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Wednesday, November 29th, 2023
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34
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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 140

The Biblical IllustratorThe Biblical Illustrator

Verses 1-13

Psalms 140:1-13

Deliver me, O Lord, from the evil man.

God preserves His servant

To put Luther out of harm’s way for a while a prudent man took him prisoner, and kept him out of the strife in the castle of Wartburg. Luther could not be buried alive in ease; he must be getting on with his life work. He sends word to his friends that he who was coming would soon be with them, and on a sudden he appeared at Wittenburg. The prince meant to have kept him in retirement somewhat longer, and when the Elector feared that he could not protect him, Luther wrote him: “I come under far higher protection than yours; nay, I behold that I am more likely to protect your Grace than your Grace to protect me. He who has the strongest faith is the best protector.” Luther had learned to be independent of all men, for he cast himself upon his God. He had all the world against him, and yet he lived right merrily; if the Pope excommunicated him he burned the bill; if the Emperor threatened him he rejoiced because he remembered the words of the Lord. “The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh.” When they said to him, “Where will you find shelter if the Elector does not protect you?” he said, “Under the broad shield of God.” (C. H. Spurgeon.)

Verses 6-7

Psalms 140:6-7

I said unto the Lord, Thou art my God.

David’s five-stringed harp

(with verses 12, 13):--There are five things in my text to which I want especially to draw the attention of any who are in sore trouble, and particularly those who are in trouble from enemies who are seeking to ruin them.

Possession asserted (verse 6).

1. What was the possession? The Lord Himself. If God be your God, all things are yours, for all things are in God, and the God who has given Himself to us cannot deny us anything.

2. The claim. He exhibited his title-deeds.

3. Who was the attesting Witness? It is a very easy thing to say to the minister, “The Lord is my God”; but it may not be true. It is a very solemn thing to be able to say to Jehovah, “Thou art my God.” True believers have dialogues with their God; they are accustomed to speak with the Most High. “I said unto Jehovah, Thou art my God.”

4. The occasion. When he was in trouble. I said unto Jehovah, “Thou art my God.” Men said I was a castaway; but I said, “Thou art my God.” They said I was without a friend; but I said unto Jehovah, “Thou art my God.”

A petition presented. “Hear the voice of my supplications.”

1. His prayers were frequent. When you have double trouble, take care that you have double prayer.

2. His prayers were full of meaning. “Voice.”

3. His prayers were meant for God.

4. He could not rest unless he had the Lord’s attention.

Preservation experienced (verse 7).

1. God had been David’s Armour-bearer. Has it not been so with us in days past? Have we not had our heads covered when God held His shield above us? Have we not been guarded from all hurt by the providence and by the grace of the Most High?

2. God had guarded His most vital part.

3. God had been the strength of his salvation.

Protection expected (verse 12).

1. He is the Judge of all the earth, and shall not He do right?

2. Moreover, God is a compassionate Friend; and when He sees any of His dear saints very poor and afflicted, do you not think that, when they cannot take care of themselves, He will take care of them?

Praise predicted (verse 13).

1. Praise is assured by gratitude.

2. By holy confidence.

3. By abiding in fellowship with Him. (C. H. Spurgeon.)

Verse 8

Psalms 140:8

Grant not, O Lord, the desires of the wicked.

The desires of the wicked inadmissible

Some of the desires of the wicked.

1. That there is no God. They dare not submit their conduct to Divine inspection, and would be glad if there were no Being to inspect. But against this desire the godly oppose their prayers. And there are good reasons why they thus feel. If there were no God, everything must immediately be thrown into a state of confusion. Chaos would return.

2. If a God do and must exist, sinners wish Him to be a mere spectator of the affairs of the world. The grand objection they have to His existence is, that if He exist He must have the reins of government. But the saints not only desire God to reign, they wish Him to manage all the affairs of creation. They consider their own safety and that of others to depend on this special care of God.

3. If God must exist, and must be an active agent in governing the world, the wicked are desirous that He should work without any plan. They are afraid of Divine decrees. They fear that these decrees do not favour them. The righteous, on the other hand, found all their hopes of salvation, both as it regards themselves and others, on the purposes of God.

