Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Ask and Ask Again
Psalm 107 is one of my favourites. Many types of deliverances or rescues are described -from homelessness, hunger, captivity, illness, storms, natural disasters, barren land, rough waters, oppression, loneliness. The list seems endless and one is given the impression that God does not tire of our requests, but rather delights in them.
Do we ever get the impression in prayer that God is close, saying, "Go ahead, ask me for more. Display again your dependence and trust. And when you ask remember Who takes up the larger share of the burden."
It is more than likely that we see Him like some handy and available neighbour with the tools and skills, but who, we fear, sets a limit to the favours to be rendered or the equipment to be borrowed.
Listen to Charles Spurgeon's introduction to this psalm in "The Treasury of David":
"This is a choice song for the redeemed of the Lord (Ps 107:2). Although it celebrates providential deliverances, and therefore may be sung by any man whose life has been preserved in time of danger; yet under cover of this, it mainly magnifies the Lord for spiritual blessings, of which temporal favours are but types arid shadows. The theme is thanksgiving, and the motives for it. The construction of the psalm is highly poetical, and merely as a composition it would be hard to find its compeer among human productions. The bards of the Bible hold no second place among the sons of song."
For verse 6:
"Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble. Not till they were in extremities did they pray, but the mercy is that they prayed then, and prayed in the right manner, with a cry, and to the right person, even to the Lord. Nothing else remained for them to do; they could not help themselves, or find help in others, and therefore they cried to God. Supplications which are forced out of us by stern necessity are none the less acceptable with God; but, indeed, they have all the more prevalence, since they are evidently sincere, and make a powerful appeal to the divine pity. Some men will never pray till they are half starved, and for their best interests it is far better for them to be empty and faint than to be full and stouthearted. If hunger brings us to our knees it is more useful to us than feasting; if thirst drives us to the fountain it is better than the deepest draughts of worldly joys; and if fainting leads to crying it is better than the strength of the mighty, And he delivered them out of their distresses. Deliverance follows prayer most surely. The cry must have been very feeble, for they were faint, and their faith was as weak as their cry; but yet they were heard, and heard at once. A little delay would have been their death: but there was none, for the Lord was ready to save them. The Lord delights to come in when no one else can be of the slightest avail. The case was hopeless till Jehovah interposed, and then all was changed immediately; the people were shut up, straitened, and almost pressed to death, but enlargement came to them at once when they began to remember their God, and look to him in prayer. Those deserve to die of hunger who will not so much as ask for bread, and he who being lost in a desert will not beg the aid of a guide cannot be pitied even if he perish in the wilds and feed the vultures with his flesh."
43Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand the lovingkindness of the LORD.