Psalm 55:17

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 17. Evening and morning, and at noon, will I pray. Often but none too often. Seasons of great need call for frequent seasons of devotion. The three periods chosen are most fitting; to begin, continue, and end the day with God is supreme wisdom. Where time has naturally set up a boundary, there let us set up an altar stone. The psalmist means that he will always pray; he will run a line of prayer right along the day, and track the sun with his petitions. Day and night he saw his enemies busy ( Psalms 55:10 ), and therefore he would meet their activity by continuous prayer.

And cry aloud. He would give a tongue to his complaint; he would be very earnest in his pleas with heaven. Some cry aloud who never say a word. It is the bell of the heart that rings loudest in heaven. Some read it, "I will nurse and murmur;" deep heart thoughts should be attended with inarticulate but vehement utterances of grief. Blessed be God, moaning is translatable in heaven. A father's heart reads a child's heart.

And he shall hear my voice. He is confident that he will prevail; he makes no question that he would be heard, he speaks as if already he were answered. When our window is opened towards heaven, the windows of heaven are open to us. Have but a pleading heart and God will have a plenteous hand.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 17. Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray. This was the custom of the pious Hebrews. See Daniel 6:10 . The Hebrews began their day in the evening, and hence David mentions the evening first. The rabbins say, men should pray three times each day because the day changes three times. This was observed in the primitive church; but the times in different places were various. The old Psalter gives this a curious turn: "At even I sall tell his louing (praise) what the Christ was on the Crosse; and at morn I sall schew his louing, what tim he ros fra dede. And sua he sall here my voice at midday, that is sitand at the right hand of his fader, wheder he stegh (ascended) at midday." Adam Clarke.

Verse 17. Evening and morning, etc. The three principle parts of the day are mentioned, not as marking special times set apart for prayer, but as a poetical expression for "the whole day," "at all times," "without ceasing." J. J. Stewart Perowne.

Verse 17. If our poor, frail bodies need refreshment from food three times a day, who, that knows his own weakness, will say that we need not as frequent refreshment for our poor frail spirits? William S. Plumer, 1867.

Verse 17. I can no more believe him to be frequent and spiritual in ejaculatory prayer, who neglects the season of solemn prayer, than I can believe that he keeps every day in the week a Sabbath, who neglects to keep that one which God hath appointed. William Gurnall, 1617-1679.

Verse 17. There is no limited time in the court of heaven for hearing petitions. It is not like the court of earthly princes, for there is a free access any day of the week, any hour of the day, or the night, any minute of the hour. As the lawyer saith of the king, for having his due, Nullum tempus occurrit regi: so may I say of the godly, for making his prayers and granting his requests, Nullum tempus occurrit fidelibus, no time unseasonable, so the heart be seasoned with faith; no non term in God's court of requests. He keeps continually open house for all comers and goers; and indeed, most for comers, then goers. His eyes are always open to behold our tears; his ears are always open to hear our groans; his heart also and his bowels are always open, and never shut up so fast, but they will yearn and turn within him, if our misery be never so little. For as we have not an High Priest to pray by "that cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities;" so neither have we a God to pray to, that shall see us in distress, and hear us call and cry, and never be moved. Zachary Bogan (1625-1659), in "Meditations of the Mirth of a Christian Life."

Verse 17. And cry aloud. The word here employed properly means to murmur; to make a humming sound; to sigh; to growl; to groan. Here the language means that he would give utterance to his deep feelings in appropriate tones -- whether words, sighs, or groans. Albert Barnes.

Verse 17. And he shall hear. And what will this loud cry obtain? A hearing without doubt, so he assures himself, He shall hear me. Not that God hears any prayers whether he will or no (as men sometimes do that upon importunity which they have no mind to), but he hath no will, no mind not to hear such prayers, the prayers of those who cry aloud to him. Joseph Caryl, 1602-1673.

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 17.

  1. David will pray fervently; I will pray and cry aloud.
  2. He will pray frequently; every day, and three times a day, evening, and morning, and at noon. Matthew Henry.