"The Lord upholdeth all that fall,
and raiseth up all those that be bowed down.
The eyes of all wait upon Thee;
and Thou givest them their meat in due season.
Thou openest Thine hand,
and satisfies the desire of every living thing."
"The Lord upholdeth all that fall."
"Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling,
And to present you faultless before the presence of His glory
and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen."
This is a benediction in the New Testament. David the Psalmist speaks from experience. He fell terribly far spiritually, but rose again when he was bowed down. The difference in the Old and New Testament experience is in the Old it says "all that fall," whereas in the New it says, "is able to keep you from falling." The Holy Spirit within us is the difference. David had visitations of the Spirit time and again, but the indwelling presence Jesus promised us had not yet been given.
There's something about my meds or my age that makes me realize I can't trust myself to go down some trails, like when I stopped, dropped and rolled down the hiking trail in Tennessee and caught myself before going over the brink to the river below. Yes, embarrassing I know, but I laid there laughing my head off. But I have noticed whether going down bleachers or uneven ground at the beach, I become top heavy and have to be careful not to follow my big head over heels tumbling. Yes, I'm a grandma who needs to hold onto someone's arm. All this to say, I am now more aware of falling these days. I like the kind of God who promises to keep us from falling, the kind of God we can hold onto to be safe. The physical description is really about the spiritual stumbling, however. He is able.
Adam Clarke says, "The Lord upholdeth all that fall, the falling, or those who are not able to keep their feet; the weak. He shores them up--He is their prop. No man falls through his own weakness merely; if he rely on God, the strongest fore cannot shake him." It is like the parents who hold the child's hands between them, and when he slips, they swing him up and away from falling: "Upsy-daisy."
Matthew Henry says, "He upholds them that fall, in that though they fall, they are not utterly cast down. If those who were bowed down by oppression and affliction are raised up, it was God who raised them. And, with respect to all those that are heavy-laden under the burden of sin, if they come to Christ by faith, He will ease them, He will raise them. He is very ready to hear and answer the prayers of His people."
"The eyes of all wait upon Thee..."
This implies waiting expectantly. "What a fine figure! The young of all animals look up to their parents for food. God is here represented the universal Father, providing food for every living creature. 'In due season.' The kind of food that is suited to every animal, and to all the stages of life in each animal. This is a wonderful mystery."...All expect it from God; and not one is disappointed!"
How to tame a wild animal: you put out food and watch as they slowly come; then eventually you hold out food in your open hand patiently; then eat out of your hand. Eventually they come to trust you, look to you, and desire to be petted. The eyes may be wary at first, running up to snatch it away. Eventually the eyes will wait, looking up to you to provide.
We are those feral, wild creatures. God desires to tame us so that He can provide for us and love on us, to have us eating out of His hand, stroking us. "Thou openest Thine hand and satisfies the desires of every living thing."
"Thou givest them their meat in due season." "What a hand is this that holds in it all the food that meets the desires and necessities of the universe of creatures!" (Adam Clarke) "He that feeds His birds will not starve His babes. He will hear their call and will save them; that is hearing them to purpose, as he heard David (that is, saved him) from the horn of the unicorn." Hmm. I didn't say that, Matthew Henry did (Psalm 22:21: "Save me from the lions mouth: for Thou hast heard me from the horn of the unicorn.") So rather than being the food, we are rescued and fed.
Our problem is out-of-control desires. Sin is self-will run riot. Save us from ourselves, O Lord! I kept a little verse in my purse for years until I lost it. I can't quite quote it but it goes something like this. "I do what I want. What I want does not satisfy. I do what He wants. What He wants satisfies, so I do what He wants. Thus, I do what I want." When the Psalmist says, "He will give you the desires of your heart," this doesn't mean you have the genie's bottle or rob Santa of his sack, it means He will put the right desires in your heart.
Well, from feral creatures, to unicorns, to stumbling bumpkins, it's all there. But God is there too,
ready and waiting with His hand open to feed us or to clasp ours when we come to trust Him.