David praises God, and encourages to trust him. (1-10) He exhorts to fear. (11-22)
Verses 1-10 If we hope to spend eternity in praising God, it is fit that we should spend much of our time here in this work. He never said to any one, Seek ye me in vain. David's prayers helped to silence his fears; many besides him have looked unto the Lord by faith and prayer, and it has wonderfully revived and comforted them. When we look to the world, we are perplexed, and at a loss. But on looking to Christ depends our whole salvation, and all things needful thereunto do so also. This poor man, whom no man looked upon with any respect, or looked after with any concern, was yet welcome to the throne of grace; the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles. The holy angels minister to the saints, and stand for them against the powers of darkness. All the glory be to the Lord of the angels. By taste and sight we both make discoveries, and have enjoyment; Taste and see God's goodness; take notice of it, and take the comfort of it. He makes all truly blessed that trust in him. As to the things of the other world, they shall have grace sufficient for the support of spiritual life. And as to this life, they shall have what is necessary from the hand of God. Paul had all, and abounded, because he was content, ( Philippians 4:11-18 ) . Those who trust to themselves, and think their own efforts sufficient for them, shall want; but they shall be fed who trust in the Lord. Those shall not want, who with quietness work, and mind their own business.
Verses 11-22 Let young persons set out in life with learning the fear of the Lord, if they desire true comfort here, and eternal happiness hereafter. Those will be most happy who begin the soonest to serve so good a Master. All aim to be happy. Surely this must look further than the present world; for man's life on earth consists but of few days, and those full of trouble. What man is he that would see the good of that where all bliss is perfect? Alas! few have this good in their thoughts. That religion promises best which creates watchfulness over the heart and over the tongue. It is not enough not to do hurt, we must study to be useful, and to live to some purpose; we must seek peace and pursue it; be willing to deny ourselves a great deal for peace' sake. It is the constant practice of real believers, when in distress, to cry unto God, and it is their constant comfort that he hears them. The righteous are humbled for sin, and are low in their own eyes. Nothing is more needful to true godliness than a contrite heart, broken off from every self-confidence. In this soil every grace will flourish, and nothing can encourage such a one but the free, rich grace of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The righteous are taken under the special protection of the Lord, yet they have their share of crosses in this world, and there are those that hate them. Both from the mercy of Heaven, and the malice of hell, the afflictions of the righteous must be many. But whatever troubles befal them, shall not hurt their souls, for God keeps them from sinning in troubles. No man is desolate, but he whom God has forsaken.
Psalms 34:1-22 . On the title compare 1 Samuel 21:13 . Abimelech was the general name of the sovereign ( Genesis 20:2 ). After celebrating God's gracious dealings with him, the Psalmist exhorts others to make trial of His providential care, instructing them how to secure it. He then contrasts God's care of His people and His punitive providence towards the wicked.
1-4. Even in distress, which excites supplication, there is always matter for praising and thanking God (compare Ephesians 5:20 , Philippians 4:6 ).
2. make her boast--"glory" ( Psalms 105:3 ; compare Galatians 6:14 ).
humble--"the pious," as in Psalms 9:12 , 25:9 .
3. magnify the Lord--ascribe greatness to Him, an act of praise.
together--"alike" ( Psalms 33:15 ), or, equally, without exception.
4. delivered . . . fears--as well as actual evil ( Psalms 64:1 ).
5-7. God's favor to the pious generally, and to himself specially, is celebrated.
looked--with desire for help.
lightened--or, "brightened," expressing joy, opposed to the downcast features of those who are ashamed or disappointed ( Psalms 25:2 Psalms 25:3 ).
6. This poor man--literally, "humble," himself as a specimen of such.
7. angel--of the covenant ( Isaiah 63:9 ), of whom as a leader of God's host ( Joshua 5:14 , 1 Kings 22:19 ), the phrase--
encampeth, &c.--is appropriate; or, "angel" used collectively for angels ( Hebrews 1:14 ).
8. taste and see--try and experience.
9. that fear him--who are pious--fear and love ( Proverbs 1:7 , 9:10 ).
saints--consecrated to His service ( Isaiah 40:31 ).
10. not want any good--"good" is emphatic; they may be afflicted (compare Psalms 34:10 ); but this may be a good ( 2 Corinthians 4:17 2 Corinthians 4:18 , Hebrews 12:10 Hebrews 12:11 ).
11. children--subjects of instruction ( Proverbs 1:8 Proverbs 1:10 ).
12. What man--Whoever desires the blessings of piety, let him attend.
13, 14. Sins of thought included in those of speech ( Luke 6:45 ), avoiding evil and doing good in our relations to men are based on a right relation to God.
15. eyes of the Lord are upon--( Psalms 32:8 , 33:18 ).
16. face . . . against--opposed to them ( Leviticus 17:10 , 20:3 ).
cut off the remembrance--utterly destroy ( Psalms 109:13 ).
17, 18. Humble penitents are objects of God's special tender regard ( Psalms 51:19 , Isaiah 57:15 ).
20. bones--framework of the body.
21, 22. Contrast in the destiny of righteous and wicked; the former shall be delivered and never come into condemnation ( John 5:24 , Romans 8:1 ); the latter are left under condemnation and desolate.