Verse 17. And hide not thy face from thy servant. A good servant desires the light of his master's countenance; that servus servorum, who was also rex regium, could not bear to lose the presence of his God. The more he loved his Father, the more severely he felt the hiding of his face.
For I am in trouble. Stay thy rough wind in the day of thine east wind; do not add sorrow upon sorrow. If ever a man needs the comforting presence of God it is when he is in distress; and, being in distress, it is a reason to be pleaded with a merciful God why he should not desert us. We may pray that our flight be not in the winter, and that God will not add spiritual desertion to all our other tribulations.
Hear me speedily. The case was urgent, delay was dangerous, nay deadly. Our Lord was the perfection of patience, yet he cried urgently for speedy mercy; and therein he gives us liberty to do the same, so long as we add, "nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt."
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 17. Hide not thy face from thy servant; for I am in trouble. An upright servant, albeit he be troubled for God's cause, and do miss comfort from God; yet will he not change his Master, nor despair of his favour. David Dickson.
Verse 17. Hide not thy face. The proper sense of the word rtm, gives the meaning to the phrase, veil not thy face from thy servant. In this there is a reference to a king, who, to prevent promiscuous approach to his chamber, spreads a veil before it, and admits to his presence only his minister of high confidence. So in Psalms 31:21 . The face of God is his majesty, and his gracious and favourable presence; the servant of God is his minister enjoying intimate access, and to veil the face from him is to prevent him coming into the presence of God; and, therefore, it belongs to the servant of God to be treated in a widely different manner. Hermann Venema.
Verse 17. Thy servant. Hide not, he says, from thy servant; as if he should say, such as I am, I am thy servant. It belongs to the Master to take care of his servant, if in peril for his sake. In this same verse he says he is in a strait. In Psalms 69:18 he declares that he is in jeopardy of his life. Musculus.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Prayer: Hide not thy face. Person: Thy servant. Plea: For I am in trouble. Pressure: Hear me speedily.