Curiously enough this Seventy-third Psalm corresponds in subject with the Thirty-seventh: it will help the memory of the young to notice the reversed figures. The theme is that ancient stumbling block of good men, which Job’s friends could not get over; viz. –the present prosperity of wicked men and the sorrows of the godly. Heathen philosophers have puzzled themselves about this, while to believers it has too often been a temptation. – C.H. Spurgeon
In studying our main text today v.26, it is helpful to also read v.25; Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. 26 My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever.
You will note that I emphasized the word “heart” if you follow this blog you will note that yesterday’s Sunday Sermon Series was entitled The Heart of the Matter. Regardless of what society and all the self-help gurus would have us believe, it is every man’s heart that will always let him down. Conversely, it is God and God alone that can and will always revive man’s heart.
Samuel Blackerby the Puritan preacher of the 17th Century comments are some of the best I have ever read on this verse:
My flesh and my heart faileth; but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever. In which words we may take notice of five things.
1. The order inverted. When he mentions his malady he begins with the failing of the flesh, and then of the heart, but when he reports the relief he begins with that of the heart. From hence observe that when God works a cure in man (out of love) he begins with the heart–he cures that first. And there may be these reasons for it.
a. Because the sin of the heart is often the procuring cause of the malady of body and soul.
b. The body ever fares the better for the soul, but not the soul for the body.
c. The cure of the soul is the principal cure.
2. The suitableness of the remedy to the malady. Strength of heart for failing of heart, and a blessed portion for the failing of the flesh. Observe, that there is a proportionate remedy and relief in God for all maladies and afflictions whatsoever, both within and without. If your hearts fail you, God is strength; if your flesh fails you, or comforts fail you, God is a portion.
3. The prophet’s interest; he calls God his portion. Observe, that true Israelites have an undoubted interest in God: –He is theirs.
4. The prophet’s experience in the worst time. He finds this to be true, that when communicated strength fails, there is a never-failing strength in God. Observe, that Christians’ experiences of God’s all-sufficiency are then fullest and highest when created comforts fail them.
5. There is the prophet’s improvement of his experience for support and comfort against future trials and temptations. Observe, that a saint’s consideration of his experience of God’s all-sufficiency in times of exigency, is enough to bear up and to fortify his spirit against all trials and temptations for the time to come.
Thus you may improve the text by way of observation, but there are two principal doctrines to be insisted on. First, that God is the rock of a saint’s heart, his strength, and his portion forever. Secondly, that divine influence and relief passeth from God to his people when they stand in most need thereof.
First. God is the rock of a saint’s heart, strength, and a portion forever. Here are two members or branches in this doctrine.
1. That God is the rock of a saint’s heart, strength.
2. That God is the portion of a saint. Branch 1. God is the rock of a saint’s heart, strength. He is not only strength and the strength of their hearts, but the rock of their strength; so Isa 17:10. Ps 62:7, rwu, the same word that is used in the text, from hence comes our English word “sure.” Explication. God is the rock of our strength, both in respect of our naturals and also of our spirituals: he is the strength of nature and of grace (Ps 27:1); the strength of my life natural and spiritual. God is the strength of thy natural faculties–of reason and understanding, of wisdom and prudence, of will and affections. He is the strength of all thy graces, faith, patience, meekness, temperance, hope, and charity; both as to their being and exercise. He is the strength of all thy comfort and courage, peace and happiness, salvation and glory. Ps 140:7. “O God, the rock of my salvation.” In three respects. First. He is the author and giver of all strength. Ps 18:32: “It is God that girdeth me with strength.” Ps 24:11: “He will give strength to his people.” Ps 138:3 68:35. Secondly. He is the increaser and perfecter of a saint’s strength; it is God that makes a saint strong and mighty both to do and suffer, to bear and forbear, to believe and to hope to the end; so Heb 11:34: “Out of weakness they were made strong; “so 1Jo 2:14. And therefore is that prayer of Peter, 1Pe 5:10. Thirdly. He is the preserver of your strength; your life is laid up in God. Col 3:3. Your strength is kept by the strength of God; so Ps 91:1. God doth overshadow the strength of saints, that no breach can be made upon it. Ps 63:7. “In the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice.”
Oh Lord our God, we declare our weakness of the heart unto you oh God and understand that it is only through our weakness that we can be made strong in Christ. We ask that your Holy Spirit who indwells all true believers will guide us and mold us daily to be our strength and portion that we may repent of our failings and walk worthy of your Amazing Grace. – Amen