Verse 13. "O spare me " - Take me not from this state of probation till I have a thorough preparation for a state of blessedness. This he terms recovering his strength-being restored to the favour and image of God, from which he had fallen. This should be the daily cry of every human spirit: Restore me to thine image, guide me by thy counsel, and then reeeive me to thy glory!
ANALYSIS OF THE THIRTY-NINTH PSALM
This Psalm was apparently written on the same occasion as the preceding.
The psalmist is still suffering as before, yet is silent and patient; but the suffering at last becoming very sharp, he could hold his peace no longer: then he spoke. And we have reason to be thankful that he broke silence, as whoever considers the weighty truths which he spoke must allow.
"There are three parts in this Psalm: " - I. His own account of his resolution to keep silence, ver. 1, and the consequences of it, ver. 2, 3.
II. His expostulation with God on the shortness, uncertainty, and frailty of life, ver. 4-6.
III. His petition to have his sin pardoned, ver. 8; to be saved from punishment, ver. 10; and for farther grace and respite, ver. 12, 13.
I. David acquaints us with his resolution: l said-I fully purposed to keep silence.
1. "I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue." 2. This resolution he kept for a while: "I was dumb; I held my peace even from good," even from making a just defense.
3. But in this I found great difficulty, nay, impossibility.
1. For all the time "my sorrow was stirred." My pain was increased by silence.
2. "My heart was hot." I was strongly incited to utter my mind.
3. "And, while thus musing, the fire burned;" what was within I saw should not be longer concealed: "Then spake I with my tongue." II. He expostulates with God: and, being greatly oppressed both in body and mind, prays to know how long he is to live; or, rather, how soon he may get rid of his maladies, false friends, and deceitful enemies. Many considerations render his life uncomfortable.
1. It is very brittle and frail: "Make me to know how frail I am." 2. It is very short: "Behold, thou hast made my days as a handbreadth." 3. Yea, when carefully considered, it was even less, of no consideration: "Mine age is as nothing before thee." 4. It was full of vanity: "Verily, every man at his best estate (in his strength riches power) is altogether vanity." His labours promise much, perform little.
5. It is unstable and uncertain, as a shadow. "Surely, every man walketh in a vain shadow." 6. It is full of trouble and inquietude: "Surely, they are disquieted in vain." 7. Man labours for he knows not whom: "He heapeth up riches, and knoweth not who shall gather them." Notwithstanding all this, he finds that even here God is a sufficient Portion for them that trust in him. Let others toil for riches; admire dignities, empires, pleasures; let them be proud of these, and complain that their life is too short to enjoy them; I have a stronger hold; I am persuaded that the Lord will have mercy upon me, and be my Support in all the troubles and uncertainties of life: "And now, Lord, what wait I for? My hope is in thee." III. On this confidence he again begins to pray: - 1. For remission of sin: "Deliver me from all my transgressions." 2. For defense against malicious tongues: "Make me not a reproach to the foolish." 3. For submission under Divine chastisement: "I was dumb, because thou didst it." 4. For a removal of his punishment: "Take away thy plague from me." 1. And he adds the cause; - either remove thy hand, or I must needs perish: "I am even consumed by the blow of thy hand." 2. This he amplifies by the similitude of a moth; and adds a second reason: "When thou with rebukes dost correct man, thou makest his beauty to consume away like the moth," which frets and destroys a garment. And, for confirmation, delivers his former opinion, which is to be considered as an incontrovertible maxim: "Surely, every man is vanity. Selah." Mark that! 3. To which he adds a third-the consideration of our present condition in this life. We and all our fathers are but pilgrims in this life: "I am a stranger with thee, and a sojourner, as all my fathers were." Therefore, spare me.
Faith has always to struggle with difficulties. Though he was confident, ver. 7, that God was his hope; yet his calamities, his sickness, his enemies, the brevity, fugacity, and troubles of life, come ever into his memory; and, therefore, he prays again for them. And this rises by a climax or gradation: - 1. He prays for audience: "Hear my prayer, O Lord!" 2. That his cry, for such it was, be heard: "Give ear unto my cry." 3. For admission of his tears: "Hold not thy peace at my tears. The reason, as a stranger. Thy grace, thy favour.
4. For some relaxation and ease: "O spare me, that I may recover strength;" which he urges with this motive, "before I go hence, and be no more." Restore me to thy favour in this life. Hereafter, it will be too late to expect it. Let me not die unsaved!