The Treasury of David is one of several C.H. Spurgeon books that are in the public domain. If you propose to study the Psalms, I suggest you download this as a companion for your other references.
Title. A Psalm of David. David is pictured in this Psalm as in a faithful miniature. His holy trust, his many conflicts, his great transgression, his bitter repentance, and his deep distresses are all here; so that we see the very heart of “the man after God’s own heart.” It is evidently a composition of David’s later days, for he mentions the sins of his youth, and from its painful references to the craft and cruelty of his many foes, it will not be too speculative a theory to refer it to the period when Absalom was heading the great rebellion against him. This has been styled the second of the seven Penitential Psalms. It is the mark of a true saint that his sorrows remind him of his sins, and his sorrow for sin drives him to his God.
Subject And Division. The twenty-two verses of this Psalm begin in the original with the letters of the Hebrew alphabet in their proper order. It is the first instance we have of an inspired acrostic or alphabetical song. This method may have been adopted by the writer to assist the memory; and the Holy Spirit may have employed it to show us that the graces of style and the arts of poetry may lawfully be used in his service. Why should not all the wit and ingenuity of man be sanctified to noblest ends by being laid upon the altar of God? From the singularity of the structure of the Psalm, it is not easy to discover any marked divisions; there are great changes of thought, but there is no variation of subject; the moods of the writer’s mind are twofold—prayer and meditation; and as these appear in turns, we should thus divide the verses. Prayer from Psalms 25:1-7; meditation, Psalms 25:8-10; prayer, Psalms 25:11; meditation, Psalms 25:12-15; prayer, Psalms 25:16-22.
The Treasury of David.
Look upon mine affliction and my pain. Note the many trials of the saints; here we have no less than six words all descriptive of woe. “Desolate, and afflicted, troubles enlarged, distresses, affliction, and pain.” But note yet more the submissive and believing spirit of a true saint; all he asks for is, “Lord, look upon my evil plight; “he does not dictate, or even express a complaint; a look from God will content him, and that being granted he asks no more. Even more noteworthy is the way in which the believer under affliction discovers the true source of all the mischief, and lays the axe at the root of it. Forgive all my sins, is the cry of a soul that is more sick of sin than of pain, and would sooner be forgiven than healed. Blessed is the man to whom sin is more unbearable than disease, he shall not be long before the Lord shall both forgive his iniquity and heal his diseases. Men are slow to see the intimate connection between sin and sorrow, a grace taught heart alone feels it.
Look upon mine affliction and my pain; and forgive all my sins. We may observe here, that sickness and weakness of the body come from sin, and is a fruit of sin. Some are weak, and some are sick, “for this cause.” I shall not need to be long in the proof of that, which you have whole chapters for, as Deuteronomy 28:27, seq; and many Psalms, 107, and others. It is for the sickness of the soul that God visits with the sickness of the body. He aims at the cure of the soul in the touch of the body. And therefore in this case, when God visits with sickness, we should think our work is more in heaven with God than with men or physic. Begin first with the soul. So David Psalms 32:5, till he dealt roundly with God, without all kind of guile, and confessed his sins, he roared; his moisture was turned into the drought of summer. But when he dealt directly and plainly with God, and confessed his sins, then God forgave him them, and healed his body too. And therefore the best method, when God visits us in this kind, is to think that we are to deal with God. Begin the cure there with the soul. When he visits the body, it is for the soul’s sake: “Many are weak and sickly among you.”—Richard Sibbes.
Look upon mine affliction and my pain. In sickness of body trust to Jesus, he is as powerful and as willing to help us now as he was to help others in the days of his flesh. All things are possible to us if we believe. It is but a word from him to rebuke all storms and tempests whatsoever. Let us not do like Asa, trust only in the physician, or in subordinate means, but know that all physic is but dead means without him. 2 Chronicles 16:12. Therefore, with the means, run to Christ, that he may work with them, and know that virtue and strength comes form him to bless or curse all sorts of means. Richard Sibbes.
Ver. 16-18. David is a petitioner as well as a sufferer; and those sorrows will never injure us that bring us near to God. Three things he prays for:—
Two things are here taught us:—
The Treasury of David.
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