Thy loving-kindness is better than life - This is the language of every regenerate soul. But O how few prefer the approbation of God to the blessings of life, or even to life itself in any circumstances! But the psalmist says, Thy loving-kindness, חסדך chasdecha, thy effusive mercy, is better מחיים mechaiyim, than Lives: it is better than, or good beyond, countless ages of human existence.
My lips shall praise thee - Men praise, or speak well, of power, glory, honor, riches, worldly prospects and pleasures; but the truly religious speak well of God, in whom they find infinitely more satisfaction and happiness than worldly men can find in the possession of all earthly good.
Because thy loving-kindness is better than life - Thy favor; thy mercy. This is of more value than life; more to be desired than life. Life is the most valued and valuable thing pertaining to this world which we can possess. See the notes at Job 2:4. But, above this, David valued the favor and friendship of God. If one or the other was to be sacrificed, he preferred that it should be his life; he would be willing to exchange that for the favor of God. Life was not desirable, life furnished no comforts - no joys - without the divine favor.
“My life itself, without Thy love,
No taste of pleasure could afford;
‹Twould but a tiresome burden prove,
If I were banished from the Lord.”
My lips shall praise thee - That is either
(a) because of this loving-kindness; because I have this trust in thy character; or
(b) because thou wilt restore me to the place of public worship, and I shall be permitted again to praise thee.
Probably the latter is the true idea.
Through song, David, amidst the vicissitudes of his changeful life, held communion with heaven. How sweetly are his experiences as a shepherd lad reflected in the words: Ed 164.1
“The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
He leadeth me beside the still waters....
Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me;
Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me.” Ed 164.2
Psalm 23:1-4. Ed 164Read in context »
“What shall I render unto the Lord
For all His benefits toward me?
I will take the cup of salvation,
And call upon the name of the Lord.
I will pay my vows unto the Lord,
Yea, in the presence of all His people.” MH 101.1
“I will sing unto the Lord as long as I live:
I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.
My meditation of Him shall be sweet:
I will be glad in the Lord.” MH 101.2
“Who can utter the mighty acts of the Lord?
Who can show forth all His praise?” MH 101.3