Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible

Psalms Ch.50 / 150 Ch.s


* The glory of God. (1-6) Sacrifices to be changed for prayers.
(7-15) Sincere obedience required. (16-23)

#1-6 This psalm is a psalm of instruction. It tells of the
coming of Christ and the day of judgment, in which God will call
men to account; and the Holy Ghost is the Spirit of judgement.
All the children of men are concerned to know the right way of
worshipping the Lord, in spirit and in truth. In the great day,
our God shall come, and make those hear his judgement who would
not hearken to his law. Happy are those who come into the
covenant of grace, by faith in the Redeemer's atoning sacrifice,
and show the sincerity of their love by fruits of righteousness.
When God rejects the services of those who rest in outside
performances, he will graciously accept those who seek him
aright. It is only by sacrifice, by Christ, the great Sacrifice,
from whom the sacrifices of the law derived what value they had,
that we can be accepted of God. True and righteous are his
judgments; even sinners' own consciences will be forced to
acknowledge the righteousness of God.

#7-15 To obey is better than sacrifice, and to love God and our
neighbour better than all burnt-offerings. We are here warned
not to rest in these performances. And let us beware of resting
in any form. God demands the heart, and how can human inventions
please him, when repentance, faith, and holiness are neglected?
In the day of distress we must apply to the Lord by fervent
prayer. Our troubles, though we see them coming from God's hand,
must drive us to him, not drive us from him. We must acknowledge
him in all our ways, depend upon his wisdom, power, and
goodness, and refer ourselves wholly to him, and so give him
glory. Thus must we keep up communion with God; meeting him with
prayers under trials, and with praises in deliverances. A
believing supplicant shall not only be graciously answered as to
his petition, and so have cause for praising God, but shall also
have grace to praise him.

#16-23 Hypocrisy is wickedness, which God will judge. And it is
too common, for those who declare the Lord's statutes to others,
to live in disobedience to them themselves. This delusion arises
from the abuse of God's long-suffering, and a wilful mistake of
his character and the intention of his gospel. The sins of
sinners will be fully proved on them in the judgment of the
great day. The day is coming when God will set their sins in
order, sins of childhood and youth, of riper age and old age, to
their everlasting shame and terror. Let those hitherto forgetful
of God, given up to wickedness, or in any way negligent of
salvation, consider their urgent danger. The patience of the
Lord is very great. It is the more wonderful, because sinners
make such ill use of it; but if they turn not, they shall be
made to see their error when it is too late. Those that forget
God, forget themselves; and it will never be right with them
till they consider. Man's chief end is to glorify God: whoso
offers praise, glorifies him, and his spiritual sacrifices shall
be accepted. We must praise God, sacrifice praise, put it into
the hands of the Priest, our Lord Jesus, who is also the altar:
we must be fervent in spirit, praising the Lord. Let us
thankfully accept God's mercy, and endeavour to glorify him in
word and deed.