Psalm 89:30

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 30. If his children forsake my law, and walk not in my judgments. It was possible, terribly possible, that David's posterity might wander from the Lord; indeed they did so, but what then? Was the mercy of God to pass away from David's seed? -- far from it. So, too, the seed of the Son of David are apt to start aside, but are they therefore cast away? Not a single word gives liberty for such an idea, but the very reverse. Expositors in their fear of Calvinistic doctrine shake off the fear of adding to the word of God, or else they would not have spent their time in talking about "the conditions" of this absolutely unconditional covenant.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 30. If his children forsake my law. An objection is supposed: `Suppose this seed who are included in the covenant fall into transgression, how shall the covenant stand fast then?' The covenant, with the seed, shall stand for ever, but the seed must be a holy seed. Then the objector supposes -- `Suppose the seed become unholy?' Well, God explains -- "If his children forsake my law, and walk not in my judgments" -- that is, if the seed practically fall away -- "If they break my statutes, and keep not my commandments; then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes. Nevertheless my lovingkindness will I not take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail." Mark the case. What is it that God will do? The case supposed is that the seed of Christ forsakes the law and breaks his statutes. I need not say to you that that is realized every day. These are not the ungodly or the unconverted that are spoken of, but God's own children. Do you say, `Can they be guilty of breaking God's statutes, and forsaking God's law?' We do it every day. There is no single day of our lives that we do not do it ...

How astonished many would be, if they knew what the real case was of those perhaps whom they admire, and think highly advanced and exalted in the Divine life, if they were to know the falls, the wretched falls, falls in heart, in word and in practice; if they were to know the deep distress that the children of God, who are far advanced as they suppose in the Divine life, are continually suffering from the effect of such transgression! That is exactly what God says; he comes and contemplates such a case, and he says, "If they break my statutes, and keep not my commandments, then" -- what? What will God do? Some people say, "Then God will leave them." Those who object to the doctrine of final perseverance say this: "It is true he will preserve the believer from the toils of the Devil and the temptations of the world, but not from the breaking forth of his own natural evil." He may be betrayed by that, and finally lost. God exactly meets that case; he contemplates the worst case -- actual transgression. He says, "If a child of mine breaks my law". He does not say anything about the Devil, or the outward temptations of the world; but he says, "If they forsake my law and break my statutes." Let us be instructed by God. He does not say he will leave them and forsake them. Mark what he will do! He say -- "I will visit their transgressions with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes." That is the provision which God has made in his covenant: and it is delightful to see how God has contemplated our case to the uttermost. There is nothing in our history that God has not met in the covenant with Christ. If you are in union with Christ, and a partaker of the covenant, your case is met in every conceivable emergency. Nothing can befall you which is not contemplated -- nothing which God has not provided for. Even if you fall, God has provided for it; but take heed; the provision involves much that will be terrible and desperately painful to your mind. There is nothing to encourage sin about it; there is nothing to give us license, nothing to lead a man to boast, "I am safe at last." Be it so: but safe how? How will God secure their safety? "I will visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes." --Capel Molyneux.

Verse 30. If his children forsake my law. If they fall into sins of commission; if they shoot beyond the mark. And walk not in my judgements. If they fall into sins of omission, and shoot short. Where note that every transgression and disobedience (that is, every commission and omission) receiveth a just recompense of reward, Hebrews 2:2 . --John Trapp.

Verse 30. His children. wynb, his sons, i.e. Christians, born through the griefs of Christ on the cross, like the pangs of one in travail. --Geier.

Verse 30. A man may forsake the doctrines of the Gospel. He may fall into great errors, great aberrations from Truth; he may forsake the ordinances of the Lord's house, though he sees God's word is clear upon the point. He esteems those things as nothing worth, which the Lord esteems so well, that he has given them to his church as a sacred deposit, which she is to convey down to the last posterity till time shall be no more. And what is still more -- a man may forsake for a time the principles of the precious Gospel of the living God. But I can imagine a state still more solemnly affecting than even this. It is a part of God's wisdom, (and it is for our good that it is so -- all God's wisdom is for his people's good) -- it is a part of the wisdom of God, that sin should lead to sin; that one neglect shall pave the way to another; that that which is bad shall lead to that which is worse, and that which is worse shall prepare the way for that which is worst ... The longer I live, the more I am brought to this -- to know that there is not a sin that ever was committed, but I need the grace of God to keep me from it. --James Harrington Evans.

Verse 30-34. God here says two things: first, that he will chastise them, next, that he will not, on that account, cast them out of his covenant. O wonderful tempering of the kindness and severity of God! In which he finds his own glory, and believers their safety! The heavenly Father loves the blood and marks of his Christ which he sees upon them, and the remains of faith and godliness which are preserved hidden in the depth of their heart, this is why he will not cast them off. On the other hand, he considers that it accords neither with his wisdom nor his holiness to bestow his grace and salvation upon those who do not relent for having cast off his law and given themselves up to iniquity. In order to harmonize these opposite desires, he takes the rod, and chastises them, to arouse their conscience, and to excite their faith; to restore them, by the repentance which his discipline produces, to such a state, as that he may be able to bestow upon them, without shame, the blessings he has promised to the children of his Son; just as a wise parent, by moderate and judicious correction gradually draws back his son from those irregularities of life into which he has plunged; and thereby preserves his honour, and himself the pleasure of being able to love and please him without misgiving. Or, as a skilful surgeon, by the pain which his knife, or cautery, or bitter potions, cause his patient, saves his life, and wards off death. --Jean Daille.

Verse 30-34. When our heavenly Father is, as it were, forced to put forth his anger, he then makes use of a father's rod, not an executioner's axe. He will neither break his children's bones, nor his own covenant. He lashes in love, in measure, in pity, and compassion. --Thomas Lye, 1621-1684.

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 30-34.

  1. The persons referred to. "His children." "Ye are all the children", etc.
  2. The supposition concerning them. "If his children forsake", etc.
    1. They may possibly -- may fall, though not fall away.
    2. They will probably, because they are far from being perfect.
    3. They have actually: as David himself and others.
  3. The threatening founded upon that supposition.
    1. Specified -- "the rod -- stripes." They shall smart for it sooner or later.
    2. Certified. "Then will I."
  • The qualification of the threatening. "Nevertheless", etc.
    1. The nevertheless characterized. Lovingkindness not removed, etc.
    2. Emphasised. The rod may seem to be in anger, nevertheless, etc.

    There is,

    1. An if.
    2. A then.
    3. A nevertheless.