Uphold me according to your word, that I may live: and let me not be ashamed of my hope.
Let me not be ashamed of my hope. "A man would be ashamed of his hope if it turned out that this was not based upon a sure foundation." But here the psalmist evidently expresses a kind of fear of himself. He is afraid lest he should be ashamed of his hope, and so earnestly cries to God to save him from himself.
I. SELF-DISTRUST AS A SECRET OF MORAL POWER. It belongs to the normal condition of man as a dependent creature. He ought to distrust himself; if he does not, he cannot be reliant on a Power beyond himself. A self-confident man is making the attempt to be something that he is not. He is trying to transcend his normal condition; and in the measure of his success he becomes an unnatural being. He is a "law unto himself," and that a created being never can be. Further than this, a self-distrust kept within due limits is an element of moral power, because it leads him
(1) never to act without due consideration and care;
(2) never to act without outlooking and uplooking for grace and help from a higher power.
And man is only the moral being that he can be, and was intended to be, when he is man inwardly guided, moved, restrained, inspired, by the indwelling God. Normal man says, "I cannot, but God can through me."
II. SELF-DISTRUST AS A WEAKENING OF MORAL POWER. And this it is when it is only in a small degree intellectual, and in a very large degree emotional. Self-distrust becomes perilous sentimentality in some forms of sectarian religious life. It is exaggeration of sentiment to assume that, in the matter of redemption, or in the ordering of the godly life, God must do everything and man can do nothing. So long as self-distrust holds itself ready to respond to what comes of its reliance on God, it is healthy. When self-distrust is fostered by introspection, by examination of variable feelings, or by attempting to match feeling with impossible human standards, it is unhealthy, and utterly weakening to the moral fiber. Self-distrust that makes a man miserable and idle is, by its influence, stamped as bad. Self-distrust that inspires trust, self-distrust that persists in keeping on doing active duty, is healthy and good, honoring to God, and every way hopeful for man. - R.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: Uphold me according unto thy word, that I may live: and let me not be ashamed of my hope.