Treasury of David
TITLE. A Psalm of Asaph. This is the second Psalm ascribed to Asaph, and the first of eleven consecutive Psalms bearing the name of this eminent singer. Some writers are not sure that Asaph wrote them, but incline to the belief that David was the author, and Asaph the person to whom they were dedicated, that he might sing them when in his turn he became the chief musician. But though our own heart turns in the same direction, facts must be heard; and we find in 2 Chronicles 29:30, that Hezekiah commanded the Levites to sing "the words of David and of Asaph the seer; "and, moreover, in Nehemiah 12:46, David and Asaph are mentioned together, as distinct from "the chief of the singers," and as it would seem, as joint authors of psalmody. We may, therefore, admit Asaph to be the author of some, if not all, of the twelve Psalms ascribed to him.
Often a great star which seems to be but one to the eyes of ordinary observers, turns out upon closer inspection to be of a dual character; so here the Psalms of David are those of Asaph too. The great sun of David has a satellite in the moon of Asaph. By reading our notes on Psalm Fifty, the reader will glean a little more concerning this man of God.
SUBJECT. Curiously enough this Seventy-third Psalm corresponds in subject with the Thirty-seventh—it will help the memory of the young to notice the reversed figures. The theme is that ancient stumbling block of godly men, which Job's friends could not get over; namely, the present prosperity of wicked men and the sorrows of the godly. Heathen philosophers have puzzled themselves about this, while to believers it has too often been a temptation.
DIVISION. In verse 1 the psalmist declares his confidence in God, and, as it were, plants his foot on a rock while he recounts his inward conflict.
From verses 2-14 he states his temptation;
then, from verses 15-17 he is embarrassed as how to act, but ultimately finds deliverance from his dilemma.
He describes with awe the fate of the ungodly in verses 18-20,
condemns his own folly and adores the grace of God, verses 21-24,
and concludes by renewing his allegiance to his God, whom he takes afresh to be his portion and delight.
Verse 1. Truly, or, more correctly, only, God is good to Israel. He is only good, nothing else but good to his own covenanted ones. He cannot act unjustly, or unkindly to them; his goodness to them is beyond dispute, and without mixture.
Even to such as are of a clean heart. These are the true Israel, not the ceremonially clean but the really so; those who are clean in the inward parts, pure in the vital mainspring of action. To such GOD is, and must be, goodness itself.
The writer does not doubt this, but lays it down as his firm conviction. It is well to make sure of what we do know, for this will be good anchor hold for us when we are molested by those mysterious storms which arise from things which we do not understand. Whatever may or may not be the truth about mysterious and inscrutable things, there are certainties somewhere; experience has placed some tangible facts within our grasp; let us, then, cling to these, and they will prevent our being carried away by those hurricanes of infidelity which still come from the wilderness, and, like whirlwinds, smite the four corners of our house and threaten to overthrow it.
O my God, however perplexed I may be, let me never think ill of you. If I cannot understand you, let me never cease to believe in you. It must be so, it cannot be otherwise, you are good to those whom you have made good; and where you have renewed the heart you will not leave it to its enemies.
Verse 2. Here begins the narrative of a great soul battle, a spiritual Marathon, a hard and well fought field, in which the half-defeated became in the end wholly victorious.
But as for me. He contrasts himself with his God who is ever good; he owns his personal want of good, and then also compares himself with the clean in heart, and goes on to confess his defilement.
The Lord is good to his saints, but as for me, am I one of them? Can I expect to share his grace? Yes, I do share it; but I have acted an unworthy part, very unlike one who is truly pure in heart.
My feet were almost gone. Errors of heart and head soon affect the conduct. There is an intimate connection between the heart and the feet. Asaph could barely stand, his uprightness was going, his knees were bowing like a falling wall. When men doubt the righteousness of God, their own integrity begins to waver.
My steps had well near slipped. Asaph could make no progress in the good road, his feet ran away from under him like those of a man on a sheet of ice. He was weakened for all practical action, and in great danger of actual sin, and so of a disgraceful fall.
How ought we to watch the inner man, since it has so forcible an effect upon the outward character. The confession in this case is, as it should be, very plain and explicit.
Verse 3. For I was envious at the foolish. "The foolish" is the generic title of all the wicked. They are beyond all others fools—and he must be a fool, who envies fools.
Some read it, the proud, or arrogant. Indeed, these, by their ostentation, invite envy, and many a mind which is out of gear spiritually, becomes infected with that wasting disease.
