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Bible Commentaries

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical
Psalms 27

 

 

Verses 1-14

Psalm 27

A Psalm of David

1 The Lord is my light and my salvation;

Whom shall I fear?

The Lord is the strength of my life;

Of whom shall I be afraid?

2 When the wicked,

Even mine enemies and my foes,

Came upon me to eat up my flesh,

They stumbled and fell.

3 Though a host should encamp against me,

My heart shall not fear:

Though war should rise against me,

In this will I be confident.

4 One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after;

That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,

To behold the beauty of the Lord,

And to inquire in his temple.

5 For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion:

In the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me;

He shall set me up upon a rock.

6 And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me:

Therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy;

I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the Lord.

7 Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice:

Have mercy also upon me, and answer me.

8 When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee,

Thy face, Lord, will I seek.

9 Hide not thy face far from me;

Put not thy servant away in anger:

Thou hast been my help;

Leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation.

10 When my father and my mother forsake me,

Then the Lord will take me up.

11 Teach me thy way, O Lord,

And lead me in a plain path,

Because of mine enemies.

12 Deliver me not over unto the will of mine enemies:

For false witnesses are risen up against me,

And such as breathe out cruelty.

13 I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord

In the land of the living.

14 Wait on the Lord:

Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart:

Wait, I say, on the Lord.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

Its Contents and Composition.—The Vulgate has in the Title the additional words: before he was anointed. According to Theodoret this addition was not in the Hexapla of Origen, and is only found in the Codd. Vatic, of the Sept, yet it came into consideration in connection with the question as to the time of composition, for three anointings of David are mentioned, at first 1 Samuel16, then when acknowledged by the tribe of Judah, 2 Samuel 2:4, finally in connection with the homage of all Israel, 2 Samuel 5:3. No one can think of the first anointing with any propriety, and the historical statements of this Psalm being indefinite, there is no sufficient reason for the second (Grotius), or the third, (Rosenm.) Thus even at the present day those interpreters who maintain the Davidic authorship, without regard to this uncertain title, either think of the period of the persecution by Saul, or the rebellion of Absalom. The latter supposition is supported by many resemblances with Psalm 3, (J. H. Mich, Stier, Delitzsch). There is nothing in favor of the peril of death (Rabbins) mentioned 2 Samuel 21:16, from which David happily escaped; yet we cannot regard Psalm 27:10, as being against this supposition. For the text does not demand that it should be interpreted literally, (Geier) and it has given ancient interpreters unnecessary trouble. Since the dwelling of God is successively called house, palace, tent, we cannot infer any particular period of time, with any certainty; and we need not descend to Jeremiah, who was rejected by his family, and found a refuge in the temple (Hitzig); or indeed to the Maccabean times (Olsh, who at the same time finds here two different Psalm united); or regard it as a general Psalm of lamentation of some Hebrew in later times, (De Wette,) on account of the remarkably high estimation of the splendor of the temple and its forms of worship, in connection with the absence, in other respects, of individual references. It is true the tone and rhythm are very much changed in Psalm 27:7, and subsequently, yet only in accordance with the change of subject as in Psalm 19, and elsewhere, (Hupf.). From the certainty of communion with God springs the fresh and joyous expression of confidence in God’s protection, fearlessness in danger, certainty of victory over strong and numerous enemies ( Psalm 27:1-3), connected with the hope of faith in the fulfillment of his dearest and constant wish to be able to offer thank-offerings, as one delivered by God and protected in the shelter of the dwelling of God ( Psalm 27:4-6). On this foundation rises the prayer that he may be heard ( Psalm 27:7). This is based on the call of God ( Psalm 27:8) with reference to the position of the Psalmist as a servant of God in need of help ( Psalm 27:9), who trusts in the God of his salvation, even in his greatest abandonment ( Psalm 27:10), and hopes in accordance with God’s instruction and under God’s guidance ( Psalm 27:11) to escape from violent and lying enemies ( Psalm 27:12). He would be lost without such trust ( Psalm 27:13); hence he exhorts himself to persevere in it ( Psalm 27:14). Comp. P. Gerhardt’s hymn “Gott ist mein Licht, der Herr mein Heil,” and “Ist Gott für mich, so trete, etc.”

