By Henry Law
A terrible train of miseries awaits the enemies of our heavenly King. As each sorrow passes in review may we draw nearer to our blessed Lord, in whom alone there is shelter and peace.
1-5. "Hold not Your peace, O God of my praise; for the mouth of the wicked, and the mouth of the deceitful, are opened against me; they have spoken against me with a lying tongue. They compassed me about also with words of hatred; and fought against me without a cause. For my love they are my adversaries; but I give myself to prayer. And they have rewarded me evil for good, and hatred for my love."
We cannot doubt that the sufferings of Jesus are conspicuous in this psalm. The Holy Spirit distinctly exhibits Judas as the antitype of this dreadful description. We should regard it, moreover, as prophetic of the doom of all who raise the voice, and contrive plots against the gracious Savior. He appeals to His heavenly Father. He calls Him to observe the iniquity which encompassed Him. He complained of the cruel requital which His tender love experienced. He meekly adds, that while hatred was their life, His life was uninterrupted prayer. May every trial drive us to the mercy-seat!
6-20. "Set a wicked man over him; and let Satan stand at his right hand. When he shall be judged, let him be condemned; and let his prayer become sin. Let his days be few; and let another take his office. Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow. Let his children be continually vagabonds, and beg; let them seek their bread also out of their desolate places. Let the extortioner catch all that he has; and let the strangers spoil his labor. Let there be none to extend mercy to him; neither let there be any to favor his fatherless children. Let his posterity be cut off; and in the generation following let their name be blotted out. Let the iniquity of his fathers be remembered with the Lord; and let not the sin of his mother be blotted out. Let them be before the Lord continually, that He may cut off the memory of them from the earth. Because he remembered not to show mercy, but persecuted the poor and needy man, that he might even slay the broken in heart. As he loved cursing, so let it come to him; as he delighted not in blessing, so let it be far from him. As he clothed himself with cursing like as with his garment, so let it come into his affections like water, and like oil into his bones. Let it be to him as the garment which covers him, and for a belt by which he is girded continually. Let this be the reward of my adversaries from the Lord, and of those who speak evil against my soul."
It is fearful to contemplate these enumerated miseries! They terribly exhibit what sin deserves, and what just vengeance will inflict. Can we bless God enough if we have been rescued from such dreadful doom, and if the heart of enmity has been taken from us, and the heart of love and praise bestowed? Such mercy is the gift of free and sovereign grace. Let us adore and praise.
21-29. "But do for me, O God the Lord, for Your name's sake; because Your mercy is good, deliver me. For I am poor and needy, and my heart is wounded within me. I am gone like the shadow when it declines; I am tossed up and down as the locust. My knees are weak through fasting; and my flesh fails of fatness. I became also a reproach to them; when they looked upon me they shook their heads. Help me, O Lord my God; O save me according to Your mercy; that they may know that this is Your hand; that You, Lord, have done it. Let them curse, but bless You; when they arise, let them be ashamed; but let Your servant rejoice. Let my adversaries be clothed with shame; and let them cover themselves with their own confusion, as with a mantle."
The believer is deeply conscious of his weakness, misery, and need. All His strength resides in God. Unto God, therefore, incessant prayer should speed. Saving grace puts forth its energy, and shows violent agony at the mercy-seat.
30-31. "I will greatly praise the Lord with my mouth; yes, I will praise Him among the multitude. For He shall stand at the right hand of the poor, to save him from those that condemn his soul."
It is sweet relief to close this appalling psalm with the melody of thanksgiving. The presence of God is proclaimed as the heritage of His children. He ever stands at their right hand to deliver them from every foe. Blessed are the children of the blessed and ever blessing God.