It is a pitiful thing that an heir of Heaven should have to confess "I was envious," but worse still that he should have to put it, "I was envious at the foolish." Yet this acknowledgment is, we fear, due from most of us.
When I saw the prosperity of the wicked. His eye was fixed too much on one thing. He saw their present, and forgot their future. He saw their outward display, and overlooked their soul's discomfort. Who envies the bullock his fat, when he recollects the shambles? Yet some poor afflicted saint has been sorely tempted to grudge the ungodly sinner his temporary plenty. All things considered, Dives had more cause to envy Lazarus—than Lazarus to be envious of Dives.
Verse 4. For there are no bands in their death. This is mentioned as the chief wonder, for we usually expect that in the solemn article of death, a difference will appear, and the wicked will become evidently in trouble.
The notion is still prevalent that a quiet death means a happy hereafter. The psalmist had observed that the very reverse is true. Careless people become case hardened, and continue presumptuously secure, even to the last. Some are startled at the approach of judgment, but many more have received a strong delusion to believe a lie. With the physician's drugs and their own false peace—they glide into eternity without a struggle.
We have seen godly men bound with doubts, and fettered with anxieties, which have arisen from their holy jealousy. But the godless know nothing of such bands: they care neither for God nor devil.
Their strength is firm. What care they for death? Frequently they are brazen and insolent, and can vent defiant blasphemies even on their last couch. This may occasion sorrow and surprise among saints, but certainly should not suggest envy, for, in this case, the most terrible inward conflict is infinitely to be preferred to the profoundest calm which insolent presumption can create. Let the righteous die as they may, let my last end be like theirs.
Verse 5. They are not in trouble as other men. The prosperous wicked escape the killing toils which afflict the mass of mankind; their bread comes to them without care, and their wine without stint. They have no need to inquire, "Whence shall we get bread for our children, or clothing for our little ones?" Ordinary domestic and personal troubles do not appear to molest them.
Neither are they plagued like other men. Fierce trials do not arise to assail them: they smart not under the divine rod. While many saints are both poor and afflicted, the prosperous sinner is neither. He is worse than other men, and yet he is better off. He ploughs least, and yet has the most fodder. He deserves the hottest Hell, and yet has the warmest nest.
All this is clear to the eyes of faith, which unriddles the riddle; but to the bleared eye of sense it seems an enigma indeed. They are to have nothing hereafter, let them have what they can here. They, after all, only possess what is of secondary value, and their possessing it is meant to teach us to set little store by transient things. If earthly good were of much value, the Lord would not give so large a measure of it to those who have least of his love.
Verse 6. Therefore pride compasses them about as a chain. They are as great in their own esteem as if they were aldermen of the New Jerusalem; they want no other ornament than their own pomposity. No jeweler could sufficiently adorn them; they wear their own pride as a better ornament than a gold chain.
Violence covers them as a garment. In their boastful arrogance they array themselves; they wear the livery of the devil, and are fond of it. As soon as you see them, you perceive that room must be made for them, for, regardless of the feelings and rights of others, they intend to have their way, and achieve their own ends. They brag and bully, bluster and browbeat, as if they had taken out license to ride roughshod over all mankind.
Verse 7. Their eyes stand out with fatness. In cases of obesity the eyes usually appear to be enclosed in fat, but sometimes they protrude; in either case the countenance is changed, loses its human form, and is assimilated to that of fatted swine. The face is here the index of the man. The man has more than suffices him; he is glutted and surfeited with wealth, and yet is one of the wicked whom God abhors.
They have more than heart could wish. Their wishes are gratified, and more; their very greediness is exceeded. They call for water, and the world gives them milk. They ask for hundreds, and thousands are lavished at their feet. The heart is beyond measure gluttonous, and yet in the case of certain ungodly millionaires, who have rivaled Sardanapalus both in lust and luxury, it has seemed as if their wishes were exceeded, and their food surpassed their appetite.
Verse 8. They are corrupt. They rot above ground; their heart and life are depraved.
And speak wickedly concerning oppression. The reek of the sepulcher rises through their mouths; the nature of the soul is revealed in the speech. They choose oppression as their subject, and they not only defend it, but advocate it, glory in it, and would gladly make it the general rule among all nations.
"Who are the poor? What are they made for? What, indeed, but to toil and slave that men of education and good family may enjoy themselves? Out on the knaves for prating about their rights! A set of wily demagogues are stirring them up, because they get a living by agitation. Work them like horses, and feed them like dogs; and if they dare complain, send them to the prison or let them die in the workhouse."
