Verse 2. Here begins the narrative of a great soul battle, a spiritual Marathon, a hard and well fought field, in which the half defeated became in the end wholly victorious.
But as for me. He contrasts himself with his God who is ever good; he owns his personal want of good, and then also compares himself with the clean in heart, and goes on to confess his defilement. The Lord is good to his saints, but as for me, am I one of them? Can I expect to share his grace? Yes, I do share it; but I have acted an unworthy part, very unlike one who is truly pure in heart.
My feet were almost gone. Errors of heart and head soon affect the conduct. There is an intimate connection between the heart and the feet. Asaph could barely stand, his uprightness was going, his knees were bowing like a falling wall. When men doubt the righteousness of God, their own integrity begins to waver.
My steps had well nigh slipped. Asaph could make no progress in the good road, his feet ran away from under him like those of a man on a sheet of ice. He was weakened for all practical action, and in great danger of actual sin, and so of a disgraceful fall. How ought we to watch the inner man, since it has so forcible an effect upon the outward character. The confession in this case is, as it should be, very plain and explicit.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 2. But as for me. Literally, it is, And I, which ought to be read with emphasis; for David means that those temptations which cast an affront upon the honour of God, and overwhelm faith, not only assail the common class of men, or those who are endued only with some small measure of the fear of God, but that he himself, who ought to have profited above all others in the school of God, had experienced his own share of them. By thus setting himself forth as an example, he designed the more effectually to arouse and incite us to take great heed to ourselves. John Calvin.
Verse 2. Let such also as fear God and begin to look aside on the things of this world, know it will be hard even for them to hold out in faith and in the fear of God in time of trial. Remember the example of David, he was a man that had spent much time in travelling towards heaven; yet, looking but a little aside upon the glittering show of this world, had very near lost his way, his feet were almost gone, his steps had well nigh slipped. Edward Elton. 1620.
Verse 2. He tells us that his feet were almost gone. The word signifies to bow, or bend under one. My steps had well nigh slipped, or poured out, kept not within their true bounds; but like water poured out and not confined, runs aside. Though these expressions be metaphorical, and seemingly dark and cloudy, yet they clearly represent unto us this truth, that his understanding was misguided, his judgment was corrupt, his affections disordered, turbulent, and guilty of too great a passion; and this, the consequence ( Psalms 73:22 in which he acknowledges himself ignorant, foolish, and brutish) do sufficiently evidence. Our understanding and judgment may well bear the comparison for feet, for as the one, in our motion, supports the body, so the other, in human actions and all employments, underprops the soul. The affections, also, are as paths and steps; as these of the feet, so these are the prints and expressions of the judgment and mind. Edward Parry, in "David Restored." 1660.
Verse 2. Almost gone. There is to be noted that the prophet said he was almost gone, and not altogether. Here is the presence, providence, strength, safeguard, and keeping of man by Almighty God, marvellously set forth. That although we are tempted and brought even to the very point to perpetrate and do all mischief, yet he stays us and keeps us, that the temptation shall not overcome us. John Hooper. 1495- 1555.
Verse 2-14. But the prosperity of wicked and unjust men, both in public and in private life, who, though not leading a happy life in reality, are yet thought to do so in common opinion, being praised improperly in the works of poets, and all kinds of books, may lead you -- and I am not surprised at your mistake -- to a belief that the gods care nothing for the affairs of men. These matters disturb you. Being led astray by foolish thoughts, and yet not able to think ill of the gods, you have arrived at your present state of mind, so as to think that the gods to indeed exist, but that they despise and neglect human affairs. Plato.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
- How far a believer may fall.
- How far he shall not fall.
- What fears are and what are not allowable.
Verse 2. A retrospect of our slips; prospect of future danger; present preparation for it.