Andrew A. (Andrew Alexander) Bonar.

Christ and His Church in the Book of Psalms online

. (page 13 of 42)
Online LibraryAndrew A. (Andrew Alexander) BonarChrist and His Church in the Book of Psalms → online text (page 13 of 42)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


7 For my loins are filled with a loathsome disease : and there is no sound-

ness in my flesh.

8 I am feeble and sore broken : I have roared by reason of the disquietness

of my heart.

9 Lord, all my desire is before thee ; and my groaning is not hid from thee.

10 My heart panteth, my strength faileth me :

As for the light of mine eyes, it also is gone from me.

11 My lovers and my friends stand aloof from my sore ; and my kinsmen

stand afar oif.

12 They also that seek after my life lay snares for me :
And they that seek my heart speak mischievous things,
And imagine deceits all the day long.

13 But I, as a deaf man, heard not ; and I was as a dumb man that openeth

not his mouth.

14 Thus I was as a man that heareth not, and in whose mouth are no re-

proofs.

15 For in thee, O Lord, do I hope : thou wilt hear, O Lord my God.

16 For I said. Hear me, lest otherwise they should rejoice over m.e :
When my foot slippeth, they magnify themselves against me.

17 For I am ready to halt, and my sorrow is continually before me.

18 For I will declare mine iniquity ; I will be sorry for my sin.

19 But mine enemies are lively, and they are strong :
And tbey that hate me wrongfully are multiplied.

20 They also that render evil for good are mine adversaries ;
Because I follow the thing that good is.

21 Forsake me not, O Lord : O my God, be not far from me.

22 Make haste to help me, O Lord my salvation.

Here is " The inhabitant saying, I am sick" — David, and every
believer with him, and the Head of all believers, David's Son,
when he took his place in our world as The Inhabitant who was
to heal the sicknesses of others. One writer vehemently asserts,
" It is a prophetic prayer of Christ ; it has no personal refe-



PSALM XXXVUI. — THE LEPROSY OF SIN AnilORRED 129

ence whatever to David" (Tucker) ; while one of the ancient
fathers is content with saying, " It would be hard not to apply
to Christ a Psalm that as graphically describes his passion as
if we were reading it out of the gospels. (Valde durum et
contrarium est, ut ille Psalmus non pertineat ad Christum ubi
habemus tam apertam passionem ejus tanquam ex Evan-
gelio recitetur." — Aug). We are content to notice that the
tone of the voice of him that speaks is none other than
that of the speaker in Psalm vi., as verse 1 in both is suffi-
cient to prove. Nor is it unlike Psalm xxii., as verses 21 and
22 will at once suggest (Psa. xxii. 29). The difficulty in the
way of supposing it used by the Lord Jesus, as descriptive of
his feelings and state, when he took on our guilt by imputa-
tion, is not at all greater than in some passages of Psalms
xl. and Ixix., which almost no one doubts to be his utterances.
There is some light cast on our Lord's feelings under the
imputation of our sins, if we consider verse 5 to be a statement
of his abhorrence of the sin he bears : " My wounds stink
and are corrupt" — i. e., there is inexpressible loathsomeness
in my festering wounds, those wounds which I have been
subjected to " hecause of my foolishness," viz., the folly im-
puted to me (as in Psa. Ixix. 5), the foolishness, the infatuation
and sins of my people. He was weary of wearing that poisoned
garment of our sins ; he was weary of having our leprosy ap-
pearing on his spotless person ; he was weary and woe-begone,
and longed for the time when he should " appear without sin,"
(Heb. ix. 28).

It is thus that we can understand it to have been used by
Christ, and yet to be suitable at the same time, though in a
different manner, to Christ's redeemed ones, who feel their
personal corruption and guilt. And in either case the title is
appropriate, " To bring to remembrance" — just as in Psalm Ixx,
It speaks of God apparently forgetting the sufferer, so that
a cry ascends, equivalent to, " Lord, remember David and all
his afflictions."

What a cry is verse 1, "Lord, rebuke me not," &c., in the
lips of the Head, or of the members. It conveys a foreboding
apprehension of another wave of the wrath to come, ready to

I



The CDiitents



ISO PSALM XXXVIII. — THE LEPROSY OF SIN ABHORRED.

break over the already bruised soul. " If it be possible, let
this cup pass I" What a groan is verse 2, " For thine arrows
stick fast in, or, sink into nie" — one of which arrows we saw
on the bow in Psalm vii. 1 2 — arrows that drink up the life-
blood. What an overwhelming sight verse 4 presents, " Mine
iniquities are gone over ray head," — like the tide rising while
he is within tide-mark. What convulsive agony is depicted in
verse 6, " 1 am racked uith pain, I am bowed down greatly.
Day hy day do I go in sadness."

