Psalm 103:4

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 4. Who redeemeth thy life from destruction. By purchase and by power the Lord redeems us from the spiritual death into which we had fallen, and from the eternal death which would have been its consequence. Had not the death penalty of sin been removed, our forgiveness and healing would have been incomplete portions of salvation, fragments only, and but of small value, but the removal of the guilt and power of sin is fitly attended by the reversal of the sentence of death which had been passed upon us. Glory be to our great Substitute, who delivered us from going down into the pit, by giving himself to be our ransom. Redemption will ever constitute one of the sweetest notes in the believer's grateful song.

Who crowneth thee with loving kindness and tender mercies. Our Lord does nothing by halves, he will not stay his hand till he has gone to the uttermost with his people. Cleansing, healing, redemption, are not enough, he must needs make them kings and crown them, and the crown must be far more precious than if it were made of corruptible things, such as silver and gold; it is studded with gems of grace and lined with the velvet of lovingkindness; it is decked with the jewels of mercy, but made soft for the head to wear by a lining of tenderness. Who is like unto thee, O Lord! God himself crowns the princes of his family, for their best things come from him directly and distinctly; they do not earn the crown, for it is of mercy not of merit; they feel their own unworthiness of it, therefore he deals with tenderness; but lie is resolved to bless them, and, therefore, he is ever crowning them, always surrounding their brows with coronets of mercy and compassion. He always crowns the edifice which he commences, and where he gives pardon he gives acceptance too. "Since thou wast precious in my sight thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee." Our sin deprived us of all our honours, a bill of attainder was issued against us as traitors; but he who removed the sentence of death by redeeming us from destruction, restores to us more than all our former honours by crowning us anew. Shall God crown us and shall not we crown him? Up, my soul, and cast thy crown at his feet, and in lowliest reverence worship him, who has so greatly exalted thee, as to lift thee from the dunghill and set thee among princes.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 4. Who redeemeth thy life from destruction. From his earliest days the Psalmist was the child of Providence. Many were the hairbreadth escapes and the wonderful deliverances, which he experienced. Dangers of various kinds presented themselves as his years advanced. The jaw of the lion, and the paw of the bear, at various times threatened to terminate his existence, and at others the ruthless hand of man. The same God who delivered him from the sword of Goliath, rescued his life from the javelin of Saul. The Almighty Friend who had covered his head in the day of battle, delivered him, at one moment, from the lords of the Philistines, saved him at another out of the hands of the men of Keilah; and again preserved to him his life and throne from the unnatural rebellion of his own son. Well, therefore, might the Psalmist stir up his soul, and all that was within him, to bless the Lord with most fervent gratitude, who, by so many signal deliverances, had "redeemed his life from destruction." John Stevenson.

Verse 4. Who redeemeth. Preservation from destruction, lawgh haggoel, properly, redemption of life by the kinsman; possibly looking forward, in the spirit of prophecy, to him who became partaker of our flesh and blood, that he might have the right to redeem our souls from death by dying in our stead. Adam Clarke.

Verse 4. From the pit, including death, the grave, Hades. The Targum renders "from Gehenna." J. J. S. Perowne.

Verse 4. Tender mercies. I do not know that I can do better than tell you a little incident that took place in my native town of Stirling. Workmen were blasting the castle rock, near where it abuts upon a walk that lies open to the street. The train was laid and lit, and an explosion was momentarily expected. Suddenly trotting round the great wall of the cliff, came a little child going straight to where the match burned. The men shouted -- (it was mercy) -- and by their very terror in shouting, alarmed and bewildered the poor little thing. By this time the mother also had come round: in a moment saw the danger; opened wide her arms, and cried from her very heart, "Come to me, my darling," -- (that was tender mercy) -- and instantly, with eager pattering feet, and little arms opened to her arms, and tear-filled eyes answering to her eyes -- the little thing ran back and away, and stopped not until she was clasped in her mother's bosom -- wealth of sunny hair loosened on it, and lips coral red pressed to mother's pallid lip of fear -- as the motherly heart gave way to tears, in the thought of so imperilled an escape: for it was barely by a second, as the roar of the shattered rock told. Alexander B. Grosart, in "The Pastor and Helper of Joy," 1865.

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 4. (first clause). The Redemption of David's life from destruction.

  1. His shepherd life.
  2. His military life.
  3. His persecuted life.
  4. His regal life.
  5. His spiritual life. W. J.

Verse 4. What is redeemed, and from what? Who are redeemed, and by whom?