Psalm 51:6

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 6. Behold. Here is the great matter for consideration. God desires not merely outward virtue, but inward purity, and the penitent's sense of sin is greatly deepened as with astonishment he discovers this truth, and how far he is from satisfying the divine demand. The second "Behold" is fitly set over against the first; how great the gulf which yawns between them! Thou desirest truth in the inward parts. Reality, sincerity, true holiness, heart fidelity, these are the demands of God. He cares not for the pretence of purity, he looks to the mind, heart, and soul. Always has the Holy One of Israel estimated men by their inner nature, and not by their outward professions; to him the inward is as visible as the outward, and he rightly judges that the essential character of an action lies in the motive of him who works it. And in the hidden parts thou shalt make me to know wisdom. The penitent feels that God is teaching him truth concerning his nature, which he had not before perceived. The love of the heart, the mystery of its fall, and the way of its purification -- this hidden wisdom we must all attain; and it is a great blessing to be able to believe that the Lord will "make us to know it." No one can teach our innermost nature but the Lord, but he can instruct us to profit. The Holy Spirit can write the law on our heart, and that is the sum of practical wisdom. He can put the fear of the Lord within, and that is the beginning of wisdom. He can reveal Christ in us, and he is essential wisdom. Such poor, foolish, disarranged souls as ours, shall yet be ordered aright, and truth and wisdom shall reign within us.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 6. Behold. Before he entereth on any of the parts of the verse he useth the particle of admiration, Behold; which he never useth but in some remarkable manner, thereby the more to raise us up to the contemplation of such great matters to be told. Archibald Symson.

Verse 6. Thou desirest truth in the inward parts. Thou lovest truth, not shadows or images, but realities; thou lovest truth in the inward parts, inside truth, a true heart, a pure conscience: he is a Christian who is one inwardly. Ro 2:29. John Bull.

Verse 6. Truth in the inward parts. A great French pear is called le bon hretien, the good Christian, because they say it is never rotten at the core. George Swinnock.

Verse 6. In the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom. Piscator, in his annotations on this Psalm, puts this sense upon it, that David should bless God for having made him to know this special wisdom in this hidden thing or matter, and had brought the knowledge thereof home, as a point of saving wisdom, to the hidden man of his heart, so as to see fully and clearly this native corruption as the cause of all sin, and on that account to cause him to lay it to heart. Thomas Goodwin.

Verse 6. In the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom. It is one thing to be wise headed and wise tongued, and another to be wise hearted, and therefore in Scripture nothing more ordinary than to set forth wisdom that is true indeed by the heart. God himself is said to be wise of heart. Foolish creatures are like Ephraim, "a silly dove without heart." They may have head enough, notion enough, flashing light, appearing to others enough, but they are without a heart; they have not the great work there, a new head and an old heart, a full head and an empty heart, a light and burning profession, and a dark, dead, and cold heart; he that takes up in such a condition is a fool and an errant fool. John Murcot, 1657.

Verse 6. And in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom. Some read it, "In the hidden part thou hadst made me to know wisdom;" that thou hadst done it, but I have fallen from my high state, marred thy handiwork. "By one plunge into lust I have fallen and fouled myself." Arthur Jackson.

Verse 6. The copulative particle which connects the two clauses, implies the correspondence between the revelation of the divine will on the one part and the desire and prayer of the penitent heart on the other. Thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom. "What I want thou hast promised to give." Repentance and faith are the gifts of God, and the awakened mind is conscious that they are so. Thomas T. Biddulph.

Verse 6-8. The right conviction of sin comprehends its being acknowledged not only in our works, but also in our entire being. Agustus F. Tholuck.

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 6. See T. Goodwin's Treatise, entitled, "An Unregenerate Man's Guiltiness before God, in respect of Sin and Punishment." Book 9 cap. 1-2. (Nichol's edition, Vol. X., p. 324 et seq.)

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

None.