You understand, O LORD; remember me and attend to me. Avenge me against my persecutors. In Your patience, do not take me away. Know that I endure reproach for Your honor.
I. BY AN APPEAL TO THE JUDGMENT OF GOD. In this connection it is as if conscience itself had been invoked. And yet, better still, if conscience should vacillate God would remain the same. In this way it is well for the best of men to test their motives by continual reference to God. There is no better way of self-examination.
II. BY A REFERENCE TO THE SYMPATHY OF GOD. The mere fact that the all-knowing One was constantly regarding his sufferings for his sake, that he had put his tears in his bottle, and that he was able to appreciate his motives, was a comfort to the prophet. If possible, this source of consolation is deepened and enlarged by the greater nearness of God in Christ. The fellow-feeling of our great High Priest and Elder Brother is real and can be depended upon from moment to moment. It is a well of salvation from which we can draw inexhaustible supplies.
III. BY COMMITTING IT TO THE DIVINE RESPONSIBILITY. it was in God's hands because it was in God's knowledge. It was not for the prophet to trouble himself as to means of retaliation. He could commit his cause to his Father. The wider issues of it, nay, even its mightiest results, were beyond his own power. What he had to do was to be faithful and trusting and diligent. - M.
I. DIVINE KNOWLEDGE IS NO HINDRANCE TO PRAYER.
I. THE PROPHET'S PRAYER.
Remember me and visit me.
I. THE PERPETUALLY RECURRING PHRASE, "GOD KNOWS," EXPRESSES A MOOD OF THOUGHT COMMON TO RATIONAL CREATURES.
1. A craving everywhere to be remembered. From the lips of the dying, from friends of whom we are taking farewell, fall the words, "Remember me." Ambitious minds, not content that their memorial should be kept in a few hearts, labour that their names may be remembered by multitudes. Oblivion appalls us.
2. The moralist can easily show the vanity of this desire, and the emptiness of the end. What good will it do you, he asks, to be remembered when out amid Australian wilds or on parched Indian plains? or what harm to be forgot?
3. Enough for us, that God so made us that, by the make of our being, we desire to be kindly remembered.
II. THE PROPHET SHOWS US THE RIGHT DIRECTION IN WHICH TO TRAIN THIS DESIRE. Pointing to the heaven above, he bids us seek to be remembered there.
1. The thought that such a prayer may be offered to God, teaches us a great deal of His kindliness, condescension, thoughtful care.
2. It was while looking on the kindly human face of Christ, that the whole heart's wish of the poor penitent thief went out in the "Lord, remember me!"
3. It was in special clearness of revelation of God's love, that the Psalmist was emboldened to say, "I am poor and needy, yet the Lord thinketh upon me."
III. THE ENCOURAGING VIEW OF THE HEARER OF PRAYER IMPLIED IN THE WORDS OF THE PROPHET'S PETITION.
1. He was not staggered, as he drew near in prayer, by intruding doubt whether the Almighty would listen to his poor words or consider his heart's desires.
2. It is not presumption, but faith, that speaks here.
3. Ponder for your comfort that God "thinketh upon" you "knoweth your frame," etc.
IV. IN SUCH INDIVIDUALITY OF PRAYER THERE IS NO SELFISHNESS. It is not the wish to be distinguished above, but to be remembered even as the other members of the family. It is but that when Christ, the great Intercessor, speaks to Almighty God for Himself and His brethren of mankind, saying, in name of all, "Our Father," the poor sinner should not be left out.
V. MARK WHAT SIMPLE TRUST IN GOD'S WISDOM AND KINDNESS IS IMPLIED.
1. Everything is asked in that. Enough, just to put oneself under God's eye, just to get God to think of one at all.
2. It is assumed that if God remembers us, it will be in love.
3. God's remembrance is practical. He comes to our help.
4. Doubtless there is a season in the history of the unconverted man in which he can have no real desire that God should remember him: he rather desires to keep out of God's sight and remembrance.
5. Yet the prayer expresses the first reaching after God of the awakened soul
(A. K. H. Boyd, D. D.)
