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Early In The Morning I Will Praise The Lord


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« Reply #165 on: November 29, 2006, 12:02:25 PM »

Psalm 130

The essence of the Gospel pervades this hymn. Sin is seen in its odious character. Its due penalties are acknowledged. But forgiveness is proclaimed as leading to reverential sense of God's holiness. The soul waits for the Lord, who is rich in mercy and redeeming love, and ready to blot out every iniquity.

1-2. "Out of the depths have I cried to You, O Lord. Lord, hear my voice; let Your ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications."

The speaker cries in deep sense of sin. Convinced by the Spirit of the appalling evil, he lies in the lowest depths of misery. All the billows of wrath seem to be passing over him. There is no shadow of help but in God. With earnest cries he lifts up the supplicating voice.

3. "If You, Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?"

Confession is made of utter ruin. Our natural state is a mass of evil. Thus in ourselves we stand justly exposed to all wrath. Let us continually pray, Enter not into judgment with your servant, O Lord, for in Your sight shall no man living be justified.

4. "But there is forgiveness with You, that You may be feared."

The mercy of mercies here shines forth. God appears glorious on redemption's throne. He has provided forgiveness in the cross of Calvary. Christ's precious blood washes out every stain of guilt. His righteousness covers all our transgressions. Who will not love and bless God! Those who love Him cannot but love His holy ways, and dread nothing more than to stray from the Gospel-rule.

5-6. "I wait for the Lord, my soul does wait, and in His word do I hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning; I say, more than those who watch for the morning."

The Lord has promised never to leave or forsake or forget His people. He will visit them with the plenitude of His lovingkindness. He will bless them with the multitude of His tender mercies. For these sweet manifestations the believer continually waits. He looks out from His watchtower as one watching for the morning, who knows that in the appointed time the welcome rays will illumine the eastern sky.

7-8. "Let Israel hope in the Lord; for with the Lord there is mercy, and with Him is plenteous redemption. And He shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities."

In great mercy we are called to the full assurance, that our hope in God shall never be disappointed. Reality will surpass all expectation. Mercy sits beside Him on His throne, and ever loves to visit and cheer the ransomed people. The redemption decreed and accomplished is a cup which ever overflows. We cannot exhaust it. It is more than sufficient for all our need. Every sin shall disappear, and we shall be presented before the throne, holy and pure as our Lord is holy and pure. Happy are those who know the Gospel's joyful sound!

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« Reply #166 on: November 29, 2006, 12:04:03 PM »

Psalm 131

The Psalmist avows his deep humility. Exhortation to hope in God is added.

1-2. "Lord, my heart is not haughty, nor my eyes lofty; neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me. Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother; my soul is even as a weaned child."

Humility is a lovely grace. When the God-man trod this earth this was His robe. No ostentation marked His lowly walk. Hear His enchanting words; "I am meek and lowly in heart." Hear the Apostle's appeal; "I beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ." If Jesus thus trampled upon pride, shall we, poor dust and ashes, lift up haughty heads?

Take, also, the example of the noble Paul. Early in his career he professes that he was the least of the Apostles, not worthy to be enrolled in their company. As he grew in grace he deepened in knowledge of unworthiness. He declared that he was less than the least of all saints. Just before he receives the crown of martyrdom we hear his bewailing voice; Sinners, of whom I am chief. If we had like grace, we should similarly despise self. He who is deeply instructed in the treachery and corruption of his own heart, will always esteem others better than himself. His soul will be deeply conscious of its utter need. Like a helpless babe it will look for support from a parent's care.

3. "Let Israel hope in the Lord from henceforth and forever."

No hope may repose on self, yet all hope is the believer's portion. He can look up to God, whose tender sympathy feels with our every woe. Let us pray that our hope may never fail, but daily strengthen more and more. It will soon end in glorious reality. Israel's hope will soon be Israel's glory. The lovely prospect will soon be actual possession. Expectation will be more than satisfied.

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« Reply #167 on: November 29, 2006, 12:22:21 PM »

Psalm 132

The Ark foreshadowed the Church. As such it was the object of pious care. This ode proceeds to enumerate God's promises.

1. "Lord, remember David, and all his afflictions."

It is a gracious privilege to be permitted to be God's remembrancers. Faith is encouraged to remind Him of His covenant and of His precious promises. There is, indeed, no forgetfulness with Him. The past, as also the future, is a present page before His eye. But by this exercise we impress on our own minds invaluable lessons. Thus God is implored to bear in mind the story of the suffering David. In him we have a type of the blessed Jesus. Thus the deep import of this prayer awakens God's attention to the expiatory sufferings of the Lamb of God.

David was especially a man of sorrows. All believers drink the same cup. The afflictions of Christ's followers are salutary discipline. They wean from the world and quicken the growth of grace. We shall pray God to accomplish His purposes. The furnace of affliction should never be heated in vain.

2-5. "How he swore to the Lord, and vowed to the mighty God of Jacob; Surely I will not come into the tabernacle of my house, nor go up into my bed; I will not give sleep to my eyes, or slumber to my eyelids, until I find a place for the Lord, a habitation for the mighty God of Jacob."

