Psalm 37:23

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 23. The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord. All his course of life is graciously ordained, and in lovingkindness all is fixed, settled, and maintained. No reckless fate, no fickle chance rules us; our every step is the subject of divine decree. He delighteth in his way. As parents are pleased with the tottering footsteps of their babes. All that concerns a saint is interesting to his heavenly Father. God loves to view the holy strivings of a soul pressing forward to the skies. In the trials and the joys of the faithful, Jesus has fellowship with them, and delights to be their sympathising companion.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 23. The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord. When this Pilot undertakes to steer their course, their vessel shall never split upon the rock, run upon the sands, or spring a leak, so as to sink in the seas. To be sure he will see them safe in their harbour. He was no Christian, yet I suppose none will deny but he spake good divinity, who said, "If a man will choose God for his Friend, he shall travel securely through a wilderness that hath many beasts of prey in it; he shall pass safely through this world; for he only is safe that hath God for his guide." (Ar. Epist. 27) Doth he not speak a little like David himself Psalms 37:23 , who never expected to come to glory except he were guided by his counsel? Now, if a poor heathen could say thus, and see good reason to trust God, and admire his faithfulness as he doth frequently (and so doth Seneca, justifying God's faithfulness in all his dealings with the best men in all their sufferings, and the prosperity of the wicked); what then shall the heavenly Christian say, who hath experienced so much of God's faithfulness in answering his prayers, in fulfilling his promises, and supplying all his exigencies? James Janeway.

Verse 23. He delighteth in his way. Note that in verse four, we are bidden to delight in the Lord, and here he delights in us, and as here our way is his delight, so in verse thirty- four we are to "keep his way." These antitheses are instructive. C. H. S.

Verse 23-24. Strange words to us! the very steps all ordered, and that by an Almighty One, who "delights" in the goodness of the good man's way. And yet the inference so distinctly to be drawn is that the good man may fall, and that his God and Guide may stand by and behold and permit! Let us add to the suggestion of these verses, one or two references which may help us to establish the principle in our hearts, that the child of God may fall and still remain the child of God; and also to explain somewhat of the reason why this is part of their lot, whether ordered, or only permitted, at all events, a step of the "right way," by which God leads them to a "city of habitation." Psalms 107:7 . It is observed near the close of Hezekiah's good and prosperous life that, "in the business of the ambassadors of the princes of Babylon ... God left him to try him, that he might know all that was in his heart," 2 Chronicles 32:31 . And again, in Daniel's prophecy regarding the latter days, we find Daniel 11:35 , "And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and make them white." In the two preceding verses, we have also some valuable details regarding such falls, such as the help with which God will uphold them, the flatteries with which the world will still beset, and hinder them from rising again; the outward troubles into which their fall shall lead them, as through a furnace; the high position (instructors of many) which yet shall not save them from their needed ordeal -- the time appointed -- and the end in view. So here. The acknowledgment of the possibility of the good man's fall is accompanied with the precious assurance that he shall not be utterly cast down. Mary B. M. Duncan, in "Under the Shadow, 1867."

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 23-24.

  1. The divine predestination.
  2. The divine delight.
  3. The divine support.