Andrew A. (Andrew Alexander) Bonar.

Christ and His Church in the Book of Psalms online

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Earth ? Originally it may have been sung as a " Psalm of
David, a lively song," at a Feast of Tabernacles, when Israel's
happy land and prosperous tribes furnished a scene that naturally
suggested the future days of a renewed earth — earth's golden
age returned. It is, however, on a much higher key than this ;
it is a Song of the Lamb, while he leads his glorified ones to
fountains of living water, and shews them their old world pre-
senting at length a counterpart to heaven — all paradise again,
and better than paradise. Is it not then

Prayers exchanged for praises because of blessings
shoivered on Earth ?



PSALM LXVL

To the chief Musician. A Song or F.salm.

1 Make a jojfnl noise unto God, all ye lands :

2 Sing forth the honour of his name: make his praise glorious.

3 Say unto God, How terrible art thon in thy works !

Through the greatness of thy power shall thine enemies submit themselves
\»nto thee.



PSALM LXVI. — THE PRAYER-HEARING GOD BLESSED. 195

4 All ihc earth shall worship thee,

And shall sing unto thee ; they shall sing to thy name. Selah.

5 Come and see the works of God : he is terrible in his doing toward tlie

children of men.

6 He turned the sea into dry land : they went through the flood on foot :
There did we rejoice in him.

7 He ruleth by his power for ever ; his eyes behold the nations :
Let not the rebellious exalt themselves. Selah.

8 O bless our God, ye people, and make the voice of his praise to be heai-d,

9 Which holdeth our soul in life, and suifcreth not our feet to be moved.

10 For thou, O God, has proved us : thou has tried us, as silver is tried.

11 Thou broughtest us into the net; thou laidst affliction upon our loins.

12 Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads ; we went through fire and

through water :
But thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place.

13 I will go into thy house with burnt offerings : I will pay thee my vows,

14 Which my lips have uttered, and my mouth hath spoken, when I was in

trouble.

15 I will offer unto thee burnt sacrifices of fallings, with the incense of rams ;
I will offer bullocks with goats. Selah.

16 Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done

for my soul.

17 1 cried unto him with my mouth, and he was extolled with my tongue.

18 If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear mc :

19 But verily God hath heard me; he hath attended to the voice of my

prayer.

20 Blessed be God, which hath not turned away my prayer, nor his mercy

from me.

Another "liDp l''li^ (as Ixv. 1), at once a solemn Psalm, and The titie.
a lively Temple song. It is specially the song of Messiah and ^he pian.
the Church of Israel — a kind of Ked Sea song, sung, however,
in Canaan.

" Raise the shout of joy !
A II the earth to God !
Shew forth the glory of his name !
Give glory (to him) as hispj'aise.'^

Then, leading us to such scenes as were spoken of in Psalm
Ixv. 5 —

" Say unto God, Hoiv auful these loorks of thine .'"
There is a Bethel-solemnity in these scenes, though they bring
us to the very gate of heaven —

" All the earth shall worship Thee.
Tliey sing ! they sing thy name .'" .^elah.



] 96 PSALM LXVl. — MESSIAH AND HIS RANSOMED ISRAEL

This Selah-ipsiuse divides the Psalm into portions at suitable
times, and intimates a change of scene or tone. Here, as
usual, it gives time for solemn thought ; and then an invita-
tation is given to men to " Come and see." As John i. 26, 27,
at Christ's First Coming, and Rev. vi. 3, 5, 7, in events lead-
ing on to his Second —

" Come and see the works of God I

Awful in his dealings to the sons of men." (Ver. 5.)
And when we have cast our eye back to Red Sea and Jordan
wonders, and have seen Him to be the same for ever, still sub-
duing the nations, another " Selah" gives us time to pause and
adore. But the harp is soon struck again (ver. 8),

" Bless our Ood, ye nations" (□"'D^, not as Psa. Ixii. 8.)*

The Jews are now inviting the Gentiles ; for the Jews are life
from the dead to the world. They tell how their God refined
them ; how He " laid pressure on their loins," the seat of
strength ; yet made their trials act as a furnace to take away
the dross. Even ^liNt " frail men" were made strong against
them ; yet Israel passed through desert and flood ; and, at
length, reached

" The wealthy place'' ^ (ver. 12) — affluence — refreshing. (H''^")).