There is still too much of this wicked talk abroad, and, although the working classes have their faults, and many of them very grave and serious ones too—yet there is a race of men who habitually speak of them as if they were an inferior order of animals. God forgive the wretches who thus talk.
They speak loftily. Their high heads, like tall chimneys, vomit black smoke. Big talk streams from them, their language is colossal, their magniloquence ridiculous. They are Sir Oracle in every case, they speak as from the judges' bench, and expect all the world to stand in awe of them.
Verse 9. They set their mouth against the heavens. Against God himself they aim their blasphemies. One would think, to hear them, that they were demigods themselves, and held their heads above the clouds, for they speak down upon other men as from a sublime elevation peculiar to themselves. Yet they might let God alone, for their pride will make them enemies enough without their defying him.
And their tongue walks through the earth. Leisurely and habitually they traverse the whole world to find victims for their slander and abuse. Their tongue prowls in every corner far and near, and spares none. They affect to be universal censors, and are in truth perpetual vagrants. Like the serpent, they go nowhere without leaving their slime behind them. If there were another Eden to be found, its innocence and beauty would not preserve it from their filthy trail. They think themselves to be, beyond measure, worthy of all honor—and all the rest of mankind, except a few of their parasites, are knaves, fools, hypocrites, or worse. When these men's tongues are out for a walk, they are unhappy who meet them, for they push all travelers into the kennel. It is impossible altogether to avoid them, for in both hemispheres they take their journeys, both on land and sea they make their voyages.
The city is not free from them, and the village swarms with them. They waylay men in the king's highway, but they are able to hunt across country, too. Their whip has a long lash, and reaches both high and low.
Verse 10. Therefore his people return hither. God's people are driven to fly to his throne for shelter. The doggish tongues fetch home the sheep to the Shepherd. The saints come again, and again, to their Lord, laden with complaints on account of the persecutions which they endure from these proud and graceless men.
And waters of a full cup are wrung out to them. Though beloved of God, they have to drain the bitter cup; their sorrows are as full as the wicked man's prosperity. It grieves them greatly to see the enemies of God so high, and themselves so low—yet the Lord does not alter his dispensations, but continues still to chasten his children, and indulge his foes. The medicine cup is not for rebels, but for those whom Jehovah Rophi loves.
Verse 11. And they say, How does God know? Thus dare the ungodly speak. They flatter themselves that their oppressions and persecutions are unobserved of Heaven. If there is a God, is he not too much occupied with other matters to know what is going on upon this world? So they console themselves if judgments be threatened.
Boasting of their own knowledge, they yet dare to ask, Is there knowledge in the Most High? Well were they called foolish. A God, and not know? This is a solecism in language, a madness of thought. Such, however, is the acted insanity of the graceless theists of this age; theists in name, because avowed infidelity is disreputable, but atheists in practice beyond all question.
I could not bring my mind to accept the rendering of many expositors by which this verse is referred to tried and perplexed saints. I am unable to conceive that such language could flow from their lips, even under the most depressing perplexities.
Verse 12. Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world. Look! See! Consider! Here is the standing enigma! The crux of Providence! The stumbling block of faith! Here are the unjust rewarded and indulged, and that not for a day or an hour, but in perpetuity. From their youth up these men, who deserve perdition, revel in prosperity. They deserve to be hung in iron chains, and chains of gold are hung about their necks. They are worthy to be chased from the world, and yet the world becomes all their own. Poor blind sense cries, "Behold this! Wonder, and be amazed, and make this square with providential justice, if you can."
They increase in riches; or, strength. Both wealth and health are their dowry. No bad debts and bankruptcies weigh them down, but robbery and usury pile up their substance. Money runs to money, gold pieces fly in flocks; the rich grow richer, the proud grow prouder. Lord, how is this? Your poor servants, who become yet poorer, and groan under their burdens, are made to wonder at your mysterious ways.
Verse 13. Truly I have cleansed my heart in vain. Poor Asaph! he questions the value of holiness when its wages are paid in the coin of affliction. With no effect has he been sincere; no advantage has come to him through his purity, for the filthy-hearted are exalted and fed on the fat of the land. Thus foolishly will the wisest of men argue, when faith is napping.
Asaph was a seer, but he could not see when reason left him in the dark; even seers must have the sunlight of revealed truth to see by, or they grope like the blind.
In the presence of temporal circumstances, the pure in heart may seem to have cleansed themselves altogether in vain, but we must not judge after the sight of the eyes.
