Andrew A. (Andrew Alexander) Bonar.

Christ and His Church in the Book of Psalms online

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leding. rather realised as if already come. With this prospect before

them, the oppressed Church and its Head cry for vengeance
— joining the cry of Rev. vi, 10, from under the altar ; point-
ing the Judge to " The Day vengeance," Isa. Ixiii. 4 ; recall-
ing to his mind the words of the song of Moses, Deut. xxxii. 41.
I'hepian. The appeal is made in pointed heaven-penetrating cries,

verses 1, 2. Reasons for the appeal, strong and vehement, are
alleged, verses 3-7. The world is warned that the appeal is
lodged, verses 8-11.* This done, the Church and her Head
bless the Lord for those very dealings that call for vengeance,
these being instructive and sanctifying chastenings to his own,
though their enemies did not mean to help them to their crown.
They also bless the Lord for revealing the final issues, " teach-
ing them out of his law" i. e., advertising them in the pages
of his revealed Word of what is coming on, so that they
have peace amid the storm (ver. 12-14). "Judgment shall

* Bagster has a curious remark on the phrase " He that planted the ear."
The mechanism of the ear, like a root planted in the earth, is sunk deep into
the head, and concealed from view.


return to righteousness !" they exclaim : long has it seemed
otherwise ; judgment seemed to lodge in the streets, or stand afar
off. But in God's due time, the Judge comes (ver. 8), and judg-
ment goes home to the righteous — justice vindicates their cause.
From verse 16 to the end, we hear the same parties en-
couraging themselves to wait on for a season. When my soul
is bewildered by endless thoughts, when every human scheme
of relief seems vanity, my resort is to thyself, the God of all
consolation ! What streams for the thirsty are in thee. The
past, if it brought anxiety, has never failed to bring help,
while the future presents the prospect of the entire overthrow
of ungodliness —

" 7s (lie throne of iniquity confederate loitTi thee ? (Is it become thy
friend ? Ewald.)
Framing wickedness (or, misery, Ilengst.) by right of law I "
(Ver. 20.)

The question contains in itself its own answer ; and even
meanwhile there is a refuge —

" Jehovah shall be my high place,
And my God (shall be) my rock of shelter,"

till he arises in the day of his wrath to cut them off for ever.
Thus, beginning with prayer,* the Psalm ends with prophecy ;
beginning with an earnest call, it ends with faith's confidence
of an answer, and sounds in our ear
The cry of the oppressed Church and her Head for the day
of vengeance.


1 O COME, let us sing unto the Lord! Let us make a joyful noise to the rock

of our salvation !

2 Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving,
And make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.

3 For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods.

4 In his hand are the deep places of the earth : the strength of the hills is

his also.

* Augustine says, on verses 1, 2 — " Prophetia est prsedicentis, non audacia


5 The sea is his, and he made it : and his hands formed the dry land.

6 O come, let us worship and bow down : let us kneel before the Lord our


7 For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of

his hand.

8 To-day if ye will hear his voice ! harden not your heart, as in the provo-

And as in the day of temptation in the wilderness :

9 When your fathers tempted mc, proved me, and saw ray work.

10 Forty years long was I grieved with this generation,

And said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not
known my ways :

11 Unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest.

The connection " HoLY jov ill God, not discorcl iior dejection, appear in the

with the pre- "^ '' J > L 1-

ceding Psalm, old covenant as the fundamental sentiment of adoration."
Thus truly spoke Tholuck in regard to the gladsome calls that
begin so many of these Psalms.

The King and Kingdom, the Judge and the Judge's ven-
geance, are within sight, hastening on, almost at the door.*
With these solemn prospects influencing them, the flock and
the shepherd are now heard inviting men to enter the fold
while it is the day of grace. Augustine felt this connexion
when he wrote — " Venturus est ! prseveniamus faciem ejus in

'' come, let us sing cheerfully to Jehovah (Deut. xxviii. 47),
Let us raise the peal of melody to the rock of our salvation !
Let us come early before him (q.d., ere ever he calls), tcith praise ;
We icill raise the peal of melody in psalms to him.'' (Ver. 1, 2.)

He is great, and he is Sovereign over all (ver. 8) ; the deeps
and the heights are his (ver. 4) ; the sea and the land (ver, 5) ;
he is our Maker — and "Maker" is equivalent to God v}ho
made us all that we are in grace, as a nation and as individuals,
Deut. xxxii, 6 illustrates it. So in Psa, c, 2, and many other
places. Our God is a shepherd to us who glory in the blessed-
ness of being pastured by him, and defended as well as guided
by him (ver, 6, 7) —

" To-day, that ye would hear his voice!"

