The Greatness and Frailty of Human Nature
Psalm 40:17
But I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinks on me: you are my help and my deliverer; make no tarrying, O my God.

Human life, in its frailty, exposure, brevity, could not be more aptly described than it is here — "poor and needy." And yet, if man occupies a place in the Divine Mind, if God, who made him, thinks of and cares for him, he is great, and he may be rich and strong.

I. MAN'S FEELING OF POVERTY AND NEED. Had we been less rich, we had not been so poor; less richly endowed, we had been more at ease. It is because man has reason, conscience and affections that he feels thus. The brute may groan; the man weeps.


1. There is much in the events of life which makes it hard for a man to believe in this assurance. We read of explosions, cyclones, hurricanes, and our faith staggers. One man makes a mistake in his calculations, and hundreds of brave, unoffending men sink like a stone in the depths of the sea. Where is the evidence, we are tempted to ask, of the Divine regard for individuals? But when we express the conviction that God thinks of us, we are not therefore bound to vindicate His ways, or fathom the designs of His inscrutable providence. The declaration of the text is a flashing avowal of faith in the midst of much that is mysterious.

2. I think it is harder to grasp this great truth because of the massing together of great multitudes of people in our modern towns and cities. Every person in that enormous crowd has his own little world of interests, duties, affections, associations. Is it possible, can it be, that He from His throne "beholds all these dwellers upon earth"? Truly the Lord has much to see to, and there are many beds in the wards of the world. And yet to reason so is to attach the ignorance and the limitations of the finite mind to a mind which is infinite.

3. The deeper insight which man has to-day into the vastness of the universe makes it harder for us to realize the great truth of the text. In view of the wonders of astronomy what a pigmy is man! And yet, if myriads of ages have been required in which to make this earth a suitable residence for man, it may be that God has some regard for him. True, he is a reed, but, as Pascal said, he is a thinking reed, and the God who made him to think may think of him,

4. Besides, the wonderfulness of the infinitely little is even greater than that of the infinitely great. God, who elaborates the planet, polishes the atom. If "He telleth the number of the stars, and calleth them by their names," why may not He think of man?

5. But does God think of man? We will go at once to the highest, the all-conclusive evidence. It is in Jesus Christ that we are sure of God. He is the embodied thought of God — the Word made flesh. He cared for individuals. Look at the teaching of Jesus Christ. "Ye are of more value than many sparrows." "The very hairs of your head are all numbered." "The Father Himself loveth you." Look at the Cross of Jesus Christ. If a man does that, if he yields to the love that has its eternal sign there, the last vestige of doubt will vanish, and he will cry, "He loved me, and gave Himself for me."

(J. Lewis.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: But I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh upon me: thou art my help and my deliverer; make no tarrying, O my God.

WEB: But I am poor and needy. May the Lord think about me. You are my help and my deliverer. Don't delay, my God. For the Chief Musician. A Psalm by David.

The Good Man's Refuge in Affliction
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