A train of sorrows moves along this page. Relief is found
in drawing near to God, and meditating on His wondrous works. We may have the
same sufferings. May we find the same rescue!
1. "I cried to God with my voice, even to God with my
voice; and He gave ear to me."
Before the Psalmist delineates his grievous state, he
openly avows the action of his soul, and the remedy obtained. His voice was
uplifted in earnest and repeated cries to God. He sowed good seed, and reaped
success. Happy would be our case, if we converted sufferings into prayers, and
made them gates of heaven. Let this be our resolve. It will turn darkness into
2-4. "In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord; my
sore ran in the night, and ceased not; my soul refused to be comforted. I
remembered God, and was troubled; I complained, and my spirit was overwhelmed.
You hold my eyes waking; I am so troubled that I cannot speak."
The days of the godly are often thus darkened. Troubles are
needed, and therefore will be sent. But they excite the soul to seek after
God. We have not a long road to travel. He always is by our side.
The Psalmist's present trouble seemed to be exceedingly
heavy. The spiritual pain gave anguish like wounds festering in the night.
There was no relief. The usual methods of consolation failed. His case seemed
to be hopeless. Even the thought of God brought not its usual joy. Doubts cast
a veil over His ready smiles. No sleep gave soothing ease. Utterance refused
to be the outlet of distress. He watched in silence; and in mute anguish
5-6. "I have considered the days of old, the years of
ancient times. I call to remembrance my song in the night; I commune with my
own heart; and my spirit made diligent search."
In meditation he pondered the records of God's ancient
dealings. The annals abounded in evidence that God's love had never failed.
They displayed His arm always mighty to deliver. He next reviewed his own
eventful story. He remembered times of lively joy, when the night heard his
songs of praise. It is well that the same periods be treasured in our minds.
Past pleasures should revive. He sought, also, the cause of his discomfort. He
probed the recesses of his heart. He used all efforts to discover what leaks
admitted these waters of bitterness.
7-9. "Will the Lord cast off forever? and will He be
favorable no more? Is His mercy clean gone forever? does His promise fail
forevermore? Has God forgotten to be gracious? has He in anger shut up His
Wave upon wave of doubts and fears break over the mind.
Apprehensions in terrific forms appear like specters. God's dark frown of
anger seems to look down. Smiles are obscured by unbroken gloom. The gate of
favor no longer opens. He trembles lest he should be cast off forever, and
mercy no longer give solace. He plaintively inquires, "Will lovingkindness no
longer cheer me?"
He had feasted on the rich meal of precious promises; these
promises no longer brought support. Can it be that he is forever excluded from
this heritage of God's people? Grace is God's delight. Can He forget this
exercise of His goodness? Has anger so barred the door that tender mercies can
have no passage? Thus he questioned; and the questions seemed to imply that
such doubts must be groundless temptations.
10. "And I said, This is my infirmity; but I will
remember the years of the right hand of the Most High."
Faith, though it had been downcast, revives. The Psalmist
sees that all this disconsolation sprang from his own weakness. Spiritual
power had failed. The real cause was not in the wavering love of God, but in
decline of holy trust. He confesses, This is my own infirmity. He sees
the remedy. He looks back to God's dealings in the long history of His Church.
Ages have passed; but ages have brought no diminution in God's power. His
right hand, which had wrought such wonders, is His right hand still, and never
can grow weak.
11-12. "I will remember the works of the Lord; surely I
will remember Your wonders of old. I will meditate also of all Your work, and
talk of Your doings."
Reviving faith returns to God, and drooping doubts are cast
aside. It flies on renovated wings to contemplate God's wonder-working hand.
It enters the precious treasury full of past records. Here it finds renewal of
assurance. Happy meditation traverses the path impressed by heavenly
footsteps. Thus refreshed, it opens the mouth in edifying conversation. Those
who fear the Lord will speak often one to another. The words of their mouths,
as well as the meditation of their hearts, will be acceptable in His sight. To
God also thanksgivings ascend. The knowledge of His glorious works is the
fruitful parent of adoration.
13. "Your way, O God, is in the sanctuary; who is so
great a God as our God?"
The footsteps of the Lord are clearly seen in the
ordinances of His house. It is the school of heavenly lessons. There His Word
reveals His character. There intelligence illumines devout worshipers. They
contemplate with open eyes God's majesty, and glory, and grace, and love. The
thought cannot be repressed that His every attribute is infinite. Where is
greatness like His greatness! What power can be compared to His! To know Him
is to lie low at His feet in boundless adoration.
14-15. "You are the God who does wonders; You have
declared Your strength among the people. You have with Your arm redeemed Your
people, the sons of Jacob and Joseph."
His sublime works shine as the midday sun. His omnipotence
appears as an impregnable shield and an all-conquering sword. His omnipotence
is as strong now as in the days of old. His arm has been displayed in
redeeming His chosen people from the furnace of affliction, and from the iron
grasp of relentless foes. But this power most brightly shines in redeeming His
own from the powers of darkness, and saving them from the chains of the
arch-enemy of souls. In contemplation of this work the shout breaks forth,
"Who is so great a God as our God!"
16-18. "The waters saw you, O God, the waters saw you;
they were afraid; the depths also were troubled. The clouds poured out water;
the skies sent out a sound; Your arrows also went abroad. The voice of Your
thunder was in the heaven; the lightnings lightened the world; the earth
trembled and shook."
The waters of the sea opposed a barrier to the fleeing
Israelites. Deep billows stopped an advance. But God appears; they tremble and
retreat; they leave a dry passage. Throughout, also, the march in the
wilderness, all nature seemed arrayed to provoke the opponents of God's
people. A deluge poured down from above. The skies peeled with appalling
sounds. The thunder and lightning fought on their behalf. So, also, by
miracles warring on their side, the people were established in the land of
19-20. "Your way is in the sea, and Your path in the
great waters, and Your footsteps are not known. You led Your people like a
flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron."
The ways of the Lord are past finding out. It is our wisdom
to trust His heart, when we have no skill to trace His hand. Who could have
imagined the dividing of the waters of the sea! The like had never before been
seen! Faith learns the happy lesson, that though God's dealings are
inscrutable, no impossibilities can impede Him. The good Shepherd will be a
faithful guardian of His flock. At His will He can raise up ministers to be
their guide. As Moses and Aaron went before the rescued hosts, so appointed
leaders shall watch over His people. Let none distrust who have this God for