Verse 4. Remember me, O Lord, with the favour which thou bearest unto thy people. Insignificant as I am, do not forget me. Think of me with kindness, even as thou thinkest of thine own elect. I cannot ask more, nor would I seek less. Treat me as the least of thy saints are treated and I am content. It should be enough for us if we fare as the rest of the family. If even Balaam desired no more than to die the death of the righteous, we may be well content both to live as they live, and die as they die. This feeling would prevent our wishing to escape trial, persecution, and chastisement; these have fallen to the lot of saints, and why should we escape them
"Must I be carried to the skies
On flowery beds of case?
While others fought to will the prize,
And sailed through bloody seas."
At the same time we pray to have their sweets as well as their bitters. If the Lord smiled upon their souls we cannot rest unless he smiles upon us also. We would dwell where they dwell, rejoice as they rejoice, sorrow as they sorrow, and in all things be for ever one with them in the favour of the Lord. The sentence before us is a sweet prayer, at once humble and aspiring, submissive and expansive; it might be used by a dying thief or a living apostle; let us use it now.
O visit me with thy salvation. Bring it home to me. Come to my house and to my heart, and give me the salvation which thou hast prepared, and art alone able to bestow. We sometimes hear of a man's dying by the visitation of God, but here is one who knows that he can only live by the visitation of God. Jesus said of Zacchaeus," This day is salvation come to this house," and that was the case because he himself had come there. There is no salvation apart from the Lord, and he must visit us with it or we shall never obtain it. We are too sick to visit our Great Physician, and therefore he visits us. O that our great Bishop would hold a visitation of all the churches, and bestow his benediction upon all his flock. Sometimes the second prayer of this verse seems to be too great for us, for we feel that we are not worthy that the Lord should come under our roof. Visit me, Lord? Can it be? Dare I ask for it? And yet I must, for thou alone cans: bring me salvation: therefore, Lord, I entreat thee come unto me, and abide with me for ever.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 4. -- O visit me. This is a beautiful figure. The prayer is not, "Give me a more intense desire, increased energy of action, that I may please thee, that I may serve thee, that I may go step by step up to thee, every step bringing with it is fresh sense of meritorious claim upon thee". No such thing. It is "Visit me"; "descend down upon me" daily from thine own lofty throne, for the fulfilment of thine own purposes. "Visit me". -- George Fisk, 1851.
Verse 4. -- O visit me with thy salvation. Hugo takes the visit of God as that of a physician of whom healing of the eyes is sought, because it is immediately added, "That I may see", etc. --Lorinus.
Verse 4. -- There is an ancient Jewish gloss which is noteworthy, that the petition is for a share in the resurrection in the days of Messiah in order to see his wonderful restoration of his suffering people. --Neale and Littledale.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
- The language of Humility: "Remember me, O Lord." Let me not escape thy notice amongst the many millions of creatures under thy care.
- The language of Faith.
- That God has a people to whom he shows special favour.
- That he himself has provided salvation for them.
- The language of prayer.
- For the free gift of salvation.
- For the common salvation -- not wishing to be peculiar, but to be as "Thy people", taking them for all in all, both here and hereafter. Walking in the footsteps of the flock.
"Be this my glory, Lord, to be Joined to thy saints, and near to thee." --G.R.