Psalm 71:6

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 6. By thee have I been holden up from the womb. Before he was able to understand the power which preserved him, he was sustained by it. God knows us before we know anything. The elect of old lay in the bosom of God before they were laid on their mothers' bosoms; and when their infantile weakness had no feet strong enough to carry it, the Lord upheld it. We do well to reflect upon divine goodness to us in childhood, for it is full of food for gratitude.

Thou art he that took me out of my mother's bowels. Even before conscious life, the care of God is over his chosen. Birth is a mystery of mercy, and God is with both mother and babe. If marriages are registered in heaven, we may be sure that births are also. Holy women do well to bless God for his mercy to them in nature's perilous hour; but every one who is born of woman has equal cause for thankfulness. She, whose life is preserved, should render thanks, and so should he whose life is given.

My praise shall be continually of thee. Where goodness has been unceasingly received, praise should unceasingly be offered. God is the circle where praise should begin, continue, and endlessly revolve, since in him we live, and move, and have our being.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 6. He did not, like most men, recognise the hand of God only when, in an extraordinary manner, it became manifest in life; but his eye of faith regards the ordinary works of God as miracles. The translation from his mother's womb to the light of day is to him an object of praise. ( Psalms 22:9-10 .) And, really, is not the preservation of the embryo, in its narrow confines, a miracle? Is it not a pledge, simultaneously with man's growing into being, of our after experience in life, that we have a God "who bringeth us out of death to light?" ( Psalms 68:20 .) Is not the reason of our finding so little of praise, to be sought in our having no eyes for his daily miracles? The psalmist has eyes for the daily miracles of the Lord; and, therefore, his mouth is daily full of the praise of the Lord. Augustus F. Tholuck.

Verse 6. Blessed be God that ever I was born. Halyburton.

Verse 6. This verse corresponds with the preceding, except that David proceeds farther. He not only celebrates the goodness of God, which he had experienced from his childhood, but, also, those proofs of it which he had received previous to his birth. An almost similar confession is contained in Psalms 22:9-10 , by which is magnified the wonderful power and inestimable goodness of God in the generation of men, the way and manner of which would be altogether incredible, were it not a fact with which we are quite familiar. If we are astonished at that part of the history of the flood, in which Moses declares (Ge 8:13), that Noah and his household lived ten months amidst the offensive nuisance produced by so many living creatures, when he could not draw the breath of life, have we not equal reason to marvel that the infant, shut up within its mother's womb, can live in such a condition as would suffocate the strongest man in half an hour? But we thus see how little account we make of the miracles which God works, in consequence of our familiarity with them. The Spirit, therefore, justly rebukes this ingratitude, by commending to our consideration this memorable instance of the grace of God which is exhibited in our birth and generation. When we are born into the world, although the mother do her office, and the midwife may be present with her, and many others may lend their help, yet did not God, putting, so to speak, his hand under us, receive us into his bosom, what would become of us? and what hope would there be in the continuance of our life? Yea, rather, were it not for this, our very birth would be an entrance into a thousand deaths. God, therefore, is with the highest propriety said to take us out of our mother's bowels. To this corresponds the concluding part of the verse, My praise shall be continually of thee by which the psalmist means that he has been furnished with matter for praising God without intermission. John Calvin.

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

None.