Psalm 119:173

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 173. Let thine hand help me. Give me practical succour. Do not entrust me to my friends or thy friends, but put thine own hand to the work. Thy hand has both skill and power, readiness and force: display all these qualities on my behalf. I am willing to do the utmost that I am able to do; but what I need is thine help, and this is so urgently required that if I have it not I shall sink. Do not refuse thy succour. Great as thy hand is, let it light on me, even me. The prayer reminds me of Peter walking on the sea and beginning to sink; he, too, cried, "Lord, help me," and the hand of his Master was stretched out for his rescue.

For I have chosen, thy precepts. A good argument. A man may fitly ask help from God's hand when he has dedicated his own hand entirely to the obedience of the faith. "I have chosen thy precepts." His election was made, his mind was made up. In preference to all earthly rules and ways, in preference even to his own will, he had chosen to be obedient to the divine commands. Will not God help such a man in holy work and sacred service? Assuredly he will. If grace has given us the heart with which to will, it will also give us the hand with which to perform. Wherever, under the constraints of a divine call, we are engaged in any high and lofty enterprise, and feel it to be too much for our strength, we may always invoke the right hand of God in words like these.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 173. -- Let thine hand help me. David having before made promises of thankfulness, seeks now help from God, that he may perform them. Our sufficiency is not of ourselves, but of God; to will and to do are both from him. In temporal things men ofttimes take great pains with small profit; first, because they seek not to make their conscience good; next, because they seek not help front God: therefore they speed no better than Peter, who fished all night and got nothing till he cast his net in the name of the Lord. But in spiritual things we may far less look to prosper, if we call not for God's assistance: the means will not profit us unless God's blessing accompany them. There is preaching, but for the most part without profit; there is prayer, but it prevails not; there is hearing of the word, but without edifying; and all because in spiritual exercises instant prayer is not made unto God, that his hand may bc with us to help us. --Abraham Wright.

Verse 173. -- I have chosen thy precepts. Hath God given you a heart to make choice of his ways? O bless God! There was a time when you went on in giving pleasing to the flesh, and you saw then no better thing than such a kind of life, and the Lord hath been pleased to discover better things to you, so as to make you renounce your former ways, and to make choice of another way, in which your souls have found other manner of comforts, and satisfactions, and contentments than ever you did before. Bless God as David did: "Blessed be the Lord who hath given me counsel"...Seeing God hath thus inclined your heart to himself, be for ever established in your choice: seeing God hath shown to you his ways, as Pilate said in another case, "That I have written I have written": so say you, "That I have chosen I have chosen." --Jeremiah Burroughs, in "Moses his Choice."

Verse 173, 174. -- I have chosen. My delight. Cheerfulness accompanies election of a thing. Lumpishness is a sign we never chose it, but were forced to it. Such cheerfulness in service procures cheerfulness in mercies: Isaiah 64:5 , "Thou meetest him that rejoiceth and worketh righteousness." He puts to his hand to help such an one. Christ loves not melancholy and phlegmatic service; such a temper in acts of obedience is a disgrace to God and to religion: to God, it betrays us to have jealous thoughts of God, as though he were a hard master; to religion, it makes others think duties are drudgeries, and not privileges.

--Stephen Charnock.

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 173. --

  1. "To will is present with me."
  2. "How to perform that which I would, I find not."
  3. "Help. Lord."

Verse 173. --

  1. Help needed to keep the divine precepts.
  2. Help sought: "Let thy hand," etc. We should choose nothing and do nothing in which we cannot ask help from God.

--G.R.

Verse 173. --

  1. God's Hand.

    1. Its warm hold ( John 5:29 ).

(b) Its wealth of contents ( Psalms 104:28 ).

(c) Its heavy blow ( Psalms 39:10 ).

(d) Its weight ( 1 Samuel 5:11 ).

(e) Its saving reach ( Isaiah 54:1 ).

(f) Its sweet shadow ( Isaiah 49:2 ), etc.

  1. The saint plucks him by the sleeve: "Let thy hand help me."
(a) His humble representation.
(b) His down drawing of the hand of God.

--W.B.H.

Verse 173. -- Let Thy hand help me.

  1. Thy reconciling hand: "stretched out."
  2. Thy comforting hand; like that which touched Daniel and John.
  3. Thy supplying hand. "Thou openest thy hand," etc.
  4. Thy protecting hand: "all his saints are in thy hand": Deuteronomy 33:3 . "Great Shepherd of the sheep."
  5. Thy supporting hand: "I will uphold thee."
  6. Thy governing hand: "all my times are in thy hand."
  7. Thy chastening hand: "Thy hand was heavy upon me."
  8. Thy prospering hand: "the hand of the Lord was with," etc.

--W.J.