The soul long troubled here at last finds peace. Lord,
may our faith never fall! Joy is at hand.
1, 2. "How long will You forget me, O Lord? forever?
how long will You hide Your face from me? How long shall I take counsel in
my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? how long shall my enemy be exalted
Discipline is needed in the school of grace, and
therefore it is not withheld. A loving Father orders it—a loving hand
applies it. The purpose and the result are increase of grace. Lurking sins
are thus detected. Weakness in faith's fabric is repaired. Secret foes are
dragged to light and slain. Prayer and dependence and matured experience
gain power. Fruits of righteousness are ripened. A shaken tree takes deeper
To effect this, tokens of God's presence are withdrawn.
The much-loved smile smiles not. The tender whispers are no longer heard.
Precious communion fails to cheer. The sighing spirit mourns desertion. It
is as a forsaken dwelling. No ray of love illumines the surrounding
darkness. Fears whisper, 'God is forever gone.' Dreary days drag on their
dreary length. In the morning there is the wail, "How long?" In the evening
it is still, "How long?" The soul is much perplexed. Harassing doubts
intrude. Questions arise. What is the purpose? When will be the end?
Thus daily sorrow is the daily bread. Thus grief and
heaviness pervade the day. The cry is often repeated, "How long? how long?"
Affliction deepens because the enemy appears to triumph. It is his joy when
saints are sad. He rears his head when they lie low; his cause is crowned
when adversity fills their cup. This knowledge aggravates their misery. The
cry continues, "How long! how long?" David is here. This is a path which his
feet often trod. Each child of God is here. In this darkness they often
walk. But above all, the Man of Sorrows is here too. There is no cup of
anguish which His lips tasted not. These words anticipate the bitter cry,
"My God, my God! why have You forsaken Me?"
3. "Consider and hear me, O Lord my God; give light to
my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death."
In every state faith has its sure employ. In darkest
night, amid the howling storm, in dreariest solitude, in racking pains, from
the whale's belly, in the battlefield, when the foes rush with overwhelming
might, when hope seems hopeless, when all remedy is fled, when heaven seems
closed, in agonies of death, in jaws of hell, it prays. There is no state
which excludes prayer. There is no place without an access to the
mercy-seat. Faith never forgets, The Lord is my God. I have a property in
Him. Thus it can ever cry, "Consider and hear me, O Lord my God." Relief and
comfort are implored. The present gloom seems like an instant death. A ray
of love is sought to give reviving light. The smile of God's countenance is
desired to keep the eyes from closing in dark death.
4. "Lest my enemy say, I have prevailed against him;
and those who trouble me rejoice when I am moved."
There is fear lest the enemy shall triumph, and the
tottering cause of truth should fill the wicked with malicious joy. Thus
David trembled; but his fears were visionary. Opposing foes could not detain
him from the throne. Thus Satan seemed about to triumph when Jesus was
dragged to trial and uplifted on the cross. Truth seemed about to fall and
victory to crown hell's efforts. But how short the hope! The conquering
Savior bursts detaining bonds. He rises omnipotent to vanquish all hell's
arts and might. In Him His people live. In Him they will prevail. In Him
they soon will sit on thrones of glory. In Him they soon will place
victorious feet on Satan's neck. Therefore we will trust and not be afraid.
5. "But I have trusted in Your mercy; my heart shall
rejoice in Your salvation."
God's mercy is sure ground of trust. It cannot fail. It
is higher than the highest heavens. It extends throughout all space. Its one
delight is to alleviate misery. Under its sheltering wings may we
delightedly repose! Joy is ever ready to refresh the soul. But true joy does
not grow in the field of earthly things. This fruit does not hang on carnal
trees. It is not quaffed from goblets of wealth, and luxury, and worldly
pleasures. It lives in a heavenly climate. It feeds and feasts on God's
salvation. Is it not joy to clasp this boon to the heart, and to know
assuredly, By grace am I saved, through faith, and that not of myself; it is
the gift of God! By grace am I saved, through the sprinkling of the blood of
Jesus, and the covering of His glorious righteousness. By grace am I saved,
through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
6. "I will sing to the Lord, because He has dealt
bountifully with me."
Joy is not silent. It lifts up the voice. It sends forth
the incense of praise. It has a boundless theme. It tells of all God's
dealings. They are infinite, even as God Himself. He gives until He can give
no more. He spares not His only-begotten Son. He adds His Holy Spirit. Shall
He not also freely give us all things? Let us now commence our endless song.
Let us now strike the harp which never shall grow tuneless. Let us sing to
the Lord, who has dealt bountifully with us. Help us, O God, the Holy