Andrew A. (Andrew Alexander) Bonar.

Christ and His Church in the Book of Psalms online

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I muse on the work of thy hands.

6 I stretch forth my hands unto thee: my soul thirsteth after thee, as a

thirsty land. Selah.

7 Hear me, speedily, O Lord ! my spirit faileth :

Hide not thy face from me, lest I be like unto them that go down into the pit.

8 Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning ; for in thee do I trust !
Cause me to know the way wherein I should walk ; for I lift up my soul

unto thee.

9 Deliver me, Lord, from mine enemies : I flee unto thee to hide me.

10 Teach me to do thy will ; for thou art my God:

Thy spirit is good ; lead me into the land of uprightness.

11 Quicken me, O Lord, for thy name's sake:

For thy righteousness' sake bring my soul out of trouble.

12 And of thy mercy cut off mine enemies,

And destroy all them that afflict my soul : for I am thy servant.

Tiie author David is Still the sweet singer here, his harp sounding in the

'u\&vZ\m^ wilderness of Judah, or, as in Psa. xlii., from some still more

remote retreat. Here, however, he alludes to no particular


external privation — it is his soul's sadness tliat is the burden
of his song. Christ could use these utterances, feeling not his
bodily absence from heaven so much as the Father's hidden
face. And it suits the believer at times, when he mourns most
of all for the absence of any tokens of the Lord's special pre-
sence, in himself or the church around.

From verses 1 to 4 we have the strong appeal of one who
feels the darkness in which he is enveloped by the absence of
special tokens of God's love. Our Lord uses the argument of
God's " truth and righteousness," in seeking an answer ; and
so we, his members, appeal to these same perfections, in our
expostulations with our God, warranted by 1 John i. 9, " He
i>i faithful and just to forgive us." And then the deprecation
in verse 2,

" And enter not into judgment with thy servant,'"

is, in our Lord's lips, equivalent to " If it be possible, let this
cup pass from me ! " Do not argue the case with me (see Job
ix. 82, and xxii. 4, and xxxiv. 23), to shew me that there is
cause for all this darkness. I know there is a cause ; the cause
is the sin which I have undertaken to bear, " For before thee
shall no living one he justified" — not one of all descended
from Adam. (Compare '^Jl'bD here with Gen. iii. 20, when
Eve's posterity got that name after the Fall.) But my appeal
is to thy " truth and righteousness" which are engaged to
carry me through ; and my need of help is great.

" Fur the foe is pursuing (C]'7*^) my soul /" (Yer. 3.)

And then, as if overtaken in the pursuit, he cries, " He has
smitten my life to the ground ! He has made me stand in
deep darkness, like one eternally dead (Hengst) ; and my
spirit is overwhelmed (Psa. cii., title, and cxlii. 4) within me ;
any heart in the midst of me is desolate."

At verse 5, there is a gleam of light through the " dark-
ness ;" he recalls to mind God's love manifested to Israel in
former days.

At verse 6, there is a renewed appeal to the Lord's pity,
drawn from his state, resembling " a weary land" — (HSIi^ yMi
like Lsa. xxxii. 2) — a land where a traveller's strength is ex-

E e


hausted by the rough roads and crooked paths, and the oppres-
sive heat of the sun's intolerable rays. It was thus our Surety
learned by experience to sympathise with us ; and thus it was
he became the " shadow of a great rock in a weary land/' He
here calls the Father to notice his self-emptying and humilia-
tion, while bearing wrath for our sins ;

" My soul is to thee (see Hebr.) as a weary land.'''

At verses 7 and 9 he seeks speedy relief ; and the clause,
" Make me to know the path I should walk in," is similar to
the " If it be possible" in his prayer in the garden. In the
case of one of his members, the words have of course a differ-
ent application, and yet one resembling his in the circum-
stance, that it is a petition for guidance under our personal

At verse 10 do we not hear, "Not my will, but thine be
done," mingled with the filial accents of confidence, "My God \"

But at verses 11, 12, the prospect opens out on future glory.
The Spirit, that same " loving," ov "good Spirit" who in-
structed Israel (Nehem. ix. 20), that same " eternal Spirit by
whom he offered himself without spot to God," shall lead him
forth from those scenes, and place him

" In the land of uprightness."
The land of plainness (l!)!i^"'D), a land where no wickedness of
men, and malice of Satan, vex the soul from day to day ; a
land where no rough paths and crooked turns lengthen out
the traveller's weary journey, (see ver. 5) ; but where all is like
the smooth pasture lands of Keuben (Deut. iii. 10, Josh. xiii.
9), a fit place for flocks to lie down. " Tliy Spirit" will do this
in his love, when "ony Spirit" (ver. 7), my overwhelmed human
soul, seemed ready to fail. Thou wilt be to me what thou wert
to David, in " bringing his soul out of all distress" (1 Kings
i. 29), and establishing him on his throne. All foes shall be
extirpated, (ITD'^r)). Is not this the kingdom come, and its
King exalted ! And is not this a song alike for the Head and
the mem))ers ?

