Verse 13. O spare me. Put by thy rod. Turn away thine angry face. Give me breathing time. Do not kill me. That I may recover strength. Let me have sufficient cessation from pain, to be able to take repose and nourishment, and so recruit my wasted frame. He expects to die soon, but begs a little respite from sorrow, so as to be able to rally and once more enjoy life before its close. Before I go hence, and be no more. So far as this world is concerned, death is a being no more; such a state awaits us, we are hurrying onward towards it. May the short interval which divides us from it be gilded with the sunlight of our heavenly Father's love. It is sad to be an invalid from the cradle to the grave, far worse to be under the Lord's chastisements by the month together, but what are these compared with the endurance of the endless punishment threatened to those who die in their sins!
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 13. O spare me, that I may recover strength, before I go hence, and be no more. Man in his corrupt state is like Nebuchadnezzar, he hath a beast's heart, that craves no more than the satisfaction of his sensual appetite; but when renewed by grace, then his understanding returns to him, by which he is enabled in praying for temporals to elevate his desires to a nobler end. Doth David pray that some farther time may be added to his temporal life? It is not out of a fond love for this world, but to prepare himself the better for another. Is he comforted with hopes of a longer stay here? It is not this world's carnal pleasures that kindle this joy in his holy breast, but the advantage that thereby he shall have for praising God in the land of the living ... O spare me, that I may recover strength. David was not yet recovered out of that sin which had brought him exceeding low as you may perceive, Psalms 39:10-11 . And the good man cannot think of dying with any willingness till his heart be in a holier frame: and for the peace of the gospel, serenity of conscience, and inward joy; alas! all unholiness is to it as poison is to the spirits which drink them up. William Gurnall.
Verse 13. O spare me, etc. Attachment to life, the feeling cherished by the psalmist, when he thus appealed to the Sovereign of the universe, varies in its character with the occasions and the sentiments by which it is elicited and confirmed. Take one view of it, and you pronounce it criminal; take another, and you pronounce it innocent; take a third, and you pronounce it laudable.
- Life may inspire a criminal attachment, warranting our censure. The most obvious and aggravated case is that in which the attachment has its foundations in the opportunities which life affords, of procuring "the wages of unrighteousness," and "the pleasures of sin."
Outline of a Sermon entitled "Attachment to Life," preached by Joseph Hughes, M.A., as a Funeral Sermon for Rev. John Owen, M.A., 1822.
Verse 13. May not the very elect and faithful themselves fear the day of judgment, and be far from fetching comfort at it? I answer, he may. First, at his first conversion and soon after, before he have gotten a full persuasion of the remission of his sins. And again, in some spiritual desertion, when the Lord seems to leave a man to himself, as he did David and others, he may fear to think of the same. And lastly, when he hath fallen into some great sin after he is a strong man in Christ, he may fear death and judgment, and be constrained to pray with Job and David, O spare me, that I may recover strength, before I go hence, and be no more. John Barlow's Sermon, 1618.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
- The subject of his petition -- not that he may escape death and live always in this life, because he knows that he must go hence; but
- That he may be recovered from his afflictions; and,
- That he may continue longer in this life. Such a prayer is lawful when offered in submission to the will of God.
- The reasons for this petition.
- That he may remove by his future life, the calumnies that had been heaped upon him.
- That he may have brighter evidences of his interest in the divine favour.
- That he may become a blessing to others, his family and nation.
- That he might have greater peace and comfort in death; and,
- That he might "have an entrance ministered more abundantly," etc.