World Wide Study Bible
a Bible passage
Consider how many are my foes,
and with what violent hatred they hate me.
Precious Promises; Petitions.
15 Mine eyes are ever toward the Lord; for he shall pluck my feet out of the net. 16 Turn thee unto me, and have mercy upon me; for I am desolate and afflicted. 17 The troubles of my heart are enlarged: O bring thou me out of my distresses. 18 Look upon mine affliction and my pain; and forgive all my sins. 19 Consider mine enemies; for they are many; and they hate me with cruel hatred. 20 O keep my soul, and deliver me: let me not be ashamed; for I put my trust in thee. 21 Let integrity and uprightness preserve me; for I wait on thee. 22 Redeem Israel, O God, out of all his troubles.
David, encouraged by the promises he had been meditating upon, here renews his addresses to God, and concludes the psalm, as he began, with professions of dependence upon God and desire towards him.
I. He lays open before God the calamitous condition he was in. His feet were in the net, held fast and entangled, so that he could not extricate himself out of his difficulties, v. 15. He was desolate and afflicted, v. 16. It is common for those that are afflicted to be desolate; their friends desert them then, and they are themselves disposed to sit alone and keep silence, Lam. iii. 28. David calls himself desolate and solitary because he depended not upon his servants and soldiers, but relied as entirely upon God as if he had no prospect at all of help and succour from any creature. Being in distress, in many distresses, the troubles of his heart were enlarged (v. 17), he grew more and more melancholy and troubled in mind. Sense of sin afflicted him more than any thing else: this it was that broke and wounded his spirit, and made his outward troubles lie heavily upon him. He was in affliction and pain, v. 18. His enemies that persecuted him were many and malicious (they hated him), and very barbarous; it was with a cruel hatred that they hated him, v. 19. Such were Christ's enemies and the persecutors of his church.
II. He expresses the dependence he had upon God in these distresses (v. 15): My eyes are ever towards the Lord. Idolaters were for gods that they could see with their bodily eyes, and they had their eyes ever towards their idols, Isa. xvii. 7, 8. But it is an eye of faith that we must have towards God, who is a Spirit, Zech. ix. 1. Our meditation of him must be sweet, and we must always set him before us: in all our ways we must acknowledge him and do all to his glory. Thus we must live a life of communion with God, not only in ordinances, but in providences, not only in acts of devotion, but in the whole course of our conversation. David had the comfort of this in his affliction; for, because his eyes were ever towards the Lord, he doubted not but he would pluck his feet out of the net, that he would deliver him from the corruptions of his own heart (so some), from the designs of his enemies against him, so others. Those that have their eye ever towards God shall not have their feet long in the net. He repeats his profession of dependence upon God (v. 20)—Let me not be ashamed, for I put my trust in thee; and of expectation from him—I wait on thee, v. 21. It is good thus to hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord.
III. He prays earnestly to God for relief and succour,
1. For himself.
(1.) See how he begs, [1.] For the remission of sin (v. 18): Forgive all my sins. Those were his heaviest burdens, and which brought upon him all other burdens. He had begged (v. 7) for the pardon of the sins of his youth, and (v. 11) for the pardon of some one particular iniquity that was remarkably great, which some think, was his sin in the matter of Uriah. But her he prays, Lord, forgive all, take away all iniquity. It is observable that, as to his affliction, he asks for no more than God's regard to it: "Look upon my affliction and my pain, and do with it as thou pleasest." But, as to his sin, he asks for no less than a full pardon: Forgive all my sins. When at any time we are in trouble we should be more concerned about our sins, to get them pardoned, than about our afflictions, to get them removed. Yet he prays, [2.] For the redress of his grievances. His mind was troubled for God's withdrawings from him and under the sense he had of his displeasure against him for his sins; and therefore he prays (v. 16), Turn thou unto me. And, if God turn to us, no matter who turns from us. His condition was troubled, and, in reference to that, he prays, "O bring thou me out of my distresses. I see no way of deliverance open; but thou canst either find one or make one." His enemies were spiteful; and in reference to that, he prays, "O keep my soul from falling into their hands, or else deliver me out of their hands."
(2.) Four things he mentions by way of plea to enforce these petitions, and refers himself and them to God's consideration:—[1.] He pleads God's mercy: Have mercy upon me. Men of the greatest merits would be undone if they had not to do with a God of infinite mercies. [2.] He pleads his own misery, the distress he was in, his affliction and pain, especially the troubles of his heart, all which made him the proper object of divine mercy. [3.] He pleads the iniquity of his enemies: "Lord, consider them, how cruel they are, and deliver me out of their hands." [4.] He pleads his own integrity, v. 12. Though he had owned himself guilty before God, and had confessed his sins against him, yet, as to his enemies, he had the testimony of his conscience that he had done them no wrong, which was his comfort when they hated him with cruel hatred; and he prays that this might preserve him, This intimates that he did not expect to be safe any longer than he continued in his integrity and uprightness, and that, while he did continue in it, he did not doubt of being safe. Sincerity will be our best security in the worst of times. Integrity and uprightness will be a man's preservation more than the wealth and honour of the world can be. These will preserve us to the heavenly kingdom. We should therefore pray to God to preserve us in our integrity and then be assured that that will preserve us.
2. For the church of God (v. 22): Redeem Israel, O God! out of all his troubles. David was now in trouble himself, but he thinks it not strange, since trouble is the lot of all God's Israel. Why should any one member fare better than the whole body? David's troubles were enlarged, and very earnest he was with God to deliver him, yet he forgets not the distresses of God's church; for, when we have ever so much business of our own at the throne of grace, we must still remember to pray for the public. Good men have little comfort in their own safety while the church is in distress and danger. This prayer is a prophecy that God would, at length, give David rest, and therewith give Israel rest from all their enemies round about. It is a prophecy of the sending of the Messiah in due time to redeem Israel from his iniquities (Ps. cxxx. 8) and so to redeem them from their troubles. It refers also to the happiness of the future state. In heaven, and in heaven only, will God's Israel be perfectly redeemed from all troubles.