Psalm 57:2

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 2. I will cry. He is quite safe, but yet he prays, for faith is never dumb. We pray because we believe. We exercise by faith the spirit of adoption whereby we cry. He says not I do cry, or I have cried, but I will cry, and indeed, this resolution may stand with all of us until we pass through the gates of pearl; for while we are here below we shall still have need to cry.

Unto God most high. -- Prayers are for God only; the greatness and sublimity of his person and character suggest and encourage prayer; however high our enemies, our heavenly Friend is higher, for he is Most high, and he can readily send from the height of his power the succour which we need.

Unto God that performeth all things for me. He has cogent reason for praying, for he sees God performing. The believer waits and God works. The Lord has undertaken for us, and he will not draw back, he will go through with his covenant engagements. Our translators have very properly inserted the words, "all things," for there is a blank in the Hebrew, as if it were a carte blanche, and you might write therein that the Lord would finish anything and everything which he has begun. Whatsoever the Lord takes in hand he will accomplish; hence past mercies are guarantees for the future, and admirable reasons for continuing to cry unto him.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 1-3. In the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast, etc. As if he had said, Lord, I am already in the cave and in the holds, and in the shadow of it, but yet for all that I think not myself safe indeed, till I have made my refuge in the shadow of thy wings: that is therefore the course I resolve and build upon. It was wisely done of him: and mark what course he takes to do it, Psalms 57:2 , I will cry unto God most high, I will by prayer put myself under the shadow of God's wings: and mark what success should follow, Psalms 57:3 , He shall send from heaven, and save me from the reproach of him that would swallow me up. God shall send forth his mercy and his truth. When we send prayers up to heaven, God will send help down from heaven. But yet David prays to God, as well as trusts in God. And unless we pray as well as trust, our trust will fail us, for we must trust to God for that we pray for. Jeremiah Dyke, 1620.

Verse 2. Unto God that performeth all things for me. God's favours already received are a pledge that he will complete his work of love "upon l[ me." The beginning is the earnest of the completion. His word is a guarantee for the performance of "all things" that I need. (Compare Psalms 57:3 56:4 1 Samuel 2:9 3:12 1 Samuel 23:17 24:21 Psalms 128:8 Job 10:3 Job 10:8 14:15 Philippians 1:6 Isaiah 26:12 ). A. R. Fausset.

Verse 2. God that performeth all things for me. Hebrew, that performeth (or perfecteth, or finisheth, as this word is rendered, Psalms 138:8 ; i.e., will certainly perform or finish), for, or towards, or concerning me. He doth not express what he performeth, or perfecteth, or fulfileth, but leaveth it to be understood, as being easy to be understood. He performeth or perfecteth, to wit, all that he hath promised; engages himself to perform what he hath begun to do, or what is yet to be performed; it being usual in the Hebrew language to understand a verbal noun after the verb. He implies that God is not like men, who make large promises, but either through inability, or carelessness, or unfaithfulness, do not perform them, but will certainly be as good as his word. Matthew Poole, 1624-1679.

Verse 2. (last clause). The word which we translate performeth comes from a root that signifies both to perfect and to desist or cease. For when a business is performed or perfected, the agent then ceases and desists from working: he puts to the last hand when he finishes the work. To such a happy issue the Lord hath brought all his doubtful and difficult matters before; and this gives him encouragement that he will still be gracious, and perfect that which concerneth him now, as he speaks, Psalms 138:8 , "The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me." The Septuagint renders it by ton euergetm sonta me, who profits or benefits me. And it is a certain truth, that all the results and issues of providence are profitable and beneficial to the saints. But the supplement in our translation well conveys the importance of the place; "who performeth all things; and it involves the most strict and proper notion of providence, which is nothing else but the performance of God's gracious purposes and promises to his people." And therefore Vatablus and Muis supply and fill up the room with the conciseness of the original leaves, with quae promisit: I will cry unto God most high; unto God that performeth the things which he hath promised. Payment is the performance of promises. Grace makes the promise, and providence the payment. Piscator fills it with benignitatem et misericordiam suam; "unto God that performeth his kindness and mercy." But still it supposes the mercy performed to be contained in the promise, and much more so in the providential performance of it to us. John Flavel.

Verse 2. (last clause). David even then when he fled from Saul in the cave he looks upon God as having performed all things for him. The word is, he hath perfected all things; and it is observable that David uses the same expression of praising God here when he was in the cave, hiding himself to save his life, as he did when he triumphed over his enemies -- Psalm 6 and Psalm 108. Jeremiah Burroughs, 1599-1646.

Verse 2. (last clause). The Targum curiously paraphrases this clause: "Who ordered the spider that wrought the web, on my account, at the mouth of the cave;" applying a later historical fact, which, however, may have had its prototype in David's history. Andrew A. Bonar, in "Christ and his Church in the Book of Psalms," 1859.

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 2. Prayer to the performing God. He performs all his promises, all my salvation, all my preservation, all needed between here and heaven. Here he reveals his omnipotence, his grace, his faithfulness, his immutability; and we are bound to show our faith, patience, joy, and gratitude.

Verse 2. Strange reasons.

  1. The psalmist in the depth of distress, cries to God, because he is most high in glory. Surely this thought might well paralyse him with the fear of divine inaccessibility, but the soul quickened with suffering, sees through and beyond the metaphor, rejoices in the truth, "Though the Lord be high, yet hath he respect unto the lowly."
  2. He cries to God for help, because God is performing all things for him. Why urge him then? Prayer is the music to which "the mighty man of war" goes forth to battle. R. A. G.