Will the Lord cast off for ever? and will he be favorable no more?…
I. THE GRIEF WHICH NATURE DICTATES, AND WHICH, IN MODERATION, THE GOD OF NATURE DOES NOT PROHIBIT, BECOMES, IN ITS EXCESS, A PRACTICAL ACCUSATION OF THE CONDUCT OF PROVIDENCE. The psalmist admits, that in uttering his complaints, he was showing his infirmity; and it must appear an act of the greatest weakness to bewail events, which, in the common course of things, must happen, and against the occurrence of which we cannot promise ourselves the security, not even of a single hour. But our merciful Father makes allowance for that depression of spirits, which sometimes breaks out in all the bitterness of lamentation; and instead of stifling complaint by arguments from necessity, he answers them in accents of tenderness and love; soothing the heart amidst its deepest sorrows, and binding up its wounds with all a parent's tenderness (Isaiah 49:15). This is speaking to nature the language of nature — not with a view to stifle sorrow in those moments, when feeling is too strong for reason; but to lull the bosom to peace, till reason is enabled to regain her ascendency. But if this sentiment is willingly encouraged, after the mind becomes capable of meditating calmly upon the Divine goodness; nay, more, if it is not firmly combated and gradually subdued, we shall be chargeable with fostering a spirit, hostile to all the means, which a gracious Father is employing for our present improvement and future happiness. How do we judge of that child, who, after needful correction for his own good, mingled with salutary admonition against the offence that occasioned it, instead of kissing the rod and submitting to him who applied it, becomes furious in resentment; or yet worse, retires from a father's presence to cherish that sullenness of spirit which refuses to yield. Is not such a child guilty of despising paternal wisdom, of resisting paternal authority, of abusing paternal kindness, and of finally unfitting himself for paternal protection and forbearance?
II. In order to justify Providence, and to perceive the unreasonableness of protracted grief, we have only to follow the example of the psalmist; to resolve, as he does, that he will REMEMBER THE YEARS OF THE RIGHT HAND OF THE MOST HIGH; those years during which we have seen that hand guiding us in the way of safety and peace; delivering us from impending danger; relieving us amidst pressing embarrassments; and, instead of the evil which we feared, conferring an extent of good, which we could not have ventured even to anticipate. He who thus looks back upon the multitude of God's mercies, and compares his past pleasures with his present trouble, will be in a proper frame to commit himself in humble resignation to the care of that Providence, which has never failed him, even in his utmost need.
(John Lindsay, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Will the Lord cast off for ever? and will he be favourable no more?