In these verses holy fear is apparent and prominent. The man of God trembles lest in any way or degree the Lord should remove his favour from him. The eight verses are one continued pleading for the abiding of grace in his soul, and it is supported by such holy arguments as would only suggest themselves to a spirit burning with love to God.
Verse 41. Let thy mercies come also unto me, O LORD. He desires mercy as well as teaching, for he was guilty as well as ignorant. He needed much mercy and varied mercy, hence the request is in the plural. He needed mercy from God rather than from man, and so he asks for "thy mercies." The way sometimes seemed blocked, and therefore he begs that the mercies may have their way cleared by God, and may "come" to him. He who said, "Let there be light," can also say, "Let there be mercy." It may be that under a sense of unworthiness the writer feared lest mercy should be given to others, and not to himself; he therefore cries, "Bless me, even me also, O my Father." Viewed in this light the words are tantamount to our well known verse
"Lord, I hear of showers of blessing
Thou art scattering, full and free;
Showers, the thirsty land refreshing;
Let some droppings fall on me,
Even me." Elizabeth Codner, 1860.
Lord, thine enemies come to me to reproach me, let thy mercies come to defend me; trials and troubles abound, and labours and sufferings not a few approach me; Lord, let thy mercies in great number enter by the same gate, and at the same hour; for art thou not the God of my mercy?
Even thy salvation. This is the sum and crown of all mercies -- deliverance from all evil, both now and for ever. Here is the first mention of salvation in the Psalm, and it is joined with mercy: "By grace are ye saved"... Salvation is styled "thy salvation," thus ascribing it wholly to the Lord: "He that is our God is the God of salvation." What a mass of mercies are heaped together in the one salvation of our Lord Jesus! It includes the mercies which spare us before our conversion, and lead up to it. Then comes calling mercy, regenerating mercy, converting mercy, justifying mercy, pardoning mercy. Nor can we exclude from complete salvation any of those many mercies which are needed to conduct the believer safe to glory. Salvation is an aggregate of mercies incalculable in number, priceless in value, incessant in application, eternal in endurance. To the God of our mercies be glory, world without end.
According to thy word. The way of salvation is described in the word, salvation itself is promised in the word, and its inward manifestation is wrought by the word; so that in all respects the salvation which is in Christ Jesus is in accordance with the word. David loved the Scriptures, but he longed experimentally to know the salvation contained in them: he was not satisfied to read the word, he longed to experience its inner sense. He valued the field of Scripture for the sake of the treasure which he had discovered in it. He was not to be contented with chapter and verse, he wanted mercies and salvation.
Note that in the first verse of HE ( Psalms 119:33 ) the Psalmist prayed to be taught to keep God's word, and here in VAU he begs the Lord to keep his word. In the first case he longed to come to the God of mercies, and here he would have the Lord's mercies come to him: there he sought grace to persevere in faith, and here he seeks the end of his faith, even the salvation of the soul.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 41-48. This commences a new portion of the Psalm, in which each verse begins with the letter Vau, or v. There are almost no words in Hebrew that begin with this letter, which is properly a conjunction, and hence in each of the verses in this section the beginning of the verse is in the original a conjunction, -- vau. Albert Barnes.
Verse 41-48. This whole section consists of petitions and promises. The petitions are two; Psalms 119:41 Psalms 119:43 . The promises are six. This, among many, is a difference between godly men and others: all men seek good things from God, but the wicked so seek that they give him nothing back again, nor yet will promise any sort of return. Their prayers must be unprofitable, because they proceed from love of themselves, and not of the Lord. If so be they obtain that which is for their necessity, they care not to give to the Lord that which is for his glory: but the godly, as they seek good things, so they give praise to God when they have gotten them, and return the use of things received, to the glory of God who gave them. They love not themselves for themselves, but for the Lord; what they seek from him they seek it for this end, that they may be the more able to serve him. Let us take heed unto this; because it is a clear token whereby such as are truly religious are distinguished from counterfeit dissemblers. William Cowper.
Verse 41. Let thy mercies come also unto me. The way was blocked up with sins and difficulties, yet mercy could clear all, and find access to him, or make its own way: "Let it come," that is, let it be performed or come to pass, as it is rendered: "Now let thy words come to pass" ( Judges 13:12 ) -- Hebrew, "Let it come." Here we read, let it come home to me, for my comfort and deliverance. David elsewhere saith, "Goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life" ( Psalms 23:6 ); go after him, find him out in his wanderings. So, "What shall I render to the Lord for all his benefits toward me?" ( Psalms 116:12 ). They found their way to him though shut up with sins and dangers. Thomas Manton.
Verse 41. Let thy mercies come also unto me, O Lord. The mercies of God everywhere meet the man whom God quickens ( Psalms 119:40 ). David understood that God blesses the soul, the body, the household, the ordinances, and all things else that belong to his servants; the whole of which blessing is flora mercy, without merit, bestowed largely, wonderfully, etc. Martin Geier.
Verse 41. Let thy mercies come also unto me, O LORD, etc. Ministers of the Word and students of Theology are reminded by this prayer that they ought not only to preach to others the true way of attaining everlasting salvation, but that they should also with earnest prayers cry unto God that they might themselves be made partakers of the Divine mercies, and receive "the end of their faith, the salvation of their souls." Paul, indeed, was greatly anxious respecting this matter, and was constrained to write, that he kept his body under, and brought it into subjection, lest after preaching to others he should himself be a castaway. Solomon Gesner.
Verse 41. Thy mercies. Thy word. We should consider here the way in which the Prophet seeks salvation from God. In this prayer he conjoins two things, as those which uphold his confidence, viz., the mercy of God and his Word. These are to the man of faith the two strongest pillars of his hope. Wolfgang Musculus.
Verse 41. Even thy salvation, etc. It is not any sort of delivery by any means, which the servant of God being in straits doth call for, or desire, but such a deliverance as God will allow, and be pleased to give in a holy way. "Let thy salvation come." As the word of promise is the rule of our petition, so is it a pawn of the thing promised, and must be held fast till the performance come: "Let thy mercies come also unto me, O LORD, even thy salvation, according to thy word"; and this is one reason of the petition. David Dickson.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Outlines Upon Keywords of the Psalm, By Pastor C. A. Davis.
Verse 41-48. -- Promised mercies. Desired ( Psalms 119:41 ), as an answer to "him that reproacheth" ( Psalms 119:42-43 ); as a means of faithfulness ( Psalms 119:44 ); liberty ( Psalms 119:45 ); boldness ( Psalms 119:46 ); delight ( Psalms 119:47 ), and eager longing ( Psalms 119:48 ).
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 41. -- See "Spurgeon's Sermons," No. 1524: "Your Personal Salvation."
Verse 41. --
- God's mercies come to us unsought continually. His sparing mercies, temporal mercies, etc.
- The chief outcome of God's mercies is his salvation. It is our greatest need; it is his greatest gift.
- We should have a personal interest in this salvation: "Let thy mercies come also unto me."
- When we seek God's salvation, we may plead his promise: "according to thy word." -- Horatio Wilkins, of Cheltenham, 1882.
Verse 41. -- Even me.
- In me there is need of mercy.
- To me mercy can come.
- Thy salvation suits me.
- Special difficulties would daunt me.
- Thy word encourages me.
Verse 41. --
- Salvation is all of mercy.
- All mercies are in salvation.
- All men should be anxious for salvation to come to them.
- It can only come according to God's word.
Verse 41-43. -- A Comprehensive Prayer.