We should not feed the fire of discontent by poring over our troubles, for we cannot, with all our disquietment, altar the nature of things.
Although satisfaction is not to be found at all in the creature,
it is always to be found in God,
and to Him we should be drawn by our disappointments.
1 I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is before me.
2 I was dumb with silence, I held my peace, even from good; and my sorrow was stirred.
3 My heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned: then spake I with my tongue,
4 LORD, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am.
5 Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity. Selah.
6 Surely every man walketh in a vain shew: surely they are disquieted in vain: he heapeth up riches, and knoweth not who shall gather them.
7 And now, Lord, what wait I for? my hope is in thee.
8 Deliver me from all my transgressions: make me not the reproach of the foolish.
9 I was dumb, I opened not my mouth; because thou didst it.
10 Remove thy stroke away from me: I am consumed by the blow of thine hand.
11 When thou with rebukes dost correct man for iniquity, thou makest his beauty to consume away like a moth: surely every man is vanity. Selah.
12 Hear my prayer, O LORD, and give ear unto my cry; hold not thy peace at my tears: for I am a stranger with thee, and a sojourner, as all my fathers were.
13 O spare me, that I may recover strength, before I go hence, and be no more.
Psalm 1 – J. Vernon McGee
Psalm 39 – The Fleeting Measure of Our Days
In the opening verses David describes the circumstances out of which this psalm arose. The presence and prosperity of the wicked stirred him to the depths, but he carefully refrained from speech. There are hot moments in our lives, when we do well not to say what is in our hearts. But if our feelings demand a vent, let us get alone and speak out our hearts to God. A softer tone settles on heart and tongue, when we reach His holy presence.
How frail we are, not only in our life, but in our moods! We need not fear men; they are but for a moment; as a breath that curls up in the frosty air, or as a shadow sweeping across the mountainside. Only God abides. Man is vanity; his pride and beauty are like a bursting soap-bubble; he is a stranger and pilgrim along this bank and shoal of time. But the child of the Eternal God is a guest with him, Psalm 39:12. He travels in our company. He makes Himself responsible for our well-being. He will bring us safely home as He did all our “fathers.” —Through the Bible Day by Day
Psalm 39:12—I am a stranger with Thee, and a sojourner
Sorrow and pain had taught the Psalmist some deep lessons touching the life of men around him—they seemed to be shadows pursuing shadows. They walked in a vain show, and were disquieted in vain. At their best estate, i.e., when most firmly rooted, they were only a breath, curling from lip or nostril into the chill morning air, and then gone for ever. The outward life and activity of man seemed to him as the shadow which darkens for a moment a whole mountain side, and, you look, it has been chased away by the succeeding sheets of sunshine.
Amid all these vanities, the child of God is a pilgrim to the Unseen. He passes through Vanity Fair, with his eyes steadily fixed on the Eternal City, whose Builder and Maker is God. Abraham first described himself as a stranger and sojourner, when he stood up from before his dead, and craved a burying-place from the sons of Heth. All his children, those who inherit a like faith, must say the same. Faith cannot find a home on this side of the stars. It has caught a glimpse of the Infinite, and it can never be content with anything less.
But we are sojourners “with God.” He is our constant companion. What Greatheart was to the women and feeble ones, God is to each of his saints. We may be strangers; but we are not solitary. We may be compelled to relax our grasp from the hands of beloved ones; but never alone—the Father is with us. Good company, safe escort, is it not? In the strength of it, we may obey without reluctance or fear the old motto–Habita, ut migraturus: Live as about to emigrate. “There is nothing greater than God; nothing less than I. He is rich; I am very poor, but I want for nothing.” —Our Daily Homily