Verse 7. Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers. Our soul is like a bird for many reasons; but in this case the point of likeness is weakness, folly, and the ease with which it is enticed into the snare. Fowlers have many methods of taking small birds, and Satan has many methods of entrapping souls. Some are decoyed by evil companions, others are enticed by the love of dainties; hunger drives many into the trap, and fright impels numbers to fly into the net. Fowlers know their birds, and how to take them; but the birds see not the snare so as to avoid it, and they cannot break it so as to escape from it. Happy is the bird that hath a deliverer strong, and mighty, and ready in the moment of peril: happier still is the soul over which tim Lord watches day and night to pluck its feet out of the net. What joy there is in this song, "our soul is escaped." How the emancipated one sings and soars, and soars and sings again. Blessed be God, many of us can make joyous music with these notes, "our soul is escaped." Escaped from our natural slavery; escaped from the guilt, the degradation, the habit, the dominion of sin; escaped from the vain deceits and fascinations of Satan; escaped from all that can destroy; we do indeed experience delight. What a wonder of grace it is! What a miraculous escape that we who are so easily misled should not have been permitted to die by the dread fowler's hand. The Lord has heard the prayer which he taught us to pray, and he hath delivered us from evil.
The snare is broken, and we are escaped. The song is worth repeating; it is well to dwell upon so great a mercy. The snare may be false doctrine, pride, lust, or a temptation to indulge in policy, or to despair, or to presume; what a high favour it is to have it broken before our eyes, so that it has no more power over us. We see not the mercy while we are in the snare; perhaps we are so foolish as to deplore the breaking of the Satanic charm; the gratitude comes when the escape is seen, and when we perceive what we have escaped from, and by what hand we have been set free. Then our Lord has a song from our mouths and hearts as we make heaven and earth ring with the notes, "the snare is broken, and we are escaped." We have been tempted, but not taken; cast down, but not destroyed; perplexed, but not in despair; in deaths oft, but still alive: blessed be Jehovah!
This song might well have suited our whole nation at the time of the Spanish Armada, the church in the days of the Jesuits, and each believer among us in seasons of strong personal temptation.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 7. -- Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers, etc. Various snares are placed for birds, by traps, birdlime, guns, etc.: who can enumerate all the dangers of the godly, threatening them from Satan, and from the world? Psalms 91:3 : Hosea 5:1 . -- "We are delivered," not by our own skill or cunning, but by the grace and power of God only: so that every device is made vain, and freedom is preserved. --Martin Geier.
Verse 7. -- Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers, etc. I am quite sure that there is not a day of our lives in which Satan does not lay some snare for our souls, the more perilous because unseen; and if seen, because perhaps unheeded and despised. And of this, too, I am equally sure, that if any one brings home with him at night a conscience void of offence towards God and man, it is in no might nor strength of his own, and that if the Lord had not been his guide and preserver he would have been given over, nay, he would have given himself over, as a prey to the devourer's teeth. I believe there are few even of God's saints who have not had occasion, in some season of sore temptation, when Satan has let loose all his malice and might, and poured in suggestion upon suggestion and trial upon trial, as he did on Job, and they have been ready to faint, if not to fall by the ways then, perhaps, in a moment when they looked not for it, Satan has departed, foiled and discomfited, and with his prey snatched out of his hands, and they, too, have had gratefully to own, "Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers; tie snare is broken, and we are escaped." Yes! depend upon it, our best and only hope, "is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth." --Barton Bouchier.
Verse 7. -- Our soul is escaped as a bird. The snare of the fowler was the lime-twigs of this world; our soul was caught in them by the feathers, our affections: now, indeed, we are escaped; but the Lord delivered us. --Thomas Adams.
Verse 7. -- As a bird out of the snare of the fowlers. The soul is surrounded by many dangers.
- It is ensnared by worldliness. One of the most gigantic dangers against which God's people have specially to guard -- an enemy to all spirituality of thought and feeling.
- It is ensnared by selfishness -- a foe to all simple-hearted charity, to all expansive generosity and Christian philanthropy.
- It is ensnared by unbelief -- the enemy of prayer, of ingenuous confidence, of all personal Christian effort. These are not imaginary dangers. We meet them in everyday life. They threaten us at every point, and often have we to lament over the havoc they make in our hearts. --George Barlow, in a "Homiletic Commentary on the Book of Psalms," 1879.
Verse 7. -- The snare is broken. It is as easy for God to deliver his people out of their enemies' hands, even when they have the godly in their power, as to break a net made of thread or yarn, wherewith birds are taken. --David Dickson.
Verse 7. -- The snare is broken, and we are escaped. Our life lieth open always to the snares of Satan, and we as silly birds are like at every moment to be carried away, notwithstanding the Lord maketh a way for us to escape; yea, when Satan seemeth to be most sure of us, by the mighty power of God the snares are broken and we are delivered. Experience we have hereof in those who are inwardly afflicted and with heaviness of spirit grievously oppressed, that when they seem to be in utter despair, and ready now, as you would say, to perish, yet even at the last pinch, and in the uttermost extremity cometh the sweet comfort of God's Holy Spirit and raiseth them up again. When we are most ready to perish, then is God most ready to help. "Except the Lord had holpen me," saith David, "my soul had almost dwelt in silence." And this again do we mark for the comfort of the weak conscience. It is Satan's subtlety whereby commonly he disquiets many, that because carnal corruption is in them he would therefore bear them in hand that they are none of Christ's. In this he plays the deceiver; he tries us by the wrong rule of perfect sanctification; this is the square that ought to be laid to Christ's members triumphant in heaven, and not to those who are militant on earth. Sin remaining in me will not prove that therefore I am not in Christ, otherwise Christ should have no members upon earth; but grace working that new disposition which nature could never effect proves undoubtedly that we are in Christ Jesus. --Thomas Stint.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 7. --
- The soul ensnared.
- By whom? Wicked men are fowlers. By Satan.
"Satan, the fowler, who betrays Unguarded souls a thousand ways."
(b) How? By temptations -- to pride, worldliness, drunkenness, error, or lust, according to the tastes and habits of the individual.
- The soul escaped: "Our soul is escaped," etc. "The snare is broken," not by ourselves, but by the hand of God.
Verse 7. --
- A bird.
- A snare.
- A capture.
- An escape.