Verse 5. He hath given meat unto them that fear him. Or spoil, as some read it, for the Lord's people both in coming out of Egypt and at other times have been enriched from their enemies. Not only in the wilderness with manna, but everywhere else by his providence he has supplied the necessities of his believing people. Somewhere or other they have had food convenient for them, and that in times of great scarcity. As for spiritual meat, that has been plentifully furnished them in Christ Jesus; they have been fed with the finest of the wheat, and made to feast on royal dainties. His word is as nourishing to the soul as bread to the body, and there is such an abundance of it that no heir of heaven shall ever be famished. Truly the fear of the Lord is wisdom, since it secures to a man the supply of all that he needs for soul and body.
He will ever be mindful of his covenant. He could not let his people lack meat because he was in covenant with them, and they can never want in the future, for he will continue to act upon the terms of that covenant. No promise of the Lord shall fall to the ground, nor will any part of the great compact of eternal love be revoked or allowed to sink into oblivion. The covenant of grace is the plan of the great work which the Lord works out for his people, and it will never be departed from: the Lord has set his hand and seal to it, his glory and honour are involved in it, yea, his very name hangs upon it, and he will not even in the least jot or tittle cease to be mindful of it. Of this the feeding of his people is the pledge: he would not so continually supply their needs if he meant after all to destroy them. Upon this most blessed earnest let us settle our minds; let us rest in the faithfulness of the Lord, and praise him with all our hearts every time that we eat bread or feed upon his word.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 5. The first hemistich is the consequence of what is stated in the second, i.e., because God remembered his covenant, therefore he gave food to them who fear him. --George Phillips.
Verse 5. He hath given meat, etc. The meat here mentioned is supposed to respect the paschal lamb, when they were to remember the works of God. --Thomas Manton.
Verse 5. Meat. Literally, booty or spoil: the spoil ( Exodus 12:36 ) brought by Israel out of Egypt, as God had engaged by covenant to Abraham, Genesis 15:14 , They shall come out with great substance (Kimchi). Rather the manna and quails, which to the hungry people were like a booty thrown in their way. The word is used for "meat" in general, in Proverbs 31:15 ; Malachi 3:10 . --A. R. Fausset.
Verse 5. He hath given meat. I rather choose to render it portion, in which sense it is taken in Proverbs 30:8 31:15; as if he should say, that God has given his people all that was needful, and that, considered as a portion, it was large and liberal; for we know that the people of Israel were enriched, not in consequence of their own industry, but by the blessing of God, who, like the father of a family, bestows upon his household everything necessary for their subsistence. In the following clause of the verse, he assigns as the reason for his care and kindness his desire of effectually demonstrating that his covenant was not null and void. --John Calvin.
Verse 5. He will ever be mindful of his covenant. This clause would seem to be introduced parenthetically -- a passing thought, a happy thought, presenting itself spontaneously to the psalmist's mind, and immediately expressed with his lips. It will be observed it is in the future tense, while all the other clauses are in the past -- "He hath made his wonderful works to be remembered"; "He hath given meat unto them that fear him"; "He will ever be mindful of his covenant"; not he hath ever been. Dwelling on these past favours of God to Israel, it is his joy to think that they were but partial fulfilments of a covenant promise, which still remained, and in its highest sense should remain for ever; and that covenant itself the memorial or type of the better, the spiritual covenant, the gospel. So out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh, and he celebrates God's promised truth to Israel as the memorial and pledge of his eternal faithfulness to the New Testament Israel, his blood ransomed church. --James H. Vidal.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 5. There is,
- Encouragement from the past: "He hath given meat," etc.
- Confidence for the future: "He will ever be mindful," etc. --G. R.