Psalm 42:8

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 8. Yet the Lord will command his lovingkindness in the daytime. Come what may there shall be "a certain secret something" to sweeten all. Lovingkindness is a noble life belt in a rough sea. The day may darken into a strange and untimely midnight, but the love of God ordained of old to be the portion of the elect, shall be by sovereign decree meted out to them. No day shall ever dawn on an heir of grace and find him altogether forsaken of his Lord: the Lord reigneth, and as a sovereign he will with authority command mercy to be reserved for his chosen. And in the night. Both divisions of the day shall be illuminated with special love, and no stress of trial shall prevent it. Our God is God of the nights as well as the days; none shall find his Israel unprotected, be the hour what it may. His song shall be with me. Songs of praise for blessings received shall cheer the gloom of night. No music sweeter than this. The belief that we shall yet glorify the Lord for mercy given in extremity is a delightful stay to the soul. Affliction may put out our candle, but if it cannot silence our song we will soon light the candle again. And my prayer unto the God of my life. Prayer is yoked with praise. He who is the living God, is the God of our life, from him we derive it, with him in prayer and praise we spend it, to him we devote it, in him we shall prefect it. To be assured that our sighs and songs shall both have free access to our glorious Lord is to have reason for hope in the most deplorable condition.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 8. Yet the Lord will command his lovingkindness. His expression is remarkable; he does not say simply that the Lord will bestow, but command his lovingkindness. As the gift bestowed is grace -- free favour to the unworthy; so the manner of bestowing it is sovereign. It is given by decree; it is a royal donative. And if he commands the blessing, who shall hinder its reception? Henry March.

Verse 8. It is all one to a godly man, night or day. For what night can there be to him who hath God always with him, who is a sun to comfort him, as well as a shield to protect him Psalms 84:11 ; and the light of whose countenance, if it be but very little, is more comfortable than all things else whatsoever that the day can bring with it. He can say, "When I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a light unto me" Micah 7:8 ; and "the Lord my God will enlighten my darkness." Psalms 18:28 . To tell you the truth, I think the night is the merriest time that the godly man hath, and the saddest for the wicked man (who, though he may make use of darkness to hide his sin, yet is he afraid, because of that very thing in which his safety consists). For if a man be merry in good company, he must needs be more merry when he enjoys it better, and there is less to disturb his mirth. So as it is with a godly man in the night, when the greatest part of his hindrances are removed, and he can "delight himself in the Almighty" without disturbance. Job 27:10 . David says that the Lord would indeed command his lovingkindness in the daytime. but, in the night (says he) his song shall be with me. -- "His song," as I think, not of thanksgiving, but of joy and exultation, such as God uses to give at that time. Job 35:10 . In the daytime the soul is so taken up with base employments, so distracted with variety of sensible objects, and so busied with work for the body, that either she hath no leisure at all to do her own work (such as this joy is as much as anything) or she cannot do it so well as she would, or so well as she could in the night, when she hath less to do. I doubt not but the worldly and carnal man, now that I am talking so much of night, and sleep, will be ready to say that I do but dream, and to answer me as the fellow did the hunter, when he bade him hear "what heavenly music his dogs made." For I know he counts the music and songs that we speak of, nothing but a frenzy, or a fancy at least, such as mad and diseased people have in their brain, while they imagine it to be in the air. But, as Peter said of those upon whom the Holy Ghost fell, "These men are not drunk, as ye suppose;" so may I reply to such men, No such matter, the godly are not mad, as ye suppose, for their songs are not works of their own fancy, not made of their own head, but set for them by God himself, "who giveth songs in the night." Job 35:10 . Zachary Bogan.

Verse 8. And my prayer unto the God of my life. Here may be seen that David's religion was a religion of prayer after deliverance, as well as before. The selfish who cry out in trouble will have done with their prayers, when the trouble is over. With David it was the very reverse. Deliverance from trouble would strengthen his confidence in God, embolden his addresses to him, and furnish him with new arguments ... There is great need of prayer after deliverance; for the time of deliverance is often a time of temptation; the soul being elated, and thrown off its guard. At such seasons much of the joy that is felt may be merely natural, as David's would probably be when rescued from that corroding care which injures the body as well as distresses the soul. There is danger of mistaking; of supposing it to be all spiritual, and hence of imagining the soul to be in a higher state of grace than it really is, and so, of being imperceptibly drawn into a state of false security. There is then especial need of that prayer. "Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe." And with some peculiarly, who being of a sanguine constitution of mind, are in times of enjoyment, soon puffed up and brought into danger. Henry March.

Verse 8. (last clause). Your song and your prayer must be directed to God as the God of your life. You do not own him as God, except you own and adore him as your all sufficient good, and that "fulness which filleth all in all." You detract from the glory of his Godhead, if you attribute not this to him; and if, accordingly, as one that cannot live without him, you do not seek union with him, and join yourself to him, and then rejoice and solace yourself in that blessed conjunction. John Howe.

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 7,8. In seasons of affliction the servants of God will be distinguished from others by their ready perception and acknowledgment of the hand of God in their trials. H. March.

Verse 8. Daily mercy and nightly song; the mercies of sunshine and shade.

Verse 8. (last clause). The blessed alternation between praise and prayer.

Verse 8. God of my life. Author, sustainer, comforter, object, crown, consummation.

Verse 8. The God of my life. There is a threefold life whereof we partake, and God is the God of each unto us. First, the life of nature; secondly, the life of grace; thirdly, the life of glory. T. Horton.