And washed my hands in innocence. Asaph had been as careful of his hands as of his heart; he had guarded his outer as well as his inner life, and it was a bitter thought that all of this was useless, and left him in even a worse condition than foul handed, black-hearted worldlings. Surely the horrible character of the conclusion must have helped to render it untenable—it could not be so while God was God. It smelt too strong of a lie to be tolerated long in the godly man's soul; hence, in a verse or two, we see his mind turning in another direction.
Verse 14. For all the day long have I been plagued. He was smitten from the moment he woke to the time he went to bed. His griefs were not only continued, but renewed with every opening day.
And chastened every morning. This was a vivid contrast to the lot of the ungodly. There were crowns for the reprobates and crosses for the elect! Strange that the saints should sigh and the sinners sing. Rest was given to the disturbers, and yet peace was denied to the peace makers. The downcast seer was in a muse and a maze. The affairs of mankind appeared to him to be in a fearful tangle. How could it be permitted by a just ruler that things should be so turned upside down, and the whole course of justice dislocated.
Here is the case stated in the plainest manner, and many a Christian will herein recognize his own experience. Such knots have we also sought to untie, and have sadly worn our fingers and broken our teeth. Dear-bought has our wisdom been, but we have bought it; and, henceforth, we cease to fret because of evil-doers, for the Lord has showed us what their end will be.
Verse 15. If I say, "I will speak thus." It is not always wise to speak one's thoughts; if they remain within, they will only injure ourselves; but once uttered, their mischief may be great.
From such a man as the psalmist, the utterance which his discontent suggested would have been a heavy blow and deep discouragement to the whole brotherhood. He dared not, therefore, come to such a resolution, but paused, and would not decide to declare his feelings. It was well, for in his case second thoughts were by far the best.
I would offend against the generation of your children. I should scandalize them, grieve them, and perhaps cause them to offend also. We ought to look at the consequences of our speech to all others, and especially to the church of God. Woe unto the man by whom offence comes! Rash, undigested, ill-considered speech, is responsible for much of the heart-burning and trouble in the churches. Would to God that, like Asaph, men would bridle their tongues. Where we have any suspicion of being wrong, it is better to be silent. It can do no harm to be quiet, and it may do serious damage to spread abroad our hastily formed opinions. To grieve the children of God by appearing to act treacherously and betray the truth, is a sin so heinous, that if the consciences of heresy-mongers were not seared as with a hot iron, they would not be so glib as they are to publish abroad their novelties.
Expressions which convey the impression that the Lord acts unjustly or unkindly, especially if they fall from the lips of men of known character and experience, are as dangerous as firebrands among stubble; they are used for blasphemous purposes by the ill disposed; and the timid and trembling are sure to be cast down thereby, and to find reason for yet deeper distress of soul.
Verse 16. When I thought to understand this, it was too painful for me. The thought of scandalising the family of God he could not bear, and yet his inward thoughts seethed and fermented, and caused an intolerable anguish within.
To speak might have relieved one sorrow, but, as it would have created another, he forbore so dangerous a remedy. Yet this did not remove the first pangs, which grew even worse and worse, and threatened utterly to overwhelm him. A smothered grief is hard to endure. The triumph of conscience which compels us to keep the wolf hidden beneath our own garments, does not forbid its gnawing at our vitals. Suppressed fire in the bones rages more fiercely, than if it could gain a vent at the mouth. Those who know Asaph's dilemma will pity him as none others can.
Verse 17. Until I went into the sanctuary of God. His mind entered the eternity where God dwells as in a holy place, he left the things of sense for the things invisible, his heart gazed within the veil, he stood where the thrice holy God stands. Thus he shifted his point of view, and apparent disorder resolved itself into harmony.
The motions of the planets appear most discordant from this world which is itself a planet; they appear as "progressive, retrograde, and standing still;" but could we fix our observatory in the sun, which is the center of the system, we should perceive all the planets moving in perfect circle around the head of the great solar family.
Then understood I their end. He had seen too little to be able to judge; a wider view changed his judgment. He saw with his mind's enlightened eye the future of the wicked, and his soul was in debate no longer as to the happiness of their condition. No envy gnaws now at his heart, but a holy horror both of their impending doom, and of their present guilt, fills his soul. He recoils from being dealt with in the same manner as the proud sinners, whom just now he regarded with admiration.
