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Psalm 91:14

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 14. Here we have the Lord himself speaking of his own chosen one.

Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him. Not because he deserves to be thus kept, but because with all his imperfections he does love his God; therefore not the angels of God only, but the God of angels himself will come to his rescue in all perilous times, and will effectually deliver him. When the heart is enamoured of the Lord, all taken up with him, and intensely attached to him, the Lord will recognise the sacred flame, and preserve the man who bears it in his bosom. It is love, -- love set upon God, which is the distinguishing mark of those whom the Lord secures from ill.

I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. The man has known the attributes of God so as to trust in him, and then by experience has arrived at a yet deeper knowledge, this shall be regarded by the Lord as a pledge of his grace, and he will set the owner of it above danger or fear, where he shall dwell in peace and joy. None abide in intimate fellowship with God unless they possess a warm affection towards God, and an intelligent trust in him; these gifts of grace are precious in Jehovah's eyes, and wherever he sees them he smiles upon them. How elevated is the standing which the Lord gives to the believer. We ought to covet it right earnestly. If we climb on high it may be dangerous, but if God sets us there it is glorious.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 14. Because he hath set his love upon me. Vulg. Because he hath hoped in me. Whatever is to be done, whatever is to be declined, whatever is to be endured, whatever is to be chosen, Thou O Lord art my hope. This is the only cause of all my promises, this the sole reason of my expectation. Let another pretend to merit, let him boast that he bears the burden and heat of the day, let him say that he fasts twice on the Sabbath, let him finally glory that he is not as other men; for me it is good to cleave unto God, to place my hope in the Lord God. Let others hope in other things, one in his knowledge of letters, another in his worldly wisdom, one in his nobility, one in his dignity, another in some other vanity, for thy sake I have made all things loss, and count them but dung; since Thou, Lord, art my hope. Bernard, quoted by Le Blanc.

Verse 14 (.first clause). As there is a because and a therefore in the process of the law, in concluding death for sin, so there is a because and a therefore in the process of grace, and of the gospel, which doth reason from one grace given to infer another grace to be given, even grace for grace; and such is this here: Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him. David Dickson.

Verse 14. He does not say, Because he is without sin, because he has perfectly kept all my precepts, because he has merit and is worthy to be delivered and guarded. But he produces those qualities which are even found in the weak, the imperfect, and those still exposed to sin in the flesh, namely, adhesion, knowledge of his name, and prayer. Musculus.

Verse 14. He hath set his love upon me. In the love of a divinely illuminated believer there is

  1. the sweet property of gratitude. The soul has just and enlarged views of the salvation which he has obtained through the name of Jesus. The evils from which he is saved; the blessings in hand, and the blessings in hope; the salvation in time, and the salvation through eternity, which can and shall be enjoyed through the name of Jesus, excites feelings of the most ardent gratitude in the soul of the Christian.
  2. Another delightful ingredient in this settled love is, admiration. Everything in the scheme and execution of God's redeeming plan is an object of admiration. All that the Lord Jesus is in himself; all that he has done; all that he does at the present; and all that he has promised to do for his people, deserves the warmest admiration. This holy feeling is experienced in the breast of the man to whom the Lord can say, He hath set his love upon me.
  3. Another ingredient in the illuminated love of the believer is delightful complacency. Nothing can afford complacent delight in any excellency unless we are persuaded that we either do possess, or may possess it. I may go to the palace of the greatest monarch in the world, and be deeply struck with astonishment and admiration at the wonder beheld, but there will not be one thrill of complacency felt in my bosom at the view of the astonishing objects which crowd upon my vision. Why? Because I neither have, nor can have any interest in them; they are not mine, nor ever can be; therefore, I cannot take complacent delight in them. But the love of the Christian is a delightful love, (as Mr. Baxter called it,) because there is in the Lord everything that is worthy of infinite and eternal admiration; and then there is the thought which produces a thrill of pleasure, -- whatever I admire I can, in some measure, possess. The illuminated eye of God's favourite sees everything in the Lord to supply his necessities; everything to satisfy his desires, all his own; which makes the soul delight itself in the Lord, and he rests in his love. Therefore, the Lord says of the object of his lovingkindness, "He hath set his love upon me" -- he hath renounced sin as the greatest abomination; he hath taken off the heart from all idolatrous attachment to the creature, and placed it fixedly and supremely upon God. William Dawson, Methodist Preacher (1773-1841).

Verse 14. He hath set his love upon me. We have a similar expression in daily use, which means the bending of all our energies to one end -- a ceaseless effort after one object. We say, "I have set my heart on such a thing." This is what God will have from us -- an intense, single hearted love. We must love him "with all our heart, and with all our soul, and with all our strength, and with all our mind," so that, like Jesus, we may "delight to do his will." Just let us think of the way in which setting our heart on anything affects us, head, hands, time, thought, action -- all are at work for us attainment. How we sacrifice everything else to it? Comfort, ease, present advantage, money, health, nay, our very selves, go freely for the sake of our cherished wish.