The especial object of this prayer is that David's zeal for the Ark should not be forgotten. Deep and fervent was this zeal. It was the constant inhabitant of his heart. He longed to conduct the Ark to its resting place in Zion. He cast away all thought of rest and quiet, until success should crown his efforts. We should learn therefore that zeal for the prosperity of God's Church should be foremost among our desires. For this we should incessantly toil. For this we should regard all sacrifices as light. Can we truly say, each one, The zeal of Your house has eaten me up?

6. "Lo, we heard of it at Ephratah; we found it in the fields of the wood."

The Church is often in depressed condition. The Ark was carried into the Philistines' country, and after its return, it remained obscure and unnoticed. At Bethlehem David could only gather some reports concerning it. At last he found it in the fields of Kirjath-jearim. The Church can never be hidden for long. The sun reappears after a short eclipse.

7-9. "We will go into His tabernacles; we will worship at His footstool. Arise, O Lord, into Your rest; You, and the ark of Your strength. Let Your priests be clothed with righteousness; and let Your saints shout for joy."

It is the joy of joys to join the company of true worshipers. Prayer should be earnest that God would manifest Himself in His sanctuary and cause His presence to diffuse hallowed delight. Especially should we pray that His ministers be conspicuous for holiness and pre-eminent as men of God. Then exuberant gladness will fill God's courts with praise.

10. "For Your servant David's sake turn not away the face of Your anointed."

The idea is not a vain fancy that Solomon, now established as Israel's anointed king, thus prayed. He beseeches God not to forget the promises to David. In faith of their performance the youthful king is encouraged to persevere in prayer. Let us therefore gather cheering support. Believers may thus personally supplicate. By the Spirit's unction they are priests unto God. They may implore, for the sake of the true David, that they may be welcomed at the mercy-seat. May we persist in prayer, looking upwards in the name of Jesus!

11-14. "The Lord has sworn in truth to David; He will not turn from it; of the fruit of your body will I set upon Your throne. If your children will keep My covenant and My testimony that I shall teach them, their children shall also sit upon Your throne forevermore. For the Lord has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His habitation. This is my rest forever; here will I dwell; for I have desired it."

Remembrance is called to a notable prediction. The throne of David descends in unbroken line to his offspring. The suppliant pleads for its fulfillment with undoubting faith. It is precious thus to grasp the promises of God. God chose Zion as a type of His Church. He gives assurance that He will maintain forever the seed of grace. We may rejoice that this God is our God forever and ever. He will uphold His people to the end. He will rest in His love. He will make the Church the abode of His continual presence.

15-16. "I will abundantly bless her provision; I will satisfy her poor with bread. I will also clothe her priests with salvation; and her saints shall shout aloud for joy."

Glorious promises enrich the treasures of the Church. No good thing shall be withheld. All mercies shall abound. Her faithful ministers shall shine brightly in the robes of salvation. Her true servants shall testify their joy with exuberant thanksgiving. Can we give sufficient thanks if we have been called to fellowship with this blessed company?

17-18. "There will I make the horn of David to bud; I have ordained a lamp for My Anointed. His enemies will I clothe with shame; but upon Himself shall His crown flourish."

The power of the Lord shall be displayed in the perpetual preservation of the Church. It shall be armed with might as the strongest animals are endued with power. Heavenly rays shall be its unfading lamp. While shame will bring contempt upon their enemies, the crown of glory shall rest on the true sons of David. May we study these abundant promises! May we embrace them with thanksgiving! May we live undoubtingly relying on their fulfillment! May we lift up the head as faithful citizens of Zion!



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« Reply #168 on: November 29, 2006, 12:26:11 PM »

Psalm 133

The blessings of peace and concord are commended. May they be sought and enjoyed by us!

1-3. "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard; that went down to the skirts of his garments; as the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion; for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life forevermore."

Countless blessings gladden and enrich the pilgrims whose feet happily climb the hill of life. True joy is the companion of a close walk with God. These pilgrims are dressed in a lovely robe. Their garment is love of the brethren in the faith. This is the evidence of real union with Christ. This grace was the admiration of the heathen of old. It was the well-known testimony, See how these Christians love one another. This precious hymn exhibits this union as good, and pleasant, and fragrant, and fertilizing. It is good, as it is in accordance with the character of our Heavenly Father, of whom it is sublimely said, God is love. It is good, as those who exhibit it show the lineaments and features of the first-born among many brethren. It is pleasant. What can be more charming than to see the smile of love, to listen to the words of love, and to feel assurance that we are encircled by those whose hearts are knit with ours! It is fragrant, for it sheds around the perfume of true happiness. Ointment poured forth cannot refresh the home more than the constant sweetness of harmonious feeling. It is fertilizing as leading to the growth of grace, and as uniting hearts in every holy word and work. Thus it is figured by the holy oil which, poured upon the head of Aaron, ran in fragrant streams to the lowest portion of the priestly robes. It is fruitful as the dew which moistened the summits of Hermon and softened the heights of Zion's range. Let us seek this grace, so blessed in itself, so blessed to all with whom there is communion. But this unity implies not tolerance of error. Two cannot walk together except they are agreed. Light can have no fellowship with darkness. Those who thus walk together must first have met in Christ. Oneness with Him is the only true bond of union.


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« Reply #169 on: November 29, 2006, 12:28:05 PM »

Psalm 134

The ministers of the sanctuary are exhorted to bless the Lord. In response blessings are invoked on the speaker.