* Horsley connects Psa. xcv., xcvi., xcvii., xcviii., xcix., c, as an entire pro-
phetic poem, and calls it, "^ The introduction of the First-begotten into the


This is the force of verse 7, ^j^DI^n D^^, like Exod. xxxii. 32,
" And now, O that thou wouldst forgive their sin ! " and like
Luke xix. 42, " that thou hadst known ! " It is an intensely
earnest call on those addressed to hearken to that voice, viz.,
to the call of God ; while verse 8, in the same breath, entreats
them not to be as Israel at Meribah and Massah — " like
Merihali, like the day of Massah in the wilderness." Only
let us not fail to notice, that while it is the fiocJc who speak in
verses 1-7, it is the Shepherd who takes up their expostulat-
ing words, and urges them home himself at verse 8 to the end,
using the argument which by the Holy Ghost is addressed to
us also in Hebrews iii.

There is something very powerful in this expostulation,
when connected with the circumstances that give rise to it.
In themselves, the burst of adoring love, and the full outpour-
ing of affection in verses 1-7 are irresistibly persuasive ; but
when the voice of the Lord himself is heard (such a voice,
using terms of vehement entreaty !) we cannot imagine expos-
tulation carried further. Unbelief alone could resist this voice ;
blind, malignant unbelief alone could repel

The fiock and the Shepherd together inviting men noiv to
enter the fold.


1 SING unto the Lord a new song ! Sing unto the Lord, all the earth !

2 Sing unto the Lord, bless his name ; shew forth his salvation from day to


3 Declare his glory among the heathen, his wonders among all people.

4 For the Lord is great, and greatly to be praised : he is to be feared above

all gods.

5 For all the gods of the nations are idols : but the Lord made the heavens.

6 Honour and majesty are before him : strength and beauty are in his sanc-


7 Give unto the Lord, O ye kindreds of the people, give unto the Lord

glory and strength.

8 Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name : bring an offering, and

come into his courts.

9 O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness : fear before him, all the


The voice of


10 Say among the heathen that the Lord reigneth :

The world also shall be established that it shall not be moved :
He shall judge the people righteously.

11 Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad;
Let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof.

12 Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein:

13 Then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice before the Lord :
For He cometh ! for He cometh to judge the earth !

He shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with hia

^heptv-ition Some say that wherever ''new song" occurs, it is a song to
Messiah directly, At any rate, He is always prominent, for
the manifestation of Godhead is in all such Psalms a prominent

The call of last Psalm came at a critical moment, namely,
in the interval between the cry for vengeance in Psa. xciv.,
and the answer to that cry in Psa. xcvi For it is with the
Kingdom and the Coming King just at hand, that Psa. xcvi. is

it^oiigin. The first draught of this song appears in 1 Chron. xvi. That

scene was a type. There was joy because of rest to the land, and
rest to the ark of God in the midst of the land. And " If crea-
tion (says Home) be represented as rejoicing at the establish-
ment of the kingdom of grace, how much greater will be the joy
at the approach of the kingdom of glory, when, at the resurrec-
tion of all things, man, new-made, shall return to the days of
his youth, to begin an immortal spring, and be for ever young."

The theme. It is in harmouy with Rev. xiv, 7, and xix. 1-] 1. Creation

at its first birth had its joyful songs from the morning stars,
the sons of God (Job xxxviii. 7) ; shall not creation renewed
have its songs (Isa. Ixii. 10)? and shall not Earth itself sing its
own bliss ? It is not angels that are invited to sing, though
no doubt they will join ; it is a redeemed world — and the men
of that redeemed world are to be telling of the salvation
not for a few moments only, but from " day to day." In
telling the salvation, they are to tell chiefly the glory of
Him who has wrought it out(ver. 1-10) — his wonderful doings,
his greatness, his praise -worthiness, his fear, the nullity of
all other gods, the creator-skill of our God who made the
heavens —


" Glory and majesty are his inseparable attendants :
(Not mere transient displays, such as Esther i. 4 records.)

" Power and splendour are in his sanctuary.''' (Ver. G.)

(The originals of all kingly magnificence are in his palace.)

" Give unto Jehovah, ye families of the nations ;
Give unto Jehovah glory and power.
Give unto Jehovah the glory of his name !
Bring a present* and come into his courts !
Worship Jehovah in (real sanctuary splendour) the beauty

of holiness.
Tremble at his presence, all earth !
Tell among the nations, Jehovah is king ! "

As a consequence, there is the reverse of Psa. Ixxxiii. 5. Yes,
tell this also to men,

" The world stands firm ; it totters no more ■'
He judges the people with uprightness ! "

On this announcement, there is a shout that makes the welkin
ring — a shout like that at Corinth, when " Soter, Soter ! " rang
through the air, and astonished birds as they flew, reeled, and
dropt their wings. It is earth rejoicing (Rev. xix. 5) that now
what was foretold in Rom. viii. 19-21 about the deliverance of
the whole creation is at last accomplished —

" For He cometh .' for He cometh !
To judge the eaHh •' "

That is, to put earth in order, t to be its Gideon and Samson,
to be its ruler, to fulfil all that the Book of Judges delineates
of a judge's office. It is, as Hengstenberg says, " a gracious
judging," not a time of mere adjudication of causes or pro-
nouncing sentences — it is a day of jubilee. It is the happiest
day our world has ever seen. Who would not long for it ?
Who is there that does not pray for it? It is the day of the
Judge's glory, as well as of our world's freedom — the day when

* See 1 Sam. ix. 7, 1 Kings xiv ','. Allusion is made to the custoniiiry forms
of approach to the great.

t The Septuagint has given this title to this Psalm — " on 6 oizog uixodo-
jj^iiTO iMira rrjv af/jMoXo^siav!' We may suppose they meant their title to
be figurative.



" the judgment of this u-orld" (John xii. 81, and xvi. 11),
which his cross began and made sure, is completed by the total
suppression of Satan's reign, and the removal of the curse.
All this is anticipated here ; and so we entitle this Psalm
The glory due to Him who Cometh to judge the earth.


1 The Lord reigneth; let the earth rejoice;
Let the multitude of isles be glad thereof.

2 Clouds and darkness are round about him :
Righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne.

3 A fire goeth before him, and burneth up his enemies round about.

4 His lightnings enlightened the world : the earth saw, and trembled.

5 The hills melted like wax at the presence of the Lord,
At the presence of the Lord of the whole earth.

6 The heavens declare his righteousness, and all the people see his glory.

7 Confounded be all they that serve graven images, that boast themselves

of idols.
Worship him, all ye gods !

8 Zion heard, and was glad ;

And the daughters of Judah rejoiced because of thy judgments, O Lord.

9 For thou. Lord, art high above all the earth :
Thou art exalted far above all gods.

10 Ye that love the Lord, hate evil :

He preserveth the souls of his saints ; he delivereth them out of the hand
of the wicked.

11 Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart.

12 Rejoice in the Lord, ye righteous; and give thanks at the remembrance

of his holiness.

We advance a step further. In this Psalm, Messiah has come
in glory — he is not merely expected and anticipated. And
here the effects of his Coming, in the ruin of his foes and their
idols, are sung of In Heb. i. 6 there is a quotation of verse 7,
— " Worship Him all ye D'^nVi^/' gods, or angels, as in Psalm
viii, 5. In making that quotation, the sacred writer prefaces
it with a definite mark of time — *' When he bringeth his first-
begotten again into the world" — the time of his Second Ad-
vent —


" Jelwvah reigneth .' Let the eartJi* dance for joy I (Horsley, 7^D)
Let the multitude of its regions rejoice."
The " basis of his throne" (comp. Psa. Ixxxix. 15) is formed
by "Righteousness and judgment," while "clouds" are its
curtains. And then is described the judgment upon idols, in
language borrowed from the Sinai-appearing of the Lord, (ver.
3, 4). When in verse 6 it is said,

" The heavens declare his righteousness,"
the sense corresponds to Romans i. 18 ; it is equivalent to say-
ing that now the Lord from heaven, from his opened heavens,
rises up in favour of righteousness. From age to age the
heavens seemed silently to hear, as if almost indifferent to the
cry of sin ; but not so any longer. At verse 7 Angels are called
upon, "Ye gods,''(Heb. i. 6); and called upon to worship " Him"
who now appears, viz., Christ who now comes into the world
again, (Heb. i. 6). Angels who were present, and who adored
him at Bethlehem, at his first Coming, are again adoring. Is-
rael and earth at large rejoice, witnessing his " judgments," i.e.,
his providential dealings. But specially his saints, who have
long prayed and waited, now find that they waited not in vain ;
and hence the exhortation inverse 10, and the promise in verse
1 1, a verse illustrated by Esther viii. 16 in one view of it —

