In the eventful life of David trouble follows trouble as
wave succeeds to wave. His intervals of rest were very few. Throughout his
days darkness seems often to gather clouds. But he finds refuge in God; and
deliverance was his happy experience. This God is our God forever and ever.
Let us trust. He will not fail us.
1 , 2. "Listen to my prayer, O God. Do not ignore my
cry for help! Please listen and answer me, for I am overwhelmed by my
It is a wondrous privilege that we may be importunate
with God. It is no presumption to use holy boldness, and to give Him no rest
in cries for audience. We are permitted to tell out our sorrows in mourning
terms, and to pray that our sadness may attract attention. Strong crying and
tears marked our Lord's hours of supplication. We cannot err in following
3, 4, 5. "Because of the voice of the enemy, because
of the oppression of the wicked; for they cast iniquity upon me, and in
wrath they hate me. My heart is sorely pained within me; and the terrors of
death have fallen upon me. Fear and trembling have come upon me, and horror
has overwhelmed me."
It is good in prayer to specify the cause of our
distress. What we deeply feel, we should distinctly state. David is
cast down by the open reviling of his enemies, who scrupled not to impute
all wicked ways to him. Here we see the type of Him who suffered such
malignant charges against His holy walk. The Psalmist states his agonized
condition. Trust in God does not destroy feelings of alarm, though they
restrain them from overwhelming force.
In this fearful description of his inward agony, can we
fail to see the path which our great Redeemer trod? What was His state of
mental misery when He felt the crushing burden of His people's sins, and was
bowed to the earth by its overwhelming load? Sorrow was indeed the occupant
of His heart when the exclamation was pressed out, "My God, my God, why have
You forsaken Me?" We may be terrified, but we must never yield to despair.
6, 7, 8. "And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove!
for then would I fly away, and be at rest. Lo, then would I wander far off,
and remain in the wilderness. I would hasten my escape from the windy storm
It is a feeling common to the breast of man to flee
turmoil and to desire rest. There is a charm in tranquil peace which sweetly
attracts desire. Rest and peace are among the sweet promises from our great
Lord's lips. "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will
give you rest." "Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you." Sweet is
the promise, "The Lord Himself shall give you peace always and by all
means." Therefore, as the timid dove with rapid wing flees to the lonely
desert, and seeks shelter from tempestuous winds, so the soul longs for the
tranquility of repose.
But in these desires there must be moderation. When
called to combat we must not use the coward's flight. When called to patient
endurance we must not show impatience. If we would win the crown we must not
shrink from the cross. We may find rest in trouble, when rest from
trouble is wisely withheld.
9, 10, 11. "Destroy them, Lord, and confuse their
speech, for I see violence and strife in the city. Its walls are patrolled
day and night against invaders, but the real danger is wickedness within the
city. Murder and robbery are everywhere there; threats and cheating are
rampant in the streets."
We have here an dreadful picture how sin will spread, and
how sinful men sow seeds of mischief. When this is evident, let the godly
man appeal to heaven, and pray God's power to check the evil. We have
encouragement in the case of the Babel-builders, and thus may ask for
plotting tongues to be confused.
12, 13, 14, 15. "For it was not an enemy who
reproached me; then I could have borne it; neither was it he who hated me
that magnified himself against me; then I would have hid myself from him;
but it was you, a man my equal, my guide, and my acquaintance. We took sweet
counsel together, and walked to the house of God in company. Let death seize
upon them, and let them go down quick into hell; for wickedness is in their
dwellings, and among them."
The bitterest pang is when hostility is found in one who
was loved as an intimate friend, and trusted as a faithful guide, and sought
as a confidential adviser, and walked with, as a fellow-worshiper. David
drank this bitter cup; so did our beloved Lord. Judas from walking by His
side hastened to the blackest crime. But he went to "his own place."
Dreadful is the thought. It is recorded for our warning.
16, 17. "As for me, I will call upon God; and the Lord
shall save me. Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry
aloud; and He shall hear my voice."
