he church prays that God's power may be manifested. (1-5) A
confession of sin, and afflictions bewailed. (6-12)
Verses 1-5: They desire that God would manifest himself to them and for
them, so that all may see it. This is applicable to the second
coming of Christ, when the Lord himself shall descend from
heaven. They plead what God had used to do, and had declared his
gracious purpose to do, for his people. They need not fear being
disappointed of it, for it is sure; or disappointed in it, for
it is sufficient. The happiness of his people is bound up in
what God has designed for them, and is preparing for them, and
preparing them for; what he has done or will do. Can we believe
this, and then think any thing too great to expect from his
truth, power, and love? It is spiritual and cannot be
comprehended by human understanding. It is ever ready. See what
communion there is between a gracious God and a gracious soul.
We must make conscience of doing our duty in every thing the
Lord our God requires. Thou meetest him; this speaks his
freeness and forwardness in doing them good. Though God has been
angry with us for our sins, and justly, yet his anger has soon
ended; but in his favour is life, which goes on and continues,
and on that we depend for our salvation.
Verses 6-12: The people of God, in affliction, confess and bewail their
sins, owning themselves unworthy of his mercy. Sin is that
abominable thing which the Lord hates. Our deeds, whatever they
may seem to be, if we think to merit by them at God's hand, are
as rags, and will not cover us; filthy rags, and will but defile
us. Even our few good works in which there is real excellence,
as fruits of the Spirit, are so defective and defiled as done by
us, that they need to be washed in the fountain open for sin and
uncleanness. It bodes ill when prayer is kept back. To pray, is
by faith to take hold of the promises the Lord has made of his
good-will to us, and to plead them; to take hold of him,
earnestly begging him not to leave us; or soliciting his return.
They brought their troubles upon themselves by their own folly.
Sinners are blasted, and then carried away, by the wind of their
own iniquity; it withers and then ruins them. When they made
themselves as an unclean thing, no wonder that God loathed them.
Foolish and careless as we are, poor and despised, yet still
Thou art our Father. It is the wrath of a Father we are under,
who will be reconciled; and the relief our case requires is
expected only from him. They refer themselves to God. They do
not say, "Lord, rebuke us not," for that may be necessary; but,
"Not in thy displeasure." They state their lamentable condition.
See what ruin sin brings upon a people; and an outward
profession of holiness will be no defence against it. God's
people presume not to tell him what he shall say, but their
prayer is, Speak for the comfort and relief of thy people. How
few call upon the Lord with their whole hearts, or stir
themselves to lay hold upon him! God may delay for a time to
answer our prayers, but he will, in the end, answer those who
call on his name and hope in his mercy.