corner graphic

Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Psalms 90:17

 

 

Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us; And confirm for us the work of our hands; Yes, confirm the work of our hands.

Adam Clarke Commentary

And let the beauty of the Lord - Let us have thy presence, blessing, and approbation, as our fathers had.

Establish thou the work of our hands - This is supposed, we have already seen, to relate to their rebuilding the temple, which the surrounding heathens and Samaritans wished to hinder. We have begun, do not let them demolish our work; let the top-stone be brought on with shouting, Grace, grace unto it.

Yea, the work of our hands - This repetition is wanting in three of Kennicott's MSS., in the Targum, in the Septuagint, and in the Ethiopic. If the repetition be genuine, it may be considered as marking great earnestness; and this earnestness was to get the temple of God rebuilt, and his pure worship restored. The pious Jews had this more at heart than their own restoration; it was their highest grief that the temple was destroyed and God's ordinances suspended; that his enemies insulted them, and blasphemed the worthy name by which they were called. Every truly pious man feels more for God's glory than his own temporal felicity, and rejoices more in the prosperity of God's work than in the increase of his own worldly goods.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Psalms 90:17". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/psalms-90.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us - The word translated “beauty” - נעם nô‛am - means properly “pleasantness;” then, beauty, splendor; then grace or layout. The Septuagint renders it here, λαμπρότης lamprotēs “splendor;” and so the Latin Vulgate. The wish is clearly that all that there is, in the divine character, which is “beautiful,” which is suited to win the hearts of people to admiration, gratitude, and love - might be so manifested to them, or that they might so see the excellency of his character, and that his dealings with them might be such, as to keep the beauty, the loveliness, of that character constantly before them.

And establish thou the work of our hands upon us - What we are endeavoring to do. Enable us to carry out our plans, and to accomplish our purposes.

Yea, the work of our hands establish thou it - The repetition of the prayer here is emphatic. It indicates an intense desire that God would enable them to carry out their plans. If this was written by Moses, we may suppose that it is expressive of an earnest desire that they might reach the promised land; that they might not all be cut down and perish by the way; that the great object of their march through the wilderness might be accomplished; and that they might be permanently established in the land to which they were going. At the same time it is a prayer which it is proper to offer at any time, that God would enable us to carry out our purposes, and that we may be permanently established in his favor.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Psalms 90:17". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/psalms-90.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Psalms 90:17

Let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us.

The beauty of the Lord

We all feel moral beauty to be the highest. Much as we may admire the delicate touches of light and shade in a landscape, the rainbow tints on the rosy-coloured Alps, the beautiful gothic of the arched forest, the fragrant Kentish banks, the human face divine, yet we all feel that given a touch of heroism, martyr-like courage, or persevering fidelity to truth, the beauty of character as far exceeds beauty of face as the soul is higher and nobler than the tabernacle in which it dwells. Blessed be God, the Divine nature can be restored to us, “Where sin abounded grace did much more abound,” and as at the Cross we receive pardon and remission of our sins, so in vital union with Christ do we receive the new nature and the new name.

I. The beauty of God in our character. We cannot have the highest beauty without having God. I do not say we cannot have anything that looks beautiful. Everything that is amiable, considerate, gentle, true, unselfish in human character is in one sense beautiful--but if you look deeply enough you will see that one thing is wanting, and that without life in God, these virtues are only like the broken arches of Bolton Abbey--beautiful in ruins.

1. God’s image is beauty of the highest type.

2. The beauty of the Lord is brought out by the Spirit of God in the Christian. Character is a garment. Men see it. Religion is the life of God in the soul of man, and it blossoms before men. It is hard to see how a man can be churlish, or cold, or morose, or selfish, and yet claim to be considered a Christian; religion is not grace grafted on to our nature, but grace changing, purifying, and renewing our nature, so that we become new creatures in Christ Jesus.

3. In the midst of religious privileges this beauty may decay and decline. The Jews.

4. The production of this likeness may involve severe providences. To bring out the Divine likeness so that it may last, you may have to pass through the fiery furnace. God may put us in the furnace, but He will never heat it too highly: the picture will never be marred--never: “He will finish the work.”

II. The blessing of God on our undertakings. I like that expression, “work of our hands”--because all work, brain-work for instance, has to do with them, and all the forms of common toil as well. “Establish our work!” Can we all conscientiously ask God to do that? I do not mean in a spiritual sense as members of Churches, but as Christian men. Are you conducting your work on such principles that you can ask God to bless it? If not, the distinction between spiritual and secular will not help you. There is, of course, in reality no such distinction. It is conventional. But assuming that you use the distinction, how can you ask God to bless the work of your hands, if it is base, tricky, evil? When the prayer in the text was uttered--

1. It was the morning of a new life. Beautiful prayer that at special seasons. When the daughter is leaving her home, and bride and bridegroom are commencing the battle of life together, having to plan, to achieve the position which circumstances make possible to them. Yes! it is a season to kneel around the family altar, and for the fatherly lips to ask God to bless the work of their hands. So is it when we commence new undertakings about which we are full of much anxiety, and which will necessitate much effort. Who can bless, if God cannot?

2. It was the prayer of earnest men. God does not prosper our laziness, but our labour. Moreover, God meant all of us to use our hands. We want earnest hands. Not that earnestness is all. We want intelligence, thought, devoutness, wisdom, behind the earnestness! Our prayers will be but mockeries unless we have work to be established after all.

3. It was the expression of Divine dependence. The best building will soon show signs of downfall and destruction unless the work be cemented together by God. (W. M. Statham.)

The cry of the mortal to the undying

I. The yearning and longing cry of the mortal for the beauty of the eternal. The word translated “beauty” is, like the Greek equivalent in the New Testament, and like the English word “grace,” which corresponds to them both, susceptible of a double meaning. “Grace” means both kindness and loveliness, or, as we might distinguish, both graciousness and gracefulness. And that double idea is inherent in the word, as it is inherent in the attribute of God to which it refers. So the “beauty of the Lord” means, by no quibble, but by reason of the essential loveliness of His lovingkindness, both God’s loveliness and God’s goodness; God’s graciousness and God’s (if I may use such a word) gracefulness. The prayer of the psalmist that this beauty may be “upon” us conceives of it as given to us from above and as coming floating down from Heaven, like that white Dove that fell upon Christ’s head, fair and meek, gentle and lovely, and resting on our anointed heads, like a diadem and an aureole of glory. Now, that communicating graciousness, with its large gifts and its resulting beauty, is the one thing that we need in view of mortality and sorrow and change and trouble. And then, note further, that this gracious gentleness and longsuffering, giving mercy of God, when it comes down upon a man, makes him, too, beautiful with a reflected beauty. If the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us, it will cover over our foulness and deformity.

II. The cry of the worker in a fleeting world for the perpetuity of his work. “Establish,” or make firm, “the work of our hands upon us,” etc. Our work will be established if it is His work. This prayer in our text follows another prayer (Psalms 90:16)--namely, “Let Thy work appear unto Thy servants.” That is to say, my work will be perpetual when the work of my hands is God’s work done through me. When you bring your wills into harmony with God’s will, and so all your effort, even about the little things of daily life, is in consonance with His will, and in the line of His purpose, then your work will stand. If my will runs in the line of His, and if the work of my hands is “Thy work,” it is not in vain that we shall cry, “establish it upon us,” for it will last as long as He does. In like manner, all work will be perpetual that is done with “the beauty of the Lord our God” upon the doers of it. Whosoever has that grace in his heart, whosoever is in contact with the communicating mercy of God, and has had his character in some measure refined and ennobled and beautified by possession thereof, will do work that has in it the element of perpetuity. And our work will stand if we quietly leave it in His hands. Quietly do it to Him, never mind about results, but look after motives. Be sure that they are right, and if they are, the work will be eternal. Just as a drop of water that falls upon the moor, finds its way into the brook, and goes down the glen and on into the river, and then into the sea, and is there, though undistinguishable, so in the great summing up of everything at the end the tiniest deed that was done for God, though it was done far away up amongst the mountain solitudes where no eyes saw, shall live and be represented in its effects on others and in its glad issues to the doer. (A. Maclaren, D.D.)

A lovable God

Our times need the doctrine of a lovable God--a God whoso moral beauty may be all around us and upon us. The distortion and deformity of the Deity have long enough followed mankind. The moral beauty of such a Being should be above us, and in man’s heart and life. This “beauty” may in part be seen in the assumption of a long day for the unfolding of the Divine plan. It is perfectly vain to seek the “beauty of God” in the few days that surround man here. It is necessary to chant the words of the old anthem, “from everlasting to everlasting Thou art God.” As we cannot take up a drop of water from the Atlantic and find in that drop the flow of the tides, the lifting up of billows, the power that floats all the ships of a thousand ports, and the soft and loud music of calm and storm; as to see the ocean we must grasp it all in its rocky bed, bordered by continents, so we cannot, in the face of a dying infant, or in the adversity of a good man, see the government of love of God. It has boundaries wider than these. We must wait, and, what the fleeting moments of man deny, ask the great years of God to bring. The tides of the mind, the deep music of human waters, cannot be seen in the drop of life. There is a God of justice that may be all lovable. The punishment may be so just, so inseparable from conscious guilt, so essential to the welfare of time and eternity, that it will not make God fearful, but will be one more circle of splendour in His halo of light. Alongside this attribute of justice must be seen with wonderful distinctness the fatherly love. We must give thousands of years of time to a Divine love. Our earth must be seen floating, not in an ether which our chemists shall attempt to weigh--not even in that sweet ether which Figuier imagines to surround some stars, and to be the food of the souls beyond--but floating in a Divine love. (D. Swing.)

