‘Lord, Please Hear Me! - Psalm 28:2

Text:  “Hear the voice of my supplications, when I cry unto Thee, when I lift up my hands towards Thy Holy oracle.”
                                                                                                                     Psalm 28:2.

          “But without faith it is impossible to please Him; for he/she that cometh to God must believe that He is (that He exists!), and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.”
                                                                                                                 Hebrews 11:6.

Good morning, believing prayer-warrior!  It would be a vain exercise indeed for us to spend our time crying out to a Heaven that did not hear us; or to a Being that we did not fully believe exists!  No. We are not like the atheist, or the agnostic.  We have been blessed with God’s gift of true Christian faith, and we shall, by His grace, continue to use that gift of trust to call out to Him in worship, praise, and sincere petitions.  Praise God, He is ALWAYS more than ready to receive our prayers.  Hallelujah!

“For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous (those whom He has made righteous, in Christ Jesus!), and His ears are open unto their prayers; but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.”  (1 Peter 3:12)

But what if the Heavens were as brass, and the Lord refusing to hear us?  What a woeful situation that would be!  This was David’s worst nightmare - and it should be ours too - that for some reason the Lord was not listening to his prayers.

“Behold (look and understand seriously!), the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither is His ear heavy, that it cannot hear; BUT your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear.  For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue hath muttered perverseness.  None calleth for justice, nor any pleadeth for truth; they trust in vanity, and speak lies; they conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity.”  (Isaiah 59:1-4)

These are the people whose prayers are NOT heard by the Lord God. Take heed!

“His (God’s) silence is equally full of awe to an eager supplicant.  What a dreadful case should we be in if the Lord should become forever silent to our prayers!”  (C.H. Spurgeon, Treasury of David, page 139)

King Herod, by beheading God’s faithful messenger, John the Baptist, incurred such a Divine silence - and was forever doomed.  “Then he (Herod) questioned with Him (Jesus) in many words; but He answered him NOTHING.”  What a Divine silence!
 
“What do we desire God to say? We want Him to let us know that He hears us; we want to hear Him speak as distinctly to us as we feel that we have spoken to Him.  ’It is said‘, said Rutherford, speaking of the Saviour’s delay in responding to the request of the Syrophoenician woman, ’He answered not a word’, but it is not said, ‘He heard not a word.’ Christ often heareth when He doth not answer - His NOT answering is an answer, and speaks thus - ’Pray on, go on and cry, for the Lord holdeth His door fast bolted,’ not to keep you out, but that you may know, and knock, and it shall be opened.”  (Philip Bennett Power, 1862)

Verse 1.  “…Be not silent to me.  His silence is equally full of awe to an eager suppliant.  What a dreadful case should we be in if the Lord should become forever silent to our prayers!”  (Charles Haddon Spurgeon, Treasury of David, page 139)

Verse 2.  “…When I cry unto Thee.  Serious-minded Christians must take note: it is not a mumbled list of ‘religiously ingrained words’ that the Psalmist is referring to in this verse; perhaps sent up to the Lord God while we are half awake and half asleep.  No.  It is the alert cry of the regenerate soul that God’s ear is ever open to hear.   When you and I get more serious about our prayer-life, we can rest assured that the Lord God will get more serious about hearing and answering our daily petitions. (Dr C.K. McClinton 1947 - ?)

Verse 2.  “…When I lift up my hands toward Thy Holy oracle.  Our hands, in Scripture denote our actions, ‘the working of our hands’.  Thus, we must at all times make certain that what we are engaged in throughout the day is commensurate with the petitions we seek to lift up to the Lord God at night.  If God’s ‘oracle’ is Holy, then it is only open and attentive to those who lift up Holy hands; actions (including words and thoughts!) that are sanctified and acceptable to the Presence of a thrice Holy Lord God of total wrath against all sin. (Dr C.K. McClinton 1947 - ?)

Dictionary Definition: Oracle - (noun) medium or agency of Divine revelation; a response by or on behalf of God; the place where such responses are given; the Jewish sanctuary; the Word of God… (The Chambers Dictionary, page 1139)

When seeking to come before God’s Holy Presence in prayer, we must come to God the Father, through God the Son, Jesus Christ; in the power of God the Holy Spirit - and all and only by the way of the Cross of Christ’s full Atonement Sacrifice at Calvary. We can come no other way.  Therefore, it is a Spiritually healthy practice, to commence our time in prayer to God Almighty with a sincere plea for renewed sanctification, cleansing from all the sins we have committed that day - in word, thought, or deed.  Then the way is clear for us to worship, praise, thank and petition our High and Holy Lord God.  Let us ’…lift up HOLY hands…’ as we lift up our prayers to Him.

