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Matthew Henry's Commentary – Verses 11–17
Verses 11–17

The psalmist, having meditated upon the work of redemption, and spoken of it in the person of the Messiah, now comes to make improvement of the doctrine of his mediation between us and God, and therefore speaks in his own person. Christ having done his Father’s will, and finished his work, and given orders for the preaching of the gospel to every creature, we are encouraged to come boldly to the throne of grace, for mercy and grace.

I. This may encourage us to pray for the mercy of God, and to put ourselves under the protection of that mercy, Ps. 40:11. “Lord, thou hast not spared thy Son, nor withheld him; withhold not thou thy tender mercies then, which thou hast laid up for us in him; for wilt thou not with him also freely give us all things? Rom. 8:32. Let thy lovingkindness and thy truth continually preserve me.” The best saints are in continual danger, and see themselves undone if they be not continually preserved by the grace of God; and the everlasting lovingkindness and truth of God are what we have to depend upon for our preservation to the heavenly kingdom, Ps. 61:7.

II. This may encourage us in reference to the guilt of sin, that Jesus Christ has done that towards our discharge from it which sacrifice and offering could not do. See here, 1. The frightful sight he had of sin, Ps. 40:12. This was it that made the discovery he was now favoured with of a Redeemer very welcome to him. He saw his iniquities to be evils, the worst of evils; he saw that they compassed him about; in all the reviews of his life, and his reflections upon each step of it, still he discovered something amiss. The threatening consequences of his sin surrounded him. Look which way he would, he saw some mischief or other waiting for him, which he was conscious to himself his sins had deserved. He saw them taking hold of him, arresting him, as the bailiff does the poor debtor; he saw them to be innumerable and more than the hairs of his head. Convinced awakened consciences are apprehensive of danger from the numberless number of the sins of infirmity which seem small as hairs, but, being numerous, are very dangerous. Who can understand his errors? God numbers our hairs (Matt. 10:30), which yet we cannot number; so he keeps an account of our sins, which we keep no account of. The sight of sin so oppressed him that he could not hold up his head—I am not able to look up; much less could he keep up his heart—therefore my heart fails me. Note, The sight of our sins in their own colours would drive us to distraction, if we had not at the same time some sight of a Saviour. 2. The careful recourse he had to God under the sense of sin (Ps. 40:13); seeing himself brought by his sins to the very brink of ruin, eternal ruin, with what a holy passion does he cry out, “Be pleased, O Lord! to deliver me (Ps. 40:13); O save me from the wrath to come, and the present terrors I am in through the apprehensions of that wrath! I am undone, I die, I perish, without speedy relief. In a case of this nature, where the bliss of an immortal soul is concerned, delays are dangerous; therefore, O Lord! make haste to help me.”

III. This may encourage us to hope for victory over our spiritual enemies that seek after our souls to destroy them (Ps. 40:14), the roaring lion that goes about continually seeking to devour. If Christ has triumphed over them, we through him, shall be more than conquerors. In the belief of this we may pray, with humble boldness, Let them be ashamed and confounded together, and driven backward, Ps. 40:14. Let them be desolate, Ps. 40:15. Both the conversion of a sinner and the glorification of a saint are great disappointments to Satan, who does his utmost, with all his power and subtlety, to hinder both. Now, our Lord Jesu e46 s having undertaken to bring about the salvation of all his chosen, we may in faith pray that, in both these ways, that great adversary may be confounded. When a child of God is brought into that horrible pit, and the miry clay, Satan cries Aha! aha! thinking he has gained his point; but he shall rage when he sees the brand plucked out of the fire, and shall be desolate, for a reward of his shame. The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan! The accuser of the brethren is cast out.

IV. This may encourage all that seek God, and love his salvation, to rejoice in him and to praise him, Ps. 40:16. See here, 1. The character of good people. Conformably to the laws of natural religion, they seek God, desire his favour, and in all their exigencies apply to him, as a people should seek unto their God; and conformably to the laws of revealed religion they love his salvation, that great salvation of which the prophets enquired and searched diligently, which the Redeemer undertook to work out when he said, Lo, I come. All that shall be saved love the salvation not only as a salvation from hell, but a salvation from sin. 2. The happiness secured to good people by this prophetic prayer. Those that seek God shall rejoice and be glad in him, and with good reason, for he will not only be found of them but will be their bountiful rewarder. Those that love his salvation shall be filled with the joy of his salvation, and shall say continually, The Lord be magnified; and thus they shall have a heaven upon earth. Blessed are those that are thus still praising God.

V. This may encourage the saints, in distress and affliction, to trust in God and comfort themselves in him, Ps. 40:17. David himself was one of these: I am poor and needy (a king, perhaps now on the throne, and yet, being troubled in spirit, he calls himself poor and needy, in want and distress, lost and undone without a Saviour), yet the Lord thinketh upon me in and through the Mediator, by whom we are made accepted. Men forget the poor and needy, and seldom think of them; but God’s thoughts, towards them (which he had spoken of Ps. 40:5) are their support and comfort. They may assure themselves that God is their help under their troubles, and will be, in due time, their deliverer out of their troubles, and will make no long tarrying; for the vision is for an appointed time, and therefore, though it tarry, we may wait for it, for it shall come; it will come, it will not tarry.