Moral beauty

What are some of the characteristics of moral beauty?

1. Beauty has no sharp angles, but its lines of continuance are so gentle that curve melts into curve. The truly beautiful life has no breaks, no harsh traits, or times when the better nature seems asleep or on a journey; no sudden starts from moral torpor into fresh spiritual life. The moral life is uniform; varied, it may be, at times, but pervaded always by the same spirit. But let it be said emphatically that this beauty cannot be put on. The blast that shall awake the soul’s rich melody must come, not from without, but from within. This beauty can be sustained only by taking our Saviour’s motto, “I am not alone, but the Father is with me.” The felt presence of God will be efficient beyond all things in keeping passion subdued and temper under control, while we maintain in the daily flow of life that sweet serenity with which everything good is seen to be in harmony. I remember seeing a picture of Joseph’s workshop, representing the carpentership of our Lord. The holy light which encircled the place rested on the shavings, the chips, the plane, and the saw, making it look like a picture of heaven. The painter was right; for with our Lord there was just the same Divine beauty in His handling of the plane and the saw as when He stooped at the grave of Lazarus and bade him rise and come forth. In so far as we can put this spirit into the humblest of work or play we make it divinely beautiful.

2. This beauty grows, or, if not, it cannot be. This is so with the outward beauty of the universe and its changes; year by year the spring in its delicate foliage is beautiful as it comes upon us so full of promise from the lifeless winter; but not less beautiful is the glow of summer; nor is the limit of this beauty reached till the fields bend with ripening grain, the trees with golden, luscious fruit, and the vines are drooping with the purple clusters. But the beauty of character, as that of nature, fades as soon as it ceases to grow. Take God’s perfect law, and look at it as the microscope for the examination of your characters; bring it to the level of your thought, feeling, and conduct for a single day; look close and deep, endeavour to ascertain precisely how your soul would appear with the strictest standard of judgment applied. I trust many of you would find ample reason to be happy and thankful; but are you sure that the microscopic mirror would not reveal to you those defects of which otherwise you were not aware? But apply this scrutiny to your Saviour’s character, and it only brings to light finer lines and richer hues of spiritual beauty; and those who have been long in the holy temple of that Divine character feel that it still grows upon them, and they can see more and more to admire every year they live. Thus it is that the best of men and women can talk of themselves in the humblest terms, not because they are less good, but because they use the microscope of God’s law upon themselves, and therefore see the difference between themselves and their heavenly Father. The more of His Spirit they have the more earnestly they crave for more.

3. Such are some of the characteristics of moral or spiritual beauty; and we need it for our own sake and for the sake of our fellowman.

4. Contemplate for one moment the union of strength and beauty in our great Exemplar, Christ; and the degree to which that strength, in Him so peculiar, lay in His beauty of character. As for strength, the world has not seen might like His. You know how the multitudes were silenced into respect by His presence. His days were full of energetic toil, and the prophetic phrase, “travelling in the greatness of His strength,” seems to refer to the momentous journey from His baptism to His cross; but would this might have come down through the ages had it not been for its majestic and transcendent beauty?

5. Take with you on your life’s journey the motto given in our text: “Let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us.” Seek with strength that beauty that shall make your strength immeasurably stronger; so far as you can see along your path, instead of thorns, instead of briars, show by your faithful conduct that the flowers of heaven can grow on earthly ground. Worship God in the beauty of holiness; not alone in formal prayer and praise, but by making your work itself worship, your enjoyments thanksgiving. Rejoice in the Lord always; and so live that yours shall ever be a happy, lovely service, one that waits not for its reward in heaven, but is in itself an exceeding great reward (A. P. Peabody, D.D.)

The beauty of God

I. What is the beauty of God? Some have said that beauty is the indication of utility, the stamp of the highest usefulness. Others have made it to consist in the harmony of opposites; others in proportion or symmetry; others in conformity to a certain ideal standard of perfection. The saying attributed to Plato comes nearest to satisfying us,--“Beauty is the splendour of truth.” It is the lustre of perfection, the sign or token of a completed ideal. It always suggests the thought of a Being behind who seeks to realize His ideas and express Himself in them, and give a conception of their worth and beneficence. Do not beauty and sublimity owe their power to this, that they are suggestions of the illimitable, the transcendent, the infinite? Once in the history of this sinful world infinite beauty appeared. Divine loveliness spoke and acted among us, shone through the eyes, and lived in the actions and sufferings of Jesus of Nazareth. A beauty more splendid than day and all the jewelled crown of night, more tender than the most ethereal tints of flowers, more sublime than the mountains--the beauty of Divine love and truth and righteousness, of patience and longsuffering, dwelt in mortal flesh, streaming evermore through its covering, seeming the richer and tenderer for its covering, till it shone out in noontide glory through anguish and death. It is a perception of the beauty of God, a delight in it, a desire after it, which distinguish the spiritual man from others.

II. The beauty of God as reflected in man. There is always a suggestion of joy and hope about spiritual beauty. It speaks of a wide horizon. It is the beauty of a day in spring, having a hold of the future, while struggling with east winds and rain; looking on to summer, and not back upon it as do the fairest autumn days. It is the beauty of the rising sun, or of the sky before sunrise that presages a day of glory. Benevolence is the essential element. It is love that is lovely. To love the Infinite One and all Being in and through Him cannot but impart to the soul a deep beauty in harmony and alliance with the fairest scenes in Nature. But it is a strong and abundant life that is beautiful. Strength is the natural and genuine root of loveliness; and if there be anything fair to look upon that is not associated with this, but is rather a tender delicate grace inseparable from feebleness of principle or purpose, it must be somewhat of the nature of a sickly flush. Only, we should not forget that there is a beauty that precedes strength. For this is a characteristic of God’s work as distinguished from man’s, that it carries a measure of beauty with it from the beginning through all its stages. There is one beauty of the tender shoot and another of the plant in flower. Unity is an element of beauty. Intellect requires unity and is pursued through all sciences by this quenchless thirst. Conscience, heart and imagination also desire it, and without it have no rest. If we will examine it, we shall find that in every object which we reckon beautiful there is unity open or concealed. What we call proportion, harmony, balance, order are only modifications of this. But unity must never be so understood as to seem in conflict with freedom. The beautiful is free, expansive, flowing. Unity and freedom are both included in this utterance, as they are in the truth of things--“I will walk at liberty because I seek Thy precepts.” Joy also is an element of beauty. The joy that we get by looking at Christ is healing and softening. It is a joy from beholding beauty of the loftiest and tenderest kind, and must be productive of beauty. Repose is not less an element of beauty. How powerfully this element of calm strikes us in the life of our Lord. He had the repose of a perfectly balanced soul, of strength and love, of patience, meekness, and unshaken trust in God. Hence there is a beauty in Him of which the tranquil majestic vault of heaven and the serene stars are a picture. They who inherit His peace cannot but inherit something of His beauty. Naturalness and unconsciousness must be added as necessary to all the elements of beauty. Let us have simple reality, whatever else we want. The beauty of life is life. We do not make beauty. It grows. We must not seek it directly, else we shall certainly miss it. Now, what light does this psalm shed on this beauty of God? What light does it give on the means of attaining it? First of all, a soul must have its home in God. It must have rest and a centre, and it can only have this in the bosom of infinite love. It must realize God’s eternity. A deep sense of sin is another outstanding element in this psalm, and there is no real beauty possible to sinful man without that. The gladness that God gives, and the wisdom that God gives, are both prominent here, and they are both necessary to work out the beauty of God in us. (A. Raleigh, D.D.)

The beauty of the Lord

There is a relation between beauty and work. In this writer’s mind the two things are indissolubly connected. To him the beauty of the Divine nature is the beauty of an energy ever streaming forth towards some harmonious and perfect end. This is clear from the parallelism between the parts of this sentence: “Let Thy work appear unto Thy servants,” “And Thy glory unto their children,” and, “Let the beauty of the Lord our God rest upon us.” God’s work, then, is His glory and His beauty. The three are correlated as parallel, and therefore kindred, ideas. Perfect beauty is the fruit of activity ever tending towards useful and beneficent ends. You may have a beautiful statue or a beautiful picture, but the highest beauty is when you have movement and development. A painted flower, however exquisitely wrought, can never exercise the same charm as a growing wheat-stalk or an expanding rose-bud. Work itself is beautiful. What is more fascinating than to watch the movements of a skilled workman, a master of his craft? Let us understand, then, that the only truly beautiful life is the active life. The beautiful hand is the hand that has wrought something for the benefit and enrichment of humanity, that has achieved something for the common good. If I were to ask you to name the most beautiful life ever lived upon this earth, you would not hesitate. You would name the life of Jesus of Nazareth, the life whose motto was, “Wist ye not that I must be about My Father’s business?” and whose record was, “He went about doing good.” And herein was its beauty, that though cut off in its prime, He could say, “I have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do.” And I want you to feel that “the beauty of the Lord our God” may be upon us in all honest, earnest doing. No one ever asks whether Jesus of Nazareth was physically beautiful or not. He may have been plain-featured, as was Socrates; none the less is He the “altogether lovely” to our thought. It is significant that religion should be always spoken of in the Bible as a work of Divine “grace” in the heart; and “grace” is an essential element in our conception of beauty. It is the same identification as that which arose in the mind of the psalmist. He is thinking of no mere outward decoration stuck on to hide something ugly, like the plaster and stucco adornments of our modern debased architecture, which only accentuate the native hideousness of that which they are designed to conceal. He is thinking of the beauty which is the expression of an inward life, the “beauty of holiness.” (J. Halsey.)