Str. I, Psalm 27:1. Jehovah is my Light.—The supposition, that this address to God, my Light! which occurs only here, is a figurative expression, to be explained through the two following expressions: my salvation and defence of my life! which are not to be regarded as figurative, but as literal (Calv. Hengst. Hupf.), is entirely without foundation. They are three appellatives parallel, yet expressing different relations to God and founded in essential attributes of God. God is just as essentially Light ( Isaiah 60:7) as He is salvation and strength, and the one word is no more nor no less figurative than the other, when applied to God.[FN3]Defence of my life.—This is literally the stronghold, the bulwark. For מָעוֹז is to be derived from עזז= to be strong, firm; not from עוּז= to flee, according to which etymology (J. D. Mich.) some translate, refuge.

[Str. II. Psalm 27:2. When the evil doers drew near to me, To eat up my flesh; My adversaries and my enemies, They stumbled and fell.—The A. V. gives the sense but is not literal, and disorders the members of the strophe. Evil doers are compared to wild beasts approaching their prey, comp. Psalm 14:4; Psalm 35, 1. The third clause is much disputed. Some refer לִי to the verb, and regard it as parallel with עָלִי of the first clause. Song of Solomon, Hitzig, Hengst. Delitzsch, Perowne, Alexander. They therefore render: my adversaries and my enemies to me (draw near, being understood or some other verb supplied). But De Wette, Hupfeld, Moll refer it to the enemies as I have rendered it. The they of the final clause is emphatic, they stumbled and fell.—C. A. B.]

[Str. III, Ver3. A host.—Perowne: “Literally ‘though a camp should encamp against me,’ but the English idiom would hardly admit of such a rendering.”—For all this, do I trust.—Perowne: “So the same expression is rightly rendered in the A. V. of Leviticus 26:27. The fuller form occurs Psalm 78:32; Job 1:22. Cocc, rightly, hoc non obstante, ‘in spite of this,’ and Mendelsohn, ‘Auch dann bleib’ ich getrost’. The Rabbinical commentators, as Aben Ezra and Rashi, explain, ‘In this,’ viz.: that the Lord is my light, etc, Psalm 27:1, ‘do I trust.’ Rosenm. refers the pronoun ‘this’ to the war mentioned just before, ‘even in the battle itself,’ in ipsa pugna. But the first rendering is more forcible.’ ”—C. A. B.]

Str. IV. Psalm 27:4. That I may dwell in the house of Jehovah all the days of my life.—This is not to be taken literally, or to be explained of the daily visiting the house of God, (most interpreters) especially as even the Levitical priests did not dwell in the temple. It is a figurative expression of the relation to God described above (Hengst, Hupf.). But it did not originate from a mingling of the figure of a hospitable tent with the usual idea of the house of God or temple (Hupf.), but from a prophetical view and longing (vid. Psalm 15:1; Psalm 23:6) which is to take its figurative expression from the sphere of the Levitical worship of God, and yet at the same time is justified in breaking through this sphere and lifting itself above it, the more as attendance upon the house of God ( Psalm 5:8), and walking in the ordinances of Divine worship are the means ordained of God for communion with Him.——To behold the favor of Jehovah.—Since חזה is not construed with the accusative here, as Psalm 53:2, but with בְּ it denotes a beholding which tarries with the thing, is well pleased with it and feeds upon it, which is an enjoyment in which the loveliness ( Psalm 90:17) and the sweetness ( Proverbs 16:24) of God are perceived in the experience of His gracious presence. There is no reference to the splendor of the Lord, and it is not allowable to understand by this the splendor of the sanctuary (Luther: the beautiful worship of God), or the heavenly temple, and its arrangements, as its archetype (Kimchi, Aben Ezra, Calv, Geier). The reference is to the favor of God which those are enabled to taste and experience, who have become members of His family, and enjoy as His guests the right of protection within His house. To this the Psalmist’s wish is directed, which he has already previously expressed in prayer (the perfect) and the fulfilment of which he continually seeks (the imperfect), and thus he describes it as anxious, pious and constant.——To meditate in His palace.—[A. V. to inquire in his temple].—Since בִּקֵּר denotes looking closely in order to discriminate, and is elsewhere never construed with בְּ, it is more natural to regard this preposition here as a designation of place (Venema), than either to lift the temple with its symbolical forms into an object of pleasing contemplation (De Wette), or to regard the whole manner of expression as entirely parallel with the preceding (Hupf.). It is unnecessary to supply an object (Hengst.); the verb may be absolute = to make reflections, to meditate. Some of the Rabbins regard it as a denominative of בקֶר in the signification of appearing in the morning ( Psalm 5:3), which then is extended to every morning. Delitzsch does not regard this as too bold. The translation, visit (most interpreters) essentially weakens the sense and is without grounds.

