Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible
back to: Psalms
Book: Psalms
Chapter: 56

David seeks Mercy from God, amidst the malice of his enemies.
(1-7) He rests his Faith On God's promises, and declares his
obligation to praise him for mercies. (8-13)

1-7 Be merciful unto me, O God. This petition includes all the
good for which we come to the Throne of Grace. If we obtain Mercy
there, we need No more to make us happy. It implies likewise our
best plea, not our merit, but God's Mercy, his free, rich Mercy.
We may flee to, and trust the Mercy of God, when surrounded On
all sides By difficulties and dangers. His enemies were too hard
for him, if God did not help him. He resolves to make God's
promises the matter of his praises, and So we have reason to
make them. As we must not trust an Arm of Flesh when engaged for
us, So we must not be afraid of an Arm of Flesh when stretched
out against us. The Sin of sinners will never be their security.
Who knows the power of God's Anger; how high it can reach, how
forcibly it can strike?

8-13 The heavy and continued trials through which many of the
Lord's people have passed, should teach us to be silent and
patient under lighter crosses. Yet we are often tempted to
repine and despond under small sorrows. For this we should check
ourselves. David comforts himself, in his distress and fear,
that God noticed all his grievances and all his griefs. God has
a Bottle and a Book for his people's tears, both the tears for
their sins, and those for their Afflictions. He observes them
with tender concern. Every true believer may boldly say, The
Lord is my helper, and then I will not fear what Man shall do
unto me; for Man has No power but what is given him from above.
Thy Vows are upon me, O Lord; not as a Burden, but as that By
which I am known to be thy servant; as a Bridle that restrains
me from what would be hurtful, and directs me in the way of my
duty. And Vows of thankfulness properly accompany prayers for
Mercy. If God deliver us from Sin, either from doing it, or By
his pardoning Mercy, he has delivered our souls from Death,
which is the Wages of Sin. Where the Lord has begun a good work
he will carry it On and perfect it. David hopes that God would
keep him even from the appearance of Sin. We should aim in all
our desires and expectations of deliverance, both from Sin and
trouble, that we may do the better service to the Lord; that we
may serve him without fear. If his Grace has delivered our souls
from the Death of Sin, he will bring us to Heaven, to walk
before him for ever in Light.