Exposition - Explanatory Notes and Quaint Sayings
Hints to the Village Preacher - Works Upon This Psalm
TITLE. A Psalm of David. It is so much like other
Davidic psalms that we accept the title without a moment's hesitation. David's
history illustrates it, and his spirit breathes in it. Why it has been set down
as one of the seven Penitential Psalms we can hardly tell; for it is rather a
vindication of his own integrity, and an indignant prayer against his
slanderers, than a confession of fault. It is true the second verse proves that
he never dreamed of justifying himself before the Lord; but even in it there is
scarcely the brokenness of penitence. It seems to us rather martial than
penitential, rather a supplication for deliverance from trouble than a weeping
acknowledgment of transgression. We suppose that seven penitentials were needed
by ecclesiastical rabbis, and therefore this was impressed into the service. In
truth, it is a mingled strain, a box of ointment composed of divers ingredients,
sweet and bitter, pungent and precious. It is the outcry of an overwhelmed
spirit, unable to abide in the highest state of spiritual prayer, again and
again descending to bewail its deep temporal distress; yet evermore struggling
to rise to the best things. The singer moans at intervals; the petitioner for
mercy cannot withhold his cries for vindication. His hands are outstretched to
heaven, but at his girdle hangs a sharp sword, which rattles in its scabbard as
he closes his psalm.
DIVISION. This psalm is divided by the Selah. We prefer to
follow the natural cleavage, and therefore have made no other dissection of it.
May the Holy Spirit lead us into its inner meaning.
Verse 1. Hear my prayer, O Lord, give ear to my
supplications. In the preceding psalm he began by declaring that he had
cried unto the Lord; here he begs to be favourably regarded by Jehovah the
living God, whose memorial is that he heareth prayer. He knew that Jehovah did
hear prayer, and therefore he entreated him to hear his supplication, however
feeble and broken it might be. In two forms he implores the one blessing of
gracious audience: --"hear" and "give ear." Gracious men are so eager to be heard
in prayer that they double their entreaties for that boon. The Psalmist desires
to be heard and to be considered; hence he cries, "hear", and then "give ear."
Our case is difficult, and we plead for special attention. Here it is probable
that David wished his suit against his adversaries to be heard by the righteous
Judge; confident that if he had a hearing in the matter whereof he was
slanderously accused, he would be triumphantly acquitted. Yet while somewhat
inclined thus to lay his case before the Court of King's Bench, he prefers
rather to turn it all into a petition, and present it before the Court of
Requests, hence he cries rather "hear my prayer" than "hear my suit." Indeed
David is specially earnest that he himself, and the whole of his life, may not
become the subject of trial, for in that event he could not hope for acquittal.
Observe that he offered so much pleading that his life became one continual
prayer;but that petitioning was so varied in form that it broke out in
many supplications. In thy faithfulness answer me, and in thy righteousness.
Saints desire to be answered as well as heard: they long to find the Lord
faithful to his promise and righteous in defending the cause of justice. It is a
happy thing when we dare appeal even to righteousness for our deliverance; and
this we can do upon gospel principles, for "if we confess our sins he is
faithful and just to forgive us our sins." Even the sterner attributes of God
are upon the side of the man who humbly trusts, and turns his trust into prayer.
It is a sign of our safety when our interests and those of righteousness are
blended. With God's faithfulness and righteousness upon our side we are guarded
on the right hand and on the left. These are active attributes, and fully equal
to the answering of any prayer which it would be light to answer. Requests which
do not appeal to either of these attributes it would not be for the glory of God
to hear, for they must contain desires for things not promised, and unrighteous.
Verse 2. And enter not into judgment with thy servant. He
had entreated for audience at the mercy seat, but he has no wish to appear
before the judgment seat. Though clear before men, he could not claim innocence
before God. Even though he knew himself to be the Lord's servant, yet he did not
claim perfection, or plead merit; for even as a servant he was unprofitable. If
such be the humble cry of a servant, what ought to be the pleading of a sinner?
For in thy sight shall no man living be justified. None can stand
before God upon the footing of the law. God's sight is piercing and
discriminating; the slightest flaw is seen and judged; and therefore pretence
and profession cannot avail where that glance reads all the secrets of the soul.
In this verse David told out the doctrine of universal condemnation by the law
long before Paul had taken his pen to write the same truth. To this day it
stands true even to the same extent as in David's day: no man living even at
this moment may dare to present himself for trial before the throne of the Great
King on the footing of the law. This foolish age has produced specimens of n
pride so rank that men have dared to claim perfection in the flesh; but these
vain glorious boasters are no exception to the rule here laid down: they are but
men, and poor specimens of men. When their lives are examined they are
frequently found to be more faulty than the humble penitents before whom they
vaunt their superiority.
Verse 3. For the enemy hath persecuted my soul. He has
followed me up with malicious perseverance, and has worried me as often as I
have been within his reach. The attack was upon the soul or life of the
Psalmist: our adversaries mean us the worst possible evil, their attacks are no
child's play, they hunt for the precious life. He hath smitten my life
down to the ground. The existence of David was made bitter by the cruelty of
his enemy; he was as one who was hurled down and made to lie upon the ground,
where he could be trampled on by his assailant. Slander has a very depressing
effect upon the spirits; it is a blow which overthrows the mind as though it
were knocked clown with the fist. He hath made me to dwell in
darkness, as those that have been long dead. The enemy was not content
with felling his life to the ground--he would lay him lower still, even in the
grave; and lower than that, if possible, for the enemy would shut up the saint
in the darkness of hell if he could. David was driven by Saul's animosity to
haunt caverns and holes, like an unquiet ghost; he wandered out by night, and
lay hid by day like an uneasy spirit which had long been denied the repose of
the grave. Good men began to forget him, as though he had been long dead; and
bad men made ridicule of his rueful visage as though it belonged not to a living
man, but was dark with the shadow of the sepulchre. Poor David! He was qualified
to bless the house of the living, but he was driven to consort with the dead!
Such may be our case, and yet we may be very dear to the Lord. One thing is
certain, the Lord who permits us to dwell in darkness among the dead, will
surely bring us into light, and cause us to dwell with those who enjoy life
Verse 4. Therefore is my spirit overwhelmed within me; my
heart within me is desolate. David was no stoic: he felt his
banishment, and smarted under the cruel assaults which were made upon his
character. He felt perplexed and overturned, lonely and afflicted. He was a man
of thought and feeling, and suffered both in spirit and in heart from the
undeserved and unprovoked hostility of his persecutors. Moreover, he laboured
under the sense of fearful loneliness; he was for a while forsaken of his God,
and his soul was exceeding heavy, even unto death. Such words our Lord Jesus
might have used: in this the Head is like the members, and the members are as
Verse 5. I remember the days of old. When we see nothing new
which can cheer us, let us think upon old things. We once had merry days, days
of deliverance, and joy and thanksgiving; why not again? Jehovah rescued his
people in the ages which lie back, centuries ago; wily should he not do the like
again? We ourselves have a rich past to look back upon; we have sunny memories,
sacred memories, satisfactory memories, and these are as flowers for the bees of
faith to visit, from whence they may make honey for present use. I meditate
on all thy works. When my own works reproach me, thy works refresh
me. If at the first view the deeds of the Lord do not encourage us, let us think
them over again, ruminating and considering the histories of divine providence.
We ought to take a wide and large view of all God's works; for as a whole
they work together for good, and in each part they are worthy of reverent study.
I muse on the work of thy hands. This he had done in former days,
even in his most trying hours. Creation had been the book in which he read of
the wisdom and goodness of the Lord. He repeats his perusal of the page of
nature, and counts it a balm for his wounds, a cordial for his cares, to see
what the Lord has made by his skilful hands. When the work of our own hand
grieves us, let us look to the work of God's hands. Memory, meditation, and
musing are here set together as the three graces, ministering grace to a mind
depressed and likely to be diseased. As David with his harp played away the evil
spirit from Saul, so does he hero chase away gloom from his own soul by holy
communion with God.
Verse 6. I stretch forth my hands unto thee. He was eager
for his God. His thoughts of God kindled in him burning desires, and these led
to energetic expressions of his inward longings. As a prisoner whose feet are
bound extends his hands in supplication when there is hope of liberty, so does
David. My soul thirsteth after thee, as a thirsty land. As the
soil cracks, and yawns, and thus opens its mouth in dumb pleadings, so did the
Psalmist's soul break with longings. No heavenly shower had refreshed him from
the sanctuary: banished from the means of grace, his soul felt parched and dry,
and he cried out, "My soul to thee"; nothing would content him but the presence
of his God. Not alone did he extend his hands, but his heart was stretched out
towards the Lord. He was athirst for the Lord. If he could but feel the presence
of his God he would no longer be overwhelmed or dwell in darkness; nay,
everything would turn to peace and joy. Selah. It was time to pause, for the supplication had risen
to agony point. Both harp strings and heart strings were strained, and needed a
little rest to get them right again for the second half of the song.
Verse 7. Hear me speedily, O LORD: my spirit faileth. If
long delayed, the deliverance would come too late. The afflicted suppliant
faints, and is ready to die. His life is ebbing out; each moment is of
importance; it will soon be all over with him. No argument for speed can be more
powerful than this. Who will not run to help a suppliant when his life is in
jeopardy? Mercy has wings to its heels when misery is in extremity. God will not
fail when our spirit fails, but the rather he will hasten his course and come to
us on the wings of the wind. Hide not thy face from me, lest I be like unto
them that go down into the pit. Communion with God is so dear to a
true heart that the withdrawal of it makes the man feel as though he were ready
to die and perish utterly. God's withdrawals reduce the heart to despair, and
take away all strength from the mind. Moreover, his absence enables adversaries
to work their will without restraint; and thus, in a second way, the persecuted
one is like to perish. If we have God's countenance we live, but if he turns his
back upon us we die. When the Lord looks with favour upon our efforts we
prosper, but if he refuses to countenance them we labour in vain.
