Verse 20. He sent his word and healed them. Man is not healed by medicine alone, but by the word which proceedeth out of the mouth of God is man restored from going down to the grave. A word will do it, a word has done it thousands of times.
And delivered them from their destructions. They escape though dangers had surrounded them, dangers many and deadly. The word of the Lord has a great delivering power; he has but to speak and the armies of death flee in an instant. Sin sick souls should remember the power of the Word, and be much in hearing it and meditating upon it.
Spiritually considered, these verses describe a sin sick soul: foolish but yet aroused to a sense of guilt, it refuses comfort from any and every quarter, and a lethargy of despair utterly paralyses it. To its own apprehension nothing remains but utter destruction in many forms: the gates of death stand open before it, and it is, in its own apprehension, hurried in that direction. Then is the soul driven to cry in the bitterness of its grief unto the Lord, and Christ, the eternal Word, comes with healing power in the direst extremity, saving to the uttermost.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 20. When George Wishart arrived at Dundee, where the plague was raging (1545), he caused intimation to be made that he would preach; and for that purpose chose his station upon the head of the East gate, the infected persons standing without, and those that were whole within. His text was Psalms 107:20 , He sent his word and healed them, etc., wherein he treated of the profit and comfort of God's word, the punishment that comes by contempt of it, the readiness of God's mercy to such as truly turn to him, and the happiness of those whom God takes from this misery, etc. By which sermon he so raised up the hearts of those that heard him, that they regarded not death, but judged them more happy that should then depart, rather than such as should remain behind, considering that they knew not whether they should have such a comforter with them. --Samuel Clarke (1599-1682), in "A General Martyrologie."
Verse 20. He sent his word. The same expression occurs in Psalms 147:15 Psalms 147:18 ; compare Isa 55:11. We detect in such passages the first glimmering of St. John's doctrine of the agency of the personal Word. The Word by which the heavens were made, Psalms 33:6 , is seen to be not merely the expression of God's will, but his messenger mediating between himself and his creatures. It is interesting to compare with this the language of Elihu in the parallel passage of Job 33:23 , where what is here ascribed to the agency of the Word is ascribed to that of the "mediating angel, or messenger." --J.J. Stewart Perowne.
Verse 20. His word who healed them was his essential Word, even the second person in the Godhead, our Lord Jesus Christ, the word who was made flesh and dwelt among us: of this divine Word it was foretold in the Old Testament, that he should arise with the glory of the morning sun, bringing healing in his wings for all our maladies; and accordingly the New Testament relates, that Jesus went about all Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing ALL manner of sickness, and ALL manner of disease among the people. He healed the bodily disease miraculously, to prove that he was the Almighty Physician of the soul. And it is remarkable that he never rejected any person who applied to him for an outward cure, to demonstrate to us, that he would never cast out any person who should apply to him for a spiritual cure. --William Romaine.
Verse 20. And delivered them from their destructions. From their pits: or, From their sepulchres. That is, from the deaths to which they were near. Others render, From their nets or snares, Others, their destructions, the diseases in which they were miserable prisoners. --Franciscus Vatablus.
Verse 20. And delivered them from their destructions. From the destruction of the body, of the beauty and strength of it by diseases; restoring to health is a redeeming of the life from destruction; from the grave, the pit of corruption and destruction, so called because in it bodies corrupt, putrefy, and are destroyed by worms; and such who are savingly convinced of sin, and blessed with pardoning grace and mercy, are delivered from the everlasting destruction of body and soul in hell. --John Gill.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 20. Recovery from sickness must be ascribed to the Lord, and gratitude should flow forth because of it. But the text describes spiritual and mental sickness. Notice,
- The Patient in his extremity.
- He is a fool: by nature inclined to evil.
- He has played the fool (see Psalms 107:17 ), "transgression", "iniquities."
- He now has lost all appetite and is past all cure.
- He is at death's door.
- But he has begun to pray.
- The Cure in its simplicity.
- Christ the Word is the essential cure. He heals the guilt, habit, depression, and evil results of sin. For every form of malady Christ has healing; hence preachers should preach him much, and all meditate much upon him.
- The word in the Book is the instrumental cure: its teachings, doctrines, precepts, promises, encouragements, invitations, examples.
- The word of the Lord by the Holy Spirit is the applying cure. He leads us to believe. He is to be sought by the sick soul. He is to be relied upon by those who would bring others to the Great Physician.