Andrew A. (Andrew Alexander) Bonar.

Christ and His Church in the Book of Psalms online

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after long silence, with the declaration, " Hereafter ye shall see
the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming
in the clouds of heaven." Is this the train of thought on this
Psalm ? For verse 1 5 sets forth the hope of seeing what Zecha-
riah ix. 17 speaks of as yet future in a great measure, " His

" The goodness of the Lord in tlie land of the living.'"

Our Lord was content, as real man, to sustain his soul by
faith and hope ; resting on what He knew of his Father, and
animating it in suffering and trouble, by the "hope set before
Him," (Heb. xii. 2). Is not this his testimony (and the tes-
timony of all his saints who have used this Psalm) to the ad-
vantages and blessedness of hope ? The words in the Hebrew
run thus —

" Unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord." (Ver. 15.)

There is no " / had fainted." It is an imperfect sentence.


There is something to be supplied ; it is like our Lord's owu
words in Luke xix. 42, " If thou hadst known !" — a sentence
never ended, and all the more emijhatic and awfully significant
for this very reason. Here, also, there is the same significance.
It is "Who can tell, what heart of man can conceive, what might
have came on me, — unless 1 had believed to see the goodness
of the Lord !" Faith, and the " hope set before Him," carried
Him through his darkest hour. And hence, in verse 16, He
leaves for the Church in all ages the counsel of one who has
tried it himself, — " Wait on the Lord." Keep your eye
ever on the Lord, expecting the light to break and help to

The Church, and the Church's head, can lay claim to every
clause of this blessed Psalm. That pledge of its truth in verse
5 has already in all ages been found faithfully performed. The
Lord has ever hid his own in evil days, finding an Oba-
diah to feed his prophets, or sending them to a Cherith,
whither his ravens shall carry provision. So that Augustine's
confidence is that of all saints, " Qui tantum pignus dedit pere-
grinanti, non deseret pervenientem." We may call it then, —
The Righteous Ones confident assertion of safety when lonely
amid surrounding foes.


A Psalm of David.

1 Unto thee will I cry, O Lord my rock ; be not silent to me :

Lest if thou be silent to me, I become like them that go down into the pit.

2 Hear the voice of ray supplications, when I cry unto thee,
When I lift up my hands toward thy Holy Oracle.

3 Draw me not away with the wicked, and with the workers of iniquity,
Whicii speak peace to their neighbours, but mischief is in their hearts.

4 Give them according to their deeds, and according to the wickedness of

their endeavours :
Give them after the work of their hands ; render to them their desert.

5 Because they regard not the works of the Lord, nor the operation of his

He shall destroy them, and not build them up.

6 Blessed be the Lord, because he hath heard tlie voice of my supplications.


7 The Lord is my strength and my shield ; my heart trusted in him, and I

am helped :
Therefore my heart greatly rejoleeth ; and with my song will I praise him.

8 The Lord is their strength, and he is the saving strength of his anointed.

9 Save thy people, and bless thine inheritance : feed them also, and lift them

up for ever.

The cry at the commencement is the appeal heavenward of "^''^ ^vo^^"^
one who anticipates, in the future (ver. 9), full salvation to
the Lord's people, and a time when their Shepherd shall feed
them in green pastures, and lift them up as his heritage to
their place of dignity and dominion. The secret persuasion
of this final issue pervades his song. If the preceding Psalm
took us up to a field of Zophim, whence we might espy the en-
camped legions, this Psalm shews us from the same height
these hosts of the ungodly shattered and dissipated, in answer
to the prayer of Him who makes intercession against them.
We may imagine the Psalmist, — whether David or David's
Son,* the Church's head, or any member of the Church — as-
cending an eminence, overlooking the tents of the ungodly, and
there listening to their mirth and witnessing their revelry ! He
is a Moses, crying to heaven against Amalek. It may be David,
who is the original "Anointed" of verse 8 ; but he is so as
uttering what the Lord and all his own might use in other days.

