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Psalm 116:2

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 2. Because he hath inclined his ear unto me: -- bowing down from his grandeur to attend to my prayer; the figure seems to be that of a tender physician or loving friend leaning over a sick man whose voice is faint and scarcely audible, so as to catch every accent and whisper. When our prayer is very feeble, so that we ourselves can scarcely hear it, and question whether we do pray or not, yet God bows a listening ear, and regards our supplications.

Therefore will I call upon him as long as I live, or "in my days." Throughout all the days of my life I will address my prayer to God alone, and to him I will unceasingly pray. It is always wise to go where we are welcome and are well treated. The word "call" may imply praise as well as prayer: calling upon the name of the Lord is an expressive name for adoration of all kinds. When prayer is heard in our feebleness, and answered in the strength and greatness of God, we are strengthened in the habit of prayer, and confirmed in the resolve to make ceaseless intercession. We should not thank a beggar who informed us that because we had granted his request he would never cease to beg of us, and yet doubtless it is acceptable to God that his petitioners should form the resolution to continue in prayer: this shows the greatness of his goodness, and the abundance of his patience. In all days let us pray and praise the Ancient of days. He promises that as our days our strength shall be; let us resolve that as our days our devotion shall be.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 2. He hath inclined his ear unto me. How great a blessing is the inclining of the Divine ear, may be judged from the conduct of great men, who do not admit a wretched petitioner to audience; but, if they do anything, receive the main part of the complaint through the officer appointed for such matters, or through a servant. But God himself hears immediately, and inclines his ear, hearing readily, graciously, constantly, etc. Who would not pray? Wolfgang Musculus.

Verse 2. And now because he hath inclined his ear unto me, I will therefore call upon him as long as I live: that if it be expected I should call upon any other, it must be when I am dead; for as long as I live, I have vowed to call upon God. But will this be well done? May I not, in so doing, do more than I shall have thanks for? Is this the requital that God shall have for his kindness in hearing me, that now he shall have a customer of me, and never be quiet because of my continual running to him, and calling upon him? Doth God get anything by my calling upon him, that I should make it a vow, as though in calling upon him I did him a pleasure? O my soul, I would that God might indeed have a customer of me in praying; although I confess I should not be so bold to call upon him so continually, if his own commanding me did not make it a duty; for hath not God bid me call upon him when I am in trouble? and is there any time that I am not in trouble, as long as I live in this vale of misery? and then can there be any time as long as I live, that I must not call upon him? For shall God bid me, and shall I not do it? Shall God incline his car, and stand listening to hear, and shall I hold my peace that he may have nothing to hear? Sir Richard Baker.

Verse 2. Therefore will I call upon him. If the hypocrite speed in prayer, and get what he asks, then also he throws up prayer, and will ask no more. If from a sick bed he be raised to health, he leaves prayer behind him, as it were, sick abed; he grows weak in calling upon God, when at his call God hath given him strength. And thus it is in other instances. When he hath got what he hath a mind to in prayer, he hath no more mind to pray. Whereas a godly man prays after he hath sped, as he did before, and though he fall not into those troubles again, and so is not occasioned to urge those petitions again which he did in trouble, yet he cannot live without prayer, because he cannot live out of communion with God. The creature is as the white of an egg, tasteless to him, unless he enjoy God. David saith, "I love the LORD, because he hath heard my voice and my supplications"; that is, because he hath granted me that which I supplicated to him for. But did this grant of what he had asked take him off from asking more? The next words show us what his resolution was upon that grant. "Because he hath inclined his ear unto me, therefore will I call upon him as long as I live"; as if he had said, I will never give over praying, forasmuch as I have been heard in prayer. Joseph Caryl.

Verse 2. As long as I live. -- Not on some few days, but every day of my life; for to pray on certain days, and not on all, is the mark of one who loathes and not of one who loves. Ambrose.

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 2. "He hath," and therefore "I will." Grace moving to action.

Verse 2,. 4, 13, 17. Calling upon God mentioned four times very suggestively -- I will do it ( Psalms 116:2 ), I have tried it ( Psalms 116:4 ), I will do it when I take ( Psalms 116:13 ), and when I offer ( Psalms 116:17 ).

Verse 2,. 9, 13-14, 17. The "I wills" of the Psalm. I will call ( Psalms 116:2 ), I will walk (Ps 116:9), I will take ( Psalms 116:13 ), I will pay ( Psalms 116:14 ), I will offer ( Psalms 116:17 ).

Read Psalm 116:2