EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 4. Incline not my heart to any evil thing, etc. The present pleasure and commodity of sin is in high estimation with the sinner, and much sweeter to him than what he may lawfully enjoy; the pleasures of sin are his delicates. No man can keep himself from being taken with the allurements of a sinful course, except the Lord preserve him: Let me not eat of their dainties. The holiest men in Scripture have been most sensible of the impotency of their own free will, and of their inability to resist temptations, or to bring the principles of grace into action; most diffident of themselves, most dependent upon God, most careful to make use of means, and conscientious in following of ordinances, as their prayers do testify: "Incline not my heart to any evil thing", etc. --David Dickson.
Verse 4. Incline not my heart. Heb. Let not be inclined my heart. --John Jebb.
Verse 4. My heart. That man is like Esau which had an inheritance, which had a heart but now he hath not possession of his own; therefore, give God thy heart, that he may keep it; and not a piece of thy heart, not a room in thy heart, but thy heart. The heart divided, dieth. God is not like the mother which would have the child divided, but like the natural mother, which said, rather than it should be divided, let her take all. Let the devil have all, if he which gave it be not worthy of it. God hath no cope-mate, therefore he will have no parting of stakes, but all or none; and therefore he which asks here thy heart, in the sixth of Deuteronomy and the fifth verse, asketh "all thy heart, all thy soul, and all thy strength"; thrice he requireth all, lest we should keep a thought behind. Yet it is thy heart, that is, a vain heart, a barren heart, a sinful heart, until thou give it unto God, and then it is the spouse of Christ, the temple of the Holy Ghost, and the image of God, so changed, and formed, and refined, that God calls it a new heart.
There is such strife for the heart as there was for Moses's body. "Give it me", saith the Lord; "give it me", saith the tempter; "give it me", saith the pope; "give it me", saith riches; "give it me", saith pleasure; as though thou must needs give it to some one. Now here is the choice, whether thou wilt give it to God or the devil; God's heart or the devil's heart; whose wilt thou be? --Henry Smith.
Verse 4. Let me not eat of their dainties. Sin is not only meat, but sweet meat, not only bread, but pleasant bread to an evil heart. Daniel for some weeks ate no pleasant bread; he ate bread to keep life and soul together, but he forbare feasting or good cheer. Sin is a feast to a carnal man, it is his good cheer, yea, it is "dainties" to him. David, speaking of wicked men, says, Incline not my heart to any evil thing, to practise wicked works with men that work iniquity: and let me not eat of their dainties. These "dainties" may be expounded either for the prosperity that comes in by wicked practices (some by wicked ways get not only their ordinary food but "dainties"); or those "dainties" are sin itself: they feasted themselves in doing evil: "Lord, let me not eat of their dainties." If that be their food I had rather starve than eat with them. --Joseph Caryl.
Verse 4. Their dainties. The enemies of David were sensual and luxurious; and they would have gladly admitted him to share in their banquets, if his character had resembled their own. He entreats to be preserved from inducement so to do. --William Walford.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 4. Total abstinence from evil desires, practices, and delights.
Verse 4. A prayer,
- For the repression of every evil tendency in the heart: "Incline not my heart", etc.
- For the prevention of any association with the wicked in their sinful works: "To practise", etc.
- For a holy contempt of the temporal pleasure or profit placed in our way through the sin of others: "Let me not eat", etc. Note, many who will not engage in a wicked act do not object to participate in its gains. --J. F.
Verse 4. Deprecation of,
- Devil's desires.
- Devil's deeds.
- Devil's dainties. --W. B. H.