4. Sinners desire happiness and heaven without holiness. Between these two God has established an indissoluble connection. He has decreed that holiness shall be the only path to happiness. But this connection sinners wish to destroy. They hate holiness wherever it appears, and yet they intend to be happy. The righteous, on the contrary, love nothing so much as holiness.

5. Sinners desire that Christians may walk disorderly, and so dishonour the religion of Jesus. Against these falls the saints pray, and are grieved when they take place. They love their fellow-saints. Every spot that appears in their garments grieves their hearts. They feel some of the same distress on such occasions as is felt when they go astray themselves.

6. The wicked desire to remain ignorant of their own characters. The righteous daily pray the favour of being acquainted with themselves.

7. Wicked men are very desirous that there may be no day of judgment. They do not wish the final inspection of Omniscience. In such desires the righteous cannot unite. It is their ardent wish that there may be a day that shall bring every deed to light, and pass an impartial judgment on all the actions of men.

8. The wicked are very desirous to be left to act without restraint. Nothing do they desire more. In this particular the children of God, and all holy beings, oppose their wishes. It would ruin the world to have them gratified. Free the wicked from restraint and there would be but little difference between earth and hell.


1. The monstrous wickedness of the heart.

2. The nature of regeneration. It is a universal change in the desires of the heart, in the affections of the soul.

3. The great difference between the righteous and the wicked.

4. Why sinners do not desire or relish the society of the righteous. They have opposing desires. (D. A. Clark.)

Verse 12

Psalms 140:12

I know that the Lord will maintain the cause of the afflicted, and the right of the poor.

God and the poor

We read in the text that God “maintains the cause of the afflicted and the right of the poor,” and we may think that there is not much evidence of this. If society is under God’s control how is it that it is such a chaos? There seems to be no order. Yet in the midst of the apparent confusion God is ruling. He holds the winds in His fists, and the water in the hollow of His hand. What gave the psalmist this assurance?

His knowledge of God’s character. We read of the pity of God, of the compassion and mercy of God in the Old Testament. Hence the numerous passages relating to God and the poor. “He delivereth the poor in their affliction.” “Thou hast prepared of Thy goodness for the poor.” “Whoso mocketh the poor reproveth his Maker.” “Thou hast been a strength to the poor.” “Break off sins by showing mercy to the poor.” Hence also the provision made for the poor. The gleanings of the fields and of the vineyards and oliveyards were always to be left for them. The spontaneous productions of the sabbatical year were also to form a part of their provision. Kindness to them was enjoined as a sacred duty and as a precious privilege.

His sense of justice. The psalmist speaks of “the right of the poor.” Some would assert that the poor have no rights, except the right to starve, or get out of the way. The wealthy classes have rights. Oh yes. The sacredness of property is more inviolate than the sacredness of the Sabbath. “The rich man’s wealth is his strong city,” and around this strong city there are walls built by legislators. Let wealth have its rights; and let poverty have its rights too. If it is right to strengthen the weak, to lift up the feeble, to comfort the sorrowful, to heal the afflicted, to provide for the poor, then God will maintain that right. He that implanted in man this sense of justice, shall He not be just? Justice may appear tardy, but “ever the right comes uppermost, and justice shall be done.” “I know that the Lord will,” etc. If they have no other friend, the afflicted and poor have a Friend in heaven, whose righteousness is like the great mountains, whose mercy endureth for ever.

His knowledge that God raised helpers for the feeble and oppressed. Charity was exercised then. It was a part of the Jewish religion. The rites of hospitality were then observed, and are in a large measure observed now in the East, with great care and faithfulness. Not an enemy was betrayed who had come into a tent for hospitality. There is a fountain of sympathy in the human heart. God has made the heart, and kindled in it the emotions of love and pity. Love God, and you will be constrained to love man. Keep the first table of the law, and you will be impelled to observe the second. God is not poor, and needing our alms. But around us are men, made in the similitude of God, capable of holding fellowship with God, of thinking upon His name, and loving Him, and love to God can express itself in service to men. This is the essence of religion--love. The apostle says that all is vain without this. (J. Owen.)


Psalms 141:1-10

Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Psalms 140". The Biblical Illustrator. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/tbi/psalms-140.html. 1905-1909. New York.
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