In the eyes of the world, David appeared "in all his glory," when seated on his throne, and surrounded with the magnificence of his kingdom. But never did he appear so glorious in the sight of God, as when presenting himself as a suppliant before the mercy-seat, seeking an audience of the King of Kings only to send up reiterated cries for quickening grace. And do I not need the same grace every moment, in every duty? Does not "the gift of God within me" need to be daily "stirred up?" Are not the "things that remain" often "ready to die?" Then hear my voice, O Lord; quicken me.
But to urge my suit successfully, I must "order my cause before God;" I must "fill my mouth with arguments." And if I can draw a favorable plea from the character of my Judge—if I can prove that promises have been made in my behalf, these will be most encouraging pledges of a successful issue. Now David had been so used to plead in cases of extremity, that arguments suited to his present distress were always ready at hand. He now pleads with God for quickening grace, on the ground of His own loving-kindness and judgment. Can He "deny Himself?"
And with what "full assurance of faith," may I ask to be heard on account of that transcendent proof of loving-kindness manifested in the gift of God's dear Son—not only as His chief mercy, but as the pledge of every other mercy—and manifested too at the fittest time—according to His judgment—after the inefficiency of the power of reason, and the sanctions of the law, to influence the heart, had been most clearly displayed! And what a plea is it to ask for quickening influences, that this is the very end for which this gift of loving-kindness was given, and that the gift itself is the channel, through which the quickening life of the Godhead is imparted! Could I ask for this grace on any other ground than loving-kindness? All ground of fitness or merit is swept away. On the footing of mercy alone, can I stand before Him. And how is my faith enlivened in retracing the records of my soul from the beginning—how He "betrothed"—how He "drew—me with loving-kindness!" May I not then cry, "Oh! continue Your loving-kindness?" And not less full is my conviction of His judgment, in dealing wisely and tenderly with me, according to His infallible perception of my need. Left to my own judgment—often should I have prayed myself into evil, and asked what it would have been my curse to have received. But I have learned, that the child must not be guided by his own will, but by his father's better mind—not the patient by his own humor, but by the physician's skill. Truly, even the Lord's corrections have been in judgment! And in the thankful remembrance of them my confidence for the time to come is established! Gladly will I "set to my seal," that "the Lord is a God of judgment;" and that "blessed are all those who wait for Him." He knows not only what grace is needed, but at what time. Not a moment sooner will it come; not a moment later will it be delayed. "As You will, what You will, when You will" (Thomas a Kempis)—is the expression of faith and resignation, with which all must be committed to the Lord, waiting for the end in humility, desire, expectation. And if in pleading my suit for a hearing according to His loving-kindness, my poor, polluted, lifeless petitions should find no liberty of approach; may I be but enabled to direct one believing look to "the Lamb that is in the midst of the throne!" and I will not doubt that my feeblest offering shall come up as a memorial before God.
"Hear my voice according unto your loving-kindness." Men find it very helpful to use their voices in prayer; it is difficult long to maintain the intensity of devotion unless we hear ourselves speak; hence David at length broke through his silence, arose from his quiet meditations, and began crying with voice as well as heart unto the Lord his God. Note, that he does not plead his own deservings, nor for a moment appeal for payment of a debt on account of merit; he takes the free-grace way, and puts it, "according unto your loving-kindness." When God hears prayer according to his loving-kindness he overlooks all the imperfections of the prayer, he forgets the sinfulness of the offerer, and in pitying love he grants the desire though the suppliant be unworthy. It is according to God's loving-kindness to answer speedily, to answer frequently, to answer abundantly, yes, exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or even think. Loving-kindness is one of the sweetest words in our language. Kindness has much in it that is most precious, but loving-kindness is doubly dear; it is the cream of kindness."
"O LORD, quicken me according to your judgment." This is another of David's wise and ardent prayers. He first cried, "Save me;" then, "Hear me;" and now, "Quicken me." This is often the very best way of delivering us from trouble—to give us more life, that we may escape from death; and to add more strength to that life, that we may not be overloaded with its burdens. Observe, that he asks to receive quickening according to God's judgment, that is, in such a way as should be consistent with infinite wisdom and prudence. God's methods of communicating greater vigor to our spiritual life are exceedingly wise; it would probably be in vain for us to attempt to understand them; and it will be our wisdom to wish to receive grace, not according to our notion of how it should come to us, but according to God's heavenly method of bestowing it. It is his prerogative to make alive as well as to kill, and that sovereign act is best left to his infallible judgment. Has he not already given us to have life, and to have it more abundantly? In this gift "he has abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence."