There are other reasons. God's love for his people. He has no pleasure in their pain. No, but in their affliction he is afflicted. Hence "he will not always chide," etc. (Psalms 103:1-22.). Then, because they are in Christ (cf. Romans 8:1).
2. But there is this reason also. It would defeat the very end God has in view. He desires his people to be perfected in righteousness. But if the "rest of the wicked" always "rested," etc.—that unmitigated, unalleviated rod—it would be more than our poor frail humanity could bear. The righteous would be discouraged, and this would be fatal to them, as it ever is. The condition of fidelity is to be strong and of a good courage.
III. THEIR LOT WILL BECOME BRIGHTER AND BRIGHTER. (Verse 4.) The prayer simply states what is God's perpetual way. He is good to them that are good, adding ever to his grace (Proverbs 4:18).
IV. BUT MUST NEVER BE DEPARTED FROM. To turn aside from it is certain misery (verse 5). The most wretched souls on the face of the earth are those that have turned aside from God to wicked ways, such as are all the ways of sin.—S.C.
HOMILIES BY R. TUCK
Stability out of trust.
The key-note of this psalm is a fear lest the restored Israel should again prove faithless and backsliding, as in the older time. "The pious psalmist trembles lest the blasts of foreign tyranny, which have swept upon the sacred nation with such protracted severity, should uproot it from its basis of true religion. The long domination of a heathen power during the recent Exile, and the present molestations of the semi-idolatrous Samaritans, must doubtless have had their effects on the weak-hearted among the psalmist's countrymen. In the Dresent poem, therefore, words of consolation and of threatening are naturally blended. The faithful, says the psalmist, need not be terrified, for calamity shall not endure; they have a firm foundation, which cannot totter, and Jehovah is to them a bulwark, deterring the oppressive foe who would pervert them from their holy faith." Mount Zion should not be confused with Mount Moriah. It represents the people as a whole, the nation as a nation, not exclusively regarded in its religious obligations and relations. The poetical conception of a mountain is firmness, because resting on broad and deep foundations. The earthquake is thought of as the most awful of forces, because it can even shake the mountains. The rootage of the mountains at the very center of the earth is a figure of the rootage a nation or a soul has by its trust in God. Or as the cedar on the hillside, it is free to wave in the storm-winds, because it clasps and twines about the rock of God.
I. STABILITY CANNOT COME OUT OF CIRCUMSTANCES. They do but shake us to and fro, and make us stagger up and down. Illustrate from the various experiences of the Israelite nation. No kind of restfulness can possibly be gained while we wait on circumstances.
II. STABILITY CANNOT COME OUT OF KNOWLEDGE. "For knowledge is of things we see," and these all lie in the range of the circumstantial. It is curious that men should have such confidence in the certainty of knowledge, when there is nothing in the world so fluctuating. What men stoutly affirm they know today they relegate to the list of exploded theories to-morrow. Being a creature, man's secret of rest must be the dependence of faith, and not the certitude of knowledge. A very striking illustration of the instability of the results of even advanced learning is given by Mr. L. Hastings. The following is a list of the discordant hypotheses of the so-called "Higher Criticism," published since 1850, on the origin and authorship of the Old and New Testament books: "For Genesis there have been 16 theories, Exodus 13:1-22, Leviticus 22:1-33, Numbers 8:1-26, Deuteronomy 17:1-20; total for Pentateuch, 76 theories. For Joshua 10:1-43, 7:1-25, Ruth 4:1-22, Samuel 20, Kings 24, Chronicles 17, Esdras 14, Nehemiah 11:1-36, Esther 6:1-14; total for historical books, 113. For Job 26:1-14, Psalms 19:1-14, Proverbs 24:1-34, Ecclesiastes 21, Canticles 18; total for poetical books, 108. For Isaiah 27:1-13, Jeremiah 24:1-10, Lamentations 10, Ezekiel 15:1-8, Daniel 22; total for great prophets, 98. For all the minor prophets, 144. Total for the Old Testament, 539. For Matthew 10:1-42, Luke 9:1-62, Mark 7:1-37, John 15:1-27; total for Gospels, 41. Acts 12:1-25, Paul's Epistles 111, other Epistles 44; total for New Testament, 208. Grand total of theories for the entire Bible, 747. Of these 603 have already gone into oblivion, and there is no reason to fear that many of the remaining 144 may not soon follow them to the shelves of the libraries, to be dusted no more." Or illustration may be taken from scientific knowledge. So incomplete and uncertain is even such knowledge, that a scientific book more than ten years old is now regarded as out of date and untrustworthy. We can never find security in our own particular knowledge, seeing that we are ever growing out of our own past of imperfection.
