Doctrinal and Practical Remarks on Psalm 141 – Wm. Plumer

Doctrinal and Practical Remarks on Psalm 141 – Wm. Plumer

Doctrinal and Practical Remarks on Psalm 141:1-10

1. When evil men beset and harass the pious, their resort is a throne of grace, v. 1. The greater their distress, the louder are their cries. All Screen Shot 2015-09-08 at 8.28.37 AMhuman aid withdrawn, they look to God alone, nor are they disappointed.

2. In the eyes of God’s real people prayer is not an end, but a means; nor can they ever rest satisfied with the service, while they have no evidence of acceptance, v. 2. We cannot too carefully remember that prayer is a spiritual sacrifice demanding the heart and the soul.

3. Hearty prayer sets men against sin in every shape and form, vv. 3, 4. Morison: “The spirit of prayer is the spirit of holiness; and he, who communes intimately with his God, will come forth from his presence with the desire of walking circumspectly in all his ordinances and commandments.”

4. The more the righteous knows of himself, the more earnestly does he desire and seek the grace of God to restrain, guard and sanctify him, v. 3. Experience unites with Scripture in teaching him that no human wisdom or virtue can control that unruly member the tongue, unless God in his mercy takes charge of the mouth, and guides our speech. This is specially true when we are reviled, slandered, persecuted. Calvin: “Nothing is more difficult than for the victims of unjust persecution to bridle their speech, and submit silently and without complaint to injuries.” Then, if ever the righteous should cry for grace and strength. Horne: “A Christian, living among unbelievers and sensualists in the world, hath abundant reason to put up the same prayers, and use the same precautions.”

5. Nor is the child of God satisfied merely with the control of his tongue; but wishes his temper, his spirit watched and guarded, preserved and sanctified by the Lord, v. 4. His honest and thorough conviction is that of Solomon: “He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit, than he that taketh a city,” Prov. 16:32. The most secret sin is worse than public reproach.

6. If we are not willing to be reproved by God or man in the kindness of love, we have not the temper of the saints, and cannot expect to mend our faults, or prepare for a better world, v. 5. Luther: “I had rather that true and faithful teachers should rebuke and condemn me, and reprove my ways, than that hypocrites should flatter me and applaud me as a saint.” Calvin: “It is not agreeable to corrupt nature to be reproved when we sin, but David had brought himself to that degree of docility and self-denial, which led him to consider no reproof distasteful, which he knew to proceed from the spirit of kindness.” Compare Prov. 6:23; 27:6.

7. However long the wicked may seem to have things their own way, and tread down the righteous, they shall finally be overthrown in a terrible manner, v. 6. It was so with Saul, 1 Sam. 31:1-10. It shall be so with all, who do not by timely repentance turn to God, Ecclesiastes 8:12, 13.

8. What is more fickle or unstable than popular favor? v. 6. The successful and the powerful seldom lack adherents. The men, who were so zealous for Saul, soon found, when he was dead, that David’s words were sweet. The masses of men are so unthinking, take so little pains to inform themselves, and are so much governed by prejudice and passion, and especially so blindly follow leaders and majorities, that it is a marvel that any truth or any good man survives.

9. It is nothing unusual for oppressed innocency to be denied a hearing, and for the most brutal treatment to be dealt out to the well-deserving, v. 7. It has always been so. It is so still. It will be so as long as sin is rampant. The malice of the wicked is truly terrible.

10. The more cruel men become, and the more popular violence rages, the more must the pious sufferer look to God – to God alone, v. 8. Clarke: “In all times, in all places, on all occasions, I will cleave unto the Lord, and put my whole confidence in him.” True Christian heroism does not proceed from strong nerves, or brute courage, but from faith, which against hope believes in hope.

11. In certain circumstances and with submission to the will of God, we may pray for the lengthening of our days, v. 8. (See remarks on Ps. 39:13)

12. The worst snares are not those set to rob us of our estates, our liberties, our good names, or our lives; but those designed to rob us of a good conscience, of the fear and love of God, and of spiritual peace. From the wiles of the devil and the cunning craftiness of wicked men God alone and God only can keep us, v. 8.

13. God can frustrate any devices formed against us, even when for a time they threaten to destroy us; and all the plots of all impenitent plotters shall finally entangle and overwhelm their authors, v. 10. “No law can be more just than that the architects of destruction should perish by their own contrivances.” “All that are bound over to God’s justice are held by the cords of their own iniquity”

14. Let not the hunted and afflicted child of God be cast down with over much sorrow. Better times are coming.

Plumer, William S. Psalms, A Critical and Expository Commentary with Doctrinal and Practical Remarks, The Geneva Series of Commentaries (Carlisle: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1975), 1173-1174.