Psalm 116:6

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 6. The LORD preserveth the simple. Those who have a great deal of wit may take care of themselves. Those who have no worldly craft and subtlety and guile, but simply trust in God, and do the right, may depend upon it that God's care shall be over them. The worldly wise with all their prudence shall be taken in their own craftiness, but those who walk in their integrity with single minded truthfulness before God shall be protected against the wiles of their enemies, and enabled to outlive their foes. Though the saints are like sheep in the midst of wolves, and comparatively defenceless, yet there are more sheep in the world than wolves, and it is highly probable that the sheep will feed in safety when not a single wolf is left upon the face of the earth: even so the meek shall inherit the earth when the wicked shall be no more.

I was brought low, and he helped me, -- simple though I was, the Lord did not pass me by. Though reduced in circumstances, slandered in character, depressed in spirit, and sick in body, the Lord helped me. There are many ways in which the child of God may be brought low, but the help of God is as various as the need of his people: he supplies our necessities when impoverished, restores our character when maligned, raises up friends for us when deserted, comforts us when desponding, and heals our diseases when we are sick. There are thousands in the church of God at this time who can each one of them say for himself, "I was brought low, and he helped me." Whenever this can be said it should be said to the praise of the glory of his grace, and for the comforting of others who may pass through the like ordeal. Note how David after stating the general doctrine that the Lord preserveth the simple, proves and illustrates it from his own personal experience. The habit of taking home a general truth and testing the power of it in our own case is an exceedingly blessed one; it is the way in which the testimony of Christ is confirmed in us, and so we become witnesses unto the Lord our God.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 6. The Lord preserveth the simple. God taketh most care of them that, being otherwise least cared for, wholly depend on him. These are in a good sense simple ones; simple in the world's account, and simple in their own eyes. Such as he that said, "I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people." Psalms 22:6 . And again, "I am poor and needy, yet the Lord thinketh on me." Psalms 40:17 . These are those poor ones of a contrite spirit on whom the Lord looketh. Isaiah 66:2 . Of such fatherless is God a father; and of such widows a judge. Read Psalms 68:5 , and Psalms 146:7-9 . Yea, read observantly the histories of the Gospel, and well weigh who they were to whom Christ in the days of his flesh afforded succour, and you shall find them to be such simple ones as are here intended.

By such objects the free grace and merciful mind of the Lord is best manifested. Their case being most miserable, in reference to human helps, the greater doth God's mercy appear to be; and since there is nothing in them to procure favour or succour from God, for in their own and others' eyes they are nothing, what God doth for them evidently appeareth to be freely done.

Behold here how of all others they who seem to have least cause to trust on God have most cause to trust on him. Simple persons, silly wretches, despicable fools in the world's account, who have not subtle brains, or crafty wits to search after indirect means, have, notwithstanding, enough to support them, in the grand fact that they are such as the Lord preserveth. Now, who knoweth not that "It is better to trust in the Lord, than to put confidence in man; it is better to trust in the Lord, than to put confidence in princes"? Ps 118:8-9. William Gouge.

Verse 6. The Lord preserveth the simple. How delightful it is to be able to reflect on the character of God as preserving the soul. The word properly signifies to defend us at any season of danger. The Hebrew word which is translated "simple," signifies one who has no control over himself, one that cannot resist the power and influence of those around, and one, therefore, subject to the greatest peril from which he has naturally no deliverance. "The Lord preserveth": his eye is upon them, his hand is over them, and they cannot fall. The word "simple" signifies likewise those that are ignorant of their condition, and not watching over their foes. Delightful thought, that though we may be thus ignorant, yet we are blessed with the means of escape! We may be simple to the last extent, and our simplicity may be such as to involve our mind in the greatest doubt: the Lord preserveth us, and let us rest in him. It is delightful to reflect, that it is the simple in whom the Lord delights, whom he loves to bless. We are sometimes especially in the condition in which we may be inclined to make the inquiry, how we may be saved. We suppose there are many truths to be apprehended, many principles to be realized before we can be saved. No; "the Lord preserveth the simple." We may be able to reconcile scarcely any of the doctrines of Christianity with each other; we may find ourselves in the greatest perplexity when we examine the evidences on which they rest; we may be exposed to great difficulty when we seek to apply them to practical usefulness; but still we may adopt the language before us: The LORD preserveth the simple: I was brought low, and he helped me. Return unto thy rest, O my soul. R. S. M'All, 1834.