III. STABILITY CAN ONLY COME OUT OF TRUST. It may seem strange to say, but the most reliable thing is the human heart. "Many waters cannot quench love." Let it once get its grip, it holds tight, and will die rather than loosen that grip. But when we speak of trust, two things are in mind:
The encircling of Divine defense.
"The Lord is round about his people." Robinson says, "The sacred city lies upon the broad and high mountain range which is shut in by the two valleys Jehoshaphat and Hinnom. All the surrounding hills are higher. On the east, the Mount of Olives; on the south, the so-called Hill of Evil Counsel, which ascends from the Valley of Hinnom; on the west the ground rises gently to the border of the great wady; while on the north the bend of a ridge which adjoins the Mount of Olives limits the view to the distance of about a mile and a half" (comp. Zechariah 2:4, Zechariah 2:5, "wall of fire round about her"). Delitzsch says, "The holy city has a natural circumvallation of mountains, and the holy nation that dwells and worships therein has a still infinitely higher defense in Jahve, who encompasses it round." Thomson says that "none of the surrounding hills, not even Olivet, has any relative elevation above the north-western comer of the city itself. But Jerusalem is situated in the center of a mountainous region, whose valleys have drawn around it in all directions a perfect network of deep ravines, the perpendicular walls of which constitute a very efficient system of defense."
I. DEFENSE "ROUND ABOUT" PUTS LIMITS TO ATTACK. Illustrate by the fear of Elisha's servant of the Syrian attack upon them. When he saw the encircling host of God, he knew that their power to attack was in actual Divine restraint. That defense frustrates plans. Or illustration may be taken from the raising of a siege by an army which covers the retreat of the invaders. All their schemes of attack fail, and it is as much as they can do to attend to their own security. So the good man may always have this confidence. He can never be subjected to an unawares attack. Its enemies must always take count of the defense that is round about him. They must deal with our God, not only with us; and our God will surely say, "Hitherto shalt thou come, and no further."
II. DEFENSE "ROUND ABOUT" GIVES COMPLETENESS TO OUR SAFETY. What Elisha's servant saw was an absolute unbroken circle. The distinction between human and Divine protections lies in just this completeness. The best circle human love draws round us is incomplete somewhere; so it never can be wholly trustworthy. There is always some undefended place which makes us vulnerable. God's circle is drawn completely round. The foe cannot come in, and we cannot go out. Illustrate by encircling walls of ancient cities.—R.T.
Delivered in order to be righteous.
"The power of the oppressors, the enemies of God's people, shall not abide upon the land. The trial is to prove faith, not to endanger it by a too sharp pressure; lest, overcome by this, even the faithful put forth a hand (as in Genesis 3:22) to forbidden pleasure, or (as in Exodus 22:8) to contamination; through force of custom gradually persuading to sinful compliance, or through despair of good, as the psalmist (Psalms 73:13, Psalms 73:14; see, too, Psalms 37:1-40.; Numbers 13:30) describes some in his day who witnessed the prosperity of wicked men." Observe what is the supreme anxiety of the psalmist: "That the righteous put not forth their hands unto iniquity." Israel had been redeemed from the Captivity, that it might be a "righteous nation," and its supreme anxiety ought to be keeping righteous.
I. THE PURPOSE OF DIVINE REDEMPTION IS NOT REMOVAL OF PERIL. Not entirely. This is not the main purpose. It is incidental. It is necessary as preparation. The great redemption has been much misapprehended, because its relation to the removal of penalty has been exaggerated. Save for its moral influence upon him, to lie under a penalty is not one of the worst things that can happen to a man.
II. THE PURPOSE OF DIVINE REDEMPTION IS NOT SAFETY. It involves and secures safety, but this again is only incidental. It is not only a mistake, but an enfeebling mistake, to be resting in an assurance that we "are saved, and safe." That, after all, is no more than a comfortable circumstance, which only too readily nourishes self-confidence and pride.
III. THE PURPOSE OF DIVINE REDEMPTION IS RIGHTEOUSNESS. That is the absolute purpose, within which all others are embraced. Israel was redeemed from Egypt, to be a people holy unto the Lord. Israel was restored from Babylon, to be a righteous nation. God's thought, in undertaking a redemptive work in any man, is the witness that man will make by his righteousness. No profession, and no works, can ever take the place of this one thing. If called, we are called to be "saints."
IV. WHAT GOD'S REDEMPTION MAKES US WE OUGHT TO KEEP. It is the fear of Israel's falling from its high ideal that distresses the psalmist. He dreads "the righteous putting forth his hand unto iniquity." "He that is righteous must be righteous still."—R.T.
The claim of the upright.
"Do good, O Lord, unto those that be good, and to them that are upright in their hearts." The upright man has a right to plead on the ground of his uprightness. But observe that the right to plead is quite different from the right to demand; and that the claim of the upright is based on the Divine mercy, consideration, and promise. The man is what God would have him be. The man may claim God's promises of blessing to those who are what he would have them be.
