Psalm 119:82

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 82. Mine eyes fail for thy word, saying, When wilt thou comfort me? His eyes gave out with eagerly gazing for the kind appearance of the Lord, while his heart in weariness cried out for speedy comfort. To read the word till the eyes can no longer see is but a small thing compared with watching for the fulfilment of the promise till the inner eyes of expectancy begin to grow dim with hope deferred. We may not set times to God, for this is to limit the Holy One of Israel; yet we may urge our suit with importunity, and make fervent enquiry as to why the promise tarries. David sought no comfort except that which comes from God; his question is, "When wilt thou comfort me?" If help does not come from heaven it will never come at all: all the good man's hopes look that way, he has not a glance to dart in any other direction. This experience of waiting and fainting is well known by full grown saints, arid it teaches them many precious lessons which they would never learn by any other means. Among the choice results is this one -- that the body rises into sympathy with the soul, both heart and flesh cry out for the living God, and even the eyes find a tongue, "saying, When wilt thou comfort me?" It must be an intense longing which is not satisfied to express itself by the lips, but speaks with the eyes, by those eyes failing through intense watching. Eyes can speak right eloquently; they use both mutes and liquids, and can sometimes say more than tongues. David says in another place, "The Lord hath heard the voice of my weeping" ( Psalms 6:8 ). Specially are our eyes eloquent when they begin to fail with weariness and woe. A humble eye lifted up to heaven in silent prayer may flash such flame as shall melt the bolts which bar the entrance of vocal prayer, and so heaven shall be taken by storm with the artillery of tears. Blessed are the eyes that are strained in looking after God. The eyes of the Lord will see to it that such eyes do not actually fail. How much better to watch for the Lord with aching eyes than to have them sparkling at the glitter of vanity.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 82. -- Mine eyes fail for thy word. Has a mother promised to visit her son or daughter? should she not be able to go, the remark of the son or daughter will be: "Alas! my mother promised to come to me: how I have I been looking for her? But a speck has grown on my eye. I cannot see, my eyes have failed me"; that is, by looking so intensely for coming. --Joseph Roberts.

Verse 82. -- Mine eyes fail for thy word. He was continuously lifting eyes to heaven, looking for help from God. He was so perpetually this, that at length the eyes themselves became dim.

When wilt thou comfort me? He was saying this in his heart; he was saying this with his mouth; he was saying the same thing with his eyes perpetually looking up to heaven. -- Wolfgang Musculus.

Verse 82. -- For thy word. The children of God make more of a mise than others do; and that upon a double account: partly, because value the blessing promised; partly, because they are satisfied with assurance given by God's word; so that, whereas others pass by these thin with a careless eye, their souls are lifted up to the constant and earnest petition of the blessing promised. It is said of the hireling, that he have his wages before the sun go down, because he is poor and hath set heart upon it ( Deuteronomy 24:15 ); or, as it is in the Hebrew, lifted up his to it, meaning thereby both his desire and hope. He esteemeth his for it is the solace of his labours, and the maintenance of his life; and assuredly expects it, upon the promise and covenant of him who him who setteth him awork. So it is with the children of God; they esteem the blessing promised, and God's word giveth them good assurance that they do wait upon him in vain. --Thomas Manton

Verse 82. -- Saying, When. The same spirit of faith which teaches man to cry earnestly, teaches him to wait patiently; for as it assures that mercy is in the Lord's hand, so it assures him, it will come forth in Lord's time. --John Mason, 1688.

Verse 82. -- When wilt thou comfort me? It is a customable manner of God's working with his children, to delay the answer to their; prayers, and to suspend the performance of his promises: not because he is unwilling to give, but because he will have them better prepared to receive. Tardins dando qued pettimus instantia nobis orationis indicit: he is slow to give that which we seek, that we should not seek slowly, but may be awakened to instancy and fervency in prayer, which he knows to be the service most acceptable unto him, and most profitable unto ourselves. --William Cowper.

Verse 82. -- When wilt thou comfort me? Let us complain not of God, but to God. Complaints of God give a vent to murmuring; but complaints to God, to faith, hope, and patience. --Thomas Manton.

Verse 82. -- The prophet, to prevent it from being supposed that he was too effeminate and faint hearted, intimates that his fainting was not without cause. In asking God, "When wilt thou comfort me?" he shows, with sufficient plainness, that he was for a long time, as it were, east off and forsaken. --John Calvin.

Verse 82. -- When wilt thou comfort me? The people of God are sometimes very disconsolate, and need comforting, through the prevalence of sin, the power of Satan's temptations, the hiding of God's face, and a variety of afflictions, when they apply to God for comfort, who only can comfort them, and who has set times to do it; but they are apt to think it long, and inquire, as David here, when it will be. --John Gill.

Verse 82. -- When wilt thou comfort me? A poor woman had been long time questioning herself, and doubting of her salvation; when at last the Lord made it good unto her soul that Christ was her own, then her minister said unto her, The Lord will not always give his children a cordial, but he hath it ready for them when they are fainting. --Thomas Hooker.

Verse 82. -- When wilt thou comfort me? Comfort is necessary because a great part of our temptations lies in troubles, as well as allurements. Sense of pain may discompose us as well as pleasure entice us. The world is a persecuting as well as a tempting world. The flesh troubleth as well as enticeth. The Devil is a disquieting as well as an ensnaring Devil. But yet comfort, though necessary, is not so necessary as holiness: therefore, though comfort is not to be despised, yet sincere love to God is to be preferred, and, though it be not dispensed so certainly, so constantly, and in so high a degree, in this world, we must be contented. The Spirit's comforting work is oftener interrupted than the work of holiness; yet so much as is necessary to enable us to serve God in this world, we shall assuredly receive. --Thomas Manton.

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 82. -- Answer to the enquiry -- When wilt thou comfort me?

  1. When your grief has answered its purpose.
  2. When you believe.
  3. When you leave sin.
  4. When you obey.
  5. When you submit to my will.
  6. When you seek my glory.

Verse 82. --

  1. How longingly the believer turns to God for comfort in his affliction: "When wilt thou comfort me?"
  2. How intently he gazes upon the Divine promises: "My eyes fail for thy word."
  3. How the weariness of waiting cannot wear out his patience, while hope increases his importunity: "When wilt thou?" --J.F.

Verse 82. -- The pleading of the eyes.

  1. How the eyes speak. By "expression" of the moods of the soul, as -- longing, Isaiah 8:17 ; faith, Isaiah 45:22 Hebrews 12:2 ; expectation, Psalms 5:3 Philippians 3:20 Titus 2:13 ; love, 2 Corinthians 3:18 Joh 1:14.
  2. What the eyes say. "When wilt thou comfort me? Brushing aside all other comforters, thou art my sun: my life: my love: my all."
  3. How the pleading eyes shall meet the responsive Eye of the Lord: Hebrews 9:18 . In the look of the recognition of grief, Exodus 2:25 ; in the look of pardon, Luke 22:61 ; of strength giving, Judges 6:14 ; of complacent love, Isaiah 66:2 . --C.A.D.