Verse 5. What a change is here! Lo, the rain is over and gone, and the time of the singing of birds is come. The mercyseat has so refreshed the poor weeper, that he clears his throat for a song. If we have mourned with him, let us now dance with him. David's heart was more often out of tune than his harp, He begins many of his psalms sighing, and ends them singing; and others he begins in joy and ends in sorrow; "so that one would think," says Peter Moulin, "that those Psalms had been composed by two men of a contrary humour." It is worthy to be observed that the joy is all the greater because of the previous sorrow, as calm is all the more delightful in recollection of the preceding tempest.
"Sorrows remembered sweeten present joy."
Here is his avowal of his confidence:
But I have trusted in thy mercy. For many a year it had been his wont to make the Lord his castle and tower of defence, and he smiles from behind the same bulwark still. He is sure of his faith, and his faith makes him sure; had he doubted the reality of his trust in God, he would have blocked up one of the windows through which the sun of heaven delights to shine. Faith is now in exercise, and consequently is readily discovered; there is never a doubt in our heart about the existence of faith while it is in action: when the hare or partridge is quiet we see it not, but let the same be in motion and we soon perceive it. All the powers of his enemies had not driven the psalmist from his stronghold. As the shipwrecked mariner clings to the mast, so did David cling to his faith; he neither could nor would give up his confidence in the Lord his God. O that we may profit by his example and hold by our faith as by our very life! Now hearken to the music which faith makes in his soul. The bells of the mind are all ringing,
My heart shall rejoice in thy salvation. There is joy and feasting within doors, for a glorious guest has come, and the fatted calf is killed. Sweet is the music which sounds from the strings of the heart. But this is not all; the voice joins itself in the blessed work, and the tongue keeps tune with the soul, while the writer declares,
I will sing unto the Lord.
"I will praise thee every day, Now thine anger's past away;
Comfortable thoughts arise From the bleeding sacrifice."
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 1,5,6. See Psalms on "Psalms 13:1" for further information.
Verse 5. I have trusted in thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation. Faith rejoices in tribulation, and triumphs before the victory. The patient is glad when he feels his physic to work, though it make him sick for the time; because he hopes it will procure health. We rejoice in afflictions, not that they are joyous for the present, but because they shall work for our good. As faith rejoices, so it triumphs in assurance of good success; for it sees not according to outward appearance, but when all means fail, it keepeth God in sight, and beholdeth him present for our succour. John Ball.
Verse 5. I have trusted in thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation. Though passion possess our bodies, let "patience possess our souls." The law of our profession binds us to a warfare; patiendo vincimus, our troubles shall end, our victory is eternal. Here David's triumph ( Psalms 18:38-40 ), "I have wounded them, that they were not able to rise; they are fallen under my feet. Thou hast subdued under me those that rose up against me. Thou hast also given me the neck of mine enemies," etc. They have wounds for their wounds; and the treaders down of the poor are trodden down by the poor. The Lord will subdue those to us that would have subdued us to themselves; and though for a short time they rode over our heads, yet now at last we shall everlastingly tread upon their necks. Lo, then, the reward of humble patience and confident hope. Speramus et superamus. Deuteronomy 32:31 . "Our God is not as their God, even our enemies being judges." Psalms 20:7 . "Some put their trust in chariots, and some in horses." But no chariot hath strength to oppose, nor horse swiftness to escape, when God pursues. Psalms 20:8 . "They are brought down and fallen; we are risen and stand upright." Their trust hath deceived them; down they fall, and never to rise. Our God hath helped us; we are risen, not for a breathing space, but to stand upright for ever. Thomas Adams.
Verse 5. None live so easily, so pleasantly, as those that live by faith. Matthew Henry.
Verse 5. Wherefore I say again, "Live by faith;" again I say, always live by it, rejoice through faith in the Lord. I dare boldly say it is thy fault and neglect of its exercise if thou suffer either thy own melancholy humour or Satan to interrupt thy mirth and spiritual alacrity, and to detain thee in dumps and pensiveness at any time. What if you are of a sad constitution? of a dark complexion? Is not faith able to rectify nature? Is it not stronger than any hellebore? Doth not an experienced divine and physician worthily prefer one dram of it before all the drugs in the apothecary's shop for this effect? Hath it not sovereign virtue in it, to excerebrate all cares, expectorate all fears and griefs, evacuate the mind of all ill thoughts and passions, to exhilarate the whole man? But what good doth it to any to have a cordial by him if he use it not? To wear a sword, soldier like, by his side, and not to draw it forth in an assault? When a dump overtakes thee, if thou wouldst say to thy soul in a word or two, "Soul, why art thou disquieted? know and consider in whom thou believest," would it not presently return to its rest again? Would not the Master rebuke the winds and storms, and calm thy troubled mind presently? Hath not every man something or other he useth to put away dumps, to drive away the evil spirit, as David with his harp? Some with merry company, some with a cup of sack, most with a pipe of tobacco, without which they cannot ride or go. If they miss it a day together they are troubled with rheums, dulness of spirits. They that live in fens and ill airs dare not stir out without a morning draught of some strong liquor. Poor, silly, smoky helps, in comparison with the least taste (but for dishonouring faith I would say whiff) or draught of faith. Samuel Ward, 1577-1653.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 5. Experience and perseverance. I have, my heart shall.