Verse 6. Wilt thou not revive us again? Hope here grows almost confident. She feels sure that the Lord will return in all his power to save. We are dead or dying, faint and feeble, God alone can revive us, he has in other times refreshed his people, he is still the same, he will repeat his love. Will he not? Why should he not? We appeal to him --
Wilt thou not? That thy people may rejoice in thee. Thou lovest to see thy children happy with that best of happiness which centres in thyself, therefore revive us, for revival will bring us the utmost joy. The words before us teach us that gratitude has an eye to the giver, even beyond the gift -- thy people may rejoice in thee. Those who were revived would rejoice not only in the new life but in the Lord who was the author of it. Joy in the Lord is the ripest fruit of grace, all revivals and renewals lead up to it. By our possession of it we may estimate our spiritual condition, it is a sure gauge of inward prosperity. A genuine revival without joy in the Lord is as impossible as spring without flowers, or daydawn without light. If, either in our own souls or in the hearts of others, we see declension, it becomes us to be much in the use of this prayer, and if on the other hand we are enjoying visitations of the Spirit and bedewings of grace, let us abound in holy joy and make it our constant delight to joy in God.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 6. Wilt thou not revive us again? The Hebrew is, Wilt thou not return and revive us? We translate the verb return by the adverb again: Wilt thou not revive us again? Thou hast given us many revives: when we were as dead men, and like carcases rotting in the grave, thou didst revive us, wilt thou not revive us once more, and act over those powerfully merciful works and strong salvations once more, or again? Joseph Caryl.
Verse 6. That thy people may rejoice in thee. Bernard in his 15th Sermon on Canticles says Jesus is honey in the mouth, melody in the ear, joy in the heart. Is any among us sad? Let Jesus enter the heart, and thence spring to the countenance, and behold, before the rising brightness of his name, every cloud is scattered, serenity returns. Origen in his 10th Hom on Genesis, has the remark, Abraham rejoiced not in present things, neither in the riches of the words, nor deeds of time. But do you wish to hear, whence he drew his joy? Listen to the Lord speaking to the Jews, John 8:56 : Your father, Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad: hope heaped up his joys. Le Blanc.
Verse 6. That thy people may rejoice in thee. When God changeth the cheer of his people, their joy should not be in the gift, but in the Giver. David Dickson.
Verse 6. It is the most natural thing, the most delightful thing, for the people of God to rejoice in God. God is the fountain of joy, and whom should he fill with it but his people? And whom should his people breathe it into again but him? This posture God delights to have them in; this posture they delight to be in; but this cannot be in that estate of death and captivity wherein God for a long season shutteth them up. "The living, the living shall praise thee," but alas, the dead cannot. John Pennington, 1656.
Verse 6. Truly sin kills. Men are dead in trespasses and sins, dead in law, dead in their affections, dead in a loss of comfortable communion with God. Probably the greatest practical heresy of each age is a low idea of our undone condition under the guilt and dominion of sin. While this prevails we shall be slow to cry for reviving or quickening. What sinners and churches need is quickening by the Holy Ghost. William S. Plumer.
Verse 6-7. Wilt thou not revive us, by the first and spiritual resurrection, and so thy people, quickened from a life of sin to a life of grace, will rejoice in thee, not in themselves, presuming nothing on their own power. And in order that these things may be fulfilled in us, Shew us, O Lord, thy mercy, that is, Christ, through whom thou hast pitied the human race, shew him to us after this exile that we may see him face to face. Richardus Hampolus.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
- Revivals imply decline.
- That there is grace to be revived.
- That this grace has declined.
- Revivals are from God: Wilt not thou, etc.: they
cannot be got up by men.
- Revivals are frequently needed: Wilt not thou
revive us again.
- Revivals are in answer to prayer: Wilt thou not,
- Revivals are occasions for great joy.
- To the saints.
- In God.