Verse 6. The LORD preserveth the simple. The term simple equals the "simplicity" of the New Testament, namely, that pure mind towards God, which, without looking out for help from any other quarter, and free from ali dissimulation, expects salvation from him alone. Augustus F. Tholuck.

Verse 6. The simple. They are such as honestly keep the plain way of God's commandments, without those slights, or creeks of carnal policy, for which men are m the world esteemed wise; see Genesis 25:27 , where Jacob is called a plain man. Simple or foolish he calls them, because they are generally so esteemed amongst the wise of the world; not that they are so silly as they are esteemed; for if the Lord can judge of wisdom or folly, the only fool is the Atheist and profane person ( Psalms 14:1 ); the only wise man in the world is the plain, downright Christian ( Deuteronomy 4:6 ), who keeps himself precisely in all states to that plain, honest course the Lord hath prescribed him. To such simple ones, God's fools, who in their misery and affliction keep them only to the means of deliverance and comfort which the Lord hath prescribed them, belongs this blessing of preservation from mischief, or destruction: so Solomon ( Proverbs 16:17 ), "The highway of the upright is to depart from evil." "He that keepeth his way preserveth his soul"; see also Proverbs 19:16 Proverbs 19:23 ; for exemplification see in Asa, 2 Chronicles 14:9-12 16:7-9, read the excellent speech of Hanani the seer. William Slater, 1638.

Verse 6. I was brought low. By affliction and trial. The Hebrew literally means to hang down, to be pendulous, to swing, to wave -- as a bucket in a well, or as the slender branches of the palm, the willow, etc. Then it means to be slack, feeble, weak, as in sickness, etc. It probably refers to the prostration of strength by disease. And he helped me. He gave me strength; he restored me. Albert Barnes.

Verse 6. I was brought low, and he helped me. The word translated "brought low," ygtld a tld, properly signifieth to be drawn dry. The metaphor is taken from ponds, or brooks, or rivers that are clean exhausted and dried up, where water utterly faileth. Thus doth Isaiah use this word, "The brooks shall be emptied and dried up," Isa 19:6, yray wkrhw wlld. Being applied to man, it setteth out such an one as is spent, utterly wasted, for, as we use to speak, clean gone, who hath no ability to help himself, no means of help, no hope of help from others.

The other word whereby the succour which God afforded is expressed, and translated "helped" [yfwhy ab [fy, signifies such help as frees out of danger. It is usually translated "to save." William Gouge.

Verse 6. I was brought low, and he helped me. Then is the time of help, when men are brought low: and therefore God who does all things in due time when I was brought low, then helped me. Wherefore, O my soul, let it never trouble thee how low soever thou be brought, for when thy state is at the lowest, then is God's assistance at the nearest. We may truly say, God's ways are not as the ways of the world; for in the world when a man is once brought low, he is commonly trampled upon, and nothing is heard then but, "down with him, down to the ground": but with God it is otherwise; for his delight is to raise up them that fall, and when they are brought low, then to help them. Hence it is no such hard case for a man to be brought low, may I not rather say his case is happy? For is it not better to be brought low, and have God to help him, than to be set aloft and left to help himself? At least, O my body, this may be a comfort to thee: for thou art sure to be brought low, as low as the grave, which is low indeed; yet there thou mayest rest in hope; for even there the Lord will not fail to help thee. Sir Richard Baker.

Verse 6. He helped me. Helped me both to bear the worst and to hope the best; helped me to pray, else desire had failed helped me to wait, else faith had failed. Matthew Henry.

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 6.

  1. A singular class -- "simple."
  2. A singular fact -- "the Lord preserveth the simple."
  3. A singular proof of the fact -- "I was," etc.