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Exhortation to Celebrate God's Praises.

1 O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.   2 Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy;   3 And gathered them out of the lands, from the east, and from the west, from the north, and from the south.   4 They wandered in the wilderness in a solitary way; they found no city to dwell in.   5 Hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted in them.   6 Then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them out of their distresses.   7 And he led them forth by the right way, that they might go to a city of habitation.   8 Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!   9 For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.

Here is, I. A general call to all to give thanks to God, v. 1. Let all that sing this psalm, or pray over it, set themselves herein to give thanks to the Lord; and those that have not any special matter for praise may furnish themselves with matter enough from God's universal goodness. In the fountain he is good; in the streams his mercy endures for ever and never fails.

II. A particular demand hereof from the redeemed of the Lord, which may well be applied spiritually to those that have an interest in the great Redeemer and are saved by him from sin and hell. They have, of all people, most reason to say that God is good, and his mercy everlasting; these are the children of God that were scattered abroad, whom Christ died to gather together in one, out of all lands, John xi. 52; Matt. xxiv. 31. But it seems here to be meant of a temporal deliverance, wrought for them when in their distress they cried unto the Lord, v. 6. Is any afflicted? Let him pray. Does any pray? God will certainly hear and help. When troubles become extreme that is man's time to cry; those who but whispered prayer before then cry aloud, and then it is God's time to succour. In the mount he will be seen. 1. They were in an enemy's country, but God wrought out their rescue: He redeemed them from the hand of the enemy (v. 2), not by might or power, it may be (Zech. iv. 6), nor by price or reward (Isa. xlv. 13), but by the Spirit of God working on the spirits of men. 2. They were dispersed as out-casts, but God gathered them out of all the countries whither they were scattered in the cloudy and dark day, that they might again be incorporated, v. 3. See Deut. xxx. 4; Ezek. xxxiv. 12. God knows those that are his, and where to find them. 3. They were bewildered, had no road to travel in, no dwelling place to rest in, v. 4. When they were redeemed out of the hand of the enemy, and gathered out of the lands, they were in danger of perishing in their return home through the dry and barren deserts. They wandered in the wilderness, where there was no trodden path, no company, but a solitary way, no lodging, no conveniences, no accommodations, no inhabited city where they might have quarters or refreshment. But God led them forth by the right way (v. 7), directed them to an inn, nay, directed them to a home, that they might go to a city of habitation, which was inhabited, nay which them themselves should inhabit. This may refer to poor travellers in general, those particularly whose way lay through the wilds of Arabia, where we may suppose they were often at a loss; and yet many in that distress were wonderfully relieved, so that few perished. Note, We ought to take notice of the good hand of God's providence over us in our journeys, going out and coming in, directing us in our way, and providing for us places both to bait in and rest in. Or (as some think) it has an eye to the wanderings of the children of Israel in the wilderness for forty years; it is said (Deut. xxxii. 10), God led them about, and yet here he led them by the right way. God's way, though to us it seems about, will appear at last to have been the right way. It is applicable to our condition in this world; we are here as in a wilderness, have here no continuing city, but dwell in tents as strangers and pilgrims. But we are under the guidance of his wise and good providence, and, if we commit ourselves to it, we shall be led in the right way to the city that has foundations. 4. They were ready to perish for hunger (v. 5): Their soul even fainted in them. They were spent with the fatigues of their journey and ready to drop down for want of refreshment. Those that have constant plenty, and are every day fed to the full, know not what a miserable case it is to be hungry and thirsty, and to have no supply. This was sometimes the case of Israel in the wilderness, and perhaps of other poor travellers; but God's providence finds out ways to satisfy the longing soul and fill the hungry soul with goodness, v. 9. Israel's wants were seasonably supplied, and many have been wonderfully relieved when they were ready to perish. The same God that has led us has fed us all our life long unto this day, has fed us with food convenient, has provided food for the soul, and filled the hungry soul with goodness. Those that hunger and thirst after righteousness, after God, the living God, and communion with him, shall be abundantly replenished with the goodness of his house, both in grace and glory. Now for all this those who receive mercy are called upon to return thanks (v. 8): Oh that men (it is meant especially of those men whom God has graciously relieved) would praise the Lord for his goodness to them in particular, and for his wonderful works to others of the children of men! Note, (1.) God's works of mercy are wonderful works, works of wonderful power considering the weakness, and of wonderful grace considering the unworthiness, of those he shows mercy to. (2.) It is expected of those who receive mercy from God that they return praise to him. (3.) We must acknowledge God's goodness to the children of men as well as to the children of God, to others as well as to ourselves.