Posted: July 27,2008
We conclude our study of this sweet 44th
Psalm this week. It has been a song of instruction of what to do as an
individual or nation when you are confronted with desperation. David’s
kingdom has been stolen by his son Absalom and David fled with his
meager belongings in a sack.
We look this week at verses 23-26 of
which I am calling ‘What They See About Them’. It is Israel’s
history about ‘hope’. We have seen things in this Psalm move
from helplessness, to Him, and now to hope. I quote our verses of study
which say, “Awake, why sleepest thou, O Lord?
arise, cast us not off for ever. Wherefore hidest thou thy face, and
forgettest our affliction and our oppression? For our soul is bowed down
to the dust: our belly cleaveth unto the earth. Arise for our help, and
redeem us for thy mercies’ sake.”
These verses seem to give anything but
hope. I assure us a closer look will cause us to see they are all about
hope. In verses 23-24 there is ‘A Word About A Sovereign Sleeper’.
David mentions in this text that as a
nation they feel cast off, God’s face is hidden from them they are
afflicted and oppressed. The term ‘cast off’ gives a picture of
the disease of sheep when they have fallen on the back with all four
legs in the air. When the face of God is hidden there is a sense that
God’s favor has been removed from the life. The word ‘affliction’
has the idea of being in the misery of depression. The word ‘oppressed’
means to be pressed down with distressing trouble. It is in the midst
of this that David acts as though God is asleep and calls for Him to ‘awake’,
arise’, and ‘help’. Charles Spurgeon said, “When one
thinks that God is asleep it is because they have been awakened.”
David wished himself, ‘He that keepeth Israel neither sleeps nor
slumbers.’ My friend, this is great hope when we are awakened to our
need of God’s face to turn toward us, and not His hand to give us
something. We just want Him.
In verse 25 we see ‘A Word About The
State Of The Soul’. When one senses that God’s presence is not
going with him it will affect the hope of his soul. David’s soul is
bowed down to the dust. You can get no lower than to be under the shoes
of men or the dust under their feet. Heart sorrow is the very heart of
sorrow. David said his belly was glued to the ground. He could not
move from this prostrate position. Brethren, this is a great place of
hope for the soul to arrive at. You may ask preacher, ‘How can a
position like this give hope?’ Oh, how we as individuals, families,
churches, and nation need to find this place of the soul before the
Lord. God said through James, ‘That He resisteth the proud but
giveth grace to the humble.’ The Old Testament historians said, ‘If
my people which are called by my name will humble themselves…seek
my face…” There is great hope for all in a state of humility of the
soul before our God.
In verse 26 we find, ‘A Word About
The Saving For His Sake’. David’s plea in this verse is for the
help of ‘mercy’. The word ‘mercy’ carries the idea of
withholding from us what we deserve. David is saying, Lord we deserve
to be afflicted and oppressed. We deserve to have you turn your back on
us and leave us face down in the dust but find it in yourself to
withhold it from us. In verse 26 the plea is to do this for thy sake.
He is reminding the Lord to help them would bring Him the greatest of
glory. The world around will see that you have arisen to show that you
are the only Lord of your people.
I am reminded of our Lord taking His
disciples across the seas when a raging storm arose. We are told that
He was asleep on a pillow. I am amazed at what didn’t wake Him up. The
winds were blowing the boat from side to side but our Lord slept on.
The waves were breaking against the ship until it was full. The boat
was literally sinking but the Saviour slept on. Pray tell what woke Him
up? When the disciples humbled themselves and said, ‘Master, carest
thou not that we perish?’ The word ‘master’ is a term of an
inferior to a superior. This alone awoke Him from His sleep. That term
when cried to Him in desperation still brings the hope of help for the
child of God in a time of desperate trouble.