Verse 16. "With long life " - Literally, With length of days will I fill him up.
He shall neither live a useless life, nor die before his time. He shall live happy and die happy.
"And show him my salvation. " - yt[wb wharaw vearehu bishuathi, "I will make him see (or contemplate) in my salvation." He shall discover infinite lengths, breadths, depths, and heights, in my salvation. He shall feel boundless desires, and shall discover that I have provided boundless gratifications for them. He shall dwell in my glory, and throughout eternity increase in his resemblance to and enjoyment of me. Thus shall it be done to the man whom the Lord delighteth to honour; and he delights to honour that man who places his love on him. In a word, he shall have a long life in this world, and an eternity of blessedness in the world to come.
ANALYSIS OF THE NINETY-FIRST PSALM
The full intent and purpose of this Psalms is to encourage and exhort the godly in all extremities, pressures, troubles, temptations, afflictions, assaults, inward or outward; in a word, in all dangers to put their trust and confidence in God, and to rely upon his protection.
"There are two parts in this Psalm: " - I. A general proposition, in which is given an assurance of help and protection to every godly man, ver. 1: "He that dwelleth," &c.
"II. The proof of this by three witnesses: " - 1. Of the just man, in whose person the psalmist speaks, ver. 2: "I will say of the Lord," &c.
2. Of the prophet, ver. 3: "Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare," &c.; which he amplifies by an enumeration of the dangers, God's assistance, and the angels' protection, ver. 3-14.
3. Of God himself, whom he brings in speaking to the same purpose, ver. 14-16.
I. The first part or verse is a universal proposition, in which is contained a comfortable and excellent promise made by the Holy Ghost of security, viz., that God's help shall never be wanting to those who truly put their hope and trust in him: "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide (or lodge) under the shadow of the Almighty." 1. He, - be he who he will, rich or poor; king or people, God is no respecter of persons.
2. "That dwells." For that he must be sure to do, constantly, daily, firmly, rest and acquiesce in God, to persevere in the faith of his promise, and carry that about him, else he cannot be assured by this promise.
3. "In the secret place." For his aid and defense is not as some strong-hold or castle which is visible; it is a secret and invisible fortress, known only to a faithful soul. In that he may repose his hope, as a means and secondary defense; but he dwells, relies, rests in that help of God which is secret, and is not seen except by the eye of faith.
4. "Of the Most High." And upon this he relies, because he is the Most High. Above he is, and sees all; nothing is hid from him. And again, above he is, sits in the highest throne, and rules all. All things are under his feet; he can therefore deliver his people from all troubles and dangers. Yea, he will do it for this faithful man; he that relies and trusts in him shall never be frustrated of his hope; protected he shall be; he shall be safe. 1. "He dwells, therefore he shall abide." He shall lodge quietly-securely. 2. "He dwells in the secret place, therefore he shall abide under the shadow." In the cool, the favour, the cover from the heat. 3. "He dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High, therefore he shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty;" i.e., of the all-powerful God, of the God of heaven; of that God whose name is Shaddai, All-sufflcient; by which name he made his promise to Abraham, Gen. xvii. 1.
II. This proposition being most certainly true, in the next place the psalmist explains it. And that no man may doubt of it, descends to prove it by three witnesses: first, of a just man; secondly, of the prophet; thirdly, of God himself.
He brings in the just man thus speaking in his own person: "I will say unto the Lord, He is my refuge, my fortress my God; in him will I trust." Is it so? "Shall he that dwells in the secret of the Most High, abide under the shadowof the Almighty?" Therefore I will say, in the person of all just men, to the Lord, that hath no superior, that hath no peer; to that Lord to whose command all things are subject, and who can be commanded by none; I will say to him: - 1. "Thou art my refuge." If pursued, I will flee to thee as a sanctuary.
2. "Thou art my fortress." If set upon, I will betake myself to thee as a strong tower.
3. "Thou art my God." If assaulted by men or devils, thou, the Most High; thou, Almighty, art a God able to defend me, and therefore "I will hope in thee;" I will dwell, trust, rely upon thee and this thy promise, in every temptaion and danger.
Next, to assert the truth of this, he brings in the attestation of the prophet; for, being moved by the Holy Ghost, he saith as much, "Surely he shall deliver thee;" and then falls upon the particulars, from which the godly man shall be delivered, set down in many metaphors.
1. "He shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler;" the deceits of evil men or devils.
2. "From the noisome pestilence," all danger to which we are incident, by plague, war, or famine.
Again, when thou art little in thine own eyes: - 1. "He shall cover thee," as the hen does her young, "with his feathers; and under his wings shalt thou trust," secured from the rain, the storm, the heat of the sun, and the birds of prey.
2. When thou art grown up, and able to encounter an enemy in the field, he shall help thee to a shield and buckler, and that shall be his truth, his veracity, thy faith in it; and which is yet more: - Thou shalt not be afraid: - 1. "For the terror by night;" any hidden secret temptation, danger, treachery, detraction, conspiracy.
2. "Nor for the arrow that flies by day;" any open persecution, calamity, fraud, assault, invasion.
3. "Nor for the pestilence that walks in darkness;" the machinations of wicked men hatched in the dark.
4. "Nor for the destruction that wasteth at noon-day;" the bold threats and decrees of tyrants and persecutors.
