Verse 3. Our God shall come. The psalmist speaks of himself and his brethren as standing in immediate anticipation of the appearing of the Lord upon the scene. "He comes," they say, "our covenant God is coming;" they can hear his voice from afar, and perceive the splendour of his attending train. Even thus should we await the long promised appearing of the Lord from heaven. And shall not keep silence. He comes to speak, to plead with his people, to accuse and judge the ungodly. He has been silent long in patience, but soon he will speak with power. What a moment of awe when the Omnipotent is expected to reveal himself! What will be the reverent joy and solemn expectation when the poetic scene of this Psalm becomes in the last great day an actual reality! A fire shall devour before him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about him. Flame and hurricane are frequently described as the attendants of the divine appearance. "Our God is a consuming fire." "At the brightness that was before him his thick clouds passed, hailstones and coals of fire." Psalms 18:12 . "He rode upon a cherub, and did fly; yea, he did fly upon the wings of the wind." "The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God." 2 Thessalonians 1:7-8 . Fire is the emblem of justice in action, and the tempest is a token of his overwhelming power. Who will not listen in solemn silence when such is the tribunal from which the judge pleads with heaven and earth?
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 3. Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence. He kept silence that he might be judged, he will not keep silence when he begins to judge. It would not have been said, He shall come manifestly, unless at first he had come concealed; nor, He shall not keep silence, had he not at first kept silence. How did he keep silence? Ask Isaiah: "He was brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth." Isaiah 53:7 . But he shall come manifestly, and shall not keep silence. How manifestly? A fire shall go before him, and round about him a mighty tempest. That tempest is to carry wholly away the chaff from the floor which is now in threshing; that fire, to consume what the tempest carries off. Now, however, he is silent; silent in judgment, but not in precept. For if Christ is silent, what mean these gospels? What the voices of the apostles? the canticles of the Psalms? the lofty utterances of the prophets? Truly in all these Christ is not silent. Howbeit he is silent for he present in not taking vengeance, not in not warning. But he will come in surpassing brightness to take vengeance, and will be seen of all, even of those who believe not on him; but now, forasmuch as although present he was not concealed, it behoved him to be despised: for unless he had been despised he would not have been crucified; if not crucified he would not have shed his blood, the price with which he redeemed us. But in order that he might give a price for us, he was crucified; that he might be crucified he was despised; that he might be despised, he appeared in humble guise. Augustine.
Verse 3. (first clause). The future in the first clause may be rendered he is coming, as if the sound of his voice and the light of his glory had preceded his actual appearance. The imagery is borrowed from the giving of the law a Sinai. J. A. Alexander.
Verse 3. (first clause). May our God come! (Version of Junius and Tremellius.) A prayer for the hastening of his advent, as in the Apocalypse, 22:20. Poole's Synopsis.
Verse 3. A fire shall devour before him. As he gave his law in fire, so in fire shall he require it. John Trapp.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
- The court called in the name of the King of kings.
- The judgment set, and the judge taking his seat.
- The parties summoned; Psalms 50:8 .
- The issue of this solemn trial foretold; Psalms 50:6 . Matthew Henry.
- God's call to man.
- Man's call to God.