Trouble, prayer, confidence, and praise are the pervading
notes of this instructive hymn. Our faith will surely have its trials. May
each trial cause it to grow stronger! The shaken tree takes firmer root.
1, 2. "Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy! I look to
you for protection. I will hide beneath the shadow of your wings until this
violent storm is past."
The help of mercy is here keenly felt. A reiterated cry
calls down its aid. In prayer importunity can never be excessive. Sometimes
answers are delayed that this sweet exercise may be prolonged. Abundant
pleas enforce the soul's desires. Here confidence in God is urged. It is a
prevailing utterance, 'Help me, for in You is all my trust.'
As when storms give sign of near approach, or the hawk
hovers in the sky, the frightened brood seek shelter beneath the parent's
wings, so the believer hides himself in God, and will not leave his refuge
while perils are still near. Faith knows well the Covenant, and cries in
full assurance that no good thing will be withheld, and that God, who begins
the work of grace, will carry it to its end in glory.
3, 4. "He shall send from heaven, and save me from the
reproach of him who would swallow me up. God shall send forth His mercy and
His truth. My soul is among lions; and I lie even among those who are set on
fire, even the sons of men, whose teeth are spears and arrows, and their
tongue a sharp sword."
Here faith looks not for mercy only, but for fulfillment
of the pledged word. Happy are those who are well versed in the exceeding
great and precious promises, and can confidently pray, 'Do as You have
said.' It is this confidence which sustains God's children even when
malignity most rages and cruelty is most fierce. Such was David's case when
Saul and all his court pursued with every form of persecution. He knew their
savage malice; his eyes were open to their unsparing violence; but he looked
upwards, and fainted not.
5. "Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let Your
glory be above all the earth."
It is a precious thought, that when God appears to
vindicate His people's cause there is accession to the glories of His name.
The adversaries cannot but discern the favoring and protecting arm. They
tremble, and their fear gives reverence to God. Therefore when we beseech
God to stand by our side, we ask that honor and praise and glory may be more
6. "They have prepared a net for my steps; my soul is
bowed down; they have dug a pit before me, into the midst whereof they are
After this prayer David reverts to his foes; he sees
their plots, and is oppressed; he sees the pit prepared in his path, but he
feels that his steps will not be entrapped, but that the ruin so craftily
designed will be ruin to the contrivers.
7. "My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed; I
will sing and give praise."
In all his troubles his steadfast confidence in God could
not be moved. He stood as a rock amid assailing billows; he realized his
sure deliverance; his ready harp was tuned for praise.
8, 9, 10, 11. "Awake up, my glory; awake, psaltery and
harp; I myself will awake early. I will praise You, O Lord, among the
people; I will sing unto You among the nations; for Your mercy is great unto
the heavens, and your truth unto the clouds. Be exalted, O God, above the
heavens; let Your glory be above all the earth."
Intense is the desire of faith to glorify God. The
believer chides his tongue for being dull and remiss in this delightful
duty. He resolves to redeem time from unnecessary repose that the refreshed
faculties may consecrate their powers to God. He resolves that all to whom
his voice could extend should hear of the great attributes of God. His
delight shall be to tell of mercy and truth. But how can their infinitudes
be reached? High are the heavens above the earth, but higher far is mercy
which overtops the skies, and truth which soars above our powers to
comprehend. The chorus again sounds, "Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
let Your glory be above all the earth."