In thee, O LORD, do I put my trust: let me never be put to confusion.
The character of David.
The great master-key to David's character is to be found in the text and other similar expressions in his psalms. He was eminently a godly man. On God his affections were centred, his hopes depended, his soul waited. This was the rule of his life. The grievous and dark exceptions to its practice cannot of course be for a moment denied or palliated. David's sins were as much sins to him as they are sins to us.
I. Let us then judge him by the rules which we apply to other men. And what do we find? His course begins as a shepherd-boy on the rocky hills of Bethlehem. Whether we suppose the twenty-third Psalm to have been composed during the pastoral employments of his youth, or from recollection of them in afterlife, either supposition will equally show what was the bent of his mind while thus employed. Beautiful strains like these do not spring in after-years from the recollection of time passed in thoughts alien to them, but then only when the impressions of memory conveyed the sentiments as well as the scenes. Israel's God was to him a living reality, not a God in books, nor in legends, nor in ordinances merely, but a God at hand—in his thoughts, in his slumbers, in his solitudes, with him evermore. He "set the Lord always before him; He was at his right hand, that he should not be moved."
II. Nor is there any reason to suppose that such feelings and such cleaving to God ever ceased to characterise the main current of David's life; that as a man he was not found walking in God's ways, as a king not ruling his people prudently, with all his power, by help from God and as responsible to Him. This rendering of himself up to God is the point for which Scripture puts him forth as an example, this continual regarding God's law and God's ways as the rule of his life.
III. The one point of David's character which distinguished him as a youth and as a king distinguished him also as a penitent. He goes up at once to God: "Against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Thy sight."
IV. We have in David an example of an eminently godly man and good king, coupled with a very solemn warning that the best of men have a corrupt and sinful nature and are liable at any time to fall from grace if they forget God.
H. Alford, Quebec Chapel Sermons, vol. ii., p. 60.
Psalm 71:16Observe the two thoughts which compose this sentence. (1) "I will go"—the language of active, frequent, glad progression; (2) but no less, balancing it and justifying it, in all modesty and holy caution, turning rashness into courage, and sanctifying the fire of an impulsive nature, "I will go in the strength of the Lord God."
I. It is of the first importance that we should understand what is meant by "the strength of the Lord God." In Himself His strength is in the clouds, and the strength of the hills is His also. He is infinite in power, and His strength from everlasting. (1) But the going forth of His strength is His arm. The arm of God is the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore the "strength of the Lord God" to man is Christ, and to "go in the strength of the Lord God" is only, in other language, to walk in Christ. The strength of man is union with Christ. In Him the weakest, according to his capacity, becomes a partaker of the omnipotence of God.
II. Subordinate to this union with Christ, and included in it, are other elements which compose "the strength of the Lord God." (1) There is an exceeding strength in the simple feeling of being at peace with God. That man has a giant's strength who, holding his soul secure, goes in the composure of his confidence, and is therefore at leisure for every providence that meets him. (2) The presence of God is strength. (3) The promises are strength. (4) There is strength in knowing that you travel on to a large result, and that victory at last is inevitable. The sense of a fated life is indomitable; it may be abused, but it is God's truth, and truth is strength. "Blessed is the man whose strength is in Him."
J. Vaughan, Fifty Sermons, 7th series, p. 215.
References: Psalm 71:16.—W. Brock, Christian World Pulpit, vol. ii., p. 209; J. R. Macduff, Communion Memories, p. 212. Psalm 71:17, Psalm 71:18.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxi., No. 1256. Psalm 71:20.—A. F. Barfield, Christian World Pulpit, vol. iv., p. 406. Psalm 72:3.—H. Macmillan, Two Worlds are Ours, p. 133. Psalm 72:4.—S. A. Tipple, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxviii., p. 65.
Deliver me in thy righteousness, and cause me to escape: incline thine ear unto me, and save me.
Be thou my strong habitation, whereunto I may continually resort: thou hast given commandment to save me; for thou art my rock and my fortress.
Deliver me, O my God, out of the hand of the wicked, out of the hand of the unrighteous and cruel man.
For thou art my hope, O Lord GOD: thou art my trust from my youth.
By thee have I been holden up from the womb: thou art he that took me out of my mother's bowels: my praise shall be continually of thee.
I am as a wonder unto many; but thou art my strong refuge.
Let my mouth be filled with thy praise and with thy honour all the day.
Cast me not off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength faileth.
For mine enemies speak against me; and they that lay wait for my soul take counsel together,
Saying, God hath forsaken him: persecute and take him; for there is none to deliver him.
O God, be not far from me: O my God, make haste for my help.
Let them be confounded and consumed that are adversaries to my soul; let them be covered with reproach and dishonour that seek my hurt.
But I will hope continually, and will yet praise thee more and more.
My mouth shall shew forth thy righteousness and thy salvation all the day; for I know not the numbers thereof.
I will go in the strength of the Lord GOD: I will make mention of thy righteousness, even of thine only.
O God, thou hast taught me from my youth: and hitherto have I declared thy wondrous works.
Now also when I am old and grayheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come.
Thy righteousness also, O God, is very high, who hast done great things: O God, who is like unto thee!
Thou, which hast shewed me great and sore troubles, shalt quicken me again, and shalt bring me up again from the depths of the earth.
Thou shalt increase my greatness, and comfort me on every side.
I will also praise thee with the psaltery, even thy truth, O my God: unto thee will I sing with the harp, O thou Holy One of Israel.
My lips shall greatly rejoice when I sing unto thee; and my soul, which thou hast redeemed.
My tongue also shall talk of thy righteousness all the day long: for they are confounded, for they are brought unto shame, that seek my hurt.