Verse 63. I am a companion of all them that fear thee. The last verse said, "I will," and this says, "I am." We can hardly hope to be right in the future unless we are right now. The holy man spent his nights with God and his days with God's people. Those who fear God love those who fear him, and they make small choice in their company so long as the men are truly God fearing. David was a king, and yet he consorted with "all" who feared the Lord, whether they were obscure or famous, poor or rich. He was a fellow commoner of the College of All saints.
He did not select a few specially eminent saints and leave ordinary believers alone. No, he was glad of the society of those who had only the beginning of wisdom in the shape of "the fear of the Lord": he was pleased to sit with them on the lower forms of the school of faith. He looked for inward godly fear, but he also expected to see outward piety in those whom he admitted to his society; hence he adds, and of them that keep thy precepts. If they would keep the Lord's commands the Lord's servant would keep their company. David was known to be on the godly side, he was ever of the Puritanic party: the men of Belial hated him for this, and no doubt despised him for keeping such unfashionable company as that of humble men and women who are straitlaced and religious; but the man of God is by no means ashamed of his associates; so far from this, he even glories to avow his union with them, let his enemies make what they can of it. He found both pleasure and profit in saintly society: he grew better by consorting with the good, and derived honour from keeping right honourable company. What says the reader? Does he relish holy society? Is he at home among gracious people? If so he may derive comfort from the fact. Birds of a feather flock together. A man is known by his company. Those who have no fear of God before their eyes seldom desire the society of saints; it is too slow, too dull for them. Be this our comfort, that when we are let go by death we shall go to our own company, and those who loved the saints on earth shall be numbered with their in heaven.
There is a measure of parallelism between this seventh of its octave and the seventh or Teth ( Psalms 119:71 ) and of Jod ( Psalms 119:79 ); but, as a rule, the similarities which were so manifest in earlier verses are now becoming dim. As the sense deepens, the artificial form of expression is less regarded.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 63. -- I am a companion, etc. He said in the first verse of this section that God was his portion; now he saith, that all the saints of God are his companions. These two go together -- the love of God and the love of his saints. He that loveth not his brother, made in God's image, whom he seeth, how shall he love God whom he hath not seen? Seeing our goodness extends not to the Lord; if it be showed to his saints and excellent ones upon earth, for his sake, it shall be no small argument of our loving affection towards himself.
Godly David, when Jonathan was dead, made diligent inquisition. Is there none of Jonathan's posterity to whom I may show kindness for Jonathan's sake? and at length he found a silly, lame Mephibosheth. So if we enquire diligently, is there none upon earth to whom I may show kindness for Christ's sake who is in heaven? We shall ever find some, to whom whatsoever we do shall be accepted as done to himself.
His great modesty is to be marked. He saith not, I am companion of all that follow thee, but of all that fear thee. The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. He places himself among novices in humility, though he excelled ancients in piety. -- William Cowper.
Verse 63. -- I am a companion of all them that fear thee. How weak is human nature! Verily there are times when the presence of one so great as the Almighty becomes oppressive, and we feel our need of one like ourselves to sympathize with us. And there have been provided for us by the way many kind, sympathizing friends, like Jesus. As we pass on, we get the human supports which the Lord hath provided. We get them for fellowship too. --John Stephen.
Verse 63. -- I am a companion of all them that fear thee. Birds of a feather will flock together. Servants of the same Lord, if faithful, will join with their fellows, and not with the servants of his enemy. When a man comes to an inn you may give a notable guess for what place he is bound by the company he enquires after. His question, -- "Do you know of any travelling towards London? I should be heartily glad of their company," will speak his mind and his course. If he hear of any bound for another coast he regards them not; but if he know of any honest passengers that are to ride in the same road, and set out for the same city with himself he sends to them, and begs the favour of their good company. This world is an inn, all men are in some sense pilgrims and strangers, they have no abiding place here. Now the company they enquire after, and delight in, whether those that walk in the "broad way" of the flesh, or those who walk in the "narrow way" of the Spirit, will declare whether they are going towards heaven or towards hell. A wicked man will not desire the company of them who walk in a contrary way, nor a saint delight in their society who go cross to his journey. "Can two walk together except they be agreed?" The young partridges hatched under a hen go for a time along with her chickens, and keep them company, scraping in the earth together; but when they are grown up, and their wings fit for the purpose, they mount up into the air, and seek for birds of their own nature. A Christian, before his conversion, is brought up under the prince of darkness, and walks in company with his cursed crew, according to the course of this world; but when the Spirit changes his disposition, he quickly changes his companions, and delights only in the saints that are on earth. --George Swinnock.
Verse 63. -- I am a companion of all them that fear thee.
- The person speaking. The disparity of the persons is to be observed. David, who was a great prophet, yea, a king, yet saith, "I am a companion of all them that fear thee." Christ himself called them his "fellows": "Thy God hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows" (Ps 65:7); and therefore David might well say, "I am a companion."
- The persons spoken of. David saith of "all them that fear thee." The universal particle is to be observed; not only some, but "all": when any lighted upon him, or he upon any of them, they were welcome to him. How well would it be for the world, if the great potentates of the earth would thus think, speak, and do, "I am a companion, of all them that fear thee." Self love reigneth in most men: we love the rich and despise the poor, and so have the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ with respect of persons ( James 2:1 ): therefore this universality is to be regarded. Hearing of your faith and love to all the saints ( Ephesians 1:15 ), to the mean as well as the greatest. Meanness doth not take away church relations ( 1 Corinthians 11:20 ). There are many differences in worldly respects between one Christian and another; yea, in spiritual gifts, some weaker, some stronger; but we must love all; for all are children of one Father, all owned by Christ: "He is not ashamed to call them brethren" ( Hebrews 2:11 ).
This, I say, is observable, the disparity of the persons: on the one side, David, on the other, all the people of God. --Thomas Manton.
Verse 63. -- I am a companion, etc.: as if he would say, This is a sign to me that I belong to thy family; because "I am the companion of all those fearing thee" with a filial fear, and keeping "thy precepts." --Paulus Palanterius.
Verse 63. -- A companion, properly is such an one as I do choose to walk and converse with ordinarily in a way of friendship; so that company keeping doth imply three things; first, it is a matter of choice, and therefore relations, as such, are not properly said to be our companions; secondly, it implies a constant walking and converse with another, and so it is expressed, Job 34:8 Proverbs 13:20 . And, thirdly, this ordinary converse or walking with another, must be in a way of friendship. --William Bridge, 1600-1670.
Verse 63. -- Shun the company that shuns God, and keep the company that God keeps. Look on the society of the carnal or profane as infectious, but reckon serious, praying persons the excellent ones of the earth. Such will serve to quicken you when and warm you when cold. Make the liveliest of God's people your greatest intimates, and see that their love and likeness to Christ be the great motive of your love to them, more than their love or likeness to you. --John Willisor, 1680-1750.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 63. --
- True religion is friendly.
- Our friendliness should be catholic.
- Our friendliness should be discriminating.
- Such friendliness is most useful.
Verse 63. -- Of good and bad company. How to avoid the one, and improve the other. See W. Bridge's Sermon, in his works, vol. v. p. 90. Tegg's edition, 1845.
Verse 63. -- The believer's choice of companions.
- Ought to be decided by their piety: "Them that fear thee."
- Is directed by their conduct: "Them that keep thy precepts."
- Should be extended as far as: possible: "All."
- Involves reciprocal obligation: "I am a companion." --J.F.