1-2. "Behold, bless the Lord, all you servants of the Lord, which by night stand in the house of the Lord. Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, and bless the Lord."

Public worship is a perpetual ordinance. From age to age God's faithful servants will frequent His house and join in common prayer and praise. It will be their delight meekly to listen to the proclamation of His truth. Those who lead in the outward form should precede, also, in inward grace. Those who conduct the hymns of praise should be foremost in offering heartfelt thanksgivings. In the early Church the lighted sanctuary was not a silent place during the hours of night. We have a sweet emblem here of the white-robed congregation, from whose lips unceasing hallelujahs sound. May we soon join the hallowed service!

3. "The Lord, who made heaven and earth, bless you out of Zion."

The ministers of the sanctuary are supposed to give response. The grateful reply is, May He, whom we are thus exhorted to bless, pour blessings upon you. How vast must be the blessings which descend from Him who is the omnipotent Creator of the universe! Infinity is the measure of His goodness. All mercies surely come in accordance with His heavenly decree. But it is from Zion that His blessings go forth. Zion typifies the Church of which the blessed Jesus is the High Priest. In Him God blesses His people with all blessings in heavenly places. He who spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Heavenly Father, we bless You for Jesus; evermore bless us in Him!


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« Reply #170 on: November 30, 2006, 07:38:22 AM »

Psalm 135

Exhortations to praise the Lord are reiterated. Motives to this exercise are boundless, and are piously set forth.

1-3. "Praise the Lord. Praise the name of the Lord; praise Him, O you servants of the Lord, you who stand in the house of the Lord, in the courts of the house of our God, praise the Lord; for the Lord is good; sing praises to His name; for it is pleasant."

Fervor never should relax in awakening others to give praise. Every faculty should burn in efforts to promote this duty. Let ministering servants lead the van and wave the standard. It is most true that no praises can adequately extol God's goodness. Think of His mercies and overflowing love. The infinitude of His love is shown in the gift of His dear Son to accomplish salvation, to endure our curse, to bring us safely to the heaven of heavens, to present us faultless before the presence of His glory. Can we reflect on such grace and not exclaim, The Lord is good! This exercise of praise fills the soul with exquisite delight. It is the joy of joys. It is the foretaste of heaven. Let us then call upon all that is within us and around us to bless His holy name.

4. "For the Lord has chosen Jacob for Himself, and Israel for His peculiar treasure."

No height of praise can measure the wondrous grace of God in setting His love on sinful sons of men. Everything in them is calculated to excite alienation. Justice, holiness, and truth seem terribly to frown. Still He loves. The gift of Jesus for them is the main evidence. In this love He regards them as His peculiar treasure. He honors them as the riches of His kingdom, as the brightest jewels in His crown.

5-6. "For I know that the Lord is great, and that our Lord is above all gods. Whatever the Lord pleased, that He did in heaven, and in earth, in the seas, and all deep places."

We cannot too often ponder the almightiness of God. Every view awakens admiration. The gods of the heathen are vanity, and less than dust and chaff. His will is power in the highest. His decrees prevail in every part of His dominions, in all the earth, in all above it, in all beneath it. His power rules unlimited and supreme.

7. "He causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth; He makes lightnings for the rain; He brings the wind out of His treasuries."

The wild elements seem to unenlightened observation to act capriciously and without control. But His power holds them fast bound in His hands. No vapors arise, no lightning flashes, no rain descends, no wind blows furiously, but in accordance with His sovereign will. Let us bless God for His unbounded rule.

8-9. "Who smote the first-born of Egypt, both of man and beast. Who sent tokens and wonders into the midst of you, O Egypt, upon Pharaoh, and upon all his servants."

Memory should review the manifestations of His power, when with mighty arm He rescued His people from the iron furnace of Egypt. Then wailing filled every house, for the first-born was stretched among the dead. Then terrible plagues swept the whole land with the broom of destruction. O God, who will not reverence Your glorious power!

10-12. "Who smote great nations, and slew mighty kings; Sihon king of the Amorites, and Og king of Bashan, and all the kingdoms of Canaan; and gave their land for an heritage, an heritage to Israel His people."

He who rescued His children from Egypt left them not in the perils of the wilderness. Many foes confronted them, but their heavenly Lord raised them above all perils. Mighty potentates with powerful armies opposed their progress, but resistance opposed in vain. The victorious host marched in triumph into the promised land. But they entered not without a struggle. The kings of Canaan mustered all their forces to repel the invaders. But they vanished as the chaff of the summer threshing floor. The whole land fell prostrate before their feet.

In this sustaining and enabling help, we have a precious picture of God's unfailing care of His people. He who begins a good work in them performs it to the end. They are kept by the power of God through faith to eternal life. He never leaves them nor forsakes them until they sit as conquerors on their thrones of glory. Let us bless God for His converting grace. Let us bless Him not less for His guardian arm and for His ever-watchful aid.

13-14. "Your name, O Lord, endures forever; your fame, O Lord, is known to every generation. For the Lord will vindicate his people and have compassion on his servants."

From everlasting to everlasting the name of the Lord shall be magnified. His wondrous works shall be the theme of never-ending praise. He will never fail to vindicate His people. If for a little season He may seem to be regardless of their trials, the purpose is to strengthen their grace. In due time it shall be apparent that His love failed not.