Verse 8. Cause me to hear thy loving kindness in the morning;
for in thee do I trust. Lord, my sorrow makes me deaf, --cause me to
hear: there is but one voice that can cheer me--cause me to hear thy
lovingkindness; that music I would fain enjoy at once--cause me to hear it in the
morning, at the first dawning hour. A sense of divine love is to the soul both
dawn and dew; the end of the night of weeping, the beginning of the morning of
joy. Only God can take away from our weary ears the din of our care, and charm
them with the sweet notes of his love. Our plea with the Lord is our faith: if
we are relying upon him, he cannot disappoint us: "in thee do I trust" is a
sound and solid argument with God. He who made the ear will cause us to hear: he
who is love itself will have the kindness to bring his lovingkindness before our
minds. Cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up
my soul unto thee. The Great First Cause must cause us to hear and to know.
Spiritual senses are dependent upon God, and heavenly knowledge comes from him
alone. To know the way we ought to take is exceedingly needful, for how can we
be exact in obedience to a law with which we are not acquainted? or how can
there be an ignorant holiness? If we know not the way, how shall we keep in it?
If we know not wherein we should walk, how shall we be likely to follow the
right path?, The Psalmist lifts up his soul: faith is good at a dead lift: the
soul that trusts will rise. We will not allow our hope to sink, but we will
strive to get up and rise out of our daily griefs. This is wise. When David was
in any difficulty as to his way he lifted his soul towards God himself, and then
he knew that he could not go very far wrong. If the soul will not rise of itself
we must lift it, lift it up unto God. This is good argument in prayer: surely
the God to whom we endeavour to lift up our soul will condescend to show us what
he would have us to do. Let us attend to David's example, and when our heart is
low, let us heartily endeavour to lift it up, not so much to comfort as to the
Verse 9. Deliver me, O LORD, from mine enemies. Many foes
beset us, we cannot overcome them, we cannot even escape from them; but Jehovah
can and will rescue us if we pray to him. The weapon of all prayer will stand us
in better stead than sword and shield. I flee unto thee to hide
me. This was a good result from his persecutions. That which makes us flee
to our God may be an ill wind, but it blows us good. There is no cowardice in
such flight, but much holy courage. God can hide us out of reach of harm, and
even out of sight Of it. He is our hiding place; Jesus has made himself the
refuge of his people: the sooner, and the more entirely we flee to him the
better for us. Beneath the crimson canopy of our Lord's atonement believers are
completely hidden; let us abide there and be at rest. In the seventh verse our
poet cried, "Hide not thy face", and here he prays, "Hide me." Note also how
often he uses the words "unto thee"; he is after his God; lie must travel in
that direction by some means, even though he may seem to be beating a retreat;
his whole being longs to be near the Lord. Is it possible that such thirsting
for God will be left unsupplied? Never, while the Lord is love.
Verse 12. And of thy mercy cut off mine enemies, and destroy
all them that afflict my soul. He believes that it will be so, and
thus prophesies the event; for the words may be read as a declaration, and it is
better so to understand them. We could not pray just so with our
Christian light; but under Old Testament arrangements the spirit of it was
congruous to the law. It is a petition which justice sanctions, but the spirit
of love is not at home in presenting it. We, as Christians, turn the
petition to spiritual use only. Yet David was of so generous a mind, and dealt
so tenderly with Saul, that he could hardly have meant all that his words are
made in our version to say. For I am lay servant; and therefore I hope
that my Master will protect me in his service, and grant me victory while I
fight his battles. It is a warrior's prayer, and smells of the dust and smoke of
battle. It was heard, and therefore it was not asking amiss. Still there is a
more excellent way.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Whole Psalm. This psalm of David most aptly answereth to
that psalm which precedes it; for in Ps 142:1-7 he showeth that he prayed,
repeating it twice (Ps 143:1); and here he twice saith, "Hear my prayer, give
ear to my supplication." In Ps 142:3 he saith, "When my spirit was overwhelmed
within me"; here (Ps 143:4), "My spirit is overwhelmed within me." --John
Whole Psalm. The promise referred to throughout this octave
of Psalms 138-145. is that recorded in 2Sa 7:12, etc., "When thy days be
fulfilled...I will set up thy seed after thee...and I will establish his
kingdom...If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him ...But my mercy shall not
depart away from him; and thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for
ever." What fixes the connection of the psalm with the history is the frequent
application of the term "Thy (Jehovah's) servant", by David to
himself in the latter, as in Ps 143:2 144:12 of the former. Jehovah had first
used it of David, "Tell to my servant, to David"; David therefore fastens on it
as his plea again and again (2Sa 7:5,9-21,25-29). David's plea, "For I am thy
servant", is no boast of his service, but a magnifying of God's electing grace:
"Who am I, O Lord God? and what is my house, that thou hast brought me
hitherto?" 2Sa 7:18. The cry (Ps 143:6) "My soul thirsteth after thee as a
thirsty land", answers to David's own words in Ps 63:1, when he was
fleeing from Absalom, and still in the wilderness of Judah (title, Ps. 63.) on
the near side of Jordan: "My soul thirsteth for thee." The history here again is
an undesigned agreement with the psalm (2Sa 16:2,14): "The King, and all the
people with him, came weary, and refreshed themselves" with Ziba's
fruits; also 2Sa 17:2. The Hebrew for "thirsty" in Psalm 143 is the same as for
"weary" in Ps 63:1, and in 2Sa 16:14, and means "panting", "weary", "thirsting."
--Andrew Robert Fausset, in "Studies in the 150. Psalms", 1876.
Whole Psalm. At the making of this psalm (as it plainly
appeareth) David was cast into some desperate danger; whether by Saul when he
was forced to flee into the cave, as in the former psalm, or by Absalom his son,
or by any other, it is uncertain. Howsoever, in this he complains grievously to
God of the malice of his enemies, and desireth God to hear his prayers, he
acknowledgeth that he suffereth those things by God's just judgment, most humbly
craving mercy for his sins; desiring not only to be restored, but also to be
governed by God's Spirit, that he may dedicate and consecrate the rest of his
life to God's service. This worthy psalm, then, containeth these three things.
First, a confession of his sins. Secondly, a lamentation over his injuries.
Thirdly, a supplication for temporal deliverance and spiritual graces.
Whole Psalm. It is not without some use to observe in this
psalm how the, heart of its devout composer turned alternately from spiritual to
temporal, and again from temporal to spiritual subjects. He first complains of
his sins, and begs for mercy;then of his enemies, and prays
for deliverance. Then he laments his darkness, and pleads for the light
of God's countenance, and for wisdom, and understanding. After this, the thought
of his enemies rushes in again upon his soul, and he flees to God for
protection. Lastly, he again puts up his prayer for wisdom and holiness: "Teach
me to do thy will; for thou art my God: spirit is good; lead me into the land of
uprightness." This is a peculiarly important petition: before he had prayed to
know the way in which he should walk, he now prays that he may walk in it.
--John Fawcett, 1769-1851.
Whole Psalm. This is appointed by the Church for Ash
Wednesday, and is the seventh and last of the Penitential Psalms. These seven
Penitential Psalms also sometimes called "the Special Psalms", and have long
been used in Church as the completest and most spiritual acts of repentance
which she possesses. They have sometimes been considered as directed against the
seven deadly sins; as, for instance, Ps 6:1-10, against Wrath; Ps 32:1-11,
against Pride Ps 38:1-22, against Gluttony; Ps 51:1-19, against Impurity; Ps
102:1-28, against Covetousness; Ps 130:1-8, against Envy; and the present Psalm
against Indifference, Carelessness. --J. W. Burgon.
Verse 1. Hear my prayer, O LORD, etc. Alas, O Lord, if thou
hear not prayer, I were as good not pray at all; and if thou hear it, and give
not car it, it were as good thou didst not hear it at all. O, therefore,
"hear my O God, and give ear to my supplications"; that neither my
praying may be lost, want of thy hearing it, nor thy hearing it be lost for want
of thy attending it. When I only make a prayer to God, it seems enough that he
hear it; but make a supplication, it requires that he give ear unto it: for
seeing a supplication hath a greater intention in the setting out, it cannot
without a greater, attention be entertained. But what niceness of words is this? as though it were not all
one "to hear" and "to give ear"? or as though there were any
difference between a prayer a supplication? Is it not perhaps so indeed? for
hearing sometimes may be passive, where giving ear is always active; and seeing
Christ, we doubt not, heard the woman of Canaan's first cry, while it was a
prayer; but gave no ear till her second cry, when it was grown to a
supplication. However it be, as hearing, O God, without giving ear would be to
no purpose, so thy giving without giving answer would do me no good; O,
therefore, "answer me, " God: for if thou answer not my prayer, how canst
thou answer my expectations. My prayer is but the seed; it is thy answer that
makes the harvest. If thou shouldest not answer me at all, I could not hope for
any harvest at all; thou shouldest answer me, and not "in thy
righteousness", that would be a indeed, but nothing but of blasted corn.
Therefore, answer me, O God, but" thy righteousness"; for thy righteousness
never made an unpleasing answer was an answer in thy righteousness which thou
madest to Noah: "My shall not always strive with man; for the imagination of
man's heart is evil his infancy." It was an answer in thy righteousness which
thou madest to Abraham: "Fear not; I will be thy shield, and thy exceeding great
reward." It was an answer in thy righteousness which thou madest to the thief
upon the cross: "This day thou shalt be with me in paradise." Oh, then, answer
me in thy righteousness, O God, and then the harvest of my hope will be as the
seven years of plenty foretold by Joseph. --Sir Richard Baker.