What intensity of earnest vehemence in verse 1 ! Not to be I'f'e ormi
heard, will be death ! it will be the black despair of those who
go down to the pit ! But his reasons for being heard are
powerful, — "/ lift up my hand toward thy Holy Oracle" (ver.
2). This is the Holy of Holies, where the Mercy-seat stood : for
the " oracle" is, in Hebrew, " 'T'4*!'" the spot where Jehovah
spoke to men, referring probably to his promise in Exodus xxv.
22, " There will I meet thee, and commune (TI131) with thee."
The supplicant refers God, in this brief way, to his own pro-
vision for sinful men, and his own promise of blessing when-
ever that provision should be used. If we take the words as
uttered by Christ, how interesting to find him pleading with
reference to the types of his own person and work, presenting
them to the Father for us ! If we use them as the words of

"Ipsius Mediatoris vox est, manu fortis, conflictu i)ass\onh.'"—A>iffiiMiiie.



David, or any saint, they still convey the same truth, namely,
that the strongest plea which can rise from earth to heaven is
drawn from the person and work of Jesus. No doubt, when
Daniel prayed " with his windows open in his chamber toward
Jerusalem" (Dan. vi. 10), he had his eye on "the Holy Oracle,"
— on the person and work of Him who was set forth in Jeru-
salem in the significant types that were to be found in the Holy
of Holies,

In verse 3, the sympathy of the Righteous One in God's love
of holiness appears ; and in verse 4, his sympathy in God's
justice, even when his burning wrath descends. It is full ac-
quiescence that is expressed — nay, almost positive desire. But
it is only as the redeemed in Rev. xix. 1, 3, are enabled to shout
" Alleluia" over the lost ; or as the Redeemer (Luke xiii. 9),
in the parable of the Fig-tree, promised to cease at last from
intercession, and bid the axe take its swing.

Verse 5 is the answer whispered to the conscious heart of
those who pray ; which causes thanksgiving and rapturous tri-
umph in the Lord, reviving faith bestowing strength, (in verses
6, 7, 8)* and raising the anticipation of bright days approaching,
when full "salvation" comes out of Zion (verse 9), and there shall
be no more casting down. Every stream seems to flow onward
to the future day when joy shall no more be pent up within
narrow banks, but have unlimited scope — the people " saved"
— the " blessing" come — there being no more curse — the heirs
arrived at their inheritance, joint-heirs of Him who is " Heir
of all things" — the shepherd leading them to living fountains
— and reproach all fled away !

We express the tone and substance of the Psalm if we de-
scribe it as —
The apj)eal and thanksgiving of the righteous as they view
the tents of the ungodly.

* In verse 7 it is literally, ^'- 1 will give praise to him from out of my song,'' —
as if it were a fountain. In verse 8, " The Lord is f/iezV strength." Thismode
of expression seems to be equivalent to " The strength of yonder ones," or, of
such as possess the character just described. So in Psalm cxv. 9-11. Isa.
xxxiii. 2. So also Psalm ix. 6 is to be explained, where, after addressing the
foe directly, the Psalmist turns to those Mho stand by and sings, " Their me-
morial is perished ;" /. e., the memorial of such men as these.



A Psalm of David.

1 Give unto the Lord, O ye mighty, give unto the Lord glory and strength.

2 Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name ;
Worship the Lord in the heauty of holiness.

3 The voice of tlie Lord is upon the waters :

The God of glory thundereth : the Lord is upon many \v:itt'rs.

4 The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is full of majesty.

5 The voice of the Lord breakcth the cedars ; yea, the LonI brcaketh the

cedars of Lebanon.
G He makcth them also to skip like a calf: Lebanon ami Sirion like a yming

7 The voice of the Lord dividcth the flames of fire.

8 The voice of the Lord shaketh the wilderness ;
The Lord shaketh the wilderness of Kadesh.

9 The voice of the Lord maketh the hinds to calve, and discovcreth the

forests :
And in his temple doth every one speak of his glory.

10 The Lord sitteth upon the flood ; yea, the Lord sitteth King for ever.

11 The Lord will give strength unto his people ; the Lord will bless his people

with peace.

Our attention is called seven times to the " voice of Jehovah," c'"'*** ns\mn,

as well as his

uttering majesty. The psalm presents such adoration as the i"^°p'

Online LibraryAndrew A. (Andrew Alexander) BonarChrist and His Church in the Book of Psalms → online text (page 10 of 42)