For they got not the land - Neither by their valor, nor cunning, nor for their merit; yet, they were obliged to fight. But how did they conquer? By the right hand of the Lord, and by his arm; by his strength alone, and the light of his countenance - his favor most manifestly shown unto them.
For they got not the land in possession - The land of Canaan. The design of this verse is to illustrate the sentiment in the previous verse, that they owed their establishment in the promised land wholly to God. The fact that He had interposed in their behalf; that He had shown that he was able to discomfit their enemies, is appealed to as a reason why he should now interpose in a time of national danger and calamity. He who had driven out the nations in the days of their fathers; he who had established his people peaceably in the land from which the former inhabitants had been expelled, was able to interpose now and save them. The prominent thought in all this is, that it was God who had accomplished all that had been done. That same God was able to save them again.
Neither did their own arm save them - Not their own strength or prowess.
But thy right hand - The right hand is mentioned because it is that which is employed in wielding the sword or the spear in battle.
And the light of thy countenance - Thy favor. It was because thou didst lift upon them the light of thy countenance, or because thou didst favor them. See the notes at Psalm 4:6.
Because thou hadst a favor unto them - Thou didst desire to show them favor; thou hadst pleasure in them. The idea in the Hebrew word is that of delighting in anything, or having pleasure in it.
The divine Son of God saw that no arm but His own could save fallen man, and He determined to help man. He left the fallen angels to perish in their rebellion, but stretched forth His hand to rescue perishing man. The angels who were rebellious were dealt with according to the light and experience they had abundantly enjoyed in heaven. Satan, the chief of the fallen angels, once had an exalted position in heaven. He was next in honor to Christ. The knowledge which he, as well as the angels who fell with him, had of the character of God, of His goodness, His mercy, wisdom, and excellent glory, made their guilt unpardonable. Con 21.1Read in context »
God does not take man with his own natural feelings and deficiencies and place him right in the light of the countenance of God. No, man must do his part, and while man works out his own salvation, with fear and trembling, it is God that worketh in him to will and to do of His own good pleasure. With these two combined powers, man will be victorious, and receive a crown of life at last. He stands in view of the haven of bliss and the eternal weight of glory before him, and he fears lest he will lose it, lest a promise being left, he shall come short of it. He cannot afford to lose it. He wants that haven of bliss, and strains every energy of his being to secure it. He taxes his abilities to the utmost. He puts to the stretch every spiritual nerve and muscle that he may be a successful overcomer in this work, and that he may obtain the precious boon of eternal life.... TDG 344.4Read in context »