Verse 1.. Hear my prayer. ...give ear to my supplications...
answer me. He doth here three times repeat his camest desire to be heard, as in
fifth psalm four times he doubles and ingeminateth this same suit to be heard.
... When he doubles his request of hearing, he would have God hear with both his
ears, that is, most attentively and readily: so instant is a mind that he
desireth the prayer he putteth up to be remembered, as was said the angel to the
centurion: "Thy prayer and almsdeeds are come up God": Ac 10:4. --Archibald
Verse 1. In thy faithfulness answer me, and in thy
righteousness. It was thy righteousness that thou didst make the promise,
but it is thy faithfulness that thou wilt keep thy promise: and seeing I am
certain of thy making it, how can I be doubtful of thy keeping it? If thou
shouldest not answer me in thy righteousness, yet thou shouldest be righteous
still; but if thou shouldest not answer me in thy faithfulness, thou shouldest
not be faithful still. --Sir Richard Baker.
Verse 1. Answer me in thy righteousness. Forgiveness is not
inconsistent with truth or righteousness, and the pardon which in mercy God
bestows upon the sinner is bestowed in justice to the well beloved Son who
accepted and discharged the sinner's obligations. This is an infinitely precious
truth, and the hearts of thousands in every age have been sustained and
gladdened by it. A good old Christian woman in humble life so fully realized
this, that when a revered servant of God asked her, as she lay on her dying
pillow, the ground of her hope for eternity, she replied, with great composure,
"I rely on the justice of God"; adding, however, when the reply excited
surprise, "justice, not to me, but to my Substitute, in whom I
trust." --Robert Macdonald, in "From Day to Day; or, Helpful Words
for Christian Life," 1879.
Verse 2. Enter not into judgment with thy servant. The
Divine justice has just been invoked in the first verse; and now the appellant
suddenly seems to deprecate it. These verses really sum up the apparent paradox
of the Book of Job (see Job 4:17 9:2,32 14:3 Job 15:14 22:4, etc.). In one
breath Job frequently pours forth pathetic protestations of his innocence, and a
dread lest God should take him at his word, and arraign him for trial. The godly
man, in his desire to have his character vindicated before man, appeals to the
just Judge, but instantly falls back with a guilty sense that before his
tribunal none can stand:
"For merit lives from man to man,
And not from man, O Lord, to thee." --A. S. Aglen.
Verse 2. He doth not pray absolutely that God "would not
enter into judgment with him", for this were to forego his government of the
world; but that he would not do so on account of his own duties and obedience.
But if so be these duties and obedience did answer, in any sense or way, what is
required of us as a righteousness unto justification, there was no reason why he
should deprecate a trial by them, or upon them. --John Owen.
Verse 2. He doth not say, "with an enemy, a rebel, a
traitor, an impenitent sinner"; but "with thy servant", one that is
devoted to thy fear, one that is consecrated to thy service, one that is really
and indeed "wholly thine, as much and as fully as he can be." As if he had said,
"Lord, if the holiest, purest, best of men should come and stand before thee in
judgment, or plead with thee, they must needs be cast in their cause. `If thou,
Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, ' alas! `O Lord, who shall stand?'"Ps 130:3.
--Thomas Lye (1621-1684), in "The Morning Exercises."
Verse 2. Enter not into judgment with thy servant, for thou
hast already entered into judgment with thy Son, and laid upon him the iniquity
of us all. "Enter not into judgment with thy servant", for thy servant
enters into judgment with himself; and "if we will judge ourselves we shall not
be judged." --Matthew Henry.
Verse 2. Not the proudest philosopher among the Gentiles,
nor the most precise Pharisee among the Jews; we may go yet further and say, not
the holiest saint that ever lived, can stand righteous before that bar. God hath
nailed that door up, that none can for ever enter by a law righteousness into
life and happiness. This way to heaven is like the northern passage to the
Indies, whoever attempts it is sure to be frozen up before he gets half way
thither. --William Gurnall.
Verse 2. Enter not into judgment, etc. Some years ago I
visited a poor young woman dying with consumption. She was a stranger in our
town, and had been there a few weeks before, some time in her girlhood, and had
attended my Sabbath school class. What did I find was her only stay, and hope,
and comfort in the view of the dark valley of the shadow of death, which was
drawing down upon her? One verse of a psalm she had learned at the class, and
never forgot. She repeated it with clasped hands, piercing eyes, and thin voice
trembling from her white lips.
"Thy servant also bring thou not
In judgment to be tried:
Because no living man can be
In thy sight justify'd."
No sinner can endure sight of thee, O God, if he tries to be
self justified. --James Comper Gray, in "The Biblical Museum," 1879.
Verse 2. Enter not into judgment with thy servant. We read
of a certain Dutch divine, who being to die, was full of fears and doubts. And
when some said to him, "You have been so active and faithful, why should you
fear?" Oh, said he, the judgment of man and the judgment of God are different.
Verse 2. Enter not into judgment. A metaphor taken from the
course pursued by those who seek to recover the very utmost to which they are
entitled by strict legal process. Compare Job 22:4-5. In a similar sense we are
commanded to pray to God that he will forgive us our debts. --Daniel
Verse 2. There is probably here a tacit reference to the
great transgression, the consequences of which followed David all his days.
Verse 2. Thy servant. A servant is one who obeys the will of
another...There were these four ways in which one might come to be a servant--by
birth, by purchase, by conquest, and by voluntary engagement. Some were servants
in one of the ways, and some in another. There were servants who were born in
the master's house, servants who were bought with the master's money, servants
who were the captives of his sword and bow, and servants who had freely engaged
themselves to do his work...In the case of the believer there is something that
is peculiar and remarkable. He is God's servant by birth. But he is more--he is
God's servant by purchase. And that is not all: he is God's servant by conquest.
Yes, and by voluntary engagement too. He is the servant of God, not in some one
of the four ways, but in all of them together. --Andrew Gray (1805-1861),
in "Gospel Contrasts and Parallels."
Verse 2. Not only the worst of my sins, but the best of my
duties speak me a child of Adam. --William Beveridge.
Verse 2. So far from being able to answer for my sins, I
cannot answer even for my righteousness. --Bernard of Clairvaux,
Verse 2. A young man once said to me: "I do not think I am a
sinner." I asked him if he would be willing his mother or sister should know all
he had done, or said, or thought, --all his motions and all his desires. After a
moment he said: "No, indeed, I should not like to have them know; no, not for
the world." "Then can you dare to say, in the presence of a holy God, who knows
every thought of your heart, `I do not commit sin'?" --John B. Gough, in
"Sunlight and Shadow," 1881.
Verse 3. For the enemy, etc. If ever trouble be just cause
for calling upon thee, how can mine be more just, when the enemy hath
persecuted my soul, hath smitten my life down to the ground, and hath
made me to dwell in darkness, as those that have been long dead? All
this "the enemy" hath done unto me: but what enemy? Is it not the enemy
of all mankind, who hath singled me out, as it were to a duel? And can I resist
him myself alone, whom the whole army of mankind cannot? But is it not the enemy
of thyself, O God, who is but my enemy because I am thy servant? And wilt thou
see thy servants persecuted--in thy cause persecuted--and not protect them? Shall
I suffer, grievously suffer, for thy sake, and wilt thou forsake me? Alas, O
Lord; if they were but some light evils that are inflicted upon me I would bear
them without complaining, and never make my moan to thee about them; but they
are the three greatest miseries that can be thought of; the greatest
persecution, the greatest overthrow, and the greatest captivity. For what
persecution so grievous as to be persecuted in my soul? for he plays no less a
game than for souls: he casts indeed at the body sometimes, and sometimes at
goods, yet these are but the bye; the main of his aim is at the soul; for if he
can otherwise win the soul he cares not much for either body or goods, but
rather makes use of them to keep men in security; for whatsoever he doth,
whatsoever he leaves undone, it is all done but in persecution of the soul; and
he can persecute as well with prosperity as with adversity, and knows how to fit
their several application. It seems as if he takes me for another Job; he sees
he can do no good upon me with fawning and clawing, and therefore falls now to
quarrelling and striking, and he strikes no light blows; for "he hath
stricken my life down to the ground"; and lower would have struck it, if
thou, God, hadst nut broken his blow. He strikes me downward, to keep me from
heaven, as much as he can: and now that he sees me down, he lets not me rest so
neither; but seizes upon me, and being himself the prince of darkness, hath kept
me in darkness; not for a night or two, as men stay at their inn, but for a much
longer time, as at their dwelling; and it is no ordinary darkness that he hath
made me to dwell in, but even the darkness of dead men; and that in the highest
degree, as those that have been long dead. They that have been dead but a while
are yet remembered sometimes, and sometimes talked of; but they that have been
long dead are as quite forgotten as if they had never been; and such, alas, am
I. So long have I been made to dwell in darkness, as if I had been dead many
years ago, that he that would seek to find me out must be fain to look for me
amongst the tombs and monuments. Indeed, to dwell in darkness is no better than
the house of death: for as long as we are in life, if we want sometimes the
light of the sun, yet the light of a candle will serve to supply it; but I,
alas, am kept in such darkness that neither the sunshine of thy gospel nor the
lantern of thy law gives any light unto me. I cannot with confidence say, as
once I did, "Thou, O Lord, shalt light my candle for me"; and as a body being
dead grows cold and stiff, and is not to be bowed, so my soul with continuance
in sinning is grown hardened, and, as it were, stiff in sin; that it is as hard
a matter to make me flexible to any goodness as to bring a body long dead to
life again. --Sir Richard Baker.
