They make shrewd plans against Your people,
And conspire together against Your treasured ones.
The psalmist elaborates on the nature of our enemies. It is not enough to just stand against another, but one must create evil plans and conspire. Why must men go so far? Why must Cain think all the way to the butchery of Abel?
The answer is sin; it is the nature and power of sin to do such a thing. And man is wed to this mortal master until the day he dies. I like this description.
Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? “If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.” Cain told Abel his brother. And it came about when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.
The New Testament would instruct us to not marvel at this; it is enough to simply know that this is the way we are and respond accordingly.
This is from 1 John 3.
So, do you love your brother? I’m not asking you if you tolerate his evil; I’m asking you if you love him enough to tell him the truth and pull him away from all evil. Do you love your brother? God help us not be in league with these people described in this Psalm.
They have taken crafty counsel against thy people. Whatever we may do, our enemies use their wits and lay their heads together; in united conclave they discourse upon the demands and plans of the campaign, using much treachery and serpentine cunning in arranging their schemes. Malice is cold blooded enough to plot with deliberation; and pride, though it be never wise, is often allied with craft.
And consulted against thy hidden ones. Hidden away from all harm are the Lord’s chosen; their enemies think not so, but hope to smite them; they might as well attempt to destroy the angels before the throne of God.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Thy hidden ones. This representation of God’s people is worthy our notice. It may be taken two ways.
First, As referring to their safety. We often hide only to preserve. This is the meaning of the word in the parable, with regard to the discovery of the treasure in the field; “which, when a man hath found, he hideth it.” His aim is not to conceal but to secure; and the cause is put for the effect. Thus God’s people are hidden. He hid Noah in the Ark, and the waters that drowned the world could not find him. When his judgments were coming over the land, “Come, my people,” saith he, “enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thee also for a little season, until the indignation be overpast.” Hence the promise, “Thou shalt hide them in the secret of thy presence from the pride of man: thou shalt keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues.” Hence the confidence expressed by David, “In the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me upon a rock.” The Saviour could say, “In the shadow of his hand hath he hid me.” And, “All the saints are in his hand.” They are kept by the power of God, through faith, unto salvation. For he himself is their “refuge, “their “hiding place.” They are his hidden ones.
Secondly. As intimating their concealment. This is not absolute. But it holds in various respects and degrees.
It is true with regard to the nature of the spiritual life. Our life, says the Apostle, is hid with Christ in God; and that he refers to its invisibleness, rather than to its safety, is obvious from the words following: “When he who is our life shall appear, we also shall appear with him in glory.” …The heart of the believer only knows his own bitterness; and a stranger intermeddleth not with his joy. The manna on which he feeds is hidden manna. And no one knoweth the new name in the white stone given him, but the receiver…
They are sometimes hidden by persecution. For though this does not prevent their being Christians, it hinders them from appearing as such; especially by secluding them from their social and public assemblies…
They are sometimes hidden by the obscurity of their stations. Not many of the wise, and mighty, and noble are called: but when they are called they are also exhibited. They are like cities set on hills, which cannot be hid. A little religion in high life goes a great way, and is much talked of, because it is so often a strange thing. But God has chosen the poor of this world; and they are often rich in faith. Yet how is their moral wealth to be known? How few opportunities have they for religious display or exertion! There may be the principle of benevolence, where there is no ability to give. And the Lord seeth the heart, but men can only judge from actions. Many who are great in the sight of the Lord are living in cottages and hovels; and are scarcely known, unless to a few neighbours equally obscure.
They are sometimes hidden by their disposition. They are reserved, and shrink back from notice. They are timid and self diffident. This restrains them in religious conversation, especially as it regards their own experience. This keeps them from making a profession of religion, and joining a Christian church. Joseph of Arimathaea was a disciple of Jesus; but secretly, for fear of the Jews. And Nicodemus, from the same cause, came to Jesus by night. They had difficulties in their situations, from which others were free. They ought to have overcome them; and so they did at last, but it was a day of small things with them at first. Others are circumstanced and tried in a similar way: and we must be patient towards all men.
They are sometimes hidden by their infirmities. We would not plead for sin; but grace may be found along with many imperfections. The possessors have what is essential to religion in them; but not everything that is ornamental, and lovely, and of good report. The same will also apply to errors. Here, again, we are far from undervaluing divine truth. It is a good thing that the heart be established with grace. But it is impossible for us to say how much ignorance, and how many mistakes, may be found, even in the Israelites indeed, in whom there is no guile. — William Jay.
The less the world knows thee, the better for thee; thou mayest be satisfied with this one thing — God knows them that are his: not lost, although hidden is the symbol of a Christian. Frisch, in Lange’s Bibelwerk.
HINTS TO THE VILLAGE PREACHER
Thy hidden ones.
I. Hidden as to their new nature, which is an enigma to men.
II. Hidden for protection, as precious things.
III. Hidden, for solace and rest.
IV. Hidden, because not yet fully revealed.