15-18. "The idols of the heathen are silver and gold, the work of men's hands. They have mouths, but they speak not; eyes have they, but they see not; they have ears, but they hear not; neither is there any breath in their mouths. Those who make them are like them; so is every one that trusts in them."

The infatuation of those who form material images and call them gods is astonishing. Alas! multitudes as senseless as these idols still throng the benighted regions of this earth. Shall we remit our efforts to send to them the knowledge of the true and only God, and Jesus Christ whom He has sent?

19-21. "Bless the Lord, O house of Israel; bless the Lord, O house of Aaron; bless the Lord, O house of Levi; you who fear the Lord, bless the Lord. Blessed be the Lord out of Zion, who dwells at Jerusalem. Praise the Lord."

Blessings should ever sound from the lips of the ministers of His truth. His faithful servants should re-echo His praise. Who should bless Him more than ourselves? Let us loudly shout and never end our grateful hallelujahs.

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« Reply #171 on: November 30, 2006, 07:47:44 AM »

Psalm 136

The mercy of the Lord is largely illustrated, and due praises are invoked.

1-3. "O give thanks to the Lord; for He is good; for His mercy endures forever. O give thanks to the God of gods; for His mercy endures forever. O give thanks to the Lord of Lords, for His mercy endures forever."

In every name, under every title, in every attribute let our God be magnified, honored, glorified; and let the constant chorus exalt His ever-enduring mercy.

4-9. "To Him who alone does great wonders; for His mercy endures forever. To Him who by wisdom made the heavens; for His mercy endures forever. To Him who stretched out the earth above the waters; for His mercy endures forever. To Him who made great lights; for His mercy endures forever. The sun to rule by day; for His mercy endures forever. The moon and stars to rule by night; for His mercy endures forever."

His works of creation excite incessant praise. Infinite wisdom orders the whole plan. Behold the earth with all its wonders rearing its head above the waters. Behold the skies glorious by day, by night studded with lovely orbs. Surely every object bids the chorus to magnify ever-enduring mercy.

10-16. "To Him who smote Egypt in their firstborn; for His mercy endures forever. And brought out Israel from among them; for His mercy endures forever. With a strong hand, and with a stretched-out arm; for His mercy endures forever. To Him who divided the Red Sea into parts; for His mercy endures forever. And made Israel to pass through the midst of it; for His mercy endures forever. But overthrew Pharaoh and his host in the Red Sea; for His mercy endures forever. To Him who led His people through the wilderness; for His mercy endures forever."

Review again His terrific judgments in Egypt. The firstborn lie dead, and mighty deliverance rescues His chosen people. The sea divides to present a dry path. Pharaoh is overwhelmed. Every incident in the story awakens again a tribute to ever-enduring mercy.

17-22. "To Him who smote great kings; for His mercy endures forever. And slew famous kings; for His mercy endures forever. Sihon king of the Amorites; for His mercy endures forever. And Og the king of Bashan; for His mercy endures forever. And gave their land for an heritage; for His mercy endures forever. Even an heritage unto Israel His servant; for His mercy endures forever."

Mark the victorious march of the beloved people. Mighty kings resist in vain. They lick the dust and perish. Their fair borders become the abode of the victorious host. Again every circumstance prompts the acknowledgment that His mercy endures forever.

23-26. "Who remembered us in our low estate; for His mercy endures forever; and has redeemed us from our enemies; for His mercy endures forever. Who gives food to all flesh; for His mercy endures forever. O give thanks unto the God of heaven; for His mercy endures forever."

But the signal mercies given unto ourselves especially awaken this chorus. Redemption is ours from all our enemies. Glory is ours forever and ever. Who will not shout aloud, We give thanks unto You, O God of heaven; we gratefully acknowledge, Your mercy endures forever!


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« Reply #172 on: December 01, 2006, 09:20:00 AM »

Psalm 137

A plaintive ode bewails the misery of the captive Jews. Their devotion to their country is avowed. Woe on their enemies is called down in language of prediction.

1. "By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down; yes, we wept, when we remembered Zion."

A pensive group is pictured. We see the mourning captives seated by the banks of the waters of Babylon. Fast flowing tears betoken the anguish of their wounded hearts. Where does this pitiful grief come from? They are removed from their beloved Zion. Their thoughts uncaptured wander through their early haunts. Can reflection fail to weep? Hard are the hearts which mourn not when parted from their native land and the loved ordinances of God's house.

2. "We hung our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof."

The harps once used in public service, and as the solace of their homes, now bring no joy. Their sight awakens pangs of regret. Therefore they hang untouched upon the neighboring trees.

3. "For there those who carried us away captive required of us a song; and those who wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion."

Their insulting captors mocked their misery. In derision they bade them tune again their harps, and for amusement to sing as in the happy days of Zion. Tender feeling is a stranger to the hearts of the enemies of God.

4. "How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?"

A sad response checks the taunting wish. The pensive captives reply that no melody could proceed from them. They are far distant from their much-loved Zion; and sounds of woe can be their only utterance.

5-6. "If I forget You, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember You, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy."

