Andrew A. (Andrew Alexander) Bonar.

Christ and His Church in the Book of Psalms online

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rael, or by Israel's Lord as one of themselves. But what is
"upon Shushan-eduth ? " It must be connected with "joy,"
or with " lilies," {]^^U}), and may speak of some instrument such
as Psalm xlv. and Psalm Ixxx. refer to. But no writer has
come nearer certainty in regard to " Edutli" than that it may
allude to Israel as the nation that had the "Testimony" (/IH^),
or the Ark of Testimony. " To teach" — as if pointing back to
Moses' song, Deut. xxxi. 19, and indicating that this also is
such a national song as that.

The Psalm may be said to take up the preceding one's hope xiie pian
expressed at the close. The dispersion of Israel does not last
for ever. Though they have been broken, and though God has
put into their hand a cup of wrath that stuns them (Isa. li. 22),
yet they shall arise. Their's is not the malefactor's cup of
myrrh that deadens pain just as a prelude to death and utter
extinction. Though Israel be broken, and his land cleft
asunder a thousandfold more terribly than David's wars or



184 PSALM Lx. — Israel's restoration rejoiced in.

any of the desolations of his time ever threatened, yet that de-
solation ends. (See verse 4.)

" Thou hast given a Banner to them that fear thee.'^

Here is the voice of Israel ovs^ning Jehovah's gift of Messiali
to them. Messiah is the ensign or banner, Isaiah xi. 10.
" 2h be lifted up as an ensign, because of truth."

Holding up this banner* — in other words, owning God's
truth, or the fulfilment of his ancient promise to Adam, to
Abraham, to all the fathers — Israel may expect favour ; and
they find it. For suddenly, verse 5, Messiah appears, himself
urging their request, and at verse 6 he gets a favourable an-
swer ; " God speaks in holiness," (or, as Israel's Holy One,) and
grants the desire of him who asks. Shechem, on the west side
of Jordan, where Jacob's first altar was raised, and where he
bought the first parcel of ground (Gen. xxxiii. 18), and where
afterwards destruction threatened the whole feeble family be-
cause of Levi and Simeon's enormity, is now re-possessed in
peace. Succoth, on the east side of Jordan, where Jacob first
erected a dwelling (Gen. xxxiii. 17), and booths for cattle, as
one intending to remain, is next claimed permanently. The
country eastward beyond Jordan, under the name Oilead, where
stood the mountain famed for healing balm, emblematic of heal-
ing to Israel, and which was one of the first districts settled
and peopled by Israel, comes next, as well as westward Ma-
nasseh, on the opposite side ; thus shewing us the stretching of
the wing over the breadth of the land. Ephraim, full of power,
comes in as being to push the foe with his horns (Deut. xxxiii.
17), while Judah appears as " Lawgiver," or " Ruler," the tribe
of Messiah. The nations round submit ; Moab stands as a slave
at his master's foot ; Edom picks up the sandal cast down at
his feet by his lord (Hengst.) ;t and Philistia is compelled to
receive the king with triumphant shouts.

" Philistia, shout to mc Tlie conqueror /"
And whose power is it that accomplished all this? Who
is it that leads the conquering nation and its king to the

* Harmer says, that delivering a banner into the hands of a supjilicant, was
a sure pledge of protection in the East.

t Tholuck says, that the casting of the shoe is still an emblem of subjugation
in India and Abyssinia.



PSALM LXI. — THE OUTCAST LOOKING FOR RESTORATION. 185

strong city ? even to Edom's strongholds, and to the battle-
field of Edom in the latter day ? (Isaiah Ixiii. 1 .) It is the
very God who once cast them off — the very God that scattered
them. Glory to the Lord of hosts, and to Him only ! Israel
and Israel's Leader rest on him, and so do valiantly — as Ba-
laam, pointing to Moab and Edom, long since foretold (Num.
xxiv. 18, 19). And thus the scene of Psalm lix. is happily re-
versed at length.
The Righteous One asks, and rejoices in, Israel's restoration.



PSALM LXI.

To the chief Musician. Upon Neginuh. A rsalni of \\\v\>\.

1 Hear my cry, O God ; attend unto my prayer.

2 From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is o\ cr-

whelmed :
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

3 for ihou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy.

4 I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever : I will trust in the covert uf thy

wings. Selah.
6 For thou, O God, hast heard my vows :

Thou hast given me the heritage of those that fear thy name.

6 Thou wilt prolong the king's life : and his years as many generations.

7 He shall abide before God forever: O prepare mercy and truth, which may

preserve him.

8 So will I sing praise unto thy name for ever, that I may dail^^ perform my

vows.

