Evening Psalm in the Midst of Trials.
A psalm of David, a prayer for deliverance from afflictions and from the enemies who cause them. V. 1. Lord, I cry unto Thee, with the consciousness of the emergency besetting him; make haste unto me, since the need is so great; give ear unto my voice, paying speedy attention to it, when I cry unto Thee. The anguish-stricken soul, filled with distress, frets as though God were far from him, and therefore calls Him to draw near in mercy. V. 2. Let my prayer be set forth before Thee as incense, like the clouds of burning incense which rose up before the face of Jehovah in the Temple, as the officiating priest offered it at the golden altar in the Holy Place, Ex. 30, 8; Rev. 8, 3, and the lifting up of my hands, in the attitude of fervent prayer, as the evening sacrifice, which, if graciously accepted by the Lord, fitly closed the day and left the worshiper with a sense of peace and security in the hands of Jehovah, Ex. 29, 38-42. The picture is that of prayers which are acceptable to our heavenly Father and heard. At the same time every believer is striving for perfection and needs the help of God in fighting his own evil nature. V. 3. Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth, to keep it from expressing sinful thoughts; keep the door of my lips, guarding them from uttering complaints which would be equivalent to accusations against the Lord. V. 4. Incline not my heart to any evil thing, permitting it to follow its natural tendency in this respect, to practice wicked works with men that work iniquity, joining them in the wickedness in which they are so thoroughly at home; and let me not eat of their dainties, not taste and partake of the sensuous enjoyments of those who have gained their possessions unjustly. But the believer is willing also to accept the reproof of his brethren in the faith. V. 5. Let the righteous smite me, even with severe rebukes, it shall be a kindness, that is, the correcting should be done with the proper degree of gentleness; and let him reprove me, it shall be an excellent oil, which shall not break my head, his head would not refuse it, that is, far from resenting a fellow-Christian’s reprimand, every believer will rather welcome it as aiding him in his course of sanctification; for yet my prayer also shall be in their calamities, that is, the believer meets the malice of the enemies with prayer, their shameful practices with intercessions to the Lord. V. 6. When their judges, that is, the rulers and leaders of the enemies, are overthrown in stony places, cast down into utter destruction, they shall hear my words; for they are sweet. The time would come, David declares, when the people would overthrow the wicked rulers, the rebellious leaders, and execute them; then they would welcome once more their true king’s messages. V. 7. Our bones are scattered at the grave’s mouth, as when one cutteth and cleaveth wood upon the earth, or, ‘‘as one draws furrows and loosens the soil,” that is, although the enemies should apparently succeed in gaining the upper hand to the extent of stretching out the believers at the door leading to the realm of death, yet would they rise up once more, as the seed springs up out of the soil prepared for it, much as it seems to be cut up by the plowing. V. 8. But mine eyes are unto Thee, fixed upon Him in confident hope, O God the Lord, the All-powerful; in Thee is my trust; leave not my soul destitute, pouring it out, depriving it of its hold on His mercy. V. 9. Keep me from the snares which they have laid for me, which are like hands stretched out to catch and overthrow the believer, and the gins of the workers of iniquity, wherewith they intend to trap the faithful. V. 10. Let the wicked fall into their own nets, as a well-deserved punishment for their malicious persecution of the believer, whilst that I withal escape, all the wicked attempts of the godless thus coming to naught. So will all pious Christians finally be redeemed from every evil work to enjoy the redemption gained for them, world without end, the bliss of eternity being rightly called a deliverance.