Thought:  We cannot sup with Satan and sin - then pray at God’s table of grace!




Psalm 28: The Thorn-Bird’s Cry


The Direction of the Cry Psalm 28:1

Text:  “Unto Thee will I cry, O Lord my Rock; be not silent unto me: lest, if Thou be silent to me, I become like them that go down into the pit.”
                                                                                                                    Psalm 28:1.

Good morning, Christian Thorn-Bird!  Life, and the complexities of life on this earth that you and I live as Spiritually regenerate Christian believers, often causes us to feel and act like the mythical Thorn-Bird of old Celtic legend - our Spiritual wounds, received in the great Battle against the world, the flesh, and the Devil, can often cause us to cry out to God from the deepest depths of our very souls.  If you can relate to this experience, beloved friend, then Psalm 28 is the very prayer to uplift to the Lord today.   

The Myth of the Thorn Bird:

There is an old Celtic legend about a bird, which sings only once in its life. It sings that single song more sweetly than any other creature on the face of this earth. From the moment it leaves its nest, this bird searches for a thorn tree and does not rest until it has found one. Having found the thorn tree the bird sings among the tree’s savage branches and impales itself on the longest, sharpest spine. Then, dying, it rises above its own agony to out-carol the lark and the nightingale. The whole world stills to listen and God in his heaven smiles. The best is accomplished at the cost of the greatest pain, so says the legend. (All Poetry online website)

Verse 1.  “Unto Thee will I cry, O Lord my Rock.  It will be in vain to call to the rocks in the day of judgement, but our Rock attends to our cries.  (C.H. Spurgeon, Treasury of David, page 139)

Pride in the breast of each of us can be a huge hindrance to true prayers to God for deliverance and for His ‘very present help in trouble…’  Profound pain, grief, and cruel oppositions assist us to swallow down all human pride and call urgently upon the Lord for His Divine and ever-given strength and help.

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  Therefore will not we fear… (Psalm 46:1-2)

“The thorn at the breast of the nightingale was said by the old naturalists to make it sing.  David’s grief made him eloquent in holy Psalmody.”  (C.H. Spurgeon, Treasury of David, page 139)

“It is of utmost importance that we should have a definite object on which to fix our thoughts.  ‘Call upon Me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.’  One looking down upon him, listening to him, feeling for him, preparing to answer him.  Dear reader, in the time of your trouble, do not roam; do not let your thoughts wander as though they were looking for someone on whom to fix.  ‘Unto Thee will I cry.’…Oh!  Happy is that man who feels and knows that when trouble comes he cannot be bewildered and confused by the stroke, no matter how heavy it may be.”  (Philip Bennett Power 1862)

“Unto Thee will I cry, O Lord my Rock; be not silent unto me: lest, if Thou be silent to me, I become like them that go down into the pit.” (Psalm 28:1)

When a regenerate Christian is seeking to really serve Christ Jesus - as a Sunday-School Teacher; as a Pastor; as a Bible-Teacher; as a lay preacher; or an Evangelist tract distributor - that serving Christian SHALL suffer deeply as a consequence.  Fact!

“Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”                     (2 Timothy 3:12)

There is no escaping this Spiritual, mental, and physical conflict, dear friend; we are engaged in Spiritual warfare!  I recommend The Christian in Complete Armour, by the Puritan, William Gurnall, to all seriously desiring to serve the risen Christ.

Psalm 28, and praying the words of Psalm 28 in times of severe trials, is a ‘thorn bird cry’ I would whole-heartedly recommend as a practice.  I wrote the poem below during such a time of long-term Spiritual, mental, and physical oppression.

UNDEFEATED!

Cry freedom, soul, so sunken, soiled, and sore.
You yearn so, year by year, your yoke to break.
While penal milestones, many, numb you more;
And blight with bitter flints each breath you take.
Like hapless hawk, left hooded, in mid flight;
Wings beating blindly ‘mong life’s thorny copse;
Proud feathered breast oft broken by barbed plight;
Wounds weeping warm, with royal scarlet drops.
Yet, though with weariness your dreary days;
Spent sad, and adding daily deadly weight,
Tempt sore the more your dreams to drink dismay -
Then slump, in slavery, to this knavish State -
Resolve wells up once more to shore the breach,
To fire the coals of courage, furnace hot!
Before time’s tortured tethered end is reached,
The fearless spirit soars, DEFEATED NOT!