Each of their number, as well as their Leader, thus invites the
Gentile nations ; and they do it by example, and not by word
only —

" / toill go into thine liouse with offenngs ;
I will perform my vows unto thee.
I will offer fat victims as hurnt-offerings,

Along with rams that have incense-savour. Selah. (Ver. 13, 14.)
Another pause — like Wisdom's in Prov. i. 23. And then
once more, voice and instrument together sound forth a cheer-
ful summons to draw near and listen to Messiah and the
Church of Israel —

" Come, hear, and I will teU,
All ye that fear God,
What he has done for me." (Ver. 16.)

He was (ver. ] 7) " Hearer of prayer" to me (Isa. Ixv. 2) ; for
* It may remind ns of Isa. xxiy. 13, " There shall he among the Xy^V, the
nations, the shaking of an olive-tree," — the Gentiles taking up what Israel lets
fall.



PRAISING THE PllAYER-HEARING GOD. 197

no sooner did I call upon Him than he answered — turning
my prayer into praise. Had I sought to " lying vanities," or
had tried crooked paths, I should have failed in finding this
blessed result. But the God of Israel, the Holy One, was
honoured.

" Verily Ood hath heard.,
He hath hearkened to the voice of my prayer." (Ver. 19.)

But the way to this blessedness is by a holy path, verse 18-
Messiah magnified the law ; and in Him, we who come to God
through his blood and righteousness do the same, and so shall
sing the same song, and bless the same God.

" He has not turned away my prarjer !
He has not turned away his mercy from me .'"

A close equivalent to Rev. v, 8, where the golden vials, full of
saints' prayers, are held up by the saints, and owned by the
Hearer of Prayer on that day. Far from turning away my
prayer, lo ! he has done exceeding abundantly beyond all I
asked. Instead of turning away his mercy from me, lo ! He
has brought me to the Wealthy Place ! Such is the Song of
Messiah and his ransomed Israel praising the prayer-
hearing God.



PSALM LXVIL

To the chief Musician. On Neglnoth. A Psalm or Song.

1 God be merciful unto us, and bless us ; and cause his face to shine upon

us. Selah.

2 That thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health among all

nations.

3 Let the people praise thee, O God ; let all the people praise thee.

4 O let the nations be glad and sing for joy !

For thou shalt judge the people righteously, and govern the nations upon
earth. Kelah.

5 Let the people praise thee, O God ; let all the people praise thee.

6 Then shall the earth yield her increase ; and God, even our own God,

shall bless us.

7 God shall bless us; and all the ends of the earth shall fear him.

Once more the Jewish Church is prominent in this solenm
" Psalm,^' which is sung as a lively " Song," on Neginoth.



198 PSA1.M Lxvii. — iskael's blessing prayed for

The contents. They pray for the outpouring of the full blessing which their
High Priest, Jesus, is to bestow by their means on all the earth.
The language of verse 1 refers us to Num. vi. 24, 25, and
very appropriately ; for the time is the Lord's Second Coming,
when, as true High Priest, he comes forth from the Holiest to
bless the people. The " Selah" at the end of verse 1 and verse
4 is, in both cases, very expressive, indicating, as it does, pauses
in the sense and feeling, as well as the music.
" God be merciful to lis
And bless us /

And cast the light of his countenance
(So as that it may be) with us." (!)3J^^^ See Ilengst.)

Bless us and guide us in thy way, (thy mode of dealing with thy
people), that by us thy way may be known on the earth, as fore-
told in Gen. xii. 8, and since those days, in Amos viii. 1 4 ; Isa,
Ix. 1, 2 ; Acts XV. 15-17 ; Rom. xi. 15, and many other places.
" The nations (D'^^V) shall praise thee, God;
The nations shall jiraise thee !" (Ver. 3.)
The peculiar people, Oyn, here anticipate with joy the time
when the D^by, the whole Gentile people, shall praise their God
and Saviour, and that through their means.

"Let the tribes (of earth, the D''Q>copIc.
Blessed be God.



THE CHURCH FKOM THE WILDERNESS TO llEST. 201

Another " Psalm and Song," by David, the sweet singer of Title and
Israel. As David's days of adversity furnished many occasions
for appropriate Psalms, which the Son of David and his Church
were afterwards to use in their times of trial, so the more pros-
perous season, when the Ark which had been removed in pro-
cession by David to Mount Zion, was and afterwards by Solomon
carried up to Moriah, seems to have provided a fit occasion for
this triumphant song. It has been called " The magnificent
march." Certainly it is throughout a tracing of the stately
steps of the Lord in his goings forth for His Church, from the
Wilderness onward to final rest.

The plan is as follows : — The vun.

Ver. ]-S. Prefatory strains, celebrating Jehovah as almighty
to scatter foes, almighty to make friends exult with joy.
Ver. 4-6. General characteristics of his ways — grace to the

helpless — to all that do not reject his help.
Ver. 7-9. His ways, with Israel in the Wilderness — glorious

majesty and gracious bounty.
Ver. 10-14. His ways, in bringing Israel into Canaan — the

irresistible might of a King in behalf of his own.
Ver. ] 5-1 7. His ways, in fixing his seat on Zion, the ark

being carried up thither — sovereignty.
Ver. 18-23. His ways, in the typical setting forth on Zion
of an ascended Saviour, the savour of life to his own,
though the savour of death to his rejecters.
Ver. 24-31. His ways, in the Ark removed afterwards to the
• temple on Moriah — Israel gathered round it (ver. 26, 27),
and the Gentiles flocking to Shiloh there (ver. 29, 31).
All this typical of the Lord's advent, as true Solomon.
Ver. 32-35. The closing doxology to the King of kings on
reviewing the whole, and seeing " the Kingdom Come."
Such seems to be the plan. It would carry us beyond our verse i
limits to go into full details, since almost every verse is rich and
laden with meaning. A few hints may be of use, however, on
some of the more difficult clauses. Some render verse 1 " God
shall arise," q. d., it shall always be thus, as they sang Num.
X. 35, and Judges v. 31.

In verse 4 the justified ones, singing before their justifier, Verfe4.
cry, " Make a iva.y for him that rideth tJivovijh the wilder-



202 PSALM LXVIII. — MESSIAH LEADING ISRAEL AND

ness" {ry)2')V\ or plain ; the Angel of the Covenant that re-
deemed them from all evil. It is iheir King whom they thus
honour, and so they raise the cry, " Prepare the way /" as in
Isa. xl. 3, and as the Baptist did when he saw the King of the
kingdom at hand. His name " Jah" rT* expresses the fulness
of being and perfection ; and Horsley would fain add beauty
too.

In verse 5, Israel's helpless case in Egypt, Earth's helpless
case since the Fall, the sinner's state, " without strength," may
all be found here. The " widow's judge," implies his manag-
ing and ruling the affairs of such as have no other to inter-
pose, like as Gideon, or any judge of Israel, put in order
a disordered county, and bore the burden of its cares. And
does not Jas. i. 21 refer to this verse, for we have " the fa-
therless/' " the widow," and then the " holiness," of the God
we serve ?

In verse 8 the ratifying of the covenant at Sinai, in circum-
stances of awful grandeur, is the theme ; and verse 9 speaks
of the "rain of gifts" (Hengst.) that attended Israel all
through the Desert — manna, quails, water from the rock —
when God's heritage pitched their tents on the flinty and
scorched soil of that weary wilderness.

Then, in verse 10, the host of Israel " settle down on It"
i. e., the well-known, ever-in-view Land of Promise. The Lord
" gave the word" — (as in Psa. cv. 19) — as if at every step there
had been repeated, like Joshua vi. 16, " Shout, for the Lord has
given you the land !" and responding multitudes, even of the
women of Israel, proclaim the victory, and sing, as did Miriam
at the Eed Sea,

" Kings of armies flee I ihey flee !
And she that tarries at home divides the spoil.'" (Ver. 12.)

So easily does Jehovah conquer ! And now, " Ye lie down
amid the borders, and are as doves;" or rather, they who were
" lying among the pots" are now like the dove that has washed
itself in the streams, and is basking in the sun whose bright
beams glance on its feathers with the sheen of silver and gold.
Yes, it was easy for Jehovah to scatter kings. " There was
snoiv on Zalmon." They fell before him as snow disappears