Moller observes rightly that the promises of deliverance here made do not belong to one or other kind of evil, but to all kinds of calamities, open or secret, and so may be applicable to any; some of which steal upon us, as in the night secretly; others overwhelm as in the day, openly. But the promise is general, as Bellarmine well observes; whether the danger come by day or night, those who trust in God are armed with his shield of truth against it. "For if God be for us, who can be against us?" Rom. viii.
The prophet goes on, and confirms the godly in their security by the dissimilarity or unlike condition of wicked men. When thou shalt be safe, they shall fall.
1. "A thousand shall fall at thy side, on thy left hand," overcome by adversity.
2. "Ten thousand on thy right hand," flattered into sin by prosperity.
"But neither the fear by night, nor the arrow by day, shall come nigh thee." 3. And, which is another cause of comfort and pleasure: "Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold, and see the reward of the wicked;" which sometimes falls out in this life, as the Israelites saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea-shore; Moses and Aaron saw Dathan and Abiram swallowed up quick, &c. But it shall be amply fulfilled at the last judgment, Matthew 25. Of which security, comfort, content, the prophet in the next verse gives the reason; the danger shall not come nigh thee; when they fall thou shalt see it, and consider it with content. "Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the Most High, thy habitation;" thou trustest in him as I do; and therefore shalt have the like protection, deliverance, comfort, that I by his promise have. Farther "there shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling." But the just man may say, I am secure that no evil shall befall me; I desire to know how I may be kept so, that I fall not among thieves. This objection the prophet prevents, saying, in effect, Fear not, "for he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways; they shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone." In which verses consider: - 1. That the good man is protected by angels; many angels have a care of one poor man.
2. That they are commanded by God to do it; for are not they ministering spirits sent by God to that end? Heb. i. 14.
3. That it is a particular administration, a charge given to the poorest, the meanest saint.
4. That they are to keep, to look to, defend thee, and what is thine; thou hast an invisible guard.
5. But then mark the limitation and restriction; it is in "all thy ways," in the walk of thy vocation to which God hath called thee; either walk in them, or the angels have no charge to keep thee.
6. Lastly, "In all thy ways;" not in one but all; for the ways of men are many, and in all he needs the custody of angels:
1. The law is a way, and the way of the law is manifold. 2. Our works and operations are manifold; which are our way too. 3. Our life is a way, and there be many parts and conditions of our life, various ages, manifold states; and in all these ways we need a guardian, for we may slip in every law, in every operation, in every age, in every state of life.
Which that it be not done, God hath given his angels charge over us: to keep us only; nay, which is more: - 1. "They shall bear thee," as kind mothers and nurses do their children.
2. "They shall bear thee in their hands;" the will, understanding, wisdom, and power are, as it were, the angels' hand; with all these they will bear us.
3. "That thou dash not thy foot;" that is, thy affections, which carry the soul to good or bad.
4. "Against a stone;" which are all difficulties and obstacles.
And, which is yet more, under their custody we shall tread under foot Satan, and all his accomplices; him, a roaring lion, an old serpent, a fierce dragon, and all his associates, tyrants, persecutors, and hypocrites; for such is the promise; "Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder; the young lion and dragon shalt thou trample under feet." 5. "In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word stand, saith God;" and here we find the law strictly observed: it was to be proved, that all who truly trust in God were to be protected by God; of which; one witness was the just man, ver. 2; another, the testimony of the Spirit by the prophet, from verse 3 to this verse; to which a third, we have here even GOD himself; for in these three last verses the prophet brings Him, God himself, testifying this great and comfortable truth with his own mouth: - 1. "Because he hath set his love upon me," pleased me, loved me, adhered to me, hoped in me, trusted to me with a filial love and adherence.
2. "Because he hath known my name," acknowledged my power, wisdom, goodness; these are the causes and conditions presupposed in the protected.
3. "He shall call upon me." Invocation is necessary also. "Therefore I will deliver him, I will answer him, I will be with him in trouble, I will honour him. I will glorify him, or set him on high;" and the second, "I will deliver him; with long life will I satisfy him, and shod him my salvation." 1. "I will deliver him," by the shield, by my angels, by other ways, directly or indirectly, yet so that it be remembered that I do it, for these shall not deliver without me.
2. "I will answer him;" answer his desires, answer his prayers, so they be cries.
3. "I will be with him in trouble;" join myself close to him, go into prison with him as it were, suffer with him, and think myself pursued when he is persecuted, give him comfort even then; they sung in prison; he neither delivers the martyrs from death, nor does he forsake them.
4. "I will honour him:" for the names of those who suffered for his sake are honourable; "precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints." These promises may belong to this life; those that follow to the other.
1. "I will deliver him." For the just by death are freed from the present and all future miseries: "Blessed are the dead, for they rest from their labours." 2. "I will glorify him." As if it were not enough to deliver him; such a thing in this life may fall out, as it happened to Joseph, Job, David, Daniel; but the true glory no question must be, "when the righteous shall shine like the sun, be set upon their thrones, and judge the twelve tribes of Israel." 3. "With long life will I satisfy him," i.e., with eternal felicity, with a continuance in bliss, which shall be eternal; for without eternity, even length of days cannot satisfy; as appears by old men, who yet have complained of a short life.
4. And that the prophet speaks of this eternal felicity is more than probable, because he adds, "I will show him my salvation;" I will show him Jesus, my salvation; that is, I will bring to pass, that when through his whole life I have given him sufficient evidences of my fatherly affection, I will at last translate him to a place where he shall no longer live by faith, but shall see, and experimentally feel, what he hath believed.