1) LORD! How are they increased that trouble me! 2) Many are they that rise up against me! Many there by which say of my soul, there is no help for him in God!
Nothing hurts more than the prospect of no hope in God. Enemies know this. Faith and hope in Christ are the locks of the believer’s strength (~Samson). Without hope in Christ, we are estranged from God, we can expect no favor from Him, we are under His wrath, and our hearts wither as wax melts at the slightest heat. But in Christ, believers have all.
If my enemies can take from me my hope in God, I will be powerless against them. No hope in God?! That would be to live and fall and die without Christ! Without Christ?! Nothing shudders my soul more than this!
Thus the believer in soul affliction cries out to God: "LORD! How are they increased that trouble me! There are many which say of my very soul, There is no help for him in God!” And, the heart cry of every saint is, “Give me Christ else I die!”
3) But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head.
Here is my standing (Romans 5:1-2): “Thou, O LORD, art a shield for me!” This is even “my glory and the lifter of mine head.” Enemies press down hard on my soul from every side. The Spirit of God graciously lifts my head and eyes and cry to Christ and Him crucified, my banner. I rejoice, yea, even boast, that my all is Christ crucified, risen, ascended and reigning: my Mediator, my High Priest, who gave Himself for me, the Lamb of God. This is my plea before the throne of grace, “Christ for me!” This is the blessed truth on which my soul hangs, “Christ for me!” This is my boast before men, “Christ for me!” My shield is Christ the LORD, and He is a shield for me!
Though my enemy think to remove from me my hope in God, and though it were possible to take from me a sense of my hope in Christ, yet, this can never be taken from me: no one can go into heaven and take away my Shield, the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for me! No one can take away Jesus Christ from His Throne of Grace. No one can take away His blood that was shed when He offered Himself for me to God by the Eternal Spirit. No one can take His sprinkled blood from off the mercyseat of God, His throne of truth and justice, where He administers all grace to His people on the ground of Christ who offered Himself to God and made propitiation to God for their sins! None can take away His death for me! No one can stop His intercession for me! No one can come between His merit, His obedience, His blood and God’s satisfaction and God’s pleasure with His obedience for me! (Romans 8:29-39).
Though men may take my goods from me, though they take away even my life; though my sense of God’s pleasure be removed and I lose all inner comfort through doubts and fears and by fightings from false religion without, and though these cause me to waiver and lose my course by depending somewhat on myself, something in me or from me for acceptance with God -- yet -- nevertheless, in all these and more, Christ is all my righteousness, all my hope! He is in heaven. He has done all to God for me in my place and in my name. He will keep His promises. Nothing on earth can unseat Him who sits on heaven’s throne! No one can ascend to heaven and challenge the Almighty Savior of my soul who loved me and gave Himself for me! No one can condemn one for whom Christ died (Romans 8:34)! Not even my enemies. And no enemy knows this sinner’s heart like this sinner does.
4) I cried unto the LORD with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill. Selah
The evidence that Christ is for me is that His own Spirit causes me to cry to Him for this faith to lay hold on this grace in Him. “The righteous cry, and the LORD hears and He delivers them from all their troubles” (Psalm 34:17). This is His promise to His afflicted, chosen, blood-redeemed people (Psalm 50:15).
The way my head is lifted up is crying to Him and through Him who died for me. Serpent-bitten, half dead, dying sinners; but seeing Christ crucified, risen and received by God, seated at His right hand, having obtained a finished salvation, possessing completeness in Him who is all and has done all for me -- He thus is the lifter of my head!
With such a look to Christ and a view of Christ do I cry unto the LORD. As the Publican: “God, be propitious to me the sinner!” Receive from Christ full satisfaction for me! Be satisfied with Him, and so be gracious to me. Consider Him, and consider me in Him, and give me this grace to consider only Him in all my coming to God and calling on God! Cause me to look upon Him, look to Him and look for Him!
If God accepts me for nothing in me, then I can have confidence, for I have nothing in myself before God. If God accepts me for what He finds in Christ alone, then I am accepted as He is accepted (Romans 8:32; Philemon 1:12,17), in His name, for His sake, as His own bowels. Christ is worthy to receive honor and glory and riches and wisdom and power as the Lamb of God who offered Himself to God, honored and satisfied God, and overcame all who oppose my soul. When Christ my Shield stands for me, all must be cast out and cast down! I have nothing but what I have in Christ! And having Christ, I have all things.
5) I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the LORD sustained me. 6) I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about.
In Christ will I rest; I will lie down in peace. Though my body sleep in death, yet death is mine; I will therefore lie down in the sleep of death in this rest: The LORD sustained me!
He who chose salvation’s Savior, designed salvation’s way! He who sent Christ to be my Savior, completed my salvation and upheld Him in that work! He who by His death fulfilled every obligation and answered every account for my soul, is He whose intercession now saves me to the uttermost. The LORD sustained me in Christ of old. He sustained me in Christ’s redemptive work. He sustained me in Christ when He raised Him from the dead. And He sustains me now and will sustain me from death to life by salvation’s Lord!
In light of my Redeemer, my High Priest, my Mediator, my Advocate, my Intercessor; in light of His sacrifice, and in light of His acceptance before God for me, “I will not be afraid though ten thousands of the people set themselves in against me round about!”
7) Arise, O LORD; save me, O my God: for thou hast smitten all mine enemies upon the cheek bone; thou hast broken the teeth of the ungodly.
Those who trust in something besides, or in addition to, Christ and Him crucified; those enemies without and those enemies within -- my flesh and my sins, yea, even the devil himself -- shall be smitten on the cheek bone and broken by this: “Who is He that condemneth? It is Christ that died!” Who can hurt the one whom God the Judge justifies and defends from heaven’s throne for Christ’s sake?!
8) Salvation belongeth unto the LORD: thy blessing is upon thy people. Selah.
Salvation is God’s devising. It is God’s doing. It is God’s giving. It is God’s completing and it is all to God’s glory. God has saved His people in the Lord Jesus Christ alone (2 Timothy 1:9). Salvation is in Christ alone, for "there is no other name under heaven, given among men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:12)! Salvation is of the LORD (Jonah 2:9)! He gives liberty from sin’s guilt, condemnation and the curse of His law. This liberty was earned by the eternal redemption Christ obtained for me. It is forgiveness of sins. It is justification by His blood. It is being set apart and made holy (sanctified) to God and perfected forever before Him by Christ’s once-for-all-time offering. It is being accepted in the Beloved, approved, received, spotless, unblameable, unreproveable and unreproachable in His sight. It is preservation by His blood (Revelation 12:10-11). Salvation is of the LORD and belongs to Him to dispense at His sovereign prerogative. He decreed our salvation in eternity. He saved His people at the cross. He will save them in their time-experience. His salvation of them will be to the uttermost. He will bring them to Himself by Christ.
Thy blessing is upon thy people. It was on them before the world’s foundation was laid in Christ (Titus 1:2; 2 Timothy 1:9). It was on them when He laid their sins on Jesus. It was on them when He justified them when He raised Christ from the dead. It was on them when He sent His gospel preachers to proclaim this good news to their dead and eternally bound souls. It was on them when He raised them by His Spirit to life and faith in Christ (John 3:7-15). It was on them when He preserved them in Christ Jesus (Jude 1). And it will be on them when He presents them without fault, without fail, before His throne to His exceeding joy (Jude 24), and gives to them the eternal inheritance Christ secured for them by His blood. And it will be on them when He makes known His heart of love in Christ to them throughout the endless cycles of eternity, as they lay in His bosom.