By Henry Law
Appeal is made to God for help. Many are our times of need. At all times we have access to our God.
1, 2, 3. "Plead my cause, O Lord, with those who strive with me; fight against those who fight against me. Take hold of shield and buckler, and stand up for my help. Draw out also the spear, and stop the way against those who persecute me; say to my soul, I am your salvation."
Jesus would thus ofttimes cry. None ever felt as He did the bitterness of man's malignity. He earnestly implored that God would maintain His cause. We thus are taught the way of help; and not of help only, but of perfect peace. For no one can disturb the soul, to which God whispers, "I am your salvation."
4, 5, 6, 7, 8. "Humiliate and disgrace those trying to kill me; turn them back in confusion. Blow them away like chaff in the wind--a wind sent by the angel of the Lord. Make their path dark and slippery, with the angel of the Lord pursuing them. Although I did them no wrong, they laid a trap for me. Although I did them no wrong, they dug a pit for me. So let sudden ruin overtake them! Let them be caught in the snare they set for me! Let them fall to destruction in the pit they dug for me."
Thus Jesus prayed. In such prayer we have the clear prediction. Those who plot against Him plot against themselves. Into their own net they rush. Into their own pit they fall. The day draws near when this destruction will be witnessed. Perfect justice will endorse the doom.
9, 10. Then I will rejoice in the Lord. I will be glad because he rescues me. I will praise him from the bottom of my heart; "Lord, who can compare with you? Who else rescues the weak and helpless from the strong? Who else protects the poor and needy from those who want to rob them?"
Present deliverance awakens present praise; but full joy waits for the future. Then joy will not so much regard the overthrow of foes, as the Lord's glory. The lips and every faculty shall sing to Him, who alone rescued from overpowering might. Without God we are weak to stand.
11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16. "Malicious witnesses testify against me. They accuse me of things I don't even know about. They repay me with evil for the good I do. I am sick with despair. Yet when they were ill, I grieved for them. I even fasted and prayed for them, but my prayers returned unanswered. I was sad, as though they were my friends or family, as if I were grieving for my own mother. But they are glad now that I am in trouble; they gleefully join together against me. I am attacked by people I don't even know; they hurl slander at me continually. They mock me with the worst kind of profanity, and they snarl at me."
David's experience foreshadows Jesus. The judgment-hall presents itself to view. We have another proof that Jesus mainly speaks in these inspired hymns. "The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." Grace ever seeks to melt by kindness the hardened heart, and to return all evil with abundant good.
17, 18. "How long, O Lord, will you look on and do nothing? Rescue me from their fierce attacks. Protect my life from these lions! Then I will thank you in front of the entire congregation. I will praise you before all the people."
The cross again appears. We hear the earnest cry of the uplifted Jesus; but faith still sees that rescue is at hand. Promises are made that praise shall speak of mercy. When congregations of the faithful meet, and the Spirit works, there is fulfillment.
19, 20, 21. "Let not those who are my enemies wrongfully rejoice over me; neither let them wink with the eye who hate me without a cause. For they do not speak peace; but they devise deceitful matters against those who are quiet in the land. Yes, they opened their mouth wide against me, and said, Aha, Aha! our eye has seen it."
These plaintive sounds are from the cross. It was deep aggravation that the sufferings came from those whom He by dying sought to save. How sad that the requital of such love should be such hate! If such be the treatment of the holy Head, what must the guilty members expect?
22, 23, 24, 25, 26. "This You have seen, O Lord; keep not silence; O Lord, do not be far from me. Stir up Yourself, and awake to my judgment, even to my cause, my God and my Lord. Judge me, O Lord my God, according to Your righteousness; and let them not rejoice over me. Let them not say in their hearts, Ah, so would we have it; let them not say, We have swallowed him up. Let them be ashamed, and brought to confusion together, who rejoice at my hurt; let them be clothed with shame and dishonor who magnify themselves against me."
In these petitions we have assurance of the coming judgment. Jesus is always heard. God will arise. Confusion shall destroy them. Let us feel true compassion when the ungodly rage. Their gnashing of teeth comes on quickly.
27, 28. "Let those shout for joy, and be glad, who favor my righteous cause; yes, let them say continually, Let the Lord be magnified, who has pleasure in the prosperity of His servant. And my tongue shall speak of Your righteousness, and of Your praise, all the day long."
Faith gathers joy and peace from pondering the glorious outcome. The conflict may be long and fierce, but victory is near. The song of triumph soon will be heard. Due glory will be given to God. His righteousness shall be exalted. His praises shall be very high. May our glad voices swell the Conqueror's song!