We have here the church, under a cloud, and in this state appealing to the Lord, in the recollection of former deliverances, for present mercy. It forms an interesting subject, though we are not told to what period of the church it refers, or by whom it was written.
To the chief Musician for the sons of Korah, Maschil
It is one of the best and strongest of all arguments, when pleading for the renewals of divine love, to put the Lord in remembrance of past mercies. It is as if we should say. Shall we despond now, when the Lord hath blessed so often? Shall our hope fail when God's mercies fail not? Reader! think what an additional argument the church hath now to bring on this ground, since God's dear Son came down from heaven. Romans 8:32.
What an unanswerable appeal this is for success in player! If God be our king, will he not help and defend his own subjects? And, if we use the same argument in a gospel sense; if Jesus be our Redeemer and hath bought us with his blood, will he not have an eye to his own property? What a charming encouragement the apostle took from hence. Who delivered us (saith he) from so great a death, and doth deliver, in whom we trust he will yet deliver. 2 Corinthians 1:10.
Here is a melancholy state described: and what added to the affliction, the church beheld the Lord's hand in the appointment. Though the Lord's afflictions are always, sooner or later, sanctified afflictions to God's people, yet when the Lord frowns in his providences, the dark cloud is heavier.
What the church, or an individual of the church here complains of, is among the painful exercises of all true followers of Christ. When our God is reproached, and when our confidence in him is derided; or when the enmity takes advantage of the exercises of the faithful, and crieth out, Where is now thy God - these are very sad moments, and put bitterness into the cup of sorrows.
The apostle seems to have had this scripture in his view, and referred it to the times in which he lived, when, after pointing out the heavy afflictions the church then endured, he quotes a part of this very passage, Romans 8:36. And it is beautiful and encouraging to remark, how contemptuously the apostle speaks of the vain attempts of persecutors to separate from Christ: and what a blessed conclusion he makes. Romans 8:37 etc.
These are the strong cries of faith: not that the Lord sleepeth, or is an inattentive spectator to the exercises of his redeemed: He seeth and knoweth all. The great Shepherd of Israel neither slumbereth nor sleepeth. Psalms 121:4. Reader, mark it as a certain thing - The enemies of God and his Christ are never nearer destruction, than when they are most confident of success. Two causes secure this; the Lord's honour, and the safety of his people: and both conspire to produce the desired end. Romans 8:28.
READER, how sweet and blessed is it, in all our exercises; to keep in view the faithfulness of a Covenant-God in Christ. By turning back to the proofs of God's faithfulness to his church, in all ages that are past, and by having recourse to the evidences we ourselves have had of the same, we gather strength to our faith, to form proper conclusions for all that is to come. And oh! how very sweet and blessed it is to exercise faith upon the naked promise of a God in Christ, when nothing remains but the promise. When, as this Psalm saith, the soul is broken in the place of dragons, and we are covered with the shadow of death; then to lay hold of God's own words, his own promises in Christ; and to hang upon what God hath said, knowing what God can do, and what he hath promised he will do; thus giving him the credit of a God; because all the way of the Lord is mercy and truth, unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies: this is faith in its best and highest exercises. And when the whole is brought home to the heart in Christ, as the Christ of God; these are the blessed triumphs of faith, and make the soul rejoice, even in the deepest affliction; so that we are more than conquerors, through him that loved us. Precious Jesus! what everlasting praise must be due to thee, as the author and finisher of our faith, who, through faith, thus enableth thy people to abide by the promises, which in thee are all yea and amen, to the glory of God by us.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Psalms 44". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://pro.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 25 / Ordinary 30