Psalm 103:5

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 5. Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things, or rather "filling with good thy soul." No man is ever filled to satisfaction but a believer, and only God himself can satisfy even him. Many a worldling is satiated, but not one is satisfied. God satisfies the very soul of man, his noblest part, his ornament and glory; and of consequence he satisfies his mouth, however hungry and craving it might otherwise be. Soul-satisfaction loudly calls for soul- praise, and when the mouth is filled with good it is bound to speak good of him who filled it. Our good Lord bestows really good things, not vain toys and idle pleasures; and these he is always giving, so that from moment to moment he is satisfying our soul with good: shall we not be still praising him? If we never cease to bless him till he ceases to bless us, our employment will be eternal.

So that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's. Renewal of strength, amounting to a grant of a new lease of life, was granted to the Psalmist; he was so restored to his former self that he grew young again, and looked as vigorous as an eagle, whose eye can gaze upon the sun, and whose wing can mount above the storm. Our version refers to the annual moulting of the eagle, after which it looks fresh and young; but the original does not appear to allude to any such fact of natural history, but simply to describe the diseased one as so healed and strengthened, that he became as full of energy as the bird which is strongest of the feathered race, most fearless, most majestic, and most soaring. He who sat moping with the owl in the last Psalm, here flies on high with the eagle: the Lord works marvellous changes in us, and we learn by such experiences to bless his holy name. To grow from a sparrow to an eagle, and leave the wilderness of the pelican to mount among the stars is enough to make any man cry, "Bless the Lord, O my soul."

Thus, is the endless chain of grace complete. Sins forgiven, its power subdued, and its penalty averted, then we are honoured, supplied, and our very nature renovated, till we are as new-born children in the household of God. O Lord we must bless thee, and we will; as thou dost withhold nothing from us so we would not keep back from thy praise one solitary power of our nature, but with all our heart, and soul, and strength praise thy holy name.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 5. Who satisfieth thy mouth. The word rendered "mouth," is $yr[, which is rendered ornaments in our version in all other passages -- eleven in number -- where it occurs, except here and in Psalms 32:9 , where it is rendered "mouth;" and even there it ought properly be translated ornament, and here the sense seems to be thy ornament, tbat which is thy glory, thy spirit, Psalms 16:9 62:8. It is true that the soul yfpg is here addressed ( Psalms 103:1 ); but the spirit may be called the ornament or glory of the soul. Christopher Wordsworth.

Verse 5. Satisfieth thy mouth. Kimchi understands the phrase as expressing David's recovery from sickness. In sickness the soul abhorreth bread, and even dainty meat, Job 33:20. The physician, too, limits the diet of the patient, and prescribes things which are nauseous to the palate. The commentator, therefore, supposes that David here describes the blessing of health, by his mouth being filled with good things. Editorial Note to Calvin in loc.

Verse 5. Satisfieth. God can so satisfy the soul, that each chink and cranny therein shall be filled with spiritual joy. Thomas Fuller.

Verse 5. With good things. Mark, what does the Lord satisfy with? "good things." Not rich things, not many things, not everything I ask for, but "good things." All my need fully supplied, and everything "good." Goodness is God expressed. All his blessings partake of his own nature. They are holy blessings, holy mercies. Everything that satisfies must have the nature of God in it. Nothing else will ever "satisfy." The heart was made for God, and only God can meet it. Frederick Whitfield, 1874.

Verse 5. Thy youth is renewed like the eagle's. It is an ancient fable that the eagle is able to renew his youth when very old, and poetical allusion is made to it in this Psalm; but this idea is doubtless founded in reality on the great longevity of the bird, and its power, in common with other birds, of moulting its plumage periodically, and so increasing its strength and activity. Hugh Mac Millan. {1}

{1} We might have filled much of our space with the fables from the rabbis and the fathers in reference to eagles; but they are too absurd, and ought never to be repeated. We hope, therefore, that the reader will excuse if not commend the omission.

