Andrew A. (Andrew Alexander) Bonar.

Christ and His Church in the Book of Psalms online

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men !

20 Thou shalt hide them in the secret of thy presence from the pride of man :
Thou shalt keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues.

21 Blessed be the Lord ! for he hath shewed me his marvellous kindness in

a strong city.

22 For I said in my haste, I am cut off" from before thine eyes I
Nevertheless thou hcardest the voice of my supplications when 1 cried

unto thee.

23 O love the Lord, all ye his saints :

For the Lord preserveth the faithful, and plentifully rewardcth the proud
doer.

24 Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope

in the Lord.



Christ and iiis The Head and his members are here. The Head said (ver. 8),

nieiiibei's. .

in the hour when He gave up the ghost, " Into thy hands 1
commit my spirit !" And how often have his members taken
up his words, from the days of Stephen to Huss, and from the
days of Huss to this hour.



SAFE IN THE HAND OF THE LIVING GOD. 107

Safety in the hands of the living God, and only there, is the Tiie theme,
theme of this plaintive Psalm ; safety in life as well as in death ;
safety from the enemies' snares, and from all adversity, from
giief and reproach, from calumny and contempt, from personal
despondency as well as from the pressure of outward adversity.
David needed his theme, the true David needed it yet more,
and his followers will not cease to need it till verse nineteenth
be realised in all its vastness.

" lioio great is thy goodness, icliich thoic hast laid up for them that fear
thee!"

They get at present (like Joseph's brethren) their ass-loads of
the fine wheat from this granary ; but they shall yet stand
amidst it, and " fear" (Isa. Ix. 8) because of the very immensity
of it.

In verse 6, there is an emphatic pronoun, l^ii, q. d. unlike si.cciai clauses.
those who regard lying vanities, /, for my part, trust in the
Lord. In verse 8, the " large room" seems to be God's un-
bounded love, wide like a plain that stretches fai- beyond our
ken. The complaint in verse 1 1 resembles Lament, iv. 15, where
the people are represented as treating exiled Israel as a leper,
" Depart ye, unclean ; depart, depart ; touch not \" and forc-
ing them to flee away ;* and verse 12 reminds us of Job on his
dunghill, inasmuch as the " broken vessel" is just a potsherd,
like what he took to scrape himself withal. But verse 22 con-
tains an expression which is worth dwelling upon, as it occurs Patsover-habte.
again in Psalm cxvi. 1 1. It is the expression, " In my haste,
"•TSn^i The words, HTSn^ occur in 2 Sam iv. 4, used of Mephi-
bosheth's nurse making haste to flee when she heard the evil
tidings of Jonathan slain on Gilboa. In Psalm xlviii. 6, the
verb is used of the gathered kings making haste to flee away ;
and in 1 Sam. xxiii. 26, of David making haste to get out of
Saul's way. It is never used of impatience, or heat of spirit,
or irritation, or excited temper ;\ it always refers to speedy

* Here Augustine has a note applicable to this hour : " Dice vobis, fratres
moi; incipe, quicunque me audit, vivere quomodo Christianus, et vide si non
tibi ohjiciatur et a Christianis, sed nomine, non vita, non moribus.'"

t Fry goes far wrong here, speaking of " Hurry of mind, and confusion ; and
a moment of despair ;" Hengstenberg gives it the sense of " rapid flight ;"
Alexander, " terror;" Horsley, "consternation;" Street, " affright."



all



108 PSALM XXXI. — THE RIGHTEOUS, THOUGH FORLORN,

movement from one locality to another. But specially it is to be
noticed, the cognate word ]iTSrT is used regarding the haste in
which they were to eat the passover : thus Exod. xii Jl, "Ye
shall eat it in haste ;" Deut. xvi, 3, " Thou camest out of the
land in haste;" and Isa. lii. 12, foretelling the reverse of this,
" Ye shall not go forth in haste." From all this, we infer that
in the passage before us, the reference of the Psalmist is not to
anything else than passover-haste. His words are to this
effect : "" I said when I was like a passover-man, hastening out
of Egypt, i.e., when I felt my condition to be that of one who
must make haste to leave a people that had cast him out." Left
in this condition, I was ready to say, " 1 am cut off" (ver. 22),
even as Israel at the Eed Sea. We come to the same conclu-
sion, if we suppose the Psalmist refer to such circumstances of
danger, and almost of despair, as are referred to when the radi-
cal word is used in 1 Sam. xxiii. 26.
I'nipiietic In verses 17, 18, we hear the prayer of the Head and his

members for the overthrow of the ungodly, the language of
which, as well as the reference to the same in verse 20, reminds
us irresistibly of words that occur in the prophecy of Enoch,
In this Psalm (as Horsley suggests), the voice from the oracle
declares their doom to be,

" Tliey shall be motionless in hell !
Let lying lips be put to silence,
Which speak grievous tilings,
Proudly and contemptuously,
Against Ihe righteous."

In Enoch's prophecy we find the foundation of his cry ; and
inasmuch as Enoch's prophecy was known in the Church in
David's time, would it not comfort the Lord's saints then, and
the Lord himself when He came ? —

" Behold, the Lord comcth with ten thousand of his saints,
To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly

among them.
Of all their ungodly deeds, whicli they have ungodly committed.
And of all their hard speeches
Which ungodly sinners have sfpokeii against Him." (Judc 14.)

