Verse 4. Turn us, O God of our salvation. This was the main business. Could the erring tribes be rendered penitent all would be well. It is not that God needs turning from his anger so much as that we need turning from our sin; here is the hinge of the whole matter. Our trials frequently arise out of our sins, they will not go till the sins go. We need to be turned from our sins, but only God can turn us: God the Saviour must put his hand to the work: it is indeed a main part of our salvation. Conversion is the dawn of salvation. To turn a heart to God is as difficult as to make the world revolve upon its axis. Yet when a man learns to pray for conversion there is hope for him, he who turns to prayer is beginning to turn from sin. It is a very blessed sight to see a whole people turn unto their God; may the Lord so send forth his converting grace on our land that we may live to see the people flocking to the loving worship of God as the doves to their cotes.
And cause thine anger toward us to cease. Make an end of it. Let it no longer burn. When sinners cease to rebel, the Lord ceases to be angry with them; when they return to him he returns to them; yea, he is first in the reconciliation, and turns them when otherwise they would never turn of themselves. May all those who are now enduring the hidings of Jehovah's face seek with deep earnestness to be turned anew unto the Lord, for so shall all their despondencies come to an end. Thus the sweet singer asks for his nation priceless blessings, and quotes the best of arguments. Because the God of Israel has been so rich in favour in bygone years, therefore he is entreated to reform and restore his backsliding nation.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 4. Cause thine anger toward us to cease. The phrase, break thine indignation towards us, (that is, wherewith thou art angry with us, in order that it may cease of itself,) comprehends the abolition of the signs and the effects of anger. The word drk, for this is the root to be taken, properly denotes a breaking by means of notches and gaps, as when the edge of anything is broken by many notches and gaps, and it is made utterly worn and useless. Indignation, so long as it is vigorous and spreads its effects, has an edge, which smites and pierces; but it is considered blunt and broken, when it ceases to exert itself, and produces evils no longer, this they affirm of the anger of God. Venema.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
- In what salvation consists.
- In the removal of God's enmity from us.
- In the removal of our enmity to him.
- By whom it is accomplished. By the God of salvation.
- He causes his anger toward us to cease, and
- Our anger toward him.
- How is it obtained? By prayer: "Turn us," etc.