Verse 3. But know. Fools will not learn, and therefore they must again and again be told the same thing, especially when it is such a bitter truth which is to be taught them, viz.: -- the fact that the godly are the chosen of God, and are, by distinguishing grace, set apart and separated from among men. Election is a doctrine which unrenewed men cannot endure, but nevertheless, it is a glorious and well attested truth, and one which should comfort the tempted believer. Election is the guarantee of complete salvation, and an argument for success at the throne of grace. He who chose us for himself will surely hear our prayer. The Lord's elect shall not be condemned, nor shall their cry be unheard. David was king by divine decree, and we are the Lord's people in the same manner: let us tell our enemies to their faces, that they fight against God and destiny, when they strive to overthrow our souls. O beloved, when you are on your knees, the fact of your being set apart as God's own peculiar treasure, should give you courage and inspire you with fervency and faith. "Shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him?" Since he chose to love us he cannot but choose to hear us.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 3. The Lord hath set apart him that is godly for himself. When God chooseth a man, he chooseth him for himself; for himself to converse with, to communicate himself unto him as a friend, a companion, and his delight. Now, it is holiness that makes us fit to live with the holy God for ever, since without it we cannot see him ( Hebrews 12:14 ), which is God's main aim, and more than our being his children; as one must be supposed a man, one of mankind, having a soul reasonable, ere we can suppose him capable of adoption, or to be another man's heir. As therefore it was the main first design in God's eye, before the consideration of our happiness, let it be so in ours. Thomas Goodwin, 1600-1679.
Verse 3. What rare persons the godly are: "The righteous is more excellent than his neighbour." Proverbs 12:26 . As the flower of the sun, as the wine of Lebanon, as the sparkling upon Aaron's breastplate, such is the orient splendour of a person embellished with godliness ... The godly are precious, therefore they are set apart for God, Know that the Lord hath set apart him that is godly for himself. We set apart things that are precious; the godly are set apart as God's peculiar treasure ( Psalms 135:4 ); as his garden of delight (So 4:12); as his royal diadem ( Isaiah 43:3 ); the godly are the excellent of the earth ( Psalms 16:3 ); comparable to fine gold ( Lamentations 4:2 ); double refined ( Zechariah 13:9 ). They are the glory of the creation. ( Isaiah 46:13 ). Origen compares the saints to sapphires and crystals: God calls them jewels ( Malachi 3:17 ). Thomas Watson.
Verse 3. The Lord will hear when I call unto him. Let us remember that the experience of one of the saints concerning the verity of God's promises, and of the certainty of the written privileges of the Lord's people, is a sufficient proof of the right which all his children have to the same mercies, and a ground of hope that they also shall partake of them in their times of need. David Dickson, 1653.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 3. Election. Its aspects toward God, our enemies, and ourselves.
Verse 3. The Lord will hear when I call unto him. Answers to prayer certain to special persons. Mark out those who can claim the favour.
Verse 3. The gracious Separatist. Who is he? Who separated him? With what end? How to make men know it?