A Psalm of David the servant of the LORD.

This is again a psalm by David, the great King of Israel, and servant of the LORD, Who had set him upon the throne. Yet Bullinger suggests in the Companion Bible that this should read, “Relating to Jehovah’s Servant, by David.” Thus, this psalm is not simply by David God’s servant, but rather is by David about God’s greatest Servant, the Lord Jesus Christ. Indeed, many of these psalms, though they may be written around certain occasions in David’s life, nevertheless point ahead to David’s great Son and Lord, our Savior Jesus Christ.

1. An oracle within my heart concerning the transgression of the wicked:

In David’s heart there speaks an oracle regarding the transgression of the wicked. Yet this oracle is not simply David’s own thoughts concerning these people, but rather is an oracle placed there by God. He knows the kind of people these wicked are, for God has shown it to him.

There is no fear of God before his eyes.

There is no fear, there is no awe, there is no reverence or respect for God before the eyes of the wicked one. In spite of the fact that God created him, he gives Him no loyalty and offers Him no service. How many like this do we see on every hand in our day!

2. For he flatters himself in his own eyes,

He flatters himself in his own eyes, even as he refuses to acknowledge God before his eyes. In spite of the fact that every breath of his comes from God, he vainly imagines himself not to need God. He does not see what a weak, dependent creature he really is.

When he finds out his iniquity and when he hates.

As he works iniquity and hates those around him, two things which make him even less worthy of the opinion he holds of himself, even then he flatters himself.

3. The words of his mouth are wickedness and deceit;

The very things that he speaks are wickedness and deceit. His words have no value, and contain no truth.

He has ceased to be wise and to do good.

Wisdom has left this wicked one, and he does not perform good works. All that he does is useless wickedness and all that he says are pointless lies.

4. He devises wickedness on his bed;

When he lies awake at night he does not think of God, or regret his wicked actions of the past. Instead, he only plans more wickedness that he can perform in the future. This contrasts to the thoughts of a Godly man on his bed, as we read in Psalm 63:6. “When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches.” So the righteous will meditate upon God on his bed, but the wicked only devises more wickedness.

He sets himself in a way that is not good;

He just sets himself up in a way that is not good. He makes this the way his life operates. This makes me think of those who refuse to acknowledge the marriage bed, or to honor the making of two into one flesh that the LORD set up between Adam and Eve. Instead, they just live their lives moving from one partner to the next. They move in with a boyfriend or girlfriend, and just set up their lives in a manner that is contrary to the way that is good. These are the actions of a wicked person.

He does not abhor evil.

That which brings calamity is not abhorrent to the wicked. Even in our own society, there are so many things that should be considered abhorrent because of the terrible damage and suffering that they cause that are simply not abhorred by the world around us. They try to deny the calamity that these ungodly actions can cause, but they cannot change the consequences of unrighteous living. These things are just the way of life of those who are wicked.

5. Your mercy, O LORD, is in the heavens;

David has given us a description of the wicked man. Now, he moves on to describing the mercy, that is, the lovingkindness or grace, of the LORD. The wickedness of men might be great, but the grace of the LORD is even greater. His lovingkindness is in the heavens, that is, among the most exalted things, for that is where He dwells.

Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.

Men cannot hope to reach the clouds without help, for they are high above us. And so is the grace of the LORD, which reaches far above what we can ever hope to attain to.

6. Your righteousness is like the great mountains;

The LORD’s righteousness is like the great mountains. In Hebrew this is the “mountains of God,” in other words, the very greatest of mountains, like Him, the very greatest of gods.

Your judgments are a great deep;

This line should start with “And,” but this word was canceled from the Hebrew text by the Massorites. The LORD’s judgments are a great deep. The deep is a word that describes the deep waters of the oceans. His righteousness is like the mightiest of mountains, and his judgments, his determinations, are like the deepest of oceans.

O LORD, You preserve man and beast.