The beauty of God

Beauty is that indescribable something in an object of sight or thought which awakens in us a feeling of satisfaction and gratification by the presentment of a perfect symmetry and harmony, a true proportion and adjustment, a unity without confusion or discord of a multitude of parts in a complete and congruous whole. And thus far the feeling is one and the same in the region of sense and in the region of mind. The beautiful in nature, the beautiful in art, the beautiful in literature, the beautiful in a person, the beautiful in a character, might be spoken of without impropriety in the same terms and ascribed substantially to the same characteristics, however distinct and diverse its action in these several provinces. The effect, the influence of beauty is, of course, utterly different in a thing and in a person--in a scene or a landscape on the one hand, in a countenance or a character on the other; and yet the same nominal account might be given of both, and the admiration awakened by both might be described in the very same phrase. Even so is it in that beauty which the text speaks of. Like that love of God which the Bible tells of, and which we must conceive of, however inadequately, as of the same nature and texture, so to say, only differing in its intensity and its purity, as the love which glorifies and sanctifies this human life of ours, so also is the beauty of God and the admiration of it by men and angels not to be idealized away in the fear of too much humanizing it; rather shall we dare to say of it, that it is the same quality and the same emotion in nature and science with the human, only infinitely lifted above it by its application to that one object in which there is no touch of defect in the beauty, and no possibility of excess in the admiration. It is still the symmetry and the harmony, the unity in manifoldness, the combination of parts in one consistent and congruous whole, which is the beauty, and which awakens the admiration of God Himself. But now, lest we should lose the thought in words, or fail to grasp the thing signified, just because it is so far above out of our sight, let us mention two or three particulars, the absence of any one of which in the revelation of what God is would be fatal to the beauty, and therefore fatal to the admiration, of God.

1. And we shall all, I think, be willing to place first, and not last, the Divine holiness as an attribute essential to the perfect Being. When a man really feels what sin is, feels what is the hatefulness, the meanness, the shamefulness, what is the wretchedness of sin, or of having sinned; that he even wishes to have it judged, and punished, and slain in himself; that it were no boon, but a sore penalty to be left with, and in, his sin, punishment being excused him;--I am sure that that man would miss in God, if it were not there, the attribute of severity; he would feel that the proportion, that the balance, that the combination was imperfect, if the Lord God were not, whatever else He be, strictly, severely just, of purer eyes than to look with toleration upon iniquity whatever the consequence to the creature that has clone amiss, and let in the tempter.

2. But if holiness is the first ingredient of the Divine beauty, certainly you will all say that sympathy is the second. To have revealed to me only a just God, only a God who rewards or recompenses according to our deservings, or only a God who makes His sun to rise indifferently on the evil and the good, and has made no provision at all for the mighty transition from the one class to the other by an all-availlng sacrifice and by a sanctifying Spirit--this would be to break the unity, to destroy the harmony, of Divine beauty, for it would leave me such as I am, out of the light and the warmth, out of the very reach and scope of the saving regard. I want the sympathy, which can supplement, which can condescend to touch the leper, and avail to say to the dead man, “I say unto thee, Arise.”

3. And we must not end without a third element, and what is that but the Divine help? Oh, when the battle has gone against me, when the good resolution has been again broken, when the severe lesson of consequence has been learned yet once more in vain, where should we be and what, if we might not still look up and lift up the eyes to One who is willing, often as it is, to help our infirmities, who will not upbraid us with sin or ingratitude will we but seek Him again with all our hearts, crying out for strength perfect in weakness, nay, enabling us to hazard the audacious yet most true paradox, “When I am weak,” just then, and then only, “I am strong”? Oh, “let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us,” stirring us first to admiration, then to adoration, and then to communion. Let us remember how each one of the constituent parts of the Divine beauty is associated in Scripture with the name of Love. In one single letter St. Paul uses the three phrases, “Love of God,” “Love of Christ, “Love of the Spirit.” In one single verse St. Paul brings together in prayer the Trinity of the Divine Unity when he says, “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship (or communion) of the Holy Ghost be with you all.” Grace, love, communion. What lack we yet? Only that we stir up the gift; only that with such blessings as ours we starve not for lack of using; only that we east ourselves more humbly upon the goodness and forbearance, and longsuffering which has suffered us all those years, and still waits to bless. (Dean Vaughan.)

Beauty

Beauty would be said, I dare say, by scholars, to be not a Hebrew, but a Greek idea. And yet the Hebrews had an idea of their own of beauty, and a very original one.

I. That God is beautiful (2 Chronicles 20:21; Psalms 27:4; Zechariah 9:17; Isaiah 33:17).

1. A feature of God which appears to ms go have this attractiveness is His own love of beauty. All the beauty that exists in the universe is of God’s making. “From Him all things sweet derive their sweetness, all things fair their beauty, all things bright their splendour, all things that live their life, all things sentient their sense, all that move their vigour, all intelligences their knowledge, all things perfect their perfection, all things in any wise good their goodness.”

2. A second feature of the mind of God which makes the same impression is the artistic perfection He bestows on His work. The two great instruments of modern scientific investigation, the telescope and the microscope, have enlarged our knowledge of God’s works in opposite directions.

3. There is a beauty of a still higher order, which we call moral, and this is still more characteristic of God. There are some elements of moral character which we cannot see displayed in men or illustrated in their actions without the heart rising up to greet them with delight. Gentleness, for instance, is of this nature. Is there any sight more touching you can see in a home than a strong man stooping to a child, and laying aside his strength and dignity to be its playmate, or in the streets than a father leading his little one and waiting patiently for the toddling foot? The same may be said of generosity. If a man who has been wronged, having both right and power on his side, yet forbears to take revenge and heaps kindness on his enemy, poetry will celebrate his act, and every heart that listens to it will respond. Self-sacrifice, voluntarily giving up comfort and dignity to go down to the rescue of the miserable, commands the same kind of allegiance. Now, all the qualities of this class, in their highest form and intensest degree, belong to God. They are comprehended in what is called the grace of God.

4. One other feature of the beauty of God must be mentioned, because it is the one which the Old Testament writers chiefly had in view when they conceived God as beautiful. This is holiness. God is even called in one passage “the beauty of holiness.” Now, by this word we generally understand a negation of everything impure, absolute freedom from sin and abhorrence of it. But in the Scriptures the word has a more positive and a richer signification: it signifies the perfection and unison of all God’s attributes. No quality belonging to a perfect being is absent from His nature; every quality is present in perfect development; and all are in unbroken harmony. This is very nearly the Greek idea of beauty.

II. The Church of God is beautiful, and its beauty is derived from the beauty of God: “Let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us.” Is not holiness beautiful? Is there anything else so beautiful? I appeal to you who have seen it. Have you ever known any one who was conspicuously holy; who, when he met you, created in you the impression often that he had just come out of the presence of Jehovah, and that the glory of the interview was still lingering about him; whose very look reminded you of God and heaven, and was an undeniable proof of their existence? If you leave known such an one, tell me if you have ever seen anything else so beautiful as such a character? It is all beautiful, but there are some elements of holiness that have a quite peculiar attractiveness. Humility is one. What a lovely grace that is, especially when it is united with exceptional position or exceptional gifts! Unselfishness produces the same effect on the beholder, and so does the simplicity of a large manhood. But the beauty of the Church and of the true Christian is not only the beauty of the Lord in the sense of being like His, but also in the sense of being obtained from Him. It is not natural, not derived. It is a beauty which the Lord puts upon His people; and it is communicated not from without, but from within. (J. Stalker, D. D.)

Man’s prayer for triumph over time and death

I. Man’s character when Divinely beautified. The prayer is that the beauty of God should “be upon us.” Then we shall remain. Our circumstances will change, our condition alter, our bodily powers decay, but upon us, that is upon something that is the actual, veritable indestructible we, a Divine something may ever rest. The “beauty of God” is that something. “All colours, lines, beauties of visible creation and of the invisible heavens are but dim hints of the ineffable beauty of God,” the beauty not of His creation, which is only a partial manifestation of Him, but of His character, which is Himself. This beauty of holiness is the beauty of God. When it clothes, covers, possesses, in a word is “upon” the human character, man is Divinely beautified.

