Praise to the Ruler of the World as the Protector of His People.
This entire psalm is a call to lively and joyful praise of God for His wonderful and glorious attributes and works, as displayed in creation, and of His general and special providence, in view of which the psalmist, in the name of all believers, professes trust and joy and invokes God's mercy. V. 1. Rejoice in the Lord, O ye righteous, those justified by the grace of God; for praise is comely, fitting, proper, for the upright, it is both their duty and their honor to praise the Lord; for silence on their part would be equivalent to a denial of His blessings. V. 2. Praise the Lord with harp, a kind of zither; sing unto Him with the psaltery and an instrument of ten strings, a ten-stringed harp or lute, which was also used in the Temple orchestra. V. 3. Sing unto Him a new song, one especially adapted to the occasion; play skillfully with a loud noise, with a vim, showing the eagerness of the heart to praise the glory of Jehovah in a song never heard before. V. 4. For the Word of the Lord is right, upright, true, not full of mistakes and contradictions; and all His works are done in truth, in faithfulness, the fulfillment always agreeing with His promises. V. 5. He loveth righteousness and judgment; He delights to show these attributes of His divine essence. The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord, of the many proofs of His kindness. V. 6. By the Word of the Lord, the great Word which was in the beginning with God, John 1, 1-3, were the heavens made, Prov. 8, 22-30; and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth, by the power of His Spirit, the reference obviously being to the third person of the Trinity. V. 7. He, the Triune God, gathereth the waters of the sea together as an heap, the mighty ocean being firmly held together by the almighty power of Jehovah; He layeth up the depths in storehouses, assigning to the vast extent of the ocean waters their place where they must stay. V. 8. Let all the earth, even the inanimate creatures, fear the Lord; let all the inhabitants of the world, especially men, who are endowed with reason and sense, stand in awe of Him, with a reverence verging on fear. V. 9. For He spake, with the almighty word of His command, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast. The reference is plainly to the story of creation: God said, Let there be; and there was, Gen. 1. God is furthermore to be praised on account of His almighty rule of the universe. V. 10. The Lord bringeth the counsel to the heathen to naught, making void their plans as actually devised; He maketh the devices of the people, the very thoughts and intentions of their hearts, of none effect, thus frustrating their wickedness. V. 11. The counsel of the Lord standeth forever, in contrast with the vain counsels and thoughts of men, the thoughts of His heart to all generations, abiding forever. V. 12. Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, Jehovah, as their Ruler, being also their greatest treasure; and the people whom He hath chosen for His own inheritance, as was the case in Israel at the time of David, the spiritual Israel, the Church of God, being His heritage in the highest sense of the word. V. 13. The Lord, as the great Ruler of the universe, looketh from heaven, with the eyes of His omniscience; He beholdeth all the sons of men, not one being hidden from His knowledge. V. 14. From the place of His habitation He looketh upon all the inhabitants of the earth, all their deeds being open to His gaze. V. 15. He fashioneth their hearts alike, He is the Former of their hearts all at once, both in the creation of each soul and in forming the thoughts of the heart under His providence; He considereth all their works, understanding exactly how they put their plans into execution. V. 16. There is no king saved by the multitude of an host, no matter what display of strength and arms he may make; a mighty man is not delivered by much strength, all this is useless without God. V. 17. An horse is a vain thing for safety, for a man to rely on; neither shall He deliver any by His great strength; as it is a delusion for help and victory, so it will disappoint him who absolutely relies upon it to carry him to safety. All this is subject to God's government. V. 18. Behold, the eye of the Lord is upon them that fear Him, the entire purpose of the world and of His government is realized in them, upon them that hope in His mercy, putting aside all trust in themselves; v. 19. to deliver their soul from death, sustaining them in all dangers which threaten their life, and to keep them alive in famine. These facts being set forth, the psalmist makes the application to the Church of God of all times. V. 20. Our soul waiteth for the Lord, trusting firmly in His help, no matter when it is manifested; He is our Help and our Shield. V. 21. For our heart shall rejoice in Him because we have trusted in His holy name, as the foundation of their faith, love, and hope, from which all salvation comes. V. 22. Let Thy mercy, O Lord, which alone gives the believers the courage to invoke the Lord, be upon us, according as we hope in Thee, their confident waiting and trusting and the divine answer being correlates. In this way the attitude of hope and trust is the attitude of the Church in all ages, sustained by the Word of God's grace.