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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 140

The Church Pulpit CommentaryChurch Pulpit Commentary

Verses 5-6

GOD THE SOUL’S REFUGE

‘The proud have hid a snare for me, and cords: they have spread a net by the wayside; they have set Sins for me. I said unto the Lord, Thou art my God: hear the voice of my supplications, O Lord.’

Psalms 140:5-6

In these words of David we see what a believer, who will not betray the truth, has to expect from men, and whither he should flee when assailed by the enemies of the soul.

I. The proud hid a ‘snare’ for the king.—They wished to entangle him; for they waited for his halting, and would have exulted in his fall. Had his life been more like their own, or had they not felt his career to be a protest against theirs, he would have been left unmolested—‘the world would have loved its own.’ But as his manner of life rebuked theirs, they hid a snare for him, and cords. He was treated like a wild beast, and nets and gins were employed to secure him. No doubt the language is figurative, and we are not to read it as if it were literally true that a net was spread by the wayside for the king of Israel. But by the graphical language which he uses, David tells what pains the wicked took to ensnare or circumvent him—his path was surrounded by peril.

II. But what was his alternative?—Whither did he flee amid these proofs of hatred or persecution? He said to the Lord, ‘Thou art my God.’ That was enough. No evil could befall the persecuted monarch then. The wicked might plot against him,—he might be made the song of the drunkard, and held in derision by the godless; but he had a Rock, a Refuge, a high Tower. He had Omnipotence for a shield, and the Eternal for a friend. That friend would make David’s cause His own, and the persecuted man could, therefore, possess his soul in patience. He that believes need not make haste: God will help, and that right early, against ten thousand dangers.

III. But further. David poured out his heart in prayer unto God.—‘Hear the voice of my supplications, O Lord.’ When was a child of God known to restrain prayer in his straits? What can he do but flee to God to hide him in the day of trouble? Where could he seek or find a shelter in the day of trial, but under the shadow of Him that is the Almighty?

And is not David’s Lord our Lord? Is He not the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever? Are we not beckoned or besought to cast all our cares upon Him, for He careth for us? Let each soul apart, then, thus do in every hour of need. Do the wicked plot against us? Let their machinations press us nearer to the only wise God our Saviour. Does the tempter cast his fiery darts? Just the more should we seek the Almighty Refuge. Are there fears within and fightings without? These also should urge us to flee the more, and keep the closer, to Him Who can save us in all our tribulations, Who can keep us from falling, and stablish, and strengthen, and settle us amid all that is fitted to disturb or to waste the soul.

Illustrations

(1) ‘Internal evidence confirms the testimony of the superscription that this is one of David’s psalms. His was a stormy life, continually molested by evil and violent men, who imagined mischief in their heart and stirred up wars. Other men who have set themselves to destroy nests of vipers have had to make the same complaints, as Clarkson in England, and Garrison in the United States. The wicked and violent and proud join hands, and lay their plans together to ensnare and overthrow all who interfere with their nefarious profits.

At such times we turn to the Lord. He is the strength of our salvation, and covers our heads in the day of battle.’

(2) ‘I refer such a psalm as this to my conflict with the Evil One, whom Bunyan calls Apollyon. Of course, some who read these words are sensible of the malign plottings of a Doeg or Ahithophel; but for the most we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against the wicked spirits in the heavenly places. Evil, violent, imagining mischiefs, continually gathering for war, a serpent’s tongue and adder’s poison, hiding a snare, spreading a net and gins—how true these expressions are of the constant opposition and malignity with which we are opposed! If only we realised that we were in an enemy’s country, and that every advantage that could be taken against us was being utilised, and every device to secure our fall was being laid in our path, we should be more on the alert, and prepared by prayer and faith to withstand in the evil days.’

Bibliographical Information
Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Psalms 140". The Church Pulpit Commentary. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cpc/psalms-140.html. 1876.
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