The claims of Jerusalem on the warmest affections are forcibly expressed. It is desired that all intelligence may decline, if Jerusalem ever ceased to be the much-loved object of the heart. Forgetfulness of skill and silent lips should be the lot of those who could prefer any happiness to that of thought of Jerusalem. We should, indeed, rank as unworthy of any blessing, if ever we failed to exalt You, O blessed Jesus, as chief among ten thousand and altogether lovely.

7-9. "Remember, O Lord, the children of Edom in the day of Jerusalem; who said, Raze it, raze it, even to its foundations. O daughter of Babylon, who are to be destroyed; happy shall he be, who rewards you as you have served us. Happy shall he be, who takes and dashes your little ones against the stones."

If the final issue be brought into view, it will be seen how happy are the captives as contrasted with their subjugators. The former suffer anguish for a brief period, the latter are doomed to everlasting destruction. Let us bless God that shelter is provided in Christ Jesus from the indignation and wrath ready to fall on mystic Babylon.


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« Reply #173 on: December 01, 2006, 09:23:06 AM »

Psalm 138

Praise is vowed to the Lord. This debt should be devoutly paid. The Lord is worthy to be trusted.

1-2. "I will praise You with my whole heart; before the gods will I sing praise to You. I will worship toward Your holy temple, and praise Your name for Your lovingkindness, and for Your truth; for You have magnified Your word above all Your name."

No joy can surpass the delight of thanksgiving. It is a thrice blessed exercise. It brings down heaven into the heart. It should engage all the affection of the inner man. Cold praise is an insulting mockery. No fear of man should check this utterance. Before earth's highest potentates timidity should not bring silence. But especially should we take pleasure in the praises of holy ordinances. God's love and truth should have the loudest notes. His faithful performance of His precious promises demand acknowledgment. There is no brighter jewel in the crown of His attributes.

3. "In the day when I cried You answered me, and strengthened me with strength in my soul."

Experience is a grand encouragement in holy duties. The soul is lively and hopeful, when it can point to promises all fully redeemed. It is delight to know that when in Christ's name we seek spiritual strength we offer petitions which will surely have response, because in accordance with God's mind.

4-5. "All the kings of the earth shall praise You, O Lord, when they hear the words of Your mouth. Yes, they shall sing in the ways of the Lord; for great is the glory of the Lord."

The day shall surely come when the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdoms of the blessed Jesus, and He shall reign forever and ever. Let us by constant prayer hasten this happy time.

6. "Though the Lord is high, yet has He respect unto the lowly; but the proud He knows afar off."

Our Heavenly Father humbles Himself to behold the things which are in heaven and earth; but His eyes regard the lowly with especial favor. Let us be clothed with humility, thus shall we be fit for robes of glory.

7. "Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me; You shall stretch forth Your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and Your right hand shall save me."

In our heavenward course troubles will beset us on the right hand and on the left. But let no fears depress us. The Lord will strengthen and refresh us. He will cause our graces to blossom like the rose. His mighty power shall be manifested in our behalf, and we shall stride victorious over all hindrances.

8. "The Lord will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy, O Lord, endures forever; forsake not the works of Your own hands."

May the Lord give us grace to clasp to our hearts the truths of this most precious verse! He who has begun the work will surely bring it to perfection. If the foundation be truly laid, the topstone will be brought forth with shouts of, Grace to it, Grace to it! Desertion is unknown in the kingdom of the blessed Jesus.


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« Reply #174 on: December 01, 2006, 09:35:43 AM »

Psalm 139

All things are naked and open to the omniscience of God. His presence is all-pervading. Suitable prayer concludes the hymn.

1-5. "O Lord, You have searched me, and known me. You know my down-sitting and my uprising; You understand my thought afar of. You compass my path, and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, You know it altogether. You have beset me behind and before, and laid Your hand upon me."

God's all-seeing eye and all-pervading presence are indisputable. His thorough knowledge of all the events in which we are intermixed, His close reading of every movement of the inner man, His observation of the characters, His distinct perception of every thought, of every word and deed, of every step taken, of every wish conceived, are acknowledged truths. Never do we come in or go out, never do we rise or sit down, but His eye marks us. Our lips never open, no utterance ever sounds, but His all-hearing ear discerns the significance. A recording book is written. We are always surrounded by His power, and never can escape His hand.

6. "Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it."

This knowledge is quite infinite, and therefore cannot be comprehended by finite mind. We can only ponder, wonder, and adore. But when duly pondered, what comfort springs to the believer! Amid all his countless transgressions, he knows that he desires to walk at each moment in the faith and fear of God, and his constant prayer is, Lord, what will You have me do? Thus he thinks on God, and peace is his soft pillow.

7-12. "Where shall I go from Your Spirit? or where shall I flee from Your presence? If I ascend up into heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, Even there shall Your hand lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yes, the darkness hides not from You; but the night shines as the day; the darkness and the light are both alike to You."

No terms can fully describe God's omnipotence. There is no spot in heaven or earth which He does not fill. There is no covert which affords concealment. He sits above the highest heavens. He descends below the lowest depths.

Alas! the folly of poor blinded man, who deceives himself by hopes that he can elude discovery. His every step is in the clear light of God's countenance. The day is near when all shall be proclaimed. Oh! that the Holy Spirit would write this truth with power on our minds! The thought would operate as a strong warning against sin. The check would constantly operate, "how can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?"

13-16. "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, our eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."

