Verse 28. Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble. Though at their wit's end, they had wit enough to pray; their heart was melted, and it ran out in cries for help. This was well and ended well, for it is written,
And he brought them out of their distresses. Prayer is good in a storm. We may pray staggering and reeling, and pray when we are at our wit's end. God will hear us amid the thunder and answer us out of the storm. He brought their distresses upon the mariners, and therefore they did well to turn to him for the removal of them; nor did they look in vain.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 28. They cry unto the LORD. His attributes are much honoured in calling upon him, especially in times of danger and distresses.
- When you call upon God at sea, you honour his sovereignty. God says to these proud waves, "So far and no farther!" So, "the storm and hail", they fulfil his will, and when he pleases he commands a calm.
- Prayer in time of danger honours God's wisdom, when we see no way open for mercies and deliverance to come in at, then to look up to him, believing, "He knows how to deliver out of temptation." O how much of the wisdom of God appears in preservation in time of danger! and is it not a good token of mercy coming in when persons pray, though all visible ways are blocked up? This honours God's wisdom, which we acknowledge is never at a loss as to ways of bringing in mercy and deliverance.
- The faithfulness of God is much honoured in times of danger, when he is called upon. The faithfulness of a friend doth most appear in a strait: now if you can rely upon his promise, God's faithfulness is the best line men sinking at sea can lay hold on. So I might add, calling upon God honours all his other attributes. --John Ryther (1632-168
- in "A Plat for Mariners; or, The Seaman's Preacher", 1675.
Verse 28. Then they cry. Tempestuous storms and deadly dangers have brought those upon their knees, that would never had bent in a calm: "Then they cry." If any one would know at what time the sailors take up the duty of prayer, let me say it is when death stares them in the face. If ever you see the heavens veiled in sable blackness, the clouds flying, and the winds roaring under them; you may conclude that some of them (though God knows but few) are at prayer, yea, hard at it with their God. But never believe it that there is any prayer amongst them when the skies are calm, the winds down, and the seas smooth. David tells you not of their praying in good and comfortable weather, but that it is in time of storms, for I believe that neither he nor I ever saw many of them on that strain ...
God hears oftener from an afflicted people, than he either does or can from a people that are at ease, quiet, and out of danger. Then they cry. The prodigal son was very high, and resolved never to return till brought low by pinching and nipping afflictions, then his father had some tidings of him. Hagar was proud in Abraham's house, but humbled in the wilderness. Jonah was asleep in the ship, but awake and at prayer in the whale's belly, Jonah 2:1 . Manasses lived in Jerusalem like a libertine, but when bound in chains at Babel, his heart was turned to the Lord, 2 Chronicles 33:11-12 . Corporal diseases forced many under the gospel to come to Christ, whereas others that enjoyed bodily health would not acknowledge him. One would think that the Lord would abhor to hear those prayers that are made only out of the fear of danger, and not out of the love, reality, and sincerity of the heart. If there had not been so many miseries of blindness, lameness, palsies, fevers, etc., in the days of Christ, there would not have been that flocking after him. -- Daniel Pell.
Verse 28. Then they cry unto the LORD. "Then", if ever: hence that speech of one, Qui nescit orare, discat navigare, He that cannot pray, let him go to sea, and there he will learn. --John Trapp.
Verse 28. Then they cry, etc. Gods of the sea and skies (for what resource have I but prayer?) abstain from rending asunder the joints of our shattered bark. --Ovid.