Verse 3. To dwell in darkness. To seek my safety in holes
and obscure places in the wilderness. See 2Sa 17:16. As those that
have been long dead. That is, where I seem to be buried alive, and to have
no more hopes of being restored to a happy condition in this world than those
that have been long dead have of living again in it. --Thomas Fenton.
Verse 4. Therefore is my spirit overwhelmed, etc. David was
not only a great saint, but a great soldier, and yet even he was sometimes ready
to faint in the day of adversity. "Howl, fir trees, if the cedars be shaken."
Verse 4. (second clause.) Within --literally,
"in the midst of me"; implying how deeply the feeling had
penetrated. "Is desolate", or rather, "is stupefied", in a similar
sense to that of the Hebrew (Isa 59:16 63:5 Da 8:27). So the Chaldaic, The 70.,
Vulgate, Arabic, and Syriac, "is agitated." --Andrew Robert
Verse 4. Is desolate. Or rather, "is full of amazement",
literally, "astonishes itself"; seeks to comprehend the mystery of its
sufferings, and is ever beaten back upon itself in its perplexity: such is the
full force of the reflexive conjugation here employed. --J. J. Stewart
Verses 4-5. How poor a judgment can be formed of a man's
state from the considerations of comfort only. A holy man, we clearly see, may
be void of comfort; his spirit may be overwhelmed, and his heart desolate. Nay,
was it not so even with the holy Jesus himself? was he not very heavy, and his
soul exceeding sorrowful even unto death? But never did the Saviour's faith and
submission to his Father's will shine more brightly than in that hour of
darkness. And David's faith also rises to meet the occasion. His trial is great,
and his faith is great also. Hardly when he is on the mount of praise, and
singing his songs of Zion in the most triumphant strain, does he appear more
admirable than when struggling through this painful conflict. He is troubled on
every side, yet not removed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not
forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed. He has no arm of flesh to trust to, and
nothing within himself to support his hope; but with what simplicity, and energy
of trust, does he betake himself to God, revolving ill his memory past seasons
of deliverance, and staying his mind on the power and truth of Jehovah! "I
remember the days of old; I meditate on all thy works; I muse on the work of thy
hands." --John Fawcett.
Verse 5. I remember the days of old; I meditate, etc. This
meditation gives an ease to the overwhelming of my spirits, a comfort to the
desolateness of my heart; for I am thinking sometimes upon Jonah, how he was
overwhelmed with waters and swallowed up of a whale, and yet at last delivered;
sometimes I am thinking of Joseph, how he was bound and left desolate in a pit,
and yet at last relieved; and then I meditate thus with myself, --Is God's power
confined to persons? could he deliver them in their extremities, and can he not
deliver me in mine? --Sir Richard Baker.
Verse 5. I meditate on all thy works. Let us look for God in
the future more earnestly than we have done in the past, --look for him in
vineyards and orchards and harvest fields, --in the bright plumage of birds, and
the delicate bloom of fruit, and the sweet gracefulness of flowers, --in the
dense foliage of the forest, and the sparse heather of the moor, --in the rich
luxuriance of fertile valleys, and the rugged grandeur of the everlasting hills,
--in the merry dance of the rivulet, and the majestic tides of the ocean--in the
gay colours of the rainbow, and the splendour of the starry heavens, --in the
gentle radiance of the moon, and the gorgeous light of setting suns, --in the
clear azure sky, and the weird pageantry of clouds, --in the snow mantled wintry
landscape, and the brilliant effulgence of a summer's noon, --in the virgin
loveliness of spring, and in the pensive fading beauty of autumn, --let us look
for him with an earnest, eager, and unwearied gaze, till we see him to be a God
of wisdom as well as power, of love as well as sovereignty, of beauty as well as
glory. --A. W. Momerie, in "The Origin of Evil, and other Sermons," 1881.
Verses 5, 6. I meditate. I stretch forth my hands. Meditation
is prayer's handmaid to wait on it, both before and after the performance of
supplication. It is as the plough before the sower, to prepare the heart for the
duty of prayer; and as the harrow after the sower, to cover the seed when 'tis
sown. As the hopper feeds the mill with grist, so does meditation supply the
heart with matter for prayer. --William Gurnall.
Verse 6. I stretch forth my hands unto thee. As a poor
beggar for an alms. Beggary here is not the easiest and poorest trade, but the
hardest and richest of all other. --John Trapp.
Verse 6. I stretch forth my hands unto thee, as if I were in
hope thou wouldst take me by the hand and draw me to thee. --Sir Richard
Verse 6. My soul thirsteth after thee, etc. Alas! this
thirst is rare to be found. Worldly thirsts there are in many: the drunkard's
thirst, De 29:19; the worldling's thirst, Hab 2:5; the epicure's thirst, whose
belly is his god, Php 3:19; the ambitious man's thirst--Diotrephes, 3Jo 1:9; and
the malicious man's thirst, the blood thirsty, Ps 5:6. Thirst after these things
doth keep away that thirst after grace without which we shall never escape
Dives' thirst in hell, Lu 16:24. If we have a godly thirst, it will appear by
diligence in frequenting the place and means of grace, Pr 8:34; brute beasts for
want of water will break through hedges, and grace thirsty souls will make their
ways through all encumbrances to come where they may have satisfaction.
--Thomas Pierson, 1570-1633.
Verse 6. My soul thirsteth after thee, as a thirsty land. He
declareth his vehement affection to God by a very pretty similitude, taken from
the ground which is thirsty by the long drought of summer, wherein the earth,
rent in pieces, as it were, and with open mouth through long thirst, seeketh
drink from heaven. By which he showeth that he came to God as destitute of
natural substance, and therefore seeketh from above that which he lacked. So in
all his extremities he looked ever upward; from above he seeketh help and
comfort. Albeit we be in extremity, and as it were rent asunder, yet here is
comfort, -- there are waters in heaven which will refresh us, if we gape after
them. Here is a blessing--those that thirst shall be satisfied. If we thirst for
mercy, for deliverance, for spiritual or temporal comfort, we shall be satisfied
therewith; for if God heard the prayers of Hagar and Ishmael being athirst in
the wilderness, and opened unto them a fountain (Ge 21:17,19), will he forsake
Isaac, the child of promise? If he heard Samson in the bitterness of his heart,
when he said, "I die from thirst", and opened a spring out of the jawbone of an
ass (Jud 15:19), will he forsake us in time of our distress, if we thirst
aright? --Archibald Symson.
Verse 6. My soul thirsteth after thee, as a thirsty land.
Sir John Chardin, in his MSS. says: --"The lands of the East, which the great
dryness there causes to crack, are the ground of this figure, which is certainly
extremely beautiful; for these dry lands have chinks too deep for a person to
see the bottom of: this may be observed in the Indies more than anywhere, a
little before the rains fall, and wherever the lands are rich and hard."
Verse 6. I stretch forth my hands unto thee, etc. It is not
a strange thing, then, for the soul to find its life in God. This is its native
air: God as the Environment of the soul has been from the remotest age the
doctrine of all the deepest thinkers in religion. How profoundly Hebrew poetry
is saturated with this high thought will appear when we try to conceive of it
with this left out. True poetry is only science in another form. And long before
it was possible for religion to give scientific expression to its greatest
truths, men of insight uttered themselves in psalms which could not have been
truer to Nature had the most modern light controlled the inspiration. "As the
hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God." What
fine sense of the natural analogy of the natural and spiritual does not underlie
these words. As the hart after its environment, so man after his; as the water
brooks are fitly designed to meet the natural wants, so fitly does God implement
the spiritual need of man. It will be noticed that in the Hebrew poets the
longing for God never strikes one as morbid, or unnatural to the men who uttered
it. It is as natural for them to long for God as for the swallow to seek her
nest. Throughout all their images no suspicion rises within us that they are
exaggerating. We feel how truly they are reading themselves, their deepest
selves. No false note occurs in all their aspiration. There is no weariness even
in their ceaseless sighing, except the lover's weariness for the absent--if they
would fly away, it is only to be at rest. Men who have no soul can only wonder
at this. Men who have a soul, but with little faith, can only envy it. How
joyous a thing it was to the Hebrews to seek their God! How artlessly they call
upon him to entertain them in his pavilion, to cover them with his feathers, to
hide them in his secret place, to hold them in the hollow of his hand, or
stretch around them the everlasting arms! These men were true children of
nature. As the humming bird among its own palm trees, as the ephemera in the
sunshine of a summer evening, so they lived their joyous lives. And even the
full share of the sadder experiences of life which came to all of them but drove
them the further into the secret place, and led them with more consecration to
make, as they expressed it, "the Lord their portion." All that has been said
since from Marcus Aurelius to Swedenborg, from Augustine to Schleiermacher, of a
besetting God as the full complement of humanity is but a repetition of the
Hebrew poets' faith. And even the New Testament has nothing higher to offer man
than this. The Psalmist's" God is our refuge and strength" is only the earlier
form, less defined, less practicable, but not less noble, of Christ's "Come unto
me, and I will give you rest." --Henry Drummond, in "Natural Law in the
Spiritual World," 1884.
