By Henry Law
Incessant were the troubles of Israel. But they destroyed them not. A prophetic voice here sounds, foretelling evil's final woe.
1-2. "Many time they have afflicted me from my youth, may Israel now say; Many times they have afflicted me from my youth; yet they have not prevailed against me."
The burning bush is a fit type of God's servants in this evil world. The flames encompassed every branch and leaf, but still the verdure bloomed. The devouring blaze was powerless to reduce to ashes. Thus the Church is in constant peril, but still it lives beautiful in freshness and in unfading vigor. Each page of its history recites fearful attacks, but still the inward life survives and no decay appears. The story of each individual believer is similarly the record of trials, troubles, persecutions, and distresses. But still the raging billows engulf not the little bark. It maintains its course. It finally reaches the peaceful haven.
3. "The plowers plowed upon my back; they made long their furrows."
This image shows the cruel malice of relentless foes. As the plough urged by much strength deeply penetrates the ground, so scourges and vindictive blows have mangled suffering saints. We here especially see the suffering Jesus. Hear His piteous cry; "I gave My back to the smiters and My cheeks to those who plucked off the hair." See His afflicted form; "His visage was so marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men." While we behold, let adoration swell more warmly, for by His stripes we are healed.
4. "The Lord is righteous; He has cut asunder the cords of the wicked."
Vain are the cruelties of the wicked. Their shackles cannot detain. The Lord wills deliverance. The chains are broken, and His people are free. So Jesus was bound in vain. He rises conqueror over Satan and the grave. He mounts victorious to the courts of heaven.
5-8. "Let them all be confounded and turned back who hate Zion. Let them be as the grass upon the housetops, which withers afore it grows up. With which the mower fills not his hand, nor he that binds sheaves his bosom. Neither do those who go by say, The blessing of the Lord be upon you; we bless you in the name of the Lord."
A graphic image shows the worthless and ignominious state of the wicked. Grass on the dry house-top has no root. It appears only to wither. No mower gathers it. No reaper adds it to his sheaves. It yields no good. So the wicked are seen only to be scorned. Soon they pass away. No benefit results from them. No blessing cheers them. Shall we have portion with them? Forbid it, gracious Lord! We receive You as all our hope and our salvation.