1. "Remember me," O Lord!(1) There is a sense in which God may be said to remember His people so as to take particular knowledge of them, and all that pertains to them. He remembers their persons, knows their exact number, and not one of them shall be lost (Isaiah 44:21, 22; Isaiah 49:14-16). He remembers their frailties and infirmities, how unable they are to bear affliction without His support, and hears the gentle whisper and the secret groan with parental tenderness (Jeremiah 2:2, 3). He remembers all their endeavours to serve and please Him, however weak and imperfect they have been; and in instances where they pitied and relieved any of His needy and afflicted ones, without the prospect of reward, and from love to Him, He will bring it to remembrance, and return it all into their bosom (Hebrews 6:10). All the prayers of His people are come up as a memorial before Him, and shall not be forgotten. Sooner or later they shall all be answered, whether they live to see it or not; for God sometimes answers the prayers of His people, after they are gone to their graves, in blessings on their connections and posterity.(2) The Lord not only remembers His people so as to know and notice them, as He does His other works; but in a special manner, so as to delight in them to do them good, and feel a satisfaction in them. He taketh pleasure in the prosperity of His servants, and will exert Himself on their behalf. He will so remember them as to direct them in their difficulties, succour them in their temptations, guard them when in danger, and bring them out of trouble.
2. "And visit me." This implies that where God graciously remembers anyone, He will also visit them. Of the Lord's visits to His people, it may be observed —(1) They are promised, and He will fulfil His word. Thus it was with respect to that long-expected and much-desired one, at the incarnation (Luke 1:54, 55, 78, 79). The same may be said of all His visits to His people: they are not casual, but determined. And as they are at a fixed time on God's part, so they are most seasonable on ours: they are made when we most need them, and when He shall be most glorified by them.(2) They are free and voluntary and on our part wholly undeserved: they are what we seek, but cannot claim.(3) Divine visits are often short and transient, like the sheet that was three times let down from heaven while Peter was praying upon the house top, and almost immediately taken up again. The manifestations of Divine love are often like a land flood — sudden, overflowing, and soon spent; but the love itself is a boundless ocean, an ever-flowing stream.(4) However short the Divine visits are, they are often repeated, and are peculiar to the favourites of heaven. They impart life to our graces, vigour to our services, and comfort to our souls.(5) They are powerful and influential, always bringing peace and comfort to the soul.
II. CONCLUDING REMARKS.
1. Though God hath promised His presence with His people, yet He may for a time withhold the manifestation of it (Job 23:8, 9; Lamentations 1:16). Such departures are very distressing, though but temporary; and those who have been most indulged with the Divine presence are most affected with its withdrawment; while those who have never experienced the former are insensible and unconcerned about the latter.
3. To be remembered and visited of God is a blessing infinitely to be desired; and those especially who fear they are forgotten by Him feel it to be so (Psalm 73:25).
4. Those who desire God's presence must seek it by earnest prayer.
(B. Beddome, M. A.)
1. "Thou knowest" —
(1) (2) (3) 2. Yet, though Thou knowest, yea, because Thou knowest, I pray to Thee. II. DIVINE CONDESCENSION AN ENCOURAGEMENT TO PRAYER. 1. Remember me. 2. Visit me. 3. Vindicate me. III. HUMAN NEED A STIMULUS TO PRAYER. Poor, persecuted, and in peril, where could he go for help? He is driven to God by trouble, and drawn by loving kindness. IV. THE VICISSITUDES OF LIFE SUGGEST TOPICS FOR PRAYER. Poverty, weakness, affliction, persecution, temptation — the sins and sorrows of others. V. CONSCIOUS SINCERITY GIVES FREEDOM IN PRAYER. "I have suffered for Thy sake." VI. THE MEDIATION OF CHRIST GIVES EFFICACY TO OUR PRAYER. (W. Whale.)
(2) (3) 2. Yet, though Thou knowest, yea, because Thou knowest, I pray to Thee. II. DIVINE CONDESCENSION AN ENCOURAGEMENT TO PRAYER. 1. Remember me. 2. Visit me. 3. Vindicate me. III. HUMAN NEED A STIMULUS TO PRAYER. Poor, persecuted, and in peril, where could he go for help? He is driven to God by trouble, and drawn by loving kindness. IV. THE VICISSITUDES OF LIFE SUGGEST TOPICS FOR PRAYER. Poverty, weakness, affliction, persecution, temptation — the sins and sorrows of others. V. CONSCIOUS SINCERITY GIVES FREEDOM IN PRAYER. "I have suffered for Thy sake." VI. THE MEDIATION OF CHRIST GIVES EFFICACY TO OUR PRAYER. (W. Whale.)