Have I so "set my heart upon" God? Temperaments differ. This may be an overdrawn picture of the way in which some of us seek a cherished object. But each knows his own capability in this way. God also knows our frame, and requires his best at every man's hand.

There is one thing in this verse which may encourage us very much. It is not because of perfect love that God will deliver. It is to the will to love and serve -- it is to the setting the heart, that the promise is made -- to the "full purpose of heart" that is set to cleave unto the Lord. Mary B. M. Duncan.

Verse 14. I will set him on high. That is, in an inaccessible, or lofty place, I will set him, which means, I will deliver him. When men truly know God to be a deliverer, they both put confidence in Him, and call upon Him. Then God exalts and delivers him that calls. Franciscus Vatablus.

Verse 14. I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. There is a great deal of safety in the knowledge of God, in his attributes, and in his Christ. A man's safety we see lies in his running to the tower ( Proverbs 28:10 ); he runs and is safe. And it is the knowledge of this tower that sets a man a running to it. Hence we find safety attributed to the knowledge of the Lord. "I will set him on high," I will exalt him, and so he shall be safe. Why so? "Because he hath known my name"; for the knowing of God aright was that which made him run, and so he is exalted and set on high. Then a man is safe when he hath got this tower to be his tower, when he hath gotten God to be his God. Now when we know God, we get him to be our God, and make this tower our tower, Jeremiah 24:7 : "I will give them an heart to know me, and I will be their God." Jeremiah Dyke, in "The Righteous Man's Tower," 1639.

Verse 14-16. He hath known my name. From this text I would introduce to your notice the most desirable character under the sun; and I would exhibit him before you to excite each one to seek, until you obtain the same blessedness. The character that I shall exhibit is GOD'S FAVOURITE, one who is an object of the "lovingkindness of the Lord"; and in reading this passage there are two things which strike our attention concerning such a character. First, what the Lord says of him. Second, what the Lord says to him.

Now, then, my brethren -- LOOK! There stands before you GOD's FAVOURITE!

  1. Listen to what God says OF him.
    1. He says of him, "He knows my name." The first principle of the life of God the fallen soul of man is knowledge; spiritual, divine knowledge. The first operation of the Holy Ghost in the work of salvation, is a conviction of the character and perfections and relations of God. The Lord says, "he knows my name." He knows my name as Omniscient, Omnipresent, Holy, Just and True.
      1. He first knows my name as a sin hating, sin avenging God; and this knowledge was a means of leading him to a deep sense of his own personal corruption, guilt, and danger as a sinner.
      2. But the favourite of the Lord knows his name as revealed to Moses, as "The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity, and transgression, and sin." He knows the name of the Lord as concentrated in the name of Jesus, who "shall save his people from their sins." By the white beams of God's holiness, (if I may so speak) the sinner sees his corruption, guilt and deformity: by the red beams of God's justice he sees his unspeakable danger: by the mild beams of God's mercy, he discovers a ground of hope -- that there is pardon for his aggravated crimes. But it is in the face of our Lord Jesus Christ, that God appears most delightful. Hence we can say to every saved soul, as Paul did to the Corinthians: -- "God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." As all the colours of the rainbow meet in one sunbeam, so all the perfections of God as perfectly unite, and more beautifully shine forth, in the person and offices of Jesus Christ, upon the soul of the penitent believer. This saving knowledge is always vital, active, and powerful. William Dawson.

Verse 14. He hath known my name. May we not get some light on this expression from the custom of the Jews, keeping the name JEHOVAH sacred to their own use, regarding it as too holy even to be pronounced by them in common use and thus preserving it from being taken in vain by the heathen around? Thus it was known to Jews only... But whatever be the origin of the expressions, to "know His name," to "trust in His name," to "believe in His name," it evidently in all these cases means whatever is revealed concerning Him -- all that by which he maketh himself known. His Word, his Providence, above all, his Son, are included thus in his name, which we must know, believe in, and trust. So that to "know his name" is to know himself, as revealed in the Gospel. Mary B. M. Duncan.

Verse 14. (last clause). Sound love to God, floweth from and is joined with sound knowledge of God, as his Majesty is declared unto us in Scripture: the believer who hath set his love upon God, hath known my name, saith he. David Dickson.

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 14-16. The six "I wills."

Verse 14. Here we have,

  1. Love for love: "Because," etc.
    1. The fact of the saints' love to God. There is, first, love in God without their love, then love for their love.
    2. The evidence of his love to them: "I will deliver him" -- from sin, from danger, from temptation, from every evil.
  2. Honour for honour.
    1. His honouring God. "He hath known my name" and made it known; God honouring him; "I will set him on high" -- high in honour, in happiness, in glory. G. R.
Read Psalm 91:14