By Henry Law
The believer's security is in God in every trial, through life, and in death. May we be kept by His mighty power through faith unto eternal life!
1. "In You, O Lord, I put my trust; let me never be ashamed; deliver me in Your righteousness."
The voice from the cross decides that we have here the thoughts and feelings of our blessed Lord. In the exercise of faith He leads the way. In prayer for favors He is our example. It is good to tell our God how fully we rely on Him. We may be bold to ask deliverance on the plea of righteous covenant and holy promises.
2, 3. "Bow down Your ear to me; deliver me speedily; be my strong rock, for a house of defense to save me. For You are my rock and my fortress; therefore, for Your name's sake, lead me, and guide me."
The grace to be importunate in prayer is very precious, and should be diligently cultivated. Faith deals familiarly, and supplicates that God would take the attitude of an earnest listener, and drink in every cry, and speedily arise to help. Faith rightfully expects that God would be true to the character which He has revealed. It argues, God's glorious perfections will be tarnished if the believer strays unguided.
4. "Pull me out of the net that they have laid privily for me; for You are my strength."
The blessed Jesus was exposed to many crafty wiles, but never were His feet entangled. Snares on all sides beset us. Conscious of inability to extricate ourselves, let us look to the strong to put forth a mighty hand, most mightily to extricate us.
5. "Into Your hand I commit my spirit; You have redeemed me, O Lord God of truth."
Let us bless Jesus that His dying lips have given special sanctity to these words. How many since have thus breathed their last breath? May they be our constant utterance, for we know not what word may be our last. When we assuredly believe that God has redeemed us by His Son's precious blood, and are persuaded that His holy Word is truth, we may, without one fear, commit our spirits to His care. The custody is safe. He must be greater than God, who plucks our souls from His protecting hands.
6, 7, 8. "I have hated those who regard lying vanities; but I trust in the Lord. I will be glad and rejoice in Your mercy; for You have considered my trouble; You have known my soul in adversities; and have not shut me up into the hand of the enemy; You have set my feet in a large room."
Many vain cheats are impudent to deceive us. Riches, honor, titles, reason, intellect, invite us to rely on their aid. But they are empty bubbles. Their promises are fraud. The believer flees with abhorrence from those who walk in these deceits. He has a large volume of experience. In trouble he has found that God's thoughts were on him. All his adverse circumstances have been lovingly regarded. In all his ways of sorrow God has been by his side. Deliverance and enlargement have been near. Great mercy has been shown; great gladness will acknowledge it.
9, 10. "Have mercy upon me, O Lord, for I am in trouble; my eye is consumed with grief, yes, my soul and my belly. For my life is spent with grief, and my years with sighing; my strength fails because of my iniquity, and my bones are consumed."
Our first thoughts here are thoughts of Jesus. He bore our sins; on Him our every iniquity was laid. He stood before God, laden with all our sins. By imputation, He was a mass of guilt. This would be acute anguish to His soul. Grief would be His constant comrade. Sorrow would plough furrows on His brow. Declining strength would show the increased woe. He would often sigh, "Have mercy upon me, O Lord, for I am in trouble."
Here, also, is the anguish of the conscience-stricken. When sin is once seen in all its hideous sinfulness, when guilt before God is once discovered, the misery would drive reason from its seat, unless the grief found vent in cries for mercy.
11, 12, 13. "I was a reproach among all my enemies, but especially among my neighbors, and a fear to my acquaintance; those who saw me outside fled from me. I am forgotten as a dead man, out of mind; I am like a broken vessel. For I have heard the slander of many; fear was on every side; while they took counsel together against me, they devised to take away my life."
The Spirit vividly foreshows the sufferings of Jesus when He was despised and rejected of men. His chosen followers forsook Him and fled. He was carried as a dead man to the tomb. He was regarded as a broken piece of pottery worthless for further use. The Jews conspired to destroy Him. Nothing could allay their malice. Their cry was urgent, 'Let Him be crucified.'
Much of this cruel usage was experienced by the type. David fled as an outcast. Conspirators laid plots. Evil counselors took evil counsel. Similar enmity burns against every true disciple. Outward restraints may bind, but the inward hatred is the same.
