Praise for God's sovereign power in the creation. (1-7) For his favour to his church. (8-12) And the psalmist's praise for his experience of God's goodness. (13-20)
Verses 1-7 The holy church throughout all the world lifts up her voice, to laud that Name which is above every name, to make the praise of Jesus glorious, both by word and deed; that others may be led to glorify him also. But nothing can bring men to do this aright, unless his effectual grace create their hearts anew unto holiness; and in the redemption by the death of Christ, and the glorious deliverances it effects, are more wondrous works than Israel's deliverance from Egyptian bondage.
Verses 8-12 The Lord not only preserves our temporal life, but maintains the spiritual life which he has given to believers. By afflictions we are proved, as silver in the fire. The troubles of the church will certainly end well. Through various conflicts and troubles, the slave of Satan escapes from his yoke, and obtains joy and peace in believing: through much tribulation the believer must enter into the kingdom of God.
Verses 13-20 We should declare unto those that fear God, what he has done for our souls, and how he has heard and answered our prayers, inviting them to join us in prayer and praise; this will turn to our mutual comfort, and to the glory of God. We cannot share these spiritual privileges, if we retain the love of sin in our hearts, though we refrain from the gross practice, Sin, regarded in the heart, will spoil the comfort and success of prayer; for the sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination of the Lord. But if the feeling of sin in the heart causes desires to be rid of it; if it be the presence of one urging a demand we know we must not, cannot comply with, this is an argument of sincerity. And when we pray in simplicity and godly sincerity, our prayers will be answered. This will excite gratitude to Him who hath not turned away our prayer nor his mercy from us. It was not prayer that fetched the deliverance, but his mercy that sent it. That is the foundation of our hopes, the fountain of our comforts; and ought to be the matter of our praises.
Psalms 66:1-20 . The writer invites all men to unite in praise, cites some striking occasions for it, promises special acts of thanksgiving, and celebrates God's great mercy.
1. Make . . . noise--or, "Shout."
2. his name--as in Psalms 29:2 .
make his praise glorious--literally, "place honor, His praise," or, "as to His praise"; that is, let His praise be such as will glorify Him, or, be honorable to Him.
3, 4. A specimen of the praise.
How terrible--(Compare Psalms 65:8 ).
submit--(Compare Margin), show a forced subjection ( Psalms 18:44 ), produced by terror.
5, 6. The terrible works illustrated in Israel's history ( Exodus 14:21 ). By this example let rebels be admonished.
7. behold the nations--watch their conduct.
8, 9. Here is, perhaps, cited a case of recent deliverance.
9. holdeth . . . in life--literally, "putteth our soul in life"; that is, out of danger ( Psalms 30:3 , 49:15 ).
to be moved--(Compare Psalms 10:6 , 55:22 ).
10-12. Out of severe trials, God had brought them to safety (compare Isaiah 48:10 , 1 Peter 1:7 ).
11. affliction--literally, "pressure," or, as in Psalms 55:3 , "oppression," which, laid on the
loins--the seat of strength ( Deuteronomy 33:11 ), enfeebles the frame.
12. men to ride over our heads--made us to pass.
through fire, &c.--figures describing prostration and critical dangers (compare Isaiah 43:2 , Ezekiel 36:12 ).
wealthy--literally, "overflowing," or, "irrigated," and hence fertile.
13-15. These full and varied offerings constitute the payment of vows ( Leviticus 22:18-23 ).
15. I will offer--literally, "make to ascend," alluding to the smoke of burnt offering, which explains the use of "incense."
incense--elsewhere always denoting the fumes of aromatics.
16-20. With these he unites his public thanks, inviting those who fear God ( Psalms 60:4 , 61:5 , His true worshippers) to hear. He vindicates his sincerity, inasmuch as God would not hear hypocrites, but had heard him.
17. he was extolled with my tongue--literally, "exaltation (was) under my tongue," as a place of deposit, whence it proceeded; that is, honoring God was habitual.
18. If I regard iniquity in my heart--literally, "see iniquity with pleasure."