Psalm 56:9

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 9. When I cry unto thee, then shall mine enemies turn back. So soon as I pray they shall fly. So surely as I cry they shall be put to the rout.

"So swift is prayer to reach the sky,

So kind is God to me."

The machinery of prayer is not always visible, but it is most efficient. God inclines us to pray, we cry in anguish of heart, he hears, he acts, the enemy is turned back. What irresistible artillery is this which wins the battle as soon as its report is heard! What a God is this who harkens to the cry of his children, and in a moment delivers them from the mightiest adversaries!

This I know. This is one of the believer's certainties, his axioms, his infallible, indisputable verities.

For God is for me. This, we know, and we know, therefore, that none can be against us who are worth a moment's fear. "If God be for us, who can be against us?" Who will restrain prayer when it is so potent? Who will seek any other ally than God, who is instantly present so soon as we give the ordained signal, by which we testify both our need and our confidence?

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 9. When I cry. The cry of faith and prayer to God is more dreadful to our spiritual foes than the war whoop of the Indian is to his surprised brother savages. Adam Clarke.

Verse 9. (first clause). It was somewhat that when David prayed he was saved from his enemies. "I will call on the Lord: so shall I be saved from mine enemies" ( 2 Samuel 22:4 ); there is the defensive power of prayer; but it is more that it puts enemies to the foil. When I cry unto thee, then shall mine enemies turn back and be put to flight; there is the offensive power of prayer. In David's tower there was an armoury, thalpijoth, a place to hang swords with two edges, swords with two mouths ( 4:4 ); a defensive and an offensive edge. Both edges must be used by such as seek safety. Prayer is a sword with two edges. "Put up thy sword into his place," says Christ to Peter: "for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword." Matthew 22:52 . But he that takes not this sword may happen to perish by the sword; and the drawing of this sword may save a man from perishing by the sword. Mark that last reason that our Saviour adds why Peter should put up his sword: "Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?" ( Matthew 22:53 ). As if he had said, If it were my mind to confound these mine enemies that now set upon me, I should not need thy sword to do it. I could pray to my Father, and could presently by prayer bring such forces into the field as should rout and scatter all mine enemies; hereby implying, that if he would, he could do his enemies more damage and mischief by his prayers against them than by the sword and all instruments of war. Prayer is twelve legions strong, yea, twelve legions of angels strong against enemies. Jeremiah Dyke (1620), in the Righteous Man's Tower.

Verse 9. This I know. Faith goeth upon solid grounds, and is not a fallible conjecture, but a sure knowledge. David Dickson.

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 9.

  1. God is on the side of his people.
  2. He is known to be on their side.
  3. In answer to prayer he appears on their side.
  4. When he appears enemies flee.

Or --

  1. The fact, God is for me.
  2. The knowledge of that fact -- This I know.
  3. The use of that knowledge -- When I cry, etc.
  4. The consequence of that use -- Mine enemies turn
    back.

G. R.