By Henry Law
Attention to prayer in a season of great distress is supplicated in the experience of former mercies. Promises are remembered, and grateful service is vowed.
1-2. "Hear my cry, O God; attend to my prayer. From the end of the earth I will cry to You, when my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the Rock that is higher than I."
Prayer, which is our precious privilege, and should be our continuous delight, should ever be from the very depths of the heart, and in the earnest wrestlings of the soul. Can there be coldness, can there be weakness, can there be formality when we draw near to the immediate presence of our God, and pour into His listening ear our every need and our every desire?
Here David is all zeal and all intense effort. He doubles expression to awaken a gracious hearing. Doubtless His need now was very great. But that need is no small blessing which raises us direct from earth and places us before our God. He was an outcast--banished from his home, from his family, and his cherished friends. Strangers and aliens were around him. But on the outstretched wings of faith he soars to a Heavenly Father's house. He desires to be uplifted from his low estate, and his feet set on elevated ground. We have a Rock; and when standing upon it, impregnable is our position and glorious is our prospect. That Rock is Christ. May our prayer be constant that we may be kept grounded and settled on Him, and never moved away from the hope of our Gospel
3-4. "For You have been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in Your tabernacle forever; I will trust in the shelter of Your wings."
Experience here supplies a prevailing argument. The Psalmist could look back on many perils, but the Lord had delivered him out of all. That arm was not shortened; that mercy was warm as ever. It had never failed; it will never fail. Therefore in his exile he had persuasion that he would be restored to the city of his God, and join again in the services which he loved. He knew that the wings which had sheltered him would shelter him to the end, and therefore his trust abided firm.
5-6. "For You, O God, have heard my vows; You have given me the heritage of those who fear Your name. You will prolong the king's life; and his years as many generations."
Those who watch for answers to their vows will have abundant cause for joy. God's Word is pledged in many forms that prayer shall not go forth in vain. All these promises are yes and amen in Christ Jesus; and heaven and earth shall pass away, and all the universe be wrapped in ruin, before fulfillment can be denied. The answers come, and they abound in comfort and encouragement. David realized that through faith he was heir to an inheritance which paled all earthly possessions--the heritage of those who feared God's name. Blessings indeed are linked to this ennobling grace. It belongs to all who have found forgiveness in Christ Jesus. They love the Lord with all intensity of rapture; they love His Word and will; and nothing could induce them willingly to offend. Therefore mercy surrounds them. High as the heaven is above the earth, so great is His mercy towards those who fear Him. O Lord! implant Your fear in our longing hearts! It will enrich us now and ever. This David fully realized. He saw that His days were equivalent with the ages of eternity, and that all those days would be happiness and glory.
7-8. "He shall abide before God forever; O prepare mercy and truth which may preserve him. So will I sing praise to Your name forever, that I may daily perform my vows."
He looked onward to the fullness of joy in the presence of God, and to the pleasures which are at His right hand forever. With this bright prospect, who will not fear His name--who will not devote himself to God's service? But all our vows and all our efforts are utter weakness unless we are helped from on high. In deep knowledge of his own nothingness, he prays that mercy and truth may ever be at hand for his preservation; and then he resolves that suitable praises shall be rendered. Thus prayer and trust lead to everlasting joys.