Sounds of bitter grief wail through this Psalm. We hear
the mourning of a wounded spirit. All earthly refuge is shunned; help only
is in God.
1-2. "O Lord God of my salvation, I have cried day and
night before You. Let my prayer come before You; incline Your ear to my
This Psalm is received as the wailing of Heman the son of
Zerah. He was illustrious among men for mental gifts. Solomon scarcely
exceeded him in wisdom. But under sense of sin he did not find relief in
intellect. He flies to God, and pours out his heart in prayer. The whole
strain is misery at its full. There is but one word of comfort. He calls
upon God, as the God of his salvation. Grasping the plank of saving grace,
he could not sink. Let us learn the happy art of wrestling with God, in like
spirit of supporting faith.
3-5. "For my soul is full of troubles, and my life
draws near to the grave. I am counted with those who go down into the pit; I
am as a man who has no strength. Free among the dead, like the slain who lie
in the grave, whom You remember no more; and they are cut off from Your
His soul is faint through excess of anguish. All vital
power seems to be extinct. He regards himself as utterly cut off from life,
and as now moldering in the grave. So terrible was his grief that he speaks
of himself as already an inhabitant of the tomb.
6-7. "You have laid me in the lowest pit, in darkness,
in the deeps. Your wrath lies hard upon me, and You have afflicted me with
all Your waves."
Misery sighs in deeper notes. He mourns as now separated
from God. He wails as though lying in the very pit—amid all blackness of
darkness—in the uttermost depths. Can misery be more miserable! Let us look
up to Jesus. He has delivered us from all wrath.
8-9. "You have put away my acquaintance far from me;
You have made me an abomination to them; I am shut up, and I cannot come
forth. My eye mourns by reason of affliction; Lord, I have called daily upon
You; I have stretched out my hands to You."
Troubles lose much of their burden, when loving friends
are near to solace. This comfort was denied to Heman. Alone he mourned. Such
too was the lonely state of our beloved Lord. All His friends forsook Him
and fled. Prayer will bring Jesus to our side. We may plead His promise, I
will never leave You, nor forsake You.
10-12. "Will You show wonders to the dead? shall the
dead arise and praise You? Shall Your lovingkindness be declared in the
grave? or Your faithfulness in destruction? Shall Your wonders be known in
the dark? and Your righteousness in the land of forgetfulness?"
The plea is urged, that relief delayed may be too late.
When we lie down in the grave, we can no more show forth God's praise, or
spread abroad His wonders. While life continues, let us strive to magnify
Him, before all our powers are silent in the grave.
13-14. "But to You have I cried, O Lord; and in the
morning shall my prayer comes before You. Lord, why do You cast off my soul?
Why do You hide Your face from me?"
While we have life let it be prayer. This grace will
prevail. Let the earliest dawn witness our supplications. Let our cry be the
first utterance which reaches God. Let us thus seek to learn why He is
absent from us, and why His smile no longer cheers.
15-18. "I am afflicted and ready to die from my youth
up; while I suffer Your terrors I am distracted. Your fierce wrath goes over
me; Your terrors have cut me off. They came round about me daily like water;
they compassed me about together. You have put lover and friend far from me,
and my acquaintance into darkness."
Fearful is this picture of a soul agonizing under a sense
of God's withdrawal. What must be the misery of those realms, into which
hope never comes! Let us strive to look off from sin's deserts, to the
boundless merits of the dying Savior. He verily redeems from all
iniquity. He is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Let us
flee to Him. Let us cling to Him. Let us rejoice in Him. Sheltered in Him
we cannot be exposed to wrath. There is redemption through His blood,
even the forgiveness of our sins. O Jesus! we bless You, we adore You!