THE CHURCH FROM THE WILDERNESS TO REST. 203

among the thick-wooded heights of Zahnon (Judg. ix. 48) in
the day of tempest. *

Israel now at rest, where is the A rk of the Covenant ? Not
on Bashan, i. e., the range of Antihbamis, though that was
a " hill of God," such a hill as reminded one of the power
of Him who setteth fast the hills by his might (Hengst.) — nor
yet on otlier lofty hills such as Tabor, Lebanon, or Carmel.
The more lowly Zion is selected, and thither the sovereign
Lord comes with all his hosts. There he resides, as in a pa-
vilion — in that Holy of Holies which combines the manifesta-
tion of justice and mercy at the mercy-seat — for "Sinai is in
the sanctuary''' (^"lp4 ""^PJ- He is as much present here as
when the law was given on Sinai. There, though unseen except
by the eye of faith, he reigns, more mighty in his angelic
heavenly hosts than ever was king with his chariots, so that
Israel need no more fear a Jabin with his nine hundred cha-
riots of iron (Judg. iv. 2). An anointed eye, (like his in 2 Kings
vi. 27,) might see these hosts in Israel's land at any moment,
under the rule of Israel's king.

Ascended to Zion, no more wandering from place to place,
the Ark is the centre of blessing to Israel — there worshippers
get gifts ; there daily benefits are dispensed. And in this was
typified the Saviour, no more a wanderer on earth from place
to place, seated at the Father's right hand, and showering
down his gifts on man — the antitype infinitely greater than the
type, and his gifts infinitely more spiritual and plentiful (Eph.
iii. 8). Here is (ver. 7) a " Selah," the mark of solemn thought ;
for herein is a great mystery of love (ver. ] 9). The words are
literally rendered, " Thou hast received gifts among men."
Here is a constr. proegn. for " received, and given out among
inen (Eph. iv. 18), even among the rebels." And then follows,
'^ At the tabernacling of J ah Elohim" (as ver. 16), that is, at
tlie time when he pitched his tabernacle. But, there is refe-

* Zalmon is mentioned rather than Hermon, or any other of that northern
range, because it is so nearly in the heart of the Land, and near Shechcm
(Josh. xxiv. 1), where some of the earliest gatherings of Israel took plaee.
Tholuck thinks the allusion to the snow is to its flakes falling on the ground.
So fell the ranks of the foe, and their silver ornaments glittered white as they
fell.



204 PSALM LXVIII. — MESSIAH LEADING ISRAEL AND

rence 1 . To the type on Zion ; 2. To the days of his First
Coming ; 3. To the still future Tabernacling, Rev. xxi. 3.

But again let the harp sing of Him who is thus exalted,
mighty to save, and mighty to overcome his enemies. Jehovah
is " God of our salvation," and " Selah" calls onus to ponder.
Then it is repeated,

" The God (of Israel) is God to us, as to salvations. (/lij^^lQ^)
And to Jehovah belong the issues, as to the death" (r\)Qb)- (V^er. 21.)

He dashes his foes in pieces, cleaving their hairy scalp from
the head from which the helmet has been struck off. Yes,
says the Lord,

" I will turn him (the foe) back from Bashan,
I will turn him back from the depths of the sea.'' (Ver. 22.)

Though they were to make lofty Bashan their fortress, or hide
in the caverns of the deep. (See Amos vii. 3 ; Obad. 4.)

But all is not yet over. The Ark moves again ! It moves
to Moriah — to Solomon's temple. Then see the royal proces-
sion (ver. 24), and hear the songs of happy thousands under
the reign of that Prince of Peace —

" Bless ye God in the congregations,
TJie Lord (in the congregations that are), /rom the fountain of Israel."
There the gathered tribes are seen ; the south sends Benjamin,
once " their ruler," (as it sent Saul, 1 Sam. xiv. 7, and so be-
came the conquering tribe) and Judah, their prince, or perhaps
" their bulwark."* The north is represented by Zebulon and
Naphtali. Thus God has provided strength to them. And
Gentiles, too, are there (ver. 29). What a type of the latter
days, when the true Solomon, Prince of Peace, has come from
the Father's right hand to his own throne — from Zion to Moriah !
Then, more fully than in the first Solomon's days, it will be
sung —

" He lias rebuked the Beast of the Eeed,

(The hippopotamus, who, like leviathan, is the type of Antichrist.)
The assembly of mighty ones (bulls, Psa. xxii. 12),
With cahes of the nations'' (Ver. 30.)
These mighty kings and their subjects — bulls and Jcalves —
with their leader, are rebuked and destroyed ; and along with
* I'arkhurst refers to Homer's " i^y.oc Xyaiorj,"



Online LibraryAndrew A. (Andrew Alexander) BonarChrist and His Church in the Book of Psalms → online text (page 19 of 42)