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Bible Commentaries

Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible
Psalms 138

 

 

Verses 1-6

A Psalm of David.

Psalms 138:1. I will praise thee with my whole heart: before the gods will I sing praise unto thee.

Before the heathen gods, however highly exalted — I will sing thy praises so in their very teeth; and the magistrates and princes and kings who think themselves gods on earth — I will not fear them or be silenced by them.

Psalms 138:2. I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.

For thou wert far more glorious in revelation than in creation — thy promise did greatly transcend every other display of thyself above all we have ever known or conceived of thee. Thou hast magnified thyself by thy covenant of grace, and thy works of grace toward thy people. For this worship and praise are for ever due!

Psalms 138:3. In the day when I cried thou answeredst me, and strengthenedst me with strength in my soul.

That is a thing to make a man King — when in the day of trouble God comes to him, hears his prayer and works his deliverance, when none else can help. God’s rescues demand our grateful songs: his deliverances our new anthems of exultant praise.

Psalms 138:4. All the kings of the earth shall praise thee, O LORD, when they hear the words of thy mouth.

When thy gospel is preached, and they know it, they shall count it their honour to honour thee. It is ignorance of its glory and grace that makes silence possible: but to hear it as God’s word of caring love is to be compelled to extol.

Psalms 138:5. Yea, they shall sing in the ways of the Lord: for great is the glory of the LORD.

David was a king, and he danced before the ark, and he anticipated the time when other kings should not be ashamed of exuberant rejoicing in the King of kings. Oh, that it were come! May the Lord hasten it in his own time, and the choral hosts of heaven be swelled by the presence of the crowned monarchs of earth!

Psalms 138:6. Though the LORD be high, yet hath he respect unto the lowly:

That is a sweet text. One who was a scoffer met a humble child of God one morning, and he said to him, “Tell me, is your God a great God or a little God,” and the poor man said, “Sir, he is both, for, though he is so great that the heaven of heavens cannot contain him, yet he makes himself so little that he condescends to dwell in my poor heart.” Ah, it was sweetly said. He who fills the heavens, nay all things, will be our abiding guest and friend if we will but welcome him.

Psalms 138:6. But the proud he knoweth afar off.

He has enough of them. He does not want them to come near to him. When they are miles away he knows all about them. They make a fair show, but he sees that it is all a fable and pretence. He knows them — afar off!


Verses 1-8

Psalms 138:1. I will praise thee with my whole heart: before the gods will I sing praise unto thee.

“Gods or no gods, whatever they may be, ‘I will praise thee with my whole heart,’ I will not be ashamed to declare my confidence in Jehovah, whoever may listen to me.”

Psalms 138:2. I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.

Now was his time to speak. The gods of the heathen had their worshippers; then, should Jehovah be deserted by his loyal subjects? “No,” says David, “I will worship thee, and I will praise thee, whoever may oppose me.”

Psalms 138:3. In the day when I cried thou answeredst me, and strengthenedst me with strength in my soul.

What worshipper of idols could ever say that of his god? “Ears have they,” but they bear not the cries of their worshippers. “Hands have they,” but they cannot deliver those who cry to them. “Feet have they,” but they cannot come to the help of their votaries. But David declares that God had heard him in the day of his trouble, and strengthened him with strength in his soul.

Psalms 138:4. All the kings of the earth shall praise thee, O Lord, when they hear the words of thy mouth.

He felt that he had had such good things to say concerning God, such blessed words of God to make known, that even the kings of the earth, when they began to listen to him, would become attentive, and would even become converts, and begin to praise Jehovah with him.

Psalms 138:5. Yea, they shall sing in the ways of the Lord: for great is the glory of the Lord.

Think of that,— kings singing in the ways of the Lord, crowned princes becoming choristers in God’s service. Someone has said that there are few in heaven who wore crowns on earth; and I am afraid it is true that, of all who are crowned on earth, few ever get to that land where all are kings and priests unto God. To have a crown on earth, and a crown above, is a rare thing; but David says that these kings “shall sing in the ways of Jehovah: for great is the glory of Jehovah;” and they shall be overpowered by that glory,— melted, subdued, wooed, won, converted by its power.

Psalms 138:6-7. Though the Lord be high, yet hath he respect unto the lowly: but the proud he knoweth afar off. Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me: —

He was a king, yet he expected trouble; and do you complain when it comes to your cottage, after it had been to David’s palace? “Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me:

Psalms 138:7. Thou shalt stretch forth thine hand against the wrath of mine enemies, and thy right hand shall save me.

He expected first to be revived, and afterwards to be protected. He believed that God would stretch out his hand, as men do when they make a supreme effort, and put forth all their force: “Thou shalt stretch forth thine hand against the wrath of mine enemies.” David also expected ultimate preservation: “‘Thy right hand shall save me.’ Thou wilt do it; dexterously, readily, gladly, wilt thou do it: ‘Thy right hand shall save me.’”

Psalms 138:8. The LORD will perfect that which concerneth me:

“All that has to do with me — my business, my family, my work, my temporal and my eternal interests,— ‘that which concerneth me,’ and that which troubles me, moves my heart with the deepest concern, Jehovah will perfect.”

Psalms 138:8. Thy mercy, O LORD, endureth for ever: forsake not the works of thine own hands.

And he will not do it; he will carry on unto completion the work which he has begun, blessed be his holy name!

 


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Bibliography Information
Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on Psalms 138:4". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/spe/psalms-138.html. 2011.


Lectionary Calendar
Friday, October 19th, 2018
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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