Verse 3. Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear. Before the actual conflict, while as yet the battle is untried, the warrior's heart, being held in suspense, is very liable to become fluttered. The encamping host often inspires greater dread than the same host in actual affray. Young tells us of some -- "Who feel a thousand deaths in fearing one." Doubtless the shadow of anticipated trouble is, to timorous minds, a more prolific source of sorrow than the trouble itself, but faith puts a strengthening plaister to the back of courage, and throws out of the window the dregs of the cup of trembling. Though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident. When it actually comes to push of pike, faith's shield will ward off the blow; and if the first brush should be but the beginning of a war, yet faith's banners will wave in spite of the foe. Though battle should succeed battle, and one campaign should be followed by another, the believer will not be dismayed at the length of the conflict. Reader, this third verse is the comfortable and logical inference from the second, confidence is the child of experience. Have you been delivered out of great perils? then set up your ensign, wait at your watch fire, and let the enemy do his worst.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 3 Though an host should encamp against me, etc. He puts the case of the greatest danger that can be. Though an host should encompass me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident. Here is great courage for the time to come. "Experience breeds hope and confidence." David was not so courageous a man of himself; but upon experience of God's former comfort and assistance, his faith brake as fire out of the smoke, or as the sun out of a cloud. Though I was in such and such perplexities, yet for the time to come, I have such confidence and experience of God's goodness, that I will not fear. He that seeth God by a spirit of faith in his greatness and power, he sees all other things below as nothing. Therefore, he saith here, he cares not for the time to come for any opposition; no, not of an army. "If God be with us, who can be against us?" Ro 8:31. He saw God in his power; and then, looking from God to the creature, alas! who was he? As Micah, when he had seen God sitting upon his throne; what was Ahab to him, when he had seen God once? So when the prophet David had seen God once, then "though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear," etc. Richard Sibbes.
Verse 3 Though an host should encamp against me, etc. If I love my God, and I love him with a noble spirited love, all my enemies will fight against me in vain; I shall never fear them, and the whole world cannot harm me. Charity cannot be offended, because she takes offence at nothing. Enemies, enviers, slanderers, persecutors, I defy you; if I love, I shall triumph over your attacks. Ye can take away my goods; but if my love has a generous spirit, I shall be always rich enough, and ye cannot take away my love, which alone makes all my riches and treasures. Ye may blacken my reputation; but as I hold you cheaply quit of all homage of praise and applause, I, with all my heart, give you a free leave to blame and to defame. Happily for me, ye cannot blacken me before my God, and his esteem alone makes amends to me, and rewards me, for all your contempt. Ye can persecute my body, but there I even will help you on by my penances; the sooner it shall perish, the sooner shall I be delivered from this domestic enemy, which is a burden to me. What harm, then, can ye do me? If I am resolved to suffer all, and if I think I deserve all the outrages ye can do me, ye will only give more loftiness of spirit to my love, more brilliancy to my crown. Jean Baptiste Elias Avrillon.
Verse 3 Those who are willing to be combatants for God, shall also be more than conquerors through God. None are so truly courageous as those who are truly religious. If a Christian live, he knows by whose might he stands; and if he die, he knows for whose sake he falls. Where there is no confidence in God, there will be no continuance with God. When the wind of faith ceases to fill the sails, the ship of obedience cease to plough the seas. The taunts of Ishmael shall never make an Isaac disesteem his inheritance, William Secker.
Verse 3-4. The favourite grows great by the many favours, gifts, jewels, offices, the prince bestows upon him. The Christian grows rich in experiences, which he wears as bracelets, and keeps as his richest jewels. He calls one Ebenezer -- "hitherto God hath helped;" and other Naphtali -- "I have wrestled with God and prevailed;" another Gershom -- "I was a stranger;" another Joseph - - "God will yet add more;" and another, Peniel -- "I have seen the face of God." 1 Samuel 7:12 Genesis 30:8 Exodus 2:22 Genesis 30:24 Genesis 32:30 . I have been delivered from the lion, therefore shall be from the bear; from lion and bear, therefore from the Philistine; from the Philistine, therefore from Saul; from Saul, therefore God will deliver me from every evil work, and preserve me blameless to his heavenly kingdom. John Sheffield.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 3. Christian peace.
- Exhibited in the calm foresight of trouble.
- Displayed in the confident endurance of affliction.
- Sustained by divine help and past experience Psalms 27:1-2 .
- Producing the richest results, glory to God, etc.