Verse 132. Look thou upon me. A godly man cannot long be without prayer. During the previous verses he had been expressing his love to God's word, but here he is upon his knees again. This prayer is specially short, but exceedingly sententious, "Look thou upon me." While he stood with open mouth panting for the commandments, he besought the Lord to look upon him, and let his condition and his unexpressed longings plead for him. He desires to be known of God, and daily observed by him. He wishes also to be favoured with the divine smile which is included in the word -- "look." If a look from us to God has saving efficacy in it, what may we not expect from a look from God to us.
And be merciful unto me. Christ's look at Peter was a look of mercy, and all the looks of the heavenly Father are of the same kind. If he looked in stern justice his eyes would not endure us, but looking in mercy he spares and blesses us. If God looks and sees us panting, he will not fail to be merciful to us.
As thou usest to do unto those that love thy name. Look on me as thou lookest on those who love thee; be merciful to me as thou art accustomed to be towards those who truly serve thee. There is a use and wont which God observes towards them that love him, and David craved that he might experience it. He would not have the Lord deal either better or worse with him than he was accustomed to deal with his saints -- worse would not save him, better could not be. In effect he prays, "I am thy servant; treat me as you treat thy servants. I am thy child; deal with me as with a son." Especially is it clear from the context that he desired such an entering in of the word, and such a clear understanding of it as God usually gives to his own, according to the promise, "All thy children shall be taught of the Lord."
Reader, do you love the name of the Lord? Is his character most honourable in your sight? Most dear to your heart? This is a sure mark of grace, for no soul ever loved the Lord except as the result of love received from the Lord himself.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 132. -- Look thou upon me, and be merciful unto me, etc. "Look upon me" stripped by thieves of my virtues, and then wounded with sins, and "be merciful unto me," showing compassion on me, taking care of me in the inn of the Church universal, that I fall not again among thieves, nor be harmed by the wolves which howl about this fold, but dare not enter in. "Look upon me," no longer worthy to be called thy son, and "be merciful unto me," not as the jealous elder brother would treat me, but let me join the glad song and banquet of them that love thy name. Look upon me the publican, standing afar off in thy temple the Church, and be merciful unto me, not after the Pharisee's judgment, but "as thou usest to do unto them that love thy name," which is the gracious God. Look on me as on weeping Peter, and be merciful unto me as thou wast to him, who so loved thy name as by his triple confession of love to wash out his threefold denial, saying, "Lord, thou knowest that I love thee." "Look upon me," as on the sinful woman, penitent and weeping, and be merciful unto me, not according to the judgment of the Pharisee who murmured at her, as Judas who was indignant at her, but forgiving me as thou didst her, "because she loved much," telling me also, "Thy faith hath saved thee, go in peace." - -Neale and Littledale.
Verse 132. -- Look thou upon me. Lord! since our looks to thee are often so slight, so cold, so distant, that no impression is made upon our hearts, do thou condescend continually to look upon us with mercy and with power. Vouchsafe us such a look, as may bring us to ourselves and touch us with tenderness and contrition in the remembrance of that sin, unbelief, and disobedience, which pierced the hands, the feet, the heart of our dearest Lord and Saviour. Comp. Luke 22:61 . --Charles Bridges.
Verse 132. -- As thou usest to do, etc. David would not lose any privilege that God hath by promise settled on his children. Do with me, saith he, "as thou usest to do." This is no more than family fare, what you promise to do for all that love thee; and let me not go worse clad than the rest of my brethren. --William Gurnall.
Verse 132. -- As thou usest to do unto those, etc. We should be content if God deals with us as he has always dealt with his people. While he could not be satisfied with anything less than their portion, David asks for nothing better; he implores no singular dispensation in his favour, no deviation from the accustomed methods of his grace...It is always a good proof that your convictions and desires are from the operation of the Spirit when you are willing to conform to God's order. What is this order? It is to dispense his blessings connectedly. It is never to justify without sanctifying; never to give a title to heaven without a meetness for it. Now the man that is divinely wrought upon will not expect nor desire the one without the other. Therefore he will not expect the blessing of God without obedience; because it is always God's way to connect the comforts of the Holy Ghost with the fear of the Lord; and if his children transgress his laws, to visit their transgressions with a rod. Therefore he will neither expect nor desire his blessing without exertion; for it has always been God's way to crown only those that run the race that is set before them, and fight the good fight of faith. Therefore he will not expect nor desire the Divine blessing without prayer; for it has always been God's way to make his people sensible of their wants, and to give an answer to prayer. Therefore he will not expect nor desire to reach heaven without difficulties; for his people have always had to deny themselves, and take up their cross. If they have not been chosen in the furnace of affliction, they have been purified. God had one Son without sin, but he never had one without sorrow: "he scourgeth every son whom he receiveth." "Yes," says the suppliant before us, "secure me their everlasting portion, and I am willing to drink of the cup they drank of, and to be baptized with the baptism they were baptized with. I want no new, no by path to glory. I am content to keep the King's high road. Be merciful unto me, as thou usest to do unto those that love thy name. I ask no more." --William Jay, 1769-1853.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 132. --
- Use and wont.
Verse 132. -- Fellowship with the righteous.
- There are some who love God's name.
- His mercy is the source of all the goodness they experience.
- The Lord has been always accustomed to deal mercifully with them.
- His mercy towards them should encourage us to implore mercy for ourselves.
- We should be anxious to secure the mercy that is peculiar to them.
- We should be content if God deals with us as he has always dealt with his people. -- W. Jay.
Verse 132. -- Divine use and wont.
- God is accustomed to look upon and be merciful toward his people.
- We are stirred up to specially desire such merciful dealings in time of affliction.
- Love to God qualifies us for these loving looks and merciful dealings. -- C.A.D.
Verse 132. -- Notice, --
- The mark of true believers: "Those that love thy name."
- God's custom of dealing with them: "Be merciful as thou usest to do."
- Their individual and earnest solicitude: "Look thou upon me." --J.F.