To this expected interposition, the response given is in verses
19, 20, "Oh how great is th;/ r/oodness /" wherein we are re-



Kiiocli's
l)roi)hecy



SAFE IN THE HAND OF THE LIVING GOD. 109

minded of the Lord's granary of goodness, or love, and receive
a promise of being hid ''from the strife 0/ tongues." Verses
21, 22, contain the grateful acknowledgment —

" Blessed be the Lord I for he has sheicn ine marvellous love !
" In a strong ciiy ;" (?". e., bringing me into his fortress).

This " strong city " is a contrast to the " hasty flight " of
verse 22, when he thought he must surely perish.

But again, in verse 23, the delivered one speaks ; " The Lord
keeps the D"'3^D^i faithfulnesses," i. e., his promises ; and then
makes reference to the " plentiful reward" of wrath on the
wicked at the Lord's Coming, even as verse 19 told of the
abundant reward of His own yet to come. In prospect of
that day, his saints are exhorted to persevere (ver. 24) ; and it
is in some measure with a reference to the glory coming that
they are called by the name, " Ye that hope in the Lord."
Both now, however in a present evil world, and in the hour
of death, and in the end when glory is revealed, the saints
are safe, even as was their Head. This is the burden of this
song of Zion —

The Righteous, though forlorn, safe and blest in the hand of
the living God.



PSALM XXXIL

A Psalm of David, Mascliil.

1 Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.

2 Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity,
And in whose spirit there is no guile.

3 When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day

long.

4 For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me :

My moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah.

5 I acknowledge my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid.
I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord ;

And thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah.

6 For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee in a time when thou

mayest be found.
Surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto him.

7 Thou art my hiding place ; thou shalt preseiwe me from trouble ;
Thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Sciah.



J 10 PSALM XXXII. — THE WAY OF FORGIVENESS

8 I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go .
I will guide thee with mine eye.

9 Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding :
Whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near

unto thee.

10 Many sorrows shall be to the wicked :

But he that trusteth in the Lord, mercy shall compass him about.

11 Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, ye righteous:
And shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart.

We cannot but agree with Ewald in thinking that the word in
the title, " Maschil," does not refer to any instrument, nor yet
is it used in the sense of " Didactic," but has reference to some-
thing artistic in the melody, something peculiarly calling for
the skill of the singer or player on the harp. It is undoubtedly
used in some such sense in Psalm xlvii. 8, b''2WD 'llDT-* Per-
haps a Psalm of pardoning mercy was set to some special
music, which it required forgiven ones to appreciate, like some
of our hymn tunes.

The mention of " transgression," " iniquity," " sin," recals
the name of the Lord proclaimed to Moses in the cleft of the
rock, " forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin," (Exod. xxxiv.
7). The "imputing" and '' non-imputing" was well under-
stood in David's day ; for we read (2 Sam. xix. 1 9), Shemei
confessing sin, and yet asking, " Let not my lord impute it."

We generally take up this Psalm as if it was for the mem-
bers of Christ alone ; but we should not forget that the Head
himself traversed the way of forgiveness. He stood for us, in
our room, in our very place. He stood as substitute, and all
the sins of all " that great multitude which no man can num-
ber" were upon him, laid ui^on him by imputation. So
dreadful was his position, so truly awful did it seem to him
to be reckoned a sinner, that even this, apart from the wrath
and curse, would have been sufficient to make him cry, " O,
blessed the man to whom the Lord doth not impute sin." He
was dumb for our sakes ; his bones wasted away ; he groaned

* See also in the Hebrew 2 Chron. xxx. 22, applied to the Levitical music.
If the word meant " A Didactic Poem," it is strange to find it omitted in the
case of such as Psa. cxix. and 1., and inserted in the title to such a poetic ode
as P>-a. xlv., wherein there is nothing didactic.



TRAVEESED BY THE RIGHTEOUS. Ill

from day to day, and during the lonesome hours of midnight
was kept awake by our woe. His moisture (ver. 4), or vigour
of vitaHty, was changed, " through means of (see Hengsten-
berg) the drought of sumoner, i.e., from the excessive heat of
wrath, resembhng the most parching heats of summer's hottest
days, when the sun is fiercely shedding down his intolerable
rays on the arid earth. In this state He acknowledged our sin ;
it was only ours he had to acknowledge ; he spread it out be-
fore God on the cross ; he continued to do so till it was for-
given to him as our substitute.

Our head could use these words only in that one way. But
in a personal sense, from ^personal experience of wrath, from
a personal consciousness of our own sin, every member of His
cannot but use the Psalm as expressingwhat they have passed
through. Yes, they have each felt the silence, the waxing old,
the roaring, the drying up of moisture, and the spreading out
before the Lord of the whole sin and misery of their case ; and
each has also found the forgiveness. (Ver. 5.)

" Thou forgavest the iniquity of my s/«." Tiie plan.

Here is a pause. Here is " Selah." Stay and ponder.

" 071 tJiis accoiinf — (jn{



Online LibraryAndrew A. (Andrew Alexander) BonarChrist and His Church in the Book of Psalms → online text (page 11 of 42)