“With my voice I have cried to the Lord”
• [David] here informs us that he had never been so broken by adversity, or cast down by impious scornings, as to be prevented from addressing his prayers to God. And it was an infallible proof of his faith to exercise it by praying even in the midst of his distresses. Nothing is more unbecoming than sullenly to gnaw the bit with which we are bridled, and to withhold our groaning from God, if, indeed we have any faith in His promise. David distinctly mentions his voice… how much soever the ungodly might rage against him… but pronounced, in a loud and distinct voice, the name of his God. David’s meaning appears to me to be principally this, that amidst the blasphemies of his enemies, by which they endeavored to overwhelm his faith, he was not put to silence, but rather lifted up his voice to God, whom the ungodly have imagined to have become his enemy. He adds that he cried not in vain, to encourage all the godly to the like constancy. JC
• When prayer leads the van, in due time deliverence brings up the rear. Thomas Watson
• With my voice; the witness of my faith and fervency of affections. Matthew Poole
• That is, not with the voice of the body, which is drawn out with the sound of the reverberation of the air; but with the voice of the heart, which to men speaks not, but with God sounds as a cry. By this voice Susanna was heard; and with this voice the Lord Himself commanded that prayer should be made in closets that is, in the recesses of the heart noiselessly. Nor would one easily say that prayer is not made with this voice, if no sound of words is uttered from the body; since even when in silence we pray within the heart, if thoughts interpose alien from the mind of one praying, it cannot yet be said, “With my voice have I cried unto the Lord.” Nor is this rightly said, save when the soul alone, taking to itself nothing of the flesh, and nothing of the aims of the flesh, in prayer, speaks to God, where He only hears. But even this is called a cry by reason of the strength of its intention. Augustin
• The experience which the psalmist had of being heard in prayer, was what gave great encouragement to his faith, as to his interest in God and salvation by Him, when his enemies were so increased about him; for crying here is to be understood of prayer, as it is often used in this book of Psalms: and so the Targum renders it, "I prayed"; and this designs vocal prayer. The object addressed in prayer is the Lord, the God of his life, and who was able to save him, and supply all his wants. JG
• David had been exercised with many difficulties, often oppressed and brought very low; but still he had found God all-sufficient. He now remembered with pleasure, that his troubles had always brought him to his knees, and that, in all his difficulties and dangers, he had been enabled to acknowledge God and to lift up his heart to Him, and his voice too. Care and grief do us good and no hurt when they set us a praying, and engage us, not only to speak to God, but to cry to Him, as those that are in earnest. When the earnestness of the voice comes from the fervency of the heart, it shall be taken notice of, in the account, that we cried unto God with our voice. MH
“… and He heard me”
• Answers to prayers are sweet cordials for the soul. We need not fear a frowning world while we rejoice in a prayer-hearing God. CHS
• David was a man of prayer, and he was often heard and answered by God. And this also is true of Christ, He offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears to God that was able to save Him; and He was heard by Him, yea, the Father always heard Him: and God is a God hearing and answering the prayers of His people, sooner or later: sometimes before, sometimes at, and sometimes after their crying to Him. JG
• […] he had always found God ready to answer his prayers. MH
Note: Calvin and Poole make mention of the possibility that some will intend this to mean from heaven and both unequivocally say it is wrong. All of the commentators I have used here readily confess that David is referring to Mount Zion where the ark of the covenant was resting at the time. The word we are translating as hill or mount is harar (Strong’s 2042) which literally means mountain, hill, or mount.
“out of His holy hill”
• As to the expression... from His holy hill, it is improperly explained of heaven, as has been done by some. Heaven, I indeed confess, is often called, in other places, God’s holy palace; but here David has doubtless a reference to the ark of the covenant, which at that time stood on Mount Zion. JC
• Out of the hill of Zion, where God was especially present, the ark being there at this time; towards which the saints then used to direct their prayers, and from thence God heard and answered and blessed them. Matthew Poole
It has been awhile since I have posted one of these studies. I have been going through and extrememly hard time and withdrew from the world for awhile. The unpleasant thing about putting yourself in front of others is that in such times it is perhaps more obvious than it would otherwise be to mask the difficulties. Please forgive my absence and pray for me that the Lord will be my strength when I am weak. As Ps. 61:2 says, “…when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” Yet what a wonderful place to resume the study; addressing the importance of prayer and the faithfulness of God in our lives. For truly He is enlivening my heart once again and my prayers have been heard, of that I have no doubt.
David was called a man after God’s own heart (1 Sam 13:14). Because of that David was a man of fervent prayer. He says in another place, “Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and He shall hear my voice.” (Ps. 55:17). And every time we see David speaking of his fervent prayer life we see him speaking of God’s answer, and care, and love for His people and him specifically. Even when David is in the throws of sin God hears him. This isn’t to say that God doesn’t discipline him and withdraw Himself from David for a time, He certainly did. But that never caused David to cease praying and it was never permanent; it was to form character in this godly man and draw him ever closer to the Lord. Times like that are hard, really hard, extremely hard. It feels like someone has ripped your heart out, that they have stolen the air from your lungs, you feel as though you are drowning in an ocean of your own sin knowing the only thing that will save you is God throwing you the life preserver; and yet, for a time, it doesn’t come. You can hear this at various times in the Psalms of David. Some examples are:
5:1-2, “Give ear to my words, O LORD, consider my meditation. Hearken unto the voice of my cry, my King, and my God: for unto thee will I pray.”
6:1-3, “O LORD, rebuke me not in thine anger, neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure. Have mercy upon me, O LORD; for I am weak: O LORD, heal me; for my bones are vexed. My soul is also sore vexed: but thou, O LORD, how long?”
And who can forget the most glaring example of this in Ps. 51:1-12, “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest. Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.”Wow! You can hear the anguish in his words. He is a regenerate man as are all the saints. As a result we have a need for God that surpasses this world. Bread and water cannot sustain us, the oxygen in the air fails, sleep is worth nothing to us if we have not God. He is more vital to the saint than all of those things combined and multiplied to the nth degree. So why when we find ourselves in this situation do we cower in the corner and avoid prayer? Calvin rightly says of this attitude, “Nothing is more unbecoming than sullenly to gnaw the bit with which we are bridled, and to withhold our groaning from God, if, indeed we have any faith in His promise.” We don’t just come to Him in times of ease when we have evaluated that things are going as they should be. No, during these times of spiritual upheavel we must cleave to the Lord even more than we normally do. Perhaps this is the lesson you are being taught, GO TO THE LORD! Notice in none of those situations did David avoid the Lord or cease to pray. No, even in his anguish he cast his cares upon the Lord, he confessed his sins, and he prayed and waited for the Lord’s answer. As he said in Ps. 40:1, “I waited patiently for the LORD; and He inclined unto me, and heard my cry.”
There is doubt, there is shame, there is lack of faith. There is sin, Satan, and the world to block our way every chance they get. But go to the Lord. For as Paul has told us, “If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself." (2 Tim. 2:13) Praise God for His encouraging words and His faithfulness to His saints. Who is like Him? He is beyond comprehension. I am constantly baffled at the condescension or our God. His righteousness endures forever and His name is to be praised above all others. Laus Deo!