Verse 6. Jesus found the way of obedience to lead into pleasant places. Notwithstanding all the sorrows which marred his countenance, he exclaimed, "Lo, I come; in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart." It may seem strange, but while no other man was ever so thoroughly acquainted with grief, it is our belief that no other man ever experienced so much joy and delight in service, for no other served so faithfully and with such great results in view as his recompense of reward. The joy which was set before him must have sent some of its beams of splendour down the rugged places where he endured the cross, despising the shame, and must have made them in some respects pleasant places to the generous heart of the Redeemer. At any rate, we know that Jesus was well content with the blood bought portion which the lines of electing love marked off as his spoil with the strong and his portion with the great. Therein he solaced himself on earth, and delights himself in heaven; and he asks no more "GOODLY HERITAGE" than that his own beloved may be with him where he is and behold his glory. All the saints can use the language of this verse, and the more thoroughly they can enter into its contented, grateful, joyful spirit the better for themselves, and the more glorious to their God. Our Lord was poorer than we are, for he had not where to lay his head, and yet when he mentioned his poverty he never used a word of murmuring; discontented spirits are as unlike Jesus as the croaking raven is unlike the cooing dove. Martyrs have been happy in dungeons. "From the delectable orchard of the Leonine prison the Italian martyr dated his letter, and the presence of God made the gridiron of Laurence pleasant to him." Mr. Greenham was bold enough to say, "They never felt God's love, or tasted forgiveness of sin, who are discontented." Some divines think that discontent was the first sin, the rock which wrecked our race in paradise; certainly there can be no paradise where this evil spirit has power, its slime will poison all the flowers of the garden.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 5-6. The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance: the lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage. See Psalms on "Psalms 16:5" for further information.
Verse 5-6. Take notice not only of the mercies of God, but of God in the mercies. Mercies are never so savoury as when they savour of a Saviour. Ralph Venning, 1620-1673.
Verse 6. The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage. Bitter herbs will go down very well, when a man has such delicious "meats which the world knows not of." The sense of our Father's love is like honey at the end of every rod; it turns stones into bread, and water into wine, and the valley of trouble into a door of hope; it makes the biggest evils seem as if they were none, or better than none; for it makes our deserts like the garden of the Lord, and when we are upon the cross for Christ, as if we were in paradise with Christ. Who would quit his duty for the sake of suffering, that hath such a relief under it? Who would not rather walk in truth, when he hath such a cordial to support him, than by the conduct of fleshly wisdom, to take any indirect or irregular method for his own deliverance? Timothy Cruso.
Verse 6. The lines. Probably alluding to the division of the land by lot, and the measuring of it off by ropes and lines. David believed in an overruling destiny which fixed the bounds of his abode, and his possessions; he did more, he was satisfied with all the appointment of the predestinating God. C.H.S.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
- "Pleasant places." Bethlehem, Calvary, Olivet, Tabor, Zion, Paradise, etc.
- Pleasant purposes, which made these lines fall to me.
- Pleasant praises. By service, sacrifice, and song.
Verse 6. (second clause).
- A heritage.
- A goodly heritage.
- I have it.
- Yea, or the Spirit's witness.
Verse 6. A goodly heritage. That which makes our portion good is --
- The favour of God with it.
- That it is from a Father's hand.
- That it comes through the covenant of grace.
- That it is the purchase of Christ's blood.
- That it is an answer to prayer, and a blessing from above upon honest endeavours.
Verse 6. We may put this acknowledgment into the mouth of --
- An indulged child of providence.
- An inhabitant of this favoured country.
- A Christian with regard to his spiritual condition.