By Henry Law
This hymn commences with a general prayer for acceptance. It then branches into diverse petitions. Thus it stands a tree of solid stem bearing variety of fruit.
1-2. "Lord, I cry to You; make haste to me; give ear to my voice, when I cry to You. Let my prayer be set forth before You as incense, and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice."
Free access to the throne of grace is an inestimable privilege. No words can duly show the condescension of our God in permitting us to wrestle with Him, and not relax our grasp until responses come. May we delight in roaming in this field! When we draw near in the name of Jesus, heaven is fragrant with the perfume of His merits. Such prayer gains audience. It claims acceptance as the appointed evening service.
3. "Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips."
That the words of our mouth may be always acceptable in His sight, let us pray that the Spirit may ever guard its portals. No unadvised word will thus escape our lips, or come unwelcome to the bar of heaven.
4. "Incline not my heart to any evil thing, to practice wicked works with men that work iniquity; and let me not eat of their dainties."
There is contagion in surrounding evil. The atmosphere is pestilential. Hence let us pray that our hearts may not be beguiled into evil compliance, or fascinated by the miscalled pleasures of sin. False are the allurements. To be thus captivated is to sip poison's cup.
5. "Let the righteous smite me, it shall be a kindness; and let him reprove me, it shall be an excellent oil, which shall not break my head; for yet my prayer also shall be in their calamities."
Life is happy when we are surrounded with godly friends. Their precious counsels guide from evil. Their pious admonitions are fragrant as balmy oil. They never inflict a rankling wound. We may claim such kindness when it is our resolve to pray for mercies on our adversaries. Let us know no other revenge.
6. "When their judges are overthrown in stony places, they shall hear my words; for they are sweet."
Calamities to the wicked are portended under a graphic image. This shall be the season of tender admonition from the righteous, and gentle words should strive to win from evil.
7-10. "Our bones are scattered at the grave's mouth, as when one cuts and cleaves wood upon the earth. But my eyes are unto You, O God the Lord; in You is my trust; leave not my soul destitute. Keep me from the snares which they have laid for me, and the traps of the workers of iniquity. Let the wicked fall into their own nets, while I escape."
Heartless is the persecutor's rage. They would hew to pieces the followers of the Lord with the indifference of a woodman scattering chips by his ax. But the saints in their utmost distress look to their God, and so obtain comfort and deliverance. Especially they seek guidance to keep them safe from the snares so craftily laid in their path. It is just that those who plot such mischief should themselves be entrapped. With such pleas to present at the mercy-seat, with God so ready to support, let us fear no evil. Let us fly with eager wings to spread our need before our heavenly Lord.