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a Bible passage

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I had said in my alarm,

“I am driven far from your sight.”

But you heard my supplications

when I cried out to you for help.


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22. And I said in my fear. David here confesses that for his distrust he deserved to be deserted by God and left to perish. It is true that to confess this before men he felt to be a shameful thing; but that he may the more fully illustrate the grace of God to him, he hesitates not to publish the shame of his fault. He repeats almost the same acknowledgement in Psalm 116:11, “I said in my haste, All men are liars.” I am aware that the Hebrew word חפז, chaphaz, is explained by some as meaning flight; as if David, in fleeing from death, because he was unable to make resistance, was stricken with this fear. But I refer it rather to his trouble of mind. Whether, therefore, we translate it haste or fear, it means that he had been, as it were, carried headlong to entertain the thought that he was neglected by God. And this haste is opposed to calm and deliberate consideration; for although David was stricken with fear, he did not faint under the trial, and this persuasion did not continue fixed in his mind. For we know that the faithful are often disquieted by fears and the heat of impatience, or driven headlong as it were by their too hasty or precipitate wishes, but afterwards they come to themselves. That David’s faith had never been overthrown by this temptation appears from the context, for he immediately adds, that God had heard the voice of his supplications; but if his faith had been extinguished, he could not have brought his mind earnestly to engage in prayer, and therefore this complaint was only a lapse of the tongue uttered in haste. Now if peevish hastiness of thought could drive this holy prophet of God, a man who was adorned with so many excellencies, to despair, how much reason have we to fear, lest our minds should fail and fatally ruin us? This confession of David, as we have already observed, serves to magnify the grace of God; but at the same time he sufficiently shows, in the second clause of the verse, that his faith, although severely shaken, had not been altogether eradicated, because he ceased not meanwhile to pray. The saints often wrestle in this manner with their distrust, that partly they may not despond, and that partly they may gather courage and stimulate themselves to prayer. Nor does the weakness of the flesh, even when they are almost overthrown, hinder them from showing that they are unwearied and invincible champions before God. But although David stoutly resisted temptation, he nevertheless acknowledges himself unworthy of God’s grace, of which he in some measure deprived himself by his doubt. For the Hebrew particle אכן, aken, is here to be understood adversatively and rendered yet, intimating that David had been preserved without any desert of his own, inasmuch as God’s immeasurable goodness strove with his unbelief. But as it is a sign of affirmation in Hebrew, I have thought proper to translate it, Yet truly. I have no doubt that he opposes his language to the various temptations with which, it is probable, his mind had been driven hither and thither.