Psalm 56:13

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 13. For thou hast delivered my soul from death. His enemies were defeated in their attempts upon his life, and therefore he vowed to devote his life to God.

Wilt not thou deliver my feet from falling? One mercy is a plea for another, for indeed it may happen that the second is the necessary complement of the first. It little boots that we live, if we are made to fall in character by the thrusts of our enemies. As lief not be, as live to be bereft of honour, and fallen prostrate before my enemies.

That I may walk before God in the light of the living, enjoying the favour and presence of God, and finding the joy and brightness of life therein. Walking at liberty, in holy service, in sacred communion, in constant progress in holiness, enjoying the smile of heaven -- this I seek after. Here is the loftiest reach of a good man's ambition, to dwell with God, to walk in righteousness before him, to rejoice in his presence, and in the light and glory which it yields. Thus in this short Psalm, we have climbed from the ravenous jaws of the enemy into the light of Jehovah's presence, a path which only faith can tread.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 12-13. Thy vows are upon me, O God. See Psalms on "Psalms 56:12" for further information.

Verse 13. From falling, or, as more literally translated, from a thrust, or a push, by which one is caused to fall. O. Prescott Hiller.

Verse 13 (last clause). To walk in the presence of God is partly under his eyes, his guidance and care, partly in particular, where God is wont to be present, where he is worshipped by his people and scatters his blessings, opposed to his present state by which he was removed from the place of his worship and presence. Conf. 1Sa 26:19, etc. Lastly, to walk in the light of the living denotes in general to live amongst those who live in the light, or who enjoy the light, as it is said elsewhere, in the land of the living -- Psalms 27:13 Isaiah 38:11 53:8; Ezekiel 32:32 ; Psalms 142:6 -- opposed to the dead or the region of the dead, who dwell in darkness. But in particular it signifies to live in a safe and prosperous state, whose well known emblem is light. Hermann Venema.

Verse 13 (last clause). We cannot restrict this phrase to the light of mortal life; David's vows bound him to walk in the light of spiritual life, and also in the light of eternal life, of which by faith he was a partaker. And most commentators have applied this verse to the light of glory in the world to come, as the real and final object of the believer's conversation here on earth. W. Wilson, D.D.

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 12-13. You have here --

  1. The commemoration of former mercies: Thou hast delivered.
  2. The confidence of future: Wilt not thou.
  3. The end of all: To walk before God in the light of the living. Stephen Charnock.

Verse 13.

  1. The language of Gratitude -- Thou hast, etc.
  2. Of Faith -- Wilt not thou, etc.
  3. Of Hope -- That I may walk, etc. G. R.