God's thorough knowledge of us and all our ways is patent from His creative power. Before we breathed, His will arranged our incipient being. What mechanism can be more exquisite in all its parts than the formation of our bodies! Divine skill is manifested in the design of its innumerable members. Wonder is exhausted in the contemplation. Select any part, it proclaims that infinite wisdom devised the plan, and infinite power brought it to perfection. Can this great Creator not have most intimate acquaintance with the beings which He thus formed?

17-18. "How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand; when I awake, I am still with You."

There is much transport in the knowledge that God thinks on us. If we cannot escape His observant eye, so too we cannot be hidden from His vigilant love. He loved His people before their bodies were framed, and never has His love relaxed. The value of this knowledge is inestimable, even as the multitude of His thoughts exceed enumeration. The child of God delightedly ponders this truth throughout his waking hours. They attend him until he closes his eyes in nightly repose, and when perception again returns, and the mind resumes its exercise, the same truth continues to gladden.

19-22. "Surely You will slay the wicked, O God; depart from me therefore, you bloody men. For they speak against You wickedly, and Your enemies take Your name in vain. Do I not hate those, O Lord, who hate You? and am not I grieved with those who rise up against You? I hate them with perfect hatred; I count them my enemies."

When we remember how great is God's love, and how countless His fatherly thoughts, the mind mournfully turns to those who have no part in this precious portion. Alas! there are many who must be reckoned as haters of God. Terrible, indeed, is their doom. It is denounced, "Bring here those enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, and slay them before me." If their steps are in the way of destruction, surely we shall refuse to walk with them. Love to God will estrange from all who hate Him.

23-24. "Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."

Faith boldly calls upon God to thoroughly investigate the heart, and to search its recesses with the lamp of divine truth. The desire glows, that every detected error may be slain, and that the feet may be guided into the way of eternal life. May this be our constant prayer, and may the outcome of our walk through life be the heavenly home and the joys at God's right hand forevermore!


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« Reply #175 on: December 01, 2006, 09:39:47 AM »

Psalm 140

In times of extreme distress deliverance is sought from God. He is extolled as the protector of His people. Faith looks to Him as the destroyer of all adversaries.

1-3. "Deliver me, O Lord, from the evil man; preserve me from the violent man; who imagine mischiefs in their heart; continually are they gathered together for war. They have sharpened their tongues like a serpent; adders' poison is under their lips."

Since sin defiled this earth, enmity has existed between the seed of the serpent and the children of the promised Savior. This wickedness has been displayed in every form of outward persecution. Schemes of secret malice have been its fruit. Violent assaults are made. Venomous slanders are circulated. Unaided strength is vain to escape.

But God is ever near, ready to protect. To Him should application be made. Earnest and incessant prayer should plead. Fruitless will be all efforts to destroy, if God in answer arises to give help.

4-5. "Keep me, O Lord, from the hands of the wicked; preserve me from the violent man, who has purposed to overthrow my goings. The proud have hid a snare for me, and cords; they have spread a net by the wayside; they have set gins for me."

As long as persecution rages heaven must be besieged. The resolve to destroy the godly is not always openly avowed. Frequently traps are set to ensnare unwary feet. This was the experience of David. But the knowledge of these acts was salutary discipline, and led to close communion with a prayer-hearing and prayer-answering God.

6. "I said to the Lord, You are my God; hear the voice of my supplications, O Lord."

Blessed, indeed, are the prayerful moments when we can appeal to the Lord that He is our God. Who can conceive all that is contained in the name of God? But all that God is, He is to the happy people. Can we desire more? Happy indeed is our case, if we have the Lord for our God.

7. "O God the Lord, the strength of my salvation, You have covered my head in the day of battle."

What must that salvation be which has omnipotence for its strength! Who can injure those who are thus saved by the Lord? They may be called to fight the good fight of faith. Fiery darts may fly around, but none can inflict mortal wound. God, who is the helmet, must be pierced before the head can be reached.

8-13. "Grant not, O Lord, the desires of the wicked; further not his wicked device, lest they exalt themselves. As for the head of those that compass me about, let the mischief of their own lips cover them. Let burning coals fall upon them; let them be cast into the fire; into deep pits, that they rise not up again. Let not an evil speaker be established in the earth; evil shall hunt the violent man to overthrow him. I know that the Lord will maintain the cause of the afflicted, and the right of the poor. Surely the righteous shall give thanks unto Your name; the upright shall dwell in Your presence."

Let peace ever reign in the believer's heart. The Lord on His side will crush His foes. The mischief plotted by them will be the pit which shall overwhelm them. The cause of the afflicted and the right of the poor shall gloriously be established. Dwelling in the constant light of God's smile, the righteous shall give everlasting thanks. Happiness now and forever is their portion.

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« Reply #176 on: December 01, 2006, 09:43:40 AM »

Psalm 141

This hymn commences with a general prayer for acceptance. It then branches into diverse petitions. Thus it stands a tree of solid stem bearing variety of fruit.

1-2. "Lord, I cry to You; make haste to me; give ear to my voice, when I cry to You. Let my prayer be set forth before You as incense, and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice."

Free access to the throne of grace is an inestimable privilege. No words can duly show the condescension of our God in permitting us to wrestle with Him, and not relax our grasp until responses come. May we delight in roaming in this field! When we draw near in the name of Jesus, heaven is fragrant with the perfume of His merits. Such prayer gains audience. It claims acceptance as the appointed evening service.

