Pulpit Commentary Homiletics
I. HOPE RISING IN THE MIDST OF DESPONDENCY. (Vers. 1-4.) We are apt to fix our mind on our trials. They bulk large. They press us sorely. We dwell upon their grievousness. We shrink from their effects, bewildered and dismayed (ver. 3). Besides, we are too ready to think of our trials as judgments. Our sins make us afraid. God seems to be visiting us in wrath, instead of mercy. But this is our infirmity. As we turn to God with humility, hope rises in our hearts. God is not against us, but for us. If he visits us with trials, it is for our good. His banner over us is still the banner of love.
II. FAITH IN GOD'S PROMISES SUSTAINING THE SOUL IN DESPONDENCY. (Vers. 5-8.) The words of Moses, Samuel, and Nathan had sunk deep into the psalmist's heart. He remembered them, and was comforted. How much more reason have we to say, "God hath spoken in his holiness"! We have not only the words, that David had, but many words besides - not only the words of prophets and apostles, but the words of him of whom it was said, "Thou hast the words of eternal life." The Holy Scriptures are rich in promises (2 Peter 1:3, 4; 2 Corinthians 1:20). We may take one and another to the throne of grace, and say, "Remember the word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope. This is my comfort in my affliction" (Psalm 119:49, 50). Two rabbis, it is said, approaching Jerusalem, observed a fox running up the hill of Zion. Rabbi Joshua wept, but Rabbi Eliezer laughed. "Wherefore dost thou weep?" asked Eliezer. "I weep because I see what is written in the Lamentations fulfilled: 'Because of the mountain of Zion, which is desolate, the foxes walk upon it'" (Lamentations 5:18). "And therefore do I laugh," said Eliezer; "for when I see with my own eyes that God has fulfilled his threatenings to the letter, I have thereby a pledge that not one of his promises shall fail, for he is ever more ready to show mercy than judgment."
III. PRAYER TO GOD GAINING THE VICTORY OVER DESPONDENCY. (Vers. 9-12.) There are great things promised, but how are they to be performed? If we had to do with man, we might have doubts and fears. But we have to do with God, and he is both able and willing to fulfil his word. Remembering his character and his works, we rise above all desponding and depressing influences. Committing ourselves to the keeping of the Lord of hosts, we go forth to the fight with brave hearts. "Jehovah-Nissi" is our watchword, and we are able to say, "Thanks be unto God, who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" (l Corinthians 15:57). - W.F.
I. THE PRAYER OF THE REJECTED FOR RESTORATION. (Vers. 1-5.) The grounds of the prayer are:
1. Their great need. Felt themselves as if cast off - the very earth trembling with their calamity. They had been reduced to the helplessness of one overcome with wine.
2. The faithfulness of God to his promises was their banner. (Ver. 4.) They could pray because they carried this banner.
3. They could hope and pray on account of their relation to God. (Ver. 5.) They were beloved of God, and could urge the claim of affection.
II. WHATEVER LOSSES WE SUFFER WE HAVE VIRTUALLY UNIVERSAL POSSESSIONS. (Vers. 6-8.) "As having nothing, and yet possessing all things." All things are yours: things present, and things to come," etc.
III. THE SPIRIT AND POWER OF GOD MUST LEAD US INTO THE NATURAL POSSESSION.
1. God alone can comfort us in trouble. (Ver. 11.)
2. God alone can give us the victory over our strongest foes. (Ver. 12.) "If God be for us, who can be against us?" - S.