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Psalm 39

By Henry Law


      The Psalmist resolves to be guarded in his speech. He reflects on the brevity of human life, and the vanity of earthly show. He prays in prospect of his near departure.

      1, 2, 3. "I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue; I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is before me. I was dumb with silence; I held my peace, even from good; and my sorrow was stirred. My heart was hot within me; while I was musing the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue."

      A grievous picture meets our eyes. Sad it is, and sadly common. The children of God are surrounded by the children of the evil one. Provocations press them to utter strong reproof; but holy wisdom restrains impatient utterance. The bridled tongue avails more than indignant remonstrance. But the inward agitation, like smoldering embers, will break forth in flames.

      Again we see the meek and lowly Jesus. Amid the frantic fury and cruel mockings of His unjust judges and the raging crowd, no railing word breaks from His holy lips.

      4. "Lord, make me to know my end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am."

      Troubles find mitigation in the thought that they are linked to fleeting time, and soon must reach their end. Sense of brief tenure and near dissolution check all outbreaks of impatience. Therefore it is good to pray, 'Lord, teach us our frailty.'

      5, 6. "Behold, You have made my days as a handbreadth, and my age is as nothing before You; verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity. Surely every man walks in a vain show; surely they are disquieted in vain; he heaps up riches and knows not who shall gather them."

      The tiniest time is a fitting emblem of an earthly course. Its measure is as nothing when compared with eternal things. The things which are seen are temporal, the things which are not seen are eternal.

      Look at the state which worldlings prize as the pinnacle of bliss. Let riches abound, and honors crown the brow, and power raise to loftiest station; let health bloom brightly, and strength nerve the limbs, let no worldly wish be ungratified--the whole is but a shadow, an empty husk, an unsubstantial facade. It is as the flower of the grass--green in the morning, in the evening dry and withered. The riches piled with toil, anxiety, and ceaseless effort, must be left. To whom? Uncertainty conceals the heir. No mind can tell who shall get them.

      7. "And now, Lord, what do I wait for? my hope is in You."

      The believer waits in full assurance that aid will come from heaven in God's good time. Let all trials be welcomed which brighten the rays of godly hope.

      8, 9, 10, 11. "Deliver me from all my transgressions; make me not the reproach of the foolish. I was dumb, I opened not my mouth, because you did it. Remove Your stroke away from me; I am consumed by the blow of Your hand. When You with rebukes correct man for iniquity, You make his beauty to consume away like a moth; surely every man is vanity."

      Consciousness of sin as the indwelling root of suffering will always abide, and should always prompt the prayer for deliverance by the mighty power of grace; and this prayer should be quickened by the fear lest the ungodly should gain advantage, and impiously exult. The resolve should be renewed to endure patiently, from persuasion that the hand of God thus chastens, that the fruits of righteousness should spring up. Reiterated prayer calls for withdrawal of the heavy hand. The feeble and the withered look soon shows the anguish of the afflicted heart. Behold the moth-eaten garment, unsound and rotten--it is the emblem of the countenance of the sin-stricken.

      12, 13. "Hear my prayer, O Lord, and give ear to my cry; hold not Your peace at my tears; for I am a stranger with You, and a sojourner, as all my fathers were. O spare me, that I may recover strength, before I go hence and be no more."

      When troubles increase, prayers should grow more earnest. It is good to realize that this present world is not our rest. Our abiding city is not on earth. Where are our fathers? Are we better than they? But they are gone; and as they went, we follow. But it should be our deep desire that our last days should be our best, and that as life fades our faith should more exalt the praises of our God. For this we need increase of grace. May we be so strengthened that our departing steps may show the upward path, and allure beholders to follow our example!

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See Also:
   Psalm 1
   Psalm 2
   Psalm 3
   Psalm 4
   Psalm 5
   Psalm 6
   Psalm 7
   Psalm 8
   Psalm 9
   Psalm 10
   Psalm 11
   Psalm 12
   Psalm 13
   Psalm 14
   Psalm 15
   Psalm 16
   Psalm 17
   Psalm 18
   Psalm 19
   Psalm 20
   Psalm 21
   Psalm 22
   Psalm 23
   Psalm 24
   Psalm 25
   Psalm 26
   Psalm 27
   Psalm 28
   Psalm 29
   Psalm 30
   Psalm 31
   Psalm 32
   Psalm 33
   Psalm 34
   Psalm 35
   Psalm 36
   Psalm 37
   Psalm 38
   Psalm 39
   Psalm 40
   Psalm 41
   Psalm 42
   Psalm 43
   Psalm 44
   Psalm 45
   Psalm 46
   Psalm 47
   Psalm 48
   Psalm 49
   Psalm 50
   Psalm 51
   Psalm 52
   Psalm 53
   Psalm 54
   Psalm 55
   Psalm 56
   Psalm 57
   Psalm 58
   Psalm 59
   Psalm 60
   Psalm 61
   Psalm 62
   Psalm 63
   Psalm 64
   Psalm 65
   Psalm 66
   Psalm 67
   Psalm 68
   Psalm 69
   Psalm 70
   Psalm 71
   Psalm 72
   Psalm 72
   Psalm 74
   Psalm 75
   Psalm 76
   Psalm 77
   Psalm 78
   Psalm 79
   Psalm 80
   Psalm 81
   Psalm 82
   Psalm 83
   Psalm 84
   Psalm 85
   Psalm 86
   Psalm 87
   Psalm 88
   Psalm 89
   Psalm 90
   Psalm 91
   Psalm 92
   Psalm 93
   Psalm 94
   Psalm 95
   Psalm 96
   Psalm 97
   Psalm 98
   Psalm 99
   Psalm 100
   Psalm 101
   Psalm 102
   Psalm 103
   Psalm 104
   Psalm 105
   Psalm 106
   Psalm 107
   Psalm 108
   Psalm 109
   Psalm 110
   Psalm 111
   Psalm 112
   Psalm 113
   Psalm 114
   Psalm 115
   Psalm 116
   Psalm 117
   Psalm 118
   Psalm 119
   Psalm 120
   Psalm 121
   Psalm 122
   Psalm 123
   Psalm 124
   Psalm 125
   Psalm 126
   Psalm 127
   Psalm 128
   Psalm 129
   Psalm 130
   Psalm 131
   Psalm 132
   Psalm 133
   Psalm 134
   Psalm 135
   Psalm 136
   Psalm 137
   Psalm 138
   Psalm 139
   Psalm 140
   Psalm 141
   Psalm 142
   Psalm 143
   Psalm 144
   Psalm 145
   Psalm 146
   Psalm 147
   Psalm 148
   Psalm 149
   Psalm 150

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