Psalm 32:6
For this shall every one that is godly pray to you in a time when you may be found: surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come near to him.
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(6) For thisi.e., for this cause.

Shall every one.—Better, let every one.

In a time . . .—See margin. The expression, “time of finding,”’ is, of course, elliptical. The Authorised Version explains by Isa. Iv. 6; but Isaiah 45:8 would suggest that “forgiveness” or “acceptance” is the word to be supplied. More probably still some general word, as “goal” or “object,” is required, the phrase being rendered by the LXX., “in the appointed time;” by the Vulg., “opportune.”

Surely.—This adds emphasis to the statement, whether we render after Proverbs 13:10, “only unto him,” or as in Authorised Version. “He—the godly—is the man whom, when the floods rise, they shall not harm.” The floods may either be an image of Divine judgment, as in Nahum 1:8, or of temptation and trial, as in Matthew 7:24-27.

Psalm 32:6. For this — That is, upon the encouragement of my example, and of thy great mercy vouchsafed to me, in answer to my humble confession and supplication; shall every one that is godly — That is, truly penitent, and dreads thy wrath on account of his past sins, resolving to serve thee for the future; pray unto thee — Namely, for the forgiveness of his sins, and for a testimony by thy Spirit in his heart, that thou hast forgiven him, Romans 8:16. In a time when thou mayest be found — Hebrew, לעת מצא, legneth metzo, in the time of finding, namely, of finding thee; while there is room for repentance and reconciliation with thee. The Chaldee renders it, In an acceptable time, the Arabic, In a time of hearing. Thus Isaiah, Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near. The meaning is, in a seasonable time, while God continues to offer grace and mercy to sinners. By this clause the psalmist seems to intimate the difference between the truly penitent or godly, who pray and cry earnestly to God for mercy in its season; and the wicked and impenitent, who will not do so till it be too late, and the season be lost. Mark this well, O reader, and see that thou lose no time, but seek the Lord speedily, Zechariah 8:21, lest death cut thee off, and then it will be too late to seek him. Remember, Now is the accepted time, behold, now is the day of salvation. Surely in the floods of great waters — That is, in the time of great calamities, which are frequently compared to great waters; they shall not come nigh unto him — So as to overwhelm or hurt him. Or, God will set him on a high and safe place, out of the reach of them; as he provided an ark for Noah when the deluge came, to which perhaps he here alludes. Those that have God nigh unto them, which all upright, penitent, praying people have, are so guarded, so advanced, that no waters, no, not great waters, no, not floods of them, can come nigh them to hurt them. As the temptations of the wicked one touch them not, 1 John 5:18, so neither do the troubles of this evil world; these fiery darts of both kinds drop short of them.32:3-7 It is very difficult to bring sinful man humbly to accept free mercy, with a full confession of his sins and self-condemnation. But the true and only way to peace of conscience, is, to confess our sins, that they may be forgiven; to declare them that we may be justified. Although repentance and confession do not merit the pardon of transgression, they are needful to the real enjoyment of forgiving mercy. And what tongue can tell the happiness of that hour, when the soul, oppressed by sin, is enabled freely to pour forth its sorrows before God, and to take hold of his covenanted mercy in Christ Jesus! Those that would speed in prayer, must seek the Lord, when, by his providence, he calls them to seek him, and, by his Spirit, stirs them up to seek him. In a time of finding, when the heart is softened with grief, and burdened with guilt; when all human refuge fails; when no rest can be found to the troubled mind, then it is that God applies the healing balm by his Spirit.For this - With reference to this state of mind, or to this happy result; or, encouraged by my example and my success. The idea seems to be that others would find, and might find, encouragement from what had occurred to him. In other words, his case had furnished an illustration of the way in which sinners are pardoned, and a proof of the mercy of God, which would be instructive and encouraging to others in similar circumstances. The conversion of one sinner, or the fact that one sinner obtains pardon, becomes thus an encouragement to all others, for

(a) pardon is always to be obtained in the same manner essentially - by humble and penitent confession of sin, and by casting ourselves entirely on the offered mercy of God; and

(b) the fact that one sinner has been pardoned, is full proof that others may obtain forgiveness also, for God is unchangeably the same. All those, therefore, who "have" been pardoned and saved in the world have become examples to the rest, and have furnished full proof that all others "may" be pardoned and saved if they will come in the same manner. See the notes at 1 Timothy 1:16.

Everyone that is godly - The original word used here would properly mean those who are pious, or who are already converted. It is the common word used in the Scriptures to denote "saints," and is usually so translated. But, as used here, it would seem rather to denote those who are "inclined" to be pious, or who are seeking how they may become pious; in other words, those who are "religiously disposed." The encouragement is to those who feel that they are sinners; who desire some way of relief from the burden of sin; who are convinced that there is no other source of relief but God, and who are disposed to make the same trial which the psalmist did - to find peace by making confession of sin. All such persons, the psalmist says, might see in his case encouragement to come thus to God; all such would find Him willing to pardon.