I. What is the nature of this beauty?

2. What is the method of its attainment?

II. Man’s work when Divinely blessed. “Establish Thou the work of our hands,” etc. Men’s works outlive them. This is true in every sphere. The common mason’s labour has helped to build houses that will stand long after he has become dust. And in the realms of mind and morals it is still more emphatically so. But man’s great triumph, as Moses felt his would be, is in work that God so establishes that generations to come shall be blessed by it. It may have been quiet work. It may have been unseen work, as the hidden under waves of the tide that leave their deep ripples congealed on the sand long after the tossing, breaking surface breakers have been absorbed again in the great sea. Yes, in its results, work done for God and done in God’s Spirit is permanent. The results of the work of a reformer, like Luther, or statesman like Hampden, or philanthropist like Howard, are henceforward part and parcel of the moral universe, as truly as the planets are part and parcel of the material. But yet more permanent. They will last throughout eternity. (Homilist.)

Spiritual beauty

This beauty is--

I. Varied. Faith in Abraham; patience in Job; purity in Joseph; meekness in Moses; earnestness in Paul; love in John; all in Jesus.

II. Growing. Like corn: first the blade, then the ear, then the full corn in the ear; like the growth of trees: first the seedling, then the young tree fenced round, then the large tree fully developed, with its beautiful arch reflecting perfectly the great arch of the majestic sky overhead; like light: first the twilight, then the silver dawn gradually growing into the golden splendours of noon.

III. Unfading. Earthly beauty grows until it reaches full bloom, and then it begins to fade. But not so with the beauty of God. It grows brighter and brighter, for ever and ever. Time cannot write its wrinkles; care cannot plough its furrows; disease cannot impress its marks upon any of the features of this beauty; death cannot breathe upon its fadeless bloom.

IV. Attracting. Josephus informs us that the babe, Moses, was so remarkable for beauty, that “it happened frequently that those that met him, as he was carried along the road, were obliged to turn again upon seeing the child; that they left what they were about and stood still a great while to look on him.” Thus the perfect beauty of childhood is attracting, and in this it is a lovely symbol of spiritual Beauty. The beauty of God upon the primitive Church drew the eyes of the heathen toward her, and forced from them the exclamation, “Behold these Christians, how they love one another.” The beauty of God upon the disciples caused the people around to wonder, and take “knowledge of them that they had been with Jesus.” The beauty of God upon the members of the Church has been drawing and assimilating men of all tribes and all ages. And in proportion as her members have this beauty upon them are they successful in making others lovely.

V. Unconscious. A dutiful daughter watches by the bedside of her dying mother; anticipates her every wish; serves her day and night. How beautiful she is, but she does not know it. So with spiritual beauty (Exodus 34:29; Matthew 25:37-39). Thus, like the beauty of stars and rainbows, and flowers, and birds, and children, the beauty of God upon us, not in crescent fragments, but in full-orbed splendour, is invariably unconscious, until revealed to us by those who gaze upon it.

VI. Rare. It is rare as a few flowers amid a garden of weeds; rare as a few pebbles gleaming up out of an ocean of sand; rare as a few star clusters shining on the dark breast of night. It is rare and yet free, rare and yet attainable. Oh, it is wonderful that this beauty should be so uncommon when it is so free! It is universally attainable, for “it is unto all and upon all them that believe.” (John Dunlop.)

The privilege of believers in knowing God’s glory; and the effects of it upon their personal holiness

I. The privilege of Zion’s children.

II. The effects which the beauty of the Lord our God produces; it establishes the work of our hands; yea, most certainly the work of our hands shall be established. The privilege mentioned in our text consists of two parts: a vision of the beauty of the Lord, and an appropriation of Him as our God. The means of this vision and appropriation is usually called faith in the Word of God.

1. The work of our personal salvation is a great work, in which every one is concerned to be established. This is the one thing needful; and until we have some assurance of it, we can never be happy. Let us labour, then, to enter into this rest by faith.

2. Another great work every believer will wish to see carried on, and established, is the furtherance of Messiah’s kingdom upon earth. “Let Thy kingdom come,” he will constantly pray, in the conversion of Jew and Gentile, in the progress of the Gospel at home and abroad. (R. Frew.)

Moral beauty

I. This beauty of the Lord our God was originally upon us,--was the primitive endowment of mankind, our highest and divinest excellence, described by our Creator Himself His own “image.”

1. Wisdom and knowledge.

2. Moral purity.

3. Vigour of moral purpose, or rectitude of will.

4. Supreme felicity in the Divine favour.

5. Immortal life.

II. This beauty, or moral perfection, has been lost.

1. By the fall, or the incipient act of human disobedience against God, moral evil has contaminated the whole of our nature. Sin entered, and in its train soon followed ignorance, error, weakness, guilt, misery and death.

2. The moral beauty of our original nature is utterly lost. If there exist any traces of man’s former beauty, they resemble such only as are left behind in the fragments of an edifice, or a city, which a conflagration has destroyed, or an earthquake shaken into ruins.

3. Our moral beauty, so far as relates to ourselves, is irrecoverably lost.

III. What ground there is for hoping that this beauty of the Lord our God may yet be restored to us.

1. We now see this beauty actually restored, in the person of the Son of God in our nature. He is called the second man, the Lord from heaven,--the restorer of the ruins of the first Adam,--by the renovation of the moral nature of all who are in Him,--upon the principle of assimilation to His own moral beauty.

2. The ministry, or dispensation of the Spirit, furnishes another firm support to the hopes of those who are desirous of attaining to the beauty of the Lord their God. The souls whom the Spirit of God renews and adorns after the image of Jesus Christ, shall retain the freshness and the perfection of their new and spiritual beauty for ever; and neither grow old nor grow weary in the felicities of their heavenly state.

3. The promises of the Divine Word are also replete with assurances of the restoration of our fallen nature.

4. The Mediator, Jesus Christ, is now glorified at His Father’s right hand in our nature; and has received all power in heaven and on earth,--power directly official and mediatorial, for the purpose of completing those objects that brought Him into our world corporeally.

5. Our hope, if not founded upon the experience of the saints of God, is yet confirmed and illustrated by it; for what we read concerning those in distant ages, and what we have witnessed in our own days,--of the knowledge, holiness, obedience, spirituality, joy and triumph of the Lord’s people, that we know is attainable still. And since the attainment of a renewed mind depends upon no gifts of nature, no mysteries of art, no advantages of birth, no endowments of education, no privileges of station or rank, but entirely upon Divine grace, every anxious, humble, wrestling heart may indulge the joyous hope of receiving the blessing.

IV. What means might be used by us to promote this desirable and glorious consummation, the attainment of moral perfection, felicity, and immortality.

1. The text sets before you by example, the important, all-important exercise and means of prayer.

2. There must be diligent attention to the Word of God, and faith in it. This is the celestial mirror both of truth and beauty; the very exact, identical reflection or image of all that we are required both to be and to do; not a broken fragment, as the heathens fabled in their classic story of the natural mirror of truth, first given perfect into the hand of man, but afterwards dashed to the ground, and pieces only of which can now be gathered up and fitted together with much skill and infinite labour by the wisest of the sons of men; but that mirror of truth which we possess is perfect and entire,--the mirror of the Divine mind, most pure, perfect, and unsullied. Into this law of liberty we must daily look, not as “a natural man beholding his face in a glass,” but coming thereto and continuing therein, that we may be changed, and till we are “changed, into the same image, from glory to glory, as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (G. Bedford, D.D.)

Beauty from Christ

Modern science teaches us that the crimson colour of a rose is not in the rose itself, but consists alone in the flower’s property of picking out, and reflecting back the crimson ray that mingles in the sun’s white light. And this applies to flowers of every hue. Their beauty is not their own; it is wholly due to the colours which emanate from the sun itself. So it is equally true of the believer. He has no grace of beauty in himself, but all his purity of thought and life, like the beauty of the flowers, is drawn from the Sun of Righteousness. In Christ he is “fair as the splendid, flower-embroidered hangings of Judah’s royal palace.” (R. Venting.)

Work made beautiful

A pathetic story is told of Professor Herkomer, the famous authority on art. His aged father, who lived with him in his beautiful home at Bushey, Hefts., used to model in clay in his early life. Later, when he had nothing definite to do, he took to it again; but his constant fear was that his work would show the marks of imperfection. At night he would go to rest early, and then his talented son would take up his father’s feeble attempts and make the work as beautiful as he well knows how. When the old man came clown in the morning he would go to see the work, and say, with evident satisfaction, “Ha! I can do as well as ever I did!” May we not believe that the hands of Divine Love will thus make beautiful our feeble work for God till it shall bear the light of day, and be perfect to all eternity!

