Psalm 119:152

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 152. Concerning thy testimonies, I have known of old that thou hast founded them for ever. David found of old that God had founded them of old, and that they Would stand firm throughout all ages. It is a very blessed thing to be so early taught of God that we know substantial doctrines even from our youth. Those who think that David was a young man when he wrote this psalm will find it rather difficult to reconcile this verse with the theory; it is much more probable that he was now grown grey, and was looking back upon what he had known long before. He knew at the very first that the doctrines of God's word were settled before the world began, that they had never altered, and never could by any possibility be altered. He had begun by building on a rock, by seeing that God's testimonies were "founded", that is, grounded, laid as foundations, settled and established; and that with a view to all the ages that should come, during all the changes that should intervene. It was because David knew this that he had such confidence in prayer, and was so importunate in it. It is sweet to plead immutable promises with an immutable God. It was because of this theft David learned to hope: a man cannot have much expectation from a changing friend, but he may well have confidence in a God who cannot change. It was because of this that he delighted in being near the Lord, for it is a most blessed thing to keep up close intercourse with a Friend who never varies. Let those who choose follow at the heels of the modern school and look for fresh light to break forth which will put the old light out of countenance; we are satisfied with the truth which is old as the hills and as fixed as the great mountains. Let "cultured intellects" invent another god, more gentle and effeminate than the God of Abraham; we are well content to worship Jehovah, who is eternally the same. Things everlastingly established are the joy of established saints. Bubbles please boys, but men prize those things which are solid and substantial, with a foundation and a bottom to them which will bear the test of the ages.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 152. -- This portion of our psalm endeth with the triumph of faith over all dangers and temptations. "Concerning thy testimonies," the revelations of thy will, thy counsels for the salvation of thy servants, "I have known of old," by faith, and by my own experience, as well as that of others, "that thou hast founded them for ever"; they are unalterable and everlasting as the attributes of their great Author, and can never fail those who rely upon them, in time or in eternity. --George Horne.

Verse 152. -- I have known of old. It was not a late persuasion, or a thing that he was now to learn; he always knew it since he knew anything of God, that God had owned his word as the constant rule of his proceedings with creatures, in that God had so often made good his word to him, not only by present and late, but by old and ancient experiences. Well, then, David's persuasion of the truth and unchangeableness of the word was not a sudden humour, or a present fit, or a persuasion of a few days' standing; but he was confirmed in it by long experience. One or two experiences had been no trial of the truth of the word, they might seem but a good hit; but his word ever proveth true, not once or twice, but always; what we say "of old," the Septuagint reads kat adxas, "from the beginnings"; that is, either --

  1. From my tender years. Timothy knew the Scriptures from a child ( 2 Timothy 3:15 ); so David very young was acquainted with God and his truth.
  2. Or, from the first time that he began to be serious, or to mind the word in good earnest, or to be a student either in God's word or works, by comparing providences and promises, he found concerning his testimonies that "God had founded them for ever."
  3. Lastly, "of old" may be what I have heard of all foregoing ages, their experience as well as mine: "Our fathers trusted in thee: they trusted, and thou didst deliver them. They cried unto thee, and were delivered: they trusted in thee, and were not confounded:" Psalms 22:4 Psalms 22:5 . --Thomas Manton.

Verse 152. -- Let us mark this eternal basis of "the testimonies of God." The whole plan of redemption was emphatically "founded for ever": the Saviour was "foreordained before the foundation of the world." The people of God were "chosen in Christ before the world began." The great Author "declares the end from the beginning," and thus clears his dispensations from any charge of mutability or contingency. Every event in the church is fixed, permitted, and provided for -- not in the passing moment of time; but in the counsels of eternity. When, therefore, the testimonies set forth God's faithful engagements with his people of old, the recollection that they are "founded for ever" gives us a present and unchangeable interest in them. And when we see that they are grounded upon the oath and promise of God -- the two "immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie" -- we may truly "have strong consolation" in venturing every hope for eternity upon this rock; nor need we be dismayed to see all our earthly dependencies -- "the world, and the lust, and the fashion of it -- passing away" before us. - -Charles Bridges.

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 152. -- Knowledge of the word.

  1. It is well to know it as God's own word.
  2. As founded in truth.
  3. As founded forever.
  4. The earlier we know this the better.