By Henry Law
Respite from trouble is not of long duration. The tide flows back with unabated strength. Earnest prayer is the ready refuge; the confusion of foes is confidently expected, and faith looks with undimmed eye for sure deliverance.
1. "Make haste, O God, to deliver me; make haste to help me, O Lord."
When perils are urgent, destruction seems at hand. If they are not instantly removed all strength must fail. Unless the storm abates the little bark must soon be a wreck. Unless the devouring wolves are stayed the little lamb cannot escape. Unless returning light should dawn the footsteps will stumble in the darksome course. This sense of imminent destruction urges the Psalmist to be importunate in prayer. Boldness in supplication grows very strong. He prays the Lord to awaken from appearance of indifference--instantly to put forth His strength--without delay to hasten to his rescue. Blessed be God, such importunity is not forbidden--no, rather, it is earnestly encouraged.
2-3. "Let those be ashamed and confounded who seek after my soul; let them be turned backward, and put to confusion, who desire my hurt. Let them be turned back for a reward of their shame that say, Aha, aha!"
The Psalmist clearly saw the wicked malice of his foes. Nothing would satisfy them but to stain their hands in his blood--to take away his life was their one object. He as clearly saw how God could defeat their schemes and lay them low in disappointment and in shame. He spreads this out before his God, "Let them be ashamed and confounded." They were rushing forward in all the fury of malignity, reckoning that success would soon be theirs. The Psalmist's hope was bright, and he appealed to God to turn them backward, and overwhelm them in confusion. He heard their mocking and derision. Their insulting cries were anguish to his heart; but he felt that their noisome sneers and wicked merriment would soon be exchanged for bitterness of woe.
The deliverance of the godly is just as sure as the deliverance of our great Head from the cruel taunts of those who mocked Him in His extremest anguish. They shall shine brightly as the sun in his strength, while the wicked shall cry in vain for rocks and mountains to conceal them.
4. "Let all those who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; and let those who love Your salvation say continually, Let God be magnified."
In the extremity of anguish the saint will look beyond his own sad case. The Psalmist prays not for his own deliverance only, but for the joy and gladness of the whole family of faith. This prayer should often swell, also, in our hearts. It will not go forth in vain, for peace and happiness are secured for us in the covenant of grace.
The desire is added, that one note should be full on the lips of those who delight to realize salvation's blessedness. That note should be, Let God be magnified! How can He be praised enough, who has wrought such wonders for us, and who never ceases to bless us and to do us good?
5. "But I am poor and needy; make haste unto me, O God; you are my help and my deliverer; O Lord, make no tarrying."
The sense of need returns, and again the prayer is urged, that God would speedily put forth His mighty arm to save. Confidence is added that God would arise when thus importuned; and the Psalmist avows that he has no other hope of rescue. "You are my help and my deliverer." Surely the God of our salvation will show Himself to be a God ready to extend all needful aid.