May those who say to me, "Aha, aha!" be appalled at their own shame.
Psalm 70. is the same as the close of Psalm 40. But, of course, at this distance of time, data which would fully explain that cannot be expected to be available. Still, it is a great comfort to be permitted to think of this paragraph as being penned at a different time and under different circumstances from those which called forth the preceding ten verses. It would be discouraging, indeed, if we found that in one and the same breath the psalmist was triumphantly set upon a rock, and then in a minute or two bowed down with a weight of woe! We are not called on to entertain such a doleful supposition; and are glad, therefore, to deal with this piteous prayer and plea as standing by itself. It is not difficult to seize the progress of the thought.
I. HERE IS A SOUL IN DEEP DISTRESS. (Ver. 12.) Whether the "evils" are the iniquities themselves, or the form in which those iniquities are brought home to him, is not absolutely clear. Probably the latter is the case. Very often surrounding circumstances may bring to us bitterly painful reminders of past sin. And this may be one of God's means of bringing a soul to repentance through the avenue of remorse and shame.
II. HERE IS AN UTTER ABSENCE OF SYMPATHY FROM THE OUTSIDE WORLD. Yea, something more than a lack of sympathy; for there is ridicule (ver. 15), there is joy over his sorrow (ver. 14, latter part); there is even an effort to destroy his peace, and perchance to further a plot against his life. Note: In the moments of deepest distress, when we look for succour from man, we find that the greater part are so engrossed in their own affairs, that they have never a tear to shed over another's sorrows, nor a hand to help in another's needs. This is hard. But it is a part of the discipline of life; and it is made use of by God to drive us to himself.
III. THE PSALMIST IS SHUT UP TO GOD. (Vers. 11, 13, 17.) It is not for nought that we are sometimes shut off from the sympathies of man. However trying, it is an infinite mercy when we are left with God alone. There, however, we have a perpetual Refuge. There are no fewer than four comforting thoughts specified here.
(1) There is the name - Jehovah;
(2) there is the assurance of having a share in the thoughts of God (ver. 17); there is in God
(3) loving-kindness; and
(4) faithfulness. "Thy truth," i.e. thy fidelity to thy promises. Note: Whoever has such a Refuge to which to flee, is well prepared for the worst of times.
IV. TO GOD HE UTTERS A FERVENT, PLEADING PRAYER.
1. One part of his prayer, and a prominent part too, is against his enemies. (Ver. 15.) We need not imitate David here" (see our homily on Psalm 35.). Let us leave our enemies in the hands of God; or, rather, let us pray for them.
2. A second part of his prayer is on behalf of the godly. (Ver. 16.) Note: This indicates that the psalmist was not moved by private feeling only, but by a pious public spirit.
3. A third part of his prayer is for himself. (Vers. 13 and 17.) Note: It will be very selfish of us if we pray only for ourselves, and very unnatural if we do not include ourselves. - C.
Innumerable evils have compassed me about.I. A SOUL BESET.
1. He is made to see the countless number of his sins. It is wonderful what a ray of light will do; the sun suddenly shines into a room, and the whole air seems full of innumerable specks of dust, dancing up and down in the sunbeam. The light does not make the room full of dust; it only shows you what was always there, but which you did not see until the sun shone in; and if a beam of God's true light were to shine into some of your hearts, you would think very differently of yourselves from what you have ever done. I question whether any one among us could bear to see himself as God sees him.
2. He is greatly perplexed by a sort of omnipresence of sin. When conscience wakes up the whole hive of our sins, we find ourselves compassed about with innumerable evils; sins at the board and sins on the bed, sins at the task and sins in the pew, sins in the street and sins in the shop, sins on land and sins at sea, sins of body, soul, and spirit, sins of eye, of lip, of hand, of foot, sins everywhere, every way sins.
3. He is so beset with sin that it seems to hold him in a terrible grip. If you have a number of sins which have once taken hold on you, you will be something like a stag when the whole pack of hounds has seized him, and his neck and his flanks and every bone in him seem to feel the hounds' teeth gnawing at them.
II. A SOUL BEWILDERED.
1. He did not dare to look his sins in the face.
2. He is unable to excuse himself.
3. He dare not look up to read God's promises.
III. A SOUL FAINTING. "Free grace and dying love" — I delight to ring those charming bells; oil, that every ear would welcome their blessed music! Poor fainting heart, do thou specially hear the gladsome tidings of free grace and dying love, and catch at the message, and rejoice in Christ to-night! The Lord grant that it may be so!
IV. A soul PLEADING.
1. It is a prayer distinctly to God.
2. It is an appeal to the good pleasure of God. Divine sovereignty is not to be denied. No man has any right to God's grace; if it be given to any one, it is given by the free favour of God, as He pleases, and to whom He pleases. But do thou, as a suppliant, take this lowly ground: "Be pleased, O Jehovah, to deliver me, for Thy mercy's sake, for Thy goodness' sake! Universal Ruler as Thou art, and able to save whom Thou wilt, for the rights of life and death are in the hands of the King of kings, be pleased, O Lord, to deliver reel" That is the way to plead with God. And then you may, if you like, use that last sentence: "Make haste, O Jehovah, to deliver me!" You may plead urgency; you may say, "Lord, if Thou dost not help me soon, I shall die. I am driven to such distress by my sin that, if thou dost not hear me soon, it will be too late. O Lord, help me now!"
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
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