Verse 2. For. Here is argument, which is the very sinew of prayer. If we reasoned more with the Lord we should have more victories in supplication. Thou art the God of my strength. All my strength belongs to thee -- I will not, therefore, use it on my own behalf against my personal foes. All my strength comes from thee, I therefore seek help from thee, who art able to bestow it. All my strength is in thee, I leave therefore this task of combating my foes entirely in thy hands. Faith which leaves such things alone is wise faith. Note the assurance of David, thou art, not I hope and trust so, but I know it is so; we shall find confidence to be our consolation. Why dost thou cast me off? Why am I treated as if thou didst loathe me? Am I become an offence unto thee? There are many reasons why the Lord might cast us off, but no reason shall prevail to make him do so. He hath not cast off his people, though he for awhile treats them as cast offs. Learn from this question that it is well to enquire into dark providences, but we must enquire of God, not of our own fears. He who is the author of a mysterious trial can best expound it to us.
"Blind unbelief is sure to err,
And scan his work in vain;
God is his own interpreter,
And he will make it plain."
Why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy? Why do I wander hither and thither like a restless spirit? Why wear I the weeds of sorrow on my body, and the lines of grief on my face? Oppression makes a wise man mad; why, Lord, am I called to endure so much of it for so long a time? Here again is a useful question, addressed to the right quarter. The answer will often be because we are saints, and must be made like our Head, and because such sorrow is chastening to the spirit, and yieldeth comfortable fruit. We are not to cross question the Lord in peevishness, but we may ask of him in humility; God help us to observe the distinction so as not to sin through stress of sorrow.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 2. Thou art the God of my strength. The godly man hath from God a threefold strength, namely, natural, providential, and spiritual.
- Natural, Acts 17:28 . This is twofold: of body, of mind. Of robustness, hardness, and agility of body; of wit, invention, and valour of mind. Now, these donations of corporal and mental natural endowments are God's gifts. Ps 18:34,39 ...
- Providential strength, which is threefold:
- God's donation of strengthening mercies.
- Corporal: wine to make glad, and bread to strengthen. Psalms 104:15 .
- Mental, common gifts; as Paul had a singular gift of language and single life; Apollos of elocution, argument, power of convincing. 2. Providential strength is God's making way for his people to act and put forth their strength. Psalms 78:50 .
- Providential strength is God's concurrence with our lawful human acting. Psalms 18:29 .
- The third sort of power is spiritual: God is the godly man's spiritual power. 1 John 2:14 : "I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong," namely, with spiritual strength, for it follows, "The word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one." This is the main strength of a godly man; as that text hints, namely, young men are naturally strong, but St. John takes no notice of that, but commends them for their spiritual strength. This spiritual strength is from the word of the Spirit, and from the Spirit of the word, that is, from the Spirit accompanying the word.
- From the word of the Spirit, the word of God. Psalms 119:50 : "This is my comfort in my affliction: for thy word hath quickened me." To be "quickened," i.e., enlivened, is to be full of vigour and spirit and to act mightily, and to "comfort" is, as the word signifies, to make strong; for when a man is most cheerful with sobriety, he is most strong. St. John in that place fore quoted, saith the young men to whom he wrote were strong because the word of God abode in them. For Pr 12:25 "whereas sorrow in the heart of man maketh it stoop" -- makes it sickly, weak, drooping -- "a good word maketh it glad," cheerful, strong, vigorous. And so if the word of a wise friend, how much more the word of God, with its many strengthening promises? Psalms 20:2 119:28. The word of God is the very mind and will of God, and power of God, and with the word God created the world, therefore, he that receives this word must needs receive a great deal of strength. Romans 1:16 .
Verse 2. The Spirit of the word, the Holy Spirit that useth to accompany the word to them that receive it. By his Spirit God is in a believer 1 Corinthians 6:9 Ephesians 2:1-22 ; and this is the spirit of strength and power. Ephesians 3:16 2 Timothy 1:7 . As a powerful, active soul makes a vigorous body, so the Spirit in the soul makes the soul powerful and strong, being the soul of the soul of a believer. We read more than once or twice in the Scriptures, that when believers did any eminent act, it is said, the Spirit of the Lord came upon them, and they did so and so, i.e., the Spirit of God in them did them put forth its power to make them act powerfully. Condensed from Nathanael Homes.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 1-2,4-5. Five mys:
- My cause -- "plead it."
- My strength -- "thou art."
- My joy -- God is.
- My soul -- "why disquieted."
- My God.
Verse 2. The God of my strength. From whom it is derived, to whom it is dedicated, in whom it resides, by whom it shall be perfected.
Verse 2. (first clause).
- From thee it comes.
- By thee it is sustained.
- To thee it is dedicated.
- By thee it will be perfected.
- By thee it will be rewarded.
Verse 2. (second clause).
- The nature of apparent forsaking. Painful, protracted, perplexing.
- The cause of it. Secret sin to be laid bare, past sin chastised, graces tried, faith ultimately strengthened, etc.
- The best conduct under it. Appeal to God, confess, submit, pray, trust, etc.
Verse 2. (last clauses). The two "whys." The questions themselves; the spirit in which they may be asked. The answers which may be given.