These old Psalms are just waymarks for the pilgrims who have passed on before and left for us these staves that supported them in hard places. And it will help you to take a Psalm that God has inspired, and turn it back to God and say, "This is Thy Word, Lord, and Thou wilt surely answer Thine own prayer."
Let us look at some of these precious promises of healing. In the ninety-second Psalm we read, "The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree; he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon." Here we have both loftiness and strength; we have height and depth; the stature of the palm and the roots of the cedar. You may go through the woods during the spring days and you will see a little vine, the creeper, without any strength in itself, hanging to a great oak, and that little creeper is just as strong as the oak. It has not any strength of itself, but has all the strength of the great tree. It is the picture of a weak, helpless disciple leaning on the great, strong Lord. You do not need to be strong, but God is strong, and He gives you His strength.
It goes on to say, "Those that be planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing." Surely, that is a blessed kind of healing, for old age is usually barren, old age ceases to bear fruit. After a certain period almost all sorts of vegetable and animal life cease to produce and bring forth fruit. But like the ivy you can lean upon the giant tree, taking the strength of God.
PSALM ONE HUNDRED AND FIVE
Passing over for a moment one or two Psalms we come to the one hundred and fifth Psalm, and we find here some references to the children of Israel, and God's dealings with them. "He brought them forth also with silver and gold, and there was not one feeble person among their tribes." He brought them forth out of Egypt. He has just been telling us of the death of the firstborn and the leading of the Lord, and this is the way He brought them. He supplied their money, and He supplied their strength, because He had promised that He would do it. He had made a covenant at Marah: "If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in His sight, and wilt give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee which I have brought upon the Egyptians; for I am the Lord that healeth thee." God kept them strong. Caleb tells that he was as fresh at eighty-five as a man at twenty-five. And they would all have been kept if they had not disobeyed God. But God works both ways-the covenant of death and the covenant of life, and so they perished for their disobedience and unbelief.
PSALM ONE HUNDRED AND SEVEN
And so again in the one hundred and seventh Psalm we have a series of pictures of God's dealings with man. In the seventeenth verse, "Fools because of their transgression, and because of their iniquities, are afflicted." They have done wrong, and God has no other way to wake them up. "Their soul abhorreth all manner of meat; and they draw near unto the gates of death. Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and He saveth them out of their distresses." He is a gracious Lord; He hears their cry. "He sent His Word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions." He did not send a drug or a doctor or a prescription; He sent His Word. "Oh, that men would praise the Lord for His goodness and for His wonderful works to the children of men! And let them sacrifice the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and declare His works with rejoicing." This is a beautiful picture of God's tender mercy to the poor, troubled sinner.
PSALM ONE HUNDRED AND TEN
In Psalm one hundred and ten, we have a Psalm for the young as well as the old. "Thy people shall be willing in the day of Thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning; thou hast the dew of thy youth." It is a picture of Jesus Christ, and the one that is addressed here is Christ, the Son of man, and the dew of youth means that it is His youth, and He just bedews us with His youth. That is divine healing. It is a little of the life of the Son of God, the freshness that bedews us with His Holy Spirit. "Thy people shall be willing [or shall be a free-will offering] in the day of Thy power," and then this shall be the result: they will be clothed with the beauty of holiness, they will be fresh from the womb of the morning and sparkling with the dew of Christ's youth.
PSALM ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTEEN
Psalm one hundred and sixteen, the first nine verses, is a peculiarly beautiful note of praise.
"I love the Lord because He hath heard my voice and my supplications." It is not merely "I thank the Lord," but "I love Him because He is so good." Have you ever awakened refreshed and rested after weariness and suffering and said, "I love the Lord because He is so good?" Tell Him you love Him, do not wait until you get to heaven.
Well, what was it; what was the matter? "Because He has inclined His ear unto me, therefore will I call upon Him as long as I live. The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell gat hold upon me; I found trouble and sorrow." You see this is meant for hard cases; it is just framed for people who are in a desperate physical condition. It is the testimony of people who have been dreadfully sick and got well. I have been thinking since I read this over what a beautiful prayer book for the sick these Psalms of David would make!
Next he tells us what he did. "Then called I upon the name of the Lord; 0 Lord, I beseech Thee, deliver my soul." He did not lose heart, he did not say what is the use, he just called. He put his whole strength in it and was determined that God should hear him. He called. He put his whole strength in it and called on the name of the Lord. "Whatsoever ye shall ask in My name, that will I do." Do not say, 0 Lord, Lord, Lord, why don't You help me. But say, 0 loving Father, 0 dear Lord, You are so good. 0 Lord, I beseech Thee, deliver my life." His life was in danger. He did not have to cry long. He only puts half a verse in his prayer, and all the rest is praise. He says, "Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; yea, our God is merciful. The Lord preserveth the simple; I was brought low and He helped me." He just knew little enough to expect the Lord to help him.
"Return unto thy rest, 0 my soul; for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee. For Thou hast delivered my life from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling. I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living." He is going to live now wholly for God, for He has been so good to him.