" Light is sown for the righteous. ^^
Into the furrows made by the plough of afiliction and temp-
tation, God casts the seeds of after-joy. Christ, "the Right-
eous One," is first partaker of this harvest of joy, as abun-
dant as were his tears, his woes, his sorrows — and joy is syno-
nymous with " light," because of light's cheerfulness, and be-
cause the rich flood of rays from the sun may be emblematic
of the gifts and blessings to be poured on the Righteous One
and his members. It is interesting to notice that an apparent
reference to the Head and members is contained in the change
of numbers in the clauses of verse 11 —
" Light is sown for the Righteous One, p**"!^
And gladness for those tvho are upright in heart,'" (who keep to his

* Dathe makes yiSH) " the land," Palestine.

Christ and hii


All this blessedness, at the very hour judgment comes on idols
and idolaters, may well call forth the rejoicing with which our
Psalm begins and ends. And the " holiness" of verse 12 may
remind us that all this joy is the result of Jehovah having at
length introduced his own holiness into a fallen world. It is
a blessed song concerning

The Advent of Messiah, and its results to earth.


A Psalm.

1 O SING unto the Lord a new song ! for he hath done marvellous things :
His right hand, and his holy arm, hath gotten him the victory.

2 The Lord hath made known his salvation :

His righteousness hath he openly shewed in the sight of the heathen.

3 He hath remembered his mercy and his truth toward the house of Israel :
All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.

4 Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the earth :
Make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise.

6 Sing unto Lord with the harp ; with the harp, and the voice of a psalm.

6 With trumpets and sound of comet, make a joyful noise before the Lord,

the King.

7 Let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell


8 Let the floods clap their hands :

Let the hills be joyful together before the Lord ;

9 For he cometh to judge the earth:

With righteousness shall he judge the world, and the people with equity.

Ryland (in " Psalms restored to Messiah,") thinks that as the
Jews held that Moses wrote Psalm xc. and onward to the xcviii.,
it may be to this Psalm that Rev. xv. alludes, as " The Song of
Moses and the Lamb." This is improbable ; but the Psalm
suits that time. The kingdom and the King have arrived ;
the blessedness of that happy day has been celebrated. But
the harp cannot be silent yet ! Another song on the same
key ! Another sweet and solemn melody on the same theme ;
but with this special addition, the Lord's faithfulness to Israel.
Hengstenberg remarks that this Psalm is full of allusion to
Isaiah. At any rate, this Psalm and Isaiah, whichever was the


earlier, answer to one another, as serapli to seraph, celebrat-
ing " wonders," " salvation with his right hand," " his holy
arm," " his righteousness revealed." And may not the clause
in verse 2,

" He hath remembered his mercy and truth,"

be considered as equivalent to " full of grace and truth " in
John i. 1 7 ? That grace and truth is now to be revealed to
Israel in particular, for he who is the fountain of it is to dwell
among them — his throne stretched over Jerusalem as a rain-
bow spans the plain beneath, and his sceptre swayed over earth
to its utmost ends.

" Sing to Jehovah loith the harp !
With the harp and voice of psaltery !

With cornets and sound oflrumpet (as at the bringing up of the ark
to Zion, and as in 1 Kings i. 34, when Solomon was crowned).
Raise the peal of melody
Before the king, Jehovah !"

And as at the commencement of a reign in Israel, we read of
the shout, " Let the king live !" (2 Kings xi. 12, and ix. 3 3,)
" Jehu is king ! " and as they clapped the hand (2 Kings xi.
] 2), as well as shouted and blew the trumpet (2 Kings ix. 1 3),
so we find all these recognitions of The King in this Psalm —
" The rivers clap their hands," and " the hills shout for joy,"
for the king foretold in David's last words has at length come
(2 Sam. xxiii. 3), to rule over men in the fear of the Lord.

It is the only Psalm called simply "iblD, "Psalm," without Thetit:e
addition. Some say that the reason is, there are so many verses ^'^'^" ""^
that have some form of the root "IDT, verses 1-8, &c. Hensf-

- T ' O

stenberg accounts for it by supposing it the lyrical accompani-
ment of the more directly prophetical preceding Psalm, and the
lyrical echo of the second part of Isaiah. It is at least interest-
ing to notice, that a song of Zion which so exults in the king's
arrival should be called pre-eminently, ")bTD ; as if the Psalm
of Psalms were that which celebrates

Israeh and Earth at large, blessed in Messiah's Advent.



