I will sing unto the Lord - That heart is turned to God's praise which has a clear sense of God's favor.
Because he hath dealt bountifully with me - עלי גמל כי ki gamel alai, because he hath recompensed me. My sorrows were deep, long continued, and oppressive, but in thy favor is life. A moment of this spiritual joy is worth a year of sorrow! O, to what blessedness has this godly sorrow led! He has given me the oil of joy for the spirit of heaviness, and the garments of praise for mourning.
The old MS. Psalter, which I have so frequen,tly mentioned and quoted, was written at least four hundred years ago, and written probably in Scotland, as it is in the Scottish dialect. That the writer was not merely a commentator, but a truly religious man, who was well acquainted with the travail of the soul, and that faith in the Lord Jesus Christ which brings peace to the troubled heart, is manifested from various portions of his comment. To prove this I shall, I think I may say, favor the reader with another extract from this Psalm on the words, "How long wilt thou forget me," etc., Psalm 13:1. I have only to observe that with this commentator a true penitent, one who is deeply in earnest for his salvation, is called a "perfyte man"; i.e., one wholly given up to God.
How lang lord for getes thu me in the endyng? How lang o way turnes thou thi face fro me? The voice of haly men that covaytes and yernes the comyng of Iehu Crist, that thai might lyf with hym in ioy; and pleynaund tham of delaying. And sais, Lord how lang for getes the me in the endyng? That I covayte to haf and hald. That es how lang delayes thu me fra the syght of Iehu Crist, that es ryght endyng of myn entent. And how lang turnes thu thi face fra me? that es, qwen wil thu gif me perfyte Knawing of the? This wordes may nane say sothly, bot a perfyte man or woman, that has gedyrd to gydir al the desyres of thair Saule, and with the nayle of luf fested tham in Iehu Crist. Sa tham thynk one hour of the day war our lang to dwel fra hym; for tham langes ay til hym; bot tha that lufs noght so, has no langyng that he come: for thair conscience sais thaim, that thai haf noght lufed hym als that suld have done."
The language of true Christian experience has been the same in all times and nations. "But he that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love;" and to such this is strange language.
I will sing unto the Lord, because he hath dealt bountifully with me - The word which is here rendered “dealt bountifully” - גמל gâmal - means properly “to deal” with anyone; to “treat” anyone well or ill; and then, to requite, or recompense. When used absolutely, as it is here, it is commonly employed in a good sense, meaning to deal favorably, or kindly, toward anyone; to treat anyone with favor. It means here that God had shown him kindness or favor, and had thus laid the foundation for gratitude and praise. The psalm closes, therefore, with expressions of joy, thankfulness, triumph. Though it begins with depression and sadness, it ends with joy. This is often observable in the Psalms. In the commencement it often occurs that the mind is overwhelmed with sorrow, and there is earnest pleading with God. Light, under the influence of prayer, breaks in gradually upon the soul. The clouds disperse; the darkness disappears. New views of the goodness and mercy of God are imparted; an assurance of his favor is brought to the soul; confidence in his mercy springs up in the heart; and the psalm that began with sorrowful complaining ends with the language of praise and of joy. So, too, it is in our own experience. Afflicted, depressed, and sad, we go to God. Everything seems dark. We have no peace - no clear and cheerful views - no joy. As we wait upon God, new views of his character, his mercy, his love, break upon the mind. The clouds open. Light beams upon us. Our souls take hold of the promises of God, and we, who went to His throne sad and desponding, rise from our devotions filled with praise and joy, submissive to the trials which made us so sad, and rejoicing in the belief that all things will work together for our good.