The Custody of God Over His People
1 Samuel 2:9
He will keep the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness; for by strength shall no man prevail.

I. THE STATE AND CONDITION OF THE PERSONS consisting of two branches. "He will keep the feet of His saints." And first of all to consider it in spirituals, ye shall see God's custody of His people in protecting them from those sins and temptations, and snares which they are subject unto. (Psalm 121:7.) (2 Timothy 4:18.) (Psalm 87:28.) For the opening of this a little unto us we may take it in these explications. First, by the prevention of evil and sinful occasion, God keeps the feet of His people. Secondly, by preventing of the occasions of sin, so by fortifying and strengthening the heart and mind against closing with them. (Luke 22:32.) (2 Corinthians 12:9.) There are four graces amongst the rest, which are especially conducing hereunto. First of all, the grace of fear, and spiritual watchfulness. Blessed is the man that feareth always. Secondly, the grace of faith, that's another supporter likewise. Faith lays hold upon all the promises of assistance, and strengthening. (1 Peter 1:5.) Thirdly, God keeps the feet of His saints from progress and proceedings in sin, when they fall. Thus (Psalm 94:18). Lastly, He keeps the feet of His saints from relapse, and returning to sin again. Now to make this point pertinent indeed to ourselves, we must have a care of two things. The first is the qualification of our persons. Observe here whose feet it is that He here keeps. They must be saints whose feet God will keep. Saints, and His saints too, saints of His making, and saints of His calling, and saints of His owning. Secondly, it is not enough for us to be right for our persons in the general qualifications of them; but we must be right likewise for our carriage and the behaviour of ourselves. Those which are the saints of God may sometimes by their own wilful heedlessness provoke God for a time at least to suspend this safeguard of them. But so much of the first reference of these words, as they may be taken spiritually, and in relation to the inward man. Now further, secondly, we may likewise take them in reference to temporals, and God's Providence as to the things of this life. First, He will bless them in their ways. Take notice of that. This is one way to keep their feet. (Psalm 121:8.) Again, further, He names the feet, as those which are most exposed to danger, and hurt of all other. Secondly, in regard of their works, whatsoever they do. This is said of a godly man. (Psalm 1:3.) (Genesis 39:8.)

II. The second is THE STATE OF THE WICKED IN THESE. But the wicked shall be silent in darkness. As there's a difference betwixt the wicked and the godly in regard of their disposition, so is there likewise in regard of their condition. First, a state of darkness. First, for this life present as the way. Wicked men they are here in darkness. First, in the ignorance of their minds. (Ephesians 4:18.) Secondly, in the inordinancy of their affections, there's darkness in them from thence also. (1 John 2:11.) Malice shades the mind, and so any other unruly passion in them. Thirdly, in the practice of all other sins whatsoever, besides works of wickedness, are works of darkness, and so they are still called. The unfruitful works of darkness. (Ephesians 5:11.) Lastly, in that spiritual blindness which they are given up to. The second is the darkness of the end. That darkness which they are subject unto in another world. This is of two sorts, either the darkness of death, or judgment. The second is the state of silence, in order to this darkness. "They shall be silent in darkness." First, that grief, and horror, and perplexity of mind, which shall seize upon them in this condition. Silence is an attendant upon grief and atonement in the extremities of it. Secondly, silence is a note of conviction. They shall be silent, that is, they shall have nothing to say for themselves. Wicked men, as they shall be full of grief, so likewise of confusion. Thirdly, it is a note of abode and of continuance in this miserable condition. They shall be kept and bound up in it. Now (to join them both together) they are such as do very fitly agree to such kind of persons. Both darkness and also silence in it are very suitable to wicked men. First, the darkness of condition answerable to the darkness of sin. Wicked men they abhor the light, because their deeds are evil. Secondly, silence in evil, answerable to silence from good: Wicked men they care not to speak anything which may be to the honour of God. We begin with the first, viz., as it refers to the first clause. "He shall keep the feet of His saints," that is, by taking it exclusively, He and He alone. We'll reduce it briefly to three heads. First, the strength of body and human power with the appurtenances thereof. Secondly, the strength of parts and the improvements of wit and understanding, the strength of grace in the mere purpose of it. Therefore, let none trust to this, whosoever they be. Secondly, not by strength against Him, in reference especially to the second clause. The wicked shall be silent in darkness. Ungodly men shall not escape punishment, because they cannot be too strong for God, who is a God of power and might. First, thankfulness and acknowledgment of the great mercy and goodness of God to us in this particular. Secondly, as to matter of faith, we are to improve it to that likewise, having had experience of God's goodness hitherto, to be ready to expect as much from Him for time to come. Thirdly, and specially, to fruitfulness and obedience. God having done so great things for us, we should endeavour to do somewhat for him. Now further, secondly, for the wicked's silence in darkness, in the disappointment of his enemies, we may observe the parallel in this also. Here was both darkness and silence in darkness. Darkness there was in the very letter. It was a work in the dark. And that both as to place, and time, in which it was wrought.

(T. Herren, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: He will keep the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness; for by strength shall no man prevail.

WEB: He will keep the feet of his holy ones, but the wicked shall be put to silence in darkness; for no man shall prevail by strength.

The Conduct of the Lord Towards Saints and Sinners
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