Str. V. Psalm 27:5. For He conceals me in a tabernacle in the days of evil, He shelters me with the shelter of His tent.—[A. V. In the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me.]—Our translation of the former verse is favored by this, for the same place which is called the house of Jehovah Psalm 27:4, b, and His palace Psalm 27:4, d, with reference to His royal character is in Psalm 27:5, b, called His tent, with reference to the present or original (comp. Ezekiel 41:1) real character of the ritual dwelling-place of Jehovah in the midst of His people. This sanctuary is now characterized as a place of safety for those who seek refuge, who find there shelter and protection against the pursuit of their enemies, and indeed not because David really once had concealed himself there (Knapp after the Rabbins), but because the places of worship had the general meaning of asylum. From this point of view the same house of Jehovah is in Psalm 27:5, a, named with an expression which designates a covered place for dwelling and lodging, as fitted to give shelter, a tabernacle, a bower.[FN4] As a matter of course this is figurative, as then in Psalm 27:5, c, the safety which has been gained is described as being set up upon a rock. But it does not follow from this that the reference to the sanctuary is here to be abandoned (Hupf.), and that the figure is derived from a shepherd (Geier), or of a hospitable householder (De Wette), or protector (Ruding.), and would give the sense, God is the protector of the pious everywhere, and even outside of His sanctuary (Calvin). The reference here is rather to this very thing, that the house of Jehovah, which appears without doubt in Psalm 27:6, and which is referred to in various forms in accordance with the various references contained in the idea, is here as an asylum, (Geier) and not as the tabernacle (Hengst.). Moreover, it would not change the sense of the passage, but only the color of the thought, and this but slightly, if we should translate according to the reading and accentuation of the Hebrew word, either: in a tabernacle, as Psalm 31:20, comp. Isaiah 4:6; or, in His tabernacle. For the סֻכָּה of Jehovah ( Job 36:29) is called in Psalm 75:2; Jeremiah 25:38; Lamentations 2:6, likewise, His סֹךְ, although this word is used particularly of the couching-place of lions in thickets ( Psalm 10:7), and with definite reference to this is likewise used in the above-mentioned passage, Jeremiah 25:38.

Str. VI, Psalm 27:6. Sacrifices of rejoicing.—This means particularly the thank-offerings, because they were brought with songs of rejoicing and praise. The mention of singing and playing which immediately follow, shows that the reference is to them. This, most interpreters now admit with Syr, Kimchi, Luther. Moreover, according to Hupf, comm. de primitiva festorum Heb. ratione ii20, not40, the use of the word זבח was appropriate for these offerings. A reference to the sacrifices accompanied with the sound of the trumpet, (Gesen, De Wette), is contrary to the text, since only public thanksgivings at the time of festivals ( Numbers 10:10) were distinguished with this music of the priests.

Str. VII. [ Psalm 27:7. Perowne: “The triumphant strain of confidence now gives way to one of sad and earnest entreaty.”—C. A. B.][FN5]

Psalm 27:8. To Thee my heart says—(at Thy call): seek Thy face!—Thy face Jehovah will I seek.—The heart answers the Divine call, consenting thereto as an echo of it (Calv.). It is better to regard this obscure construction as a bold combination of two clauses (Hupf.), which we can make intelligible in English only by supplying some appropriate words (Delitzsch). [Thus A. V, When thou saidst seek ye my face, etc.] This is much simpler than the supposition of a לauctoris (Dathe, Olsh.): Thine Isaiah, speaks my heart, namely the word, etc.; not to say anything of the artificial and strained explanations of many ancient interpreters. Hitzig follows the Vulgate; of Thee speaks my heart, seek Him, my face! The Sept. has: To Thee, etc, but then: diligently have I sought Thy face and Thy face will I seek. The true sense is given by the paraphrase of Luther: my heart holds Thy word before Thee. So Hengstenberg. Similarly Geier, J. H. Mich, Rosenm.[FN6] Seeking the face of Jehovah is not with reference to Exodus 23:17, another expression for visiting the temple (De Wette), but it denotes the desire to enter into the vicinity and presence of God, in order to gain comfort, assistance, certainty of being heard, testimonies of grace, and the like. Comp. Psalm 24:6; Psalm 105:4; 1 Samuel 21:1; used of earthly rulers, Proverbs 29:26. This is accomplished by acts of Divine service, especially in the house of God, but it is not to be regarded as the same thing as those acts. It is uncertain whether there is a direct reference here to the passage Deuteronomy 4:29, which is Revelation -echoed in Hosea 5:15.

