Andrew A. (Andrew Alexander) Bonar.

Christ and His Church in the Book of Psalms online

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supply strength and give victory. Every believing one, in
hours of darkness, reverts to that promise, saying to his soul,
" He that spared not his own Son, how shall he not with him
also freely give us all things V It is thus that the Lord " mag-
nijieslhis Word," making it felt to be the prominent and most
attractive to sinful men of all his ways of revealing himself.
(Psalm cxxxviii. 2.)

The world goes on, adding sin to sin. The world goes on,
seeking daily to overthrow God by overthrowing his people ;
even as it sought to overthrow God by overthrowing his Son.
(Verses 5, 6.) But

" Shall they escape by {y)J) iniquity ? " (Ver. 7.)

They have made a covenant with death and hell ; shall it

* Some j;ive this force to the ^, "I, in union with, or as one with God,
will praise;" in which latter case it is like Paul's, "/>i the Lord."


stand ? No ; if they were to escape by their iniquity, by their
boldness in defying God, this would be a result wholly unlike
the past dealings of God.

" God, in anger, has brought doivn the nations " (ver. 7) ;

and will do so again on that day when their anger is hot
against hira. (Rev. xi. 18.)

On the other hand, He has never failed to take account of
the wanderings and tears of his own. Their I^X " wandering,"
and his liki, '* bottle" (something far more expressive than the
Roman Lacrymatory urn), correspond so far, that every tear
shed by them in their wanderings is in that bottle of his ; as
if he had travelled along with them through their wilderness,
and never suffered one drop to reach the ground. His bottle
and his book of remembrance have preserved these precious
tears ; and if so, what good reason have we for exultation
(verses 9-11), and for reiterating

" God I will extol — the Word ! " *

I will praise Jehovah, and why ? that " Word," already re-
ferred to, verse 4, explains all. He has spoken, he has pro-
mised ; all shall go on well, and then shall come the glorious

issue —

" I shall loalk before God in the light of the living.'''' (Ver. 13.)

Which, while not necessarily confined to the future, yet surely christ in it.
carries us forward to New Jerusalem days, when he who is
"Life," and who by being so, is " the Light" oi man, shall
walk with his redeemed in the kingdom. He himself is the
grand example of this. His every tear was precious, his every
step was marked ; the book of remembrance has a record of
these so vast, and ample and full, that, were it published here,
" I suppose the world itself could not contain the volumes that
could be written." He arose on the third day, " walking in
the light of the living ;" no more a prisoner in the darkness of
the grave ; no more subjected to the gloom of his Father's
wrath ; no more walking through the dark valley where love

* Fry suggests, " God shall hv the theme of my praise; Bf huth spoken ;"


was withheld ; entering on the endless brightness of divine
favour at the right hand. A believer's course resembles His,
ending, too, in this unclouded noon of resurrection glory. " O
come that glorious morning (says Home), when the redeemed
shall sing eternal praise to the God of salvation, for having
delivered their souls from death, and feet from falling, that
they might walk before him in the land of the living."

One point we ha,ve not noticed. The title of this Psalm is
peculiar. It is " Michtam," in common with Psalm xvl (which
see) and many others ; but also it is " Upon Jonath-elem-recJw-
kim." Hengstenberg renders this " The silent dove among
strangers ; " which certainly well expresses the substance of
the Psalm, as being the breathing of One who returned not re-
viling for reviling, but moaned his sorrows in the ear of his
God. Still, since we have reason to believe that these titles all
refer to something in the music to which the Psalms were set,
especially when by, " Upon," is prefixed, we incline to think
that these words indicate somewhat of the instrument and the
tune ; no doubt, however, a tune and an instrument suited to
the subject, and used on occasions of melancholy interest, such
as " Dove among strangers" may suggest. In either view the
title corresponds to what we gather up as the substance of the
Psalm, written by inspiration, when David had put himself
into the hands of the Philistines, and was " sore afraid"
(1 Sam. xxi. 12), namely,

God's ivord enabling the Righteous One, amid his wander-
ings, to anticipate final rest.


I'o the chief Musician. Al-taschith. Michtam of David, when he fled from Saul In the cave.

1 Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me : for my soul trusteth in

Yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these ca-
lamities be overpast.

2 I will cry unto God most high ; unto God that performeth all things for


PSALM Lvii. — Jehovah's glory in deliverance. 175

3 He shall send from heaven, and save me

From the reproach of him that would swallow me up. Selah.
God shall send forth his mercy and his truth.

4 My soul is among lions : and I lie even among them that are set on fire.
Even the sons of men, whose teeth are spears and arrows, and their

tongue a sharp sword.
6 Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens ; let thy glory be above all
the earth.

6 They have prepared a net for my steps ; my soul is bowed down :
They have digged a pit before me,

Into the midst whereof they are fallen themselves. Selah.

7 My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed ; I will sing and give praise.

8 Awake up, my glory ; awake, psaltery and harp : I myself will awake early.

9 I will praise thee, O Lord, among the people : I will sing unto thee among

the nations.

10 For thy mercy is great unto the heavens, and thy truth unto the clouds.

11 Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens: let thy glory be above all

the earth.

We spoke of the title of last Psalm as peculiar, and as suitable The title.
to the theme handled. We may say the same of the title of
this Psalm, " Al-tascJiith," i. e., destroy not ; for it is suitable,
whether taken as a musical term or as indicating the spirit
breathed throughout. We do not, however, think that it is
taken from Deut. ix. 26, nor yet from 1 Sam. xxvi. 9* where
the sentiment occurs, addressed in the one case to God, in the
other to man. We suspect it is a musical term of some sort,
perhaps connected with the lofty ideas entertained regarding
the harp and its accompaniments, — the " jEre pereniiius," the
" indestructible," common to all nations as an epithet of poetic
and musical compositions.

Christ is the chief Speaker, entering into his own difficulties

Online LibraryAndrew A. (Andrew Alexander) BonarChrist and His Church in the Book of Psalms → online text (page 17 of 42)