Verse 4. Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee. After cleansing comes benediction, and truly this is a very rich one. It comprehends both election, effectual calling, access, acceptance, and sonship. First, we are chosen of God, according to the good pleasure of his will, and this alone is blessedness. Then, since we cannot and will not come to God of ourselves, he works graciously in us, and attracts us powerfully; he subdues our unwillingness, and removes our inability by the almighty workings of his transforming grace. This also is no slight blessedness. Furthermore, we, by his divine drawings, are made nigh by the blood of his Son, and brought near by his spirit, into intimate fellowship; so that we have access with boldness, and are no longer as those who are afar off by wicked works: here also is unrivalled blessedness. To crown all, we do not come nigh in peril of dire destruction, as Nadab and Abihu did, but we approach as chosen and accepted ones, to become dwellers in the divine household: this is heaped up blessedness, vast beyond conception. But dwelling in the house we are treated as sons, for the servant abideth not in the house for ever, but the son abideth ever. Behold what manner of love and blessedness the Father has bestowed upon us that we may dwell in his house, and go no more out for ever. Happy men who dwell at home with God. May both writer and reader be such men.
That he may dwell in thy courts. Acceptance leads to abiding: God does not make a temporary choice, or give and take; his gifts and calling are without repentance. He who is once admitted to God's courts shall inhabit them for ever; he shall be
"No more a stranger or a guest,
But like a child at home."
Permanence gives preciousness. Terminating blessings are but half blessings. To dwell in the courts of the Great King is to be ennobled; to dwell there for ever is to be emparadised: yet such is the portion of every man whom God has chosen and caused to approach unto him, though once his iniquities prevailed against him.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 3-4. Now, soul, thou art molested with many lusts that infect thee, and obstruct thy commerce with heaven; yea, thou hast complained to thy God, what loss thou hast suffered by them; is it now presumption to expect relief from him, that he will rescue thee from them, that thou mayest serve him without fear, who is thy liege Lord? You have the saints for your precedents; who, when they have been in combat with their corruptions, yea, been foiled by them, have even then exercised their faith on God, and expected the ruin of those enemies, which, for the present, have overrun them. Iniquities prevail against me; he means his own sins; but see his faith; at the same time that they prevailed over him, he beholds God destroying them, as appears in the very next words, As for our transgressions, thou shalt purge them away. See here, poor Christian, who thinkest that thou shalt never get above deck, holy David has a faith, not only for himself, but also for all believers, of whose number I suppose thee one. And mark the ground he hath for this his confidence, taken from God's choosing act: Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts. As if he had said, Surely he will not let them be under the power of sin, or in want of his gracious succour, whom he sets so near himself. This is Christ's own argument against Satan, in the behalf of his people. "The Lord said unto Satan, the Lord rebuke thee." Zechariah 3:2 . William Gurnall.
Verse 4. Blessed is the man whom thou choosest. The benedictions of the Psalter advance in spirituality and indicate a growth. The first blessed the godly reader of the word. Psalms 1:1 . The second described the pardoned child. Psalms 32:1 . The third pronounced a blessing upon faith. Psalms 34:8 40:4. The fourth commended the active and generous believer, abundant in deeds of charity ( Psalms 41:1 ); and this last mounting to the fountain head of all benediction, blesses the elect of God. C. H. S.
Verse 4. The man whom thou choosest. Christ, whom God chose, and of whom he said, "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased," is, indeed, "over all, God blessed for ever;" but in him his elect are blessed too. For his sake, not for our own, are we chosen; in him, not in ourselves, are we received by God, being accepted in the Beloved; and, therefore, in him are we blessed: he is our blessing. With that High Priest who has ascended into the holy place and entered within the vail, we enter into the house of God; we learn to dwell therein; we are filled with its spiritual joys; we partake of its holy mysteries and sacraments of grace and love. From "A Plain Commentary on the Book of Psalms." 1859.
Verse 4. We shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple. We shall be so filled, that nothing can be said to be wanting, we shall have nothing to look for outside. What can be wanting in the house of him who made everything, who is the master of everything, who will be all unto all, in whom is an inexhaustible treasure of good. Of him is said in Psalm 103, "Who satisfieth thy mouth with thy likeness." Robert Bellarmine (1542-1621).
Verse 4. Satisfied with the goodness of thy house. There is an allusion here to the oblations which were devoted to God, of which, also, sacred persons partook. Hermann Venema.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 4. Nearness to God is the foundation of a creature's happiness. This doctrine appears in full evidence, while we consider the three chief ingredients of true felicity, viz., the contemplation of the noblest object, to satisfy all the powers of the understanding; the love of the supreme good, to answer the utmost propensities of the will, and the sweet and everlasting sensation and assurance of the love of an Almighty Friend, who will free us from all the evils which our nature can fear, and confer upon us all the good which a wise and innocent creature can desire. Thus all the capacities of man are employed in their highest and sweetest exercises and enjoyments. Isaac Watts.
Verse 4. Election, effectual calling, access, adoption, final perseverance, satisfaction. This verse is a body of divinity in miniature.