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Bible Commentaries

Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae
Psalms 70



Verse 4-5



Psalms 70:4-5. Let all those that seek Thee rejoice and be glad in Thee: and let such as love thy salvation say continually, Let God be magnified. But I am poor and needy: make haste unto me, O God: Thou art my help and my deliverer: O Lord, make no tarrying.

THIS psalm is entitled “A psalm to bring to remembrance.” What were the things to which David more especially referred, we do not certainly know. The whole psalm, with only a few verbal alterations, is taken from the 40th Psalm, of which it forms a part; and it seems to have been separated for the purpose of being used by David on some particular occasion, to which the former part of that psalm was not applicable. It served to bring to his remembrance some special deliverances: and for a similar end it may well be used by us. We have many who would exult in our destruction, even as he had: and we may well desire that all their efforts may be frustrated, and their expectations disappointed. On the other hand, we should desire the prosperity and happiness of the Lord’s people: and be earnest with God in prayer, that we ourselves may “participate the felicity of his chosen, and give thanks with his inheritance.” Our past trials and deliverances should all be brought to remembrance for this end; and be made subservient to our own advancement in the divine life, and to the glory of our God.

From the words before us, I shall,

I. Point out to your notice that frame of mind which the Lord’s people are privileged to enjoy—

Short is the description given of the Lord’s people; but it is amply sufficient to distinguish them from all other people upon earth. “They seek after God, and love his salvation.” The great mass of mankind live without God in the world. And of those who seek him, there are few who “love the salvation” set before us in the Gospel. As for those who seek him in ways of their own devising, they have no claim to the character of God’s people. Those only are truly his, who come to him through Christ, and embrace the salvation offered them in the Gospel, and love that Saviour who has bought them with his blood. To them “Christ is precious;” and their privilege is to live in the daily experience,

1. Of sacred joy—

[Truly they have cause to rejoice. If it were only that they hear of a Saviour, that would be ground enough for joy: but to have a view of him in his mediatorial office, and to hope that they have obtained an interest in him, is a reason for “rejoicing in him with joy unspeakable and glorified.” Hence the Apostle enjoins it upon us as a duty: “Rejoice in the Lord alway; and again I say, Rejoice.” “Rejoice evermore. It surely does not become a redeemed soul to be cast down with despondency; and still less to be in a state of stupid insensibility. He should be sensible of the mercies vouchsafed unto him, and should “serve his God with gladness and joyfulness of heart.”]

2. Of grateful adoration—

[The Christian’s joy should not terminate on the benefits he has received, or on his own personal interest in them, so much as on his God and Saviour, from whom he has received them. This distinction I conceive to be of considerable importance: for joy may be excited by novelty, and may be little more than an ebullition of the animal spirits arising from a new hope kindled in the soul: whereas, when it arises rather from a contemplation of the Saviour’s love, it is of a more refined quality, more humble, more tender, more modest, more reserved. “The children of Zion should be joyful in their King;” and, instead of arrogating any thing to themselves, should say continually, “Let GOD be magnified.” Such was Mary’s joy, when she was honoured to be the means of bringing forth the Saviour of the world: “My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.” The two kinds of joy, as considered apart, may be compared with fruit in its earlier or its more matured state. The unripe peach, for instance, is brilliant in its hues; but, whilst it is beauteous to the eye, it is crude and sour to the taste: whereas that which is of a more mellowed tint, obscured perhaps by the foliage under which it hangs, will approve itself by ~its susceptibility of impression from the slightest touch, and the richness of its flavour when submitted to the taste. Such as this latter will be found the joys of heaven. The glorified saints, yea, and the angels too, all fall upon their faces before the throne of God, whilst yet with all their powers they sing forth the praises “of God and of the Lamb.” They are filled, indeed, with a sense of the benefits which they enjoy: but they are lost in wonder whilst beholding with unveiled face the glories of their God.

Such is the frame which the saints are privileged to enjoy on earth: they should “rejoice and be glad in the Lord;” but at the same time they should be saying continually, “Let God be magnified.”]