PSALM ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY-ONE
Is there anything better for the home, the business, or the journey than the one hundred and twenty-first Psalm, especially the last verses? "Behold, He that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is thy Keeper; the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand. The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil; He shall preserve thy life. [For it means life.] The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even forevermore." He is our Preserver, our Keeper; keeping our bodies, keeping our spirits, keeping all our life.
PSALM ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY-SEVEN
Is there a sweeter sedative than the one hundred and twenty-seventh Psalm and the second verse? "It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows; for so He giveth His beloved sleep." What is more necessary for health than sleep, what is harder than to force it, and what is more needful than rest? What a beautiful verse! "So He giveth His beloved sleep." He puts you in the place of His beloved before He gives you sleep. You have to be His beloved first. I dare say that many times when you have been nervous or weary or worn you have felt you must just get the love of God before you could sleep. And He wants to keep you that way. To His beloved He giveth sleep. Take the place of love and you will find rest and strength.
PSALM ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY-FIVE
We have here some precious promises for the time of physical need. We read in the 19th verse: "He will fulfil the desire of them that fear Him: He also will hear their cry, and will save them. The Lord preserveth all them that love Him; but all the wicked will He destroy."
PSALM ONE HUNDRED AND TWO
And now we go back to the two Psalms that we have passed over, because they are like the ninety-first, the mountain tops of healing. There are two linked together, the one hundred and second and the one hundred and third, for these Psalms often go in pairs.
In the twenty-third verse of the one hundred and second Psalm we read, "He weakened my strength in the way; He shortened my days"--sickness, decay, prostration, paralysis, helplessness, complete collapse, inevitable death. Everybody says so, strength gone, constitution exhausted, "My strength is weakened and my days shortened." It was evident that his days were numbered. There was no hope; he might as well give up and die. That is the situation. He had quite made up his mind for a while that it was death. Then came the reaction; the breath of hope and prayer, the pitiful plea of helplessness and the prayer for help, and is there anything more pathetic than the prayer of helplessness? Oh, it has often cheered our heart. "I said, 0 my God, take me not away in the midst of my days; Thy years are throughout all generations." You cannot fail to see the point. Man's are days, God's are years. With Thee, he says, a year is as much as a day with me. I have just a little bit of life, Lord; Thou hast all the ages. You have the ages of eternity, Lord. You that are so rich in time, rich in life, let me have my little store. Is it not pathetic, is it not beautiful, is it not enough to touch the heart of God Himself? It is like the child that cried, "Save me because I am so little." Get little and then the Lord will save you. Don't try to be big, don't try to be eloquent. It makes one tired when people say, "I cannot pray well." People that pray well are bores.
Then he says, "Of old hast Thou laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the work of Thy hands. They shall perish, but Thou shalt endure; yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt Thou change them, and they shall be changed. But Thou art the same, and Thy years shall have no end." 0 mighty God, 0 Father of eternity, 0 rich Source and Resource of life, pity Thy little child whose life is like a span, and give me just a little more. And God hears the prayer, and the very next word is a burst of praise.
PSALM ONE HUNDRED AND THREE
"Bless the Lord, 0 my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the Lord, 0 my soul, and forget not all His benefits. Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; who satisfieth thy mouth with good things, so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's." This will not mean much to you, if you have not actually lived it. Some of you know what it is; the health that is out of weakness made strong, and that lives on the bosom of God.
One is impressed by the completeness of this doxology. It covers everything, all kinds of healing and health. It is the life of God, it is the mercy and salvation of God. "Who forgiveth all thine iniquities." He starts at the right place. There is always need for a fresh touch of grace. Do not try to walk on a plane of independence, but get right down at the foot of the cross. There may be things in your heart that you did not know were there. There may be little films from the very atmosphere of the world, but, oh, it is exquisite to get right down at the feet of Christ and say, "He forgiveth all." He is so holy that the heavens are unclean before Him. And so, come, sufferer, come to the blood every time and take a fresh cleansing even for what you do not know, and just live under the blood.
And then the healing is complete: "He healeth all thy diseases."
But that is not half of the blessing. When all your diseases are healed you are not half healed. He "redeemeth thy life from destruction." You are well today, but tomorrow you would break all your bones if the Lord did not hold you up. You are walking through death all the time and the elements of poison and disease. Why don't you die? Why, the Lord "redeemeth thy life from destruction."
But that is not half yet. "He crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies." That is the sweet nearness that it gives you, the fondness and the oneness of the Father's heart, for when He comes into your body He gets a closer hold of you. I do not know how we would know the love of God if we did not have Him in our very bones. When He is in every throb of the heart, in every bone of the body, He seems nearer to the soul. Do not try to be too stiff and cold, too regular and proper; there is a place for love and emotion, and the happy child and the overflowing hallelujah, and they know it best who are conscious that the Lord is for the body and the body is for the Lord.
But that is not all; the very best is still to come. He "satisfieth thy mouth with good, so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's." That is divine life that comes after divine healing. That is being lifted to a higher plane and kept there all the time. That is being healed when you are well, as well as when you are sick. It is the overflowing life of God in the human frame and in the human heart. That is the ideal life of this beautiful Psalm. These Psalms are far beyond the experience of most lives. May God help us to live up to them and then help others to enter in!