Verse 18. The Psalmist's sorrow had culminated, not in the fact that the ungodly prospered—but that God had arranged it so. Had it happened by mere chance, he would have wondered, but could not have complained; but how the arranger of all things could so dispense his temporal favors, was the vexatious question. Here, to meet the case, he sees that the divine hand purposely placed these men in prosperous and eminent circumstances, not with the intent to bless them, but the very reverse.
Surely you did set them in slippery places. Their position was dangerous, and, therefore, God did not set his friends there but his foes alone. He chose, in infinite love, a rougher but safer standing for his own beloved.
You cast them down into destruction. The same hand which led them up to their Tarpeian rock, hurled them down from it. They were but elevated by judicial arrangement for the fuller execution of their doom. Eternal punishment will be all the more terrible in contrast with the former prosperity of those who are ripening for it.
Taken as a whole, the case of the ungodly is horrible throughout; and their worldly joy instead of diminishing the horror, actually renders the effect the more awful, even as the vivid lightning amid the storm does not brighten but intensify the thick darkness which lowers around. The ascent to the fatal gallows of Haman was an essential ingredient in the terror of the sentence, "hang him thereon!" If the wicked had not been raised so high they could not have fallen so low.
Verse 19. How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment! This is an exclamation of godly wonder at the suddenness and completeness of the sinners' overthrow. Headlong is their fall; without warning, without escape, without hope of future restoration! Despite their golden chains, and goodly apparel, death hurries them away; and stern justice unbribed by their wealth hurls them into destruction.
They are utterly consumed with terrors. They have neither root nor branch left. They cease to exist among the sons of men, and, in the other world, there is nothing left of their former glory. Like blasted trees, consumed by the lightning, they are monuments of vengeance; like the ruins of Babylon they reveal, in the greatness of their desolation, the judgments of the Lord against all those who unduly exalt themselves. The momentary glory of the graceless is in a moment effaced, their loftiness is in an instant consumed.
Verse 20. As a dream when one awakes; so, O Lord, when you awake, you shall despise their image. They owe their existence and prosperity to the forbearance of God, which the psalmist compares to a sleep. But as a dream vanishes so soon as a man awakes, so the instant the Lord begins to exercise his justice and call men before him, the pomp and prosperity of proud transgressors shall melt away. When God awakes to judgment, they who despise him shall be despised; they are already "such stuff as dreams are made of," but then the baseless fabric shall not leave a wreck behind. Let them flaunt the little hour, poor unsubstantial sons of dreams. They will soon be gone; when the day breaks, and the Lord awake as a mighty man out of his sleep, they will vanish away. Who cares for the wealth of dreamland? Who indeed but fools? Lord, leave us not to the madness which covets unsubstantial wealth, and ever teach us your own true wisdom.
Verse 21. The holy poet here reviews his inward struggle and awards himself censure for his folly. His pain had been intense; he says, Thus my heart was grieved. It was a deep-seated sorrow, and one which penetrated his inmost being.
One reads it, "My heart is soured." His spirit had become embittered; he had judged in a harsh, crabbed, surly manner. He had become full of black bile, melancholy, and choleric. He had poisoned his own life at the fountain-head, and made all its streams to be bitter as gall.
And I was pricked in my spirit. He was as full of pain as a man afflicted with renal disease; he had pierced himself through with many sorrows; his hard thoughts were like so many calculi in his kidneys. He was utterly wretched and woebegone, and all through his own reflections. O miserable philosophy, which stretches the mind on the rack, and breaks it on the wheel! O blessed faith, which drives away the inquisitors, and sets the captives free!
Verse 22. So foolish was I. He, though a saint of God, had acted as if he had been one of the fools whom God abhors. Had he not even envied them?—and what is that but to aspire to be like them? The wisest of men have enough folly in them to ruin them—unless grace prevents it.
And ignorant. He had acted as if he knew nothing, had babbled like an idiot, had uttered the very drivel of a witless loon. He did not know how sufficiently to express his sense of his own absurdity.
I was as a beast before you. Even in God's presence he had been brutish, and worse than a beast. As the grass-eating ox has but this present life, and can only estimate things thereby, and by the sensual pleasure which they afford—even so had the psalmist judged happiness by this mortal life, by outward appearances, and by fleshly enjoyments.
Thus he had, for the time, renounced the dignity of an immortal spirit, and, like a mere animal, judged after the sight of the eyes.
We should be very loath to call an inspired man a beast, and yet, penitence made him call himself so; nay, he uses the plural, by way of emphasis, and as if he were worse than any one beast. It was but an evidence of his true wisdom that he was so deeply conscious of his own folly.
