The Lord is called to arise for the godly are perishing. You see a little band gathered under the floating banner of their King who had promised to come to their aid in due time. One after another sinks down, wearied and worn, while the remaining few, at each occurrence, cry to their King -
"Help, Lord!" (v1)
This is the cry that ascends from the saints, as one after another of their number is successively gathered to the tomb; while "I will arise" (v4) is the response that faintly reaches their ear.
Help Lord! is their cry as they witness the increase of bold infidelity (v2) and hear such mutterings of boastful pride as these:
"Through our tongues we are strong. Our lips are with us. Who is lord over us?" (v2-3)
The power of human talent and the grandeur of man's intellect are boasted of; while v2 shows that these same persons flatter each other into deceitful peace and are living without regard for the holy law of love.
Meanwhile the remnant who sigh in secret to the Lord - a remnant hated and often in danger (v5) are sustained by the sure word of promise. They tell their hope and faith in v6, when they describe Jehovah's words:
"The words of the Lord are pure words; as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times."
- All He has spoken about the Woman's Seed from the beginning...
- All He has spoken of Him in whom all nations shall be blessed...
- All He has spoken of David and David's Seed...
- All is sure, all shall come to pass.
"The wicked walk on every side, vileness is held in honour by the sons of men."
This is descriptive of Adam's race in the latter days. How like the times of which Peter speaks when he says men shall "speak great swelling words of vanity" (2 Peter 2:18) and boldly ask "where is the promise of his coming" (3:4). How descriptive too of the consolation of the saints: for Peter tells us that this shall be their comfort - "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise" (v9) and "according to his promise" they shall continue looking for the renewed heavens and the renewed earth (v13). They know that the words of the Lord are pure words. They cannot fail.
Some features of this scene are found in all the conflicts that have risen between the Woman's seed and the Serpent's. At the same time, the times when David was persecuted even though he was the anointed King where comparable to those before the coming of the Son of Man.
The flatterers of Saul hated David's person and David's principles. They could not fail to try to cast contempt on the Lord's words about him and his seed. Such also were the days of the True David, our Lord, when He appeared in our world as The Lord's Anointed.
We can easily see how the proud Pharisees, Scribes and Sadducees might be characterised by v2,3. And not less how, on such an occasion as the Baptist's death, Jesus could use v1. Let us follow the Baptist's disciples who have just buried their master. They walk along in silent sadness; for a witness to the truth has perished.They seek out Jesus (Matt 14:12) and tell Him all that the foes of God have done. Jesus hears and sympathises; and may we not imagine the whole company of disciples, with the master as chief musician, sitting down in a solitary place (v13) and making it echo with the plaintive cry -
"Help, Lord, for the godly man ceases" etc.
The church's eye, anointed with eye-salve, has ever since been able to discern in the world resemblance to the same state of things; and never more than now. Hence David and David's Son, and the seed of David's Son, have ever found the strain of this song fitted to express what the world made them feel.
Horsley entitles it, "Of free thinkers; their cunning audacity, and final excision." But this is only one aspect of it. It is rather, The Righteous One's consoling assurance that the Lord's word, though mocked at, shall not fail.