Verses 6-7. I stretch forth my hands...Hear me, etc. So will
the weary bands be raised yet again, through faith in him who stretched forth
his hands upon the cross. So will the fainting soul wait and long for the
outpouring of his grace, who upon the cross said, "I thirst." We shall thirst
for our salvation, even as the parched up fields and dying herbs seem to gasp
and pant like living things for the sweet and cheering showers in the fierce
heat of summer. So will the soul cry to the heard, and that soon, lest its faith
grow faint with delay; and the hiding of God's face, the denying of his smile of
pardon, will press on the spirit like sickness, and weigh it down like the
heaviness of death. --J. W. Burgon.
Verse 7. Hear me speedily. David is in trouble, and he
betakes himself to prayer. Prayer is the sovereign remedy the godly fly to in
all their extremities. The saints in sorrows have fled for comfort and healing
unto prayers and supplications. Heaven is a shop full of all good things--there
are stored up blessings and mercies; this the children of God know who fly to
this shop in their troubles, begging for help from this holy sanctuary. "In the
day of my trouble I sought the Lord": Ps 77:2. When any vexation makes our life
grievous unto us, what should we seek but help? of whom should we seek, but of
the Lord? how should we seek, but by prayer? ..."Speedily." His request
is not only for hearing, but for speedy hearing: "Hear me, and hear me
speedily"; answer, and answer quickly. This is the tone and tune of men in
distress. Man in misery earnestly sues for speedy delivery. In our afflictions
and troubles, deliverance, though it should come with wings, we never think it
comes soon enough. Weak man cannot content himself to know he shall have help,
unless it be present help. --Thomas Calvert, 1647.
Verse 7. My spirit faileth. This is David's first reason to
move the Lord; he is at the last cast and even giving up the ghost with long
waiting for help: from his low condition we may see what is often the condition
of God's children, --and the best of God's servants have waited for comfort and
the feelings of his Spirit, to the very failing of their own spirit. David, a
man after God's own heart, is yet brought low with the faintness and failing of
his heart, in waiting for help from God. "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou
eat bread" (Ge 3:19); this lies upon the sons of men. But here, not sweat of
face only, that were but small; but sighs and fainting of the heart lie upon the
sons of God, in seeking and hungering after a taste of God's bread of life,
inward comfort, assurance, and joy of the Holy Ghost. Thus the Church was
brought to this sick bed ere her comfort came: "For these things I weep; mine
eye, mine eye runneth down with water, because the comforter that should relieve
my soul is far from me:" La 1:16. The disciples spirits were even failing in the
tempest, when Christ slept and seemed to neglect them, as if he cared not though
they perished. How should our spirits do other but fail, when our Comforter
sleeps, when our only friend seems to be our enemy? Failing of spirit is both a motive which God means to yield
unto and to be won by withal; and it is also his opportunity, when he usually
helps. It is a strong motive in our prayers to move him, for he is pitiful, and
will not let his children utterly fail and perish; he is a pitiful Spirit to
failing spirits. "I will not contend (saith the Lord) for ever, neither will I
be always wroth; "why? we deserve his wrath should last and take fire for ever
against us; yea, but (saith the Lord) this is the reason, "The spirit should
fail before me, and the souls which I have made" (Isa 57:16): I love and pity
the fainting souls and spirits of men: I will help my children; how can I see my
creatures whom I made and do love, to perish for want of my help? David knew the
Lord's nature, and that this was speeding argument in prayer, which made him
here and elsewhere so often use it. A pitiful father will not see the spirit of
his children utterly fail. It is his opportunity; he usually helps when all
other helps fail, that we may the more strongly cleave to him, and ground
ourselves upon him, as knowing how infirm we are, if he confirm us not. When
man's cruse of oil is dry, and fails, and can drop no more, then is God's time
to prepare his. Thus helped he the Israelites at the Red Sea, when all man's
strength and wisdom was at a stand. He loves to be seen in the mount, in
extremities. --Condensed from Thomas Calvert.
Verse 7. The prayer of David becomes, as he proceeds, both
more spiritual and more fervent. In the sixth verse we find him thirsting after
God; and now that thirst is become so intense that it admits of no delay. In the
beginning of the psalm he was content to say, "Hear my prayer"; but now he
cries, "Hear me speedily." This is not the language of sinful impatience:
it is, indeed, good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the
salvation of God; yet a man may desire, not only an answer, but also a speedy
answer, without incurring the charge of impatience. Whatever a man desires to
have he desires to have soon; nor can he be otherwise than grieved at anything
which delays the accomplishment of his wishes. In such desire or grief there is
nothing sinful, provided it do not lead to murmuring or distrust of God. Hence
this petition for speedy relief, and manifestation of God's presence and favour
is very frequent with the Psalmist. He often prays, "Make haste, O Lord, to
deliver; make haste to help me, O Lord." Nay, if a man does not desire the light
of God's countenance soon, it is a certain proof that he does not desire it at
all. If the natural language of his heart be not, "hear me speedily", delay is
to him no exercise of patience. The very idea of patience implies that something
is contrary to our wish; and the stronger the desire is, the more difficult will
that exercise of patience become. "Hope deferred maketh the heart sick"; and therefore David
adds, "my spirit faileth." He believed verily to see the goodness of the Lord in
the land of the living; yet so intense was his desire, that faith could hardly
keep his spirit from fainting, while the blessing, which he so eagerly pursued,
seemed still distant, and fled before him. He is afraid lest if God should long
delay, and withdraw himself, faith and hope could hold out no longer. He
therefore pleads, "hide not thy face from me, lest I become like them that go
down into the pit"; and urges the failing of his spirit before him who" will not
contend for ever, lest the spirit should fait before him." --John Fawcett.
Verses 7-8, 10-11. Observe how David mixes together prayers
for joy, for guidance, and for sanctification--"Hide not thy face from me."
"Cause me to know the way wherein I should walk." "Teach me to do thy will."
"Cause me to hear thy loving kindness in the morning." "Quicken me, O Lord, for
thy name's sake." Now this is exactly right: our prayers, as well as our other
obedience, must be without partiality; nay, we should desire comfort for the
sake of holiness, rather than holiness for the sake of comfort. --John
Verse 8. Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness. Here he
craveth God's favour and kindness, as tie doth in many other psalms. Because in
his favour is life, wealth, and grace, all good things, and pleasure for
evermore, so that if he look kindly to us we need be afraid of nothing. But how
shall he be assured of his favour? Even by hearing it, as he saith in the
fifty-first psalm: "Make me to hear joy and gladness." The voice which is heard
is the word of God, which, being apprehended by faith, is able to comfort our
souls in whatsoever temptation. It is no marvel that such atheists and papists
who altogether refuse the word of God, live comfortless and die without comfort,
because they refuse that instrument which should carry joy to them. Good reason
they die athirst, since they reject that vessel, the word of God, by which they
might be refreshed. Therefore since faith cometh by hearing of God's word, and
all our comfort cometh by it, let us pray God to bore our ears and our hearts,
that we may receive the glad tidings of reconciliation from God. Cause me to know the way wherein I should walk. The second
petition ariseth very well from the first. For when we have obtained an
assurance of God's favour, as he is reconciled to us in Jesus Christ, it
followeth next that we should desire to conform our lives to the obedience of
his commandments. For no man will frame himself to walk in God's ways till he be
assured of God's favour. Therefore faith in God's promises is the most effectual
cause to bring forth good works; and an assurance of justification the surest
means to produce sanctification. For I lift up my soul unto thee. Behold what a wonderful
effect God worketh by afflictions: they depress and cast down the outward man,
and our inward man by them is elevated and raised aloft; yea, the more we are
afflicted, the more we are stirred up. The oftener the messenger of Satan is
sent to buffet us, the more earnestly (with Paul) we cry unto the Lord to be
delivered (2Co 12:8). So if we be cast down to hell in our feelings, what the
worse are we if by that we be raised up to heaven? --Archibald Symson.
Verse 8. Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the
mourning, etc. To hear thy lovingkindness in the morning makes my waking to
be saluted, as it were, with music; makes my troubles seem as if they were but
dreams; makes me find it true that though "weeping may endure for a night, yet
joy cometh in the morning": Ps 30:5. . . . It may well be said we hear this
lovingkindness in the morning, seeing it makes it morning to us whensoever we
hear it. --Sir Richard Baker.
Verse 8. Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning.
If evil fall upon us in the night, we would have it removed ere the morning; if
in the morning, we would not have it our bed fellow in the evening. We would
have the Lord's promise run thus, --Your sorrows shall not endure the whole
night, your joy shall come long before the morning. The luxurious Emperor
?Smyndirides the Sybarite and his drunken mates sat and drank all the
night, and slept all the day, insomuch that it was said of them, they never saw
sunset nor sunrise. Such would we have the evils we suffer--of so short
continuance that, neither sunset nor sunrise might see us in our misery. This
makes me wonder at that strange Egyptian beast called Pharaoh, who being
demanded of Moses when he would have God's plague of the frogs removed,
answered, "Tomorrow." Surely, here he spake not as a man, to whom one
hour's trouble is accounted a day, a day a month, a month a year. For in leaving
of two things we change our desires, and are much different.
1. In leaving of sin, then we procrastinate and put off; and
when God says, "Today hear my voice", we answer, "Tomorrow", and are like the
Levite's wife's father (Jud 19:6), too kind hosts to such bad guests: saying to
our sins, "tarry till the morning." Our pace to repentance is slow, we are far
from haste in that matter.
2. But for afflictions to leave us, then we wish they had feet
like hinds' feet, to run away from us, or we the wings of a dove to fly away
from them, and be at rest...What prisoner desires not to be presently set free,
and that liberty's soft hand may loose his iron knots? What mariner wishes a
long storm? What servant sighs not over his hard apprenticeship? Yea, who is he,
that if there were an appearance of an offering to take the cup of calamity from
his mouth, saying, "Thou shalt drink no more", would answer, "This cup shall not
yet pass from me, I delight to carouse and drink deeply of these bitter waters"?
