Verse 43. Those who notice providence shall never be long without a providence notice. It is wise to observe what the Lord doth, for he is wonderful in counsel; has given us eyes to see with, and it is foolish to close them when there is most to observe; but we must observe wisely, otherwise we may soon confuse ourselves and others with hasty reflections upon the dealings of the Lord. In a thousand ways the lovingkindness of the Lord is shown, and if we will prudently watch, we shall come to a better understanding of it. To understand the delightful attribute of lovingkindness is an attainment as pleasant it is profitable: those who are proficient scholars in this art will be among sweetest singers to the glory of Jehovah.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 43. Whoso is wise, etc. Or as it may be read interrogatively, "Who is wise?" as in Jeremiah 9:12 Hosea 14:9 ; that is, spiritually wise, wise unto salvation; who is made to know wisdom in the hidden part; for not such as possessed of natural wisdom, or worldly wise men, much less who are wise to do evil, are here meant. "And will observe these things"; the remarkable appearances of divine Providence to persons in distress; the various changes and vicissitudes in the world; the several afflictions of God's people, and their deliverances out of them; the wonderful works of God in nature, providence, and grace; these will be observed, taken notice of, laid up in the mind, and kept by such who are truly wise, who know how to make a right use and proper improvement of them. Even they shall understand the lovingkindness of the LORD; every one of the wise men; they will perceive the kindness of God unto men, in the several dispensations of his providence towards them, and his special love and kindness towards his own people, even in all their afflictions they will perceive this to be at the bottom of every mercy and blessing; they will understand more of the nature and excellency of it, and know more of the love of God and Christ, which passeth knowledge. Or, the kindnesses of the Lord shall be understood; that is, by wise men; so R. Moses in Aben Ezra renders the words. --John Gill.
Verse 43. Will observe these things, etc. Will carefully note and remark what is here said of the fall and recovery of mankind, of our state by nature and by grace. True wisdom consists in observing these two things, what we are in ourselves, and what we are in Christ; in a deep sense of our misery by sin, stirring us up to seek our remedy in the Redeemer. This is wisdom. And whosoever is thus wise unto salvation shall understand the lovingkindness of the Lord; shall be able to apply what he understands of it to his own private use and benefit. The verb in the original rendered "shall understand", is in the conjugation called Hithpael, which signifies to act upon itself. Whosoever observes those things properly finds his own interest in them. He makes the understanding of them useful to himself. He does not study them as a science or theory, but as interesting points in which he is nearly concerned, and which he therefore tries to bring home for his own private advantage. When he hears of the mercies of the Lord Jesus recorded in this psalm he desires to partake of them. When he hears of the great deliverances vouchsafed to sinful ruined man, he studies to have his own share in them. What is said of these persons who wandered out of the way in the wilderness, and fell into the bondage of sin, and were afflicted with its diseases, and troubled like a stormy sea, with its continual tempests; all this he knows was his own case, and therefore what follows of their flourishing state after Christ delivered them may be his also if he cry unto the Lord, as they did, for help. And he never ceases praying and seeking, until the blessed Jesus brings him to the haven of the church, where he would be. And if he find the church diminished and brought low, he is not discouraged; but relies on the promises of his God, who will set him on high out of the reach of public calamity, when he comes to destroy an infidel church. He observes what is said on this psalm concerning those things; and he knows it to be true, by his own experience. And therefore the lovingkindness of the Lord here recorded is to him a subject of exceeding great joy, because he has tasted of it. Whoso is wise will bring his knowledge of this psalm home to his own heart, and he shall understand the lovingkindness of the Lord, he shall be able to apply what he understands to his own benefit, and shall therefore be continually praising the Lord for his goodness, and declaring the wonders which he hath done for the salvation of men. --William Romaine.
Verse 43. Observe these things. "To observe, signifieth not only with our eyes to behold it; but so to stir up our minds to the consideration of a thing, that one may grow the better by it", saith a grave author. Now in this notion of it, how few are they that observe "these things"? ...
If you would by observing the providence of God understand his loving kindness, and gain a spiritual wisdom, let your eye affect your heart. Mollerus telleth us, such an observation is here intended unde ad pietatem exuscitemur, ut inde meliores evadamus, "as will quicken us to piety, and help to make us better." There are many careless observers of providence, who indeed see events rather than providence; they see much that comes to pass in the world, but consider nothing of God in them ... They do by the book of providence, as Augustine complained of himself, that in his unregenerate state he did by the book of Scripture; he rather brought to it discutiendi acumen, than discendi pietatem. So men bring to the great works of God rather an acute eye and wit to find out the immediate causes, and reasons natural and political, than a trembling, humble heart, that they might learn by them more to acknowledge, love, fear, adore, and revere the great and mighty God whose works these are. Let not yours be such an observation; but let your eye, beholding God in his providential dispensations, affect your hearts with that adoration and veneration, that love and fear of the great and mighty God, which such works of God do call to you for. --John Collinges (1623- 1690), in "Several Discourses concerning the actual Providence of God."
Verse 43. Observe these things. These mighty doings of our Saviour and our God in delivering his feeble creatures from the trackless wilderness of error, -- from the noisome chain of carnal lust, -- from the deadly sickness of a corrupt nature, -- and from the wild tempest of earthly passion, deserve the thoughtful joy of all who would be faithful servants of their Lord. The mouth of unbelief and the excuses of iniquity are stopped by the sight of the marvels of that mercy which endureth for ever. "The accuser of the brethren" is silenced and cast down. The truly wise will ponder these things, for in the knowledge of them is true wisdom; and so pondering, there shall open before them, ever plainer, fuller, clearer, brighter, the revelation of that mighty love of their eternal Father which surpasses all understanding, and is more vast than all thought. --"Plain Commentary."
Verse 43. How great a volume might be wrote, de observandis Providentiae, concerning the observable things of Divine Providence. I have seen a picture (one of those you call kitchen pieces) concerning which it hath been proposed to me, that for so many hours I should view it as curiously as I could; yet the proposer would for any wager undertake to show me something in it which I did not observe. Truly Providence is such a thing, I can never look upon it, I can never take the motions of it into my thoughts, but some new observation tenders itself into my thoughts, I must turn my eyes from this wonderful work, for I see they will not be satisfied with seeing, my mind will never be filled with observation. --John Collinges.
Verse 43. When we speak of the love and favour of God to his people, we are prone to understand by it nothing but pleasing providence, grateful to our senses: now the lovingkindness of God is not only seen in pleasing dispensations, but in adverse providence also: "Whom he loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every child whom he receiveth": "all things are yours", saith the apostle. This knowledge must be gained by observation. --John Collinges.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 43. The best observation and the noblest understanding.
WORKS ON THE HUNDRED AND SEVENTH PSALM.
pe lagoj. Nec inter vivos, nec inter mortuos, Neither amongst the Living, nor amongst the Dead. Or, an IMPROVEMENT of the SEA. Upon the Nine Nautical Verses in the 107th Psalme ... By DANIEL PELL, Preacher of the Word. London ... 1659 (8vo.).
A Special Treatise of God's Providence, and of Comforts against all kinds of crosses and calamities to be fetched from the same. With an exposition of the 107th Psalme. By P. Baro. Englished by I.L. (John Ludham) B.L. (London 1588, 8vo. Black Letter.)
A Practical Comment on the Hundred and Seventh Psalm. Preached at the Thursday's Lecture, at St. Dunstan's Church in the West, London. By William Romaine, Lecturer of the said Church. London, 1767. (8vo.)