Str. VIII. [ Psalm 27:9. Hide not Thy face from me.—The inserted “far” of the A. V. does not help the sense of the passage, but mars it. The Psalmist is seeking Jehovah’s face, and the prayer is that the face of Jehovah may not be veiled from him so that he cannot see it. Vid. Psalm 4:6.—Put not away in wrath = Thrust not aside as one unworthy to be in Thy presence, and behold Thy face. The Psalmist does not wish to be removed or banished from the place of Jehovah’s presence, and from the light of His countenance.—Reject me not, and forsake me not.—The reiteration of the positive and negative form of the idea of depriving Him of the presence and the face of God.—C. A. B.]

Psalm 27:10. For my father and my mother have forsaken me.—This statement cannot refer to 1 Samuel 22:3 sq, for then David separated himself from his parents in order to leave them under the protection of the king of Moab. But it is not at all necessary to think of some historical fact unknown to us (G. Baur). This statement is certainly neither to be taken as a proverbial manner of expression (De Wette),[FN7] nor as a hypothetical antecedent (Calvin, Stier, Thol, Hupf.)[FN8] It is positive, and expresses what has happened, but it states in an individualizing form, (Hengst, Delitzsch) the fact that the nearest relatives of the afflicted man have forsaken him in his time of trouble; and he on this very account turns to Jehovah in prayer, trusting in the love of God which transcends parental love ( Isaiah 49:15; Isaiah 63:16).—[But Jehovah will take me up.—Perowne: “The verb is here used in the same sense as in Deuteronomy 22:2; Joshua 20:4, ‘receive me under His care and protection,’ or as Stier suggests, ‘adopts me as His child,’ vid. Psalm 22:10.”—C. A. B.]

[ Psalm 27:11. Lead me in an even path because of my adversaries.—[A. V, plain—enemies]. This is an even, level path as opposed to rough and rugged paths of adversity. Delitzsch: “Crafty spies pursue all his steps, and would gladly see their devices and evil wishes realized against him. If he should turn into the ways of sin unto destruction, it would bring dishonor upon God, as it is a matter of honor with God not to allow His servant to fall. Therefore he implores guidance in the ways of God, for the union of his own will with God’s will makes him unapproachable.”

Psalm 27:12. And they that breathe out violence.—Alexander: “A strong but natural expression for a person, all whose thoughts and feelings are engrossed by a favorite purpose or employment, so that he cannot live or breathe without it. Comp. the description of Saul’s persecuting zeal in Acts 9:1, and the Latin phrases, spirare minas, anhelare scelus.”—C. A. B.]

Psalm 27:13. If I did not trust to behold the excellence of Jehovah in the land of the living—!—The consequent is lacking (as Genesis 31:42) after לוּלֵא, which is unnecessarily marked by the Masora with puncta extraordinaria, as suspicious. In accordance with such an aposiopesis “unless,” and “if” not unfrequently are lacking, and this increases the emphasis.[FN9] The land of the living is contrasted with Sheol, but it refers here not beyond this life to eternal life (Rabbins, Clauss, Stier) but back to life in this world.

Psalm 27:14. In the closing verse the Psalmist exhorts himself and not others in a similar condition with himself (most ancient interpreters).—Be firm, and let thy heart show itself strong.—This does not express a comforting promise “He will strengthen” (most interpreters [and A. V.]) nor indeed with a correct interpretation of the clause as optative, the wish that Jehovah would strengthen the heart (Calv, Cleric, Rosenm, Hupf. [Alexander]) but it is a continuation of the Psalmist’s exhortation of himself.—[Wait on Jehovah.—Alexander: The repetition, wait for the Lord, and wait for the Lord, implies that this is all he has to enjoin upon himself or others; and is more impressive in its native simplicity, than the correct but paraphrastic version of the last clause in the English Bible, wait, I say, on the Lord.—C. A. B.]

