Psalm 86:5

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 5. For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive. Good at giving and forgiving; supplying us with his good, and removing our evil. Here was the great reason why the Psalmist looked to the Lord alone for his joy, because every joy creating attribute is to be found in perfection in Jehovah alone. Some men who would be considered good are so self exultingly indignant at the injuries done them by others, that they cannot forgive; but we may rest assured that the better a being is, the more willing he is to forgive, and the best and highest of all is ever ready to blot out the transgressions of his creatures.

And plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee. God does not dispense his mercy from a slender store which perchance may be so impoverished as to give out altogether, but out of a cornucopiae he pours forth the infinite riches of his mercy: his goodness flows forth in abounding streams towards those who pray and in adoring worship make mention of his name. David seems to have stood in the cleft of the rock with Moses, and to have heard the name of the Lord proclaimed even as the great lawgiver did, for in two places in this psalm he almost quotes verbatim the passage in Exodus 34:6 -- "The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth."

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 5. For thou, Lord, art good, and whither should beggars go but to the door of the good house keeper? --Matthew Henry.

Verse 5. Ready to forgive. The mercy of God is a ready mercy, and his pardons are ready for his people; his pardons and mercies are not to seek, he hath them at hand, he is good and ready to forgive. Whereas most men, though they will forgive, yet they are not ready to forgive, they are hardly brought to it, though they do it at last. But God is "ready to forgive"; he hath, as it were, pardons ready drawn (as a man who would be ready to do a business, he will have such writings as concern the passing of it ready); there is nothing to do but to put in the date and the name; yea indeed, the date and the name are put in from all eternity. Thus the Scripture speaks to show how forward God is to do good; he needs not set his heart to it; his heart is ever in the exactest fitness. --Joseph Caryl.

Verse 5. Plenteous in mercy. It is a thing marvellously satisfactory and pleasing to the heart of a man to be still taking from a great heap; and upon this ground are those proverbial sayings, There is no fishing like to a fishing in the sea; no service like the service of a king: because in one there is the greatest plenty and abundance of that kind of pleasure that fishers look after; and for them that serve, and must live by their service, there is none like that of princes, because they have abundance of reward and opportunity whereby to recompense the services of those that do wait and attend upon them ...

And upon the same ground is it that the Scriptures, in several places, do not only assert and testify that God is merciful and gracious, but abundant in mercy and full of grace; and not simply that there is redemption in him, but plenteousness of redemption: Psalms 103:8 130:7 Isaiah 55:7 ; "Let the wicked forsake his way", etc.; "Let him return unto the Lord and he will have mercy; and unto our God, for lie will abundantly pardon." The commodity which we stand in need of is mercy and the pardon of our sins, in case we have been unholy and ungodly creatures; this commodity is abundantly in God. There it is treasured up as waters are in the store house of the sea; there is no end of the treasures of his grace, mercy, pardon, and compassion. There is no man, being in want, but had ten times rather go to a rich man's door to be relieved, than to the door of a poor man, if he knoweth the rich man to be as liberal and bountifully disposed as the poor man can be. --John Goodwin.

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 5. -- Encouraging thoughts of God.

  1. He has goodness in his essence.
  2. He has forgiveness in readiness.
  3. He has mercy in action, flowing forth from him plenteously.
  4. His very discrimination is gracious -- "all them that call upon him."