What is the salvation which he had just been speaking of? The whole gift of the mercy of God—redemption from sin, death, and hell—pardon, peace, and acceptance with a reconciled God—constant communication of spiritual blessings—all that God can give, or we can want; all that we are able to receive here, or heaven can perfect hereafter. Now if this comes to us—comes to our hearts—surely it will furnish us at all times with an answer to him who reproaches us. The world casts upon us the reproach of the cross. "What profit is there that we have walked mournfully before the Lord of Hosts?" What is there to counterbalance the relinquishment of pleasure, esteem, and worldly comfort? The mere professor can give no answer. He has heard of it, but it has never come to Him. The believer is ready with his answer, 'I have found in the Lord's salvation pardon and peace, "not as the world gives"—and such as the world cannot take away. Here, therefore, do I abide, finding it my happiness not to live without the cross, and testifying in the midst of abounding tribulation, that there are no comforts like Christ's comforts.' This was David's answer, when family trials were probably an occasion of reproach. "Although my house be not so with God, yet He has made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and sure: for this is all my salvation and all my desire."
But there is a far heavier reproach than that of the world—when the grand accuser injects hard thoughts of God—when he throws our guilt and unworthiness—our helplessness and difficulties, in our face. And how severe is this exercise in a season of spiritual desertion! Except the believer can stay his soul upon "a God who hides Himself, as still the God of Israel, the Savior," he is unprepared with an answer to him who reproaches him. Such appears to have been Job's condition, and Heman's, not to speak of many of the Lord's most favored people, at different stages of their Christian life. Most important, therefore, is it for us to pray for a realizing sense of the Lord's mercies—even of His salvation—not only as necessary for our peace and comfort—but to garrison us against every assault, and to enable us to throw down the challenge, "Rejoice not against me, O my enemy; when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a light to me." Free grace has saved me—an unspotted righteousness covers me—an Almighty arm sustains me—eternal glory awaits me. Who shall condemn? "Who shall separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord?"
Now, for this bold front to our enemies, nothing is wanted beyond the reach of the weakest child of God. No extraordinary holiness—no Christian establishment in experience—nothing but simple, humble faith—For I trust in Your word. Faith makes this salvation ours, in all its fullness and almighty power: and, therefore, our confidence in the word will make us "ready always to give an answer to everyone who asks us a reason of the hope that is in us, with meekness and fear." "No weapon that is formed against you shall prosper; and every tongue that rises against you in judgment, you shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord; and their righteousness is of Me, says the Lord."
But how often is our Christian boldness paralyzed by our feeble apprehensions of the salvation of God! Clear and full evangelical views are indispensable for the effective exercise of our weighty obligations. Any indistinctness here, from its necessary mixture of self-righteousness and unbelief, obscures the warrant of our personal interest, and therefore hinders the firm grasp of Almighty strength. Coldness and formality also deaden the power of Christian boldness. Much need, therefore, have we to pray for a realized perception of the freeness, fullness, holiness, and privileges of the Gospel. Much need have we to use our speedy diligence, without delay; our painful diligence, without indulgence: our continual diligence, without weariness; that we be not satisfied with remaining on the skirts of the kingdom; that it be not a matter of doubt, whether we belong to it or not; but that, grace being added to grace, "so an entrance may be ministered to us abundantly, into" all its rich consolations and everlasting joys.
"So shall I have with which to answer him that reproaches me." This is an unanswerable answer. When God, by granting us salvation, gives to our prayers an answer of peace, we are ready at once to answer the objections of the infidel, the quibbles of the skeptical, and the sneers of the contemptuous. It is most desirable that revilers should be answered, and hence we may expect the Lord to save his people, in order that a weapon may be put into their hands with which to rout his adversaries. When those who reproach us are also reproaching God, we may ask him to help us to silence them by sure proofs of his mercy and faithfulness.
"For I trust in your word." His faith was seen by his being trustful while under trial, and he pleads it as a reason why he should be helped to beat back reproaches by a happy experience. Faith is our argument when we seek mercies and salvation; faith in the Lord who has spoken to us in his word. "I trust in your word" is a declaration more worth the making than any other; for he who can truly make it has received power to become a child of God, and so to be the heir of unnumbered mercies. God has more respect to a man's trust than to all else that is in him; for the Lord has chosen faith to be the hand into which he will place his mercies and his salvation. If any reproach us for trusting in God, we reply to them with arguments the most conclusive when we show that God has kept his promises, heard our prayers, and supplied our needs. Even the most skeptical are forced to bow before the logic of facts.
In this second verse of this octave the Psalmist makes a confession of faith, and a declaration of his belief and experience. Note that he does the same in the corresponding verses of the sections which follow. See 50, "Your word has quickened me"; 58, "I entreated your favor"; 66, "I have believed your commandments"; 74, "I have hoped in your word." A wise preacher might find in these a valuable series of experimental discourses.