Psalm 119:79

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 79. Let those that fear thee turn unto me, and those that have known thy testimonies. Perhaps the tongue of slander had alienated some of the godly, and probably the actual faults of David had grieved many more. He begs God to turn to him, and then to turn his people towards him. Those who are right with God are also anxious to be right with his children. David craved the love and sympathy of gracious men of all grades, -- of those who were beginners in grace, and of those who were mature in piety -- "those that fear thee," and "those that have known thy testimonies." We cannot afford to lose the love of the least of the saints, and if we have lost their esteem we may most properly pray to have it restored. David was the leader of the godly party in the nation, and it wounded him to the heart when he perceived that those who feared God were not as glad to see him as aforetime they had been. He did not bluster and say that if they could do without him, lie could very well do without them; but he so deeply felt the value of their sympathy, that he made it a matter of prayer that the Lord would turn their hearts to him again. Those who are dear to God, and are instructed in his word, should be very precious in our eyes, and we should do our utmost to be upon good terms with them.

David has two descriptions for the saints, they are God fearing and God knowing. They possess both devotion and instruction; they have both the spirit and the science of true religion. We know some believers who are gracious, but not intelligent; and, on the other hand, we also know certain professors who have all head and no heart: he is the man who combines devotion with intelligence. We neither care for devout dunces nor for intellectual icebergs. When fearing, and knowing walk hand in hand they cause men to be thoroughly furnished unto every good work. If these are my choice companions I may hope that I am one of their order. Let such persons ever turn to me because they find in me congenial company.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 79. -- Let those that fear thee turn unto me. Some think it intimates that when David had been guilty of that foul sin in the murder of Uriah, though he was a king, they that feared God grew strange to him, and turned from him, for they were ashamed of him; this troubled him, and therefore he prays, Lord, let them "turn to me" again. He desires especially the company of those that were not only honest but intelligent, "that have known thy testimonies," have good heads as well as good hearts, and whose conversation will be edifying. It is desirable to have an intimacy with such. --Matthew Henry.

Verse 79. -- Let those that fear thee turn unto me, etc. As he had not his own flesh to fight against only, but the world also, so he did not only himself fight, but he seeketh the help of others. When many see that religion cannot be truly professed but danger will come of it, because many set themselves against it, they flee from it, and go to the greater pair, which is the wicked. If we will avoid this, let us join ourselves to God's children, and they will help us with counsel and advice; for one may be strong when we are weak, another may have counsel when we shall not know what to do; therefore by them we shall be kept from many evil things. So Paul ( 2 Timothy 1:16 ), after he had complained of the wrong that many had done unto him, he straightway giveth thanks for the family of Onesiphorus, which refreshed him more than all his enemies could discourage him; so that he durst oppose this one household to the whole rabble of the wicked. -- Richard Greenham.

Verse 79. -- Let those that fear thee, etc. You must go to God and beseech him to choose your company for you. Mark what David said and did; in Psalms 119:63 he saith, "I am a companion of all them that fear the Lord"; yet in this verse he goes to God, and prayeth, saying, "Let those that fear thee, O Lord, turn unto me, and those that have known thy testimonies." As if he should say, "Of a truth, Lord, I am a companion of all that do fear thee; but it is not in my power to bend their hearts unto me; the hearts of all men are in thy hands", now therefore "let those that fear thee turn unto me." So do you go to God, and say likewise: Lord, do thou choose my company for me; oh, do thou bow and incline their hearts to be my companions. --William Bridge.

Verse 79. -- Those that fear. "Those that have known. "Fear and knowledge do make up a godly man. Knowledge without fear breeds presumption; and fear without knowledge breeds superstition; and blind zeal, as a blind horse, may be full of mettle, but is ever and anon stumbling. Knowledge must direct fear, and fear must season knowledge; then it is a happy mixture and composition. --Thomas Manton.

Verse 79. -- One great means to restore a good understanding among God's people is prayer. David goeth to God about it: "Lord, let them turn to me." The Lord governs hearts and interests, both are in his hands, and he useth their alienation or reconciliation, either for judgment or mercy. God, when he pleaseth, can divert from us the comfort of godly friends; and when he pleaseth, he can bring them back again to us. The feet of God's children are directed by God himself; if they come to us, it is a blessing of God; if not, it is for a correction. He made Jacob and Laban meet peaceably (Genesis 30), and in the next chapter, Jacob and Esau. --Thomas Manton.

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 79. -- Restoration to church fellowship.

  1. Good men may be in such a case as to need to be restored.
  2. They should not be ashamed to seek it.
  3. They should pray about it.

Verse 79. -- Select society.

  1. Sociableness is an instinct of human nature.
  2. Sociableness is helpful to a wholesome Christian life.
  3. The choice of society should be a subject of prayer. --C.A.D.