How terrible in their very calmness are verses 9 and TO :

" Lord, all my desire is before thee,
And my groaning is not hid from thee.
My heart panteth, my strength faileth, —
The light of mine eyes — even that no longer remains to me ;"

for weeping and sorrow have dimmed the eye ; a state to which
His members have been at times reduced, as when that remark-
able disciple in the Highlands of Scotlanc? wept herself blind,
through sorrow for sin, after her awakening. And then the
gloomy cloud closes round Him, verse 1 1, " Lovers and friends
stand aloof, — sympathy there is none. Nor does his gloom
soon pass ; for verse 17 renews the sad complaint,
" / am ready to halt," i.e., to fall and be broken,
for the keeper of Israel has to appearance forgotten me, and
does not "keep my feet from sliding," (Psa. cxxi. 3).

The deliverance is foreseen in verse 21, " Haste to my help ;"
to save me from those who are to me like Satan (ver. 20) ; and
the fulness of it at last is implied and wrapt up in " ! Jehovah,
my salvation." If Jehovah is my salvation, then is He to
me what he was to Moses at the Red Sea (Exod. xv. 2), and
my triumph is sure and full. The Head and his members
have a salvation from Jehovah of wondrous extent — beginning
in the resurrection of the Head, and to be completed at the
resurrection of all the members.

Read, then, in either application, this Psalm describes
The Leprosy of sin abhorred by the righteous.



PSALM XXXIX. — THE EIGHTEOUS ONE A PILGRIM.



PSALM XXXIX.

To the chief Musician, even to Jeduthun, A Psalm of David.

i I SAID, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue :
I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is before mc.

2 I was dumb with silence, I held my peace, even from good ;
And my sorrow was stirred.

3 My heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned :
Then spake I with my tongue.

4 Lord, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, wluit it i.s ;
That I may know how frail I am.

5 Behold, thou hast made my da3's as an handbreath ;
And mine age is as nothing before thee :

Verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity. Sclah.

6 Surely every man walketh in a vain show! surely they are disquieted in vain !
He heapeth up riches, and knoweth not who shall gather them.

7 And now, Lord, what wait I for ? my hope is in thee.

8 Deliver me from all my transgressions : make me not the I'eproach of the

foolish.

9 I was dumb, I opened not my mouth ; because thou didst it.

10 Remove thy stroke away from me : I am consumed by the blow of thine

hand.

11 When thou with rebukes dost correct man for iniquity,
Thou makest his beauty to consume away like a moth :
Surely every man is vanity. Selah.

12 Hear my prayer, O Lord, and give ear unto my cry ; hold not thy peace

at my tears :
For I am a stranger with thee, and a sojourner, as all my fathers were.

13 spare me, that I may recover strength, before I go hence, and be no

more.

In last Psalm, verses 18, 14, resemble the first verse here,
and on this account the two Psalms have been put side by
side. But besides, here is one whom we might call " Gershora,"
for he is a stranger in a strange land, and he is the same sf)eaker
(whoever that was) as in the previous Psalm. For, if the one
Psalm spoke thus, "/ said, I am ready to halt" (ver. 16),
this begins with, " / said, 1 will tal'e heed to my ways;" and
if the one spoke of being " dumb with silence" (ver. 14), not
less does this in verse 2 ; and if the one said, verse 15, " In
thee do / hope" this also says, verse 7, " My hope is in thee."
The title does not tell us more than that there was a musical
chorus, in which, perhaps, "Jeduthun" may have been the name



132 PSALM XXXIX. — THE RIGHTEOUS ONE A PILGRIM.

of the presiding singer, to whose care it was committed. But
The contents, a glance at the contents shews a pilgrim-spirit, one journeying
through a world of vanity, and praying at every step to be
Christ and hia taught and kept in the will of God. Christ, when " learning
people. obedience" and identifying himself with us (as in ver. 12), could

use it, supplicating his Father in verse 4 ; sympathising with
our feeble frame in verse 5, " Thou hast given me some hand-
breadths as the length of my days : and my life is as non-
existence before thee ;" pronouncing the sentence of " Vanity
and Vexation" on all that this world presents, however good
and fair to the eye (ver. 6), and in verse 7 turning towards
Jehovah, as the only source of bliss. In verses 9, 1 0, not only
can every believer find his own experience, or what should be
his experience under trial, but the Lord Jesus also could have
used these words. On earth, he said, " Even so. Father, for so
it seemeth good in thy sight," praying at the same time, " If it
be possible, let this cup pass." The marred countenance of
the Son of Man, in which nothing of the " King in his beauty"
could be seen, may be described in the words of verse 11. Like
verse 5, this verse is followed by a " Selah," calling for silent
thought. But intermixed with all the pilgrim's melancholy
laments, do we not recognise his hope and expectation of
something better to come ? Is not " the vanity" of verse 6,
like that of Romans viii. 20, for it is followed up by verse 7,
" My hope is in thee." There is " Hope" for this world ! its
" vanity" may give place to reality of bliss. An Israelite, amid
Canaan's plenty, could feel this, as 1 Chron. xxix. 15 shews,
and as Levit. xxv. 33 had taught them to feel. And is not
verse 13 a Samson-like cry (Judges xvi. 28) to be carried
through the crisis of a final struggle ! The believer and his
Lord could find here a most suitable petition. Alexander
notices also how full of references to Job is this verse : thus
chap. vii. 1 9, xiv. 6, and x. 20, 21. But " Spare me that I
may he refreshed" is a prayer that all in him which sin
withered may be renovated, and his sad soul be refreshed with
Divine grace. The Psaimist thus describes Christ when on
earth, and at the same time every one of his family while
passing through this earth to the kingdom. It is,

Ihe Righteous One a Pilgrim and a Stranger.



