Verse 162. I rejoice at thy word, as one that findeth great spoil. His awe did not prevent his joy; his fear of God was not of the kind which perfect love casts out, but of the sort which it nourishes. He trembled at the word of the Lord, and yet rejoiced at it. He compares his joy to that of one who has been long in battle, and has at last won the victory and is dividing the spoil. This usually falls to the lot of princes, and though David was not one with them in their persecutions, yet he had his victories, and his spoil was equal to their greatest gains. The profits made in searching the Scriptures were greater than the trophies of war. We too have to fight for divine truth; every doctrine costs us a battle, but when we gain a full understanding of it by personal struggles it becomes doubly precious to us. In these days godly men have a full share of battling for the word of God; may we have for our spoil a firmer hold upon the priceless word. Perhaps, however, the Psalmist may have rejoiced as one who comes upon hidden treasure for which lie had not fought, in which case we find the analogy in the man of God who, while reading the Bible, makes grand and blessed discoveries of the grace of God laid up for him, -- discoveries which surprise him, for he looked not to find such a prize. Whether we come by the truth as finders or as warriors fighting for it, the heavenly treasure should be equally dear to us. With what quiet joy does the ploughman steal home with his golden find! How victors shout as they share the plunder! How glad should that man be who has discovered his portion in the promises of holy writ, and is able to enjoy it for himself, knowing by the witness of the Holy Spirit that it is all his own.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 162. -- I rejoice at thy word, as one that findeth great spoil. He never came to an ordinance but as a soldier to the spoil, after a great battle, as having a constant warfare with his corruptions that fought against his soul. Now he comes to see what God will say to him, and he will make himself a saver or gainer, and get a booty out of every commandment, promise, or threatening he hears. --John Cotton (1585-1652), in "The way of life."
Verse 162. -- I rejoice at thy word. "Euripides," saith the orator, "hath in his well composed tragedies more sentiments than sayings;" and Thucydides hath so stuffed every syllable of his history with substance, that the one runs parallel along with the other; Lysias's works are so well couched that you cannot take out the least word but you take away the whole sense with it; and Phocion had a special faculty of speaking much in a few words. The Cretians, in Plato's time (however degenerated in St. Paul's), were more weighty than wordy; Timanthes was famous in this, that in his pictures more things were intended than deciphered; and of Homer it is said that none could ever peer him for poetry. Then how much more apt and apposite are these high praises to the book of God, rightly called the Bible or the book as if it were, as indeed it is, both for fitness of terms and fulness of truth, the only book to winch (as Luther saith) all the books in the world are but waste paper. It is called the word, by way of eminency, because it must be the butt and boundary of all our words; and the scripture, as the lord paramount above all other words or writings of men collected into volumes, there being, as the Rabbins say, a mountain of sense hanging upon every tittle of it, whence may be gathered flowers and phrases to polish our speeches with, even sound words, that have a healing property in them, far above all filed phrases of human elocution. --Thomas Adams.
Verse 162. -- As one that findeth great spoil. This expressive image may remind us of the inward conflict to be endured in acquiring the spoils of this precious word. It is so contrary to our natural taste and temper, that habitual self-denial and struggle with the indisposition of the heart can alone enable us to "find the spoil." But what "great spoil" is divided as the fruit of the conflict! How rich and abundant is the recompense of the "good soldier of Jesus Christ," who is determined through the power of the Spirit to "endure hardness," until he overcome the reluctance of his heart to this spiritual duty. He shall "rejoice in finding great spoil." Sometimes -- as the spoil with which the lepers enriched themselves in the Syrian camp -- it may be found unexpectedly. Sometimes we see the riches and treasures contained in a passage or doctrine, long before we can make it our own. And often when we gird ourselves to the conflict with indolence, and wanderings, under the weakness of our spiritual perceptions and the power of unbelief, many a prayer, and many a sigh is sent up for Divine aid, before we are crowned with victory, and are enabled, as the fruit of our conquest joyfully to appropriate the word to our present need and distress. --Charles Bridges.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 162. --
- The treasure hid: "great spoil" hidden in the divine word.
- The treasure found: "as one that findeth," etc.
(a) By reading.
(b) By meditation.
(c) By prayer.
- The treasure enjoyed: "I rejoice," etc.
Verse 162. -- David's joy over God's word he compares to the joy of the warrior when he finds great spoil.
- This great joy is sometimes aroused by the fact that there is a word of God.
- The Scriptures are a revealing of God.
(b) The guide of our life.
(c) A sure pledge of mercy.
(d) The beginning of communion with God.
(e) The instrument of usefulness.
- Frequently the joy of the believer in the word arises out of his having had to battle to obtain a grasp of it.
- We have had to fight over certain doctrines before we
could really come at them.
- We have had to fight over certain doctrines before we
(b) The same may be said of the promises.
(c) Of the precepts.
(d) Of the threatenings.
(e) Even about the word which reveals Christ.
- At times the joy of the believer lies in enjoying God's word without any fighting at all: "One that findeth."
- There is a joy arising out of the very fact that Holy Scripture may be considered to be a spoil.
- A spoil is the end of uncertainty.
(b) It is the weakening of the adversary for any future
(c) It gives a sense of victory.
(d) There is, in dividing the spoil, profit, pleasure, and
(e) The spoiling of the enemy is a prophecy of rest. See
"Spurgeon's Sermons," No. 1641: "Great Spoil."