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. No night of sorrow can be so dark, no evil so fearful, no enemy so dreadful as to cause those to tremble, despair, and perish, who have God for their Light, for their salvation, for the stronghold of their life. Such a man overcomes in all his troubles, so much so that even in his days of suffering, at times, in the confidence of Divine assistance, a triumphant tone may be heard in his prayers, whence arise his fearlessness, his heroism, his certainty of victory in the midst of all his dangers, struggles, and calamities.

2. But he who puts his confidence truly and alone in God, and firmly trusts in the faithfulness and goodness of the Almighty, not to leave him or neglect him in his troubles, is very far from that proud self-sufficiency, and that half proud, half lazy carelessness, which on the one side impels to foolhardy and presumptuous ventures, on the other side restrains from seeking and using the means provided to increase his strength, and bring about and secure him success. He who truly has his confidence and strength in God, likewise seeks constantly and earnestly to be near to God, and uses conscientiously the means afforded him in the forms of worship to strengthen his communion with God, and to secure as well as gain the blessings of the presence of God.

3. Hence it Isaiah, that those who have attained the most and the best on earth, the noblest and most glorious of our race, and the most exalted rulers among them, the boldest heroes, the most celebrated warriors and masters of every department of life, have shown themselves to be at the same time pious and humble men, who lay all their exaltation, glory, and honor, at the feet of God, and publicly recognize that they have to thank the Lord their God not only for their endowments and powers, but likewise for what they have done, and for their success, and that they must seek, like all other men, forgiveness of their sins in the grace of God, and that they would rather be at all times with God. Hence they gladly visit His house and His table, and besides study diligently God’s word, in which they gain good advice, and are reminded at the right time to assent to it and respond to it with heart and mouth.

4. It is at once a duty and a joy to seek the countenance of the Lord, that Isaiah, to desire and strive to be personally near to the grace of God and to be sure of it. God Himself calls us to this, and gives those who seek Him the blessed experience that God’s love is not mere human favor, but transcends even parental love, as nothing can be compared with God’s assistance, power, and protection, or take their place. So likewise those who do not withdraw from intercourse with God will not be deprived of them. They will much rather be lifted up to a height which is inaccessible to all their adversaries, and will be placed in safety against all hurtful assaults.

5. Accordingly all depends upon whether we allow ourselves to be directed to the way of the Lord and guided therein. On this depends our walking the path of life in the good pleasure of God (in the light of His countenance), and our attaining the end of that path in the protection of God’s salvation by means of that which God imparts in all dangers, sufferings, and struggles, and in spite of all envy, slander, and opposition. The trust in God, which is indispensable for this, is often severely tried, especially when we are in danger of losing our rights, our honor, and our life by enemies who are as wicked and unjust as they are strong and crafty, and when we are forsaken by our nearest relatives, and given up by all the world. Then not only the flesh trembles, but the heart likewise quakes, and is in danger of losing patience and hope. We would be lost indeed, if our eyes and our hearts should lose sight of God. But this is impossible if we maintain our faith; then we will not despair. And because God continues faithful we will not perish. In order now that faith may be able to impart the necessary consolation and encouragement to wait on God, and the patience, resolution, and strength necessary thereto, it needs that it should have unfailing nourishment, support, discipline, and strengthening.—However little this Psalm may have of a Messianic character, yet some particular features may be readily and devoutly referred, in accordance with Augustine’s example, to the sufferings of Christ and His behaviour in them, which is a model for all. The Roman Catholic Church has assigned this Psalm to the offices of Char-Saturday.

