“My soul follows hard after You—Your right hand upholds me.” Psalm 63:8
Did the question ever arise in your mind—how David composed the Psalms? Of course, the answer would be, “He composed them by divine inspiration.” But that is not my meaning. We will put the question in another form. Do you suppose that David wrote his psalms, as the college clergy and learned ministers prepare their sermons on a Saturday evening; that is, that he sat down with his pen in his hand, for the express purpose of composing a psalm? I do not think so. I believe that David composed his psalms in this way. The Lord led him into some experience, it might have been a mournful, or it might have been a joyful one; He might plunge him into some depths, or He might raise him up to some heights; but whichever it was, the Spirit filled his soul with some deep feelings, and when these had begun to ferment, so to speak, in the Psalmist’s soul, he immediately gave them utterance; as he himself says, “While I was musing, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue” (Ps. 39:3). Thus he seized his pen, and as the Lord the Spirit brought the thoughts into his mind, and dictated the words, he penned them down.
Now that will account for this circumstance, that in David’s Psalms notes of mourning are so intermingled with strains of rejoicing; that he is sometimes crying after an absent God, and sometimes enjoying a present Lord; sometimes overwhelmed in the deep waters, and at other times standing on a rock, singing the high praises of his God. And being written in this way, they have become such a manual of Christian experience. The feelings flowing out of a heaven-taught heart, and the words being dictated by the Holy Spirit, they suit the experience of all Christians, more or less, at all times. Would we, then, know whether the same God that taught David is teaching us, we have only to compare our experience with that of David, as recorded in the Psalms; and then, when laying it side by side with his, we find it to agree, we may, if the Lord the Spirit shine into our heart, gather up some testimony that we are under the same teaching as that highly-favored man of God enjoyed in his soul.
In the words of the text we find David describing his soul as being engaged in a divine pursuit; he says, “My soul follows hard after You;” and yet that pursuit was not free from difficulties, but one which required all the support of God; he therefore adds, “Your right hand upholds me.”1
- J. C. Philpot. The Spiritual Chase. July 27th, 1843. ↩