Psalm 39:9

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 9. I was dumb, I opened not my mouth; because thou didst it. This had been far clearer if it had been rendered, "I am silenced, I will not open my mouth." Here we have a nobler silence, purged of all sullenness, and sweetened with submission. Nature failed to muzzle the mouth, but grace achieved the work in the worthiest manner. How like in appearance may two very different things appear! silence is ever silence, but it may be sinful in one case and saintly in another. What a reason for hushing every murmuring thought is the reflection, "because thou didst it."! It is his right to do as he wills, and he always wills to do that which is wisest and kindest; why should I then arraign his dealings? Nay, if it be indeed the Lord, let him do what seemeth him good.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 9. I was dumb, I opened not my mouth; because thou didst it. See David's carriage here; it was a patience not constrained, but from satisfaction of spirit: he saw love in his affliction, and that sweetened his soul. Joseph Symonds.

Verse 9. I was dumb, I opened not my mouth; because thou didst it. God is training up his children here. This is the true character of his dealings with them. The education of his saints is the object he has in view. It is training for the kingdom; it is education for eternity ... It is the discipline of love. Every step of it is kindness. There is no wrath nor vengeance in any part of the process. The discipline of the school may be harsh and stern; but that of the family is love. We are sure of this; and the consolation which it affords is unutterable. Love will not wrong us. There will be no needless suffering. Were this but kept in mind there would be fewer hard thoughts of God amongst men, even when his strokes are most severe. I know not a better illustration of what the feelings of a saint should be, in the hour of bitterness, than the case of Richard Cameron's father. The aged saint was in prison "for the Word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ." The bleeding head of his martyred son was brought to him by his unfeeling persecutors, and he was asked derisively if he knew it. "I know it, I know it," -- said the father, as he kissed the mangled forehead of his fair haired son -- "it is my son's, my own dear son's! It is the Lord! good is the will of the Lord, who cannot wrong me or mine, but who hath made goodness and mercy to follow us all our days." Horatius Bonar, in "The Night of Weeping," 1847.

Verse 9. Because thou didst it. This holy man had a breach made both at his body and spirit at this time; he was sick and sad; yet he remembers from whose hand the blow came. Thou, Lord, didst it; thou, whom I love dearly, and so can take it kindly; thou whom I have offended, and so take it patiently; yea, thou, who mightest have cast me into a bed of flames, instead of my bed of sickness, and therefore I accept thy correction thankfully. Thus he catches at the blow without retorting it back upon God by any quarrelling discontented language. William Gurnall.

Verse 9. Because thou didst it. We digest not a blow from our equals, but a blow from our king we can well digest. If the King of kings lays his hand on our backs, let us, beloved, lay our hands on our mouths. I am sure this stopped David's mouth from venting fretful speeches. "I held my tongue and said nothing." Why didst thou so, David? Because thou, Lord, didst it; and God gives this testimony of such an one; that he is a prudent man that keeps silence at an evil time. Amos 5:13 . Nicholas Estwick, B.D., 1644.

Verse 9. Perkins, in his "Salve for a Sick Man," gives the "last words" of many holy men, among others of Calvin: -- "I held my tongue, because thou, Lord, hast done it -- I mourned as a dove -- Lord, you ground me to powder, but it suffices me because it is thy hand."

Verse 9. I wondered once at providence, and called white providence black and unjust, that I should be smothered in a town where no soul will take Christ off my hand. But providence hath another lustre (shining; appearance) with God than with my bleared eyes. I proclaim myself a blind body, who knoweth not black and white, in the unco (strange) course of God's providence. Suppose that Christ should set hell where heaven is, and devils up in glory beside the elect angels (which yet cannot be), I would I had a heart to acquiesce in his way, without further dispute. I see that infinite wisdom is the mother of his judgments, and that his ways pass finding out. I cannot learn, but I desire to learn, to bring my thoughts, will, and lusts in under (close under) Christ's feet, that he may trample upon them. But, alas! I am still upon Christ's wrong side. Samuel Rutherford.

Verse 9. A little girl, in the providence of God, was born deaf and dumb. She was received, and instructed, at an institution established for these afflicted ones. A visitor was one day requested to examine the children thus sadly laid aside from childhood's common joys. Several questions were asked, and quickly answered by means of a slate and pencil. At length the gentleman wrote, Why were you born deaf and dumb? A look of anguish clouded for the moment the expressive face of the little girl; but it quickly passed, as she took her slate, and wrote, "Even so, Father; for so it seemeth good in thy sight." Mrs. Rogers, in "The Shepherd King."

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 9.

  1. The occasion referred to. I was dumb, etc. We are not told what the particular trial was, that each one may apply it to his own affliction, and because all are to be viewed in the same light.
  2. The conduct of the psalmist upon that particular occasion: I opened not my mouth.
    1. Not in anger and rebellion against God in murmurs or complaints.
    2. Not in impatience, or complaining, or angry feelings against men.
  3. The reason he assigns for this conduct: Because thou didst it. G. Rogers.