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

When danger is near and great we are taught to properly estimate and value, being near to God and the power of faith.—We can lose everything and yet lose nothing if only we retain God.—Our hearts need daily strengthening in confidence in God; whence comes it? and how may it be?—We cannot be lifted up in any better way than with God; therefore it is of the utmost importance that we should come to God and remain with God.—Our worst enemies are not those who envy us and afflict us, but our little faith, our spiritual sluggishness and laziness, our impatience.—Many would gladly dwell in safely if only it were not to remain near to God.—Whoever has God has all things in One; and yet only a few make anything of God.—It is enough that God should let His light shine, His salvation come, His power work; yet we must let ourselves be instructed and ruled, and delivered thereby.—It is well with us if we not only trust in God’s power, Wisdom of Solomon, and goodness, but value above all communion with God, and are diligent to seek His face, and for this conscientiously use the institutions and means of salvation.—There are in a pious heart not only thoughts of God, but likewise echoes of His word.—When men forsake us it may give us pain, but we will be comforted above all when God takes us up.—At first many care more for God’s protection than for His presence, but if they give heed to the word and ways of God, they likewise learn not only to know the strength of being near to God, but likewise to value the blessings of intercourse with Him, and prize the good things of His house.

Starke: Care for souls, longing to walk with God, to be sanctified in the communion of saints, these are the chief desires and only necessary things to the Christian.—It is well for those who seek safety with God; that is better than the highest rock.—If we pray as God has commanded, we are heard as He has promised.—God plants in the hearts of believers a sure confidence of gaining eternal life, by which they are uncommonly strengthened in their battle of faith.—No time will seem so long to us as the time of cross-bearing; therefore it is that we are exhorted with so many words to hope and patience.—It is the constancy of hope which makes our walk and life happy.—The Lord is not only the truest, but is likewise the mightiest and most reliable Father and Friend.—You may know the right way and walk in the right path, yet you very much need Divine enlightenment and gracious guidance on account of the craft and wickedness of your enemies.—What can give a believer’s heart more pleasure and joy than to be heard by the God of grace?

Frisch: David testifies1) his joyous faith, 2) his heartfelt pleasure, 3) his longing desire, 4) his comforted hope.—David uses only one armor against the crowd of his enemies and their power, and that is faith; by this he appropriates God’s light, strength, and salvation. Arm yourself in time, you will never lack enemies; the closer you come to friendship with God the more will the enmity of the world increase against you.—Herberger: In whose hands is our life? Not in our power, not in the will of our enemies, but in the power of God.—The strength of armies and of hosts cannot go further than God will allow.—Christians have many observers, therefore it is said: take care.—Stier: O! that I might never yield! This one thing troubles me, not the defiance of enemies; for he who remains with God is safe.—Tholuck: In hours of internal anguish the word of God should resound in the breast as the echo in the mountain, in order to increase our confidence by its repeated exhortations.—Stiller: David at first declares his trust, then says, how he strengthens his trust, and why he relies on God, and finally adds, when true trust shows itself.—God is so gracious that He not only allows His children to find Him, but likewise encourages them by His word to seek Him.—Umbreit: It is significant with respect to the piety which pervaded the entire life of David, that all the favor and grace of God are united to him in this chief thing, that he may abide in His house forever.—Taube: David—a hero in the courage of faith and a master in prayer.—The surest handle of prayer by which we may lay hold of God is His own word, which calls us to seek His gracious countenance. That is a strong command and a comforting promise in one.

[Matth. Henry: All God’s children desire to dwell in God’s house; where should they dwell else? not to sojourn there as a wayfaring man that turns aside to tarry but a night, or to dwell there for a time only, as the servant that abideth not in the house forever, but to dwell there all the days of their life; for there the Son abideth ever.—A gracious heart readily echoes to the call of a gracious God, being made willing in the day of His power.—Even the best saints are subject to faint when their troubles become grievous and tedious. Their spirits are overwhelmed, and their flesh and heart fail; but their faith is a sovereign cordial.—Nothing like the believing hope of eternal life, the foresights of that glory, and foretastes of those pleasures, to keep us from fainting under all the calamities of this present time.—Barnes: The Christian sanctuary—the place of public worship—is the place where, if anywhere on earth, we may hope to have our minds enlightened, our perplexities removed, our hearts comforted and sanctified, by right views of God.—Spurgeon: Salvation finds us in the dark, but it does not leave us there; it gives light to those who sit in the valley of the shadow of death. After conversion our God is our joy, comfort, guide, teacher, and in every sense our light; He is light within, light around, light reflected from us, and light to be revealed to us.—It is a hopeful sign for us when the wicked hate us; if our foes were godly men, it would be a sore sorrow, but as for the wicked their hatred is better than their love.—Holy desires must lead to resolute action. The old proverb says, “Wishers and woulders are never good housekeepers;” and “wishing never fills a sack.” Desires are seeds which must be sown in the good soil of activity, or they will yield no harvest.—The pendulum of spirituality swings from prayer to praise.—Mercy is the hope of sinners and the refuge of saints. All acceptable petitioners dwell much upon this attribute.—A smile from the Lord is the greatest of comforts, His frown the worst of ills.—Slander is an old-fashioned weapon out of the armory of hell, and it is still in plentiful use; and no matter how holy a man may be, there may be some who will defame him.—Wait at His door with prayer; wait at His foot with humility; wait at His table with service; wait at His window with expectancy. Suitors often win nothing but the cold shoulder from earthly patrons after long and obsequious waiting; he speeds best whose patron is in the skies.—C. A. B.]

