I have a regrettable habit of buying books that I don’t have time to read. Consequently, I often buy a book that lies unused for a long while before I get around to reading it.
It took me several years to begin reading Charles Bridges’ An Exposition of Psalm 119, but it was well worth doing. Despite the frequent challenges of interpreting early 18th-century idioms, it has been very profitable. Today I read his comments on Ps. 119:134 (“Deliver me from the oppression of man: so will I keep thy precepts”), which conclude with:
Fellow Christian! Have your circumstances of trial ever dictated this prayer? How then have you improved your liberty, when the answer has been vouchsafed? Has the “way of escape made” for you been kept in grateful remembrance (Comp. 2 Chronicles 32:22-25 with Ps. 9:13-14)? Has the effect of your deliverance been visible in an increasing love and devotedness to the Lord’s service? Oh! Let a special Ebenezer be set up to mark this special achievement of prayer (1 Sam. 7:12). Let the mercy be connected with the sympathy of our “faithful and merciful High-Priest, who being himself touched with the feeling of your infirmities,” has pleaded for your succor and release (Heb. 4:15, 2:17-18). And be encouraged henceforth to tread the ways of God with more firmness and sensible stay, “having your feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace (Eph. 6:15).” But remember – the blessing of the cross is lost, if it does not issue in a song of praise – if we have not taken it up as a token of fatherly love. At all times the safest and shortest way to peace is to let God use his own methods with us; to live the present moment to him in the situation he has placed us; not dreaming of other circumstances more favourable to our spiritual prosperity; but leaving ourselves, our difficulties, our discouragements, in his hands, who makes no mistakes in any of his dispensations – but who orders them all, that they “may turn out to our salvation, through our prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:19).”