The LORD preserves both Adam’s race and the beasts. This is not talking about universal reconciliation or universal salvation. This is talking about the LORD’s preservation of man from perishing off of the earth. One example of this is the lifespan of men. Adam, you will remember, lived 962 years, and those who came after him lived a similar amount of time. Yet after the flood, the lifespan of men began dropping rapidly, sometimes even by as much as 200 years per generation. With this sort of decline, we can well imagine that the lifespan of Adam’s race could have degenerated to the point where it would just be impossible for men to reproduce themselves. If a lifespan was down to not much more than the single digits, we know that there would be no continuation of the human race, and men would cease to exist upon the earth. Yet we know that God stepped in, and set the lifespan of men at around 70 years. In this, God preserved Adam’s race upon the earth. In the same way, He preserves the beasts, seeing to it that many of them still exist upon the earth, though they have had to survive for thousands of years and many more generations than men have gone through. The LORD preserves us, and will never allow life in general or human life in particular to perish from the earth.

7. How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God!

The great lovingkindness, the great grace, of God is indeed a precious thing. Where would any of us be without it? He loves and preserves us, though we certainly do not deserve it. He does this in spite of wicked people, and all their rebellion against Him.

Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings.

The sons of Adam, that is, the living representatives of Adam’s race that are upon the earth at any particular point in time, put their trust under the shadow of His wings. The LORD is pictured as a bird here, sheltering her chicks under her protective wings. I believe that this speaks of the beginning of the kingdom of God, when all men will learn to trust in the LORD because of the grace He shows them when He reveals to them the truth.

8. They are abundantly satisfied with the fullness of Your house,

Those who trust in the LORD are just abundantly satisfied with the fullness of His house. They look to the LORD, Who dwells in His temple, and that temple satisfies them completely. No longer do they look to other gods. No longer do they seek to build their own churches and temples and places of worship. Instead, they find in the LORD and in His great temple in Jerusalem complete satisfaction, for He and His temple are all the religion they need. What a change it will be when this becomes true, and what a glorious change will it be indeed!

And You give them drink from the river of Your pleasures.

God’s provision for all men’s longings pours out like a river of pleasures to satisfy the world. As Christ said to the woman at the well in John 4:13b-14, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” What a privilege it is to drink from that water! What a glorious thing it will be when all the sons of Adam drink from that water in the great government of God to come.

9. For with You is the fountain of life;

The fountain of life is with God. And in John 4, we read that it is Jesus Christ Who gives life-giving water. Can there be any doubt, then, that Jesus Christ is the God being spoken of here, the One Who gives living water to all who thirst?

In Your light we see light.

Without the light that comes from God, the light that we receive today only from God’s written Word, we would be lost in the darkness. Yet when we dwell in the light that God gives us, we see the light ourselves. How we can thank God that He has not left us in darkness, but that He has given us a lamp for our feet and a light for our path!

10.  Oh, continue Your lovingkindness to those who know You,

Bullinger suggests that “continue” here means “prolong.” If God’s grace stopped short, we would all be left without help, even though we know Him. But since God’s lovingkindness is prolonged to us, we can rest assured that we will always have a place with the God we love.

And Your righteousness to the upright in heart.

His righteousness is imputed to those who know Him through His grace. Thus, as His grace continues, His righteousness also continues to be enjoyed by the upright in heart. All our righteousness is found in Him!

11.  Let not the foot of pride come against me,

Where your feet stand in Scripture indicates that which you have power over. If you are standing on something, it is subservient to you. So, the proud foot indicates the power of pride, that the servant of the LORD asks will not come against him to defeat him.

And let not the hand of the wicked drive me away.

Again the hand is associated with strength, and with power, for that which is in your hand is in your power. We might imagine the wicked running against the righteous, and holding in his hand a weapon to drive him away.

12.  There the workers of iniquity have fallen;

The prayer of the last verse has been answered, and now the workers of iniquity have fallen. They no longer have power to come against the righteous to his harm.

They have been cast down and are not able to rise.

The wicked have been cast down, and no longer have the power to raise themselves up. This anticipates the kingdom of God, when the wicked will be cast down at last, and all their power taken away. In that day, the righteous servant of the LORD will rest in peace, knowing that there is none left to cause him harm. What a glorious day that will be!