God is to be praised in the kingdom of grace. (1-5) In the kingdom of providence. (6-13)
Verses 1-5 All the praise the Lord receives from this earth is from Zion, being the fruit of the Spirit of Christ, and acceptable through him. Praise is silent unto thee, as wanting words to express the great goodness of God. He reveals himself upon a mercy-seat, ready to hear and answer the prayers of all who come unto him by faith in Jesus Christ. Our sins prevail against us; we cannot pretend to balance them with any righteousness of our own: yet, as for our transgressions, of thine own free mercy, and for the sake of a righteousness of thine own providing, we shall not come into condemnation for them. Observe what it is to come into communion with God in order to blessedness. It is to converse with him as one we love and value; it is to apply ourselves closely to religion as to the business of our dwelling-place. Observe how we come into communion with God; only by God's free choice. There is abundance of goodness in God's house, and what is satisfying to the soul; there is enough for all, enough for each: it is always ready; and all without money and without price. By faith and prayer we may keep up communion with God, and bring in comfort from him, wherever we are. But it is only through that blessed One, who approaches the Father as our Advocate and Surety, that sinners may expect or can find this happiness.
Verses 6-13 That Almighty strength which sets fast the mountains, upholds the believer. That word which stills the stormy ocean, and speaks it into a calm, can silence our enemies. How contrary soever light and darkness are to each other, it is hard to say which is most welcome. Does the watchman wait for the morning? so does the labourer earnestly desire the shades of evening. Some understand it of the morning and evening sacrifices. We are to look upon daily worship, both alone and with our families, to be the most needful of our daily occupations, the most delightful of our daily comforts. How much the fruitfulness of this lower part of the creation depends upon the influence of the upper, is easy to observe; every good and perfect gift is from above. He who enriches the earth, which is filled with man's sins, by his abundant and varied bounty, can neither want power nor will to feed the souls of his people. Temporal mercies to us unworthy creatures, shadow forth more important blessings. The rising of the Sun of righteousness, and the pouring forth of the influences of the Holy Spirit, that river of God, full of the waters of life and salvation, render the hard, barren, worthless hearts of sinners fruitful in every good work, and change the face of nations more than the sun and rain change the face of nature. Wherever the Lord passes, by his preached gospel, attended by his Holy Spirit, his paths drop fatness, and numbers are taught to rejoice in and praise him. They will descend upon the pastures of the wilderness, all the earth shall hear and embrace the gospel, and bring forth abundantly the fruits of righteousness which are, through Jesus Christ, to the glory of the Father. Manifold and marvellous, O Lord, are thy works, whether of nature or of grace; surely in loving-kindness hast thou made them all.
Psalms 65:1-13 . This is a song of praise for God's spiritual blessings to His people and His kind providence over all the earth.
1. Praise waiteth for thee--literally, "To Thee silence praise," or (compare Psalms 62:1 ), To Thee silence is praise, that is, Praise is waiting as a servant; it is due to Thee. So the last clause expresses the duty of paying vows. These two parts of acceptable worship, mentioned in Psalms 50:14 , are rendered in Zion, where God chiefly displays His mercy and receives homage.
2. All are encouraged to pray by God's readiness to hear.
3. God's mercy alone delivers us from the burden of iniquities, by purging or expiating by an atonement the transgressions with which we are charged, and which are denoted by--
Iniquities--or, literally, "Words of iniquities."
4. dwell in thy courts; . . . [and] satisfied with the goodness . . . temple--denote communion with God ( Psalms 15:1 , 23:6 ; compare Psalms 5:7 ). This is a blessing for all God's people, as denoted by the change of number.
5. terrible things--that is, by the manifestation of justice and wrath to enemies, accompanying that of mercy to His people ( Psalms 63:9-11 , 64:7-9 ).
the confidence--object of it.
of all . . . earth--the whole world; that is, deservedly such, whether men think so or not.
6-13. God's great power and goodness are the grounds of this confidence. These are illustrated in His control of the mightiest agencies of nature and nations affecting men with awe and dread ( Psalms 26:7 , 98:1 , &c.), and in His fertilizing showers, causing the earth to produce abundantly for man and beast.
8. outgoings of . . . rejoice--all people from east to west.
9. visitest--in mercy (compare Psalms 8:4 ).
river of God--His exhaustless resources.
11. thy paths--ways of providence ( Psalms 25:4 Psalms 25:10 ).
12. wilderness--places, though not inhabited by men, fit for pasture ( Leviticus 16:21 Leviticus 16:22 , Job 24:5 ).
pastures--is literally, "folds," or "enclosures for flocks"; and in Psalms 65:13 it may be "lambs," the same word used and so translated in Psalms 37:20 ; so that "the flocks are clothed with lambs" (a figure for abundant increase) would be the form of expression.