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Psalm 104:31-35

31. Glory be to Jehovah for ever; let Jehovah rejoice in his works. 32. When he looketh upon the earth, it shall tremble: if he touch the mountains, they shall smoke. 198198     “They smoke. Gejerus, Patrick, etc., refer this to Exodus 19:18. But may it not have respect also to volcanic mountains in general?” — Dimock. 33. I will sing to Jehovah whilst I live: I will sing psalms to my God as long as I have my being. 199199     “Through the whole of my existence, בעודי, for my perpetuality. — See the word used in the same sense, Psalm 139:18.” — Horsley. 34. Let my speech [or words 200200     “Ou, meditation.” — Fr. marg. “Or, meditation.” ] be acceptable to him: 201201     In our English Bible it is, my meditation of him shall be sweet.” As the prefix על, al, signifies to, as well as on, it may be doubtful whether עליו should be rendered to him or on him. If in the latter sense, our English version is correct, “My meditation of or on him shall be sweet;” and with this the last clause of the verse would well accord, “I will be glad in the Lord,” which is an effect of the sweetness felt in meditating upon him. But all the ancient versions give the former rendering, according to these words in Psalm 19:14, “Let the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight.” Thus the Septuagint has ἡδυνθείη αὐτῷ, “Let it be sweet to him,” and similar is the rendering in the other versions. I will rejoice in Jehovah. 35. Let sinners perish from the earth, and the wicked till they cease to be any more. O my soul! bless thou Jehovah. Hallelujah.

 

31. Glory be to Jehovah for ever The inspired writer shows for what purpose he has celebrated in the preceding part of the psalm the power, wisdom, and goodness of God in his works, namely, to stir up men to praise him. It is no small honor that God for our sake has so magnificently adorned the world, in order that we may not only be spectators of this beauteous theater, but also enjoy the multiplied abundance and variety of good things which are presented to us in it. Our gratitude in yielding to God the praise which is his due, is regarded by him as a singular recompense. What the Psalmist adds, Let Jehovah rejoice in his works, is not superfluous; for he desires that the order which God has established from the beginning may be continued in the lawful use of his gifts. As we read in Genesis 6:6, that “it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth,” so when he sees that the good things which he bestows are polluted by our corruptions, he ceases to take delight in bestowing them. And certainly the confusion and disorder which take place, when the elements cease to perform their office, testify that God, displeased and wearied out, is provoked to discontinue, and put a stop to the regular course of his beneficence; although anger and impatience have strictly speaking no place in his mind. What is here taught is, that he bears the character of the best of fathers, who takes pleasure in tenderly cherishing his children, and in bountifully nourishing them. In the following verse it is shown, that the stability of the world depends on this rejoicing of God in his works; for did he not give vigor to the earth by his gracious and fatherly regard, as soon as he looked upon it with a severe countenance, he would make it tremble, and would burn up the very mountains.

33. I will sing to Jehovah whilst I live Here the Psalmist points out to others their duty by his own example, declaring, that throughout the whole course of his life he will proclaim the praises of God without ever growing weary of that exercise. The only boundary which he fixes to the celebration of God’s praises is death; not that the saints, when they pass from this world into another state of existence, desist from this religious duty, but because the end for which we are created is, that the divine name may be celebrated by us on the earth. Conscious of his unworthiness to offer to God so precious a sacrifice, he humbly prays, (verse 34,) that the praises which he will sing to God may be acceptable to him, although they proceed from polluted lips. It is true, that there is nothing more acceptable to God, nor any thing of which he more approves, than the publication of his praises, even as there is no service which he more peculiarly requires us to perform. But as our uncleanness defiles that which in its own nature is most holy, the prophet with good reason betakes himself to the goodness of God, and on this ground alone pleads that He would accept of his song of praise. Accordingly, the Apostle, in Hebrews 13:15 teaches that our sacrifices of thanksgiving are well pleasing to God, when they are offered to him through Christ. It being however the case, that whilst all men indiscriminately enjoy the benefits of God, there are yet very few who look to the author of them, the prophet subjoins the clause, I will rejoice in the Lord; intimating, that this is a rare virtue; for nothing is more difficult than to call home the mind from those wild and erratic joys, which disperse themselves through heaven and earth in which they evanish, that it may keep itself fixed on God alone.

35. Let sinners perish from the earth This imprecation depends on the last clause of the 31st verse, Let Jehovah rejoice in his works As the wicked infect the world with their pollutions, the consequence is, that God has less delight in his own workmanship, and is even almost displeased with it. It is impossible, but that this uncleanness, which, being extended and diffused through every part of the world, vitiates and corrupts such a noble product of his hands, must be offensive to him. Since then the wicked, by their perverse abuse of God’s gifts, cause the world in a manner to degenerate and fall away from its first original, the prophet justly desires that they may be exterminated, until the race of them entirely fail. Let us then take care so to weigh the providence of God, as that being wholly devoted to obeying him, we may rightly and purely use the benefits which he sanctities for our enjoying them. Farther, let us be grieved, that such precious treasures are wickedly squandered away, and let us regard it as monstrous and detestable, that men not only forget their Maker, but also, as it were, purposely turn to a perverse and an unworthy end, whatever good things he has bestowed upon them.


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