By Henry Law
God is supplicated to maintain His cause and not to allow His enemies to triumph. Afflictions are named as frequent benefits, and the afflicted are assured of comfort. May this hymn teach and console!
1-2. "O Lord God, to whom vengeance belongs; O God, to whom vengeance belongs, show Yourself. Lift Yourself up, Judge of the earth; render a reward to the proud."
Faith knows that it may boldly call upon God to manifest His rebuking powers. It desires that evil may cease. It knows that if God should arise, this issue would quickly be accomplished, and the proud lie low in shame.
3-7. "Lord, how long shall the wicked, how long shall the wicked triumph? How long shall they utter and speak hard things? and all the workers of iniquity boast themselves? They break in pieces Your people, O Lord, and afflict your heritage; They slay the widow and the stranger, and murder the fatherless. Yet they say, the Lord shall not see, neither shall the God of Jacob regard it."
Cries for God's interference are redoubled. The cruelty of the ungodly seems to prevail too long. Various acts of their tyranny and oppression are enumerated. The godly know that help only can come from heaven. Thus supplications are multiplied.
8-10. "Understand, you brutish among the people; and you fools, when will you be wise? He who planted the ear, shall He not hear? He who formed the eye, shall He not see? He who chastises the heathen, shall not He correct? He who teaches man knowledge, shall not He know?"
Remonstrance is addressed to the ungodly. They are rebuked for their presumption. They are reminded of the power and omniscience of God. He who endows man with organs of intelligence, shall He not be intelligent? Shall He from whom all knowledge comes, lack knowledge? Omniscience is His attribute. No evil can escape detection. The hand of punishment will work vengeance.
11-13. "The Lord knows the thoughts of man, that they are vanity. Blessed is the man whom You chasten, O Lord, and teach him out of Your law; that You may give him rest from the days of adversity, until the pit is dug for the wicked."
Vain man may plot iniquity. But he sows the wind to reap the whirlwind. Afflictions may thus be heaped on the righteous; but they will prove to be real mercies. They often are blessings in disguise. They will drive to the study of God's Word. Thus the blessed man will find delight and profit in the contemplations of God's law. And yet a little while he will see that the ungodly have fought against themselves.
14-16. "For the Lord will not cast off His people, neither will He forsake His inheritance; but judgment shall return unto righteousness; and all the upright in heart shall follow it. Who will rise up for me against the evil-doers? or who will stand up for me against the workers of iniquity?"
Forever is the grand truth established in heaven, I will never leave you nor forsake you. The Lord hates putting away. With Him is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. His sheep shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of His hand. In all our trials let us trust and not be afraid.
17-23. "Unless the Lord had been my help, my soul had almost dwelt in silence. When I said, My foot slips; Your mercy, O Lord, held me up. In the multitude of my thoughts within me Your comforts delight my soul. Shall the throne of iniquity have fellowship with You, which frames mischief by a law? They gather themselves together against the soul of the righteous, and condemn the innocent blood. But the Lord is my defense; and my God is the rock of my refuge. And He shall bring upon them their own iniquity, and shall cut them off in their own wickedness; yes, the Lord our God shall cut them off."
If God could desert, the godly must perish. But this can never be, and therefore they live and prosper. And in all the misgivings of their troubled minds God's comforts are their support. There is an dreadful contrast. God will arise, and uttermost perdition will overwhelm all wickedness.