I. THE CLAIM OF THE UPRIGHT IS BASED ON HIS RECEPTIVITY. The man wants God's blessing, is ready for it, and is open to receive it. But this is something new for self-satisfied, self-serving man. It indicates another spirit. This man will be prepared to make the best of God's blessings when they come. The hindrances of self-will, divided interests, and insincerity are taken out of the way. It is as if the photographic plate were now made sensitive to the Divine blessing. The real reason for the holding off of Divine blessing is usually our unfitness to receive. Therefore is the culture of our inward moods of such first and supreme importance. God is to us as we are.
II. THE CLAIM OF THE UPRIGHT IS BASED ON THE NATURE OF THINGS. Like ever comes to like. Like is kin with like. Just as friends and true lovers come together by a kind of natural affinity, so do things. Clean things come to clean. Intelligent things come to intelligent persons. Sincere things come to sincere persons. Truth comes to men of truth. God's goodness comes to men of goodness. This is embodied in familiar sayings, such as this, "Virtue is its own reward." True, here are disturbances which break into the natural order; but we do well to keep in mind that the working of the natural order continues, nevertheless. "Righteousness tendeth unto life."
III. THE CLAIM OF THE UPRIGHT IS BASED ON THE DIVINE PROMISES. Here we may think of the special, but conditional, promises given to the restored Israelite nation. But the special thought, running in the line of the previous suggestions, is
God is against the willful.
The Targum reads," And those that turn after their depravity, he shall bring them into Gehenna as their portion, with the workers of falsehood." Literally, the first sentence of the verse reads, "bend their crooked paths," i.e. so turn their paths aside as to make them crooked ( 5:6). "The expression does not necessarily denote a going over to heathenism; it would describe the conduct of those who, in the time of Jeremiah, made common cause with the enemies of Israel." "The emphasis is on truth of heart and steadfastness, as against the turning back to the old wickedness of idolatry, which had drawn down God's righteous anger. The backslider has desired to cast in his lot with the ungodly; that desire shall be fulfilled to his ruin." "The lukewarm and sly, false, and equivocal ones, are in no way inferior to the open, manifest sinner, as a source of danger to the Church." Carefully notice that it is incipient, not pronounced, willfulness which is here in consideration. The fixedly willful are called the "workers of iniquity." The persons here are those who are willful, but do not realize that they are. The figure is of persons who bend about, from this side to that, of the right road, though they do not step over into by-paths. They do not walk straight on, and steadily. "The wavering, unsteadfast, half-hearted disciple shall be as the hypocrite and rebellious." Illustrate from the warnings of the Epistle to the Hebrews.
I. THE SPIRIT OF WILLFULNESS NEEDS DEALING WITH IN ITS BEGINNINGS. Illustrate by the kindly warnings sent to King Saul, when the spirit of self-will began to be encouraged, and by the reproofs of the living Christ to the seven Churches of Asia. Dealing with it is difficult, because
II. THE DIVINE AID IS READY FOR JUST THAT STAGE OF OUR WORK. It comes:
1. As the discovery of the beginnings of the evil in our hearts. Saul would have gone on sell-deluded, but for the Divine arrest and revelation.
2. As the warning of the real character of the evil. At first the blades of the tare are very like the blades of the wheat. We need a Divine discrimination.
3. As the offer of help for immediately dealing with the evil. When the cancer has threaded the tissue with its fibers the case is hopeless.—R.T.
HOMILIES BY C. SHORT
The safety of those who trust in God: a lesson from experience.
"They that trust in the Lord are as Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abideth for ever," etc. (Psalms 125:1).
I. THEY REST ON AN IMMOVABLE FOUNDATION. "Cannot be moved, but abideth forever."
II. ARE SURROUNDED AND PROTECTED AS BY A WALL OF MOUNTAINS. The distant mountains of Moab most probably alluded to, as Jerusalem was surrounded by no great mountains. God's protecting presence interposes immense insurmountable difficulties between us and our dangers. And this will be for ever so. "I will be unto her as a wall of fire round about."
III. GOD PROTECTS THEM AGAINST THE EVIL CONSEQUENCE OF PROLONGED SUFFERINGS AT THE HANDS OF OTHERS. (Psalms 125:3.) From despair of God's succor, and being drawn away from a steadfast following of righteous courses.
IV. THE SENSE OF GOD'S PROTECTING STRENGTH AND GOODNESS CREATES THE PRAYER FOR STILL GREATER GOOD. "Do good to them that are good … to the upright in heart." The Christian will omit the fifth verse from his prayers. Prayer for good we can all feel warranted in using, but prayer for evil we dare not utter before God.—S.
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Exell, Joseph S; Spence-Jones, Henry Donald Maurice. "Commentary on Psalms 125". The Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the First Week after Epiphany