In a time when thou mayest be found - Margin, as in Hebrew, "in a time of finding." That is, they would find that to be a propitious time, or a time of mercy. It does not mean that there were appointed or set times in which God would be gracious; or that there were seasons when he was disposed to "give audience" to people, and seasons when he could not be approached; but the meaning is, that whenever they came thus - with this penitent feeling, and this language of confession - they would find that the time of mercy. The idea is not that God is anymore disposed to show mercy at one time than another, but that they would find him "always" ready to show mercy when they came in that manner: that would be the time to obtain his favor; "that the time of finding." The real time of "mercy," therefore, for a sinner, is the time when he is willing to come as a penitent, and to make confession of sin.

Surely in the floods of great waters - In times of calamity - as when floods of water spread over a land; or in a time of judgment - when such floods sweep everything away. The reference here is, doubtless, to the floods that will come upon the ungodly - upon a wicked world. The illustration is drawn probably from the deluge in the time of Noah. So, when God shall sweep away the wicked in his wrath - when he shall consign them to destruction in the day of judgment - the pardoned sinner will be safe.

They shall not come nigh unto him - He will be secure. He shall not be swept off with others. Safe, as a forgiven man - safe as a child and a friend of God - he shall be protected as Noah was in the great deluge that swept off a guilty world. A pardoned man has nothing to fear, though flood or fire should sweep over the world.

6. For this—that is, my happy experience.

godly—pious in the sense of Ps 4:3.

a time—(Isa 55:6); when God's Spirit inclines us to seek pardon, He is ready to forgive.

floods, &c.—denotes great danger (Ps 18:17; 66:12).

6 For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee in a time when thou mayest be found: surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto him.

7 Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah.

Psalm 32:6

"For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee in a time when thou mayest be found." If the Psalmist means that on account of God's mercy others would become hopeful, his witness is true. Remarkable answers to prayer very much quicken the prayerfulness of other godly persons. Where one man finds a golden nugget others feel inclined to dig. The benefit of our experience to others should reconcile us to it. No doubt the case of David has led thousands to seek the Lord with hopeful courage who, without such an instance to cheer them, might have died in despair. Perhaps the Psalmist meant for this favour or the like all godly souls would seek, and here, again, we can confirm his testimony, for all will draw near to God in the same manner as he did when godliness rules their heart. The mercy seat is the way to heaven for all who shall ever come there. There is, however, a set time for prayer, beyond which it will be unavailing; between the time of sin and the day of punishment mercy rules the hour, and God may be found, but when once the sentence has gone forth pleading will be useless, for the Lord will not be found by the condemned soul. O dear reader, slight not the accepted time waste not the day of salvation. The godly pray while the Lord has promised to answer the ungodly postpone their petitions till the Master of the house has risen up and shut to the door, and then their knocking is too late. What a blessing to be led to seek the Lord before the great devouring floods leap forth from their lairs, for then when they do appear we shall be safe. "Surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto him." The floods shall come, and the waves shall rage, and toss themselves like Atlantic billows; whirlpools and waterspouts shall be on every hand, but the praying man shall be at a safe distance, most surely secured from every ill. David was probably most familiar with those great land-floods which fill up, with rushing torrents, the beds of rivers which at other times are almost dry: these overflowing waters often did great damage, and, as in the case of the Kishon, were sufficient to sweep away whole armies. From sudden and overwhelming disasters thus set forth in metaphor the true suppliant will certainly be held secure. He who is saved from sin has no need to fear anything else.

Psalm 32:7

"Thou art my hiding place." Terse, short sentences make up this verse, but they contain a world of meaning. Personal claims upon our God are the joy of spiritual life. To lay our hand upon the Lord with the clasp of a personal "my" is delight at its full. Observe that the same man who in the fourth verse was oppressed by the presence of God, here finds a shelter in him. See what honest confession and full forgiveness will do! The gospel of substitution makes him to be our refuge who otherwise would have been our judge. "Thou shalt preserve me from trouble." Trouble shall do me no real harm when the Lord is with me, rather it shall bring me much benefit, like the file which clears away the rust, but does not destroy the metal. Observe the three tenses, we have noticed the sorrowful past, the last sentence was a joyful present, this is a cheerful future. "Thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance." What a golden sentence! The man is encircled in song, surrounded by dancing mercies, all of them proclaiming the triumphs of grace. There is no breach in the circle, it completely rings him round; on all sides he hears music. Before him hope sounds the cymbals, and behind him gratitude beats the timbrel. Right and left, above and beneath, the air resounds with joy, and all this for the very man who, a few weeks ago, was roaring all the day long. How great a change! What wonders grace has done and still can do! "Selah." There was need of a pause, for love so amazing needs to be pondered, and joy so great demands quiet contemplation, since language fails to express it.

