Psalm 119:154

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 154. Plead my cause, and deliver me. In the last verse he had prayed, "Deliver me," and here he specifies one method in which that deliverance might be vouchsafed, namely, by the advocacy of his cause. In providence the Lord has many ways of clearing the slandered of the accusations brought against them. He can make it manifest to all that they have been belied, and in this way he can practically plead their cause. He can, moreover, raise up friends for the godly who will leave no stone unturned till their characters are cleared; or he can smite their enemies with such fearfulness of heart that they will be forced to confess their falsehood, and thus the righteous will be delivered without tile striking of a blow. Alexander reads it, "Strive my strife, and redeem me" -- that is, stand in my stead, bear my burden, fight my fight, pay my price, and bring me out to liberty. When we feel ourselves dumb before the foe, here is a prayer made to our hand. What a comfort that if we sin we have an advocate, and if we do not sin the same pleader is engaged on our side.

Quicken me. We had this prayer in the last section, and we shall have it again and again in this. It is a desire which cannot be too often felt and expressed. As the soul is the centre of everything, so to be quickened is the central blessing. It means more love, more grace, more faith more courage, more strength, and if we get these we can hold up our heads before our adversaries. God alone can give this quickening; but to the Lord and giver of life the work is easy enough, and he delights to perform it.

According to thy word. David had found such a blessing among the promised things, or at least he perceived that it was according to the general tenor of God's word that tried believers should be quickened and brought up again from the dust of the earth; therefore he pleads the word, and desires the Lord to act to him according to the usual run of that word. What a mighty plea is this -- "according to thy word." No gun in all our arsenals can match it.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 154. -- Plead my cause, and deliver me, etc. Albeit the godly under persecution have a good cause, yet they cannot plead it except God the Redeemer show himself as Advocate for them; therefore prayeth the Psalmist, "Plead my cause."

When God the Redeemer pleadeth a man's cause, he doth it to purpose and effectually: "Plead my cause, and deliver me."

Except the Lord's clients shall find new influence from God from time to time in their troubles, they are but as dead men in their exercise; for, "Quicken me" imports this.

Till we find lively encouragement given to us in trouble we must adhere to the word of promise: "Quicken me according to thy word."

What the believer hath need of, that God hath not only a will to supply, but also an office to attend it, and power to effectuate it, as here he hath the office of an Advocate and of a powerful Redeemer also, wherein the believer may confidently give him daily employment, as he needeth: "Plead my cause, and deliver me: quicken me according to thy word." --David Dickson.

Verse 154. -- Plead my cause, and deliver me, etc. He now supposes himself to be arraigned before the tribunal of men, as he certainly was in their general charges against him; arraigned, too, in his helplessness, without a name, without state; in such way as one disowned would be arraigned. He prays the Lord to come in and plead his cause; so should he be redeemed; for this is the import of the original. As it were, he regards himself as one sold to corrupt judges, or at all events, as one that has lost his standing in society in the estimation of men. But if the Lord will come, and maintain the cause of his servant, his servant shall be redeemed indeed. There is good confidence in this prayer; the man of God is acquainted with the way of the Lord, and he makes his believing application. O how much do we need to know the Lord's righteous character in our seasons of great distress! Now the Lord pleads the cause of his own by the power of the truth; he pleads it also in his providences of divers kinds; he acts upon the hearts, and the hopes, and the fears of men; and in many wondrous ways he pleads his people's cause. He redeems his saints from all evil; and if not together from all evil in this world, certainly from all evil as concerns the world to come. --John Stephen.

Verse 154. -- Plead my cause, and deliver me, etc. In this verse are three requests, and all backed with one and the same argument. In the first, he intimates the right of his and that he was unjustly vexed by wicked cause, men; therefore, as burdened with their calumnies, he desireth God to undertake his defence: "Plead my cause." In the second, he represents the misery and helplessness of his condition; therefore, as oppressed by violence, he saith, "Deliver me;" or, as the words will bear, "Redeem me". In the third, his own weakness, and readiness to faint under this burden; therefore he saith, "Quicken me."

Or, in short, with respect to the injustice of his adversaries, "Plead my cause;" with respect to the misery of his own condition, "Deliver me;" with respect to the weakness and imbecility of his own heart, "Quicken me."