Psalms 91:1-16


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Psalms 90:17". The Biblical Illustrator. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/psalms-90.html. 1905-1909. New York.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us,.... Either the grace and favour of God, his gracious presence vouchsafed in his ordinances, which makes his tabernacles amiable and lovely, and his ways of pleasantness; or the righteousness of Christ, which is that comeliness he puts upon his people, whereby they become a perfection of beauty; or the beauty of holiness, which appears on them, when renewed and sanctified by the Spirit; every grace is beautiful and ornamental: or Christ himself may be meant; for the words may be rendered, "let the beauty of the Lord be with us"F11עלינו "adsis nobis", Tigurine version, Junius & Tremellius; Heb. "sit apud nos", Piscator; "super nobis et apud nos", Michaelis. ; he who is white and ruddy, the chiefest among ten thousand altogether lovely, fairer than the children of men, let him appear as the Immanuel, God with us:

and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it; or "direct it"F12כוננהו καταθευνον, Sept. "dirige", V. L. Musculus; "dirige et confirma", Michaelis. ; though God works all works of grace for us, and in us, yet there is a work of duty and obedience to him for us to do; nor should we be slothful and inactive, but be the rather animated to it by what he has done for us: our hands should be continually employed in service for his honour and glory; and, whatever we find to do, do it with all the might of grace we have; and in which we need divine direction and strength, and also establishment, that we may be steadfast and immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord: and this petition is repeated, to show the sense he had of the necessity of it, and of the vehemence and strength of desire after it. Jarchi interprets this of the work of the tabernacle, in which the hands of the Israelites were employed in the wilderness; so Arama of the tabernacle of Bezaleel.


Copyright Statement
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855

Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Psalms 90:17". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/psalms-90.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

And let the p beauty of the LORD our God be upon us: and q establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it.

(p) Meaning, that is was obscured when he ceases to do good to his Church.

(q) For unless you guide us with your Holy Spirit, our enterprises cannot succeed.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Psalms 90:17". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/psalms-90.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

let the beauty — or sum of His gracious acts, in their harmony, be illustrated in us, and favor our enterprise.


Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Psalms 90:17". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/psalms-90.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it.

The beauty — His gracious influence, and glorious presence.

In us — Do not only work for us, but in us,


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.

Bibliography
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Psalms 90:17". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/psalms-90.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Psalms 90:17 And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it.

Ver. 17. And let the beauty of the Lord, &c.] i.e. The bounty; the Italian rendereth it, La Giocondita, jucunditas Domini sit in nos.

And establish thou the work, &c.] Thus we had all need to pray; for,

Nullius est felix conatus et utilis unquam,

Consilium si non detque iuvetque Deus.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Psalms 90:17". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/psalms-90.html. 1865-1868.

Sermon Bible Commentary

Psalms 90:17

I. What is the beauty of God? The excellence of His character. The meaning of all beauty is to image the holiness and excellence of God. The perception of beauty has been given us not, as some suppose, for enjoyment merely, but to bind us to the infinite, to make it more difficult for man to lose himself in time and sense, and to woo him to a heavenly perfection. The beauty of God is His love, mercy, patience, faithfulness. The justice of God, too, which may well appear to sinful man only terrible, has truly a grand beauty. Viewed from a higher point, the terrible in God is the beautiful, for it is seen to be a form of love. Once in the history of this sinful world infinite beauty appeared. Once God contracted Himself into the limits of our nature and walked the earth. Divine loveliness spoke and acted among us, shone through the eyes and lived in the actions and sufferings of Jesus of Nazareth. It is a perception of the beauty of God, a delight in it, a desire after it, which distinguish the spiritual man from others. They may feel that God is great and right; he feels that God is beautiful. A sense of the Divine beauty gives an elevation to all life, and clothes it with a certain infinite halo of gladness. Nothing can greatly afflict a soul that has a steady vision of the Divine beauty. Such a soul rises freely above temptation, heaven has entered into it, and it finds it easy to keep the road to heaven.

II. The beauty of God as reflected in man. The true beauty of God in man is not to be estimated at a glance. One must take in the whole range of human nature. He must certainly not forget the relations to God, and to the future, and to men as spiritual beings. There is something sad about all mere natural beauty. Its forgetting of 'God is melancholy. Its blindness to the future and to all the height, and depth, and breadth of being is melancholy. There is always a suggestion of joy and hope about spiritual beauty. It speaks of a wide horizon. It is the beauty of a day in spring, having a hold of the future, while struggling with east winds and rain, looking on to summer, and not back upon it, as do the fairest autumn days. (1) Benevolence is the essential element of beauty. It is love that is lovely. (2) Strength is the natural and genuine root of love; and if there be anything fair to look upon that is not associated with this, but is rather a tender, delicate grace, inseparable from feebleness of principle or purpose, it must be somewhat of the nature of a sickly flush. (3) Unity is an element of beauty. Our nature must grow into unity by the power of a central life. (4) But unity must never be so understood as to seem in conflict with freedom. The beautiful is free, expansive, flowing. We are emancipated by the sight of God. The thought of eternity and infinitude takes away our limitation. (5) Joy is an element of beauty. The joy we get by looking to Christ is healing and softening. It is a joy from beholding beauty of the loftiest and tenderest kind, and must be productive of beauty. (6) Repose is not less an element of beauty. How powerfully this element of calm strikes us in the life of our Lord. Those who inherit His peace cannot but inherit something of His beauty. (7) Naturalness and unconsciousness must be added as necessary to all the elements of beauty. The beauty of life is life. We do not make beauty. It grows. We must not seek it directly, else we shall certainly miss it.

J. Leckie, Sermons Preached at Ibrox, p. 288.


References: Psalms 90:17.—G. Matheson, Moments on the Mount, p. 273; A. P. Peabody, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxviii., p. 355.

Psalm 90

This Psalm sets out with the definite statement of a theologic doctrine: the doctrine of the eternity of God.

I. This splendid thought of the Divine eternity is made to touch the shifting and inconstant character of our earthly state by the single word "dwelling-place." Here God's eternity opens itself to our needs.

II. A correct view of the eternity of God conveys warning as well as comfort. (1) The eternal power of God convicts us of helplessness. (2) The eternal being of God convicts us of delusions. "Teach us to number our days," etc.

III. In Psalms 90:7-10 man is represented not as unfortunate, but as guilty, not as the victim of accident, but as the subject of punishment.

IV. The last five verses bring us back to the starting-point of the Psalm. Whither shall a sinful, short-lived man flee but to a holy and eternal God? Thither turns the prayer of these last five verses, and turns with hope and confidence. Man is the subject of God's wrath, but there is mercy with Him to satisfy him who flees from the wrath to come.

M. R. Vincent, Gates into the Psalm Country p. 199.


References: Psalm 90—A. B. Bruce, Expositor, 1st series, vol. ix., p. 361; F. Tholuck, Hours of Devotion, p. 483.




Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Psalms 90:17". "Sermon Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/sbc/psalms-90.html.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Psalms 90:17. And let the beauty, &c.— Let the countenance of the Lord our God smile upon me; and prosper thou the work of our hands. Green. Bishop Hare and Houbigant have observed, that the four words at the end of the verse, which are here left untranslated, are only a repetition of the foregoing words; which neither the Vatican copy of the LXX acknowledges, nor the metre admits.

REFLECTIONS.—This psalm opens,

1. With an acknowledgment of God's goodness to his people. Lord, thou hast been our dwelling-place in all generations. From the days that Abraham first at his command left his native land, God had provided for him and his seed, and made them to dwell in safety. Christ our Lord is every believer's rest: in him by faith we dwell; safe under the covert of the wings of his love we abide, protected from every storm.

2. He adores God as the everlasting Jehovah, the consideration of whose eternity administers the greatest consolation to his faithful people; for whatever they meet with of disappointment or misery in this transitory and perishing world, they have in him an ever-living God, a never-failing portion; the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever.

3. He owns the disproportion between the eternal God and the longest-lived of all the sons of men. All comparison fails between finite and infinite, between time and eternity: all the events of time are equally present with God; so that respecting the coming of Christ, and the resurrection of the body, the length of time they may be deferred, is not the least objection to either.

4. He describes the frailty of man even in his best estate; Thou carriest them away as with a flood, swiftly, suddenly, irresistibly, as in the deluge, they are as a sleep, their life insensibly spent, and at best to the sinner but a pleasing dream, which at death vanishes: in the morning they are like grass which groweth up. In the morning of youth it flourisheth, and groweth up; beauty, vigour, wealth, prosperity make them appear like the verdant field, but momentary is the joy: in the evening it is cut down and withereth, the beauty fades, the strength fails, the possessions vanish; when death, the mower, puts in the sickle, and under disease, or age, the enfeebled body bends to the tomb. Note; (1.) The vanity of earthly enjoyments, and the folly of seeking happiness in things so fleeting and unsatisfactory. Shall we exchange an eternity of blessedness for the pleasures of a dream? (2.) They who look often in their glass, should look oftener into their coffin; this will check the pride of beauty. (3.) If our hour is so short, it becomes us to improve it as it flies, and not dream our life away, lest Death awaken us at last in terrible surprise, instead of finding us watching, and prepared for his summons.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 90:17". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/psalms-90.html. 1801-1803.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

REFLECTIONS

READER, have you ever contemplated, in the point of view this blessed Psalm represents it, the dying circumstances of a perishing world? There is nothing which, under grace, can more effectually tend to give a right and proper estimate of human life. In every state, in everything, the funeral proclamation is momentarily making: Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. From a conviction of this unquestionable truth, the inquiry arises what will be the best preparation for it; and, since there can be no exemption, how shall you or I be suitably and properly affected towards it? This Psalm opens with an answer the most satisfactory. The Lord is the only dwelling place in all generations. The Rock of Ages is the only habitation. If God, in Christ, be the dwelling place of the believer, here the soul resides secure amidst all the dying and the dead circumstances of a convulsed, tottering, crumbling, and departing world. Reader, what say you to this security? Are you living upon a faithful, unchangeable covenant-God in Christ? Have you taken shelter in Jesus, as a hiding place from the storm, a covert from the tempest, as rivers of water in a dry place, and as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land? Oh, what an everlasting security is here! Because I live, saith Jesus, ye shall live also. Fear not, said he, to the dying Patriarch, fear not to go down into Egypt, I will go with thee. And when you and I can say, as the Patriarch did, I have waited for thy salvation, O Lord: then may we add, This God is our God forever and ever; He will be our guide unto death!


