Verse 18. Look upon mine affliction and my pain. Note the many trials of the saints; here we have no less than six words all descriptive of woe. "Desolate, and afflicted, troubles enlarged, distresses, affliction, and pain." But note yet more the submissive and believing spirit of a true saint; all he asks for is, "Lord, look upon my evil plight;" he does not dictate, or even express a complaint; a look from God will content him, and that being granted he asks no more. Even more noteworthy is the way in which the believer under affliction discovers the true source of all the mischief, and lays the axe at the root of it. Forgive all my sins, is the cry of a soul that is more sick of sin than of pain, and would sooner be forgiven than healed. Blessed is the man to whom sin is more unbearable than disease, he shall not be long before the Lord shall both forgive his iniquity and heal his diseases. Men are slow to see the intimate connection between sin and sorrow, a grace taught heart alone feels it.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 18. Look upon mine affliction and my pain; and forgive all my sins. We may observe here, that sickness and weakness of the body come from sin, and is a fruit of sin. Some are weak, and some are sick, "for this cause." I shall not need to be long in the proof of that, which you have whole chapters for, as Deuteronomy 28:27 , seq; and many Psalms, 107, and others. It is for the sickness of the soul that God visits with the sickness of the body. He aims at the cure of the soul in the touch of the body. And therefore in this case, when God visits with sickness, we should think our work is more in heaven with God than with men or physic. Begin first with the soul. So David Psalms 32:5 , till he dealt roundly with God, without all kind of guile, and confessed his sins, he roared; his moisture was turned into the drought of summer. But when he dealt directly and plainly with God, and confessed his sins, then God forgave him them, and healed his body too. And therefore the best method, when God visits us in this kind, is to think that we are to deal with God. Begin the cure there with the soul. When he visits the body, it is for the soul's sake: "Many are weak and sickly among you." Richard Sibbes.
Verse 18. Look upon mine affliction and my pain. In sickness of body trust to Jesus, he is as powerful and as willing to help us now as he was to help others in the days of his flesh. All things are possible to us if we believe. It is but a word from him to rebuke all storms and tempests whatsoever. Let us not do like Asa, trust only in the physician, or in subordinate means, but know that all physic is but dead means without him. 2 Chronicles 16:12 . Therefore, with the means, run to Christ, that he may work with them, and know that virtue and strength comes form him to bless or curse all sorts of means. Richard Sibbes.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 16-18. David is a petitioner as well as a sufferer; and those sorrows will never injure us that bring us near to God. Three things he prays for: --
- Deliverance. This we are called to desire, consistently with resignation to the divine will.
- Notice. A kind look from God is desirable at any time in any circumstances; but in affliction and pain, it is like life from the dead.
- Pardon. Trials are apt to revive a sense of guilt. William Jay.
Verse 18. Two things are here taught us: --
That a kind look from God is very desirable in affliction.
- It is a look of special observation.
- It is a look of tender compassion.
- It is a look of support and assistance (with God, power and compassion go together).
The sweetest cordial under trouble would be an assurance of divine forgiveness.
- Because trouble is very apt to bring our sins to remembrance.
- Because a sense of pardon will in great measure remove all distressing fears of death and judgment.
- Let us adore the goodness of God, that one so great and glorious should bestow a favourable look upon any of our sinful race.
- Let the benefit we have received from the Lord's looking upon us in former afflictions, engage us to pray, and encourage us to hope, that he will now look upon us again.
- If a kind look from God be so comfortable, what must heaven be! Samuel Lavington.
- It is well when our sorrows remind us of our sins.
- When we are as earnest to be forgiven as to be delivered.
- When we bring both to the right place in prayer.
- When we are submissive about our sorrows -- "Look," etc. -- but very explicit about our sins -- "forgive," etc.