“Make them bear their guilt, O God; let them fall from their counsels…”
¨ I… join these two clauses (Cause them… Let them fall) together, as the cause and the effect. In the first, he prays that God would deprive them of their understanding, and drive them into error; and in the second, he prays that, as the effect of this, their counsels might come to naught, in other words that their undertakings might prove unsuccessful. JC
¨ Hold them guilty, i.e. condemn and punish them. Or, make them to offend, to wit, in their counsels, as it follows; so as they may either be given up to bad and foolish counsels, or fail in execution of their wise and crafty counsels… let them fall short of their aims and designs. MP
¨ […] sometimes a man's own counsel casts him down, and is the cause of his ruin. Or, "because of their own counsels”; which they have taken against the Lord and His Anointed, against His cause and interest, and against His righteous ones, particularly David; meaning their wicked counsels, in which they walked… Or "from their counsels"…; that is, let their counsels be turned into foolishness, become brutish, be carried headlong, and come to naught. JG
¨ “Pronounce them guilty” catches the meaning of the opening plea, which is a single word, the opposite of ‘justify.’ It is the first of three aspects of judgment in this verse – exposure, collapse, expulsion – for evil is vulnerable to the truth, to its own instability and to direct divine action. TOTC, Derek Kidner
“Cast them out in the multitude of their transgressions…”
¨ “Cast away…” in the sense of “down from, away…,” thrust them away… [which] is to be understood according to Jn. 8:21, 24, “ye shall die in your sins.” The multitude of their transgressions shall remain unforgiven and in this state God is to cast them into hades. K&D, Franz Delitzsch
¨ Out of thy land, and from among they people, whom they either infect or molest by their wicked courses. MP
¨ David prays… [that God will] cast them out of His protection and favor, out of the heritage of the Lord, out of the land of the living; and woe to those whom God casts out. MH
¨ When God deals with men in a way of grace, He turns away ungodliness from them, or them from their ungodliness; but when in a way of judgment He suffers them to die in their sins, and so perish: or "for the multitude of their transgressions." The sins of transgressors are many and because of them they are cast out of the sight of God, and will be bid to depart from Him hereafter. JG
“For they have rebelled against you.”
¨ Again, he prays to God to punish them as they deserved, because, in wrongfully and wickedly making war against an innocent person, they rebelled against God. The proud, indeed, never think of this, that the poor, whom they afflict and despise, are of such estimation in the sight of God, that He feels Himself insulted and injured in their persons: for they do not imagine that the blows aimed at them are struck at heaven, any more than if they trampled a little dust or clay under their feet. But God bestows upon His servants the inestimable reward of taking their cause into His own hand. Whoever, therefore, has an approving conscience, and does not turn aside from his uprightness, although troubled wrongfully, has no reason to doubt of his warrant to improve God as a [shield] against his enemies. JC
¨ Their obstinacy is not obstinacy against a man, but against God Himself; their sin is, therefore, Satanic and on that account unpardonable. All the prayers of this character are based upon the assumption expressed in , that those against whom they are directed do not wish for mercy. Accordingly their removal is prayed for. Their removal will make the ecclesia pressa free and therefore joyous. K&D, Franz Delitzsch
¨ The Psalmist here speaks as a judge, ex officio; he speaks as God’s mouth, and in condemning the wicked he gives us no excuse whatever for uttering anything in the way of malediction upon those who have caused us personal offense… O impenitent man, be it known unto thee that all thy godly friends will give their solemn assent to the awful sentence of the Lord, which He shall pronounce upon thee in the day of doom! Our verdict shall applaud the condemning curse which the Judge of all the earth shall thunder against the godless.
¨ David pronounces God’s sentence against them, not as his personal enemies, but as opposers of God and His Anointed: and only against the finally impenitent. JFB, A.R. Fausset
¨ All sin is a rebellion against God; hence sinners are called rebellious ones. The rebellion of David's subjects against him was a rebellion against God; because it was an attempt to dethrone him, whom God had made king of
¨ His prayer for their destruction comes not from a spirit of revenge, but from a spirit of prophecy, by which he foretold that all who rebel against God will certainly be destroyed by their own counsels. MH
Here we see the full circle of God’s dealing with the wicked: (1) They are judged guilty and they fail in their schemes and dealings, (2) as guilty they are removed from the pious people of God and their sin adheres to them in eternal punishment, (3) the reason for all of this is given in that they have with impenitent hearts rebelled against God.
With all of that said there are a couple of things that are important for us to take notice of. First, but not the most important thing to consider here, is that those that seem to exist in this world with impunity, though they openly defy God and assault His people, will be dealt with. What seems to be an injustice now, where they are left unmolested and free to act as they wish, will eventually be damning evidence against them. God assures us throughout the Bible that the wicked will be dealt with, that He hears the cries of the saints (Ps. 34:15; Jas. 5:1-4); God says plainly vengeance is mine; I will repay. So, then, there is no reason to seek our own justice while on this earth, it is in the hands of the Lord and it is not merely a possible outcome but an inevitable outcome; He sees how the wicked have wronged the righteous and He will deal with them. Their arrogance for the time will turn into groveling when they stand before Him. Our duty is to put these offenses into the hands of the Lord and rest easy knowing He has heard our cry. It ultimately doesn’t matter that they seem to be so carefree on this earth; our reward is eternal whereas they have already received the blessings of this life and will get their true reward in eternity. We have no right to seek vengeance on our own behalf, that is the prerogative of God alone.
The second, and most important thing here, is that all of this stems from God, not man. As much as we would like to believe that it is mankind who passes judgment on the wicked and hands out the guilty verdict to hold them accountable; it is clear that it is God who does the judging and it is God who passes sentence on their sin; that is his right exclusively. But more than that, it is not ultimately their sin against us that is the great cause for concern, it is that they have sinned against Him. Yes, they have committed an actual act of sin against us, but those sins are ultimately committed against God’s law. We are such selfish creatures as a result of our fallen natures! Everything is judged through the prism of “I” and we rarely look beyond our own noses to see the injury done beyond us. How often have we been ready to behead over some injury done to our person and failed to recognize the ultimate nature of the offense lies in a sin against God? And even more so, it isn’t just the sins they are committing against His people, but the obstinately wicked roam this world opposing Him specifically and have mistaken the longsuffering God of the saints to be a complacent god who will never punish their sin. In contrast to their evil imaginations, though, stands the true God. As a result His holy nature dictates otherwise and he cannot allow sin to go unpunished. He cannot allow the wicked to exist eternally while reviling His majesty. He must deal with them, as a result of who He is, and in His perfect time He will. The wicked want none of God’s mercy and they shall have none of it to His eternal glory.
May we marvel at the grace of God that views us as justified men, through the imputed righteousness of our Lord Jesus Christ who died on the cross for our sins, that we too would not be the subject of David’s psalm. In our fallen nature we have every inclination to be as equally defiant to God as they are, to be as equally unrepentant, and to arrogantly think we can do as we please and never face His wrath. Yet he condescended to us, through no merit of our own, and not only saved us but sanctifies us throughout our lives, perseveres us so that we do not fall away, and then takes us home in glory never to be burdened by sin again. What a beautiful God we serve! I pray that I will learn to lead a life that truly pleases Him. Laus Deo.