Under the pressure of such a weight of woe, David makes
holy profession. Let the wicked rage—let foes prove treacherous—let
malignity in every form assail, he will still look to God. The severest
trials are only blessings in disguise when they quicken our speed to the
mercy-seat. Then burdens become light, and darkness brightens, and songs
of deliverance break forth.
David resolves that he will not use his voice in
lamentations or reproach, but will call upon God; and he will do so not in
formality, or in lifeless exercise, but in the full assurance of faith, that
audience will be given. Happy are they who know that they have free access
to the ears of God, and that their petitions, perfumed with the Redeemer's
blood, will encircle the mercy-seat with fragrant incense.
He resolves, also, that stated periods should be set
apart by him for distinct worship. Doubtless, we should be always in a
prayerful frame, and constant prayers should carry our desires on high. But
still to prevent forgetfulness, it is the part of wisdom diligently to
adhere to regulated times. Three times each day David made distinct
18. "He has delivered my soul in peace from the battle
that was against me; for there were many with me."
Happy is the mind which is enriched with large
experiences of felt mercies. No act of heavenly goodness should be
forgotten. The catalogue is capable of almost daily enlargement, and it
should be studied with devout thanksgiving. David had been a warrior from
his youth. He had taken part in many battles. He had been preserved, not in
safety only, but in peace. He had felt that God was on his side, and that in
God's support he was stronger than all the hosts of men. While others
trembled he knew no fears.
Is not this God our God forever and ever? Leaning
on His arm, should we not realize immovable support? David felt that there
were many with him. The eyes of Elijah's servant were opened to behold the
surrounding mountains filled with horses of fire and chariots of fire. Is it
not true that thus many are with us, and that the angel of the Lord encamps
round about those who fear Him and delivers them?
19. "God shall hear, and afflict them, even He who
abides of old. Because they have no changes, therefore they fear not God."
David's faith grows stronger as his trials swell.
Unwavering is his confidence that his prayers shall all be heard, and
vengeance shall destroy his foes. He states the ground of his confidence,
even his knowledge that God changes not, but is the same yesterday, and
today, and forever. With Him there is no variableness, neither shadow of
turning. His mercy, which has been from everlasting, endures forever.
A reason is given why the ungodly disregard the Lord.
They have no changes—they are at ease. Soft is the nest in which they
quietly repose. They have comfort today, and they fondly think that it will
always last. Whereas the children of the Lord, who are emptied from vessel
to vessel, learn in each change to cling more closely to their God.
20, 21. "He has put forth his hands against those who
are at peace with him; he has broken his covenant. The words of his mouth
were smoother than butter, but war was in his heart; his words were softer
than oil, yet were they drawn swords."
A picture is reproduced of the falsehood of the ungodly.
They treacherously assail the friends who trust them—their pledged promises
are wantonly disregarded. With gentle language and with oily tongue they
flatter and profess love, while the bitterest enmity is lurking in their
This cruel trial burst with intensity on the head of
Jesus. The traitor drew near with words of reverence and love, with
treachery in his heart.
22, 23. "Cast your burden upon the Lord, and He shall
sustain you; He shall never allow the righteous to be moved. But You, O God,
shall bring them down into the pit of destruction; bloody and deceitful men
shall not live out half their days; but I will trust in You."
A precious exhortation follows, supported by precious
promises. It is acknowledged that burdens may press heavily upon the child
of God; but he is exhorted not to sink beneath them, but to cast them on Him
who is ever at hand to receive them, even the Lord. Oh, for faith most fully
to obey, and thus to obtain entire relief! Let us clasp to our hearts the
promise, "He shall sustain you." Amid most raging billows Peter did not
sink. Mountains of adversity crushed not David.
Two inferences follow. He had full assurance that his
cruel and treacherous foes were only digging the pit of misery for
themselves, while his deliverance would only deepen his unfailing confidence
in God. Oh for more of this happy trust! It is worth more than ten thousand