World Wide Study Bible
a Bible passage
He loves righteousness and justice;
the earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord.
5. He loveth righteousness and judgment. This is a confirmation of the preceding verse, and intimates to us that God of his own nature loves righteousness and equity. It therefore follows, that froward affections cannot hurry him, after the manner of men, to evil devices. At first sight, indeed, this appears but a common commendation of God, and of small importance, because all confess that he observes the most perfect rule of righteousness in all his works. Why then, may some one say, has a new song just been spoken of, as if it had been about some unusual matter? We answer, in the first place, because it is too obvious how wickedly a great part of the world shut their eyes to God’s righteousness, while they either carelessly overlook innumerable proofs of his providence, or imagine that they happen by chance. But there is often a worse fault than this; namely, that if our wishes are not gratified, we instantly murmur against God’s righteousness; and although the maxim, “God doeth all things righteously,” is in every man’s mouth, yet scarcely one in a hundred firmly believes it in his heart, otherwise, as soon as this truth is pronounced, “Thus it pleaseth God,” every man would obediently submit himself to God’s will. Now, as men in adversity are with the utmost difficulty brought to this point - to acknowledge that God is just, and as, in prosperity, they soon fall from the acknowledgement of it, it is not to be wondered at that the prophet, in order to persuade men that God is an upright governor, affirms that he loveth righteousness. Whoever, therefore, has thoroughly embraced this doctrine, let him know that he has profited much.
Others explain this to mean, that God loveth righteousness in men. This, indeed, is true; but it is far from the sense of the text, because the design of the Holy Spirit here is to maintain the glory of God in opposition to the poison of ungodliness, which is deeply seated in many hearts. In the second clause of the verse, the Psalmist commends another part of God’s excellence, namely, that the earth is full of his goodness The righteousness of God ought justly to incite us to praise him, but his goodness is a more powerful motive; because, the more experience which any man has of his beneficence and mercy, the more strongly is he influenced to worship him. Farther, the discourse is still concerning all the benefits of God which he scatters over the whole human race. These, the inspired writer declares, meet us wherever we turn our eyes.