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Psalms 90:17". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/psalms-90.html. 1828.

Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae

DISCOURSE: 653

THE BEAUTY OF JEHOVAH IMPARTED TO HIS PEOPLE

Psalms 90:17. Let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us!

IT is pleasing to think that in every age the Lord has many “hidden ones:” even as in the days of Elijah, who thought himself the only worshipper of Jehovah, whilst there were in reality “seven thousand men who had not bowed their knee to the image of Baal.” It is not every one who dies apparently under the displeasure of God, that will be visited with his judgments in the world to come. Many “are judged of the Lord now, in order that they may not be condemned with the world hereafter [Note: 1 Corinthians 11:32.].” Amongst those who died in the wilderness for their transgressions, we know, infallibly, that some were received to mercy. We have no more doubt of the salvation of Moses and Aaron than we have of any saint from the foundation of the world. And we think that there is evidence in the psalm before us, that many repented in the wilderness, and that though “they were delivered, as it were, to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, their spirit will be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus [Note: 1 Corinthians 5:5.].” When they found that the sentence passed against them could not be reversed, they humbled themselves before God for their iniquities; and in consequence thereof they found favour in his sight, passing their remaining days upon earth in some measure of peace, and enjoying a hope, that, though they were never to possess the earthly Canaan, they should be admitted to the enjoyment of a heavenly inheritance. Their supplications for mercy were such as God never did, nor ever will, reject. “O satisfy us early with thy mercy, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days! Make us glad according to the days wherein thou hast afflicted us, and the years wherein we have seen evil. Let thy work appear unto thy servants, and thy glory unto their children: and let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us:” that is, Let us have such tokens of thy love, and such communications of thy grace, as may carry us forward with comfort, and prepare us for thy more immediate presence.

For the further elucidation of my text, I will endeavour to shew,

I. Wherein the beauty of the Lord our God consists—

But in attempting to speak on such a subject, I feel that I shall only “darken counsel by words without knowledge:” for “we cannot by searching find out God, we cannot find out the Almighty to perfection.” Yet, as we are able, we must declare him unto you, and set forth his perfections,

1. As existing in himself—

[We need only open our eyes and survey the visible creation, to be assured of his eternal power and godhead. In this respect the most stupid heathens, in neglecting to worship him, are without excuse. The magnitude and number of the heavenly bodies, all moving so exactly in their respective courses, and fulfilling the ends for which they were designed; and the variety and beauty of the things existing on this terraqueous globe, all so adapted for their respective offices and uses, and all subservient to one great design, the glory of their Creator; evince that his wisdom and goodness are equal to his power. I am not aware that philosophers have any advantage over those of less intelligence in things which are known only by revelation: because those things can be known only by the teachings of God’s Spirit; and the Holy Spirit can instruct one as easily as another, and does often “reveal to babes what is hid from the wise and prudent:” but in the things which are obvious to our senses they have a great advantage, because by their proficiency in different sciences they attain a comprehensive knowledge of many things, of which the generality of persons have no conception; and consequently, they can discern traces of divine wisdom, and goodness, and power, which can never come under the view of one that is illiterate and uninformed.

If from the works of creation we turn our eyes to the dispensations of Providence, we shall see all the same perfections illustrated and displayed to yet greater advantage; because they; shew how entirely every created being, however unconscious, or however adverse, fulfils his will, and executes hit designs — — —

But it is in the work of redemption that the perfections of God must be chiefly viewed; because in that are displayed his justice, his mercy, and his grace: for the exercise of which there is, in the works of creation and of providence, comparatively but little scope.

But, to discover these, we must view them,]

As displayed in the person of his Son—

[The Lord Jesus Christ is called “the image of the invisible God [Note: Colossians 1:15.]” because in him Jehovah, “who dwelleth in the light which no man can approach unto, whom no man hath seen or can see [Note: 1 Timothy 6:16.],” is rendered visible to mortal eyes; so that in him we see “the brightness of his Father’s glory, and the express imago of his person [Note: Hebrews 1:3.].” We know that “in his face all the glory of the Godhead shines;” and that on that account the god of this world is so anxious to blind our eyes, and to hide him from our view [Note: 2 Corinthians 4:4.]. See then in him, and in his cross, not some perfections only, but all, even all the perfections of the Godhead shining in their utmost splendour. Draw nigh to the garden of Gethsenane, or to Mount Calvary, and there take a view of your adorable Saviour. How awful does the justice of the Deity appear, when not one sinner in the universe could be received to mercy, nor one single transgression of God’s law be pardoned, till an atonement should be offered for it, not by any creature, but by the Creator himself, whose blood alone could expiate our guilt, and whose righteousness alone could serve as a sufficient title for our acceptance before God. And how bright does mercy appear, in that, rather than man should perish after the example of the fallen angels, God vouchsafed to give his only dear Son to die for us, and to effect our reconciliation by the blood of his cross! What wisdom too is displayed in this way of making the truth of God, which denounced death as the penalty of sin, to consist with the happiness and salvation of those who had committed it! as the Psalmist says, “Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other [Note: Psalms 85:10.].” To make these perfections unite in the salvation of men, and to bring to every perfection far higher glory than it could have had if it had stood alone; (for whilst each shines in its own proper glory, each has a tenfold lustre reflected on it by the opposite perfection with which it is made to harmonize;) this required the utmost possible effort both of wisdom and grace; and to all eternity will it form the chief subject of adoration and praise amongst all the hosts of heaven. Here is God seen as “forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin, whilst he by no means clears the guilty [Note: Exodus 34:6-7.];” because their guilt has been expiated, and a righteousness has been wrought out by the Lord Jesus Christ, so that God is “a just God, and yet a Saviour [Note: Isaiah 45:21.],” and is no less just than he is merciful, in every exercise of his pardoning love, and in every blessing which he bestows on his redeemed people [Note: 1 John 1:9.].]

The petition offered respecting this, leads us to inquire,

II. In what respects we may hope that “this beauty shall be on us”—

Had the prayer been offered by Moses alone, like that, “I beseech thee, shew me thy glory [Note: Exodus 33:18.],” we might have supposed, that it was a peculiar favour, which other saints had no right to expect. But the prayer was uttered by multitudes, even by the great mass of those who repented in the wilderness: and therefore it may be poured forth by all true penitents amongst ourselves, who may expect that “the beauty of the Lord shall be upon them:”

1. By an outward manifestation of it to our minds—

[To the Corinthian Church was this honour vouchsafed: for “God, who commanded light to shine out of darkness at the first Creation, shined into their hearts, to give them the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ [Note: 2 Corinthians 4:6.].” Such manifestations therefore may we also expect. The Lord Jesus Christ has expressly promised, that he will manifest himself to us, as he does not unto the world: and with such convincing evidence will he shew us his glory, that we shall differ from those around us, as Paul at his conversion differed from his attendants: they heard a voice as well as he; but he alone was favoured with the sight of the Lord Jesus Christ himself [Note: Acts 9:7. 1 Corinthians 9:1; 1 Corinthians 15:8.]: so that the words which we hear or read may be heard or read by thousands; but to us only, that is, to those only who are truly penitent and believing, will he “manifest forth his glory,” so as to constrain us to cry out, “How great is his goodness! how great is his beauty [Note: Zechariah 9:17.]!”

It is by the public ordinances chiefly that he will make these revelations of himself to us: and hence it was that David so exceedingly delighted in the house of God, saying, “One thing have I desired of the Lord, which I will seek after, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the fair beauty of the Lord [Note: Psalms 27:4.].” If only we come up to his house with raised expectations, and a humble mind, he will reveal himself to us, and lift up the light of his countenance upon us, and shew us “his power and glory so as he is accustomed to display them in his sanctuary [Note: Psalms 63:2.].”]

2. By an inward communication of it to our souls—

[“God originally made man after his own image [Note: Genesis 1:26-27.]:” and after the same image will he create us anew “in righteousness and true holiness [Note: Ephesians 4:24.].” It is for this very end that he so reveals himself in his ordinances; namely, that, by communing with him there, our faces may be made to shine, as the face of Moses did [Note: Exodus 34:29-30.]; and that “by beholding his glory we may be changed into the same image from glory to glory by the Spirit of our God [Note: 2 Corinthians 3:18.].” In this sense the beauty of the Lord our God shall be upon all his children, according as it is written, “He that hath this hope in him, purifieth himself even as he is pure [Note: 1 John 3:3.].” No inferior standard will they aim at: they know their duty; and they know their privilege: and with no attainments will they be satisfied, till they “are holy, as God is holy;” and “perfect, even as their Father that is in heaven is perfect.”

