Verse 5. For thou, O God, hast heard my vows. Proofs of divine faithfulness are to be had in remembrance, and to be mentioned to the Lord's honour. The prayer of Psalms 61:1 is certain of an answer because of the experience of Psalms 61:5 , since we deal with an immutable God.
Vows may rightly be joined with prayers when they are lawful, well considered, and truly for God's glory. It is great mercy on God's part to take any notice of the vows and promises of such faithless and deceitful creatures as we are. What we promise him is his due already, and yet he deigns to accept our vows as if we were not so much his servants as his free suitors who could give or withhold at pleasure.
Thou hast given me the heritage of those that fear thy name. We are made heirs, joint heirs with all the saints, partakers of the same portion. With this we ought to be delighted. If we suffer, it is the heritage of the saints; if we are persecuted, are in poverty, or in temptation, all this is contained in the title deeds of the heritage of the chosen. Those we are to sup with we may well be content to dine with. We have the same inheritance as the Firstborn himself; what better is conceivable? Saints are described as fearing the name of God; they are reverent worshippers; they stand in awe of the Lord's authority; they are afraid of offending him, they feel their own nothingness in the sight of the Infinite One. To share with such men, to be treated by God with the same favour as he metes out to them, is matter for endless thanksgiving. All the privileges of all the saints are also the privileges of each one.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 5. (first clause). About this time I began to know that there is a God who hears and answers prayer. John Newton, in his Journal.
Verse 5. Thou, O God, hast heard my vows: that is, his prayers, which are always to be put up with vows. Indeed, that prayer is a blank which hath not a vow in it. Is it a mercy thou prayest him to give? If sincere, thou wilt vow to praise him for it, and serve him with it. Is it a sin thou prayest against? Except you juggle with God, thou wilt vow as well as pray against it. William Gurnall.
Verse 5. The heritage. Eternal life is called an inheritance. Theodoret remarks: "The true inheritance is eternal life, concerning which Christ saith to the sheep on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you before the foundation of the world. This inheritance the Lord giveth to them that fear him." In Eph 1:14, the Spirit is called "the earnest of our inheritance." In Colossians 1:12 , the apostle exhorts them "to give thanks unto the Father, who hath made them meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light." On this verse we have the golden comment of Chrysostom, reiterated by Theophylact. He calls it an inheritance, to show that no man obtaineth the kingdom by his own good works; for no man hath so lived as to render himself worthy of the kingdom, but all is of the grace of God. Wherefore he saith, "When ye have done all, say that we are unprofitable servants, for we have only done that which we ought to have done." John Caspar Suicer's "Thesaurus," 1728.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 5. (second clause). Enquire whether or no it fares with us as with the saints.
- Vows heard in heaven.
- Vows to be carefully fulfilled on earth.
Verse 5. (second clause).
- They that fear God have a "heritage."
- This heritage is "given."
- We may know that we possess it. William Jay.