The Treasury of David

Psalm 4

Singing Psalms

Psalm 4:6

Exposition

We have now entered upon the third division of the Psalm, in which the faith of the afflicted one finds utterance in sweet expressions of contentment and peace.

There were many, even among David’s own followers, who wanted to see rather than to believe. Alas! this is the tendency of us all! Even the regenerate sometimes groan after the sense and sight of prosperity, and are sad when darkness covers all good from view. As for worldlings, this is their unceasing cry.

Who will shew us any good? Never satisfied, their gaping mouths are turned in every direction, their empty hearts are ready to drink in any fine delusion which impostors may invent; and when these fail, they soon yield to despair, and declare that there is no good thing in either heaven or earth. The true believer is a man of a very different mould. His face is not downward like the beasts’, but upward like the angels’. He drinks not from the muddy pools of Mammon, but from the fountain of life above. The light of God’s countenance is enough for him. This is his riches, his honour, his health, his ambition, his ease. Give him this, and he will ask no more. This is joy unspeakable, and full of glory. Oh, for more of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, that our fellowship with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ may be constant and abiding!

Explanatory Notes and Quaint Sayings

Where Christ reveals himself there is satisfaction in the slenderest portion, and without Christ there is emptiness in the greatest fullness. Alexander Grosse, on enjoying Christ, 1632.

Many, said David, ask who will shew us any good? meaning riches, and honour, and pleasure, which are not good. But when he came to godliness itself, he leaves out “many,” and prayeth in his own person, Lord, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us; as if none would join with him. Henry Smith.

Who will shew us any good? This is not a fair translation. The word any is not in the text, nor anything equivalent to it; and not a few have quoted it, and preached upon the text, placing the principal emphasis upon this illegitimate. The place is sufficiently emphatic. There are multitudes who say, Who will shew us good? Man wants good; he hates evil as evil, because he has pain, suffering, and death through it; and he wishes to find that supreme good which will content his heart, and save him from evil. But men mistake this good. They look for a good that is to gratify their passions; they have no notion of any happiness that does not come to them through the medium of their senses. Therefore they reject spiritual good, and they reject the Supreme God, by whom alone all the powers of the soul of man can be gratified. Adam Clarke.

Lift thou up, etc. This was the blessing of the high priest and is the heritage of all the saints. It includes reconciliation, assurance, communion, benediction, in a word, the fulness of God. Oh, to be filled therewith! C.H.S.

Ver. 6-7. Lest riches should be accounted evil in themselves, God sometimes gives them to the righteous; and lest they should be considered as the chief good, he frequently bestows them on the wicked. But they are more generally the portion of his enemies than his friends. Alas! what is it to receive and not to be received? to have none other dews of blessing than such as shall be followed by showers of brimstone? We may compass ourselves with sparks of security, and afterwards be secured in eternal misery. This world is a floating island, and so sure as we cast anchor upon it, we shall be carried away by it. God, and all that he has made, is not more that God without anything that he has made. He can never want treasure who has such a golden mine. He is enough without the creature, but the creature is not anything without him. It is, therefore, better to enjoy him without anything else, than to enjoy everything else without him. It is better to be a wooden vessel filled with wine, that a golden one filled with water. William Secker’s Nonsuch Professor, 1660.

Hints to the Village Preacher

The cry of the world and the church contrasted. Vox populi not always Vox Dei.

The cravings of the soul all satisfied in God.

Ver. 6-7. An assurance of the Saviour’s love, the source of unrivalled joy.
The Treasury of David.

Works Upon The Fourth Psalm

Choice and Practical Expositions on four select Psalms: namely, the Fourth Psalm, in eight Sermons, etc. By Thomas Horton, D.D. 1675 Meditations, Critical and Practical, on Psalm IV., in Archbishop Leighton’s Works.
The Treasury of David.

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