For this, i.e. upon the encouragement of my example, and thy great mercy vouchsafed to me, in answer to my humble confession and supplication.

In a time when thou mayest be found, Heb. in the time of finding thee; the pronoun thee being easily and fitly repeated out of the next foregoing clause, i.e. while he may be found, as it is expressed, Isaiah 55:6, or while he is near, Psalm 69:13, in an acceptable and seasonable time, while God continues to offer grace and mercy to sinners, before the decree bring forth, Zephaniah 2:2, and sentence be passed or executed upon them. By which clause he seems to intimate the difference between the godly, who pray and cry earnestly to God for mercy in its season; and the wicked, who will do so when it is too late, and the season is lost. In the floods of great. waters, i.e. in the time of great calamities, which are frequently compared to great waters. They shall not come nigh unto him, to wit, so as to overwhelm or hurt him. Or God will set him in a high and safe place, out of the reach of them, as he provided an ark for Noah when the deluge came; to which peradventure he alludes in this place. For this shall everyone that is godly pray unto thee,.... Meaning either that the success he had met with, in acknowledging his sin, would encourage others also to take a like step, and make their supplications to the Lord also; or that every godly person should pray to God for the same blessing of pardoning grace likewise. Pardon of sin is to be prayed for; not only Moses, David, Daniel, and other Old Testament saints, prayed for it; but Christ has directed his disciples and followers, under the Gospel dispensation, to do the same, Luke 11:4; and which must be understood of praying for the manifestation of it to their consciences; for God has by one eternal act forgiven all trespasses at once, for Christ's sake; nor can any new act of pardon arise in the mind of God, or a fresh one pass in the court of heaven, nor the blood of Christ be shed again for the remission of it. Moreover, godly men will, in this sense, pray for it, as they have daily occasion to do: a godly man is a man that is created after the image of God, is born of him, and is possessed of internal powerful godliness, and has all things pertaining to it; and particularly has a godly sorrow for sin, and the fear of God in his heart, and before his eyes: and such a man is a praying one; having the spirit of grace, he has the spirit of supplication, and prays with the Spirit and with the understanding; and his praying for the pardon of sin shows that he is not without it, but daily commits it, and so needs fresh discoveries of forgiving love: and which he prays for

in a time when thou mayest be found; which is to be understood, not of any particular stated times of prayer, as morning, noon, and night; for the throne of grace is always open, and God is to be found, and grace and mercy with him at all times; and much less does this respect a day of grace for particular persons, which, if improved, and the opportunity taken, they may have pardon; but if neglected till it is over, then there is no pardon for them; for there is no such day of grace: the whole Gospel dispensation is a day of grace; and that will not be over until all the elect of God are gathered in; and until then it is, and will be; now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation; but it designs a time of need, of soul distress, in which, when persons call upon God in truth, and seek him with their whole heart, he is found by them, and they find grace and mercy with him to relieve them in their distress; the Targum is,

"in an acceptable time;''

surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto him; that is, unto the godly man; not but that afflictions, which are comparable to great floods of waters, do reach godly persons; but not so as to overwhelm them and destroy them; they are delivered out of them. The phrase seems to denote safety in the greatest calamities; that though even a deluge of vengeance and awful judgments should come upon the world, yet the godly man is safe; his place is the munition of rocks; he is in the hands of Christ, and is enclosed in the arms of everlasting love, from whence he can never be taken by men or devils: the Targum interprets these "waters of many people"; and adds, so as "to do any evil", or "hurt".

For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee in a {f} time when thou mayest be found: surely in the floods of great waters {g} they shall not come nigh unto him.

(f) When necessity causes him to seek you for help, Isa 55:6.

(g) That is, the waters and great dangers.

6. An exhortation based upon experience.

For this &c.] Rather, Therefore let every one &c.

in a time when thou mayest be found] This is the most probable explanation of the Heb., which means literally in a time of finding, and is obscure from its brevity. So “in a time of acceptance” (Psalm 69:13). Comp. Deuteronomy 4:29 with Jeremiah 29:13; and see Isaiah 55:6. Let no one delay, for there is also a time of not finding (Proverbs 1:28). The words may also be explained as in R.V. marg., in the time of finding out sin, when God makes inquisition; cp. Psalm 17:3; or, in the time when sin finds them out; cp. Numbers 32:23 : but these explanations are less obvious.

