Psalm 119:150

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 150. They draw nigh that follow after mischief. He could hear their footfalls close behind him. They are not following him for his benefit, but for his hurt, and therefore the sound of their approach is to be dreaded. They are not prosecuting a good object, but persecuting a good man. As if they had not enough mischief in their own hearts, they are hunting after more. He sees them going a steeple chase over hedge and ditch in order to bring mischief to himself, and he points them out to God, and entreats the Lord to fix his eyes upon them, and deal with them to their confusion. They were already upon him, and he was almost in their grip, and therefore he cries the more earnestly.

They are far from thy law. A mischievous life cannot be an obedient one. Before these men could become persecutors of David they were obliged to get away from the restraints of God's law. They could not hate a saint and yet love the law. Those who keep God's law neither do harm to themselves nor to others. Sin is the greatest mischief in the world. David mentions this to the Lord in prayer, feeling some kind of comfort in the fact that those who hated him hated God also, and found it needful to get away from God before they could be free to act their cruel part towards himself. When we know that our enemies are God's enemies, and ours because they are his, we may well take comfort to ourselves.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 150. -- They are far from thy law. Truly it should greatly all the godly, to remember that such as are their enemies are God's also. Since they are far from the obedience of God's law, what marvel be also far from the duty of love which they owe us? It may content want that comfort in men which otherwise we might and would have, we consider that God wants his glory in them. Let this sustain us see that godless men are enemies unto us. --William Cowper.

Verse 150. -- If we can get a carnal pillow and bolster under our we sleep and dream many a golden dream of ease and safety. Now, God, who is jealous of our trust, will not let us alone, and therefore will put us upon sharp trials. It is not faith, but sense, we live upon before; faith, if we can depend upon God when "they draw near that follow mischief:" "I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about": Psalms 3:6 . A danger at distance is but imagined, it worketh otherwise when it is at hand. Christ himself had other thoughts of approaching danger than danger at a distance: "Now is my soul troubled": John 12:27 . This vessel of pure water was troubled though he discovered no dross. --Thomas Manton.

Verse 150,151. -- Our spiritual enemies, like David's earthly persecuters are ever present and active. The devouring "lion," or the insinuating "serpent" is "nigh to follow after mischief"; and so much the more dangerous, as his approaches are invisible. Nigh also is a tempting, ensnaring world; and nearer still, a lurking world of sin within, separating us from communion with our God. But in turning habitually and immediately to our stronghold, we can enjoy the confidence-- "Thou art near, O Lord." Though "the High and Lofty One, whose name is Holy" -- though the just and terrible God, yet art thou made nigh to thy people, and they to thee, "by the blood of the cross." And thou dost manifest thy presence to them in "the Son of thy love." --Charles Bridges.

Verse 150,151. -- They are "nigh" to persecute and destroy me; thou art nigh, O Lord, to help me. --J.J. Stewart Perowne.

Verse 150,151. -- They draw nigh. ... "Thou art near." From the meditation of his enemies' malice he returns again to the meditation of God's mercy; and so it is expedient for us to do, lest the number and greatness and maliciousness of our enemies make us to faint when we look unto them. It is good that we should cast our eyes upward to the Lord; then shall we see that they are not so near to hurt us as the Lord our God is near to help us; and that there is no evil in them which we have cause to fear, but we shall find in our God a contrary good sufficient to preserve us. Otherwise we could not endure, if when Satan and his instruments come near to pursue us, the Lord were not near to protect us. -- William Cowper.

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 150,151. -- Against mischief makers.

  1. They press as near as they can to, harm us.
  2. They get far from right to get more liberty to injure us.
  3. The Lord is nearer than they.
  4. God's truth is our shield and sword.

Verse 150,151. -- Foes near: the Friend nearer.

  1. The believer viewing with alarm the approach of his foes: "They draw near."
  2. The believer recollecting with comfort the presence of his friend: "Thou art near:" Ge 15:1; 2 Kings 6:14-17 . --C.A.D.

Verse 150,151. -- Two beleaguering hosts.

  1. The host of evil: NEAR --
(a) Demons, godless men, spiritual foes of world and heart.
(b) Mischief in their van.
(c) Law and truth left far behind.
(d) Seeking to narrow their lines.
(e) Thus are all saints beset.

  1. The host of God: NEARER -- Jehovah, his angels, and battalions of truths holy and immortal: "Thou and all thy commandments."
    1. Entrenched in the reason: "are truth."
(b) Camped in the heart's pavilion: "near."
(c) Forming impregnable lines within those of the foe.

--W.B.H.

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 150. -- Consider --

  1. Whether the description here given does not apply, more or less, to all unbelievers in Christ: "They that follow after mischief."
    1. Some men undoubtedly and of set purpose do follow after
      mischief; they make themselves the tempters of others, and
      delight in it.
(b) Others, who do not delight in it, yet cannot help the
mischievous effect of their example.
(c) The very morality of many unbelievers enables them to
carry the pernicious influence of their unbelief Where
the immorally wicked cannot come.
(d) Even regular attendants at public worship may by their
indecision encourage others in delay.

  1. The dangerous position of all to whom the description, in any measure, belongs: "They are far from thy law."
    1. They are so, in that they are unbelievers; for "this is
      his commandment, that we shall believe," etc.
(b) They are so, in that they are a cause of evil to
others; for we are commanded to love and do good.
(c) To be far from God's law is to be nigh unto God's
righteous wrath.
(d) For the sake of others, as well as their own, men
should believe in Christ, and through faith become
sanctified.

--J.F.