Psalm 90:14

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 14. O satisfy us early with thy mercy. Since they must die, and die so soon, the psalmist pleads for speedy mercy upon himself and his brethren. Good men know how to turn the darkest trials into arguments at the throne of grace. He who has but the heart to pray need never be without pleas in prayer. The only satisfying food for the Lord's people is the favour of God; this Moses earnestly seeks for, and as the manna fell in the morning he beseeches the Lord to send at once his satisfying favour, that all through the little day of life they might be filled therewith. Are we so soon to die? Then, Lord, do not starve us while we live. Satisfy us at once, we pray thee. Our day is short and the night hastens on, O give us in the early morning of our days to be satisfied with thy favour, that all through our little day we may be happy.

That we may rejoice and be glad all our days. Being filled with divine love, their brief life on earth would become a joyful festival, and would continue so as long as it lasted. When the Lord refreshes us with his presence, our joy is such that no man can take it from us. Apprehensions of speedy death are not able to distress those who enjoy the present favour of God; though they know that the night cometh they see nothing to fear in it, but continue to live while they live, triumphing in the present favour of God and leaving the future in his loving hands. Since the whole generation which came out of Egypt had been doomed to die in the wilderness, they would naturally feel despondent, and therefore their great leader seeks for them that blessing which, beyond all others, consoles the heart, namely, the presence and favour of the Lord.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 14. O satisfy us with thy mercy. A poor hungry soul lying under sense of wrath, will promise to itself happiness for ever, if it can but once again find what it hath sometime felt; that is, one sweet fill of God's sensible mercy towards it. --David Dickson.

Verse 14. O satisfy us. That is everywhere and evermore the cry of humanity. And what a strange cry it is, when you think of it, brethren! Man is the offspring of God; the bearer of his image; he stands at the head of the terrestrial creation; on earth he is peerless; he possesses wondrous capacities of thought, and feeling, and action. The world, and all that is in it, has been formed in a complete and beautiful adaptation to his being. Nature seems to be ever calling to him with a thousand voices, to be glad and rejoice; and yet he is unsatisfied, discontented, miserable! This is a most strange thing -- strange, that is, on any theory respecting man's character and condition, but that which is supplied by the Bible; and it is not only a testimony to the ruin of his nature, but also to the insufficiency of everything earthly to meet his cravings. --Charles M. Merry, 1864.

Verse 14. O satisfy us early with thy mercy; that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. We pass now to this particular prayer, and those limbs that make up the body of it. They are many; as many as words in it: satisfy, and satisfy us, and do that early, and do that with that which is thine, and let that be mercy. So that first it is a prayer for fulness and satisfaction, -- satisfy: and then it is a prayer not only of appropriation to ourselves, satisfy me, but of a charitable dilation and extension to others, satisfy us, all us, all thy servants, all thy church; and then thirdly it is a prayer of despatch and expedition, "Satisfy us early;" and after that, it is a prayer of evidence and manifestation, satisfy us with that which is, and which we may discern to be thine; and then lastly it is a prayer of limitation even upon God himself, that God will take no other way herein but the way of "mercy." "Satisfy us early with thy mercy."...There is a spiritual fulness in this life of which St. Hierome speaks, Ebrietas felix, satietas salutaris, A happy excess and a wholesome surfeit; quoe quanto copiosius sumitur, majorem donat sobrietatem, In which the more we eat, the more temperate we are, and the more we drink, the more sober. In which (as St. Bernard also expresses it in his mellifluence) Mutua interminabili inexplicabili generatione, desiderium generat satietatem, et satietas parit desiderium, By a mutual and reciprocal, by an undeterminable and inexpressible generation of one another, the desire of spiritual graces begets a satiety, and then this satiety begets a farther desire. This is a holy ambition, a sacred covetousness. Naphtali's blessing, "O Naphtali, satisfied with favour, and full with the blessing of the Lord", Deuteronomy 33:23 ; St. Stephen's blessing, "Full of faith and of the Holy Ghost", Acts 6:5 ; the blessed Virgin's blessing, "Full of grace"; Dorcas' blessing, "Full of good works and of alms deeds", Acts 9:36 ; the blessing of him who is blessed above all, and who blesseth all, even Christ Jesus, "Full of wisdom, full of the Holy Ghost, full of grace and truth". Luke 2:40 4:1 John 1:14 . ... "Satisfy us early with" that which is thine, "thy mercy;" for there are mercies (in a fair extent and accommodation of the word, that is refreshing, eases, deliverances), that are not his mercies, nor his satisfactions...It is not his mercy, except we go by good ways to good ends; except our safety be established by alliance with his friends, except our peace may be had with the perfect continuance of our religion, there is no safety, there is no peace. But let me feel the effect of this prayer, as it is a prayer of manifestation, let me discern that that which is done upon me is done by the hand of God, and I care not what it be, I had rather have God's vinegar, than man's oil, God's wormwood, than man's manna, God's justice, than any man's mercy; for therefore did Gregory Nyssen call St. Basil in a holy sense, Ambidextrum, because he took everything that came by the right handle, and with the right hand, because he saw it come from God. Even afflictions are welcome when we see them to be his: though the way that he would choose, and the way that this prayer entreats, be only mercy, "Satisfy us early with thy mercy." --John Donne.

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 14. (first clause). See "Spurgeon's Sermons", No. 513: "The Young Man's Prayer."

Verse 14.

  1. The deepest yearning of man is for satisfaction.
  2. Satisfaction can only be found in the realization of Divine Mercy.

--C.M. Merry, 1864.

Verse 14. O satisfy us early with thy mercy, etc. Learn,

  1. That our souls can have no solid satisfaction in earthly things.
  2. That the mercy of God alone can satisfy our souls.
  3. That nothing but satisfaction in God can fill our days with joy and gladness.

--John Cawood, 1842.

Verse 14.

  1. The most cheerful days of earth are made more cheerful by thoughts of Divine mercy.
  2. The most sorrowful days of earth are made glad by the consciousness of Divine love.

--G.R.