David is here improving the experience he had had of the comfort of pardoning mercy.
I. He speaks to God, and professes his confidence in him and expectation from him, Ps. 32:7. Having tasted the sweetness of divine grace to a penitent sinner, he cannot doubt of the continuance of that grace to a praying saint, and that in that grace he should find both safety and joy. 1. Safety: “Thou art my hiding-place; when by faith I have recourse to thee I see all the reason in the world to be easy, and to think myself out of the reach of any real evil. Thou shalt preserve me from trouble, from the sting of it, and from the strokes of it as far as is good for me. Thou shalt preserve me from such trouble as I was in while I kept silence,” Ps. 32:3. When God has pardoned our sins, if he leaves us to ourselves, we shall soon run as far in debt again as ever and plunge ourselves again into the same gulf; and therefore, when we have received the comfort of our remission, we must fly to the grace of God to be preserved from returning to folly again, and having our hearts again hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. God keeps his people from trouble by keeping them from sin. 2. Joy: “Thou shalt not only deliver me, but compass me about with songs of deliverance; which way soever I look I shall see occasion to rejoice and to praise God; and my friends also shall compass me about in the great congregation, to join with me in songs of praise: they shall join their songs of deliverance with mine. As every one that is godly shall pray with me, so they shall give thanks with me.”
II. He turns his speech to the children of men. Being himself converted, he does what he can to strengthen his brethren (Luke 22:32): I will instruct thee, whoever thou art that desirest instruction, and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go, Ps. 32:8. This, in another of his penitential psalms, he resolves that when God should have restored to him the joy of his salvation he would teach transgressors his ways, and do what he could to convert sinners to God, as well as to comfort those that were converted, Ps. 51:12, 13. When Solomon became a penitent he immediately became a preacher, Eccl. 1:1. Those are best able to teach others the grace of God who have themselves had the experience of it: and those who are themselves taught of God ought to tell others what he has done for their souls (Ps. 66:16) and so teach them. I will guide thee with my eye. Some apply this to God’s conduct and direction. He teaches us by his word and guides us with his eye, by the secret intimations of his will in the hints and turns of Providence, which he enables his people to understand and take direction from, as a master makes a servant know his mind by a wink of his eye. When Christ turned and looked upon Peter he guided him with his eye. But it is rather to be taken as David’s promise to those who sat under his instruction, his own children and family especially: “I will counsel thee; my eye shall be upon thee” (so the margin reads it); “I will give thee the best counsel I can and then observe whether thou takest it or no.” Those that are taught in the word should be under the constant inspection of those that teach them; spiritual guides must be overseers. In this application of the foregoing doctrine concerning the blessedness of those whose sins are pardoned we have a word to sinners and a word to saints; and this is rightly dividing the word of truth and giving to each their portion.
1. Here is a word of caution to sinners, and a good reason is given for it. (1.) The caution is, not to be unruly and ungovernable: Be you not as the horse and the mule, which have no understanding, Ps. 32:9. When the psalmist would reproach himself for the sins he repented of he compared himself to a beast before God (so foolish have I been and ignorant, Ps. 73:22) and therefore warns others not to be so. It is our honour and happiness that we have understanding, that we are capable of being governed by reason and of reasoning with ourselves. Let us therefore use the faculties we have, and act rationally. The horse and mule must be managed with bit and bridle, lest they come near us, to do us a mischief, or (as some read it) that they may come near to us, to do us service, that they may obey us, Jas. 3:3. Let us not be like them; let us not be hurried by appetite and passion, at any time, to go contrary to the dictate of right reason and to our true interest. If sinners would be governed and determined by these, they would soon become saints and would not go a step further in their sinful courses; where there is renewing grace there is no need of the bit and bridle of restraining grace. (2.) The reason for this caution is because the way of sin which we would persuade you to forsake will certainly end in sorrow (Ps. 32:10): Many sorrows shall be to the wicked, which will not only spoil their vain and carnal mirth, and put an end to it, but will make them pay dearly for it. Sin will have sorrow, if not repented of, everlasting sorrow. It was part of the sentence, I will greatly multiply thy sorrows. “Be wise for yourselves therefore, and turn from your wickedness, that you may prevent those sorrows, those many sorrows.”
2. Here is a word of comfort to saints, and a good reason is given for that too. (1.) They are assured that if they will but trust in the Lord, and keep closely to him, mercy shall compass them about on every side (Ps. 32:10), so that they shall not depart from God, for that mercy shall keep them in, nor shall any real evil break in upon them, for that mercy shall keep it out. (2.) They are therefore commanded to be glad in the Lord, and to rejoice in him, to such a degree as even to shout for joy, Ps. 32:11. Let them be so transported with this holy joy as not to be able to contain themselves; and let them affect others with it, that they also may see that a life of communion with God is the most pleasant and comfortable life we can live in this world. This is that present bliss which the upright in heart, and they are only, are entitled to and qualified for.