3. "Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips."

That the words of our mouth may be always acceptable in His sight, let us pray that the Spirit may ever guard its portals. No unadvised word will thus escape our lips, or come unwelcome to the bar of heaven.

4. "Incline not my heart to any evil thing, to practice wicked works with men that work iniquity; and let me not eat of their dainties."

There is contagion in surrounding evil. The atmosphere is pestilential. Hence let us pray that our hearts may not be beguiled into evil compliance, or fascinated by the miscalled pleasures of sin. False are the allurements. To be thus captivated is to sip poison's cup.

5. "Let the righteous smite me, it shall be a kindness; and let him reprove me, it shall be an excellent oil, which shall not break my head; for yet my prayer also shall be in their calamities."

Life is happy when we are surrounded with godly friends. Their precious counsels guide from evil. Their pious admonitions are fragrant as balmy oil. They never inflict a rankling wound. We may claim such kindness when it is our resolve to pray for mercies on our adversaries. Let us know no other revenge.

6. "When their judges are overthrown in stony places, they shall hear my words; for they are sweet."

Calamities to the wicked are portended under a graphic image. This shall be the season of tender admonition from the righteous, and gentle words should strive to win from evil.

7-10. "Our bones are scattered at the grave's mouth, as when one cuts and cleaves wood upon the earth. But my eyes are unto You, O God the Lord; in You is my trust; leave not my soul destitute. Keep me from the snares which they have laid for me, and the traps of the workers of iniquity. Let the wicked fall into their own nets, while I escape."

Heartless is the persecutor's rage. They would hew to pieces the followers of the Lord with the indifference of a woodman scattering chips by his ax. But the saints in their utmost distress look to their God, and so obtain comfort and deliverance. Especially they seek guidance to keep them safe from the snares so craftily laid in their path. It is just that those who plot such mischief should themselves be entrapped. With such pleas to present at the mercy-seat, with God so ready to support, let us fear no evil. Let us fly with eager wings to spread our need before our heavenly Lord.

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« Reply #177 on: December 01, 2006, 09:48:12 AM »

Psalm 142

The Psalmist is beset with trouble on every side. All refuge failed him but his God. To God he has instant recourse.

1-2. "I cried to the Lord with my voice; with my voice to the Lord did I make my supplication. I poured out my complaint before Him; I showed before Him my trouble."

Troubles will surely meet us in our upward march. Let there be no vain attempt to endure in our own strength. We are weak to bear the crushing load. Let us rather bring all to the mercy-seat. Let us cast them at the feet of Him who cares for us. Who ever looked to heaven and failed to find relief? If God gives His presence, all burdens will be light.

3. "When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then You knew my path; in the way wherein I walked have they privily laid a snare for me."

When troubles come in like a flood, Omniscience marks our every step. It is good when we can call God to witness that our true desire is to walk closely by His side. But the cruel enemy will strive to fill this path with snares.

4-5. "I looked on my right hand, and beheld, but there was no man who would know me; refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul. I cried to You, O Lord; I said, You are my refuge and my portion in the land of the living."

Vain is the help of man. Worldly friends soon vanish when the trouble is adverse. Such desertion is grievous aggravation of distress.

To this the blessed Jesus was most exposed. They all forsook Him and fled. Such, also, is the common lot of His true disciples. Paul mourned, Know you not that all who are in Asia have turned away from me. But God is still near, and full of compassion. We can approach His ready smile. We shall ever find in Him a sufficiency which no creatures could supply. Safe are those who can say, "You are my refuge." Rich are those who can add, "You are my portion." Let us flee to this fortress. Let us rejoice in this portion. Loneliness dwells not in this climate.

6-7. "Attend to my cry; for I am brought very low; deliver me from my persecutors; for they are stronger than I. Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise Your name; the righteous shall compass me about; for You shall deal bountifully with me."

There are no depths of fear, which prevent a cry to the throne of God. Mercy hears and flies to give relief. Strong may be the persecutors. They may bring us very low. Strong is the arch-enemy of our salvation, but omnipotence is the attribute of our Deliverer. Let us trust, then, and not be afraid. Often are our souls enthralled by the shackles of unbelief and sin and weakness. God can open every prison-cell, and remove every detaining chain. Grateful lips will then ascribe deliverance entirely to Him. The righteous shall see God's gracious dealings, and flock to our fellowship. Good Lord, increase our faith, animate our prayers, strengthen our every grace, that our glad experience may set our hand to the acknowledgment that You have dealt bountifully with us.

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« Reply #178 on: December 01, 2006, 09:52:21 AM »

Psalm 143

This hymn commences with a general petition, and then expands into a large field of supplication.

1. "Hear my prayer, O Lord; give ear to my supplications; in Your faithfulness answer me, and in Your righteousness."

David was pre-eminently a man of prayer. His constant abode was at the mercy-seat. He invokes the aid of those attributes of God which shine most brightly in His crown. Faith brings God and all that God is to render help.

2. "And enter not into judgment with Your servant; for in Your sight shall no man living be justified."

The thought of appearing before the tribunal of the law is full of terrors. The law exacts undeviating obedience to the rule of perfect love of God and perfect love to man. A curse is denounced on every transgression. The law allows not the plea of penitence or reformation. It listens not to cries for pardon. Its severe code admits no mitigation.