Dr C.K. McClinton 1990


Thought: “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes…”  Call upon Him.

The ‘Faint’ Must Wait - Psalm 27:13-14

Text:  “He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might He increaseth strength.  Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall; but they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”
Isaiah 40:29-31.

Good morning, Christian ready to faint!  Do you feel that you are just about to faint this morning?  Do you, too often,  consider yourself useless in the service of King Jesus?  Are you ready to crawl into some dark corner and give up any semblance of Christian witness and testimony today?  Well, if you are I have something to say to your soul.  Join the club!  I too can get into this moribund state far too often, and so can many other serving Christians.  It is said that Charles Haddon Spurgeon, ’the prince of preachers’, had a continual struggle with personal depression all of his life!  Wait, therefore, upon the Lord right away.  He is waiting to hear your cry and mine, and will increase our flagging strength.  Hallelujah!  We have God’s own Word on this matter.

Verse 13.  “I had fainted…”  If the Scripture verse had ended with this phrase, perhaps we could all immediately relate to what has been said. 

Faint?  This morning, on this new Lord’s Day, I feel like I am about as much use to the Lord as a wet piece of cardboard; I feel uninspired; unused of the Lord; unable to shake off what seems to be a dark Spiritual depression which is threatening to engulf my entire being and pull me down into some very dark place of utter despair. 

Had the Scripture verse ended with ‘I had fainted…’, I believe I could almost say, ‘Amen’, and crawl away and die.  But the Scripture does not end there, praise God it continues, and this Holy continuation brings you and me new and much needed hope.

Here is what David Clarkson had to say on this subject: “You may well doubt that all the waters of the ocean cannot fill a spoon as that Divine fullness cannot be enough to you, if you should have nothing left in this world.  One drop of Divine sweetness is enough to make one in the very agony of the cruelest death to cry out with joy. ‘The bitterness of death is past.’  His goodness makes Him willing to do.  His goodness sets His mighty power a-work for His suffering saints.”  (David Clarkson 1622-1686)

In the Christian life - the darkest hour often  comes just before a bright new dawn; the blasting of Hell, before the blessing of the Lord God.  Wait for it!

Verse 13.  “I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord.  Many would faint away and want to die, like Elijah under that juniper tree (1 Kings 19:1-8).  However, faith, and true belief in Christ Jesus, waits on with expectancy for a fresh filling of ‘…the goodness of the Lord’.  The Lord never fails us; His mercy endures forever; we are graven on the very palms of His nail-pierced hands.

Verse 13.  “…In the land of the living.”  Nor is this promise of Divine help and goodness merely pledged to us for the time of our glorification, after we die and go to be in the very Presence of the Living Lord God.  No.  This pledge of Divine goodness to us is promised to us while we are yet ‘…in the land of the living.’!  In the here and now life that we live; today, for you and for me - at the very point of our present need.  Wow!  Hallelujah!  The very thought of this Spiritual fact from God’s Word, begins to lift my unworthy and depressed soul.  What a Saviour we serve in Christ Jesus!  Glory to the One Who always comes to faithfully deliver us from our depressions and fears!

“…they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)

However, note also that this great Divine pledge is conditional to those who are prepared to ‘wait on the Lord’ - not merely sitting on our hands, but waiting, as a waiter waits upon tables at a restaurant; serving the Lord God as a waiter serves diners.  This promise of Divine help is not for the sluggard, nor the luke-warm professing Christian.  This promise is exclusively for those who WAIT in service to Christ Jesus.

Verse 14.  “Wait on the Lord.  Wait at His door with prayer; wait at His foot with humility; wait at His table with service; wait at His window with expectancy.”  (Charles H. Spurgeon, Treasury of David, page 138)

Let us all who are weary this day, find refreshment in this poem by Thomas Ken, 1637-1710)

Stand but your ground, your ghostly foes will fly;
Hell trembles at a Heaven-directed eye;
Choose rather to defend that to assail;
Self-confidence will in the conflict fail:
When you are challenged, you may dangers meet;
True courage is a fixed, not sudden heat;
Is always humble, lives in self-distrust;
And will itself into no danger thrust.
Devote yourself to God, and you will find
God fights the battles of a will resigned.
Love Jesus!  Love will no base fear endure;
Love Jesus! And of conquest rest secure.

Thought: Christian: When tempted to faint - let faith cause you, on God, to wait!