This indeed will not be imparted to any one at once: it is a progressive work: persons must be babes, and young men, before they are fathers: but from the time that they are truly converted unto God, they will “grow in grace,” and “make their profiting to appear,” till they have “attained to the full measure of the stature of Christ [Note: Ephesians 4:13.].” To all of you then I would say, Offer up with devoutest earnestness to God the petition in my text, “Let the beauty of the, Lord our God be upon us:” and add to it that prayer of Paul for the Ephesian converts, which in import corresponds exactly with it; “Let me so comprehend the love of Christ, as to be filled by it with all the fulness of God.”]

From the text thus explained, we may learn,

1. What is the great antidote to the troubles of life?

[Certainly the Israelites, when doomed to perish in the wilderness, were in a very pitiable condition. But, if they could only attain this great object, they declared that their sorrows would all be turned into joy [Note: Ephesians 3:18-19]. So whatever our troubles be, their sting will be altogether taken away, if they prevail to bring us to the footstool of our God, and to the enjoyment of the light of his countenance. The trials which God sends are for this very end; to purge away our dross, and to purify us as gold, that we may be vessels of honour, meet for our Master’s use. Let us then not be so anxious to get rid of our afflictions, as to obtain from God a sanctified use of them, in brighter manifestations of him, and richer communications from him, and a more entire conformity to him [Note: ver. 15.]. Let us but get even a small measure of these benefits, and “our consolations shall abound far above all that our afflictions have abounded [Note: 2 Corinthians 1:5.]” — — —]

2. What we are to aim at, in our pursuit of holiness—

[It is not any one grace, or any particular set of graces, that we should seek after, but an entire conformity to the image of our God. Now his beauty, as we have seen, consists not in any one perfection, but in an union of all perfections, however opposite to each other. So must there be in us, not such graces only as are suited to the natural temperament of our minds, but an assemblage of all graces, however different from each other; (every one being blended with, and tempered by, its opposite, and all together brought, as occasion may require, into united exercise. God is compared to “light;” which is an union of rays, exceedingly diverse from each other, and all in simultaneous motion. Now as some may think that the brighter coloured rays, as the red, the orange, the yellow, would make a better light if divested of those which bear a more sombre aspect, as the blue, the indigo, and the violet; so many imagine, that God would be more lovely, if justice were separated from his attributes, and mercy were to shine unalloyed by that more formidable perfection. But as neither can light part with any of its rays, nor, God with any of his perfections, so neither must the Christian dispense with any grace whatever: if he rejoice, it must be with trembling: if he walk in faith, he must be also in the fear of the Lord all the day long. If he be bold, he must also be meek and lowly of heart, and resemble him, who “was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so opened not he his mouth.” This union of opposite graces it is which constitutes the beauty of holiness: as David, after the most exalted strains of adoration, says, “O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness: fear before him all the earth [Note: Psalms 96:7-9.].”

Let me earnestly entreat the professors of religion to be attentive to this matter. Nothing is more common than for persons of this description to value themselves on account of some particular grace or set of graces, when they are offensive, and, I had almost said, odious in the eyes both of God and man, for want of those graces which ought to temper, and to moderate the actings of their mind. Distortion in the human frame is not more disgusting than such distorted piety as this. Even without any particular blemish in the human frame, it is not any one feature that constitutes beauty; but a regular and harmonious set of features: so it is not faith, or fear, or zeal, or prudence, or any other separate grace, that will assimilate us to the Deity, but every grace in its proper measure, and its combined exercise; or rather every grace borrowing from its opposite its chief lustre, and all harmoniously exercised for the glory of God.

Were this subject better understood, we should see, as in Christ, so in all his followers also, the God and the man, the lion and the lamb.]


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Simeon, Charles. "Commentary on Psalms 90:17". Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/shh/psalms-90.html. 1832.

Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

Psalms

THE CRY OF THE MORTAL TO THE UNDYING

Psalms 90:17.

If any reliance is to be placed upon the superscription of this psalm, it is one of the oldest, as it certainly is of the grandest, pieces of religious poetry in the world. It is said to be ‘A prayer of Moses, the man of God,’ and whether that be historically true or no, the tone of the psalm naturally suggests the great lawgiver, whose special task it was to write deep upon the conscience of the Jewish people the thought of the wages of sin as being death.

Hence the sombre magnificence and sad music of the psalm, which contemplates a thousand generations in succession as sliding away into the dreadful past, and sinking as beneath a flood. This thought of the fleeting years, dashed and troubled by many a sin, and by the righteous retribution of God, sent the Psalmist to his knees, and he found the only refuge from it in these prayers. These two petitions of our text, the closing words of the psalm, are the cry forced from a heart that has dared to look Death in the eyes, and has discovered that the world after all is a place of graves.

‘Let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish Thou the work of our hands upon us.’ There are two thoughts there-the cry of the mortal for the beauty of the Eternal; and the cry of the worker in a perishable world for the perpetuity of his work. Look at these two thoughts briefly.

I. We have here, first, the yearning and longing cry of the mortal for the beauty of the Eternal.

The word translated ‘beauty’ in my text is, like the Greek equivalent in the New Testament, and like the English word ‘grace,’ which corresponds to them both susceptible of a double meaning. ‘Grace’ means both kindness and loveliness, or, as we might distinguish both graciousness and gracefulness. And that double idea is inherent in the word, as it is inherent in the attribute of God to which it refers. For that twofold meaning of the one word suggests the truth that God’s lovingkindness and communicating mercy is His beauty, and that the fairest thing about Him, notwithstanding the splendours that surround His character, and the flashing lights that come from His many-sided glory, is that He loves and pities and gives Himself. God is all fair, but the central and substantial beauty of the divine nature is that it is a stooping nature, which bows to weak and unworthy souls, and on them pours out the full abundance of its manifold gifts. So the ‘beauty of the Lord’ means, by no quibble or quirk, but by reason of the essential loveliness of His lovingkindness, both God’s loveliness and God’s goodness; God’s graciousness and God’s gracefulness {if I may use such a word}.

The prayer of the Psalmist that this beauty may be upon us conceives of it as given to us from above and as coming floating down from heaven, like that white Dove that fell upon Christ’s head, fair and meek, gentle and lovely, and resting on our anointed heads, like a diadem and an aureole of glory.

Now that communicating graciousness, with its large gifts and its resulting beauty, is the one thing that we need in view of mortality and sorrow and change and trouble. The psalm speaks about ‘all our years’ being ‘passed away in Thy wrath,’ about the very inmost recesses of our secret unworthiness being turned inside out, and made to look blacker than ever when the bright sunshine of His face falls upon them. From that thought of God’s wrath and omniscience the poet turns, as we must turn, to the other thought of His gentle longsuffering, of His forbearing love, of His infinite pity, of His communicating mercy. As a support in view both of our dreary and yet short years, and our certain mortality, and in the contemplation of the evils within and suffering from without, that harass us all, there is but one thing for us to do-namely, to fling ourselves into the arms of God, and in the spirit of this great petition, to ask that upon us there may fall the dewy benediction of His gentle beauty.

That longing is meant to be kindled in our hearts by all the discipline of life. Life is not worth living unless it does that for us; and there is no value nor meaning either in our joys or in our sorrows, unless both the one and the other send us to Him. Our gladness and our disappointments, our hopes fulfilled and our hopes dissipated and unanswered are but, as it were, the two wings by which, on either side, our spirits are to be lifted to God. The solemn pathos of the earlier portion of this psalm-the funeral march of generations-leads up to the prayerful confidence of these closing petitions, in which the sadness of the minor key in which it began has passed into a brighter strain. The thought of the fleeting years swept away as with a flood, and of the generations that blossom for a day and are mown down and wither when their swift night falls, is saddening and paralysing unless it suggests by contrast the thought of Him who, Himself unmoved, moves the rolling years, and is the dwelling-place of each succeeding generation. Such contemplations are wholesome and religious only when they drive us to the eternal God, that in Him we may find the stable foundation which imparts its own perpetuity to every life built upon it. We have experienced so many things in vain, and we are of the ‘fools’ that, being ‘brayed in a mortar,’ are only brayed fools after all, unless life, with its sorrows and its changes, has blown us, as with a hurricane, right into the centre of rest, and unless its sorrows and changes have taught us this as the one aspiration of our souls: ‘Let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us,’ and then, let what may come, come, let what can pass, pass, we shall have all that we need for life and peace.

And then, note further, that this gracious gentleness and long-suffering, giving mercy of God, when it comes down upon a man, makes him, too, beautiful with a reflected beauty. If the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us, it will cover over our foulness and deformity. For whosoever possesses in any real fashion God’s great mercy will have his spirit moulded into the likeness of that mercy. We cannot have it without reflecting it, we cannot possess it without being assimilated to it. Therefore, to have the grace of God makes us both gracious and graceful. And the true refining influence for a character is that into it there shall come the gift of that endless pity and patient love, which will transfigure us into some faint likeness of itself, so that we shall walk among men, able, in some poor measure, after the manner of our Master, to say, ‘He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father.’ He said it in a sense and in a measure which we cannot reach, but the assimilation to and reflection of the divine character is our aim, or ought to be, if we are Christians. ‘Let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us,’ and ‘change us into the same image from glory to glory.’

