Verse 3. For thy lovingkindness is before mine eyes. An object of memory and a ground of hope. A sense of mercy received sets a fair prospect before the faithful mind in its gloomiest condition, for it yields visions of mercies yet to come, visions not visionary but real. Dwell, dear reader, upon that celestial word lovingkindness. It has a heavenly savour. Is it not an unmatchable word, unexcelled, unrivalled? The goodness of the Lord to us should be before our eyes as a motive actuating our conduct; we are not under the bondage of the law, but we are under the sweet constraints of grace, which are far more mighty, although far more gentle. Men sin with the law before their eyes, but divine love, when clearly seen, sanctifies the conversation. If we were not so forgetful of the way of mercy in which God walks toward us, we should be more careful to walk in the ways of obedience toward him. And I have walked in thy truth. The psalmist was preserved from sin by his assurance of the truthfulness of God's promise, which truth he endeavoured to imitate as well as to believe. Observe from this verse that an experience of divine love will show itself in a practical following of divine truth; those who neglect either the doctrinal or practical parts of truth must not wonder if they lose the experimental enjoyment of it. Some talk of truth, it is better to walk in it. Some vow to do well in future, but their resolutions come to nothing; only the regenerate man can say "I have walked in thy truth."
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 3. The practical effect of divine goodness is seen in this text. As the chief thing communicated from God is the divine nature, whereby we are made to resemble him, so the promises of God set home upon the soul are the means of communication; they are the milk and honey of the Scripture, which do not cherish the old man, but support the new; they are no pillows for sinful sloth, but spurs to holy diligence. The promises of grace animate the soul to duty; and when we thus see the goodness of the Lord, it encourages our subjection to his government. Timothy Cruso.
Verse 3-4. I have walked in thy truth, I have not sat with vain persons. Be as careful as thou canst, that the persons thou choosest for thy companions be such as fear God. The man in the gospel was possessed with the devil, who dwelt among the tombs, and conversed with graves and carcasses. Thou art far from walking after the good Spirit, if thou choosest to converse with open sepulchres, and such as are dead in sins and trespasses. God will not shake the wicked by the hand, as the Vulgate reads Job 8:20 , neither must the godly man. David proves the sincerity of his course, by his care to avoid such society: I have walked in thy truth; I have not sat with vain persons. There is a twofold "truth."
- Truth of doctrine. Thy law is the truth, free from all dross of corruption and falsehood of error.
- Truth of affection, or of the inward parts. This may be called "thy truth," or God's truth, though man be the subject of it, partly because it proceedeth from him, partly because it is so pleasant to him; in which respect a broken heart is called the "sacrifice of God." Psalms 51:6 . As if he had said, I could not have walked in the power of religion, and in integrity, if I had associated with vile and vain company; I could never have walked in thy precepts if I had "sat with vain persons." Observe the phrase, "I have not sat with vain persons."
- Sitting is a posture of choice. It is at a man's liberty, whether he will sit or stand.
- Sitting is a posture of pleasure. Men sit for their ease, and with delight; therefore, the glorified are said to "sit in heavenly places." Ephesians 2:6 .
- Sitting is a posture of staying or abiding. 2 Kings 5:3 . Standing is a posture of going, but sitting of staying. The blessed, who shall forever be with the Lord and his chosen, are mentioned "to sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 8:11 . David in neither of these senses durst sit with vain persons. He might, as his occasions required, use their company, but durst not knowingly choose such company. They could not be the object of his election who were not the object of his affection. "I hate the congregation of evil doers," saith he. As siting is a posture of pleasure, he did not sit with vain persons. He was sometimes amongst them to his sorrow, but not to his solace. They were to him, as the Canaanites to the Israelites, pricks in his eyes, and thorns in his sides. "Woe is me, that I sojourn in Mesech, that I dwell in the tents of Kedar!" Psalms 120:5 . It caused grief, not gladness, that he was forced to be amongst the profane. George Swinnock.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 3. Delight for the eyes and safety for the feet; or the good man's sweet contemplation and holy practice; or the heavenly compound of godliness -- motive, and motion, enjoying and acting, love and truth, free grace and good works.
Verse 3. Thy lovingkindness is before mine eyes. It might be well to follow David and to keep the lovingkindness of God before our eyes. This should be done in four ways: - -
- As a subject of contemplation.
- As the source of encouragement.
- As an incitement to praise.
- As an example for imitation. William Jay.