The reason and ground of asking, "According to thy word." This last clause must be applied to all the branches of the prayer: "Plead my cause," "according to thy word;" "deliver me," "according to thy word;" "quicken me," "according to thy word:" for God in his word engages for all: to be advocate, Redeemer, and fountain of life. The word that David buildeth upon was found either in the general promises made to them that kept the law, or in some particular promise made to himself by the prophets of that time. -- Thomas Manton.

Verse 154. -- Plead my cause, and deliver me. A wicked woman once brought against Dr. Payson an accusation, under circumstances which seemed to render it impossible that he should escape. She was in the same packet, in which, many months before, he had gone to Boston. For a time, it seemed almost certain that his character would be ruined. He was cut off from all resource except the throne of grace. He felt that his only hope was in God; and to him he addressed his fervent prayer. He was heard by the Defender of the innocent. A "compunctious visiting" induced the wretched woman to confess that the whole was a malicious slander. --From Asa Cummings' Memoir of Edward Payson.

Verse 154. -- Plead my cause. I do not know that David meant, by calling upon God to plead his cause, anything more than that he should vindicate his innocence, and make it manifest to all, by delivering him out of the hand of all his enemies; but whether he had an ulterior reference or no, the word powerfully and sweetly recalls to every Christian heart him who was indeed to be the Advocate for poor sinners, even Jesus Christ the righteous, who is the propitiation for our sins. --Barton Bouchier.

Verse 154. -- Plead my cause. The children of this world are wiser in their generation than the children of God. Which made David here pray to God that he would plead his cause, and be his Advocate against all their lies. He trusted not to the equity of his own cause, but to the Lord. From whence we gather, that the cause why our oppressors prevail oft against us is, because we trust too much in our own wits, and lean too much upon our own inventions; opposing subtilty to subtilty, one evil device to another, matching and maintaining policy by policy, and not committing our cause to God. --Abraham Wright.

Verse 154. -- Deliver. Not as in Psalms 119:153 , but a word meaning to redeem, or to save by avenging. The corresponding participle is rendered redeemer, avenger, revenger, kinsman, near kinsman, next kinsman. --William S. Plumer.

Verse 154. -- Quicken me. Here, again, we are called to consider the bearing of the pious mind. Ever and anon, the great desire of the man of God is to advance in the divine life. He makes spiritual gain of everything. He seeks his goodly pearls out of strange conditions; the reason is, his heart is in these things. Deliverance from temporal evil, deliverance from spiritual evil, both were sought; but along with these, ever does the man of God take up the prayer to be quickened. Certainly we may understand him as seeking life. Such is the import of the phraseology; but in a man like David, the life he seeks must be the highest. He desires spiritual life above all things; he wants to get more into a blessed assimilation to God, that so he may enjoy the highest good. So pants the heaven born soul...Give the believer this, and this will set him above all the ills of life. And this and all good had been promised in the word. So he prays, "Quicken me according to the word." He goes upon the word for everything; he cannot be self deceived there. Judge of yourselves, my brethren, by your spiritual aspirations. Nothing less will prove you to be of the Lord's redeemed. --John Stephen.

Verse 154, 156, 159. -- Quicken me. Pray to be quickened, as the Psalmist often does, and look unto Jesus, who is a quickening spirit: 1 Corinthians 15:45 . "The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit." As he has given you life, so he is ready to give it more and more abundantly; this will make you to live to him, and to be unweariedly active for him. --Nathanael Vincent, in "A Present for such as have been Sick and Recovered," 1693.

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Outlines Upon Keywords of the Psalm, By Pastor C. A. Davis.

Verse 154,156,159. -- The threefold quickening. A capital subject, if the contexts are carefully considered.

Verse 154. -- Intercession, deliverance, quickening, and all in faithfulness to the word.

Verse 154. -- A prayer.

  1. For promised defence.
  2. For promised deliverance.
  3. For promised revival

--G.R.

Verse 154. -- The Advocate.

  1. The soul hard pressed by the accuser -- in the conscience ( 1 John 3:20 ); before the world; at the throne of grace ( Zechariah 3:1-10 ); at the bar of judgment.
  2. The accused soul committing its case to the Advocate: 1 John 2:2 ; 2 Timothy 1:12 .
  3. How the case will go. He never lost one yet.

--C.A.D.