14. "But I trusted in you, O Lord; I said, You are my God."
God is the refuge of His people in all ages. To Him they fly. In Him they are secure.
15. "My times are in Your hand; deliver me from the hand of my enemies, and from those who persecute me."
There is a flood of comfort in the thought that God's unfailing providence orders all our matters. Each event is surely ordered. If without Him no sparrow falls, surely without Him no evil prevails against us. His hand is over all. He can deliver from each foe's malice, and each persecutor's rage. Knowing this, let us direct our prayer to Him, the only source of help.
16, 17, 18. "Make Your face shine upon Your servant; save me for Your mercies' sake. Let me not be ashamed, O Lord; for I have called upon You; let the wicked be ashamed, and let them be silent in the grave. Let the lying lips be put to silence; which speak grievous things proudly and contemptuously against the righteous."
The misery of the godly is the absence of the smile of heaven. The soul cannot be still while such darkness and such chill continues. It knows that the Lord can instantly cause brightness to return. Hence the strong petition, "Make Your face shine." This light is full salvation. Therefore faith adds, "Save me for Your mercies' sake." God's mercy is the only plea, but it is mighty and prevails. Mercy implored is mercy won. Grace ceases to be grace if it rejects the supplicant's cry. Prayer will never hang down its head abashed.
But a day of confusion quickly comes. Wicked lips spoke with proud contempt against the blessed Jesus. Excuse will fail before the great white throne. Shame will then close their lips. When slander assails us, let us reflect, How short is this day of evil! We shall sing loudly, while the lips of lies are only opened to bewail.
19. "Oh how great is Your goodness, which You have laid up for those who do not fear; which You have wrought for those who trust in You before the sons of men!"
Grateful experience cannot be silent. Exclamation will break forth. In the midst of trials, comforts more than abound. God's treasure-house is full of joys. The believer finds that the store exceeds all thought, and baffles praise. He can only shout, 'How great is Your goodness!' Truly, it is great as God is great. To measure the infinitudes of grace is to measure God Himself. His precious dealings towards His favored children are often so conspicuously displayed, that enmity itself cannot deny that God is truly with them.
20. "You shall hide them in the secret of Your presence from the pride of man; You shall keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues."
When haughty man insults, and tongues send forth poison darts, the child of God has a sure hiding place. His God is present. He screens himself behind His sheltering wings. He enters the inmost curtains of a secreting tent. He is hidden in light. It is a great mystery. None can explain but those who feel it.
21. "Blessed be the Lord; for He has shown me His marvelous kindness in a strong city."
Such, doubtless, would be David's feeling when he reigned in Zion; and, doubtless, such would be His praise. But this is especially the believer's song. He has a strong city. God has appointed salvation for walls and bulwarks. He enters into Christ. He sits secure in an impregnable fort. No foe can pass the gates. No might can make impression on the walls. The foundations are exceedingly strong. The towers over-top the skies. Serene in His fortress he learns many lessons, and feasts on precious truths. They all speak of mercy, grace, love; and all these sweet displays are wonderful. Wondrous indeed the kindness which looked on miserable rebels, and sent Jesus to seek and save! Wondrous the scheme! Wondrous the effects! Wonder of wonders that we should have interest in it! We can only cry, "Blessed God."
22. "For I said in my haste, I am cut off from before Your eyes; nevertheless You heard the voice of my supplications when I cried to You."
The movements of the believer's mind are quite a paradox. Gleams of sunshine follow the cloudy gloom. He fears amid all confidence; he trusts amid all misgivings. He speaks in haste; but still his soul is tranquil steadfastness. He thinks that he is utterly rejected; but still he prays. He believes that all hope is gone; but answers come to every cry.
23. "O love the Lord, all you His saints; for the Lord preserves the faithful, and plentifully rewards the proud doer."
Abundant motives call to the love of God; not least His constant care of His true children, and His sure vengeance on proud foes. Let us trust, and we are safe. They who transgress shall surely be requited.
24. "Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the Lord."
Trust must rely only on our God. All other confidences are empty vanity. They who thus trust may cast away all fear. Let them meet every trial bold as the lion. Courage will become more courageous. Strength from above will make the heart more strong.