The Believer’s Trust in God and His Word.
A psalm of David, written probably about the same time as the preceding one, picturing the state of mind of one who is persecuted ‘Without cause and longs for the blessings of the worship in the midst of the congregation. V. 1. The Lord is my Light, the only Source of all spiritual light, and my Salvation, He who saves him from the darkness of oppression and persecution; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the Strength of my life, his Stronghold, his Bulwark, his sure Defense, keeping his life from destruction; of whom shall I be afraid? The entire song has the ring of Paul’s mighty hymn of triumph, Rom. 8, 31-39. V. 2. When the wicked, the doers of evil and mischief, even mine enemies and my foes, those who oppose and oppress him on all sides, came upon me, approaching him with marked hostility, to eat up my flesh, as wild beasts eager to tear and devour their prey, they stumbled and fell, unable to carry out their object because of the protection afforded David by Jehovah. V. 3. Though an host, a whole army or camp of adversaries, should encamp against me, besieging him on all sides, my heart shall not fear; though war should rise against me, in this, even in such a great extremity, will I be confldent, in spite of all that he would calmly trust in Jehovah, his Stronghold. Both the words and the tone of the psalm denote the holy and calm defiance with which all believers may await the attack of the enemies. V. 4. One thing have I desired of the Lord, in the midst of all these threatening dangers, that will I seek after, with a great desire: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord, the Tabernacle of His presence, all the days of my life, in the delight of intimate fellowship with Jehovah, to behold the beauty of the Lord, His favor and kindness as revealed in the Word of His grace, and to inquire in His Temple, meditating upon the wonderful blessings of His mercy in the message of the Gospel. V. 5. For, because of the believer’s close communion with God, in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion, in the Tabernacle, where His almighty hand protects; in the secret of His Tabernacle shall He hide me, sheltering the believer in the safety of His tent; He shall set me upon a rock, the house of Jehovah being a refuge and stronghold beyond the reach of puny men. V. 6. And now shall mine head be lifted up, in the triumph of a certain victory, above mine enemies round about me, the fact of whose defeat places the believer beyond their reach; therefore will I offer in His Tabernacle sacrifices of joy, thank-offerings always being occasions of great rejoicing. I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the Lord, which the faithful Israelites were wont to do at the festival meal connected with their thank-offerings. At the same time David does not, even in the remotest way, rely upon his own strength, and for this reason the triumphant strain of confidence now gives way to an earnest appeal. V. 7. Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice, calling loudly and emphatically; have mercy also upon me, that being the one safe reliance of the believer, and answer me, with a favorable reply. V. 8. When Thou saidst, Seek ye My face, at Jehovah’s call to seek His face, my heart said unto Thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek; the heart of the believer being attuned to the fellowship with Jehovah, it gladly answers His call, assenting thereto as an echo of it, happy in the knowledge that it pleases Jehovah if His children enter into the presence of God, in order to gain comfort, assistance, and blessings of every kind. V. 9. Hide not thy face (far) from me, veiling it from the prayer of the believer; put not Thy servant away in anger, thrusting him aside as unworthy; Thou hast been my Help, and the former mercy and love emboldens David to plead against rejection. Leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation. It is the cry of Jacob: “I will not let Thee go except Thou bless me,” Gen. 32, 26, a call which holds the Lord to the promise of His salvation. V. 10. When my father and my mother forsake me, the very nearest earthly relatives abandoning him who seems doomed to destruction, Matt. 10, 35. 36, then the Lord will take me up, receiving the believer into His care and protection, adopting him as His own child. V. 11. Teach me Thy way, the road according with Jehovah’s will, O Lord, and lead me in a plain path, even, level, without pitfalls, because of mine enemies, since they dog his every footstep and are trying to lead him into sin, his fall at the same time heaping dishonor upon God. V. 12. Deliver me not over unto the will of mine enemies, to the destruction which they had planned against him; for false witnesses are risen up against me, such being the methods employed by the enemies in their persecution of the believer, and such as breathe out cruelty, their every breath being charged with violence. V. 13. I had fainted unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living, literally, “If I did not trust to behold the excellence of Jehovah -!” He leaves the sentence unfinished. for it is too hard to picture and imagine life without the sustaining mercy of Jehovah. And so David encourages himself and all believers in conclusion, v. 14. Wait on the Lord, firmly trusting in the revelation of His mercy; be of good courage, strong of heart, and He shall strengthen thine heart, rather, let thy heart show itself mighty. Wait, I say, on the Lord. With this confident expectation the prayer of every believer must be concluded; for the Lord will, at His own time, bring salvation in rich measure upon His children, here in time and hereafter in eternity.