World Wide Study Bible
a Bible passage
How Great Are Your Works
A Psalm. A Song for the Sabbath.
1It is good to give thanks to the Lord,
to sing praises to your name, O Most High;
2to declare your steadfast love in the morning,
and your faithfulness by night,
3to the music of the lute and the harp,
to the melody of the lyre.
4For you, O Lord, have made me glad by your work;
at the works of your hands I sing for joy.
5How great are your works, O Lord!
Your thoughts are very deep!
6The stupid man cannot know;
the fool cannot understand this:
7that though the wicked sprout like grass
and all evildoers flourish,
they are doomed to destruction forever;
8but you, O Lord, are on high forever.
9For behold, your enemies, O Lord,
for behold, your enemies shall perish;
all evildoers shall be scattered.
10But you have exalted my horn like that of the wild ox;
you have poured over me11Compare Syriac; the meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain fresh oil.
11My eyes have seen the downfall of my enemies;
my ears have heard the doom of my evil assailants.
12The righteous flourish like the palm tree
and grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
13They are planted in the house of the Lord;
they flourish in the courts of our God.
14They still bear fruit in old age;
they are ever full of sap and green,
15to declare that the Lord is upright;
he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.
12 The righteous shall flourish like the palm-tree. He now passes to the consideration of another general truth, That though God may exercise his people with many trials, subject them to hardships, and visit them with privations, he will eventually show that he had not forgotten them. We need not be surprised that he insists so explicitly and carefully upon this point, as nothing is more difficult than for the saints of God to entertain expectations of being raised up and delivered when they have been reduced almost to the state of the
dead, and it does not appear how they can live. Some think the cedar is mentioned from the fragrancy of its smell, and the palm for the sweetness of its fruit; but this is too subtile a meaning to attach to the words. The sense seems simply, that though the righteous may appear for a time to be withered, or to have been cut down, they will again spring up with renewed vigor, and flourish as well and as fair in the Church of God as the stateliest trees upon Lebanon. The expression which is employed — planted in the house of the Lord — gives the reason of their vigorous
growth; nor is it meant that they have merely a place there, (which can be said even of hypocrites,) but that they are firmly fixed, and deeply rooted in it, so as to be united to God. The Psalmist speaks of the courts of the Lord, because none but the priests were allowed to enter the holy place;
the people worshipped in the court. By those who are planted in the Church he means such as are united to God in real and sincere attachment, and insinuates that their prosperity cannot be of a changeable and fluctuating nature, because it is not founded upon anything that is in the world. Nor indeed can we doubt that whatever has its root, and is founded in the sanctuary, must continue
to flourish and partake of a life which is spiritual and everlasting. It is in this sense that he speaks of their still budding forth, and being fat, even in old age, when the natural sap and juices are generally dried up. The language amounts to saying that they are exempt from the ordinary lot of
men, and have a life which is taken from under the common law of nature.
“They shall still bring forth fruit in old age. Being thus planted and watered, they shall not only bring forth the fruits of righteousness, but shall continue and go on to do so, and even when they are grown old; contrary to all other trees, which, when old, cease bearing fruit; but so do not the righteous; grace is often in the greatest vigor when nature is decayed; witness Abraham, Job, David, Zechariah, and Elisabeth, and good
old Simeon, who went to the grave like shocks of corn fully ripe.” — Dr Gill.
It is thus that Jacob, speaking of the great renovation which should take place in the Church, mentions, that at that happy period he who was an hundred years old should be a child, meaning that, though old age naturally tends to death, and one who has lived a hundred years is upon the very borders of it, yet in the kingdom of Christ; a man would be reckoned as being merely in his childhood, and starting in life, who entered upon a new century. This could only be verified in the sense, that after death we have another existence in heaven.