The Tribulation and Comfort of the Righteous.
To the chief musician, to Jeduthun, at that time in charge of the Temple music, a psalm of Asaph, the psalm picturing the relief experienced by believers in the midst of affliction, by calling to mind God’s former and wonderful acts of deliverance. V. 1. I cried unto God with my voice, even unto God with my voice, in importunate supplication; and He gave ear unto me, in a gracious answer and act of deliverance. V. 2. In the day of my trouble, at the time when affliction beset him strongly, I sought the Lord, the All-powerful; my sore ran in the night and ceased not, rather, my hand is stretched out in the night, without being relaxed, he does not draw it back, he does not cease from crying to the Lord; my soul refused to be comforted, so thoroughly had his affliction discouraged him. V. 3. I remembered God and was troubled, groaning at the thought that Jehovah, once his Helper, had now apparently forsaken him; I complained, and my spirit was overwhelmed, so overcome that he could no longer think clearly. Selah. V. 4. Thou holdest mine eyes waking, holding the lids of his eyes open, depriving him of sleep on account of the misery which he felt; I am so troubled that I cannot speak, he is speechless from the excessive amount of his affliction. But his meditation now turns to the past. V. 5. I have considered the days of old, of ages long past, the years of ancient times, when the manifestations of God’s power and mercy were so numerous. V. 6. I call to remembrance my song in the night, when a feeling of happy gratitude caused him to use even the night season for anthems of praise; I commune with mine own heart, meditating in the seclusion of his inmost soul, making comparisons with the past happiness and the present misery; and my spirit made diligent search, trying to become clear in his own mind regarding the ways of the Lord. A summary of his meditation is now given. V. 7. Will the Lord cast off forever? Can it be possible that He will utterly forsake the afflicted? And will He be favorable no more, never again showing His good pleasure in the afflicted soul trusting in Him? V. 8. Is His mercy clean gone forever Has He for gotten all His merciful promises? Doth His promise fail forevermore? Surely such a course would not harmonize with the outstanding attributes of His essence. V. 9. Hath God forgotten to be gracious, to look upon His children with kind favor? Hath He in anger shut up His tender mercies? Selah. Note how closely these meditations agree with those in the experience of every believer. The psalmist now shakes off all feelings of doubt. V. 10. And I said, This is my infirmity, the suffering which was his lot in life; but I will remember the years of the right hand of the Most High, when the almighty power of Jehovah sustained him. V. 11. I will remember the works of the Lord, with praise and thanksgiving; surely I will remember Thy wonders of old, for there are miracles of God in the life of every believer, just as there are in the history of the Church. V. 12. I will meditate also of all Thy work, pondering upon them most carefully, and talk of Thy doings, by which God revealed His divine attributes to men. V. 13. Thy way, O God, is in the Sanctuary, literally, “in holiness”; everything that He does accords with the holiness of His essence. Who is so great a God as our God? His perfections place Him above all so-called gods and idols of the heathen. V. 14. Thou art the God that doest wonders, continually performing miracles of kindness and mercy; thou hast declared Thy strength among the people, revealing among the nations of the world His almighty power. V. 15 Thou hast with Thine arm redeemed Thy people, His uplifted, almighty arm providing deliverance to Israel, the sons of Jacob and Joseph, the latter being especially mentioned as bearers of the right of the firstborn. Selah. V. 16. The waters saw Thee, O God; the waters saw Thee, namely, when He made ready to cleave the waters of the Red Sea; they were afraid; the depths also were troubled, being filled with awe and trembling before the power of the Creator, Ex 14, 21. V. 17. The clouds poured out water, during a mighty thunderstorm revealing Jehovah’s power; the skies sent out a sound, the entire firmament sounding; Thine arrows also went abroad, the lightnings being pictured as active and aggressive. V. 18. The voice of Thy thunder was in the heaven or “in the whirlwind”; the lightnings lightened the world; the earth trembled and shook. The entire passage seems to be an elaborate picture. of the mighty phenomena preceding and accompanying the giving of the Law on Mount Sinai, all the powers of nature being used in the service of Jehovah, in the revelation of His incomparable majesty. V. 19. Thy way is in the sea and Thy path in the great waters, the trackless deep being obliged to offer Him a road, and Thy footsteps are not known, the full mysteries of His omnipotence and providence being beyond the comprehension of men. V. 20. Thou leddest Thy people like a flock, His hand both protecting and guiding them, by the hand of Moses and Aaron, His representatives before the children of Israel, Ex. 14, 29-31. All believers may rest assured that the God of Israel, Jehovah, will lead them, individually and collectively, through all the tribulations of this present time to everlasting salvation.