Verse 23. Nevertheless I am continually with thee. He does not give up his faith, though he confesses his folly. Sin may distress us, and yet we may be in communion with God. It is sin beloved and delighted in which separates us from the Lord, but when we bewail it heartily, the Lord will not withdraw from us. What a contrast is here in this and the former verse! He is as a beast, and yet continually with God. Our double nature, as it always causes conflict, so is it a continuous paradox: the flesh allies us with the brutes, and the spirit affiliates us to God.
Thou hast holden me by my right hand. With love dost thou embrace me, with honour ennoble me, with power uphold me. He had almost fallen, and yet was always upheld. He was a riddle to himself, as he had been a wonder unto many. This verse contains the two precious mercies of communion and upholding, and as they were both given to one who confessed himself a fool, we also may hope to enjoy them.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 23. I am continually with thee, as a child the tender care of a parent; and as a parent, during my danger of falling in a slippery path, "thou hast holden me, thy child, by my right hand." George Horne.
Verse 23. I am continually with thee. He does not say that the Lord is continually with "his people," and holds, and guides, and receives them; he says, "He is continually with me; He holds me; He will guide me; He will receive me." The man saw, and felt, and rejoiced in his own personal interest in God's care and love. And he did this (mark), in the very midst of affliction, with "flesh and heart failing;" and in spite too of many wrong, and opposite, and sinful feelings, that had just passed away; under a conviction of his own sinfulness, and folly, and, as he calls it, even "brutishness." Oh! it is a blessed thing, brethren, to have a faith like this. Charles Bradley. 1838.
Verse 23. I am still with thee. The word translated still properly means always, and denotes that there had been no change or interruption in the previous relation of the parties. There is a perfectly analogous usage of the French toujours. Joseph Addison Alexander.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
- The psalmist's confession concerning the flesh.
- The faithful expressions of the spirit.
- The conclusion of the whole matter. See "Spurgeon's
Sermons," No. 467.
- God does not forsake his people when they forsake him:
Nevertheless I am continually, etc.
- God does not lose his hold on them when they lose
their hold on him: Nevertheless thou hast holden,
- What he says of the present: I am continually with
- What he says of the past: Thou hast holden me, etc.
- What he say of the future: Thou shalt guide, etc. W. Jay.
Verse 23-24. Communing, upholding, on leading, reception to glory, four glorious privileges; especially as bestowed on one who was grieved, foolish, ignorant, and a beast. Note the contrasts.