By Henry Law
Here strong exhortations enforce the duty of praise. Motives for such adoration are specified. May they tune our hearts to luxuriate in like pastures of joy!
1-3. "It is a good thing to give thanks to the Lord, and to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; to show forth Your lovingkindness in the morning, and Your faithfulness every night, upon an instrument of ten strings, and upon the psaltery; upon the harp with a solemn sound."
Thanksgiving raises the heart above this lower scene. It is the melody which sounds in heaven. It should be the happiness of earth. Our mercies are boundless and unmerited. For each, warm praise should be uplifted.
But here our powers wane. Let us pray that the Spirit may revive and strengthen them. Let gratitude to God brighten the dawn of day. Let the last sounds of evening bear testimony to His faithfulness. Thus let each day declare that loving and faithful is the Lord. Every faculty and every means of harmony should be summoned to give aid to heaven-taught praise.
4. "For You, Lord, have made me glad through Your work; I will triumph in the works of Your hands."
A mighty motive impels the believer's heart. It is experience of God's wondrous dealings. Marvels of love are shown in creation, providence, and grace. The believer knows that all things work together for his good. He doubts not that goodness and mercy will follow him all the days of his life; that victory over all foes and impediments is before him; and that at last he shall reign in triumph. Can he realize these truths and not exult in praises?
5-9. "O Lord, how great are Your works! and Your thoughts are very deep. A brutish man knows not; neither does a fool understand this. When the wicked spring as the grass, and when all the workers of iniquity flourish; it is those who shall be destroyed forever. But You, Lord, are most high forevermore. For, lo, Your enemies, O Lord, for, lo, Your enemies shall perish; all the workers of iniquity shall be scattered."
Ignorance of God's power encompasses the world in darkness. The ungodly show a flourishing appearance. They spring up in multitudes. But their prosperity is short-lived. God speaks and nothingness becomes their grave. All who oppose Him have a fruitless toil. They labor only to insure destruction.
10-11. "But you have made me as strong as a wild bull. How refreshed I am by your power! With my own eyes I have seen the downfall of my enemies; with my own ears I have heard the defeat of my wicked opponents."
The ungodly will surely perish. So surely will the godly triumph. Mighty strength shall be supplied, which shall level mountains of hindrances. Joy and gladness shall be their portion. They shall receive the unction of the Holy One. Where are their foes? They are brought low. What sound reaches the ear? It is the wailing of hopeless agany.
12-15. "The righteous shall flourish like the palm-tree; he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those who are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing; to show that the Lord is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him."
Images of verdure and fertility depict the beauteous prosperity of the righteous. We learn too in what soil they are rooted. They are planted in the house of the Lord. They live in heavenly fellowship. They realize God's presence. They delight in His ordinances. Their fruitfulness is that of the choicest trees. Their last days shall be their best. Their works of age shall exceed those of youth. This assurance comes from the character of their God. Like the rock, He cannot be moved; and His uprightness ratifies His word. Security promised is security enjoyed.