Verse 135. Make thy face to shine upon thy servant. Oppressors frown, but do thou smile. They darken my life, but do thou shine upon me, and all will be bright. The Psalmist again declares that he is God's servant, and he seeks for no favour from others, but only from his own Lord and Master.
And teach me thy statutes. This is the favour which he considers to be the shining of the face of God upon him. If the Lord will be exceeding gracious, and make him his favourite, he will ask no higher blessing than still to be taught the royal statutes. See how he craves after holiness; this is the choicest of all gems in his esteem. As we say among men that a good education is a great fortune, so to be taught of the Lord is a gift of special grace. The most favoured believer needs teaching; even when he walks in the light of God's countenance he has still to be taught the divine statutes or he will transgress.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 135. -- Make thy face to shine upon thy servant. The face of God shines upon us, when, in his providence, we are guided and upheld; also when we are made to share in the good things of his providence, and when we are placed in a position wherein we can do much good. Much more does the face of God shine upon us, when we are favoured with tokens of his gracious favour; for then we grow under the consciousness of a loving God, with rich supplies of his grace and Spirit. --John Stephen.
Verse 135. -- Make thy face to shine upon thy servant. Oftentimes the wrongful dealings of men, of others, and of ourselves, like a cloud of smoke arising from the earth and obscuring the face of the sun, hide from us for a while the light, of the countenance of God: but he soon clears it all away, and looks down upon us in loving mercy as before, lighting for us the path of obedience, and brightening our way unto himself. --"Plain Commentary," 1859.
Verse 135. -- Make thy face to shine upon thy servant. The believer's incessant cry is, Let me see "the King's face." This is a blessing worth praying for. It is his heart's desire, his present privilege, and what is infinitely better, his sure, everlasting prospect -- "They shall see his face." Revelation 22:4 . --Charles Bridges.
Verse 135. -- Make thy face to shine... and teach me. Blessed is the man whom eternal Truth teacheth, not by obscure figures and transient sounds, but by direct and full communication. The perceptions of our senses are narrow and dull, and our reason on those perceptions frequently misleads us. He whom the eternal Word condescends to teach is disengaged at once from the labyrinth of human opinions. For "of one word are all things"; and all things without voice or language speak of him alone: he is that divine principle which speaketh in our hearts, and without which there can be neither just apprehension nor rectitude of judgment.
O God, who art the truth, make me one with thee in everlasting life! I am often weary of reading, and weary of hearing; in thee alone is the sum of my desire! Let all teachers be silent, let the whole creation be dumb before thee, and do thou only speak unto my soul!
Thy ministers can pronounce the words, but cannot impart the spirit; they may entertain the fancy with the charms of eloquence, but if thou art silent they do not inflame the heart. They administer the letter, but thou openest the sense; they utter the mystery, but you reveal its meaning; they point out the way of life, but you bestow strength to walk in it; they water, but thou givest the increase. Therefore do thou, O Lord, my God, Eternal Truth! speak to my soul! lest, being outwardly warmed, but not inwardly quickened, I die, and be found unfruitful. "Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth." "Thou only hast the words of eternal life." --Thomas a Kempis, 1380-1471.
Verse 135. -- Make thy face to shine teach me, etc. God hath many ways of teaching; he teaches by book, he teaches by his fingers, he teaches by his rod; but his most comfortable and effectual teaching is by the light of his eye: "O send out thy light and thy truth; let them lead me: let them bring me unto thy holy hilt:" Psalms 42:3 . --Richard Alleine (1611-1681), in "Heaven Opened."
Verse 135. -- Make thy face to shine... teach me thy statutes. God's children, when they beg comfort, also beg grace to serve him acceptably. For by teaching God's statutes is not meant barely a giving speculative knowledge of God's will; for so David here; "Make thy face to shine"; and "Teach me thy statutes." --Thomas Manton.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 135. --
- A choice position: "thy servant."
- A choice delight: "thy face to shine."
- A choice privilege: "teach me thy statutes."
Verse 135. --
- God in the word: "Thy word."
- God for the word: "Teach me," etc.
- God with the word: "Make thy face," etc. --G.R.
Verse 135. -- Sunshine.
- The light in which we can best learn our lessons -- God's favour shown in pardon, justification, adoption, assurance, etc.
- The lessons we should learn in the light -- grace is productive of holiness. -- C.A.D.
Verse 135. --
- A rich historic promise ( Numbers 6:25 ). Its sublime origin and associations.
- The new prayer born of it.
(a) Looks up for the face Divine; the same in its majestic
sweetness that has watched generations decay since the
word was first spoken.
(b) Asks to know its shining. Light of fatherhood, etc.
- The old prayer repeated: "Teach me thy statutes." Last time in the psalm.
(a) Our need of teaching -- oft repeated prayer.
(b) The intimate connection between obedience and the
shining of God's face. --W.B.H.