The LORD shall bless you out of Zion: and you shall see the good of Jerusalem all the days of your life.…
In every age the practice of religion and virtue has appeared to all prudent inquirers the likeliest and surest way to avoid the miseries of life, and secure the enjoyments of it. The first advantage which the psalmist promises to the pious comprehends in general health and success in their affairs (ver. 2). The next is a particular blessing of the nearest concern; the possession of domestic and conjugal felicity in the midst of a large and well-ordered family (ver. 3). But still, as good persons can never thoroughly relish their own private welfare, if the community suffers at the same time, or calamities are likely to befall it soon, an assurance is given them in the last place that their exemplary obedience to the laws of God will, through His mercy, contribute to their being witnesses of the prosperity, both of their country and their descendants, during a long course of years (vers. 5, 6). In which concluding part of this most pleasing view even of the present condition of religious and virtuous persons, we have it signified to us —
I. THAT A LARGE PORTION OF THEIR HAPPINESS CONSISTS IN THE FLOURISHING STATE OF THEIR COUNTRY. Everything hath an influence on our enjoyments, in proportion to the share which it hath in our affections. And affection to the public never fails to be remarkably strong in worthy breasts. It shows a rightness and greatness of mind, capable of being affected by a common interest: it shows the most amiable of virtues, love, towards a large part of our fellow-creatures, and implies nothing contrary towards the rest. For the real good of every people in the world is compatible with the real good of every other. To rule and to oppress is no good to any: and peace and liberty and friendly intercourse for mutual convenience all the nations of the earth may enjoy at once.
II. THAT THE HAPPINESS ACCRUING TO GOOD MEN FROM THE FLOURISHING STATE OF THEIR COUNTRY IS GREATLY INCREASED BY THE PROSPECT THAT THEIR OWN POSTERITY WILL CONTINUE TO FLOURISH WITH IT. How strongly must such a hope induce them to secure by good example and instruction this highest honour and blessedness to such as are to inherit their dignities! And how warm a return of most affectionate gratitude will they merit and receive from mankind, if virtue and liberty shall not only be supported by them in the present age, but transmitted to succeeding ones, by their pious care of forming their progeny to the knowledge and the love of public good! The prospect only of "children's children" would have little joy in it without that of "peace upon Israel": without a reasonable expectation of their contributing to the true glory of the family, from which they spring, and the true happiness of the nation over which they are to preside. But when due provision is made for this, both sovereign and people may take up the words of the psalmist (Psalm 127:4, 5).
III. THAT BOTH DEPEND ON THE DIVINE BENEDICTION (Psalm 127:1, 2, 4). It is not indeed possible for us in many cases to discern particularly in what manner the providence of God conducts things: but we may plainly discern, in general, that as the whole course of nature is nothing else than the free appointment which He hath been pleased to make; as the motions of the inanimate world proceed from those which He originally impressed upon it; and all the thoughts and actions of intelligent beings are doubtless absolutely subject to the influence of their Maker; since we see they are greatly subject, and often when they perceive it not, to that of their fellow-creatures; it must be in His power by various ways — perhaps the more effectual for being unknown — to dispose of everything so as may best answer His wise purposes of mercy or correction. And as He evidently can do this, it is likewise evidently worthy of Him to do it; for the highest of His titles is that of the moral governor of the universe; and therefore we may firmly believe the Scripture assuring us that He doth it in fact; that He makes all things work together for good to them that love Him, and curses the very blessings of those who love Him not.
Parallel VersesKJV: The LORD shall bless thee out of Zion: and thou shalt see the good of Jerusalem all the days of thy life.