Will the Lord cast off for ever? And will he be favourable no more? Is his mercy clean gone for ever? Doth his promise fail for evermore? Hath God forgotten to be gracious? Hath he in anger shut up his tender mercies? Selah. And I said, This is my infirmity: but I will remember the years of the right hand of the most High.
WILLIAM GURNALL (1617-1679): David was famous for his hope, and not less eminent for his care to observe and preserve the experiences he had of God’s goodness. He was able to recount the dealings of God with him; they were so often the subject of his meditation and matter of his discourse, that he had made them familiar to him. When his hope is at a loss, he doth but exercise his memory a little, and he recovers himself presently, and chides himself for his weakness. I said, this is my infirmity: but I will remember the years of the right hand of the Most High.
ALEXANDER COMRIE (1706-1774): O it can be very profitable for a soul to think upon former experiences; sometimes it gives such power to that believing expectation that they can exclaim, “Who doth deliver: in whom we trust that He will yet deliver us.”
MATTHEW HENRY (1662-1714): David, even when a young man, and when he had but a small stock of experiences, argued after the manner of the apostle Paul [in II Corinthians 1:8-10]: We would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life: but we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust will yet deliver us.
WILLIAM JAY (1769-1853): David reviewed His former [help]: The Lord delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine, I Samuel 17:37. We have nothing perhaps so extraordinary to review; yet we have had our deliverances, and some them remarkable, at least to ourselves, if not to others. We have had our bears and lions; but we have not been given over a prey to their teeth. We have had spiritual deliverances. We have been saved from the curse of the law, from the power of Satan, from the tyranny of the world, from the dominion of sin.
C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): Remember how He pitied us, awakened us, convinced us of sin, and drew us to Himself by the cords of love?
CHARLES BRIDGES (1794-1869): Yea, look diligently, and leave no corner therein unsearched, for there is treasure hid, even the treasure of your first and second experience of the grace of God toward you. Remember, I say, the word that first laid hold upon you; remember also your terrors of conscience, and fear of death, and hell; tears and prayers to God; yea, how you sighed under every hedge for mercy.
C. H. SPURGEON: Believer, do you remember that rapturous day when you first realized pardon through Jesus the sin-bearer?
J. W. ALEXANDER (1804-1859): Remember, remember Christ dying for your sins.
C. H. SPURGEON: Remember how often He has since healed our backslidings, pardoned our sins, borne with our unbelief, ingratitude, and slowness to learn; supplied our wants, listened to our complaints, alleviated our sorrows, and revived our drooping spirits when we were ready to faint. In short, we must remember all the way by which He has led us, these many years, through a wilderness of sins, sorrows, trials and temptations.
WILLIAM GURNALL: The hound, when he hath lost the scent, hunts backward and so recovers it, and pursues his game with a louder cry than ever. Thus, Christian, when thy hope is at a loss, and thou questionest thy salvation in another world, then look backward and see what God hath already done for thee.
MATTHEW POOLE (1624-1679): Former experiences of God’s goodness in delivering us out of troubles ought to increase our faith.
JOHN FLAVEL (1630-1691): O! tis no small advantage to a soul in a new plunge and distress, to be able to say, This is not the first time I have been in these deeps, and yet emerged out of them…There is as much difference betwixt believing before, and after experience, as there is betwixt swimming with bladders, and our first venture into the deep waters without them.
WILLIAM JAY: We have had temporal deliverances. Some of these have been visible, but many more have been invisible; and it is owing to our having obtained help of God, that our lives and families and substance, and all our outward estate, have been preserved.
C. H. SPURGEON: Let your memory begin to run over the pages of your diary. Turn over the leaves that record your Lord’s favour to you. Are there not some pages with great crosses upon them, which you made in the day of trouble, and other crosses, which you made in the hour of your deliverance when Jesus came to your relief?
JOHN FLAVEL: O what an history might we compile of our own experiences, whilst with a melting heart we trace the footsteps of providence all along the way it hath led us to this day; and set our remarks upon its more eminent performances for us in the several stages of our life! Here it prevented, and there it delivered. Here it directed, and there it corrected. In this grieved, and in that it relieved. Here was the poison, and there the antidote. This providence raised a dismal cloud, and that dispelled it again. This straightened, and that enlarged. Here a want, there a supply. This relation withered, and that springing up in its room. Words cannot express the high delights and gratifications, a gracious heart may find in such employment as this. O what a world of rarities are to be found in providence! The blind heedless world makes nothing of them: they cannot find one sweet bit, where a gracious soul would make a rich feast.
MATTHEW HENRY: Past experiences are great encouragements to faith and hope, and they lay great obligations to trust in God for time to come. We reproach our experiences if we distrust God in future straits, who hath delivered us in former troubles.
R. C. CHAPMAN (1803-1902): Be familiar with this precious thought, that God decrees the little as well as the great things of His providence; and that all His decrees are those of love to His people…If we judge not God’s character by His providences, but His providences by His character, we shall be able to rejoice when the flesh would repine.
WILLIAM JAY: Like David, we should draw confidence from reflection. We have not only His promise to encourage us, but our experience; and “because He has been our help, therefore under the shadow of His wing should we rejoice”―Wherefore let us observe the loving-kindnesses of the Lord, and treasure them up in our minds. We know not what occasions we may have for the use of them. But in every tendency to depression, let us not yield to out infirmity, but remember the years of the right hand of the Most High.