Verse 18. Our heart is not turned back, neither have our steps declined from thy way. Heart and life were agreed, and both were true to the Lord's way. Neither within nor without had the godly sufferers offended; they were not absolutely perfect, but they were sincerely free from all wilful transgression. It was a healthy sign for the nation that her prophet poet could testify to her uprightness before God, both in heart and act; far oftener the case would have worn quite another colour, for the tribes were all too apt to set up other gods and forsake the rock of their salvation.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 17-19. See Psalms on "Psalms 44:17" for further information.
Verse 18. Our heart is not turned back. Serious piety has become a ludicrous subject with which the wanton wits of this atheistical world sport themselves; but behold the wisdom and goodness of God, exhibiting to the world undeniable testimonies of the truth of religion as often as the sincere professors thereof are brought to the test by afflictions from the hand of God, or persecutions from the hands of men. Lo! "here is the faith and patience of the saints;" here is their courage, meekness, and self denial, shining as gold in the fire. They have the real proofs of it before their eyes. Instead of casting them into hell, and convincing them by eternal fire, he is pleased to cast his own people into the fire of affliction, that they who scoff at them may be convinced at an easier and cheaper rate. It is no new thing to see the enemies of religion brought over to embrace it by the constancy and faithfulness of the saints in their trials and sufferings for it. God grant that the atheism of this present generation do not occasion a more fiery trial to the people of God in it than they have yet suffered. John Flavel.
Verse 18. our heart. The word (bbl), or Greek kardia, that is rendered heart, both in the Old and New Testament, doth signify the understanding, the mind, will, affections, conscience, the whole soul. Our heart is not turned back. Our understandings and minds are the same as they were in a summer's day, though now we be in a winter's storm; though now we be afflicted, tossed, broken, and persecuted, yet notwithstanding, our heart is not turned back, our mind, will, affections, and conscience, our whole soul, is the same now as before. Thomas Brooks.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 18. (first clause). When we may be sure that our heart has not apostatised.
- The position of the heart in religion -- it comes first.
- The position of the outer moral life in religion -- it follows the heart.
- Necessity of the agreement of the two.
- The need that both should be faithful to God.
Verse 18. Connection between the heart and the life, both in constancy and apostasy.
Verse 18. God's delight in the progress of the upright. Thomas Brooks.
Upright hearts will hold on in the ways of God, and in the ways of well doing, notwithstanding all afflictions, troubles, and discouragements, they meet withal. Thomas Brooks.
Verse 18. Thy ways. The ways of God are --
- righteous ways;
- blessed ways;
- soul refreshing ways;
- transcendent ways -- ways that transcend all other ways;
- soul strengthening ways; and
- sometimes afflicted, perplexed, and persecuted ways. Thomas Brooks.