Verse 5. Thy youth is renewed like the eagle's. -- The Scripture knows nothing of the idea that the eagle when old renews its youth. That there is nothing of this kind contained in Isaiah 40:31 , which is commonly appealed to, but that it is rather the powerful flight of the eagle that is there referred to, "they mount up on wings like the eagle, they run and are not weary," is evident from the parallel, fly, run, march. E.W. Hengstenberg.

Verse 5. Thy youth is renewed like the eagle's. Thy activity will renew itself like the eagle. That is to say, From day to day he will receive and increase his strength and rigour, so that he may thrive and flourish like the eagle. The comparison with the eagle is not drawn in point of renovation, but in point of vigour and activity continually renewing itself; as Isaiah 40:31 , says, "They that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as eagles." Venema.

Verse 5. Thy youth is renewed like the eagle's. This renovation of his youth may be understood three ways. First, as to his natural state, or bodily strength. Secondly, as to his civil state, or worldly successes, as to his honour and kingly-renown. Thirdly, as to his spiritual state, or the heightening of his gifts, graces, and comforts. It is probable David had found a declension in all these, and at last, through the goodness of God and his blessing upon him, the renewing of them all from that oldness to a youthfulness again, like that of eagles. Joseph Garyl.

Verse 5. Thy youth is renewed like the eagle's. However bold it may sound, we say not too much when we speak of an eternal youth, as the glorious privilege of the devout servant of the Lord, but of him alone. All that with reason charms and captivates in the appearance of youth, is seen in heightened measure where the spiritual life develops itself undisturbed in fellowship with God. Does the innocence of youth attract you? In the natural life it is but too frequently a misleading appearance; but in the life of the soul it returns to a certain extent when the heart is purified through the power of the Holy Ghost, and the life is renewed in conformity with that of Christ the Lord. Does the enjoyment of youth surpass in your estimation that of any other here below? Be it so; yet all too speedily it is driven away by the cares of later years, whilst enjoyment free from care even in the dark days may dwell in the heart whereon has descended the peace of God through faith. The strength of youth, seems it to you desirable? Ah! day by day stamps truth upon the words: "Youth shall faint and be weary;" but even when the natural strength has already long attained its zenith, the Christian often feels himself elevated through a power from on high, which lifts him above physical weakness; and what no strength of sinew or muscle could accomplish is attained through the power of implicit faith. Yea, even the beautiful developement which the period of youth shows you, ye would not seek in vain in that man who, leaning on God's hand, forgetting the things that are behind, stretches forward from light to light, from strength to strength, from bliss to bliss. How, finally, can hope, that makes the youthful heart beat high with throbs of joy, be lacking to him? The fairest part of life the sensual man sees soon behind him, the spiritual man always in prospect; and like the eagle, this last can often from the low atmosphere round him soar to the pure, clear ether, whence already from afar the image, nay, the ineffable reality, shows him a more than earthly joy.

Eternal youth: it may, yet much more than for David, now be the portion of every Christian, but for these alone. Without faith and hope in the heart, even the bravest determination to remain young always, or at least as long as possible, must give away before the first great storm of life. Yet even when faith and hope are not strangers to us, whence is it that in our spiritual life there is frequently so little of the "eagle" spoken of here, and so much of the "sparrow alone upon the housetop," referred to in Ps 102:7 Can it be that we allow ourselves too little to be satisfied with the good things of which David had spoken immediately before; that is to say, that we live so little on the best things which God has to bestow, -- his word, his Spirit, his grace? Only through these do we attain that lasting second birth, of which the eagle is the emblem, and an unfading youth of heart the inestimable fruit. Ye who are young in years, seek this undying youth above all the joys of early life! Recover it, ye middle-aged, in living fellowship with him who maketh all things new within! Preserve it, old friends of God and of his Christ, as your fairest crown here on earth, and the earnest of your bliss in heaven. And thou, Christian, who sittest down disconsolate, bethink thyself; the eagle lets his wings hang down, only thereafter to soar with stronger flight! J.J. Van Oosterzee, in "The Year of Salvation," 1874.

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 5.

  1. A singular condition -- satisfaction.
  2. A singular provision -- good things.
  3. A singular result -- youth renewed.

Verse 5. -- "Rejuvenescence." See Macmillan's "Ministry of Nature," pp. 321-347.