Verse 3. He hath remembered his mercy and his truth toward the house of Israel. To them Jesus came in the flesh, and to them was the gospel first preached; and though they counted themselves unworthy of eternal life, yet the covenant was not broken, for the true Israel were called into fellowship and still remain so. The mercy which endureth for ever, and the fidelity which cannot forget a promise, secure to the chosen seed the salvation long ago guaranteed by the covenant of grace.
All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God. Not to Abraham's seed alone after the flesh, but to the elect among all nations, has grace been given; therefore, let the whole church of God sing unto him a new song. It was no small blessing, or little miracle, that throughout all lands the gospel should be published in so short a time, with such singular success and such abiding results. Pentecost deserves a new song as well as the Passion and the Resurrection; let out hearts exult as we remember it. Our God, our own for ever blessed God, has been honoured by those who once bowed down before dumb idols; his salvation has not only been heard of but seen among all people, it has been experienced as well as explained; his Son is the actual Redeemer of a multitude out of all nations.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 3. He hath remembered his mercy and his truth. The psalmist very properly observes, that God in redeeming the world "remembered his truth," which he had given to Israel his people -- language, too, which implies that he was influenced by no other motive than that of faithfully performing what he had himself promised. The more clearly to show that the promise was not grounded at all on the merit or righteousness of man, he mentions the "mercy" of God first, and afterwards his "faithfulness" which stood connected with it. The cause, in short, was not to be found out of God himself, (to use a common expression,) but in his mere good pleasure, which had been testified long before to Abraham and his posterity. The word "remembered" is used in accommodation to man's apprehension; for what has been long suspended seems to have been forgotten. Upwards of two thousand years elapsed from the time of giving the promise to the appearance of Christ, and as the people of God were subjected to many afflictions and calamities, we need not wonder that they should have sighed, and given way to ominous fears regarding the fulfilment of this redemption. John Calvin.
Verse 3. He hath remembered his mercy and his truth. His mercy moved him to make his promise, and his truth hath engaged him to perform it; and he hath been mindful of both, by scattering the blessed influences of his light and bounty over the face of the whole earth, and causing all nations to set and partake of the salvation of God. Matthew Hole (-1730).
Verse 3. All the ends of the earth have seen, etc. O unhappy Judea. The ends of the earth have seen, the salvation of God, every land is moved to joy, the whole globe is glad, the floods clap their hands, the hills rejoice; yet the evil hearts of the Jews believe not, but are smitten with the penalty of unbelief in the darkness of their blindness. Gregory, in Lorinus.
Verse 3. Have seen. There is a degree of point in the expression have seen; it implies actual faith, united with knowledge, that moves the will to love and to desire; for they cannot be said to have seen God's salvation, who, content with nominal faith never bestow a thought on the Saviour. Bellarmine.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 3. (first clause). The Lord's memory of his covenant. Times in which he seems to forget it; ways in which even in those times he proves his faithfulness; great deeds of grace by which at other times he shows his memory of his promises; and reasons why he must ever be mindful of his covenant.
Verse 3. (last clause). All the ends of the earth.
- Literally. Missionaries have visited every land.
- Spiritually. Men ready to despair, to perish.
- Prophetically. Dwell on the grand promises concerning the future, and the triumphs of the church. E.G.G.
Verse 3. All the ends of the earth have seen, &c.
- The greatest foreigners have seen it; many have "come from the east and the west;" Greeks, Peter's hearers, the Eunuch, Greenlanders, South Sea Islanders, Negroes, Red Indians, &c., &c.
- The ripest saints have seen it; they are at the light end of the earth, stepping out of the wilderness into Canaan, &c.
- The vilest sinners have seen it; those who have wandered so far that they could get no farther without stepping into hell. The dying thief. The woman who was a sinner. Those whom Whitefield called "the devil's castaways." W. J.