We see how bitterly godly men bewail mental wanderings; they make no excuses for themselves, but set their sins in the pillory, and cast the vilest reproaches upon them. O for grace to detest the very appearance of evil!
Verse 23. Nevertheless I am continually with you. He does not give up his faith, though he confesses his folly. Sin may distress us, and yet we may be in communion with God. It is sin beloved and delighted in which separates us from the Lord, but when we bewail it heartily, the Lord will not withdraw from us.
What a contrast is here in this and the former verse! He is as a beast, and yet continually with God. Our double-nature, as it always causes conflict, so is it a continuous paradox. The flesh allies us with the brutes, and the spirit affiliates us to God.
You have held me by my right hand. With love do you embrace me, with honor ennoble me, with power uphold me. He had almost fallen, and yet was always upheld. He was a riddle to himself, as he had been a wonder unto many. This verse contains the two precious mercies of communion and upholding, and as they were both given to one who confessed himself a fool, we also may hope to enjoy them.
Verse 24. You shall guide me with your counsel. I am done with choosing my own way, and trying to pick a path amid the jungle of reason. He yielded not only the point in debate, but all intentions of debating, and he puts his hand into that of the great Father, asking to be led, and agreeing to follow. Our former mistakes are a blessing, when they drive us to this.
The end of our own wisdom is the beginning of our being wise. With Him is counsel, and when we come to him, we are sure to be led aright.
And afterward. "Afterward!" Blessed word. We can cheerfully put up with the present, when we foresee the future. What is around us just now is of small consequence, compared with afterward.
Receive me to glory. Take me up into your splendor of joy. Your guidance shall conduct me to this matchless terminus. Glory shall I have, and you yourself will admit me into it. As Enoch was not, for God took him—so all the saints are taken up, received up into glory.
Verse 25. Whom have I in Heaven but you? Thus, then, he turns away from the glitter which fascinated him, to the true gold which was his real treasure. He felt that his God was better to him than all the wealth, health, honor, and peace, which he had so much envied in the worldling. Yes, He was not only better than all on earth, but more excellent than all in Heaven. He bade all things else go, that he might be filled with his God.
And there is none upon earth that I desire beside you. No longer should his wishes ramble, no other object should tempt them to stray; henceforth, the Ever-living One should be his all in all.
Verse 26. My flesh and my heart fails. They had failed him already, and he had almost fallen; they would fail him in the hour of death, and, if he relied upon them, they would fail him at once.
But God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever. His God would not fail him, either as protection or a joy. His heart would be kept up by divine love, and filled eternally with divine glory. After having been driven far out to sea, Asaph casts anchor in the old port. We shall do well to follow his example. There is nothing desirable but God; let us, then, desire only him. All other things must pass away; let our hearts abide in him, who alone abides forever.
Verse 27. For, lo, those who are far from you shall perish. We must be near God to live; to be far off by wicked works is death.
You have destroyed all them that go a whoring from you. If we pretend to be the Lord's servants, we must remember that he is a jealous God, and requires spiritual chastity from all his people. Offences against conjugal vows are very offensive, and all sins against God have the same element in them, and they are visited with the direst punishments.
Mere heathens, who are far from God, perish in due season; but those who, being his professed people, act unfaithfully to their profession, shall come under active condemnation, and be crushed beneath his wrath. We read examples of this in Israel's history; may we never create fresh instances in our own people.
Verse 28. But it is good for me to draw near to God. Had he done so at first, he would not have been immersed in such affliction; when he did so he escaped from his dilemma, and if he continued to do so he would not fall into the same evil again.
The greater our nearness to God, the less we are affected by the attractions and distractions of earth. Access into the most holy place is a great privilege, and a cure for a multitude of ills. It is good for all saints, it is good for me in particular; it is always good, and always will be good for me to approach the greatest good, the source of all good, even God himself.
I have put my trust in the Lord God. He dwells upon the glorious name of the Lord Jehovah, and avows it as the basis of his faith. Faith is wisdom; it is the key of enigmas, the clue of mazes, and the pole star of pathless seas. Trust and you will know.
That I may declare all your works. He who believes shall understand, and so be able to teach. Asaph hesitated to utter his evil surmisings, but he has no diffidence in publishing abroad a good matter. God's ways are the more admired the more they are known. He who is ready to believe the goodness of God shall always see fresh goodness to believe in, and he who is willing to declare the works of God shall never be silent for lack of wonders to declare.