surely &c.] R.V., surely when the great waters overflow they shall not reach unto him. In a time of calamity and judgement he will not be overwhelmed, but will be safe like one who stands secure upon a rock out of reach of the raging flood. For the figure cp. Psalm 18:16; Isaiah 28:2; Isaiah 28:17; Isaiah 30:28; Nahum 1:8.Verse 6. - For this; or, because of this; i.e. on account of this experience of mine - this immediate following of the grant of forgiveness upon confession of sin - shall every one that is godly - i.e., that is sincere and earnest in religion, though he may be overtaken in a fault or surprised into a sin - pray unto thee in a time when thou mayest be found; literally, in a time of finding, which some understand as a time when God "finds," and visits, some iniquity in his servants, and others, as the Authorized Version, "in a time when thou art gracious, and allowest thyself to be found by those who approach thee." Surely in the floods of great waters they (i.e. the waters) shall not come nigh unto him; i.e. shall not approach such a man to injure him. (Heb.: 31:20-25) In this part well-grounded hope expands to triumphant certainty; and this breaks forth into grateful praise of the goodness of God to His own, and an exhortation to all to wait with steadfast faith on Jahve. The thought: how gracious hath Jahve been to me, takes a more universal form in Psalm 31:20. It is an exclamation (מה, as in Psalm 36:8) of adoring admiration. טוּב יהוה is the sum of the good which God has treasured up for the constant and ever increasing use and enjoyment of His saints. צפן is used in the same sense as in Psalm 17:14; cf. τὸ μάννα τὸ κεκρυμμένον, Revelation 2:17. Instead of פּעלתּ it ought strictly to be נתתּ; for we can say פּעל טּוב, but not פּעל טוּב. What is meant is, the doing or manifesting of טּוב springing from this טוּב, which is the treasure of grace. Jahve thus makes Himself known to His saints for the confounding of their enemies and in defiance of all the world besides, Psalm 23:5. He takes those who are His under His protection from the רכסי אישׁ, confederations of men (from רכס, Arab. rks, magna copia), from the wrangling, i.e., the slanderous scourging, of tongues. Elsewhere it is said, that God hides one in סתר אהלו (Psalm 27:5), or in סתר כּנפיו (Psalm 61:5), or in His shadow (צל, Psalm 91:1); in this passage it is: in the defence and protection of His countenance, i.e., in the region of the unapproachable light that emanates from His presence. The סכּה is the safe and comfortable protection of the Almighty which spans over the persecuted one like an arbour or rich foliage. With בּרוּך ה David again passes over to his own personal experience. The unity of the Psalm requires us to refer the praise to the fact of the deliverance which is anticipated by faith. Jahve has shown him wondrous favour, inasmuch as He has given him a עיר מצור as a place of abode. מצור, from צוּר to shut in (Arabic misr with the denominative verb maṣṣara, to found a fortified city), signifies both a siege, i.e., a shutting in by siege-works, and a fortifying (cf. Psalm 60:11 with Psalm 108:11), i.e., a shutting in by fortified works against the attack of the enemy, 2 Chronicles 8:5. The fenced city is mostly interpreted as God Himself and His powerful and gracious protection. We might then compare Isaiah 33:21 and other passages. But why may not an actual city be intended, viz., Ziklag? The fact, that after long and troublous days David there found a strong and sure resting-place, he here celebrates beforehand, and unconsciously prophetically, as a wondrous token of divine favour. To him Ziklag was indeed the turning-point between his degradation and exaltation. He had already said in his trepidation (חפז, trepidare), cf. Psalm 116:11 : I am cut away from the range of Thine eyes. נגרזתּי is explained according to גּרזן, an axe; Lamentations 3:54, נגרזתּי, and Jonah 2:5, נגרשׁתּי, favour this interpretation. He thought in his fear and despair, that God would never more care about him. אכן, verum enim vero, but Jahve heard the cry of his entreaty, when he cried unto Him (the same words as in Psalm 28:2). On the ground of these experiences he calls upon all the godly to love the God who has done such gracious things, i.e., to love Love itself. On the one hand, He preserves the faithful (אמוּנים, from אמוּן equals אמוּן, πιστοί, as in Psalm 12:2), who keep faith with Him, by also proving to them His faithfulness by protection in every danger; on the other hand, not scantily, but plentifully (על as in Isaiah 60:7; Jeremiah 6:14 : κατὰ περισσείαν) He rewardeth those that practise pride-in the sight of God, the Lord, the sin of sins. An animating appeal to the godly (metamorphosed out of the usual form of the expression חזק ואמץ, macte esto), resembling the animating call to his own heart in Psalm 27:14, closes the Psalm. The godly and faithful are here called "those who wait upon Jahve." They are to wait patiently, for this waiting has a glorious end; the bright, spring sun at length breaks through the dark, angry aspect of the heavens, and the esto mihi is changed into halleluja. This eye of hope patiently directed towards Jahve is the characteristic of the Old Testament faith. The substantial unity, however, of the Old Testament order of grace, or mercy, with that of the New Testament, is set before us in Psalm 32:1-11, which, in its New Testament and Pauline character, is the counterpart of Psalm 19:1-14.
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