Verse 5. Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help. Heaped up is his happiness. He has happiness indeed: the true and the real delight is with him. The God of Jacob is the God of the covenant, the God of wrestling prayer, the God of the tried believer; he is the only living and true God. The God of Jacob is Jehovah, who appeared unto Moses, and led the tribes of Jacob out of Egypt, and through the wilderness. Those are happy who trust him, for they shall never be ashamed or confounded. The Lord never dies, neither do his thoughts perish: his purpose of mercy, like himself, endures throughout all generations. Hallelujah!
Whose hope is in the LORD his God. He is happy in help for the present and in hope for the future, who has placed all his confidence in Jehovah, who is his God by a covenant of salt. Happy is he when others are despairing! Happiest shall he be in that very hour when others are discovering the depths of agony. We have here a statement which we have personally tried and proved: resting in the Lord, we know a happiness which is beyond description, beyond comparison, beyond conception. O how blessed a thing it is to know that God is our present help, and our eternal hope. Full assurance is more than heaven in the bud, the flower has begun to open. We would not exchange with Caesar; his sceptre is a bauble, but our bliss is true treasure.
In each of the two titles here given, namely, "the God of Jacob", and "Jehovah his God", there is a peculiar sweetness. Either one of them has a fountain of joy in it; but the first will not cheer us without the second. Unless Jehovah be his God no man can find confidence in the fact that he was Jacob's God. But when by faith we know the Lord to be ours, then we are "rich to all the intents of bliss."
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 5. Happy is he. This is the last of the twenty-five places (or twenty-six, if Psalms 128:2 be included) in which the word ashre, with which the psalter begins, is found. -- Speaker's Commentary.
Verse 5. Alas, how often do we trust when we should be afraid, and become afraid when we should trust! --Lange's Commentary.
Verse 5. The God of Jacob. A famous and significant description of God; and that, First, in respect of his nature, or the verity and reality of his being and excellence. He is styled here by way of elegancy or emphasis, "The God of Jacob", saith Mollerus, to discern and distinguish the true God of Israel from all Heathenish deities, and to explode all fictitious gods and all worships thereof. As the true God is the God of Jacob, so the God of Jacob is the true God. He is God alone, and there is no other besides him ... Secondly. This title or appellation serves also to describe him in his special relation to his people. We find him called by our Psalmist, "The mighty God of Jacob": Ps 132:5. He is indeed the God of the whole earth, but in a peculiar manner "the God of Israel": Matthew 15:31 ... It is observable in Scripture that he styles not himself so frequently, in his revelations of himself to them, "the God of heaven and earth" (though that also is a title full of encouragement), but "the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob"; as if he had borne such choice goodwill, and had such a peculiar care for these three men, as to overlook all the world besides them. So near and intimate relation have God's people to him, that their interests are mutually involved, and twisted in a reciprocal and covenant bond. They are his, he is their portion; their Beloved is theirs and they are his: they are called by his name, the saints are styled his "holy ones", and the Church is termed expressly "Christ." Yea, he condescends to be called by their name; he assumes the name of Jacob, Psalms 24:6 : "This is the generation of them that seek him, that seek thy face, O Jacob:" --From "The Saints' Ebenezer", by F.E., 1667.
Verse 5. The God of Jacob. This verse aptly warrants us to apply to all believers all the illustrations of help and hope furnished by Jacob in his exile when none but God could help him. --Simon de Muis.
Verse 5-6. The God of Jacob ... which wade heaven and earth, the sea, and all that therein is. It is a characteristic of these Psalms, to proclaim to all nations which worshipped idols, that "the God of Jacob", "the God of Zion", is the Creator and Governor of all things; and to make an appeal to all nations to turn to him. All these Psalms have a missionary character and an evangelical function. We may compare here the apostolic prayer at Jerusalem, after the descent of the Holy Ghost at Pentecost: "They lifted up their voices to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, that made heaven and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is" (where the words are the same as in the Septuagint in this place): "Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said. Why do the heathen rage?" Acts 4:24-25 The office of these Psalms is to declare to the universe, that Jehovah, and he alone, is Elohim; and to invite all to worship him as such, by their oft repeated Hallelujah. --Christopher Wordsworth.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 5. The secret of true happiness.
- What it is not. The man here mentioned has his work and warfare, for he needs help; and he has not all he desires, for he is a man of hope.
- What it is. It lies in the hath, the help, and the hope, and these are all in God.