David, having expressed his desires towards God and his praises of him, here expresses his confidence in him and his joyful expectations from him (Ps. 63:7): In the shadow of thy wings I will rejoice, alluding either to the wings of the cherubim stretched out over the ark of the covenant, between which God is said to dwell (“I will rejoice in thy oracles, and in covenant and communion with thee”), or to the wings of a fowl, under which the helpless young ones have shelter, as the eagle’s young ones (Exod. 19:4; Deut. 32:11), which speaks the divine power, and the young ones of the common hen (Matt. 23:37), which speaks more of divine tenderness. It is a phrase often used in the psalms (Ps. 17:8; 36:7; 57:1; 61:4; 91:4), and no where else in this sense, except Ruth 2:12; where Ruth, when she became a proselyte, is said to trust under the wings of the God of Israel. It is our duty to rejoice in the shadow of God’s wings, which denotes our recourse to him by faith and prayer, as naturally as the chickens, when they are cold or frightened, run by instinct under the wings of the hen. It intimates also our reliance upon him as able and ready to help us and our refreshment and satisfaction in his care and protection. Having committed ourselves to God, we must be easy and pleased, and quiet from the fear of evil. Now let us see further,
I. What were the supports and encouragements of David’s confidence in God. Two things were as props to that hope which the word of God was the only foundation of:—
1. His former experiences of God’s power in relieving him: “Because thou hast been my help when other helps and helpers failed me, therefore I will still rejoice in thy salvation, will trust in thee for the future, and will do it with delight and holy joy. Thou hast been not only my helper, but my help;” for we could never have helped ourselves, nor could any creature have been helpful to us, but by him. Here we may set up our Ebenezer, saying, Hitherto the Lord has helped us, and must therefore resolve that we will never desert him, never distrust him, nor ever droop in our walking with him.
2. The present sense he had of God’s grace carrying him on in these pursuits (Ps. 63:8): My soul follows hard after thee, which speaks a very earnest desire and a serious vigorous endeavour to keep up communion with God; if we cannot always have God in our embraces, yet we must always have him in our eye, reaching forth towards him as our prize, Phil. 3:14. To press hard after God is to follow him closely, as those that are afraid of losing the sight of him, and to follow him swiftly, as those that long to be with him. This David did, and he owns, to the glory of God, Thy right hand upholds me. God upheld him, (1.) Under his afflictions, that he might not sink under them. Underneath are the everlasting arms. (2.) In his devotions. God upheld him in his holy desires and pursuits, that he might not grow weary in well-doing. Those that follow hard after God would soon fail and faint if God’s right hand did not uphold them. It is he that strengthens us in the pursuit of him, quickens our good affections, and comforts us while we have not yet attained what we are in the pursuit of. It is by the power of God (that is his right hand) that we are kept from falling. Now this was a great encouragement to the psalmist to hope that he would, in due time, give him that which he so earnestly desired, because he had by his grace wrought in him those desires and kept them up.
II. What it was that David triumphed in the hopes of.
1. That his enemies should be ruined, Ps. 63:9, 10. There were those that sought his soul to destroy it, not only his life (which they struck at, both to prevent his coming to the crown and because they envied and hated him for his wisdom, piety, and usefulness), but his soul, which they sought to destroy by banishing him from God’s ordinances, which are the nourishment and support of the soul (so doing what they could to starve it), and by sending him to serve other gods, so doing what they could to poison it, 1 Sam. 26:19. But he foresees and foretels, (1.) That they shall go into the lower parts of the earth, to the grave, to hell; their enmity to David would be their death and their damnation, their ruin, their eternal ruin. (2.) That they shall fall by the sword, by the sword of God’s wrath and his justice, by the sword of man, Job 19:28, 29. They shall die a violent death, Rev. 13:10. This was fulfilled in Saul, who fell by the sword, his own sword; David foretold this, yet he would not execute it when it was in the power of his hand, once and again; for precepts, not prophecies, are our rule. (3.) That they shall be a portion for foxes; either their dead bodies shall be a prey to ravenous beasts (Saul lay a good while unburied) or their houses and estates shall be a habitation for wild beasts, Isa. 34:14. Such as this will be the doom of Christ’s enemies, that oppose his kingdom and interest in the world; Bring them forth and slay them before me, Luke 19:27.
2. That he himself should gain his point at last (Ps. 63:11), that he should be advanced to the throne to which he had been anointed: The king shall rejoice in God. (1.) He calls himself the king, because he knew himself to be so in the divine purpose and designation; thus Paul, while yet in the conflict, writes himself more than a conqueror, Rom. 8:37. Believers are made kings, though they are not to have the dominion till the morning of the resurrection. (2.) He doubts not but that though he was now sowing in tears he should reap in joy. The king shall rejoice. (3.) He resolves to make God the Alpha and Omega of all his joys. He shall rejoice in God. Now this is applicable to the glories and joys of the exalted Redeemer. Messiah the Prince shall rejoice in God; he has already entered into the joy set before him, and his glory will be completed at his second coming. Two things would be the good effect of David’s advancement:—[1.] It would be the consolation of his friends. Every one that swears to him (that is, to David), that comes into his interest and takes an oath of allegiance to him, shall glory in his success; or every one that swears by him (that is, by the blessed name of God, and not by any idol, Deut. 6:13), and then it means all good people, that make a sincere and open profession of God’s name; they shall glory in God; they shall glory in David’s advancement. Those that fear thee will be glad when they see me. Those that heartily espouse the cause of Christ shall glory in its victory at last. If we suffer with him, we shall reign with him. [2.] It would be the confutation of his enemies: The mouth of those that speak lies, of Saul, and Doeg, and others that misrepresented David and insulted over him, as if his cause was desperate, shall be quite stopped; they shall not have one word more to say against him, but will be for ever silenced and shamed. Apply this to Christ’s enemies, to those that speak lies to him, as all hypocrites do, that tell him they love him while their hearts are not with him; their mouth shall be stopped with that word, I know you not whence you are; they shall be for ever speechless, Matt. 22:12. The mouths of those also that speak lies against him, that pervert the right ways of the Lord and speak ill of his holy religion, will be stopped in that day when the Lord shall come to reckon for all the hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him. Christ’s second coming will be the everlasting triumph of all his faithful friends and followers, who may therefore now triumph in the believing hopes of it.