13:5 But I trust … in your salvation. The conjunction “but” (Heb. adversative waw) is the fulcrum on which David’s faith turns: “But I trust …” The “I” is emphatic and is a casus pendens: “but as for me, I trust in your unfailing love.” The backdrop of this verse is most likely political conflict, and thus “salvation” is deliverance from the political danger. This word in time and changing circumstances takes on a spiritual meaning and here very well may have such a nuance, that is, deliverance from the oppressive sense of God’s having forgotten the psalmist.
Ver. 5. But I have trusted in Thy mercy.—On the mercy of God:—
- What is meant by the mercy of God? Mercy differs from goodness in that it supposes guilt. Without the fall of man there could have been no occasion for his redemption; and without the plan of redemption it does not appear that we could have formed any opinion of the Divine mercy.
- How does it remedy man’s misery? The two evils to which man is exposed are sin and death. Yet they differ only as cause and effect. Sin is the distemper, and death the issue of it. Against sin God hath provided by giving us the light of Scripture; against death by the new principle of life infused into the Christian from the time of his baptismal regeneration.
III. What is it to trust in this mercy? We cannot do so till we know what we have to fear. But men are insensible of this, because self-satisfied and resting in a mistaken confidence. To trust in God is to renounce all self-confidence, and to rely on the mercy of God. Do not mistake presumption for trust. They who do, think that God’s mercy is only to deliver from punishment. It is to deliver from sin.
- The joy and comfort following. “My heart shall rejoice in Thy salvation.” (A. Jones, M.A.)
Mercy and joy:—
The minister of the Gospel is to proclaim free grace everywhere. But the heart must be awakened ere it can receive the truth of God’s grace.
- The experimental statement of David. “I have trusted in Thy mercy.” He was a sinner, but here was all his hope. This the test of true discipleship, whether we have come to trust as David did, and to hope in the mercy of God through Jesus Christ. And he knew this experimentally. Dry doctrines will not suffice alone. They would starve a soul. There must be experience. David here tells out his sorrow. He mourns God’s delays. But he trusts in God.
- His experience. “My heart shall rejoice in Thy salvation.” He had trusted, and he anticipates rejoicing. Here was the shelter, the anchor of his soul. The Church and the Christian can never be ship-wrecked, for the anchor holds. He speaks of a heart joy. No one can know anything about heart-rejoicing but those who have been heart-achers. “Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.” How blessed it is to experience the stillness and the quietness of the peace of God. Compared with this, what is the world worth? (J. J. West, M.A.)
My heart shall rejoice in Thy salvation.—A renovation of heart essential to a state of salvation:—
- Without the renovation of the heart there can be no distinct knowledge of the Gospel. The natural mind cannot receive the things of God; they are spiritually discerned. The mind must be renewed, that the man may become spiritual.
- Nor can there be a new nature. This is essential to the enjoyment of salvation. For how can we enjoy that which is opposed to our feelings, desires, habits? We have no enjoyment in the society of those who are the objects of our aversion. The “enmity” of the mind must be “slain” by the constraining power of the love of Christ; but this involves renovation.
- Unless the heart is renewed by the Spirit of God there is no possibility of accounting for the discovery and preparation of a plan of redemption at all. Was it worthy of the Divinity to do all that He has done in redemption for the sake of saving those He never intended to change and purify?
- This renovation of heart is essential to the enjoyment of heaven. Take an individual from the lowest ranks of society, and place him in the midst of the high-born, the educated, the refined; where will be his enjoyment? The unrenewed man, set in the midst of those who have their “conversation in heaven,” has no relish for the company, and gladly turns from it. The reason for finding no interest in heaven is—unrenewedness of heart. (J. Burnet.)
Verse 5.—“I have trusted in thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation.” Faith rejoiceth in tribulations, and triumpheth before the victory. The patient is glad when he feels his physic to work, though it make him sick for the time because he hopes it will procure health. We rejoice in afflictions, not that they are joyous for the present, but because they shall work for our good. As faith rejoiceth, so it triumpheth in assurance of good success; for it seeth not according to outward appearance, but when all means fail, it keepeth God in sight, and beholdeth him present for our succour.—John Ball.
Verse 5.—“I have trusted in thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation.” Though passion possess our bodies, let “patience possess our souls.” The law of our profession binds us to a warfare; patiendo vincimus, our troubles shall end, our victory is eternal. Here David’s triumph (Psalm 18:38–40), “I have wounded them, that they were not able to rise; they are fallen under my feet. Thou hast subdued under me those that rose up against me. Thou hast also given me the neck of mine enemies,” etc. They have wounds for their wounds; and the treaders down of the poor are trodden down by the poor. The Lord will subdue those to us that would have subdued us to themselves; and though for a short time they rode over our heads, yet now at last we shall everlastingly tread upon their necks. Lo, then, the reward of humble patience and confident hope. Speramus et superamus. Deut. 32:31. “Our God is not as their God, even our enemies being judges.” Psalm 20:7. “Some put their trust in chariots, and some in horses.” But no chariot hath strength to oppose, nor horse swiftness to escape, when God pursues. Verse 8. “They are brought down and fallen; we are risen and stand upright.” Their trust hath deceived them; down they fall, and never to rise. Our God hath helped us; we are risen, not for a breathing space, but to stand upright for ever.—Thomas Adams.
Verse 5.—None live so easily, so pleasantly, as those that live by faith.—Matthew Henry.
Verse 5.—Wherefore I say again, “Live by faith;” again I say, always live by it, rejoice through faith in the Lord. I dare boldly say it is thy fault and neglect of its exercise if thou suffer either thy own melancholy humour or Satan to interrupt thy mirth and spiritual alacrity, and to detain thee in dumps and pensiveness at any time. What if thou beest of a sad constitution? of a dark complexion? Is not faith able to rectify nature? Is it not stronger than any hellebore? Doth not an experienced divine and physician worthily prefer one dram of it before all the drugs in the apothecary’s shop for this effect? Hath it not sovereign virtue in it, to excerebrate all cares, expectorate all fears and griefs, evacuate the mind of all ill thoughts and passions, to exhilarate the whole man? But what good doth it to any to have a cordial by him if he use it not? To wear a sword, soldier-like, by his side, and not to draw it forth in an assault? When a dump overtakes thee, if thou wouldst say to thy soul in a word or two, “Soul, why art thou disquieted? know and consider in whom thou believest,” would it not presently return to its rest again? Would not the Master rebuke the winds and storms, and calm thy troubled mind presently? Hath not every man something or other he useth to put away dumps, to drive away the evil spirit, as David with his harp? Some with merry company, some with a cup of sack, most with a pipe of tobacco, without which they cannot ride or go. If they miss it a day together they are troubled with rheums, dulness of spirits. They that live in fens and ill airs dare not stir out without a morning draught of some strong liquor. Poor, silly, smoky helps, in comparison with the least taste (but for dishonouring faith I would say whiff) or draught of faith.—Samuel Ward, 1577–1653.