Psalm 143:9

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 9. Deliver me, O LORD, from mine enemies. Many foes beset us, we cannot overcome them, we cannot even escape from them; but Jehovah can and will rescue us if we pray to him. The weapon of all prayer will stand us in better stead than sword and shield. I flee unto thee to hide me. This was a good result from his persecutions. That which makes us flee to our God may be an ill wind, but it blows us good. There is no cowardice in such flight, but much holy courage. God can hide us out of reach of harm, and even out of sight Of it. He is our hiding place; Jesus has made himself the refuge of his people: the sooner, and the more entirely we flee to him the better for us. Beneath the crimson canopy of our Lord's atonement believers are completely hidden; let us abide there and be at rest. In the seventh verse our poet cried, "Hide not thy face", and here he prays, "Hide me." Note also how often he uses the words "unto thee"; he is after his God; lie must travel in that direction by some means, even though he may seem to be beating a retreat; his whole being longs to be near the Lord. Is it possible that such thirsting for God will be left unsupplied? Never, while the Lord is love.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 9. Deliver me, O LORD, from mine enemies. In the former verse he desireth God's mercy and lovingkindness, and that he might be showed the way wherein he should walk: now he desireth to be free of temporal danger. This is a good method in prayer, first to seek the kingdom of God and spiritual graces, for then all other things shall be added to us. We seek in vain temporal deliverances of God if we neglect to seek spiritual graces, which are most necessary for us.

As for enemies, the church and her members neither have wanted nor shall want innumerable foes, against whom we can only oppose God's protection. In number, in power, in policy and subtilty they are ever above us. There is no help for us against them all but our gracious God. Esau came with four hundred against Jacob, a naked man, with his wife, children, and droves of cattle. But Mahanaim was with him; he was guarded by God's angels. And, therefore, since the church of God in France, Germany, and elsewhere is in danger of the Leviathan and the sons of Anak, let us run to the Lord, and cry unto him, -- O God Jehovah, who art one against all, deliver thy church from her enemies, who likewise are thy enemies. --Archibald Symson.

Verse 9. I flee unto thee to hide me. Is David's valour come to this, that ho is come now to be glad to fly? Had he not done better to have died valiantly than to fly basely? O my soul, to fly is not always a sign of baseness; it is not always a point of valour to stand to it; but then to fly when we feel our own weakness, and to him to fly, in whom is our strength -- this is, if not valour, at least wisdom, but it is, to say true, both wisdom and true valour. And now, O God, seeing I find my own weakness, and know thy strength, what should I do but fly, and whither fly but only to thee? -- to thee, a strong fortress to all that build upon thee; to thee, a safe sanctuary to all that fly unto thee. --Sir Richard Baker.

Verse 9. I flee unto thee to hide me. This implies,

  1. Danger: the Christian may be in danger from sin, self, foes.
  2. Fear: his fears may be groundless, but they are often very painful.
  3. Inability -- to defend himself or overcome his opposers.
  4. Foresight: he sees the storm in the distance, and looks out for the covert.
  5. Prudence: he hides before the storm, ere the enemy comes upon him.
  6. A laudable concern for safety and comfort. The believer, if wise, will at all times flee to Jehovah. Jacob flies to Laban; the manslayer to the refuge; the bird to his mountain; and the Christian to his God. Ass may seek to physicians'; Ephraim to king Jareb; and Saul to the witch; but the believer looks to his God. The Lord receives, befriends, and secures him. Let us flee to him by prayer, in faith, with hope, for salvation; and he will receive us, shelter us, and be our refuge and strength. Flee from sin, from self, from the world; but flee to Jesus. His heart is ever toward us, his ear is open to us, and his hand is ready to help, protect, and deliver us. His throne is our asylum. His promise is our comfort, and his omnipotence is our guard.
Happy soul, that, free from harms,
Rests within his Shepherd's arms!
Who his quiet shall molest?
Who shall violate his rest?
He who found the wandering sheep,
Loves, and still delights to keep. --James Smith, in "The Believer's Daily Remembrancer."

Verse 9. I flee unto thee to hide me. The Lord hid the prophets so that Ahab could not find them out: 1 Kings 18:13 . If we will creep under his wings he will surely keep us. -- Archibald Symson.

Verse 9. I flee unto thee to hide me. It may be rendered, "With thee have I hid"; that is, myself: so Arama gives the sense. "I have hid myself with thee." Jarchi, Aben Ezra, and Kimchi interpret it to this purpose, "I have hid my affairs, my straits and troubles, my difficulties and necessities, from men, and have revealed them unto thee, who alone can save." The Targum is, "I have appointed thy Word to be (my) Redeemer." --John Gill.

Verse 9-10. Be persuaded actually to hide yourselves with Jesus Christ. To have a hiding place and not to use it is as bad as to want one: fly to Christ; run into the holes of this rock. Three things must be done by all those that would hide themselves with Christ.

  1. You must put away sin by repentance. Jesus Christ will not be a sanctuary for rebels, he will not protect evil doers. Christ will never hide the devil, nor any of his servants. Isaiah 55:6-7 : "Let the ungodly forsake his way", etc. David knew this, therefore he prays that God would teach him to do his will: "Deliver me, etc. I fly unto thee to hide me. Teach me to do thy will." He that will not do the will of Christ shall receive no protection from Christ. Protectio sequitur allegiantiam. You must be his liege people if you will have him to defend you. Job 22:23 Job 22:25 .
  2. You must pray that he would hide you. The promise is made to prayer: Isaiah 65:10 , "Sharon shall be a fold of flocks, and the valley of Achor a place for the herds to lie down in, for my people that have sought me." He that prays most fervently is like to be hid most securely. And then,
  3. You must believe in him. Faith is the key that opens the door of this hiding place, and locks it again. One word in the Hebrew signifies to trust and to make a refuge. Psalms 57:1 . He that doth not make Christ his trust shall not have Christ for his hiding place; he will hide none but those that commit themselves to him: "I will set him on high, because he hath known my name": Psalms 91:9 Psalms 91:14 . --Ralph Robinson.

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 9. Admirable points in this prayer to be imitated by us. There is,

  1. A sense of danger.
  2. A confession of weakness.
  3. A prudent foresight.
  4. A solid confidence: -- he expects to be hidden from his foes.

Verse 9.

  1. Looking up.
  2. Lying close. --W. B. H.