A prayer of the Righteous One, when feeling the heat of the
iveary land.



A Psalm of David.

1 Blessed be the Lord my strength,

Which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight :

2 My goodness and my fortress ; my high tower, and my deliverer;

My shield, and he in whom I trust ; who subdueth my people under me.

3 Lord, what is man, that thou takest knowledge of him !
Or the son of man, that thou makest account of him !

4 Man is like to vanity : his days are as a shadow that passeth away.

5 Bow thy heavens, O Lord, and come down : touch the mountains, and they

shall smoke.

6 Cast forth lightning, and scatter them : shoot out thine arrows, and destroy


7 Send thine hand from above ; rid me, and deliver me out of great waters,
From the hand of strange children ;

8 Whose mouth speaketh vanity, and their right hand is a right hand of


9 I will sing a new song unto thee, O God :

Upon a psaltery and an instrument of ten strings will I sing praises unto

10 It is he that givetli salvation unto kings:

Who delivereth David his servant from the hurtful sword.

11 Rid me, and deliver me from the hand of strange children,

Whose mouth speaketh vanity, and their right hand is a right hand ot

12 That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth ;

That our daughters may be as corner-stones, polished after the similitude
of a palace :

13 That our garners may be full, affording all manner of store :

That our sheep may bring forth thousands, and ten thousands in our
streets :

14 That our oxen may be strong to labour ; that there be no breaking in, nor

going out ;
That there be no complaining in our streets.

15 Happy is that people, that is in such a case !
Yea, happy is that people, whose God is the Lord.

The Spirit of the Lord spake by David the words of this song
when the king felt his need of the King of kings to subdue
the turbulent and proud spirits who were ambitious of distinc-
tion (ver. 2), as well as to conquer the nations of idolaters
who hated God's anointed, (ver. 7-11). The Spirit leads him
back to the day when he sang Psa. xviii. (see ver. 1, 2), the
day when he was delivered from Saul and other foes ; and still

The allusions.


farther back to the quiet night when the strains of Psa. viii.
ascended to the ear of Jehovah, (see ver. 3) ; but he does not
fail also to lead him forward to a future day, when earth shall
witness its millennial scenes, among which not the least won-
derful and refreshing shall be Israel in all the restored plenty
of his last times, with the favour of Jehovah over all. In all
this, David was the type of Christ.

Jehovah's grace to tnan is the theme of verses 1,2; that
expression, " My goodness," nOH, may be understood as if de-
claring that all the kindness or nfiercy that is in God is made
over to his own people ; q.d., all in thee that is kind is my

Man's unworthiness and littleness are the theme of verses
3, 4 — the contrast to the preceding verse. The Hebrew of
verse 4, " man is a vapour," reads suggestively pITV Uy^, re-
calling the disappointment of the first family on earth ; q. d.,
all come of Adartx are as sure to disappoint, and to be disap-
pointed, in the fond hopes cherished concerning them, as Abel,
so short-lived, and untimely in his end.

God's strength laid hold upon by his own against foes is
the theme of verses 5-8. The God of Sinai is remembered in
verse 5 ; and the ease with which he can overwhelm his foes is
expressed, verse 6, " Lighten ivlfh lightning," and forthwith
they are scattered, {aoTs^a-^ov asr^aTriv. — Sept.). The " right hand
of falsehood," verse 8, expresses the violation of solemn oaths
and engagements, in ratifying which the right hand was lifted
up to heaven, (Gen. xiv. 22). Hence Tholuck renders it,
" Their oaths are perjuries." With majesty and might, with
lightning and fire like this, shall the Lord appear, when he
arises at last to the final conflict.

Praise and prayer, in prospect of victory, form the matter
of verses 9-11. And here "The New Song" is mentioned,
which " Neiv Song" is ever sung by one whose eye is on that
vail which was rent — looking either at the Saviour going in
with the sacrifice, or coming out tlie second time to bless.

