Verse 8. For thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling. The triune God has given us a trinity of deliverances: our life has been spared from the grave, our heart has been uplifted from its griefs, and our course in life has been preserved from dishonour. We ought not to be satisfied unless we are conscious of all three of these deliverance. If our soul has been saved from death, why do we weep? What cause for sorrow remains? Whence those tears? And if our tears have been wiped away, can we endure to fall again into sin? Let us not rest unless with steady feet we pursue the path of the upright, escaping every snare and shunning every stumblingblock. Salvation, joy, and holiness must go together, and they are all provided for us in the covenant of grace. Death is vanquished, tears are dried, and fears are banished when the Lord is near.
Thus has the Psalmist explained the reasons of his resolution to call upon God as long as he lived, and none can question but that he had come to a most justifiable resolve. When from so great a depth he had been uplifted by so special an interposition of God, he was undoubtedly bound to be for ever the hearty worshipper of Jehovah, to whom he owed so much. Do we not all feel the force of the reasoning, and will we not carry out the conclusion? May God the Holy Spirit help us so to pray without ceasing and in everything to give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning us.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 8. Thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling. Lo, here a deliverance, not from one, but many dangers, to wit, "death," "tears," "falling." Single deliverances are as threads; but when multiplied, they become as a cord twisted of many threads, more potent to draw us to God. Any one mercy is as a link, but many favours are as a chain consisting of several links, to bind us the closer to our duty; vis unita fortior. Frequent droppings of the rain cannot but make an impression even on the stone, and renewed mercies may well prevail with the stony heart. Parisiensis relates a story of a man whom (notwithstanding his notorious and vicious courses) God was pleased to accumulate favours upon, so that at last he cried out, "Vicisti, benignissime Deus, indefatigabili sua bonitate, Most gracious God, thy unwearied goodness hath overcome my obstinate wickedness"; and from that time devoted himself to God's service. No wonder, then, if David upon deliverance from such numerous and grievous afflictions, maketh this his resolve, to "walk before the Lord in the land of the living." Nathanael Hardy
Verse 8. As an humble and sensible soul will pack up many troubles in one, so a thankful soul will divide one mercy into sundry particular branches, as here the Psalmist distinguishes, the delivery of his soul from death, of his eyes from tears, and of his feet from falling. David Dickson.
Verse 8. Some distinguish the three particulars thus: He hath delivered my soul from death, by giving me a good conscience; mine eyes from tears, by giving a quiet conscience; my feet from falling, by giving an enlightened and assured conscience. William Gouge.
Verse 8. My feet from falling. Whether means he, into penal misery and mischief, or into sin? There is a lapsus moralis, as 1 Corinthians 10:12 . Err I? or would David here be understood of sinning? So Psalms 73:2 : "My feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped." And if I be not deceived, the text leans to that meaning, rising still from the less to the greater. First. It is more bounty to be kept from grief than from death, for there is a greater enlargement from misery. It is not more bounty to be kept from the sense of affliction than to be kept from death, which is the greatest of temporal evils; but it is more bounty in a gracious eye to be kept from sin than from death. Secondly. How his eyes from tears? If not kept from sin? That had surely cost him many a tear, as Peter ( Matthew 26:75 ). But understand it de lapsu morali, so the gradation still riseth to enlarge God's bounty: yea, which I count the greatest blessing, in these afflictions he kept me steady in my course of piety, and suffered not afflictions to sway my heart from him. Still, in a gracious eye, the benefit seems greater to be delivered from sinning than from the greatest outward affliction. This is the reason Paul ( Romans 8:37 ) triumphs over all afflictions. 2 Corinthians 11:22-33 and 2 Corinthians 12:1-10 . He counts them his glory, his crown; but speaking of the prevailing of corruption in particular, he bemoans himself as the most miserable man alive. Romans 7:24 . William Slater.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 8. The trinity of experimental godliness.