Psalm 119:175

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 175. Let my soul live. Fill it full of life, preserve it from wandering into the ways of death, give it to enjoy the indwelling of the Holy Ghost, let it live to the fulness of life, to the utmost possibilities of its new created being.

And it shall praise thee. It shall praise thee for life, for new life, for eternal life, for thou art the Lord and Giver of life. The more it shall live, the more it shall praise, and when it shall live in perfection it shall praise thee in perfection. Spiritual life is prayer and praise.

And let thy judgments help me. While I read the record of what thou hast done, in terror or in love, let me be quickened and developed. While I see thy hand actually at work upon me, and upon others, chastening sin, and smiling upon righteousness, let me be helped both to live aright and to praise thee. Let all thy deeds in providence instruct me, and aid me in the struggle to overcome sin and to practise holiness. This is the second time he has asked for help in this portion; he was always in need of it, and so are we.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 175. -- Let my soul live, and it shall praise thee, etc. This verse containeth three things, first, David's petition for life: "Let my soul live." "My soul;" that is, myself: the soul is put for the whole man. The contrary: "Let me die with the Philistines," said Samson ( Judges 21:30 ); Hebrew, margin, "Let my soul die." His life was sought after by the cruelty of his enemies; and he desireth God to keep him alive.

Secondly, His argument from the aim of his life; "And it shall praise thee." The glorifying of God was his aim. The fruit of all God's benefits to profit us, and praise God. David professes that all the days of his life he would live in the sense and acknowledgment of such a benefit.

Thirdly, The ground of his hope and confidence in the last clause: "And let thy judgments help me." Our hopes of help are grounded on God's judgments, whereby is meant his word. There are judgments decreed, judgments executed; doctrinal judgments, and providential judgments, That place intimates the distinction: "Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil:" Ecclesiastes 8:11 . There is sententia lata et dilata. Here God's judgments are put for the sentence pronounced; and chiefly for one part of them, the promises of grace. As also, "I have hoped in thy judgments:" Ps 119:43. Promises are the objects of hope. --Thomas Manton.

Verse 175. -- Let my soul live. What is the life that the Psalmist is now praying for, but the salvation for which he had just expressed his longing? The taste that he has received makes him hunger for a higher and more continued enjoyment -- not for selfish gratification, but that he might employ himself in the praise of his God. Indeed, as we have drawn towards the close of this Psalm, we cannot but have observed that character of praise to pervade his experience, which has been generally remarked in the concluding Psalms of this sacred book. Much do we lose of spiritual strength for want of occupying ourselves more in the exercise of praise. --Charles Bridges.

Verse 175. -- Live and praise. The saint improves his earthly things for an heavenly end. Where layest thou up thy treasure? Dost thou bestow it on thy voluptuous appetite, thy hawks and thy hounds; or dost thou lock it up in the bosom of Christ's poor members? What use makest thou of thy honour and greatness? To strengthen the hands of the godly or the wicked? And so of all thy other temporal enjoyments. A gracious heart improves them for God; when a saint prays for these things, he hath an eye to some heavenly end. If David prays for life, it is not that he may live, but "live and praise God." When he was driven from his regal throne by the rebellious arms of Absalom see what his desire and hope were, 2 Samuel 15:25 : "The king said unto Zadok, Carry back the ark of God into the city: if I shall find favour in the eyes of the LORD, he will bring me again, and shew me both it, and his habitation." Mark, not shew me my crown, my palace, but the ark, the house of God. --William Guruall.

Verse 175. -- Live and praise. Liveliness of soul is the Spirit's gift, and it will show itself in abounding praises. --Henry Law.

Verse 175. -- Let thy judgments help me. In the second clause it would be harsh to understand the word "judgments" of the commandments, to which it does not properly belong to give help. It seems, then, that the prophet, perceiving himself liable to numberless calamities -- even as the faithful, by reason of the unbridled license of the wicked, dwell in this world as sheep among wolves, -- calls upon God to protect him in the way of restraining, by his secret providence, the wicked from doing him harm. It is a very profitable doctrine, when things in the world are in a state of great confusion, and when our safety is in danger amid so many and varied storms, to lift up our eyes to the judgments of God, and to seek a remedy in them. --John Calvin.

Verse 175, 176. --

Though like a sheep estranged I stray,
Yet have I not renounced thy way.
Thine hand extend; thine own reclaim;
Grant me to live, and praise thy name.
Richard Mant.

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 175. --

  1. The highest life.
  2. The highest occupation.
  3. Both dependent on the highest aid.

Verse 175. -- Praise.

  1. The noblest employment of life -- to praise God.
  2. The noblest presentation of praise -- the holy life.
  3. The noblest application of divine judgments -- to inspire praise.