Verse 176

Here is, 1. A penitent confession: I have gone astray, or wander up and down, like a lost sheep. As unconverted sinners are like lost sheep (Luke 15:4), so weak unsteady saints are like lost sheep, Matt. 18:12, 13. We are apt to wander like sheep, and very unapt, when we have gone astray, to find the way again. By going astray we lose the comfort of the green pastures and expose ourselves to a thousand mischiefs. 2. A believing petition: Seek thy servant, as the good shepherd seeks a wandering sheep to bring it back again, Ezek. 34:12. “Lord, seek me, as I used to seek my sheep when they went astray;” for David had been himself a tender shepherd. “Lord, own me for one of thine; for, though I am a stray sheep, I have thy mark; concern thyself for me, send after me by the word, and conscience, and providences; bring me back by thy grace.” Seek me, that is, find me; for God never seeks in vain. Turn me, and I shall be turned. 3. An obedient plea: “Though I have gone astray, yet I have not wickedly departed, I do not forget thy commandments.” Thus he concludes the psalm with a penitent sense of his own sin and believing dependence on God’s grace. With these a devout Christian will conclude his duties, will conclude his life; he will live and die repenting and praying. Observe here, (1.) It is the character of good people that they do not forget God’s commandments, being well pleased with their convictions and well settled in their resolutions. (2.) Even those who, through grace, are mindful of their duty, cannot but own that they have in many instances wandered from it. (3.) Those that have wandered from their duty, if they continue mindful of it, may with a humble confidence commit themselves to the care of God’s grace.