PSALxU XL. — MESSIAH OUR SACRIFICE AND SALVATION. 133



PSALM XL.

To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.

1 I WAITED patiently for the Lord ; and he inclined unto me, and heard

my cry.

2 He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay,
And set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.

3 And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God.
Many shall see it, and feai", and shall trust in the Lord.

4 Blessed is that man that maketh the Lord his trust,

And respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.

5 Many, O Lord my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done,
And thy thoughts which are to us-M'ard :

They cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee !

If I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.

6 Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire ; mine ears hast thou opened.
Burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required :

7 Then said I, Lo, I come : in the volume of the book it is written of me,

8 I delight to do thy will, O my God : yea thy law is within my heart.

9 I have preached righteousness in the great congregation :
Lo, I have not refrained my lips, O Lord, thou knowest.

10 I have not hid thy righteousness within my heart ;
I have declared thy faithfulness and thy salvation :

I have not concealed thy lovingkindness and thy truth from the great
congregation.

11 Withhold not thou thy tender mercies from me, O Lord :

Let thy lovingkindness and thy truth continually preserve me.

12 For innumerable evils have compassed me about : mine iniquities have

taken hold upon me,
So that I am not able to look up ; they are more than the hairs of mine

head :
Therefore my heart faileth me.

13 Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me : O Lord, make haste to help me.

14 Let them be ashamed and confounded together, that seek after my soul

to destroy it ;
Let them be driven backward and put to shame, that wish me evil.

15 Let them be desolate, for a reward of their shame, that say unto me,

Aha ! aha !

16 Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee.

Let such as love thy salvation say contimxally. The Lord be magnified.

17 But I am poor and needy, yet the Lord thinketh upon me:
Thou art my help and my deliverer ; make no tarrying, O my God.

" / waited, I waited for Jehovah," I did nothing but wait, Christ in it.
(Alexander). Here is one who cries, " Lo ! I come to do thy



13-i PSALM XL. — MESSIAH OUR SACRIFICE AND SALVATION.

will, God." We cannot fail to recognise Messiah here, even if
we had not had the aid of the writer of Hebrews x. 5-1 0. The
iniquities he speaks of in verse 1 2 are all ours* imputed to him.
He might say, " And I am a sinner in thy sight, although I
never sinned." Christ speaks throughout, so exclusively in-
deed, that the believer must here take up the words not as his
own experience (except wliere he can follow Christ to gather the
spoil), but as the experience of the Captain of Salvation, in
fighting that battle which has ended in everlasting triumph.
It is only by accommodation that even verses 1-3 can be used
by the believer in describing his own case. Christ is the
Joseph and Jeremiah of this pit.

Read verse 4, and meditate on what He who is the Word
suggests — " God's thoughts toward its !" The unnumbered
multitude of his thoughts of love to us ! The forests with their
countless leaves, the grass on every plain and mountain of earth
with its numberless blades, the sands on every shore of every
river and ocean, the waves of every sea and the drops of every
wave of every sea, the stars of heaven — none of these, nor all
combined, could afford an adequate idea of '■'His thoughts
toward us !" — " there is no cor)iparison to thee" — nothing
wherewith to help out a statement. And the depth of love in
every one of these thoughts ! Who can sit down and meditate
on Redemption's wonders ? Who would not be confounded ?

Now the whole Psalm has this as its theme. From verses
1 to 3, a summary of God's dealings toward the Saviour, end-
ing in the gathering of multitudes to Him as the Shiloh.
Verses 4 and 5, adoration of the purposes of God ; and from
verse 9 to the end, we are made to wdtness something of the
style in which these glorious purposes were carried on to fulfil-
ment, in the actual coming and suffering of the Saviour. See
him obeying ; see him proclaiming Jehovah's name in its
breadth and fulness, wherever he came, in the villages, towns,
cities, the synagogues, the temple, the open air assemblies, " I
have proclaimed righteousness, and I will not at any future
time restrain my lips." Hear in verse 12 his unutterable
groanings, when " sorrotvful unto death." Then hear him in
* " Noluit cnim loqui sci)Hrata.



Online LibraryAndrew A. (Andrew Alexander) BonarChrist and His Church in the Book of Psalms → online text (page 13 of 42)