Verse 22. "Make haste to help me " - I am dying; save, Lord, or I perish.
Whoever carefuIly reads over this Psalm will see what a grievous and bitter thing it is to sin against the Lord, and especially to sin after having known his mercy, and after having escaped from the corruption that is in the world. Reader, be on thy guard; a life of righteousness may be lost by giving way to a moment's temptation, and a fair character sullied for ever! Let him that most assuredly standeth take heed lest he fall.
'Tis but a grain of sweet that one can sow, To reap a harvest of wide-wasting wo.
ANALYSIS OF THE THIRTY-EIGHTH PSALM
This Psalm may be divided into two parts:i. A deprecation; begun ver. 1, and continued in ver. 21, 22.
II. A grievous complaint of sin, disease misery, God's anger, the ingratitude of his friends, coldness of his acquaintances, and cruelty of his enemies; all which he uses as arguments to induce God to help him; continued, ver. 2-20.
I. In the first part he deprecates God's anger, and entreats a mitigation of it; though rebuked, let it not be in wrath; if corrected, let it not be in rigour: "O Lord, rebuke me not in thy wrath," &c.
II. His complaint, on which he falls instantly, and amplifies in a variety of ways.
1. From the prime cause, GOD: "Thine arrows stick fast in me," &c.
2. From the impulsive cause: "His sin, his iniquities," ver. 4; "His foolishness," ver. 5.
3. From the weight of his afflictions, which were, in general, "the arrows of God which stuck in him; the hand of God, by which he was pressed;" which were so grievous "that there was no soundness in his flesh-no rest in his bones." 4. By an induction of particulars, where he declares many effects of the disease: - 1. Putrefaction of his flesh: "My wounds stink, and are corrupt." 2. The uncomfortable posture of his body: "I am troubled, I am bowed down greatly." 3. Torment in his bowels, &c.: "My loins are filled with a loathsome disease." 4. Diseases through the whole system: "There is no soundness in my flesh." 5. Debility and grievous plague: "I am feeble," &c.
6. Anguish that forced him to cry out: "I have roared," &c.
7. His heart was disquieted: "The disquietness of my heart." But that it might appear that he had not lost his hold of his hope and his confidence in God, he directs his speech to him, and says: "Lord, all my desire is before thee, and my groaning is not hidden from thee." 8. He had a palpitation or trembling of heart: "My heart pants." 9. His strength decayed: "My strength fails." 10. A defect of sight: "The sight of my eyes is gone from me." All these calamities David suffered from within. He was tormented in body and mind; but had he any comfort from without? Not any.
1. None from his friends: "My lovers and my friends stand aloof."
2. As for his enemies, they even then added to his affliction: "They also that seek after my life lay snares for me." In purpose, word, and deed, they sought to undo him.
He next shows his behaviour in these sufferings; he murmured not, but was silent and patient. "I was as a deaf man; - I was as a dumb man." He made no defense.
This he uses as an argument to induce the Lord to mitigate his sufferings; and of his patience he gives the following reasons: - 1. His reliance on God for audience and redress: "For in thee, O Lord, do I hope; thou wilt hear me." 2. For this he petitions; for to God he was not silent, though deaf and dumb to man. For I said, Hear me! and the assurance that he should be heard made him patient; for if not heard, his enemies would triumph: "Hear me, lest otherwise they should rejoice over me." 3. He was thus patient when his grief was extreme: "For I am ready to halt, and my sorrow is continually before me." I am under a bitter cross; and I know that if I be thy servant, I must bear my cross; therefore, I take it up, and suffer patiently.
4. This cross I have deserved to bear; it comes on account of mine iniquity, and I will not conceal it: "I will declare mine iniquity; I avill be sorry for my sin." I suffer justly, and therefore have reason to be patient.
He complains again of his enemies. Though he suffered justly, yet this was no excuse for their cruelty; he complains of their strength, their number, and their hatred. My enemies are living, while I am at death's door; they are multiplied while I am minished they render me evil for the good I have done them.
Then he concludes with a petition to God, in which he begs three things: - 1. God's presence: forsake me not, O Lord; my God, be not far from me." 2. He begs for help: "Help me, O Lord." 3. And prays that this help may come speedily: "Make haste to help me." And these three petitions are directed to the Most High, as the God of his salvation: "O Lord, my salvation;" my deliverer from sin, guilt, pain, death, and hell.
In this Psalm, deeply descriptive of the anguish of a penitent soul, most persons, who feel distress on account of sin, may meet with something suitable to their case.