By Henry Law
Prayers, professions, and resolves are here interlinked. May the Holy Spirit draw holy lessons for us!
1. "Judge me, O Lord; for I have walked in my integrity; I have trusted also in the Lord; therefore I shall not slide."
The voice of Jesus should be here first heard. He appeals from all injustice of the courts of men to Heaven's tribunal. He could claim vindication of His cause on the firm ground that all His ways were perfect holiness. Every one that is born of Him will strive to be pure and holy, even as He is pure and holy. May our faith be strengthened by ceaseless effort and ceaseless prayer; for when our trust is firm, we shall move firmly along the slippery paths of life.
2, 3. "Examine me, O Lord, and prove me; try my mind and my heart. For your loving-kindness is before my eyes; and I have walked in Your truth."
The heart is deceitful above all things. Who can know it? Who can have full acquaintance with its intricate and devious windings? Therefore the sincere man will often pray God to come with the light of His Spirit, and the torch of His Word, to search each deep and hidden corner, that no Achan may lurk undetected. Happy the prayer which is supported by the plea, 'My eyes are ever gazing on Your wondrous love, and all my steps are set in the holy way of Your revealed truth.'
4, 5. "I do not spend time with liars or go along with hypocrites. I hate the gatherings of those who do evil, and I refuse to join in with the wicked."
There is no communion of light with darkness. There is no fellowship between righteousness and unrighteousness. The believer must come out and be separate. He must not touch the unclean thing. How rich his gain! The Lord will receive all who thus withdraw, and He will dwell in them, and walk in them. He will be their God; they shall be His people.
6. "I will wash my hands in innocence; so will I compass Your altar, O Lord."
The Temple and all its rites and all its furniture was one clear Gospel-lesson. The laver was the cleansing blood of Jesus. Constant ablutions typified the washing out of guilt. The altar, with its dying victims, streaming blood, and curling smoke, proclaimed the all-atoning sacrifice. Jesus often tarried in these courts. His eyes would rest on symbols significant of His work.
The believer, in spirit, will frequent this holy ground. Abhorring sin he seeks the laver that no stain may soil him. His happy walk is round the altar; gazing on it at each step, delighting by faith to see his dying Lord, clasping to his heart the truth, for me He died, for me His blood was shed, in Him I am completely saved.
7. "That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all Your wondrous works."
Views of redemption lead to grateful love, and prompt the voice of praise. They warm the heart; they cause the lips to sing; they fill the inner cistern; and the waters overflow. There is no theme so joyful as the Lord's wonderful works. Faith strives to speak, but due utterance fails. It is far easier to count ocean's drops, than to portray the Savior's love, His worth, His righteousness, and the glories which He has purchased. But still, the more we speak, the more we feel; the more we feel, the more we speak.
8, 9, 10. "Lord, I have loved the habitation of Your house, and the place where Your glory dwells. Gather not my soul with sinners, nor my life with bloody men; in whose hands is mischief, and their right hand is full of bribes."
The sanctuary displayed God's glory. Bright rays shone forth from many symbols. The blessed Jesus loved to frequent this mystic spot. The ordinances of God were His delight. It became Him to fulfill all righteousness. This mark distinguishes His children. In public worship they joy to lift up the voice of praise. They hasten with happy step to join the assemblies in which united prayer is made.
There is an dreadful contrast. There is a bundle of tares that shall be burned. There is an assembly in which every form is sin, and every sight is unmasked ungodliness. Hell is no fiction. The very thought is horror. What must be the dreadful reality! Let the thought give power to the prayer--Oh, gather not my soul with such!
11. "But as for me, I will walk in my integrity; redeem me, and be merciful to me."
The thought of the second death gives energy to the resolve to walk with God now, that we may dwell with Him forever. The resolve is scarcely formed, but life returns. The truth appears that our best is only evil. The frightened believer flies to redeeming blood; he cries for mercy; he avows that his only hope is in the cleansing blood. His constant prayer must be, God be merciful to me a sinner!
12. "My foot stands in an even place; in the congregations will I bless the Lord."
Hope revives. Faith realizes that it firmly rests on immovable ground. It receives a kingdom which cannot be shaken. It looks beyond the earthly courts and congresses of pious men to the innumerable throng. It forgets the present praise in forethought of the never ending song. Their one ecstatic chorus will forever swell--Blessings to our God, and to the Lamb. Lord, fit us to bear our part!