Prayer and Comfort in Times of Rebellion.

A psalm of David, written in similar circumstances as the two foregoing ones, his heart apparently being so full that his mouth was bound to speak, David in this case including himself with the people of God in praying against the oppression of the wicked and the unbelievers. V. 1. Unto Thee will I cry, once more with importunate earnestness, O Lord, my Rock, his impregnable Stronghold, Ps. 18, 2. Be not silent to me, being deaf to his prayer and so refusing to answer, lest, if Thou be silent to me, I become like them that go down into the pit, sinking down into the grave in utter hopelessness. V. 2. Hear the voice of my supplications, of his loud, and earnest entreaty, when I cry unto Thee, when I lift up my hands, in a gesture of urgent pleading, toward Thy holy oracle, literally, “throne-hall,” this word here being used to designate the Most Holy Place, for the lid of the Ark of the Covenant was the place of the Lord’s presence in the midst of His people, Ex. 25, 22. V. 3. Draw me not away, to destruction, to punishment in time and eternity, with the wicked and with the workers of iniquity, which speak peace to their neighbors, with an outward profession of friendliness, but mischief is in their hearts, their outward show of kindness being assumed in order to mislead the trusting believers and thus to bring destruction upon them all the more quickly. V. 4. Give them according to their deeds, all that their wickedness deserved, and according to the wickedness, the evil and hypocrisy, of their endeavors; give them after the work of their hands, paying them back in kind; render to them their desert. Note that a true believer places his case into the hands of the Lord, to whom revenge belongs. V. 5. Because they regard not the works of the Lord, they are blind to the righteous and gracious government of Jehovah, nor the operation of His hands, in everything that He does for mankind, He shall destroy them and not build them up, the picture being that of a building which is torn down instead of having its construction finished. V.6. Blessed be the Lord because He hath heard the voice of my supplications, his cries for mercy, the believer being sure even in advance of being heard. V. 7. The Lord is my Strength, which serves to protect him, and my Shield, safe-guarding him against every attack. My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped, the fulfillment of his prayer being represented as already present; therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth, and with my song will I praise Him, giving all glory to Him alone for His merciful salvation. V. 8. The Lord is their Strength, a protection to all those who believe and trust in Him, and He is the saving Strength of His anointed, mightily preserving all those consecrated to Him from every form of destruction by placing them in such places of refuge where the wiles of the enemies cannot reach them. It is in this joyful and certain confidence that the concluding prayer is made for the Christian Church of all times, v. 9. Save Thy people, with an everlasting redemption, and bless Thine inheritance, the people whom Jehovah Himself had chosen for His portion; feed them also, as a true Shepherd, and lift them up forever, bearing them up, carrying them in His arms. Cp. Deut. 32, 11. That is the proper prayer of the Church at all times, especially when the forces of darkness are unusually active in assailing the work of the Lord as effected through the means of Grace.