Psalm 31:23

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 23. O love the Lord, all ye his saints. A most affecting exhortation, showing clearly the deep love of the writer to his God: there is the more beauty in the expression, because it reveals love toward a smiting God, love which many waters could not quench. To bless him who gives is easy, but to cling to him who takes away is a work of grace. All the saints are benefited by the sanctified miseries of one, if they are led by earnest exhortations to love their Lord the better. If saints do not love the Lord, who will? Love is the universal debt of all the saved family: who would wish to be exonerated from its payment? Reasons for love are given, for believing love is not blind. For the Lord preserveth the faithful. They have to bide their time, but the recompense comes at last, and meanwhile all the cruel malice of their enemies cannot destroy them. And plentifully rewardeth the proud doer. This also is cause for gratitude: pride is so detestable in its acts that he who shall mete out to it its righteous due, deserves the love of all holy minds.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 23. O love the Lord, all ye his saints. The holy psalmist in the words does, with all the warmth of an affectionate zeal, incite us to the love of God, which is the incomparably noblest passion of a reasonable mind, its brightest glory and most exquisite felicity; and it is, as appears evident from the nature of the thing, and the whole train of divine revelation, the comprehensive sum of that duty which we owe to our Maker, and the very soul which animates a religious life, that we "love the Lord with all our heart, and strength, and mind." William Dunlap. A.M., 1692-1720.

Verse 23. O love the Lord, all ye his saints, etc. Some few words are to be attended in the clearing of the sense. Saints here in the text is or may be read, ye that feel mercies. "Faithful," the word is sometimes taken for persons, sometimes things; and so the Lord is said to preserve true men, and truths, faithful men, and faithfulnesses. He plenteously rewardeth the proud doer; or, the Lord rewardeth plenteously; the Lord, who doth wonderful things. Plenteously is either in cumulum, abunde, or in nepotes, as some would have it; but I would rather commend, than go about to amend translations: though I could wish some of my learned brethren's quarrelling hours were spent rather upon clearing the originals, and so conveying over pure Scripture to posterity, than in scratching others with their sharpened pens, and making cockpits of pulpits. Hugh Peter's "Sermon preached before both Houses of Parliament," the Lord Mayor and Aldermen of the City of London, and the Assembly of Divines, at the last Thanksgiving Day, April 2. For the recovering of the West, and disbanding of 5,000 of the King's Horse, etc., 1645.

Verse 23. And plentifully rewardeth the proud doer. The next query is, how God rewardeth the proud doer? in which, though the Lord's proceedings be diverse, and many times his paths in the clouds, and his judgments in the deep, and the uttermost farthing shall be paid the proud doer at the great day; yet so much of his mind he hath left unto us, that even in this life he gives out something to the proud which he calls "the day of recompense," which he commonly manifests in these particulars:

  1. By way of retaliation -- for Adonibezek that would be cutting off thumbs, had his thumbs cut off. Jud 1:7. So the poor Jews that cried so loud, "Crucify him, crucify him," were so many of them crucified, that if you believe Josephus, there was not wood enough to make crosses, nor in the usual place room enough to set up the crosses when they were made. Snares are made and pits are digged by the proud for themselves commonly, to which the Scripture throughout gives abundant testimony.
  2. By shameful disappointments, seldom reaping what they sow, nor eating what they catch in hunting, which is most clear in the Jewish State when Christ was amongst them. Judas betrays him to get money, and hardly lived long enough to spend it. Pilate, to please Caesar, withstands all counsels against it, and gives way to that murder, by which he ruined both himself and Caesar. The Jewish priests, to maintain that domination and honour (which they thought the son of Joseph and Mary stole from them) cried loud for his death, which proved a sepulchre to them and their glory. And the poor people that crucified him (through fear of the Romans taking their city) by his death had their gates opened to the Romans -- yea, Caesar himself, fearing a great change in his government by Christ living near him (which today sets all the king craft in the world to work) met such a change that shortly he had neither crown nor sceptre to boast of, if you read the story of Titus and Vespasian, all which dealings of God with the proud is most elegantly set forth unto us by the psalmist. "Behold, he travaileth with iniquity, and hath conceived mischief, and brought forth falsehood. He made a pit, and digged it, and is fallen into the ditch which he made." Hugh Peters.

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 23. An exhortation to love the Lord.

  1. The matter of it, love the Lord.
  2. To whom addressed, all ye his saints.
  3. By whom spoken.
  4. With what arguments supported, for the Lord preserveth, etc.