To the chief Musician. A Psalm of David.
Here is what has been called "the Righteous One's pathetic remonstrance." The darkness may be felt; the time seems long; the night wears slowly away; hope deferred is making the heart sick; heaviness hangs on the eyelid of the watcher.
"How long O Lord, wilt thou forget me still?
How long wilt thou hide thy face from me?
How long shall I lay up counsel in my soul - sorrow in my heart daily?
(storing up plans of relief which all end in sorrow.)
How long shall the enemy exalt himself over me?"
When David wandered in Judea, and mused on the long-deferred promise of the Throne of Israel, he might use these words first of all. When he saw no sign of Saul's dominion ending, and no appearance of the Seed of the Woman, he was in such circumstances as fitted him to be the instrument of the Holy Ghost in writing for all after-times words which might utter the feelings of melancholy weariness.
The Son of David came in the fulness of time. Many a night of darkness He passed through. Sometimes the very shades of death bent over Him. "My soul is exceeding sorrowful even unto death !" Could He not most fitly take up verse 4, as He carried His cross along the "Via Dolorosa?" Who more fitly than He might appeal, -
"Consider, hear me, O Lord my God (Eli ! Eli !)
Make mine eyes glisten with joy,
Lest I sleep in death !
Lest mine enemy say, I have prevailed against him,
Lest those that trouble me rejoice when I am moved !"
High Priests, Governors, Scribes, Pharisees, Herodians, Sadducees, common priests and common people, were all on the eve of shouting triumph if He rose not from the grave; and a burst of joy from hell would respond to their derision if He failed to arise, and failed to shew himself King of kings.
But not our Head only, every member of his body also, has found cause oftentimes to utter such complaints and fears. A believer in darkness - a believer under temptation - a believer spending wearisome nights, and lying awake on his couch, may find appropriate language here wherein to express his feelings to God, and all the more appropriate because it is associated with the Saviour's darkness, and so assures us of His sympathy. We take up the harp which He used in Galilee and Gethsemane; and in touching its strings, do we not recall to our Head the remembrance of "the days of his flesh?"
How glorious too, for the Church to join with her Head in the prospects of verse 5 : -
"But as for me, I have trusted in thy mercy," etc.
Leaning on the Father's love amid these sorrowful appeals, He was sure, and in Him they are sure, of a day of glory dawning - joy coming in the morning. Verse 6 anticipates not only His own resurrection, but the resurrection of the saints also, and the glory of the kingdom : -
"I will sing unto the Lord, for He hath dealt bountifully with me."
Glory much more abounds - joy has set in instead of sorrow, in full tide; fruition more than realizing the most "ample propositions that hope made" to the weary soul. And this is the blessed issue of what Calvin would perhaps have called, the "QUOUSQUE DOMINE," and which we may call,
The Righteous One's, Lord, how
Transcribed from Christ and His Church in the Book of
Psalms first published
LONDON, JAMES NISBET & CO,
HTML transcription files copyright © 2001-2017.
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Added 4 June 2001