By Henry Law
This hymn commences with a general petition, and then expands into a large field of supplication.
1. "Hear my prayer, O Lord; give ear to my supplications; in Your faithfulness answer me, and in Your righteousness."
David was pre-eminently a man of prayer. His constant abode was at the mercy-seat. He invokes the aid of those attributes of God which shine most brightly in His crown. Faith brings God and all that God is to render help.
2. "And enter not into judgment with Your servant; for in Your sight shall no man living be justified."
The thought of appearing before the tribunal of the law is full of terrors. The law exacts undeviating obedience to the rule of perfect love of God and perfect love to man. A curse is denounced on every transgression. The law allows not the plea of penitence or reformation. It listens not to cries for pardon. Its severe code admits no mitigation.
Let us flee to the covenant of grace. There free favor reigns. A Surety appears who pays in His own blood the penalty of our every sin, and robes us in His perfect obedience. Oh! precious Gospel, worthy of the God who gives! Worthy of all men to be received in faith and adoration! May we clasp the glad tidings to our heart of hearts!
3-4. "For the enemy has persecuted my soul; He has smitten my life down to the ground; He has made me to dwell in darkness, as those that have been long dead. Therefore is my spirit overwhelmed within me; my heart within me is desolate."
The cruelty of persecutors cannot soften. David endured distress and sorrow in every shape. He keenly felt the misery, and his heart often mourned in lonely destitution. Jesus trod this path. His followers should advance without a repining sigh.
5. "I remember the days of old; I meditate on all Your works; I muse on the work of Your hands."
There is sweet consolation in pious meditation. Let this be our chosen pleasure-ground. Let all God's mercies pass before our adoring eyes. Especially let His wondrous exploits in accomplishing salvation for us in the redeeming sufferings of Christ fix our happy gaze.
6-7. "I stretch forth my hands to You; my soul thirsts after You, as a thirsty land. Hear me speedily, O Lord; my spirit fails; hide not Your face from me, lest I be like unto those who go down into the pit."
The dry clods gaping for refreshing showers are a picture of the soul athirst for God. It is happy to experience this keen craving, and to spread it before the mercy-seat.
8-9. "Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning; for in You do I trust; cause me to know the way in which I should walk; for I lift up my soul to You. Deliver me, O Lord, from my enemies; I flee to You to hide me."
How precious when morning dawns and perceptive powers are restored to hear the whispers of God's love. Such joy fills the cup of all who trust in Him. How sweet is the assurance that if in faith and prayer we commit our way to the Lord, He will safely guide us and preserve us from all the cruelty and plots of designing men!
10-12. "Teach me to do Your will; for You are my God; Your Spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness. Quicken me, O Lord, for Your name's sake; for Your righteousness' sake bring my soul out of trouble. And of Your mercy cut off my enemies, and destroy all those who afflict my soul; for I am Your servant."
Here are important prayers. Let us adopt them as heaven-taught models. Let us faithfully present them. He who gave them will recognize His own voice. Gracious answers will abound.