Yea, this desire extends so far that it comes to the Son of man, the blessed
Seed of the woman, who was so clad with human weakness that he earnestly prayed
for speedy help from his heavy anguish; and that not once, but often, --"Oh, my
Father, if it be possible", etc.; and when his Father answers not, he cries like
one ready to fall under the burden, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"
The reason for Christ's thus complaining is to be fetched from thence, whence
his flesh came; even from us. It was our human flesh, not his Divine spirit,
which was so weary of suffering; his spirit was willing, it was our flesh that
was so weak. --Thomas Calvert.
Verse 8. Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning.
This is a short and sweet morning prayer. God hears early prayer, and lovingly
responds to it. The smiles of his face, the sweetness of his voice, the gifts of
his hand, bless the morning, bless all the day. Do we write and read
experimentally? Then we know the blessedness of divine love. The subject is
truly pleasant and precious. "Lovingkindness" is a favourite expression,
is a choice theme of David's. It is used more in the Book of Psalms than in any
other book in the Scriptures. Lovingkindness is love showing kindness; it is the
sun of love shining with rays of kindness; the river of love sending forth
streams of kindness; it is the heart of love uttering itself by words of
kindness, doing deeds, and giving gifts of kindness.
Here it is the voice of the lovingkindness of the Lord
that David desires to hear. This voice is the music of heaven, the joyful sound
of the gospel, and it makes a jubilee in the Christian's heart. To him there is
beauty, sweetness, fulness in the theme; it is his joy and rejoicing. This is
the voice that speaks pardon. Pardon is through Jesus the medium of this
kindness. Apart from this there is no hope of forgiveness. We plead this and
realize pardon. "Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness:
according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions":
Ps 51:1. It is the Lord's lovingkindness that pardons me. This voice speaks
peace:"The Lord will speak peace unto his people." Precious peace is the
result of pardoning kindness. This voice also speaks joy. This is the
alone and all sufficient source of joy. It is sought elsewhere, but found only
here. It sweetens every bitter, and makes sweeter every sweet. It is a balsam
for every wound, a cordial for every fear. The present is but a taste, but a
drop of the future fulness of joy. How sweetly refreshing is the joy of the
Lord's lovingkindness. This voice speaks hope. With the sweet music of
this voice falling upon our ears, the night of hopelessness passes away, and the
morning of expectation opens upon us. It assures us of supplies for our wants,
of safety in danger, of endurance to the end, and of a glorious portion in
The morning is the season in which David desires to hear
the voice of the lovingkindness of the Lord. The morning is a season often
mentioned by him, and as a time of devotion is much prized by him. "My voice
shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer
unto thee, and will look up": Ps 5:3. Cause me to hear thy
lovingkindness in the morning: let it engage my thoughts and affections. It
is well to have a subject like this to occupy our waking thoughts, and to take
hold of our first desires. If other thoughts get into our hearts in the morning,
we may not be able to turn them out all the day. Prayer and praise, reading and
meditation, will be sweet with such a subject occupying and influencing our
minds. They will be exercises of cheerfulness, freedom, and blessedness. Cause me to hear this voice. It speaks every morning, but
many ears are deaf to it. But while others are indifferent to it, cause me to
hear it; let me not lose the opportunity: waken my ear morning by morning, so
that I may hail the season and enjoy the privilege. And when the morning of
eternity shall come, "cause me to hear the voice of thy lovingkindness"
welcoming me to its joys. --W. Abbot, in "The Baptist Messenger," 1870.
Verse 8. Cause me to know the way wherein I should walk. The
whole valley is surrounded by ranges of regal crags; but the mountain of the
Gemmi, apparently absolutely inaccessible, is the last point to which you would
turn for an outlet. A side gorge that sweeps up to the glaciers and snowy
pyramids flashing upon you in the opposite direction is the route which you
suppose your guide is going to take; and visions of pedestrians perilously
scaling icy precipices, or struggling up to the middle through ridges of snow,
begin to surround you, as the prospect of your own experience in this day's
expedition. So convinced was I that the path must go in that direction,
that I took a short cut, which I conceived would bring me again into the mule
path at a point under the glaciers; but after scaling precipices and getting
lost in a wood of firs in the valley, I was glad to rejoin my friend with the
guide, and to clamber on in pure ignorance and wonder ...Now what a striking
symbol is this of things that sometimes take place in our spiritual pilgrimage.
We are often brought to a stand, hedged up and hemmed in by the providence of
God so that there seems no way out. A man is sometimes thrown into difficulties
in which he sits down beginning to despair, and says to himself, "Well, this
time it is all over with me"; like Sterne's starling, or, worse, like Bunyan's
man in the cage, he says, "I cannot get out." Then when God has drawn him from
all self confidence and self resource, a door opens in the wall and he rises up,
and walks at liberty, praising God. --George Barrell Cheerer, 1807-.
Verses 8-10. After thou hast prayed, observe what God doth
towards thee; especially how lie doth guide thy feet and heart after prayer;
there is much in that. That which was the spirit of supplication in a man when
he prayed, rests upon him as the spirit of obedience in his course. That
dependence which he hath upon God for the mercy he seeks for is a special motive
and means to keep him fearful of offending, and diligent in duty. He looks to
his paths, and endeavours to behave himself as becomes a suitor, as well as to
pray as a suitor. David walked by this principle when he said (Ps 66:18), "If I
regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me"; that consideration
still came in as a curb unto sin. Therefore David, in these verses, when he was
to pray, even as for his life, for deliverance from his enemies, he specially
prays God to direct him and keep him, that he might not sin against him; for he
knew that by sinning he should enervate and spoil all his prayers. He cries not
only "Hear me speedily", but also, "Cause me to know the way
wherein I should walk; teach me to do thy will." This he especially
prays for, more than for deliverance, for else he knew God would not hear him.
Therefore when thou art in treaty with God for any mercy, observe, doth God
still after praying keep thee in a more obedient frame of spirit? If so, it is a
sign he intends to answer thee. The same is true when he keeps thee from using
ill means, etc. When he meant to give David the kingdom, he kept him innocent,
and made his heart tender, so that it smote him but for cutting off the lap of
Saul's garment. --Thomas Goodwin.
Verse 9. Deliver me, O LORD, from mine enemies. In the
former verse he desireth God's mercy and lovingkindness, and that he might be
showed the way wherein he should walk: now he desireth to be free of temporal
danger. This is a good method in prayer, first to seek the kingdom of God and
spiritual graces, for then all other things shall be added to us. We seek in
vain temporal deliverances of God if we neglect to seek spiritual graces, which
are most necessary for us. As for enemies, the church and her members neither have wanted
nor shall want innumerable foes, against whom we can only oppose God's
protection. In number, in power, in policy and subtilty they are ever above us.
There is no help for us against them all but our gracious God. Esau came with
four hundred against Jacob, a naked man, with his wife, children, and droves of
cattle. But Mahanaim was with him; he was guarded by God's angels. And,
therefore, since the church of God in France, Germany, and elsewhere is in
danger of the Leviathan and the sons of Anak, let us run to the Lord, and cry
unto him, --O God Jehovah, who art one against all, deliver thy church from her
enemies, who likewise are thy enemies. --Archibald Symson.
Verse 9. I flee unto thee to hide me. Is David's valour come
to this, that ho is come now to be glad to fly? Had he not done better to have
died valiantly than to fly basely? O my soul, to fly is not always a sign of
baseness; it is not always a point of valour to stand to it; but then to fly
when we feel our own weakness, and to him to fly, in whom is our strength--this
is, if not valour, at least wisdom, but it is, to say true, both wisdom and true
valour. And now, O God, seeing I find my own weakness, and know thy strength,
what should I do but fly, and whither fly but only to thee? --to thee, a strong
fortress to all that build upon thee; to thee, a safe sanctuary to all that fly
unto thee. --Sir Richard Baker.
Verse 9. I flee unto thee to hide me. This implies,
Danger: the Christian may be in danger from sin, self, foes.
Fear:his fears may be groundless, but they are often very painful.
Inability --to defend himself or overcome his opposers.
Foresight:he sees the storm in the distance, and looks out for the
5. Prudence:he hides before the storm, ere the enemy comes upon
6. A laudable concern for safety and comfort.
The believer, if wise,
will at all times flee to Jehovah. Jacob flies to Laban; the manslayer to the
refuge; the bird to his mountain; and the Christian to his God. Ass may seek to
physicians';Ephraim to king Jareb; and Saul to the witch; but the believer looks
to his God. The Lord receives, befriends, and secures him. Let us flee to him by
prayer, in faith, with hope, for salvation; and he will receive us, shelter us,
and be our refuge and strength. Flee from sin, from self, from the world; but
flee to Jesus. His heart is ever toward us, his ear is open to us, and his hand
is ready to help, protect, and deliver us. His throne is our asylum. His promise
is our comfort, and his omnipotence is our guard.
Happy soul, that, free from harms,
Rests within his Shepherd's arms!
Who his quiet shall molest?
Who shall violate his rest?
He who found the wandering sheep,
Loves, and still delights to keep.
--James Smith, in "The
Believer's Daily Remembrancer."
Verse 9. I flee unto thee to hide me. The Lord hid the
prophets so that Ahab could not find them out: 1Ki 18:13. If we will creep under
his wings he will surely keep us. --Archibald Symson.
Verse 9. I flee unto thee to hide me. It may be rendered,
"With thee have I hid"; that is, myself: so Arama gives the sense.
