Psalm 35:3

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 3. Draw out also the spear, and stop the way against them that persecute me. Before the enemy comes to close quarters the Lord can push them off as with a long spear. To stave off trouble is no mean act of lovingkindness. As when some valiant warrior with his lance blocks up a defile, and keeps back a host until his weaker brethren have made good their escape, so does the Lord often hold the believer's foes at bay until the good man had taken breath, or clean fled from his foes. He often gives the foes of Zion some other work to do, and so gives rest to his church. What a glorious idea is this of Jehovah blocking the way of persecutors, holding them at the pike's end, and giving time for the hunted saint to elude the pursuit! Say unto my soul, I am thy salvation. Besides holding off the enemy, the Lord can also calm the mind of his servant by express assurance from his own mouth, that he is, and shall be, safe under the Almighty wing. An inward persuasion of security in God is of all things the most precious in the furnace of persecution. One word from the Lord quiets all our fears.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 3. Draw out the spear, and stop the way. The spear in the days of Saul and David was a favourite weapon. (See 1 Chronicles 11:1-47 ). A valiant man bravely defending a narrow pass might singly with his lance keep back a pursuing host, and give time for his friends to escape. Very remarkable were the feats of valour of this sort performed in Oriental warfare. David would have his God become his heroic defender, making his enemies pause. C. H. S.

Verse 3. Draw out; or, as the Hebrew phrase is, empty, that is, unsheath; the like is of the sword. Exodus 15:9 Leviticus 26:33 . Henry Ainsworth.

Verse 3. Say unto my soul, I am thy salvation. Observe,

  1. That salvation may be made sure to a man. David would never pray for that which could not be. Nor would Peter charge us with a duty which stood not in possibility to be performed. 2 Peter 1:10 . "Make your election sure." And to stop the bawling throats of all cavilling adversaries, Paul directly proves it: "Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?" 2 Corinthians 13:5 . We may then know that Christ is in us. If Christ be in us, we are in Christ; if we be in Christ, we cannot be condemned, for Romans 8:1 , "There is no damnation to them which are in Christ Jesus." But I leave this point that it may be sure, as granted; and come to ourselves, that we may make it sure. The Papists deny this, and teach the contrary, that salvation cannot be made sure; much good do it them, with their sorry and heartless doctrine! If they make that impossible to any which God hath made easy for many, "into their secret let not my soul come." Genesis 49:6 . Observe,
  2. That the best saints have desired to make their salvation sure. David that knew it, yet entreats to know it more. "I know thou favourest me" Psalms 41:11 ; yet here, still, dic animae, "Say unto my soul, I am thy salvation." A man can never be too sure of his going to heaven. Thomas Adams.

Verse 3. Say unto my soul. God may speak with his own voice; and thus he gave assurance to Abraham, "Fear not, I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward." Genesis 15:1 . If God speak comfort, let hell roar horror. 2. He may speak by his works: actual mercies to us demonstrate that we are in his favour, and shall not be condemned. "By this I know that thou favourest me, because mine enemy doth not triumph over me." 3. He may speak by his Son. "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28 . 4. He may speak by his Scripture; this is God's epistle to us, and his letters patent, wherein are granted to us all the privileges of salvation. A universal si quis; "Whosoever believes, and is baptised, shall be saved." 5. He may speak by his ministers, to whom he hath given "the ministry of reconciliation." 2 Corinthians 5:19 . 6. He doth speak this by his Spirit: he "sendeth forth the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, Abba, Father." Galatians 4:6 . By all these voices God says to his elect, I am your salvation. ... My. There is no vexation to the vexation of the soul; so no consolation to the consolation of the soul. ... Let this teach us to make much of this My. Luther says there is great divinity in pronouns. The assurance that God will save some is a faith incident to devils. The very reprobates may believe that there is a book of election; but God never told them that their names were written there. The hungry beggar at the feast house gate smells good cheer, but the master doth not say, "This is provided for thee." It is small comfort to the harbourless wretch to pass through a goodly city, and see many glorious buildings, when he cannot say, Haec mea domus, I have a place here. The beauty of that excellent city Jerusalem, built with sapphires, emeralds, chrysolites, and such precious stones, the foundation and walls whereof are perfect gold Revelation 21:1-27 , affords a soul no comfort, unless he can say, Mea civitas, I have a mansion in it. The all sufficient merits of Christ do thee no good, unless, tua pars et portio, he be thy Saviour. Happy soul that can say with the psalmist, "O Lord, thou art my portion!" Let us all have oil in our lamps, lest if be then to buy, beg, or borrow, we be shut out of doors like the fools, not worthy of entrance. Pray, Lord, say unto my soul, I am thy salvation. ... Who? What? To whom? When? WHO? The Lord! To the Lord David prays. He hath made a good choice, for there is salvation in none other. "Thou hast destroyed thyself, but in me is thy help." Hosea 13:9 . The world fails, the flesh fails, the devil kills. Only the Lord saves. WHAT? Salvation. A special good thing; every man's desire. I will give thee a lordship, saith God to Esau. I will give thee a kingdom, saith God to Saul. I will give thee an apostleship, saith God to Judas. But, I will be thy salvation, he says to David, and to none but saints. TO WHOM? My salvation. Not others only, but "thine." A man and a Christian are two creatures. He may be a man that hath reason and outward blessings; he is only a Christian that hath faith, and part in the salvation of Christ. God is plentiful salvation, but it is not ordinary to find a cui -- to whom. Much of heaven is lost for lack of a hand to apprehend it. WHEN? In the present, "I am." Sum, non sufficit quod ero. It is comfort to Israel in captivity that God says, Ero tua redemptio, I will redeem thee; but the assurance that quiets the conscience is this, I am thy salvation. As God said to Abraham, "Fear not, I am with thee." Deferred hope faints the heart. Whatsoever God forbears to assure us of, oh, pray we him not to delay this, "Lord, say to our soul, I am thy salvation." Condensed from Thomas Adams.

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 3. Enemies kept at arm's length. How the Lord does this, and the blessedness of it to us.

Verse 3. (last clause). Full assurance. An assurance positive, personal, spiritual, present, divine, complete, coming by a word from God.

Verse 3. (last clause). Heaven made sure. Thomas Adams' Sermon.