Evidently David did not love the word for selfish gain. Small and despised was his condition, when the Lord first looked on him. It was also the reproach, which in the height of his glory he endured for the name of his God. Yet—stripped and destitute as he might be—did he not forget His precepts. The remembrance of his God was a cheering encouragement to his faith in his lowly condition; and no less his support in the far greater trials of his prosperity. Thus habitually did he realize the unspeakable privilege of an ever-present God!
The objects of the Lord's sovereign choice, whom He has stamped as a "peculiar treasure unto Him above all people," and whom at the day of His appearing He will bring forth as the "jewels" of His crown—are most frequently in their worldly condition—always in the eyes of the world, and in their own estimation—small and despised. And yet pride and hypocrisy in the natural heart will sometimes assume this character for selfish ends. This language of humility is not infrequently in the mouth of the professor, to enable him to maintain "a name to live" in the church of God. But are those who call themselves small and despised willing to be taken at their word? Are they content to be despised by those, whose esteem this "voluntary" spurious "humility" was meant to secure? Do they really believe themselves to be what they profess—false, vile, mean, deceitful creatures? Have they any experimental knowledge of the depth of inner wickedness, that God could open door after door in "the chamber of imagery" to confound them with the sight of greater, and yet "greater abominations!" When, therefore, they "take the lowest place," do they feel it to be their own place? Or does not the language of self-abasement mean in the eyes of God—'Come, see how humble I am?'
Christian! do not think these self-inquiries unnecessary for the cautious scrutiny of Your own heart. A self-annihilating spirit before men, as well as before God;—to feel small and despised, when we have a reputable name in the Church—is a rare attainment—a glorious triumph of victorious grace—usually the fruit of sharp affliction. This was the spirit of Brainerd—that meek and lowly disciple of his Master, who would express his astonishment that any one above the rank of "the beasts that perish" could condescend to notice him. But if we are small and despised, in the estimation of men, let us think of "Him, whom man despises—Him whom the nation abhors." Never was such an instance of magnanimity displayed, as when Pilate brought out the blessed Jesus, arrayed in the mockery of royalty, and with the blood streaming from His temples: and said, "Behold the man!" Then was there a human being, sustaining himself in the simple exclusive consciousness of the favor of God, against the universal scorn of every face. This was independence—this was greatness indeed. With such a pattern before our eyes, and such a motive touching our hearts, we may well account it "a very small thing, that we should be judged of man's judgment." What upheld "the man Christ Jesus," will uphold His servants also. "He committed himself to Him that judges righteously." Must we not desire to "know the fellowship of His sufferings"—yes, to rejoice in the participation of them?
Christian! do you love to be low, and still desire to be lower than ever? Small and despised as you are in your own eyes, and in the eyes of the world, "you are precious in the eyes of Him," who gave a price "for your ransom"—infinitely more precious than "Egypt, Ethiopia, and Seba," and who will suffer "none to pluck you out of His hands." Many may rebuke you; many may scorn you; even your brethren may treat you with contempt; yet your God, your Redeemer, will not depart from you, will not permit you to depart from Him; but will put His Spirit within you, and bring forth His precepts to your remembrance, that you may keep them, and many a sweet supporting promise for your consolation. Therefore "fear not, you worm Jacob; I will help you, says the Lord, and your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel."
That fault of forgetfulness which he condemned in others (verse 139) could not be charged upon himself. His enemies made no account of him, regarded him as a man without power or ability, and, therefore, looked down upon him. He appears to accept the situation and humbly take the lowest room, but he carries God's word with him. How many a man has been driven to do some ill action in order to reply to the contempt of his enemies! to make himself conspicuous he has either spoken or acted in a manner which he could not justify. The beauty of the Psalmist's piety was that it was calm and well-balanced, and as he was not carried away by flattery, so he was not overcome by shame. If small, he the more jealously attended to the smaller duties; and if despised, he was the more in earnest to keep the despised commandments of God.