But, as all do not live in the enjoyment of this frame, I will,

II. Give some directions to those who have not yet been able to attain it—

We see, from David’s own experience, that this joy is not universal amongst the saints of God. There are times and seasons when, from a variety of causes, the mind of a pious person may be depressed: and when this occurs, I would say to the drooping soul, Follow the example of David in our text:

1. Lie low before God in the deepest humiliation—

[“I am poor and needy,” was the confession of that holy man, the man after God’s own heart. And well does the same language become us all. They who know most of themselves, will be the most ready to acknowledge that they are “wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” And never are we in a frame more pleasing and acceptable to God, than when we abase ourselves before him in dust and ashes. We are told, that “the broken and contrite heart God will not despise;” nay more, that he will select, for his more immediate and delightful habitation, the humble and contrite soul [Note: Isaiah 57:15.]. Then shall we be prepared to exalt our God, when we feel disposed to humble and abase ourselves.]

2. Importune him, with all earnestness, to grant you this frame—

[There is a holy impatience, which God approves; not indeed an impatience connected with murmuring, but that which arises from intensity of desire. This feeling you may carry to its utmost possible extent, “panting after God, even as the hart after the water-brooks.” And under this feeling, you may cry with a boldness almost bordering on presumption, “Return to me, O Lord; make haste unto me: O Lord, make no tarrying.” We may go farther still; and say, with David, “Awake; Why sleepest thou? pluck thy hand out of thy bosom. Arise, and plead thine own cause [Note: Psalms 44:23; Psalms 74:11; Psalms 74:22.].” Such is the importunity recommended to us in the parable of the unjust judge. The widow, purely by the urgency of her petitions, prevailed over one who cared not either for God or man. “And shall not God avenge his own elect, who cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? I tell you, that he will avenge them speedily.” All who wrestle, like Jacob, in supplication with God, shall assuredly be partakers of his success.]

3. Plead with him your entire dependence on his power and grace—

[“Make haste unto me, O God: Thou art my help and my deliverer: O Lord, make no tarrying.” This is a plea which God, if I may so express myself, cannot withstand. If he withhold from us the light of his countenance, it is in order to make us more simple in our dependence on him: and when we renounce every other help or hope, and trust in him with our whole hearts, then are we as sure of succour as if it had already arrived: “for his goings forth are prepared as the morning; and He shall come to us as the rain, as the latter and the former rain upon the earth [Note: Hosea 6:3.],” “They that trust in the Lord are even as Mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth for ever [Note: Psalms 125:1.].”]


1. See that the Christian’s character, Brethren, be yours—

[Here is an easy test whereby to try yourselves: Are you indeed seeking after God? and are you truly lovers of his salvation? Nothing is easier to ascertain than this. The lovers of pleasure, of riches, and of honour, plainly manifest their character: you may see it in the disposition of their minds, and in the daily habit of their lives. They use the means which are suited to their respective ends. I blame not them for this: for it is not the pursuit of earthly things, but the inordinate pursuit of them, that is displeasing to God. But where the world is sought only in a legitimate way, the means are used in order to the end: no man expects to reap where he has not sowed. Are you then using the means of salvation, in daily prayer to God, in an earnest application to the Saviour, and in a diligent performance of every known duty? You may easily ascertain your true character, if you will try yourselves by this test: and therefore to every one of you I say, “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith: try your own selves.”]

2. See that ye walk worthy of that character—

[Be not content to live without a real enjoyment of the divine presence. The lukewarm are in some respects more odious to God than those who are altogether destitute of any religion: because, in professing themselves the Lord’s people, they bring nothing but disgrace upon him by their want of zeal and love. I say to you, Brethren, and I say it from God himself, “Be either cold or hot.” If God be not worthy to be loved and served, cast off his service altogether: but if he be worthy, then love and serve him with your whole hearts. It is in this way only that you can attain any joy in the Lord. It is in this way only that you can gain such discoveries of his love, as shall constrain you to abound in grateful adoration and thanksgiving. In the want of joy, you may indeed be thankful, if you can mourn and weep: but God forbid that you should be satisfied with such low attainments as will leave you destitute of all comfort in religion. You are here to prepare for glory: you are here to anticipate the glory that awaits you: you are here, both in word and deed, to be magnifying the Lord, in some measure as he is magnified in heaven. Aspire, then, to this state, which is recommended in my text: “Let all those that seek the Lord rejoice and be glad in him: and let all such as love his salvation, say continually, The Lord be magnified!”]


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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography Information
Simeon, Charles. "Commentary on Psalms 70:4". Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae. 1832.

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Thursday, December 3rd, 2020
the First Week of Advent
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