Psalm 119:107

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 107. I am afflicted very much. According to the last verse he had been sworn in as a soldier of the Lord, and in this next verse he is called to suffer hardness in that capacity. Our service of the Lord does not screen us from trial, but rather secures it for us. The Psalmist was a consecrated man, and yet a chastened man; nor were his chastisements light; for it seemed as if the more he was obedient the more he was afflicted. He evidently felt the rod to be cutting deep, and this he pleads before the Lord. He speaks not by way of murmuring, but by way of pleading; from the very much affliction he argues for very much quickening.

Quicken me, O Lord, according unto thy word. This is the best remedy for tribulation; the soul is raised above the thought of present distress, and is filled with that holy joy which attends all vigorous spiritual life, and so the affliction grows light. Jehovah alone can quicken: he has life in himself, and therefore can communicate it readily; he can give us life at any moment, yea, at this present instant; for it is of the nature of quickening to be quick in its operation. The Lord has promised, prepared, and provided this blessing of renewed life for all his waiting servants: it is a covenant blessing, and it is as obtainable as it is needful. Frequently the affliction is made the means of the quickening, even as the stirring of a fire promotes the heat of the flame. In their affliction some desire death, let us pray for life. Our foreboding under trial are often very gloomy, let us entreat the Lord to deal with us, not according to our fears, but according to his own word. David had but few promises to quote, and probably these were in his own psalms, yet he pleads the word of the Lord; how much more should we do so, since to us so many holy men have spoken by the Spirit of the Lord in that wonderful library which is now our Bible. Seeing we have more promises, let us offer more prayers.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 107. -- I am afflicted very much, etc. Whence learn,

  1. It is no strange thing for the most holy men to be acquainted with the saddest sort of affliction, bodily and spiritual: "I am afflicted very much."
  2. From whence soever affliction doth come, faith goeth to God only for comfort, as here: "Quicken me, O Lord."
  3. When God is pleased to make the word of promise lively, or to perform what the promise alloweth us to expect, such a consolation is a sufficient antidote to the heaviest affliction: "Quicken me, O Lord, according unto thy word." --David Dickson.

Verse 107. -- I am a afflicted very much. We can recommend so persuasively the cheerful drinking of the cup of sorrow when in the hand of others, but what wry faces we make when it is put into our own. --Alfred John Morris, 1814-1869.

Verse 107. -- I am afflicted... quicken me. The Christian lives in the midst of crosses, as the fish lives in the sea. --Jean Baptiste Marie Vianney, 1786-1859.

Verse 107. -- Quicken me, O Lord. How doth God quicken us? By reviving our suffering graces, such as our hope, patience, and faith. Thus he puts life into us again, that we may go on cheerfully in our service, by infusion of new comforts. He revives the heart of his contrite ones, so the prophet saith ( Isaiah 57:15 ). This is very necessary, for the Psalmist saith elsewhere, "Quicken us, and we will call upon thy name" ( Psalms 80:18 ). Discomfort and discouragement weaken our hands in calling upon God. Until the Lord cheers us again we have no life in prayer. By two things especially doth God quicken us in affliction, by reviving our sense of his love, and by reviving our hope of glory. --Thomas Manton.

Verse 107. -- According unto thy word. David goes often over with that phrase, which imports that David lay under the sense of some promise which God had made for the quickening of his heart when it was out of frame, and accordingly he recounts the gracious influences of God's Spirit, and professes that he will never forget his precepts, because by them he had quickened him: Psalms 119:93 .

Thus, lay your dead hearts at Christ's feet, and plead in this manner: Lord, my heart is exceedingly dull and distracted; I feel not those enlarging, melting influences which thy saints have felt; but are they not chief material mercies of the covenant? dost thou not promise a spirit of illumination, conviction, and humiliation? is not holiness of heart and life a main branch of it? dost thou not promise therein to write thy law in my heart? to give me oneness of heart, to put thy fear within me, to subdue my corruptions, to help my infirmities in prayer? Now, Lord, these are the mercies my soul wants and waits for, fill my soul with these animating influences, revive thy work of grace in my soul, draw out my heart towards thee, increase my affection for thee, repair thine image, call forth grace into lively exercise. Doth not that gracious word intend such a mercy when thou sayest thou wilt not only give a new heart, but "put a new spirit within me" ( Ezekiel 36:26 ), to make my soul lively, active, and spiritual in duties and exercises? Dear Lord, am not I in covenant with thee? and are not these covenant mercies? why, then, my God, is my heart thus hardened from thy fear? why dost thou leave me in all this deadness and distraction? Remember thy word unto thy servant in which thou hast caused me to hope, and which thou hast helped me to plead; O quicken my dull heart according to thy word. -- Oliver Heywood.

Verse 107. -- According unto thy word. David, when he begs for quickening, he is encouraged so to do by a promise. The question is, where this promise should be? Some think it was that general promise of the law, if thou do these things, thou shalt live in them ( Leviticus 18:5 ), and that from thence David drew this particular conclusion, that God would give life to his people. But rather, it was some other promise, some word of God he had, to bear him out in this request. The Lord has made many promises to us of sanctifying our affliction. The fruit of all shall be the taking away of sin ( Isaiah 27:9 ); of bettering and improving us by it ( Hebrews 4:10 ), of moderating our affliction, that he will stay his rough wind in the day of the east wind ( Isaiah 27:8 ); that he will lay no more upon us than he will enable us to bear ( 1 Corinthians 10:13 ). He hath promised he will moderate our affliction, so that we shall not be tempted above our strength. He hath promised he will deliver us from it, that the rod of the wicked shall not always rest on the lot of the righteous ( Psalms 125:3 ); that he will be with us in it, and never fail us ( Hebrews 13:5 ). Now, I argue thus: if the people of God could stay their hearts upon God's word, when they had but such obscure hints to work upon that we do not know where the promise lies, ah! how should our hearts be stayed upon God, when we have so many promises! When the Scriptures are enlarged for the comfort and enlarging of our faith, surely we should say now as Paul, when he got a word, "I believed God" ( Acts 27:25 ); I may expect God will do thus for me, when his word speaks it everywhere. --Thomas Manton.

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 107. --

  1. A good man greatly afflicted.
  2. A sure cute for the ills of affliction: "Quicken me."
  3. A safe rule to pray by when afflicted: "according unto thy word."

Verse 107. --

  1. The "very much" afflicted.
(a) The world has such -- widows, orphans, etc., etc.
(b) Most take their turn.

  1. But there is "very much" grace.
(a) God's word promises the needed quickening.
(b) Himself very much greater than all our needs.
(c) Christ died "in all points" has all help.

  1. Therefore bring "very much" faith, as the Psalmist here.
(a) Keen eyed for promises.
(b) Fervent in pleading them.
(c) Strong in expectation. --W.B.H.