May I experience your loyal love, O Lord, and your deliverance, as you promised. Then I will have a reply for the one who insults me, for I trust in your word.
[Ps 119:41-42 NET]
A living soul wants to return an answer to the one who reproaches him. But he cannot do it of himself, for he has not a word to speak in self-justification; that is utterly cut off; and therefore he needs to have that which shall furnish him with an answer to these reproaches. And what alone can furnish him with an answer? The mercies of God in his soul. “Lord, give to me your mercies, the salvation that you promised me. Then I will have an answer for those who taunt me, for I trust in your word.” The coming in of “mercies” into the soul, and the manifestation of “salvation” to the heart afford an answer “for those who taunt me.”
If you will observe, the word “mercies” is in the plural number, there being many mercies; but “salvation” is in the singular number, there being only one salvation. In what way, then, did the Psalmist want these mercies? Merely as standing in the letter of the word? Only as recorded in the inspired word of truth? As things to look at, as objects hung up, as it were, in a picture, merely for the eye to gaze upon? No; he wanted them in his heart, to “come to him,” to visit him, to be breathed into him, to be made part and parcel of him, to be the life-blood that should circulate in his veins, to be the very kingdom of God set up with power in his soul.
And why did he want internal mercies? Because he had internal reproaches. Why did he need mercies in his soul? Because condemnation was in his soul. It was there the sentence of death was written; it was there the sentence of acquittal was to be recorded. It was there that reproach was felt; it was there the answer to the reproach was to be given. If the reproach were merely outward, the answer might be outward also; but the reproof being inward, in the heart, in the conscience, in the feelings, it was needed that the answer should be in the same place, written in the same spot, engraved in the same tablets, and brought home with the same or far greater power, so as to be a sufficient answer to the reproaches of him that reproached him.