By Henry Law
Warm expressions show the intense longing of the soul for God. The joy of public ordinances is set forth; confidence is added in the final triumph of the righteous, and final ruin of their foes. May we thus follow after God!
1, 2. "O God, You are my God; early will I seek You; my soul thirsts for You; my flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land, where there is no water; to see Your power and Your glory, so as I have seen You in the sanctuary."
They are seated on the highest throne of joy, and revel in the sweetest sunshine of delight, who know that God is their sure possession. They who hold Him as their own by the hand of faith have greater riches than earth can give, and surer property than this world can amass. And can it be that WE may enjoy this treasure? By the faith of Jesus we have this privilege of glorious possession. We may thus say with David, "O God, You are my God;" and again, "This God is our God forever and ever." We may pour out our hearts in the darkest hours of desertion, "My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?" Those who have thus found the pearl of great price will be always intent to realize their joy. With morning light they will be eager to rejoice in this joy.
David adds, "Early will I seek You." May He who is the first have our first thoughts! David was now an outcast in a dreary wasteland, and far from the Temple with its holy rites. The land was barren, unrefreshed by fertilizing streams of service. David had worshiped in the might of faith, and thus through outward means had drawn near to see Him who is invisible. He ardently longed for return of these blessings; with all his powers he longed to be in near approach to God.
3-4. "Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise You. Thus will I bless You while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name."
Life is a wonderful gift. It links us to eternity. But what is life without the favor of our God? If we receive not grace, we cannot inherit glory. We only tread a dreary passage to a world of woe. God's lovingkindness is the gift of gifts. In thought of this, the Psalmist vows that praise should ever be streaming from his lips, and that in adoring love he would raise adoring hands.
5-7. "My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips, when I remember You upon my bed, and meditate on You in the night-watches. Because You have been my help, therefore in the shadow of Your wings will I rejoice."
Amid external desolations inward joy can be abundant. The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad; the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose. The Lord will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water. He will plant in the wilderness the choicest of the evergreens.
As the body craves the support of food, so too the soul has craving appetites. But they are all satisfied. The manna falls, and gives support and strength. The pilgrim sits down beneath the tree of life. Its laden branches present refreshing produce. The fruit is sweet to the taste. Those who hunger and thirst after God assuredly shall be filled. The richest fruit is ever by their side. When evening shadows prevail, the inward light does not expire. When the body needs repose, the active mind will hold communion with the Lord, and the night-watches be calmed with heavenly meditations. Experience recalls past help. The soul nestles beneath the shadow of God's wings, and is rightly glad.
8-10. "My soul follows hard after You; Your right hand upholds me. But those that seek my soul, to destroy it, shall go into the lower parts of the earth. They shall fall by the sword; they shall be a portion for foxes."
Real desolation is distance from God. This anguish the righteous soul cannot endure. With every energy, with every power, it presses after its beloved object. It seeks uninterrupted fellowship. But, ah! how often is it weak to follow--how often do the tottering limbs need to be upheld! This help is very near. God extends His right hand, and thus the fainting one pursues his course. Divine help enables to draw near to God, and to reach the presence which is heaven begun. While the believer thus strives and prospers, misery overwhelms the enemies who seek his life. God needs not instruments of destruction. They shall be overwhelmed, and perish as those whose carcasses are the food of beasts of prey.
11. "But the king shall rejoice in God; everyone who swears by Him shall glory; but the mouth of those who speak lies shall be stopped."
A glorious prospect ends this hymn. It is unspeakably blessed; it is full of glory. May the prospect encourage us to join ourselves to the Lord, and to vow vows in His most holy name.