Matthew Henry's Outline of Psalm 55

I will be preaching this week on Psalm 55. As I was studying this passage this week, I read Matthew Henry's commentary on it and was helped. Here is the outline of his thoughts. (Note: I am not recommending this for a sermon outline! My preaching outline will be quite a bit different: both shorter and more practical).

I. David prays that God would manifest His favour to him and pleads his sorrow and fear (v. 1-8)

1. David praying (v. 1-2)

2. David weeping (v. 2-3)

3. David trembling (v. 4-8)

a. The fear that seized him (v. 4-5)

b. His desire for escape (v. 6-8)

(i) how he would escape: wings/fly (v. 6)

(ii) what he wanted to escape from: winds/storm/tempest (v. 8)

(iii) what he wanted to escape to: not victory, but rest (v. 6)

II. David prays that God would manifest His displeasure against his enemies, and pleads their great wickedness and treachery (v. 9-15, 20-21)

1. The character of the enemies he feared

a. The city of Jerusalem (v. 9-11)

b. The ringleaders of the conspiracy (v. 12-14)

(i) There have always been and always will be a mixture of good and bad, sound and unsound, in the visible church.

(ii) Carnal policy may carry men very far and very long in a profession of religion while it is in fashion and will serve them.

(iii) We must not wonder if we are sadly deceived in some that have made great pretensions to those two sacred things: religion and friendship.

2. His prayers against his enemies (v. 9, 15)

a. That God would divide them [Babel] (v. 9)

b. That God would destroy them [Korah/Dathan] (v. 9a, 15)

III. David assures himself that God would, in due time, appear for him against his enemies and comforts himself with hopes of it, and encourages others to trust in God (v. 16-19, 22-23)

1. David perseveres in his resolution to call upon God (v. 16-17)

a. He will pray fervently (v. 17b)

b. He will pray frequently (v. 17a)

2. David assures himself that God will in due time give an answer of peace to his prayers (v. 18-23)

a. That he himself will be delivered and his fears prevented (v. 18; cf. v. 4-5)

b. That his enemies will be reckoned with and brought down (v. 19-21, 23)

(i) Their character as the reason why he expected God to bring them down (v. 19-21)

[1] Impious and profane (v. 19)

[2] Treacherous and false (v. 20)

[3] Base and hypocritical (v. 21)

(ii) Their ruin foretold (v. 19, 23)

[1] God will afflict them (v. 19)

[2] God will bring them down to the pit of destruction (v. 23)

3. David encourages himself and all good people to commit themselves to God with confidence in him (v. 22-23)

a. Himself (v. 23)

b. Others (v. 22)

(i) God will sustain them (v. 22a)

(ii) God will never suffer the righteous to be moved (v. 22b)


mwh said...

Do you consult Matthew Henry often? I have mixed feelings. Henry is Puritan-like, and I've found him profitable and devotional on a number of occasions. At the same time, he's hit-and-miss enough that I'm a bit surprised to find you finding him worthwhile to go. I think you're the one who relayed to me Spurgeon's comments about Solomon's court and the monkeys in reference to Henry.

Brian G. Hedges said...

No, I don't read him that often and I NEVER rely exclusively on an older commentary. Before I read Henry I read Goldingay and some others. Goldingay has the best technical commentary on the Psalms I've read.

You're right, the Puritans in their commentaries are hit-and-miss. But every once in a while, I find something useful.