Rejoice in the LORD, O you righteous: for praise is comely for the upright.…
as at once the Almighty Creator and Ruler of the world, and the Protector of his chosen people. Ver. 12 may he regarded as the pivot on which the whole psalm turns. What was true ideally, and in part of Israel, is true in fact and perfectly of God's people. "Blessed" -
I. BECAUSE THE LORD IS THEIR GOD. The prophets delight to mark the contrast between the gods of the heathen and Jehovah (Deuteronomy 32:31; Psalm 86:8; Isaiah 40:18-25). The vital difference between the false and the true was brought out powerfully in Egypt (Exodus 8:10), and with still more intense and dramatic effect on Mount Carmel in the day of Elijah (1 Kings 18:24). No doubt some of the heathen attained to high views of duty, but amongst the people it was otherwise. As has been said, their gods were like themselves -
"Gods partial, changeful, passionate, unjust,
Whose attributes were rage, revenge, and lust." But our God is the living and true God. His character commands our highest admiration (vers. 1-3). His Word and his works call forth our most devoted homage and praise (vers. 4-11). Idolaters and all with idol-loving hearts may be constrained to say, in the day of their trouble, "They have taken away my gods, and what have I more?" (Judges 18:24). But no power can take away our God. He says to us, "I will never leave thee." And we cry to him with exulting faith, "Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee" (Psalm 73:23-28). To Israel God appealed as the God of Abraham, and claimed their obedience as the Lord their God, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt (Exodus 3:6; Exodus 20:1); but he stands in a nearer relationship, and has higher claims upon us, as the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:3, 7; 1 Peter 1:3, 7).
II. BECAUSE UNDER GOD'S GOVERNMENT THEY ARE BEING FORMED TO THE CHARACTER OF RIGHTEOUSNESS. Righteousness is the great want of the world. Get people made righteous - right in their being and their life, and there would be an end to the great evils that afflict society. Righteousness is the craving of all consciences and the hope of all troubled hearts. God's great aim is to make his people righteous. For this end he has given his Law; for this he sent his Son into the world; for this, as the potter with the clay, he is continually working in his gracious providence, "fashioning" the hearts of men. Well, therefore, has Paul said, "We are his workmanship" (Ephesians 2:10). God is blessed because he is righteous; and he would have his people made happy after the same fashion (Isaiah 32:17). "Righteousness exalteth a nation" (Proverbs 14:34); and this holds true also of individuals. "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness; for they shall be filled" (Matthew 5:6).
III. BECAUSE THEY HAVE A GREAT FUTURE BEFORE THEM. Nations have their decline and fall. Even Israel, because unfaithful, have been scattered (Deuteronomy 29:24-28); but the true Israel shall be under the eye and the keeping of the Lord for ever. They are his own inheritance (cf. Ephesians 1:18). Therefore they are encouraged to "hope," to "wait," to "trust." Their golden age is not in the past, but in the future. What Jacob said on his death-bed may be said with joy by all his true children, "I have waited for thy salvation, O Lord!" (Genesis 49:18; cf. Luke 2:28-32; 1 Peter 1:10-13). - W.F.
Parallel VersesKJV: Rejoice in the LORD, O ye righteous: for praise is comely for the upright.