By Henry Law
Faith prays, knowing that wrath will overwhelm God's foes, and mercies crown the righteous. May prayer be thus stirred up in us!
1, 2. "Give ear to my words, O Lord; consider my meditation. Hearken to the voice of my cry, my King and my God; for unto You will I pray."
By varied terms the Spirit shows the varied exercise of prayer. Sometimes words flow in ready utterance. Sometimes deep feeling finds no vent; the spirit groans but cannot express. Sometimes the voice swells in agonizing cries. But prayer in every form ascends to heaven. May prayer in every form be our delight! Prayer, also, lays hold of God by all His gracious names. These names are all revealed to strengthen faith. Faith is well skilled to use them. Give ear, O Lord. Hearken, my King, my God!
3. "My voice shall You hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto You, and will look up."
Surely our earliest thoughts should rise to heaven, our earliest words should speak to God. Happy the life when every day begins with Him! The First should have our first employ. Let not the world intrude until our God has been reverently worshiped. As arrows from the bow, let early prayers fly swift to heaven. Let, also, watchfulness follow, waiting to catch the accepting smile, and to acknowledge the returning blessings.
4, 5, 6. "O God, you take no pleasure in wickedness; you cannot tolerate the slightest sin. Therefore, the proud will not be allowed to stand in your presence, for you hate all who do evil. You will destroy those who tell lies. The Lord detests murderers and deceivers."
Let us remember that in prayer we draw near to the Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of hosts. The court is holy; the unclean may not enter. Ponder the holiness of Him whom praying lips address. Sin in its every form is hateful in His sight. The very angels have no worthiness before Him. Blessed Jesus! we would draw near, cleansed in Your blood, fair in Your beauty, spotless in Your merits, righteous in Your righteousness.
Here, also, we have sin painted in diverse colors. The monster shows most hideous shapes. Words heaped on words describe its utter vileness. Are the ungodly wicked? Sin is wickedness. Is evil to be abhorred? It is evil. Is foolishness meet for contempt? It is folly. Is iniquity most base? It is iniquity. Is murder monstrous? It is blood-stained. Is craft a vice? It is deceit. This catalogue appals. This character is ours by nature. As such we could not rightly pray. Happy if we can add, "But we are washed, but we are sanctified, but we are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God."
7. "But as for me, I will come into Your house in the multitude of Your mercy; and in Your fear I will worship toward Your holy temple."
True worship bends in lowliest humility. It comes crying for mercy to blot out misery, and it sees a multitude of mercies outnumbering the multitude of sins. To count our sins surpasses all our powers. But where sin abounds God's mercy far exceeds.
True worship trembles at the majesty of God, but it is bold. Its eye is fixed on the appointed place where God has promised to come down and meet. This place is our most precious Jesus. We bless You, O our God, for our true mercy-seat, our real throne of grace.
8. "Lead me, O Lord, in Your righteousness, because of my enemies; make Your way straight before my face."
The believer knows that hostile eyes observe his walk, malignant to expose each erring step. His refuge is in prayer. He supplicates almighty guidance. He desires a heaven-high course. Lead me in Your righteousness. Help me to see Your way. He would walk on earth as in the courts above.
9. "For there is no faithfulness in their mouth; their inward part is very wickedness; their throat is an open sepulcher; they flatter with their tongue."
The picture shows the falseness of this hollow world. Intense iniquity pervades the heart. The mouth is opened to destroy. Their words are deathful darts. They bristle with destruction. The viper's poison lurks beneath their tongues. May we be followers of Him whose lips were grace!
10. "Destroy them, O God; let them fall by their own counsels; cast them out in the multitude of their transgressions; for they have rebelled against You."
These words are free from slightest tinge of vengeful malice. Their inmost breathing is divine. The believer sees the coming wrath. He knows God's vengeance will descend. God's honor must be vindicated; God's glory must shine forth in just perdition of rebellious foes. The believer rises into oneness with his God. He exults and triumphs in the final overthrow. Perfect love in heaven will sing, "Just and true are Your ways, O King of saints."
11, 12. "But let all those who put their trust in You rejoice; let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them; let those also who love Your name be joyful in You. For You, Lord, will bless the righteous; with favor You will compass him as with a shield."
We turn from bitter anguish to joy in overflowing tide. The saints appear in triple phase. They trust, they love, they walk in righteousness. Triple mercy meets them. God is their defense; He makes them rich in blessing; His favor is their all-surrounding shield. A triple exhortation sounds, but all the notes combine in one. Rejoice; forever shout for joy; be joyful in your God. May inward testimony prove our right to rejoice in the Lord always, and again and again to rejoice!