Footnotes:

FN#3 - Hupfeld: “Light is here that which issues from God as a beam of His light-giving countenance ( Psalm 4:6), that, as the light of the sun is the source of all life and growth in nature, so it is the source of all life and well-being in the human heart, comp. Psalm 36:9. Hence it is the usual figure of life, success, joy, and all good, negatively of deliverance, freedom, help, etc, in contrast to darkness, which is the figure of death, misfortune, danger, captivity, sorrow, etc. Comp. Psalm 43:3; Psalm 84:11; Psalm 97:11; Psalm 112:4; Proverbs 4:18 sq.; Job 11:17; Job 18:18; Job 30:26; Isaiah 5:30; Isaiah 9:1; Isaiah 58:8; Isaiah 58:10; Micah 7:8, etc.”—C. A. B.]

FN#4 - Alexander translates covert, which “means a booth or shelter made of leaves and branches, such as the Jews used at the feast of tabernacles ( Leviticus 23:42). It is here used as a figure for secure protection in the day of evil, i.e, of suffering or danger.”—C. A. B.]

FN#5 - Perowne: “Is it (as Calv.) that the Psalmist sought in the former part of the Psalm to comfort himself with the review of God’s unfailing strength and protection, that he might with the more reason utter his prayer for help? Or is it not rather that even whilst he is thus strengthening himself in his God, a sudden blast of temptation sweeps over his soul, freezing the current of life,—some fear lest he should be forsaken, some thought of the craft and malice of his enemies,—till now the danger which threatens him is as prominent an object as the salvation and defence were before?”—C. A. B.]

FN#6 - Perowne: “The words seek ye My face are the words of God, which the servant of God here, as it were, takes from His mouth, that so laying them before God, he may make his appeal the more irresistible. Thou hast said, ‘Seek ye My face;’ my heart makes these words its own, and builds upon them its resolve. It takes them up and repeats them ‘Seek ye My face.’ It first claims thus Thine own gracious words, O Lord, and there its echo to those words Isaiah, “Thy face, Lord, will I seek.’ Such is the soul’s dialogue with itself when it would comfort itself in God. We are reminded of that touching scene in the Gospel history where another, a woman, overcomes the Saviour with His own words: ‘Yea Lord, yet the dogs eat of the crumbs,’ etc.”—C. A. B.]

FN#7 - Perowne: “ ‘(Though) my father and my mother may have forsaken me,’ i. e, though my condition be helpless and friendless as that of a child deserted of his parents, there is One who watches over me, and will take me to His bosom. Vid. Isaiah 63:16; Isaiah 49:15. The phrase has, as De Wette says, somewhat of a proverbial character.”—C. A. B.]

FN#8 - Hupfeld; “It serves to illustrate the greatness of the grace and love of God by comparing it with the highest form of human love, parental love, which it transcends, just as in the passage already adduced by Calvin, Isaiah 49:15, and in a similar construction with this, Isaiah 63:16 : ‘For Abraham has not known us, and Israel recognized us not: Thou, Jehovah, art our Father, our Redeemer,’ etc.” This is the preferable interpretation.—C. A. B.]

FN#9 - Perowne: “The holy singer feels now, at this moment, when the false and violent men are before his mind, how helpless he would be did he not trust and hope in his God: ‘There were an end of me—or what would become of me, did I not believe, etc.’ ”—C. A. B.]

 


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Bibliography Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Psalms 27:4". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/lcc/psalms-27.html. 1857-84.

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Saturday, January 18th, 2020
the First Week after Epiphany
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