Let us flee to the covenant of grace. There free favor reigns. A Surety appears who pays in His own blood the penalty of our every sin, and robes us in His perfect obedience. Oh! precious Gospel, worthy of the God who gives! Worthy of all men to be received in faith and adoration! May we clasp the glad tidings to our heart of hearts!

3-4. "For the enemy has persecuted my soul; He has smitten my life down to the ground; He has made me to dwell in darkness, as those that have been long dead. Therefore is my spirit overwhelmed within me; my heart within me is desolate."

The cruelty of persecutors cannot soften. David endured distress and sorrow in every shape. He keenly felt the misery, and his heart often mourned in lonely destitution. Jesus trod this path. His followers should advance without a repining sigh.

5. "I remember the days of old; I meditate on all Your works; I muse on the work of Your hands."

There is sweet consolation in pious meditation. Let this be our chosen pleasure-ground. Let all God's mercies pass before our adoring eyes. Especially let His wondrous exploits in accomplishing salvation for us in the redeeming sufferings of Christ fix our happy gaze.

6-7. "I stretch forth my hands to You; my soul thirsts after You, as a thirsty land. Hear me speedily, O Lord; my spirit fails; hide not Your face from me, lest I be like unto those who go down into the pit."

The dry clods gaping for refreshing showers are a picture of the soul athirst for God. It is happy to experience this keen craving, and to spread it before the mercy-seat.

8-9. "Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning; for in You do I trust; cause me to know the way in which I should walk; for I lift up my soul to You. Deliver me, O Lord, from my enemies; I flee to You to hide me."

How precious when morning dawns and perceptive powers are restored to hear the whispers of God's love. Such joy fills the cup of all who trust in Him. How sweet is the assurance that if in faith and prayer we commit our way to the Lord, He will safely guide us and preserve us from all the cruelty and plots of designing men!

10-12. "Teach me to do Your will; for You are my God; Your Spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness. Quicken me, O Lord, for Your name's sake; for Your righteousness' sake bring my soul out of trouble. And of Your mercy cut off my enemies, and destroy all those who afflict my soul; for I am Your servant."

Here are important prayers. Let us adopt them as heaven-taught models. Let us faithfully present them. He who gave them will recognize His own voice. Gracious answers will abound.

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« Reply #179 on: December 01, 2006, 09:56:49 AM »

Psalm 144

Blessings are ascribed to God for great success and victories. Continuance of such mercies is implored. The happiness of God's people is depicted in glowing colors.

1-2. "Blessed be the Lord my strength, who teaches my hands to war, and my fingers to fight. My goodness, and my fortress; my high tower, and my deliverer; my shield, and He in whom I trust; who subdues my people under me."

The royal Psalmist sat undisturbed on the throne. He looked back and surveyed the many conflicts and the hard-won triumphs. He knew that God was the author of all his success. To Him he ascribes the praise and glory. Pictures are largely selected from scenes of war. They vividly describe the help and might of God. Whenever we prevail over sin and Satan and temptation, let us remember God, who is all our strength and deliverance. Let us magnify His holy name, with all the energies of our hearts.

3-4. "Lord, what is man, that You take knowledge of him, or the son of man, that You make account of him? Man is like vanity; his days are as a shadow that passes away."

Wondrous is God's condescending love. While we ponder let us adore. Though we are nothing, and less than nothing, the very vanity of vanities, the shadow of a shade, yet from the high throne of His glory His eye of compassion ever tenderly rests on us.

5-8. "Bow Your heavens, O Lord, and come down; touch the mountains, and they shall smoke. Cast forth lightning, and scatter them; shoot out Your arrows, and destroy them. Send Your hand from above; rid me, and deliver me out of great waters, from the hand of strange children; whose mouth speaks vanity; and their right hand is a right hand of falsehood."

To realize God's wondrous goodness is a great encouragement in prayer. Let us take courage and flee to Him in every strait, and seek His aid against all our foes.

9-11. "I will sing a new song to You, O God upon a psaltery, and an instrument of ten strings, will I sing praises unto You. It is He who gives salvation unto kings; who delivers David His servant from the hurtful sword. Rid me, and deliver me from the hand of strange children, whose mouth speaks vanity, and their right hand is a right hand of falsehood."

The mercies so freely and so largely given should awaken fervent praise. It was so with David; let it be so with us. While he acknowledged that God was all his strength and salvation, he continues to wrestle in entreaties. The more we receive the more we should desire. Let us never cease to encircle the mercy-seat with cries from our adoring souls.

12-15. "That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; that our daughters may be as cornerstones, polished after the similitude of a palace; that our garners may be full, affording all manner of store; that our sheep may bring forth thousands and ten thousands in our streets; that our oxen may be strong to labor; that there be no breaking in, nor going out; that there be no complaining in our streets. Happy is that people that is in such a case; yes, happy is that people whose God is the Lord."

Prayer will obtain floods upon floods of blessings. The prayerful monarch will reign over a happy, prosperous, glorious people. The subjects will shine in the beauties of holiness, and plenty will super-abound in their garners. Let us have confidence that our prayers will call down blessings, and that many will rejoice because we frequent the throne of grace. If there be happiness on earth, it is the happiness of those who live in the service of the God of their salvation.


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