"I have hid myself with thee." Jarchi, Aben Ezra, and Kimchi
interpret it to this purpose, "I have hid my affairs, my straits and troubles,
my difficulties and necessities, from men, and have revealed them unto thee, who
alone can save." The Targum is, "I have appointed thy Word to be (my) Redeemer."
Verses 9-10. Be persuaded actually to hide yourselves with
Jesus Christ. To have a hiding place and not to use it is as bad as to want one:
fly to Christ; run into the holes of this rock. Three things must be done by all
those that would hide themselves with Christ.
1. You must put away sin by repentance. Jesus Christ will not
be a sanctuary for rebels, he will not protect evil doers. Christ will never
hide the devil, nor any of his servants. Isa 55:6-7: "Let the ungodly forsake
his way", etc. David knew this, therefore he prays that God would teach him to
do his will: "Deliver me, etc. I fly unto thee to hide me. Teach me to
do thy will." He that will not do the will of Christ shall receive no
protection from Christ. Protectio sequitur allegiantiam. You must be his
liege people if you will have him to defend you. Job 22:23, 25.
2. You must pray that he would hide you. The promise is made to
prayer: Isa 65:10, "Sharon shall be a fold of flocks, and the valley of Achor a
place for the herds to lie down in, for my people that have sought me." He that
prays most fervently is like to be hid most securely. And then,
3. You must believe in him. Faith is the key that opens the
door of this hiding place, and locks it again. One word in the Hebrew signifies
to trust and to make a refuge. Ps 57:1. He that doth not make Christ his trust
shall not have Christ for his hiding place; he will hide none but those that
commit themselves to him: "I will set him on high, because he hath known my
name": Ps 91:9,14. --Ralph Robinson.
Verse 10. Teach me to do thy will. How childlike--"teach me"!
How practical "Teach me to do"! How undivided in obedience--"to do thy will"! To
do all of it, let it be what it may. This is the best form of instruction, for
its source is God, its object is holiness, its spirit is that of hearty loyalty.
The man is hidden in the Lord, and spends his peaceful life in learning the will
of his Preserver. A heart cannot long be desolate which is thus docile. For
thou art my God. Who else can teach me as thou canst? Who else will
care to do it but my God? Thou hast given me thyself, thou wilt surely give me
lily teaching. If I have thee, may I not ask to have thy perfect mind? When the
heart can sincerely call Jehovah "my God", the understanding is ready to learn
of him, the will is prepared to obey him, the whole man is eager to please him.
"Thy spirit is good." God is all spirit and all good. His essence is goodness,
kindness, holiness: it is his nature to do good, and what greater good can he do
to us than to hear such a prayer as that which follows--Lead we into
the land of uprightness? David would fain be among the godly, in a land of
another sort from that which had cast him out. He sighed for the upland meadows
of grace, the table lands of peace, the fertile plains of communion. He could
not reach them of himself; he must be led there. God, who is good, can best
conduct us to the goodly land. There is no inheritance like a portion in the
land of promise, the land of precept, the land of perfectness. He who teaches us
must put us into leading strings, and guide and conduct us to his own dwelling
place in the country of holiness. The way is long, and steep, and he who goes
without a divine leader will faint on the journey; but with Jehovah to lead it
is delightful to follow, and there is neither stumbling nor wandering.
Verse 10. Teach me to do thy will. He saith not, Teach me to
know thy will, but to do thy will. God teaches us in three ways. First, by his
word. Secondly, he illuminates our minds by the Spirit. Thirdly, he imprints it
in our hearts and maketh us obedient to the same; for the servant who knoweth
the will of his master, and doeth it not, shall be beaten with many stripes: Lu
12:47. --Archibald Symson.
Verse 10. Teach me to do thy will. We are to pray that God
would teach us to know, and then teach us to do, his will. Knowledge without
obedience is lame, obedience without knowledge is blind; and we must never hope
for acceptance if we offer the blind and the lame to God. --Vincent Alsop
(-1703), in "The Morning Exercises."
Verse 10. Teach me to do thy will. The Lord doth no sooner
call his people to, himself, but as soon as ever he hath thus crowned them with
these glorious privileges, and given them any sense and feeling of them, them
they immediately cry out, O Lord, what shall I now do for thee? How shall I now
live to thee? They know now that they are no more their own, but his; and
therefore should now live to him. It is true indeed obedience to the law is not required of us
now as it was of Adam; it was required of him as a condition antecedent to life,
but of those that be in Christ it is required only as a duty consequent to life,
or as a rule of life, that seeing he hath purchased our lives in redemption, and
actually given us life in vocation and sanctification, we should now live unto
him, in all thankful and fruitful obedience, according to his will revealed in
the moral law. It is a vain thing to imagine that our obedience is to have no
other rule but the Spirit, without an attendance to the law: the Spirit is
indeed the efficient cause of our obedience, and hence we are said to be "led by
the Spirit" (Ro 8:14); but it is not properly the rule of our obedience, but the
will of God revealed in his word, especially in the law, is the rule; the Spirit
is the wind that drives us in our obedience; the law is our compass, according
to which it steers our course for us: the Spirit and the law, the wind and the
compass, can stand well together. Teach me to do thy will; for thou
art my God (there is David's rule, viz., God's will revealed); Thy Spirit
is good (there is David's wind, that enabled him to steer his course
according to it). The Spirit of life doth free us from the law of sin and death;
but not from the holy, and pure, and good, and righteous law of God. Ro 8:1-3.
--Thomas Shepherd, in "The Sound Believer," 1671.
Verse 10. Teach me to do thy will, etc. We are inclined and
enabled to good by the sanctifying Spirit. In the Christian religion, not
only the precepts are good, but there goeth along with them the power of God to
make us good. Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy Spirit
is good. The Spirit's direction hath strength joined with it. And he is a
good Spirit, as he doth incline us to good. The Spirit is the only fountain of
all goodness and holiness: Ne 9:20, "Thou gavest also thy good Spirit to
instruct them." Why is he so often called the good Spirit, but that all his
operations tend to make men good and holy? Eph 5:9, "The fruit of the Spirit is
in all goodness and righteousness and truth." --Thomas Manton.
Verse 10. Thy Spirit is good; lead me, says the Psalmist.
And therefore it is a usual phrase in Ro 8:1-39, and Ga 4:1-31, our being
led by the Spirit. --Thomas Goodwin.
Verse 10. Lead me into the land of uprightness, into the
communion of saints, that pleasant land of the upright; or into a settled course
of holy living, which will lead to heaven, that land of uprightness, where
holiness will be in perfection, and he that is holy will be holy still. We
should desire to be led and kept safe to heaven, not only because it is a land
of blessedness, but because it is a land of uprightness; it is the perfection of
grace. --Matthew Henry.
Verse 10. Lead me. Man by nature is as a cripple and blind,
he cannot go upright unless he be led by a superior spirit; yea, he must be
carried as an eagle carrieth her little ones, or as a mother her tender child.
Think not that we can step one right step to heaven but by the conduct and
convoy of God's Holy Spirit. Miserable are those who go without his conduction.
Verse 10. The land of uprightness. Mishor is the name for
the smooth upland downs of Moab (De 3:10 Jos 13:17 20:8 Jer 48:8,21). Derived
from the root "yashar", "even, level plain", it naturally came to be used
figuratively for equity, right, righteous, and uprightness. Mal 2:6 Isa 11:4 Ps
45:7 67:5 143:10. --Cunningham Geikie, in "Hours with the Bible," 1884.
Verse 10. The land of uprightness. The land of plainness, a
land where no wickedness of men, and malice of Satan, vex the soul from day to
day; a land where no rough paths and crooked turns lengthen out the traveller's
weary journey (see Ps 143:5); but where all is like the smooth pasture lands of
Reuben (De 3:10 Jos 13:9), a fit place for flocks to lie down. --Andrew A.
Verse 11. Quicken me, O LORD, for thy name's. sake. Oh for
more life as well as more light! Teaching and leading call for invigoration, or
we shall be dull scholars and slow pilgrims. Jehovah, the Lord and giver of
life, is the only one from whom life can come to renew and revive us; --hence,
the prayer is to him only. Perchance a servant might teach and lead, but only
the Master can enliven. We are often near to death, and hence each one may fitly
cry, "Quicken me";but what is there in us which we can plead as a reason
for such a favour? Nothing, literally nothing. We must beg it for his name's
sake. He must quicken us because he is the living God, the loving God, the Lord
who delighteth in mercy. What blessed arguments lie clustered together in his
glorious name! We need never cease praying for want of acceptable pleas; and we
may always fall back upon the one before us--"thy name's sake." It will render
the name of Jehovah the more glorious in the eyes of men if he creates a high
degree of spiritual life in his servants; and this is a reason for his doing so,
which we may urge with much confidence. For thy righteousness' sake bring my soul out of trouble.
Let men see that thou art on the side of right, and that thou wilt not allow the
wicked to ride roughshod over those who trust in thee. Thou hast promised to
succour thy people; thou art not unrighteous to forget their work of faith; thou
art, on the contrary, righteous in answering sincere player, and in comforting
thy people. David was heavily afflicted. Not only was there trouble in his soul,
but his soul was in trouble; plunged in it as in a sea, shut up in it as in a
prison. God could bring him out of it, and especially he could at once lift up
his soul or spirit out of the ditch. The prayer is an eager one, and the appeal
a bold one. We may be sure that trouble was soon over when the Lord heard such
Verse 11. Quicken me, O LORD, for thy name's sake. For the
sake of thine own glory, that thou mayest show thyself to be the God of
lovingkindness and power which thou art esteemed to be. --Andrew Robert
Verse 11. For thy righteousness' sake. It is worthy of
observation that the Psalmist pleads God's righteousness as the Foundation on
which he bases his supplication for the deliverance of his soul from trouble,
and God's lovingkindness or mercy as that on which he grounds his prayer, or his
conviction, that God will destroy his enemies. This is not the language of a
revengeful and bloodthirsty spirit. --Speaker's Commentary.
