Psalm 104:35

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 35. Let the sinners be consumed out of the earth, and let the wicked be no more. They are the only blot upon creation.

"Every prospect pleases.
And only man is vile."

In holy indignation the psalmist would fain rid the world of beings so base as not to love their gracious Creator, so blind as to rebel against their Benefactor. He does but ask for that which just men look forward to as the end of history: for the day is eminently to be desired when in all God's kingdom there shall not remain a single traitor or rebel. The Christian way of putting it will be to ask that grace may turn sinners into saints, and win the wicked to the ways of truth.

Bless thou the LORD, O my soul. Here is the end of the matter -- whatever sinners may do, do thou, my soul, stand to thy colours, and be true to thy calling. Their silence must not silence thee, but rather provoke thee to redoubled praise to make up for their failures. Nor canst thou alone accomplish the work; others must come to thy help. O ye saints,

Praise ye the LORD. Let your hearts cry HALLELUJAH, -- for that is the word in the Hebrew. Heavenly word! Let it close the Psalm: for what more remains to be said or written? HALLELUJAH. Praise ye the Lord.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 35. -- Let the sinners be consumed out of the earth, etc. -- It fell to my lot some years ago, to undertake a walk of some miles, on a summer morning, along a seashore of surpassing beauty. It was the Lord's day, and the language of the Hundred and fourth Psalm rose spontaneously in my mind as one scene after another unfolded itself before the eye. About half way to my destination the road lay through a dirty hamlet, and my meditations were rudely interrupted by the brawling of some people, who looked as if they had been spending the night in a drunken debauch. Well, I thought, the Psalmist must have had some such unpleasant experience. He must have fallen in with people, located in some scene of natural beauty, who, instead of being a holy priesthood to give voice to nature in praise of her Creator, instead of being, in the pure and holy tenor of their lives the most heavenly note of the general song, filled it with a harsh discord. His prayer is the vehement expression of a desire that the earth may no longer be marred by the presence of wicked men, -- that they may be utterly consumed, and may give place to men animated with the fear of God, just and holy men, men that shall be a crown of beauty on the head of this fair creation. If this be the right explanation of the Psalmist's prayer, it is not only justifiable, but there is something wrong in our meditations on nature, if we are not disposed to join in it. --William Binnie.

Verse 35. -- Let the sinners be consumed out of the earth. This imprecation depends on the last clause of the 31st verse, "Let Jehovah, rejoice in his works." As the wicked infect the world with their pollutions, the consequence is, that God has less delight in his own workmanship, and is even almost displeased with it. It is impossible, but that this uncleanness, which, being extended and diffused through every part of the world, vitiates and corrupts such a noble product of his hands, must be offensive to him. Since then the wicked, by their perverse abuse of God's gifts, cause the world in a manner to degenerate and fall away from its first original, the prophet justly desires that they may be exterminated, until the race of them entirely fails. Let us, then, take care so to weigh the providence of God, as that being wholly devoted to obeying him, we may rightly and purely use the benefits which he sanctifies for our enjoying them. Further, let us be grieved, that such precious treasures are wickedly squandered away, and let us regard it as monstrous and detestable, that men not only forget their Maker, but also, as it were, purposely turn to a perverse and an unworthy end, whatever good things he has bestowed upon them. --John Calvin.

Verse 35. -- The sinners.

All true, all faultless, all in tune,
Creation's wondrous choir,
Opened in mystic unison,
To last till time expire.
And still it lasts: by day and night,
With one consenting voice,
All hymn thy glory, Lord, aright,
All worship and rejoice.
Man only mars the sweet accord,
Overpowering with harsh din
The music of thy works and word,
Ill matched with grief and sin. --John Keble in "The Christian Year."

Verse 35. -- Bless thou the Lord, O my soul. Rehearse the first words of the Psalm which are the same as these. They are here repeated as if to hint that the end of good men is like their beginning, and that he is not of the number who begins in the spirit and seeks to be made perfect in the flesh. A worthy beginning of the Psalm, says Cassiodorus, and a worthy end, ever to bless him who never at any time fails to be with the faithful. The soul which blesses shall be made fat... Reined in by this rein of divine praise, he shall never perish. --Lorinus.

Verse 35. -- This is the first place where HALLELUJAH ("Praise ye the Lord") occurs in the Book of Psalms. It is produced by a retrospect of Creation, and by the contemplation of God's goodness in the preservation of all the creatures of his hand, and also by a prospective view of that future Sabbath, when, by the removal of evil men from communion with the good, God will be enabled to look on his works, as he did on the first Sabbath, before the Tempter had marred them, and see "everything very good." See Ge 1:31 2:2-3 --Christopher Wordsworth.

Verse 35. -- Praise ye the Lord. This is the first time that we meet with Hallelujah; and it comes in here upon occasion of the destruction of the wicked; and the last time we meet with it, it is upon the like occasion, when the New Testament Babylon is consumed, this is the burden of the song, -- "Hallelujah," Revelation 14:1 Revelation 14:3 Revelation 14:4 Revelation 14:6 . --Matthew Henry.

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 35. --

  1. They who praise not God are not fit to be on the earth: "Let the sinners be consumed," etc.
  2. Much less are they fit to be in heaven.
  3. They who praise God are fit both for earth and heaven. Though others do not praise him here, the saints will. "Bless thou the Lord," etc.

    1. In opposition to others, they praise him on earth.

(b) In harmony with others, they praise him in heaven, etc. Everywhere it is with them, "Praise ye the Lord." --G. R.