" On Neginah," (like Neginoth, unknown), and " by David,"
and perhaps sung at Mahanaim, (Tholuck). In this life, every
member of the Church has a varied lot — now at rest, then
troubled ; now hopeful, then fearful ; now a conqueror, then
a combatant. Seated as he is on the Rock of Ages, immove-
ably seated, he sees at one time a fair sky and a bright sun ;
then, the thick cloud spreads gloom over nature ; soon, the
beam struggles through again, but soon all is mist once more.
Such being the sure complexion of our sojourning here, we
rejoice to find sympathy therewith evinced by our God who
knoweth our frame, and evinced by the fact that he so often
turns in the Songs of Zion from one state of mind to another,
and from one aspect of our case to another.



The tone.



186 PSALM LXI. — THE OUTCAST LOOKING FOR RESTORATION.

contents. Here is the Head and his members in a state of loneliness.
As if suggested by the case of dispersed Israel, language (in
verse 2) is adopted such as we find in Deut. xxx. 41 and Neh.
i. 9. Our Lord could use such a Psalm in the days of his hu-
miliation, looking to the Father, as in John xiv. 28, " the Rock
higher than 1," higher than the '}nan Christ Jesus, higher than
all his members. This Rock casts its shadow over those be-
neath it. The " Selah^' at verse 4 gives us time to look upon
the believing one's quiet repose under the wings of God, and
then we hear the calm acknowledgment of verse 5, which may
remind us of Psalm xxii. 25. The tone of the Song changes ;
all thereafter is hope, sure anticipation, a future of bliss realised
as already at hand. " He shall sit (on the throne) before God
for ever, (ver. 7).

Two things let us specially notice. " Mercy and truth" (ver.
7) are the attributives which preserve him. Now, " mercy and
truth" are the prominent features of Redemption-blessing; God
able to say, " Live," and yet to do this without retracting the
sentence, " Thou shalt die." Christ's pillar-cloud was " mercy
and truth ; " the Christian's pillar-cloud is the same. Christ,
by harmonising, magnified these perfections of Godhead ; the
Christian magnifies them by pointing the Father to them as
harmonised. Thus this prayer is answered,

" prepare mercy and truth ;
Let iliem preserve Mm /"

Perhaps the unusual word fp, " appoint," " prepare," may
have been chosen as suggesting a reference to manna, the wil-
derness-provision. Give a manna-like provision of mercy and
truth. This be our everlasting food while we dwell before God !

Another thing worthy of brief notice is verse 6, "The King."
David's title was, "King," though a wanderer in Judah's
deserts ; David's Son, too, had the same name and title ; and
in the right of their Head, disciples of Christ claim kingship
under him, and look forwarc? with hope and expectation to the
days of his visible manifestation as King in the kingdom that
has no end. Here, then, we have

The Righteous One, luhen an outcast, looking for the day of
his Restoration.



PSALM LXII. — THE THREATENED LOOKING TO THE ROCK. 187



PSALM LXII.

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

1 Truly my soul waiteth upon God : from him cometh my salvation.

2 He only is my rock and my salvation ; he is my defence; I shall not be

greatly moved.

3 How long will ye imagine mischief against a man ?

Ye shall be slain all of you : as a bowing wall shall ye be, and as a totter-
ing fence.

4 They only consult to cast him down from his excellency :

They delight in lies : they bless with their mouth, but they curse inwai-dly.
Selah.

5 My soul, wait thou only upon God ; for my expectation is from him.

6 He only is my rock and my salvation : he is my defence ; I shall not be

moved,

7 In God is my salvation and my glory : the rock of my strength, and my re-

fuge, is in God.

8 Trust in him at all times ; ye people, pour out your heart before him :
God is a refuge for us. Selah.

9 Surely men of low degree are vanity, and men of high degree are a lie :
To be laid in the balance, they are altogether lighter than vanity.

10 Trust not in oppression, and become not vain in robbery :
If riches increase, set not your heart upon them.

11 God hath spoken once ; twice have I heard this ;
That power belongeth unto God.

12 Also unto thee, O Lord, belongeth mercy :

For thou renderest to every man according to his work.

This Psalm has three parts, each beginning with "]NI, " truly ; " The connectinn.
verses 1, 4, 9. There was a " Roch" spoken of in Psalm Ixi. 2,
The God of Israel had long been known under that name, ever
since Jacob, and Moses, and Hannah, had appropriated the
Rock, with its many properties of shade, shelter, strength, so-
lidity, dignity, to give a people accustomed to level deserts and
sands an emblem of the Unchanging One to whom the helpless
may resort. This Rock is prominent throughout this Psalm.
At the commencement, the soul of the speaker is seen under
it as his shelter — he reposes in its shade, and on its strength.

''Only upon God my soul reposeth!" (Horsley.) He is a The plan.
roch, while enemies are as an " inclining wall and a fence
that has had a shove" — on the verge of ruin. Thus he can

sing,

" TmJn in God
Mjl soul fakes rest,'' (Verses 1 and



Online LibraryAndrew A. (Andrew Alexander) BonarChrist and His Church in the Book of Psalms → online text (page 18 of 42)