Psalm 77:2

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 2. In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord. All day long his distress drove him to his God, so that when night came he continued still in the same search. God had hidden his face from his servant, therefore the first care of the troubled saint was to seek his Lord again. This was going to the root of the matter and removing the main impediment first. Diseases and tribulations are easily enough endured when God is found of us, but without him they crush us to the earth.

My sore ran in the night, and ceased not. As by day so by night his trouble was on him and his prayer continued. Some of us know what it is, both physically and spiritually, to be compelled to use these words: no respite has been afforded us by the silence of the night, our bed has been a rack to us, our body has been in torment, and our spirit in anguish. It appears that this sentence is wrongly translated, and should be, "my hand was stretched out all night," this shows that his prayer ceased not, but with uplifted hand he continued to seek succour of his God.

My soul refused to be comforted. He refused some comforts as too weak for his case, others as untrue, others as unhallowed; but chiefly because of distraction, he declined even those grounds of consolation which ought to have been effectual with him. As a sick man turns away even from the most nourishing food, so did he. It is impossible to comfort those who refuse to be comforted. You may bring them to the waters of the promise, but who shall make them drink if they will not do so? Many a daughter of despondency has pushed aside the cup of gladness, and many a son of sorrow has hugged his chains. There are times when we are suspicious of good news, and are not to be persuaded into peace, though the happy truth should be as plain before us as the King's highway.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 2. In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord. Days of trouble must be days of prayer; in days of inward trouble, especially when God seems to have withdrawn from us, we must seek him, and seek till we find him. In the day of his trouble he did not seek for the diversions of business or recreation, to shake off his trouble that way, but he sought God, and his favour and grace. Those that are under trouble of mind, must not think to drink it away, or laugh it away, but pray it away. Matthew Henry.

Verse 2. My sore ran in the night. Hebrew: My hand was poured out; that is, stretched out in prayer; or wet with continual weeping. Non fuit remissa, nec retracta in lectum. John Trapp.

Verse 2. My sore ran in the night, and ceased not, etc. There is no healing of this wound, no easing of this sore, no cleansing of the conscience, no quieting of a man's spirit: till God whom the soul seeketh show himself as the Physician, the evil continueth still and groweth. David Dickson.

Verse 2. My soul refused to be comforted. God has provided suitable and sufficient comfort for his people. He sends them comforters just as their circumstances require. But they at times refuse to hear the voice of the charmer. The Lord has perhaps taken away an idol -- or he withholds his sensible presence, that they may learn to live by faith -- or he has blighted their worldly prospects -- or he has written vanity and emptiness upon all their gourds, cisterns, and delights. They give way to passion, as did Jonah -- or they sink into sullen gloom -- or allow unhumbled pride to rule the spirit -- or yield to extreme sorrow, as Rachel did -- or fall under the power of temptation -- or imbibe the notion that they have no right to comfort. This is wrong, all wrong, decidedly wrong. Look at what is left you, at what the gospel presents to you, at what heaven will be to you. But the psalmist was recovered from this state. He was convinced that it was wrong. He was sorry for his sin. He was reformed in his spirit and conduct. He wrote this Psalm to instruct, caution, and warn us. Observe, they who are entitled to all comfort, often through their own folly, enjoy the least. The Lord's people are often their own tormentors, they put away the cup of comfort from them, and say they are unworthy of it


O Thou source of every blessing,

Chase my sorrows, cheer my heart,

Till in heaven, thy smiles possessing,

Life, and joy, and peace impart. James Smith.

Verse 2. My soul refused to be comforted. Poor I, that am but of yesterday, have known some that have been so deeply plunged in the gulf of despair, that they would throw all the spiritual cordials that have been tendered to them against the walls. They were strong in reasoning against their own souls, and resolved against everything that might be a comfort and support unto them. They have been much set against all ordinances and religious services; they have cast off holy duties themselves, and peremptorily refused to join with others in them; yea, they have, out of a sense of sin and wrath, which hath laid hard upon them, refused the necessary comforts of this life, even to the overthrow of natural life, and yet out of this horrible pit, this hell upon earth, hath God delivered their souls, and given them such manifestations of his grace and favour, that they would not exchange them for a thousand worlds. O despairing souls, you see that others, whose conditions have been as bad if not worse than yours, have obtained mercy. God hath turned their hell into a heaven; he hath remembered them in their low estate; he hath pacified their raging consciences, and quieted their distracted souls; he hath wiped all tears from their eyes; and he hath been a well spring of life unto their hearts. Therefore be not discouraged, O despairing souls, but look up to the mercyseat. Thomas Brooks.

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 2. See "Spurgeon's Sermons," No. 853. "A Sermon for the Most Miserable of Men."

Verse 2.

  1. Special prayer: In the days, etc.
  2. Persevering prayer: hands lifted up to God by night
    as well as by day.
  3. Agonizing prayer: my soul refused to be
    comforted, until the answer came. "Being in an
    agony, he prayed," etc.

Verse 2. (last clause). When this is wise, and when it is censurable.