Verse 5. Why art thou cast down, O my soul? If God be thine, why this dejection? If he uplifts thee, why art thou so near the ground? The dew of love is falling, O withering heart, revive. And why art thou disquieted within me? What cause is there to break the repose of thy heart? Wherefore indulge unreasonable sorrows, which benefit no one, fret thyself, and dishonour thy God? Why overburden thyself with forebodings? Hope in God, or wait for God. There is need of patience, but there is ground for hope. The Lord cannot but avenge his own elect. The heavenly Father will not stand by and see his children trampled on for ever; as surely as the sun is in the heavens, light must arise for the people of God, though for awhile they may walk in darkness. Why, then, should we not be encouraged, and lift up our head with comfortable hope? For I shall yet praise him. Times of complaint will soon end, and seasons of praise will begin. Come, my heart, look out of the window, borrow the telescopic glass, forecast a little, and sweeten thy chamber with sprigs of the sweet herb of hope. Who is the health of my countenance, and my God. My God will clear the furrows from my brow, and the tear marks from my cheek; therefore will I lift up my head and smile in the face of the storm. The Psalm has a blessed ending, such as we would fain imitate when death puts an end to our mortal existence.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 5. Why art thou cast down, O my soul. He comes to his former remedy; he had stilled his grief once before with the same meditation and upbraiding of his own soul, and chiding himself; but he comes to it here as a probatum est, as a tried remedy; he takes up his soul very short, Why art thou so cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? You see how David's passions here are interlaced with comforts, and his comforts with passions, till at last he gets the victory of his own heart. Beloved, neither sin nor grief for sin, are stilled and quieted at the first. You have some short spirited Christians, if all be not quiet at the first, all is lost with them; but it is not so with a true Christian soul, with the best soul living. It was not so with David when he was in distemper; he checks himself, the distemper was not yet stilled; he checks himself again, then the distemper breaks out again; he checks himself again, and all little enough to bring his soul to a holy, blessed, quiet, temper, to that blessed tranquillity and rest that the soul should be in before it can enjoy its own happiness, and enjoy sweet communion with God. As you see in physic, perhaps one purge will not carry away the peccant humour, then a second must be added; perhaps that will not do it, then there must be a third; so when the soul hath been once checked, perhaps it will not do, we must fall to it again, go to God again. And then it may be there will be breaking out of the grief and malady again; we must to it again, and never give over, that is the right temper of a Christian. Richard Sibbes.
Verse 5. Hope in God. The more terrible the storm, the more necessary is the anchor. Hebrews 6:19 . William S. Plumer.
Verse 5. Hope in God. The complete and perfect state of God's children here is not in re, but in spe: as Christ's kingdom is not of this world, so is not our hope. The worldling's motto is, "a bird in the hand." Give me today, say they, and take tomorrow whoso will. But the word of believers is, spero meliora -- my hopes are better than my present possessions. Elnathan Parr.
Verse 5. The varied conflicts of the soul afford occasion for the exercise of the graces, and thus, through the divine wisdom and goodness, are made the means of eventual good. Henry March.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 1-2,4-5. Five mys:
- My cause -- "plead it."
- My strength -- "thou art."
- My joy -- God is.
- My soul -- "why disquieted."
- My God.
Verse 5. Discouragement's recovery. R. Sibbes Sermons.
Verse 5. I shall yet praise him. I, even I; shall, sooner or later, most assuredly; yet, despite troubles, foes, devils; praise with gratitude, confidence, exultation; him above all other helpers, though now afflicting me.
Verse 5. Health of my countenance, removing that which mars it -- sin, shame, fear, care, sorrow, weakness, etc.