By Henry Law
Marvelous deliverance follows continued patience. Others are thereby quickened to act faith. God's goodness is unspeakable. Christ is the end of the law. Earnest supplication is awakened by a sense of surrounding evil. Strong desire follows that confusion may overwhelm the cruel mockers, while gladness and praise cheer the godly.
1, 2, 3. "I waited patiently for the Lord, and He inclined to me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. And He has put a new song in my mouth, even praise to our God; many shall see it and fear, and shall trust in the Lord."
Patience is a precious grace. O Lord, increase it in us. Like love, it suffers long, and suffers not in vain. The tree shaken by winds, the vine well-pruned, becomes abundant in rich fruits. The Lord arises at the earnest cry, and brings a rescue. Tribulation is as a horrible pit, beset with terribleness, and presenting no escape. It is as the miry clay in which the shackled feet move heavily. How sweet the change when the Lord's rescuing hand brings help! Then a firm pavement courts advance, and forbids all halting and backsliding. Unencumbered climbers nimbly tread the upward path. The path, also, resounds with joy. The song of praise which had been silent again breaks forth; and the Lord's name is duly magnified. The happy result is not confined to the emancipated pilgrim. Many observe not only the believer's fall, but also the evidences of God's goodness towards him. They see that God's blessing truly rests upon His people--awe fills their minds, and they are led to make the Lord their trust.
4. "Blessed is that man who makes the Lord his trust, and respects not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies."
The observers see where true blessedness resides. It is discovered to be far from the haughty, whose confidence is in self, and whose devious wanderings are amid falsehoods and deceits.
5. "Many, O Lord my God, are Your wonderful works which You have done, and Your thoughts which are toward us; they cannot be reckoned up in order to You; if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered."
An obvious reflection cannot be restrained. God's mercies in providence and grace exceed all powers to number, all eloquence to unfold. His thoughts are ever devising wondrous works in our behalf. His mighty hand is ever outstretched to accomplish His gracious plans. Where is a God like our God? Our praises cannot reach His goodness. Let us love and adore Him more and more.
6, 7, 8. "Sacrifice and offering You did not desire; my ears You have opened; burnt-offering and sin-offering You have not required. Then I said, lo, I come; in the volume of the book it is written of Me. I delight to do Your will, O my God; yes, Your law is within my heart."
As illustration that God's gracious thoughts exceed all limits, the work of redeeming love, the everlasting covenant decreed in the councils of heaven, the coming of the Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, His abrogation of all typical shadows, are particularized. Christ, by His Holy Spirit speaks; no doubt obscures this truth. The Apostle to the Hebrews declares it.
In the sacrifices of the Jewish Church there was no finality. They pointed to the Gospel-fulfillment. Every dying victim bleeding on every altar pointed to Jesus hanging on the accursed tree. The blood streaming from each sacrifice foreshadowed the all-cleansing blood of Calvary. But in the shadow there was no genuine atonement. By Christ alone is full atonement made, and everlasting expiation rendered. To accomplish this redeeming work, the Savior must assume our nature. A body must be prepared for Him. As in the law, the willing servant testified by boring of the ear his devotedness to his master's service; so in the volume of eternal decrees, and in the pages of Scripture, Christ's willing work is testified. Redemption was the Father's will. To do this will was Christ's intense delight. Father, we bless You for Your love, the cause of all salvation. Precious Jesus, we bless You for Your love which undertook and finished the glorious work!
9, 10. "I have preached righteousness in the great congregation; lo, I have not refrained my lips, O Lord, You know. I have not hidden Your righteousness within my heart; I have declared Your faithfulness and Your salvation; I have not concealed Your loving-kindness and Your truth from the great congregation."
As Jesus fulfilled the priestly office by the sacrifice of Himself, so He fulfills His work as prophet. By His lips, by the announcement of His servants, taught and aided by His Spirit, the righteousness of God is proclaimed from age to age. No veil conceals the glorious mysteries of salvation. The whole scheme is traced to its grand source. The lovingkindness and truth of God is duly set forth. Happy are those who are privileged to hear from faithful lips the words of life! Happy those who gladly embrace them, and ascribe salvation to the sovereign will and gracious purpose of the divine Jehovah!
11. "Withhold not Your tender mercies from me, O Lord; let Your loving-kindness and Your truth continually preserve me."
There is no sweeter encouragement in prayer than the knowledge that the whole work of redemption has been fully accomplished by our mystical Head; and that all the mercies of the covenant of grace are a purchased possession. The believer may draw near with boldness and claim the guardian care, not only of lovingkindness but also of truth. Believers are in peril at every moment; but at every moment the mercies for which Christ has paid the price of His most precious death are near; and lovingkindness and truth are continually ready to uphold.
12. "For innumerable evils have surrounded me; my iniquities have taken hold of me, so that I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of my head; therefore my heart fails me."
To the eye of faith the blessed Jesus here conspicuously appears. "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way, but the Lord has laid on Him the iniquities of us all." "He was made sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him." Thus He stands before God, by imputation as the greatest sinner ever seen on earth. He denies not His sin-laden position. He accepts all the iniquities of all His people, as truly His own. He acknowledges their grievous weight. They so depress Him that He cannot raise His eyes. In numbers they exceed all power to count. In devout consciousness of the immensity of relief, with what fervor will the believer bless His burden-bearer--His sin sustainer--the Lamb of God, who takes away his sin!
13. "Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me; O Lord, make haste to help me."
Emboldened by the plea that all guilt is transferred to Christ, the believer urgently implores deliverance, and craves immediate aid from his God. May the Lord increase our faith, that we may wrestle in full assurance that all the provisions of the covenant of grace are truly ours!
14, 15. "Let them be ashamed and confounded together who seek after my soul to destroy it; let them be driven backward, and put to shame, who wish me evil. Let them be desolate for a reward of their shame who say to me, Aha, aha!"
This petition is prophetic. It foresees the final overthrow of Antichrist, and all the opposing hosts of darkness. The seed of the woman shall surely bruise the serpent's head. The Gospel has gone forth conquering and to conquer. Voices in heaven shall assuredly proclaim, "The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign forever and ever." His enemies shall lick the dust. The dreadful cry will be heard, "Hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb." Blessed are those who have fled for refuge to the wounded side of Jesus! They are delivered from the wrath to come. When weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth, are the one sound of woe, they will commence the everlasting hymn of praise!
16. "Let all those who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; let those who love Your salvation say continually, The Lord be magnified."
The character of the rejoicing company is distinctly drawn. They seek the Lord; they love His salvation. It is their grand desire to know more of Christ; they forsake all to follow Him; they strive to grow in grace, and in His knowledge; and their whole hearts delight in the salvation which He so dearly purchased, and so freely gives. Their joy is to exalt the Lord, and lift high His praise.
17. "But I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinks upon me; You are my help and my deliverer; make no tarrying, O my God."
Deep consciousness of poverty continually abides. In us, that is in our flesh, there dwells no good thing. Yet we are rich and have all things in the gracious care of our God. His thoughts of love are ever on His people. He is their help and their deliverer, and their cry gives Him no rest, "Make no tarrying, O my God."