Verse 2. Preserve my soul. Let my life be safe from my enemies, and my spiritual nature be secure from their temptations. He feels himself unsafe except he be covered by the divine protection.
For I am holy. I am set apart for holy uses, therefore do not let thine enemies commit a sacrilege by injuring or defiling me: I am clear of the crimes laid to my charge, and in that sense innocent; therefore, I beseech thee, do not allow me to suffer from unjust charges: and I am inoffensive, meek, and gentle towards others, therefore deal mercifully with me as I have dealt with my fellow men. Any of these renderings may explain the text, perhaps all together will expound it best. It is not self righteous in good men to plead their innocence as a reason for escaping from the results of sins wrongfully ascribed to them; penitents do not bedaub themselves with mire for the love of it, or make themselves out to be worse than they are out of compliment to heaven. No, the humblest saint is not a fool, and he is as well aware of the matters wherein he is clear as of those wherein he must cry "peccavi." To plead guilty to offences we have never committed is as great a lie as the denial of our real faults.
O thou my God, save thy servant that trusteth in thee. Lest any man should suppose that David trusted in his own holiness he immediately declared his trust in the Lord, and begged to be saved as one who was not holy in the sense of being perfect, but was even yet in need of the very clements of salvation. How sweet is that title, "my God", when joined to the other, "thy servant"; and how sweet is the hope that on this ground we shall be saved; seeing that our God is not like the Amalekitish master who left his poor sick servant to perish. Note how David's poor I am (or rather the I repeated without the am) appeals to the great I AM with that sacred boldness engendered by the necessity which breaks through stone walls, aided by the faith which removes mountains.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 2. Holy. The word has been variously translated: -- Godly, De Muis, Ainsworth and others; charitable, or beneficent, Piscator; merciful or tenderhearted, Mariana; diligently or earnestly compassionate, Vatablus; meek, Calvin; a beloved one, Version of American Bible Union; one whom thou lovest, Perowne; a devoted or dedicated man, --Weiss.
Verse 2. For I am Holy. Some have objected to David's pleading his own good character; but if he did not go beyond the truth, and the occasion called for it, there was nothing wrong in his so doing. Job, David, Peter, John and Paul all did it, Job 27:5 Psalms 116:16 Joh 21:15-17 Revelation 1:10 1 Corinthians 9:1 . Nor is it presumptuous to ask God to show mercy to us for we show it to others; or to forgive us for we forgive others, Matthew 5:7 6:14-15. -- William S. Plumer.
Verse 2. I am holy ... thy servant which trusteth in thee. They that are holy, yet must not trust in themselves, or in their own righteousness, but only in God and his grace. -- Matthew Henry.
Verse 2. Save thy servant that trusteth in thee. When God saves his servant, he saves what belongs to himself; and, when he saves him that trusts in him, he shows himself to be just and faithful, in carrying out what he promised. --Bellarmine.
Verse 2-5. The aspirations after holiness which are found in this Psalm, coupled with its earnest invocation of mercy from the God with whom there is forgiveness, render it peculiarly applicable to those whose daily access is to a throne of needed grace. Christians know that while their standing is the blameless perfection of the Lord their righteouness, they are in many things offenders still. Nor do we ever fully prove the preciousness of Jesus as our portion, except we are drawn to him by that Spirit which reveals to us a nakedness and poverty within ourselves, which his blessed fulness can alone redress.
There is a consciousness of personal sanctification through faith ( Psalms 86:2 ) associated with an acutely sensitive perception of intrinsic worthlessness, such as only finds relief in the remembrance of unaltered grace ( Psalms 86:5 ), which, to the exercised spirit of one really growing in the knowledge of God, will address itself with an especial acceptance. -- Arthur Pridham.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
- The blessing sought is present, spiritual, complete and final preservation.
- Our reasons for expecting it are --
- Our belonging to God -- "I am holy."
- God's belonging to us -- "my God."
- Our faith, which has the promise.
- Our fruits, which prove our faith -- "thy servant"