the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25
Charles Spurgeon's "Morning & Evening"
“Keep me as the apple of the eye.”
So much in this Psalm is illustrated by David’s condition in the forests and mountains of Ziph, that it is most appropriate to read it at this time.
Do not suffer might to crush right. Judge my cause and suffer not King Saul to do me wrong
David felt his cause to be so just that he was confident that equity would give a verdict in his favour. We cannot take an unrighteous cause before the Lord, that would be blasphemy; but we may confidently leave a just cause in his hands.
Like Peter, David uses the argument, “Thou knowest all things, thou knowest that I love thee.” It is a most assuring thing to be able to appeal at once to the Lord, and call upon our judge to be a witness for our defence. “Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence towards God.” “Thou hast visited me in the night.” As if he had said, “Lord, thou hast entered my house at all hours; and thou hast seen me when no one else was nigh; thou hast come upon me unawares and marked my unrestrained actions, and thou knowest whether or no I am guilty of the crimes laid at my door.” Happy man, who can thus remember the omniscient eye, and the omnipresent visitor, and find comfort in the remembrance. We too have had our midnight visits from our Lord, and truly they are sweet; so sweet that the recollection of them sets us longing for more of such condescending communings. Lord, if indeed we had been hypocrites, should we have had such fellowship, or have felt such hungerings after a renewal of it?
Divine guidance had kept him in a safe way, as it will us also, if we seek it.
Psalms 17:8 , Psalms 17:9
No part of the body is more precious, more tender, and more carefully guarded than the eye; and of the eye no portion is more peculiarly protected than the central apple, the pupil, or, as the Hebrew calls it, “the daughter of the eye.” The All-wise Creator has placed the eye in a well-protected position; it stands surrounded by projecting bones, like Jerusalem encircled by mountains. Moreover, its great Author has surrounded it with many tunics of inward covering, besides the hedge of the eyebrows, the curtain of the eyelids, and the fence of the eyelashes; and, in addition to this, he has given to every man so high a value for his eyes, and so quick an apprehension of danger that no member of the body is more faithfully cared for than the organ of sight. Thus, Lord, keep thou me, for I trust I am one with Jesus, and so a member of his mystical body
A vivid picture of Saul’s pursuit of him. He and his men were surrounded, and their enemies followed after them like wild beasts eager in the hunt, tracking their every step.
“God judgeth the righteous.”
Probably it was in these dark days, when David was still under the fierce displeasure of Saul, that he penned this psalm bears the title of Shiggaion of David, which he sang unto the Lord, concerning the words of Cush the Benjamite.
It appears probable that Cush had accused David of treasonable conspiracy against Saul’s authority, or of some other crime. This the King would be ready enough to credit, both from his jealousy of David, and from the relationship which existed between himself, the son of Kish, and this Cush or Kish the Benjamite.
From these verses we may learn that no innocence can shield a man from the calumnies of the wicked. David had been scrupulously careful to avoid any appearance of rebellion against Saul, whom he constantly styled “the Lord’s Anointed”; but all this could not protect him from lying tongues. As the shadow follows the substance, so envy pursues goodness. It is only at the tree laden with fruit that men throw stones. If we would live without being slandered, we must wait till we get to heaven. Let us be very heedful not to believe the flying rumours which are always assailing gracious men. If there are no believers in slander, there will be but a dull market in falsehood, and good men’s characters will be safe. Ill-will never spoke well. Sinners have an ill-will to saints, and therefore, we may be sure they will not speak well of them.
Oh, how good to have a true and upright heart. Crooked sinners, with all their craftiness, are foiled by honest spirits. God defends the right. Filth will not long abide on the pure white garments of the saints, but shall be brushed off by divine providence, to the vexation of the men by whose base hands it was thrown. The believer should not fear anything which his foes can do or say against him, for the tree which God plants no winds can uproot. God judgeth the righteous, he hath not given them up to their persecutors.
Delight thyself in God, he’ll give
Thine heart’s desire to thee:
Commit thy way to God alone,
It brought to pass shall be.
And like unto the light he shall
Thy righteousness display;
And he thy judgment shall bring forth,
Like noontide of the day.