On the Faith of Old Testament Saints


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Make thy face to shine upon thy servant; and teach me thy statutes
(Psalm 119:135)

“…It is both important and interesting to mark the repetitions – always new – in this beautiful Psalm. David had just before prayed, ‘Look thou upon me, and be merciful to me.’ (Verse 132) Perhaps another passing cloud had darkened his sky. Again he darts up the same prayer, ‘Make thy face to shine upon thy servant.’ Such cries in the mouth of this holy servant of God must have been most hopeless petitions – nay, the expression of the most daring presumption – had he not been acquainted with the only true way of access to God, joyfully led to renounce every other way, and enabled diligently to improve this acceptable approach to his God.

Indeed, whatever obscurity may hang over the question relating to the faith of the Old Testament believers, their confidence at the throne of grace shows them to have attained a far more distinct perception of Christian privilege, through the shadowy representations of their law, than is commonly imagined. Else, how could they have been so wrestling and persevering in their petitions; overcoming the spirit of bondage, and breathing out the spirit of adoption in the expression of their wants and desires before the Lord? The prayers of the Old Testament church are not more distinguished for their simplicity, spirituality, and earnestness, than for their unfettered evangelical confidence. When they approached the footstool of the Divine Majesty, with the supplications: Make thy face to shine upon thy servant, – Thou that dwellest between the cherubims, shine forth – it was as if they had pleaded: Reconciled Father – thou that sittest upon a throne of grace, look upon us – Abba, Father, be gracious to us!

from An Exposition of Psalm 119, Charles Bridges (1827)

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