Verse 9. Hide not thy face far from me. The word "far" is not in the original, and is a very superfluous addition of the translators, since even the least hiding of the Lord's face is a great affliction to a believer. The command to seek the Lord's face would be a painful one if the Lord, by withdrawing himself, rendered it impossible for the seeker to meet with him. A smile from the Lord is the greatest of comforts, his frown the worst of ills. Put not thy servant away in anger. Other servants had been put away when they proved unfaithful, as for instance, his predecessor Saul; and this made David, while conscious of many faults, most anxious that divine long suffering should continue him in favour. This is a most appropriate prayer for us under a similar sense of unworthiness. Thou hast been my help. How truly can we join in this declaration; for many years, in circumstances of varied trial, we have been upheld by our God, and must and will confess our obligation. "Ingratitude," it is said, "is natural to fallen man," but to spiritual men it is unnatural and detestable. Leave me not, neither forsake me. A prayer for the future, and an inference from the past. If the Lord had meant to leave us, why did he begin with us? Past help is but a waste of effort if the soul now be deserted. The first petition, "leave me not," may refer to temporary desertions, and the second word to the final withdrawal of grace, both are to be prayed against; and concerning the second, we have immutable promises to urge. O God of my salvation. A sweet title worthy of much meditation.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 9. Hide not thy face far from me. When I seek thy face, vouchsafe, O God, not to hide thy face from me; for to what purpose should I seek it if I cannot find it? and what hope of finding it if thou be bent to hide it? Sir Richard Baker.
Verse 9. Put not thy servant away in anger. God puts away many in anger for their supposed goodness, but not any at all for their confessed badness. John Trapp.
Verse 9. Thy servant. It is a blessed and happy thing to be God's true "servant." Consider what the Queen of Sheba said of Solomon's servants 1 Kings 10:8 : "Happy are these thy servants," &c. Now Christ Jesus is greater than Solomon, Matthew 12:42 , and so a better Master. Good earthly masters will honour good servants, as Pr 27:18, "He that waiteth on his master shall be honoured;" Proverbs 17:2 , "A wise servant shall have a portion, or inheritance, among the brethren." But however some earthly masters may be Nabals and Labans, yet God will not be so: John 12:26 : "Where I am, there shall also my servant be." "If any man serve me, him will my father honour," see Luke 12:37 . The watchful servants are blessed; their master will make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them, as Matthew 25:21 Matthew 25:23 : "Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord." Thomas Pierson.
Verse 9. Thou hast been my help; leave me not, etc. One act of mercy engages God to another. Men argue thus: I have showed you kindness already, therefore trouble me no more; but because God has shown mercy he is more ready still to show mercy; his mercy in election makes him justify, adopt, glorify. Thomas Watson.
Verse 9. Leave me not; rather, "dismiss me not;" "let not go thy hold of me." This is the proper sense of the Hebrew verb (fjn), to set a thing loose, to let it go, to abandon it. Samuel Horsley.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
- Desertion deprecated in all its forms.
- Experience pleaded.
- Divine aid implored.
Verse 9. The horror of saints at the hell of sinners. James Scot.