Verse 11. Bring my soul out of trouble. I can bring it in,
but thou only canst bring it out. --John Trapp.
Verses 11-12. Thy name's sake...thy righteousness' sake...And
of thy mercy. Mark here, my soul, with what three cords David seeks to
draw God to grant him his suits: for his name's sake, for his righteousness'
sake, and for his mercy's sake, --three such motives, that it must be a very hard
suit that God will deny, if either of them be used. But though all the three be
strong motives, yet as David riseth in his suits, so he may seem also to rise in
his motives; and by this account; for his righteousness' sake will prove a
motive of a higher degree than for his name's sake, and for his mercy's sake the
highest of them all--as indeed his mercy seat is the highest part of all his ark,
if it be not rather that as the attributes of God, so these motives, that are
drawn from the attributes, are of equal preeminence. But if the three motives be
all of them so strong, being each of them single, how strong would they be if
they were all united, and twisted, I may say, into one cord? And united they are
all, indeed, into a motive, which God hath more clearly revealed to us than he
did to David (although it be strange, seeing it was his Lord; and yet not
strange, seeing it was his son); and this is the motive: for thy Son Christ
Jesus' sake; for he is the verbum abbreviatum the Word in brief,
in whom are included all the motives--all the powerful motives--that can be used
to God for obtaining our suits. --Sir Richard Baker.
Verses 11-12. The verbs in these two last verses, as Dr.
Hammond hath noted, should be rendered in the future; "Thou shalt
quicken", etc., and then the psalm will end, as usual, with an act of faith
and assurance, that all those mercies, which have been asked, shall be obtained;
that God, for the sake of his "name", and his "righteousness", of
his glory, and his faithfulness in the performance of his promises, will not
fail to be favourable and gracious to his servants, "quickening" them
even when dead in trespasses and sins, and bringing them, by degrees, "out of
all their troubles": going forth with them to the battle against their
spiritual "enemies", and enabling them to vanquish the authors of their
"affliction" and misery, to mortify the flesh, and to overcome the world;
that so they may triumph with their Redeemer, in the day when he shall likewise
quicken their mortal bodies, and put all enemies under their feet. --George
Verse 12. Of thy mercy cut off mine enemies. He desireth God
to slay his enemies in his mercy, when rather their destruction was a work of
his justice? I answer, that the destruction of the wicked is a mercy to the
church. As God showed great mercy and kindness to his church by the death of
Pharaoh, Sennacherib, Herod, and other troublers thereof. --Archibald
Verse 12. Cut off mine enemies, etc. When you find these
imprecations to be prophecies of events which the Psalmist himself could not
understand; but were to be fulfilled in persons whom the Psalmist could not
know, as they were to live in distant future ages, --for instance, Judas, and the
Romans, and leaders of the Jewish nation, --who would make these imprecations
proofs of a revengeful spirit? --James Bennet (1774-1862), in "Lectures
on the Acts of the Apostles," 1847.
Verse 12. I am thy servant. David the king professes himself
one of God's pensioners. Paul, when he would blaze his coat of arms, and set
forth his best heraldry, he doth not call himself Paul, an Hebrew of the
Hebrews, or Paul of the tribe of Benjamin, but Paul "a servant of Christ": Ro
1:1. Theodosius thought it a greater dignity to be God's servant than to be an
emperor. Christ Himself, who is equal with his Father, yet is not ashamed of the
title servant: Isa 53:11. Every servant of God is a son, every subject a
prince: it is more honour to serve God than to have kings to serve us: the
angels in heaven are servants to the saints. --Thomas Watson.
HINTS TO THE VILLAGE PREACHER
Verse 1. Three threes.
1. As to his devotions, --prayers, supplications, requests.
2. As to his success, --hear, give ear, answer me.
3. As to his argument, --because thou art Jehovah, faithful,
Verses 1-2. A suitable prayer for a believer who has reason
to suppose that he is suffering chastening for sin.
1. Here is earnest importunity, as of one depending entirely
upon divine favour for a hearing.
2. Here is believing fervency laying hold of divine
faithfulness and justice; see 1Jo 1:9.
3. Here is a deep consciousness of the vanity of self
justification pleading for pure mercy, Ps 143:2. --J. F.
1. Who he is. "Thy servant."
2. What he knows. "In thy sight shall no man living be
3. What he asks. "Enter not into judgment."
Verses 3-6. Consider,
1. The great lengths God may sometimes permit the enemy to go,
Ps 143:3. The case of Job a good illustration.
2. The deep depression of spirit he may even permit his saints
to experience, Ps 143:4.
3. The good things he has provided for their meditation when
even at their worst, Ps 143:5.
4. The two things his grace will never suffer to die, whose
existence is a pledge of near approaching joy, --
a) The thirsting after himself.
b) The practice of prayer. The whole is a good text for a
lecture on the life and experience of Job. --J. F.
1. Down in Despondency.
2. Deep in Meditation.
3. Determined in Supplication.
Verses 5-6. I muse on the work of thy hands. I stretch forth my
hands unto thee. Hand in hand: or the child of God admiring the work
of God's hands, and praying with uplifted hands to be wrought upon by the like
Verse 5. David's method.
1. He gathered materials; facts and evidence concerning God: "I
2. He thought out his subject and arranged his matter: "I
3. He discoursed thereon, and was brought nearer to God: "I
4. Let us close by viewing all this as an example for preachers
and others. --W. B. H.
Verse 6. God alone the desire of his people.
Verse 6. Deep calling to deep.
1. The insatiable craving of the heart.
2. The vast riches in glory.
3. The rushing together of the seas: "My soul is to thee."
--W. B. H.
Verse 7. Reasons for speedy answers.
Verse 7. Never despair.
1. Because you have the Lord to plead with.
2. Because you may freely tell him the desperateness of your
3. Because you may be urgent with him for deliverance. --J.
Verse 7. Cordial for the swooning heart.
1. God's beloved fainting.
2. The best restorative; her Lord's face.
3. She has the presence of mind to call him as she falls.
--W. B. H.
Verse 8. The two prayers "Cause me to hear", and
"Cause me to know." The two pleas--"In thee do I trust", and
"I lift up my soul unto thee."
Verse 8. Ps 142:3. "Thou knewest my path." Ps 143:8.
--"Cause me to know the way."
1. Trusting Omniscience in everything.
2. Following conscience in everything.
Verse 8. On fixing a time for the answering of our prayer.
1. By whom it may be done. Not by all believers, but by those
who through dwelling with God have attained to a holy boldness.
2. When it may be done.
a) When the case is specially urgent.
b) When God's honour is concerned.
c) What renders it pleasing to God when done. Great faith. "For
in thee do I trust." --J. F.
Verse 8. Listening for Lovingkindness.
1. Where to listen. At the gates of Scripture; in the halls of
meditation; nigh the footsteps of Jesus.
2. When to listen. "In the morning"; as early and as often as
3. How to listen. In trustful dependence: "Cause me to hear thy
lovingkindness in the morning, for in thee do I trust."
4. Why to listen. To "know the way wherein I should walk."
--W. B. H.
Verse 9. Admirable points in this prayer to be imitated by
us. There is,
1. A sense of danger.
2. A confession of weakness.
3. A prudent foresight.
4. A solid confidence: --he expects to be hidden from his foes.
1. Looking up.
2. Lying close. --W. B. H.
Verse 10. Two childlike requests--"Teach me...lead me."
Verse 10. See "Spurgeon's Sermons", No. 1519, "At School."
Verse 10. (first half.)
1. The best instructions: "Teach me to do thy will." Not merely
to know, but "to do."
2. The only efficient Instructor.
3. The best reason for asking and expecting instruction: "For
thou art my God." --J. F.
Verse 10. Teach me to do thy will. We may call this sentence
a description of David's school; and it is a very complete one; at least, it
hath in it the three best things that belong to a school.
1. The best teacher.
2. The best scholar.
3. The best lesson; for who so good a teacher as God? who so
good a scholar as David? what so good a lesson as to do God's will? --Sir
Verse 10. (latter half.)
1. Utopia--"the land of uprightness." Describe it, and declare
2. The difficult paths to that upland country.
3. The divine Guide, --"thy Spirit is good."
Verse 11. (first clause.)
1. What is this blessing? "Quicken me."
2. In what way will it glorify God, so that we may plead for
the sake of his name?
Verse 11. (second clause.) How is the righteousness
of God concerned in our deliverance from trouble?
1. To the Master: "I am thy servant."
2. For the servant: he seeks protection because he belongs to
WORKS UPON THE HUNDRED AND FORTY-THIRD PSALM
Meditations And Disqvisitions Upon The Three last Psalms of
David. Pss. 102., 130., 143.. By Sr. Richard Baker, Knight,
London, 1639. The above is scarce, but will be found in Mr. Higham's
Reprint of Sir R. Baker on the Psalms.
A Sacred Septenarie, Or, A Godly And Fruitfull Exposition on
the Seven Psalms Of Repentance by Mr. Archibald Symson... London, 1638 4to., contains an Exposition of this Psalm, pp.
There is an Exposition of Psalm 143., in Vol. 1., pp.
35-66, Of "Sermons chiefly designed for the Use of Families," by John Fawcett,
A.M. 2 Vols. 8vo, second edition, Carlisle; 1818.