(3) 2. Yet, though Thou knowest, yea, because Thou knowest, I pray to Thee. II. DIVINE CONDESCENSION AN ENCOURAGEMENT TO PRAYER. 1. Remember me. 2. Visit me. 3. Vindicate me. III. HUMAN NEED A STIMULUS TO PRAYER. Poor, persecuted, and in peril, where could he go for help? He is driven to God by trouble, and drawn by loving kindness. IV. THE VICISSITUDES OF LIFE SUGGEST TOPICS FOR PRAYER. Poverty, weakness, affliction, persecution, temptation — the sins and sorrows of others. V. CONSCIOUS SINCERITY GIVES FREEDOM IN PRAYER. "I have suffered for Thy sake." VI. THE MEDIATION OF CHRIST GIVES EFFICACY TO OUR PRAYER. (W. Whale.)
2. Yet, though Thou knowest, yea, because Thou knowest, I pray to Thee.
II. DIVINE CONDESCENSION AN ENCOURAGEMENT TO PRAYER.
1. Remember me.
2. Visit me.
3. Vindicate me.
V. CONSCIOUS SINCERITY GIVES FREEDOM IN PRAYER. "I have suffered for Thy sake."
VI. THE MEDIATION OF CHRIST GIVES EFFICACY TO OUR PRAYER.
Take me not away in Thy long-suffering.I. THE NATURE OF THIS LONG-SUFFERING.
1. It is part of the Divine goodness and mercy, yet differs from both. The Lord is full of compassion, slow to anger.(1) Long. suffering differs from mercy in respect to the object; mercy respects the creature as miserable: patience, or long-suffering, respects the creature as criminal; mercy pities him in his misery; long-suffering bears with the sin, and waits to be gracious.(2) Long-suffering differs also from goodness, in regard to the object. The object of goodness is every creature, from the highest angel in heaven to the meanest creature on earth; goodness respects things in a capacity, or in a state of creation, nurseth and supporteth them as creatures. Long-suffering considers them as already created and fallen short of their duty; goodness respects persons as creatures; long-suffering, as transgressors.
2. Since it is a part of goodness and mercy, it is not insensibility. God's anger burns against the sin, whilst His arms are open to receive the sinner.
3. As long-suffering is a part of mercy and goodness, it is not constrained or faint-hearted patience.
4. Since it is not for want of power over the creature, it is from a fulness of the power over Himself.
5. As long-suffering is a branch of mercy, the exercise of it is founded on the death of Christ.
II. HOW THIS LONG-SUFFERING OR PATIENCE IS MANIFESTED.
1. His giving warning of judgments before they are commissioned to go forth.
2. In His unwillingness to execute His threatened judgments, when He can delay no longer.
3. In that when He begins to Send out His judgments, He doth it by degrees.
4. By moderating His judgments. "He rewardeth us not according to our iniquities."
5. In giving great mercies after provocations.
6. When we consider the greatness and multitude of our provocations.
III. THE GROUND AND REASON OF THIS LONG-SUFFERING TO US-WARD.
1. As a testimony of His reconcilable and merciful nature towards sinners.
2. That sinners may be brought to repentance.
3. For the continuance of His Church (Isaiah 65:8, 9).
4. That His justice may be clear when He condemns the impenitent.
5. In answer to the prayers of His people, His long-suffering is exercised towards sinners.To conclude —
1. How is the long-suffering of God abused?
2. Is the Lord long-suffering? How much better, therefore, is it to fall into the hands of God, than into the hands of man; the best of men.
3. We may infer from the Lord's long-suffering towards sinners, the value of the soul; He not only died to redeem it, but waits with unwearied patience and forbearance to receive it.
4. If the Lord be thus long. suffering to us-ward, who have so long and repeatedly rebelled against Him, ought not Christians to exercise forbearance and long-suffering one towards another? (Ephesians 4:1-6.)
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