1 The Lord reigneth, let the people tremble :

He sitteth between the cherubim, let the earth be moved.

2 The Lord is great in Zion ; and he is high above all the people.

3 Let them praise thy great and terrible name ; for it is holy.

4 The king's strength also loveth judgment ; thou dost establish equity,
Thou exccutest judgment and righteousness in Jacob.

5 Exalt ye the Lord our God, and worship at his footstool ;
For he is holy.

6 Moses and Aaron among his priests, and Samuel among them that call

upon his name ;
They called upon the Lord, and he answered them.

7 He spake unto them in the cloudy pillar:

They kept his testimonies, and the ordinance that he gave them.

8 Thou answeredst them, O Lord our God : thou wast a God that forgavest

Though thou tookest vengeance of their inventions.

9 Exalt the Lord our God, and worship at his holy hill ;
For the Lord our God is holy.

The King and kingdom having come and been established, the
Psalmist sings of the principles of government. Holiness is
the rale. Jehovah is as holy as when he manifested himself
to Israel dwelling be'tween the cherubim. Or rather, the idea
seems to be that Jehovah, while fulfilling the type exhibited
in his dwelling between the cherubim by dwelling with men in
Zion, is nevertheless so holy that earth bows prostrate before
him, and the nations quake.

" They praise thy name I
Great and terrible, lioly is He !
And * royal strength loveth judgynent .'"

This is their song, because he has established judgment in
Jacob. They call on others to join (ver. 5), bidding them fall
before " His footstool,^' i.e., his ark, where he gave his mani-
festation of himself to men who approach to worship.
" Heis holy " (ver. 5),

* Like " the iniffht of Gabriel fought" (Milton, P. L- vi. 355), " Crispi fa-
cunda senectus." (Juven. iv. 31). Others refer back to verse 3, " Let them
praise the stretigth of the King (who) loveth judgment."


This is one of their arguments ; another is, Moses and Aaron,
Israel's leaders in the wilderness, are there ; and Samuel, the
first of the judges in the land, is there. These men, and such
as these, used to call upon the Lord and get answers, during
their days of trial, he speaking from the pillar-cloud.
" They kept his testimonies " —

this is an abridged description of the obedient life of all these
saints — even as John xvii. 6, " They have kept My word," is
the Master's delineation of his disciples.

" He gave them a code of statutes,"

refers to such a passage as Deut. xxxiii. 4, where the law is

reckoned among the prime blessings of Israel. Yes, it was

always thus ; Jehovah answered tliem, and forgave them, yet


"An avenging God because of their iniquities."

He is the same for ever. Just, sin-hating, righteous ! And
then a third time, as if to cause earth to respond to the song
of heaven (Isa. vi. 3, Rev. iv. 8), the Psalmist extols Jehovah's
hohness —

" Worship at the hill of his holiness,
For Jehovah our God is holy /"

It is throughout a Psalm proclaiming the untarnished perfec-
tions of the King,

Messiah ruling lu holiness.


1 Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lauds.

2 Serve the Lord with gladness : come before his presence with singing.

3 Know ye that the Lord he is God : it is he that hath made us, and not we

ourselves ;
We are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise :
Be thankful unto him, and bless his name.

5 For the Lord is good ; his mercy is everlasting ; and his truth endureth to

all generations.

The Kmg and kingdom come, and holiness now swaying the


sceptre of a happy world, behold the whole earth as one great
congregation uttering praise, and blessing, and thanksgiving,
led by Messiah, the Chief Musician !

Its title is, " A 'psalm for thanksgiving." The word HTI/I,
the word used in Lev, vii. 12 for sacrifices of thanksgiving,
when thankful men brought to the Lord fine flour, and oil,
and wine, in token of their deep sense of blessings bestowed.
Here, then, is Earth's thankoffering day arrived —

" Raise the peal of melody to Jehovah !
All the earth!"

They sing, in verse 2, of his redemption, not of creation-work.
They say, *' He made us," i. e., made us what we are, a people
to himself; as in Psa. xcv. 5, 1 Sam. xii. 6, and Deut. xxxii. 6.
It was not we that made ourselves his (comp. Ezek. xxix. 8).

Online LibraryAndrew A. (Andrew Alexander) BonarChrist and His Church in the Book of Psalms → online text (page 27 of 42)