II. We have here the cry of the worker in a fleeting world for the perpetuity of his work.

‘Establish,’ or make firm, ‘the work of our hands upon us, yea the work of our hands establish Thou it.’ The thought that everything is passing away so swiftly and inevitably, as the earlier part of the psalm suggests, might lead a man to say, ‘What is the use of my doing anything? I may just as well sit down here, and let things slide, if they are all going to be swallowed up in the black bottomless gulf of forgetfulness.’ The contemplation has actually produced two opposite effects, ‘Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die,’ is quite as fair an inference from the fact as is ‘Awake to righteousness and sin not,’ if the fact itself only be taken into account. There is nothing religious in the clearest conviction of mortality, if it stands alone. It may be the ally of profligate and cynical sensuality quite as easily as it may be the preacher of asceticism. It may make men inactive, from their sense of the insignificant and fleeting nature of all human works, or it may stimulate to intensest effort, from the thought, ‘I must work the works of Him that sent me while it is day. The night cometh.’ All depends on whether we link the conviction of mortality with that of eternity, and think of our perishable selves as in relationship with the unchanging God.

This prayer expresses a deep longing, natural to all men, and which yet seems incompatible with the stern facts of mortality and decay. We should all like to have our work exempted from the common lot. What pathetically futile attempts to secure this are pyramids, and rock-inscriptions, and storied tombs, and posthumous memoirs, and rich men’s wills! Why should any of us expect that the laws of nature should be suspended for our benefit, and our work made lasting while everything beside changes like the shadows of the clouds? Is there any way by which such exceptional permanence can be secured for our poor deeds? Yes, certainly. Let us commit them to God, praying this prayer, ‘Establish Thou the work of our hands upon us.’

Our work will be established if it is His work. This prayer in our text follows another prayer [Psalms 90:16]-namely, ‘Let Thy work appear unto Thy servants.’ That is to say, My work will be perpetual when the work of my hands is God’s work done through me. When you bring your wills into harmony with God’s will, and so all your effort, even about the little things of daily life, is in consonance with His will, and in the line of His purpose, then your work will stand. If otherwise, it will be like some slow-moving and frail carriage going in the one direction and meeting an express train thundering in the other. When the crash comes, the opposing motion of the weaker will be stopped, reversed, and the frail thing will be smashed to atoms. So, all work which is man’s and not God’s will sooner or later be reduced to impotence and either annihilated or reversed, and made to run in the opposite direction. But if our work runs parallel with God’s, then the rushing impetus of His work will catch up our little deeds into the swiftness of its own motion, and will carry them along with itself, as a railway train will lift straws and bits of paper that are lying by the rails, and give them motion for a while. If my will runs in the line of His, and if the work of my hands is ‘Thy work,’ it is not in vain that we shall cry ‘Establish it upon us,’ for it will last as long as He does.

In like manner, all work will be perpetual that is done with ‘the beauty of the Lord our God’ upon the doers of it. Whosoever has that grace in his heart, whosoever is in contact with the communicating mercy of God, and has had his character in some measure refined and ennobled and beautified by possession thereof, will do work that has in it the element of perpetuity.

And our work will stand if we quietly leave it in His hands. Quietly do it to Him, never mind about results, but look after motives. You cannot influence results, let God look after them; you can influence motives. Be sure that they are right, and if they are, the work will be eternal.

‘Eternal? What do you mean by eternal? how can a man’s work be that?’ Part of the answer is that it may be made permanent in its issues by being taken up into the great whole of God’s working through His servants, which results at last in the establishment of His eternal kingdom. Just as a drop of water that falls upon the moor finds its way into the brook, and goes down the glen and on into the river, and then into the sea, and is there, though undistinguishable, so in the great summing up of everything at the end, the tiniest deed that was done for God, though it was done far away up amongst the mountain solitudes where no eye saw, shall live and be represented, in its effects on others and in its glad issues to the doer.

In the highest fashion the Psalmist’s cry for the perpetuity of the fleeting deeds of dying generations will be answered in that region in which his dimmer eye saw little but the sullen flood that swept away youth and strength and wisdom, but in which we can see the solid land beyond the river, and the happy company who rejoice with the joy of harvest, and bear with them the sheaves, whereof the seed was sown on this bank, in tears and fears. ‘Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord. Their works do follow them.’ ‘The world passeth away, and the fashion thereof, but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.’


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Psalms 90:17". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/psalms-90.html.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

The beauty of the Lord, i.e. his favourable countenance, and gracious influence, and glorious presence.

Upon us; or, in us. Do not only work for us, but in us. And because the glorious work of thy hands is hindered by the evil works of our hands, be thou pleased by thy Holy Spirit to direct or establish (for this Hebrew word signifies both)

the works of our hands, that we may cease to do evil, and learn to do well, and turn and constantly cleave unto thee, and not revolt and draw back from thee, as we have frequently done to our own undoing.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Psalms 90:17". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/psalms-90.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

17. Beauty—Understand the word in the sense of grace, favour. Compare Psalms 27:4; Zechariah 11:7; Zechariah 11:10.

Establish—Accomplish, confirm.

Work of our hands—The Church co-works with God, (Philippians 2:12-13,) and her works become established because they are in harmony with the purposes and works of God. Comp. Deuteronomy 14:29; Deuteronomy 24:19; Deuteronomy 28:12; Deuteronomy 30:9. The prayer is for the success and permanent prosperity of the people, both as a nation and a Church, in contrast with their profitless wilderness life, with its reverses, its retrograde marches, and its aimless wanderings.

Upon us—Three times the preposition “upon” occurstwice in the invocation “upon us,” and once “upon their children.”

“Because the promoting comes from above.”Hengstenberg.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Psalms 90:17". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/psalms-90.html. 1874-1909.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

PSALM XC. (QUI HABITAT.)

The just is secure under the protection of God.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Psalms 90:17". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/psalms-90.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

God. Hebrew. Elohim. App-4.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Psalms 90:17". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/psalms-90.html. 1909-1922.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(17) Beauty.—Or, pleasantness. The Hebrew word, like the Greek χάρις, and our “grace,” seems to combine the ideas of “beauty” and “favour.”


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Psalms 90:17". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/psalms-90.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it.
And let
27:4; 50:2; 80:3,7; 110:3; 2 Corinthians 3:18; 1 John 3:2
establish
68:28; 118:25; Job 22:28; Proverbs 16:3; Isaiah 26:12; 1 Corinthians 3:7; 2 Thessalonians 2:16,17; 2 Thessalonians 3:1

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Psalms 90:17". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/psalms-90.html.

Commentary by J.C.Philpot on select texts of the Bible

Psalm 90:17

"And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us—and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, the work of our hands establish it." Psalm 90:17

What is this beauty? "The beauty of the Lord our God." It Isaiah , therefore, the beauty of the God-man; the loveliness, the holiness, the perfection, and glory that ever dwells in the Son of God. Now "days of affliction, and years of evil" have marred all creature loveliness. There was a time, perhaps, when we could take some pleasure and delight in what we were, or what we vainly fancied we would be. Our own righteousness had a beauty and loveliness to us; and our religion was amiable and pleasing in our own sight. But what has become of it? Marred, marred; totally marred. By what? "Days of affliction, and years of evil." These have effectually ruined, defaced, and polluted all creature loveliness. In a word, we were once deeply in love with self; but self has been shown to us such a hideous monster, in so vile and despicable a light, that we have fallen out of love with him altogether; and we have seen, at times, such beauty, glory, loveliness, and suitability in the Son of God, that as we have fallen out of love with self, we have fallen in love with Jesus.

Thus as all our own beauty and our own loveliness have been marred and defaced, the beauty and loveliness of the Lord have risen in due proportion. So that this has become the desire of our soul, "Let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us. Let us stand accepted in it; let it be put upon us by the imputation of God himself; let us be clothed with it manifestly before the eyes of a heart-searching Jehovah. Let the beauty of Jesus" atoning blood, the beauty of his perfect righteousness, the beauty of his dying love, the beauty and holiness of his glorious Person be upon us, covering all our filth, guilt and shame, spreading itself over all our nakedness, sin and pollution, that when God looks upon us, he may not see us as we are—marred, defaced, and full of wounds and bruises and putrefying sores; but may see us standing accepted in the Beloved, with "the beauty of the Lord our God" upon us." Oh, what a matchless robe is this! It outshines angels"—for it is the righteousness of God"s only-begotten Son! And if we stand with "the beauty of the Lord our God" upon us, we can bid defiance to all law-charges, to all the accusations of a guilty conscience, and to all the darts from hell.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Philpot, Joseph Charles. "Commentary on Psalms 90:17". Commentary by J.C.Philpot on select texts of the Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jcp/psalms-90.html.

To report dead links, typos, or html errors or suggestions about making these resources more useful use our convenient contact form
Powered by Lightspeed Technology