Psalm 143:5

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 5. I remember the days of old. When we see nothing new which can cheer us, let us think upon old things. We once had merry days, days of deliverance, and joy and thanksgiving; why not again? Jehovah rescued his people in the ages which lie back, centuries ago; wily should he not do the like again? We ourselves have a rich past to look back upon; we have sunny memories, sacred memories, satisfactory memories, and these are as flowers for the bees of faith to visit, from whence they may make honey for present use. I meditate on all thy works. When my own works reproach me, thy works refresh me. If at the first view the deeds of the Lord do not encourage us, let us think them over again, ruminating and considering the histories of divine providence. We ought to take a wide and large view of all God's works; for as a whole they work together for good, and in each part they are worthy of reverent study. I muse on the work of thy hands. This he had done in former days, even in his most trying hours. Creation had been the book in which he read of the wisdom and goodness of the Lord. He repeats his perusal of the page of nature, and counts it a balm for his wounds, a cordial for his cares, to see what the Lord has made by his skilful hands. When the work of our own hand grieves us, let us look to the work of God's hands. Memory, meditation, and musing are here set together as the three graces, ministering grace to a mind depressed and likely to be diseased. As David with his harp played away the evil spirit from Saul, so does he hero chase away gloom from his own soul by holy communion with God.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 5. I remember the days of old; I meditate, etc. This meditation gives an ease to the overwhelming of my spirits, a comfort to the desolateness of my heart; for I am thinking sometimes upon Jonah, how he was overwhelmed with waters and swallowed up of a whale, and yet at last delivered; sometimes I am thinking of Joseph, how he was bound and left desolate in a pit, and yet at last relieved; and then I meditate thus with myself, -- Is God's power confined to persons? could he deliver them in their extremities, and can he not deliver me in mine? --Sir Richard Baker.

Verse 5. I meditate on all thy works. Let us look for God in the future more earnestly than we have done in the past, -- look for him in vineyards and orchards and harvest fields, -- in the bright plumage of birds, and the delicate bloom of fruit, and the sweet gracefulness of flowers, -- in the dense foliage of the forest, and the sparse heather of the moor, -- in the rich luxuriance of fertile valleys, and the rugged grandeur of the everlasting hills, -- in the merry dance of the rivulet, and the majestic tides of the ocean -- in the gay colours of the rainbow, and the splendour of the starry heavens, -- in the gentle radiance of the moon, and the gorgeous light of setting suns, -- in the clear azure sky, and the weird pageantry of clouds, -- in the snow mantled wintry landscape, and the brilliant effulgence of a summer's noon, -- in the virgin loveliness of spring, and in the pensive fading beauty of autumn, -- let us look for him with an earnest, eager, and unwearied gaze, till we see him to be a God of wisdom as well as power, of love as well as sovereignty, of beauty as well as glory. --A. W. Momerie, in "The Origin of Evil, and other Sermons", 1881.

Verse 5, 6. I meditate. I stretch forth my hands. Meditation is prayer's handmaid to wait on it, both before and after the performance of supplication. It is as the plough before the sower, to prepare the heart for the duty of prayer; and as the harrow after the sower, to cover the seed when 'tis sown. As the hopper feeds the mill with grist, so does meditation supply the heart with matter for prayer. --William Gurnall.

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 5-6. I muse on the work of thy hands. I stretch forth my hands unto thee. Hand in hand: or the child of God admiring the work of God's hands, and praying with uplifted hands to be wrought upon by the like power.

Verse 5. David's method.

  1. He gathered materials; facts and evidence concerning God: "I remember."
  2. He thought out his subject and arranged his matter: "I meditate."
  3. He discoursed thereon, and was brought nearer to God: "I muse" -- discourse.
  4. Let us close by viewing all this as an example for preachers and others. -- W. B. H.