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77. Psalm 77

I cried unto God with my voice, even unto God with my voice; and he gave ear unto me.

2In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord: my sore ran in the night, and ceased not: my soul refused to be comforted.

3I remembered God, and was troubled: I complained, and my spirit was overwhelmed. Selah.

4Thou holdest mine eyes waking: I am so troubled that I cannot speak.

5I have considered the days of old, the years of ancient times.

6I call to remembrance my song in the night: I commune with mine own heart: and my spirit made diligent search.

7Will the Lord cast off for ever? and will he be favourable no more?

8Is his mercy clean gone for ever? doth his promise fail for evermore?

9Hath God forgotten to be gracious? hath he in anger shut up his tender mercies? Selah.

10And I said, This is my infirmity: but I will remember the years of the right hand of the most High.

11I will remember the works of the Lord: surely I will remember thy wonders of old.

12I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings.

13Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary: who is so great a God as our God?

14Thou art the God that doest wonders: thou hast declared thy strength among the people.

15Thou hast with thine arm redeemed thy people, the sons of Jacob and Joseph. Selah.

16The waters saw thee, O God, the waters saw thee; they were afraid: the depths also were troubled.

17The clouds poured out water: the skies sent out a sound: thine arrows also went abroad.

18The voice of thy thunder was in the heaven: the lightnings lightened the world: the earth trembled and shook.

19Thy way is in the sea, and thy path in the great waters, and thy footsteps are not known.

20Thou leddest thy people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.

7. and 8. Will the Lord cast off for ever? The statements here made undoubtedly form a part of the searchings which engaged the Psalmist’s mind. He intimates that he was almost overwhelmed by a long succession of calamities; for he did not break forth into this language until he had endured affliction for so long a period as hardly to venture to entertain the hope that God would in future be favorable to him. He might well argue with himself whether God would continue to be gracious; for when God embraces us with his favor, it is on the principle that he will continue to extend it towards us even to the end. He does not properly complain or find fault with God, but rather reasoning with himself, concludes, from the nature of God, that it is impossible for him not to continue his free favor towards his people, to whom he has once shown himself to be a father. As he has traced all the blessings which the faithful receive from the Divine hand to the mere good pleasure of God, as to a fountain; so a little after he adds the Divine goodness, as if he had said, How can we suppose it possible for God to break off the course of his fatherly layout, when it is considered that he cannot divest himself of his own nature? We see, then, how by an argument drawn from the goodness of God, he repels the assaults of temptation. When he puts the question, Doth his word or oracle fail? he intimates that he was destitute of all consolation, since he met with no promise to support and strengthen his faith. We are indeed thrown into a gulf of despair when God takes away from us his promises in which our happiness and salvation are included. If it is objected, that such as had the ]Law among their hands could not be without the word of God, I answer, that on account of the imperfection of the former dispensation, when Christ was not yet manifested, 295295     “Qu’a cause de l’infirmite du temps, (ascavoir avant la manifestation de Christ).” — Fr. special promises were then necessary. Accordingly, in Psalm 74:9, we find the faithful complaining that they saw not any longer their wonted signs, and that there was no longer a prophet who had knowledge of the time among them. If David was the penman of this psalm, we know that in matters of doubt and perplexity it was usual with him to ask counsel from God, and that God was accustomed to grant him answers. If he was deprived of this source of alleviation in the midst of his calamities, he had reason to bewail that he found no oracle or word to sustain and strengthen his faith. But if the psalm was composed by some other inspired prophet, this complaint will suit the period which intervened between the return of the Jews from the Babylonish captivity and the coming of Christ; for, during that time, the course of prophecy was in a manner broken off, and there was none endued with any peculiar gift of the Holy Spirit to raise up the hearts of those who were cast down, or to support and keep them from falling. In addition to this, it sometimes happens that although the word of God is offered to us, it yet does not enter into our minds, in consequence of our being involved in such deep distress, as to prevent us from receiving or admitting the smallest degree of comfort. But I embrace the former sense, which is, that the Church was now without those special announcements of prophecy with which she had formerly been favored, and that as she still depended upon the mere sight of the shadows of that economy, she stood constantly in need of fresh supports. From this we may gather the profitable lesson, that we ought not to be unduly disquieted, if God should at any time withdraw his word from us. It should be borne in mind, that he tries his own people by such wonderful methods, that they imagine the whole of Scripture to be turned from its proper end, and that although they are desirous to hear God speaking, they yet cannot be brought to apply his words to their own particular case. This, as I have said, is a distressing and painful thing; but it ought not to hinder us from engaging in the exercise of prayer.


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