Verse 7. "It is better," said one, "to feel God's favour one hour in our repenting souls, that to sit whole ages under the warmest sunshine that this world affords." Christ in the heart is better than corn in the barn, or wine in the vat. Corn and wine are but fruits of the world, but the light of God's countenance is the ripe fruit of heaven. "Thou art with me," is a far more blessed cry than "Harvest home." Let my granary be empty, I am yet full of blessings if Jesus Christ smiles upon me; but if I have all the world, I am poor without him.
We should not fail to remark that this verse is the saying of the righteous man, in opposition to the saying of the many. How quickly doth the tongue betray the character! "Speak, that I may see thee!" said Socrates to a fair boy. The metal of a bell is best known by its sound. Birds reveal their nature by their song. Owls cannot sing the carol of the lark, nor can the nightingale hoot like the owl. Let us, then, weigh and watch our words, lest our speech should prove us to be foreigners, and aliens from the commonwealth of Israel.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 6-7. See Psalms on "Psalms 4:6" for further information.
Verse 7. What madness and folly is it that the favourites of heaven should envy the men of the world, who at best do but feed upon the scraps that come from God's table! Temporals are the bones; spirituals are the marrow. Is it below a man to envy the dogs, because of the bones? And is it not much more below a Christian to envy others for temporals, when himself enjoys spirituals? Thomas Brooks.
Verse 7. Thou hast put gladness in my heart. The comforts which God reserves for his mourners are filling comforts ( Romans 15:13 ); "The God of hope fill you with joy" ( John 16:24 ); "Ask that your joy may be full." When God pours in the joys of heaven they fill the heart, and make it run over ( 2 Corinthians 7:4 ); "I am exceeding joyful;" the Greek is, I overflow with joy, as a cup that is filled with wine till it runs over. Outward comforts can no more fill the heart than a triangle can fill a circle. Spiritual joys are satisfying ( Psalms 63:5 ); "My heart shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips;" "Thou hast put gladness in my heart." Worldly joys do put gladness into the face, but the spirit of God puts gladness into the heart; divine joys are heart joys ( Zechariah 10:7 John 16:22 ); "Your heart shall rejoice" ( Luke 1:47 ); "My spirit rejoiced in God." And to show how filling these comforts are, which are of a heavenly extraction, the psalmist says they create greater joy than when "corn and wine increase." Wine and oil may delight but not satisfy; they have their vacuity and indigence. We may say, as Zechariah 10:2 , "They comfort in vain;" outward comforts do sooner cloy than cheer, and sooner weary that fill. Xerxes offered great rewards to him that could find out a new pleasure; but the comforts of the Spirit are satisfactory, they recruit the heart ( Psalms 94:19 ), "Thy comforts delight my soul." There is as much difference between heavenly comforts and earthly, as between a banquet that is eaten, and one that is painted on the wall. Thomas Watson.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 6-7. An assurance of the Saviour's love, the source of unrivalled joy.
Verse 7. The believer's joys.
- Their source, Thou;
- Their season -- even now -- Thou hast;
- Their position, in my heart;
- Their excellence, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased.
Another excellent theme suggests itself -- "The superiority of the joys of grace to the joys of earth;" or, "Two sorts of prosperity -- which is to be the more desired?"