Verse 18. This shall be written for the generation to come. A note shall be made of it, for there will be destitute ones in future generations, -- "the poor shall never cease out of the land," -- and it will make glad their eyes to read the story of the Lord's mercy to the needy in former times. Registers of divine kindness ought to be made and preserved; we write dcwn in history the calamities of nations, -- wars, famines, pestilences, and earthquakes are recorded; how much rather then should we set up memorials of the Lord's lovingkindness! Those who have in their own souls endured spiritual destitution, and have been delivered out of it, cannot forget it; they are bound to tell others of it, and especially to instruct their children in the goodness of the Lord.
And the people which shall be created shall praise the LORD. The Psalmist here intends to say that the rebuilding of Jerusalem would be a fact in history for which the Lord would be praised from age to age. Revivals of religion not only cause great joy to those who are immediately concerned in them, but they give encouragement and delight to the people of God long after, and are indeed perpetual incentives to adoration throughout the church of God. This verse teaches us that we ought to have an eye to posterity, and especially should we endeavour to perpetuate the memory of God's love to his church and to his poor people, so that young people as they grow up may know that the Lord God of their fathers is good and full of compassion. Sad as the Psalmist was when he wrote the dreary portions of this complaint, he was not so absorbed in his own sorrow, or so distracted by the national calamity, as to forget the claims of coming generations; this, indeed, is a clear proof that he was not without hope for his people, for he who is making arrangements for the good of a future generation has not yet despaired of his nation. The praise of God should be the great object of all that we do, and to secure him a revenue of glory both from the present and the future is the noblest aim of intelligent beings.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 18. Shall praise the LORD. The people whom God in mercy brings from a low and mean condition, are the people from whom God promises to receive praise and glory. Indeed, such is the selfishness of our corrupt nature, that if we are anything, or do anything, we are prone to forget God, and sacrifice to our own nets, and burn incense to our own yarn; inasmuch, that whenever God finds a people who shall either trust in him, or praise him, it must be "an afflicted and poor people," ( Zephaniah 3:11-13 ; Psalms 22:22-25 ), or a people brought from such an estate: free grace is even most valued by such a people. And if you look all the Scripture over, you will find that all the praises and songs of deliverance that have been made to God have proceeded from a people that have thus judged of themselves, as those that were brought to nothing; but God in mercy had brought them back again from the gates of death, and usually until they had such apprehensions of themselves they never gave unto God the glory due unto his name. Stephen Marshall.
Verse 18. Expositors observe upon this text, that this redeemed Church takes no thought concerning themselves, about their own ease, pleasure, wealth, gain, or anything else which might accrue unto themselves by this deliverance, to make their own life easy or sweet; but their thoughts and studies are wholly laid out, how the present and succeeding generations should give all glory to God for it...
There are three special reasons why this should be the great work of the Lord's saved and rescued people, and why indeed they can do no other than study thus to exalt him.
- One is, because they well know that the Lord hath reserved nothing to himself but only his glory; the benefits he gives to them; all the sweetness and honey that can be found in them he gives them leave to suck out; but his glory and his praise is his own, and that which he hath wholly reserved; of that he is jealous, lest it should either be denied, eclipsed, diminished, or any the least violation offered to it in any kind. All God's people know this of him, and therefore they cannot but endeavour to preserve it for him.
- Secondly, besides, they know, as God is jealous in that point, so it is all the work that he hath appointed them to do; he hath therefore separated them to himself out of all nations of the world, to be his peculiar ones for this very end, that they might give him all the glory and praise of his mercy. "I have( said God) created him, formed, and made him for my glory." Isaiah 43:7 . This is the law of his new creation, which is as powerful in them as the law of nature, or the first creation, is in the rest of his works. And therefore with a holy and spiritual naturalness (if I may so call it) the hearts of all the saints are carried to give God the glory, as really as the stones are carried to the centre, or the fire to fly upwards: this is fixed in their hearts, the work of grace hath moulded them to it, that they can do no other but endeavour to exalt God, it being the very end why their spiritual life and all their other privileges are conferred upon them.
- Yea, thirdly, they know their own interests are much concerned in God's glory, they never are losers by it: if in any work of God he want his praise, they will want their comfort; but if God be a gainer, they shall certainly be no losers. Whatever is poured upon the head of Christ -- what ointment soever of praise or glory, it will in a due proportion fall down to the skirts of his garments; nor is there any other way to have any sweetness, comfort, praise, or glory to be derived unto themselves, but by giving all unto him to whom alone it belongeth, and then although he will never give away his glory -- the glory of being the fountain, the first, supreme, original giver of all good; yet they shall have the glory of instruments, and of fellow workers with him, which is a glory and praise sufficient. Stephen Marshall.
Verse 18 (first clause). Calvin translates thus, -- This shall be registered for the generations to come; and observes, -- "The Psalmist intimates, that this will be a memorable work of God, the praise of which shall be handed down to succeeding ages. Many things are worthy of praise, which are soon forgotten; but the prophet distinguishes between the salvation of the Church, for which he makes supplication, and common benefits. By the word register he means that the history of this would be worthy of having a place in the public records, that the remembrance of it might be transmitted to future generations."
Verse 18. This shall be written. Nothing is more tenacious than man's, memory when he suffers an injury; nothing more lax if a benefit is conferred. For this reason God desires lest his gifts should fall out of mind, to have them committed to writing. Le Blanc.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
- A memorial.
- A magnificat. W. Durban.
- Misery in extremis.
- Divinity observant.
- Deity actively assisting.
- Glory consequently published.