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13

They will abide in prosperity,

and their children shall possess the land.


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13. His soul shall dwell in good. If the supreme felicity of man consists in undertaking or attempting nothing except by the warrant of God, it follows that it is also a high and incomparable benefit to have him for our conductor and guide through life, that we may never go astray. But, in addition to this, an earthly blessing is here promised, in which the fruit of the preceding grace is distinctly shown, as Paul also teaches,

“Godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.” (1 Timothy 4:8,)

The sum is, that those who truly serve God are not only blessed as to spiritual things, but are also blessed by him as to their condition in the present life. It is indeed true, that God does not always deal with them according to their desires, and that the blessings which they would wish do not always flow in a certain and uniform manner. On the contrary, it often happens that they are tossed with sickness and trouble, whilst the wicked enjoy prosperity. But we must know, that as often as God withdraws his blessing from his own people, it is for the purpose of awakening them to a sense of their condition, and discovering to them how far removed they still are from the perfect fear of God. And yet, in so far as it is expedient for them, they now enjoy the blessings of God, so that, in comparison of worldly men, and the despisers of God, they are truly happy and blessed, because, even in their greatest poverty, they never lose the assurance that God is present with them; and being sustained by this consolation, they enjoy peace and tranquillity of mind. It is indeed true, that all our miseries proceed from this one source — that by our sins we prevent the divine blessing from flowing down in a uniform course upon us; and yet, amidst such a state of confusion, his grace never ceases to shine forth, so that the condition of the godly is always better than that of others: for although they are not satiated with good things, yet they are continually made to experience a sense of the fatherly favor of God. And to this I am willing to refer the word soul, namely, that, in the reception of the gifts of God, they do not devour them without feeling a sense of their sweetness, but really relish them, so that the smallest competency is of more avail to satisfy them than the greatest abundance is to satisfy the ungodly. Thus, according as every man is contented with his condition, and cheerfully cherishes a spirit of patience and tranquillity, his soul is said to dwell in good. Some interpreters apply this word to dwell or abide to the time of death; but this interpretation is more subtle than solid. The inspired penman rather speaks, as we have already said, of the condition of the present life. 561561     Horsley refers the words to the blessedness of a future state. He reads, “His soul shall rest in bliss;” and has the following note: — “תליך, pernoctavit. The words seem to allude to the happy state of the good man’s departed soul, while his posterity prosper in the present world.” That is, the land of Canaan, which God promised to perpetuate to the obedient Israelites and their posterity. “It was promised and given,” says Poole, “as an earnest of the whole covenant of grace and all his promises, and, therefore, is synecdochically put for all of them. The sense is, his seed shall be blessed.” He adds, in the second place, by way of illustration, that the posterity of the faithful shall inherit the land, and from this it follows, that God continues to extend his favor towards them. Hence we may again infer, that the death of God’s servants does not imply their utter destruction, and that they do not cease to exist when they pass out of this world, but continue to live for ever. It would be absurd to suppose that God would totally deprive of life those for whose sake he does good even to others. As to what is here said, that the children of the saints shall inherit the land, it has been touched upon elsewhere, and it will be shown still more fully on the thirty-seventh Psalm, in what respects, and how this is accomplished.




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