Psalm 119:141

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 141. I am small and despised: yet do I not forget thy precepts. That fault of forgetfulness which he condemned in others ( Psalms 119:139 ) could not be charged upon himself. His enemies made no account of him, regarded him as a man without power or ability, and therefore looked down upon him. He appears to accept the situation and humbly take the lowest room, but he carries God's word with him. How many a man has been driven to do some ill action in order to reply to the contempt of his enemies: to make himself conspicuous he has either spoken or acted in a manner which he could not justify. The beauty of the Psalmist's piety was that it was calm and well balanced, and as he was not carried away by flattery, so was he not overcome by shame. If small, he the more jealously attended to the smaller duties; and if despised, he was the more in earnest to keep the despised commandments of God.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 141. -- I am small and despised, or, I have been. Some versions render it young; as if it had respect to the time of his anointing by Samuel, when he was overlooked and despised in his father's family ( 1 Samuel 16:11 17:28); but the word here used is not expressive of age, but of state, condition, and circumstances; and the meaning is, that he was little in his own esteem, and in the esteem of men, and was despised; and that on account of religion, in which he was a type of Christ ( Psalms 24:6 Isaiah 53:3 ), and which is the common lot of good men, who are treated by the world as the filth of it, and the offscouring of all things. --John Gill.

Verse 141. -- I am small. They that love God may be reduced to a mean, low, and afflicted condition; the Lord seeth it meet for divers reasons:

  1. That they may know their happiness is not in this world, and so the snore long for heaven, and delight in heavenly things.
  2. It is necessary to cut off the provisions of the flesh and the fuel of their lusts. A rank soil breeds weeds; and when we sail with a full stream we are apt to be carried away with it.
  3. That they may be more sensible of his displeasure against their sins and scandalous carriage by which they have dishonoured him, and provoked the pure eyes of his glory.
  4. That they may learn to live upon the promises, and learn to exercise suffering graces; especially dependence upon God, who can support us without a temporal, visible interest.
  5. That God may convince the enemies that there is a people that do sincerely serve him, and not for carnal, selfish ends: Job 1:6 . That his glory may be more seen in their deliverance; and therefore, before God doth appear for his children, he bringeth them very low. --Thomas Manton.

Verse 141. -- Small. This applies to David in his early days of trouble and persecution. It is difficult to find any other individual to whom it is so suitable. --James G. Murphy.

Verse 141. -- A notable example to the shame of them, that perhaps will serve and praise God in their prosperity, and when they are increased; but let affliction or want come, and then they have little heart to do it. --Abraham Wright.

Verse 141. -- Yet do not I forget thy precepts. God observeth what we do in our trouble: "If we have forgotten the name of our God, or stretched out our hands to a strange god: shall not God search this out? for he knoweth the secrets of the heart": Psalms 44:20-21 . If we slacken our service to God, or fall off to any degree of apostasy, the Judge of hearts knoweth all: God knoweth whether we would have depraved and corrupt doctrine, worship, or ordinances; or whether we will faithfully adhere to him, to his word, and worship, and ordinances, whatever it cost us.

In our poor and despicable condition we see more cause to love the word than we did before; because we experience supports and comforts which we have thereby: "Knowing that tribulation worketh patience," etc. ( Romans 5:3 ); "For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ": 2 Corinthians 1:5 . God hath special consolations for his afflicted and despised people, and makes their consolation by Christ to run parallel with, and keep pace with, their sufferings for Christ. --Thomas Manton.

Verse 141. -- Yet do not I forget thy precepts. We see by experience that our affection leaves anything from the time it goes out of our remembrance. We cease to love when we cease to remember; but earnest love ever renews remembrance of that which is beloved. The first step of defection is to forget what God hath commanded, and what we are obliged in duty to do to him; and upon this easily follows the offending of God by our transgression. Such beasts as did not chew their cud, under the law were accounted unclean, and not meet to be sacrificed unto God: that was but a figure, signifying unto us that a man who hath received good things from God, and doth not think upon them, cannot feel the sweetness of them, and so cannot be thankful to God. --William Cowper.

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 141-144. -- A mournful song arid a joyful refrain. Stanza 1: "I am small and despised." Refrain. The everlasting righteousness of God. Stanza 2: "Trouble and anguish have seized me." Refrain: The everlasting righteousness of God. --C.A.D.

Verse 141. -- Here is --

  1. David pious, and yet poor. He was a man after God's own heart, and yet "small and despised" in his own account and in account of many others.
  2. David poor and yet pious; "small and despised" for his strict and serious godliness; yet his conscience can witness for him, that he "did not forget God's precepts." --M. Henry.

Verse 141. --

  1. The source of man's littleness is in himself.
  2. The source of his greatness is in the Divine word. Hence the greatest philosopher is a small man compared with the most uneducated whose delight is in the law of God, and who meditates, etc. --G.R.

Verse 141. --

  1. A little scholar.
  2. A quick learner.
  3. A firm reminder.

Verse 141. -- Unknown, yet well known.

  1. The estimate formed of the believer by the world.
  2. The estimate formed of the believer by himself.
  3. The profession made by the believer to God.
  4. On a review, a revised estimate of the believer: 1 Corinthians 1:27 James 4:5 . --C.A.D.