The happy scene to he ivitnessed, when these desires are re-
sponded to, is the subject of verse 12, to the end. Do all this
for us, in answer to our prayer, so that, as a consequence of
this deliverance,


" Our sons may be as plants (of the palm-tree, says the Targuni),
Vigorously slwoting up in their youth ;
Our daughters like corner-columns,
Polished like a palace ^

Others take this last clause to contain an allusion to the costly
stones so carefully prepared for the building of the Temple :
" hewn for the building of the Temple." These are the choice
of men ! each one full of life and beauty, walking before the

" Our granaries full, supplying one kind of food after another; "
like Egypt in Joseph's da;fs. It is a scene of plenty, as if
the curse were lifted off the soil.

" Our flocks increased to thousands,
Increased to thousands in our fields." {^\'\1^T^^ Job v. 10.)

Here are the pastures peopled with their appropriate tenants,
and a scene of peaceful plenty is set before us. And then follow
the yoked cattle, carrying their loads through the streets — a
token of busy commerce.

" No breach'" in the tribes, like Judges xxi. 15 ; or in individuals, like

Uzzah, 2 Sam. vi. 8.
" No going forth" to war.
" No cry'" like that in Isa. xxiv. 11, over disasters.

Happy days when these scenes are realised ! Happy people
who shall enjoy them. Men shall in that day exclaim with
Balaam, " How goodly are thy tents, O Jacob ! " — or rather,
all shall then unite in tracing the blessing to its fountain-head,
" Blessed are the people whose God is Jehovah.'^

Every member of Christ may take up this Psalm in behalt The .^peak^i-
of his own country and people — yea, in behalf of our common
humanity, praying for the day when all earth shall enjoy these
blessings, by enjoying Jehovah as their God. It is a prospect
that awaits the world when Christ returns ; and our expecta-
tion of such happiness in reserve for our world is kept alive by
a song like this,

A prayerful song of David, and David's Lord,, anticipating
the prosperity which Jehovah brings to his own.



David's Psalm of praise.

1 I WILL extol thee, my God, O King! and I will bless thy name for ever

and evei\

2 Every day will I bless thee ; and I will praise thy name for ever and ever.

3 Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised ; and his greatness is un-


4 One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy '

mighty acts.

5 I will speak of the glorious honour of thy majesty, and of thy wondrous


6 And men shall speak of the might of thy terrible acts : and I will declare

thy greatness.

7 They shall abundantly utter the memory of thy great goodness.
And shall sing of thy righteousness.

8 The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion ;
Slow to anger, and of great mercy.

9 The Lord is good to all : and his tender mercies are over all his works.

10 All thy works shall praise thee, O Lord ; and thy saints shall bless thee.

11 They shall speak of the glory of thy kingdom, and talk of thy power ;

12 To make known to the sons of men his mighty acts.
And the glorious majesty of his kingdom.

13 Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,

And thy dominion endureth throughout all generations.

14 The Lord upholdeth all that fall, and raiseth up all those that be bowed


15 The eyes of all wait upon thee ; and thou givest them their meat in due


16 Thou openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing.

17 The Lord is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works.

18 The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon

him in truth.

19 He will fulfil the desire of them that fear him :
He also will hear their cry, and will save them.

20 The Lord preserveth all them that love him :
But all the wicked will he destroy.

21 My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord :

And let all flesh bless his holy name for ever and ever.

Ai, i.abetic The well-known 45th Psalm sang of the King in his beauty :

structui-e. ° , ^ . r T l 1

this 145th is a hymn of praise concerning the reign of Jehovah,
and his kingdom. It is a Davidic and an alphabetic Psalm.
In regard to its alphabetic stnicture, it has one peculiarity,
viz., the "nun" is omitted ; the reason of which may be, that


(as we have seen in some other Psahns of this structure) by
means of that, or some other such omission, we might be kept
from putting stress on the mere form of the composition.

It is peculiar, also, in its title ; indeed, quite unique — " Of Tiie title.
David ; praise." The word is n^HJl. Some render this " a
hymn ;" others, such as Hengstenberg, ^' b. praise-song," differ-
ing in this from the Th^r\, the ^' prayer-song." It is prayer
turned into praise. Patrick remarks, that the term seemed so
peculiar and excellent that it was given from this Psalm to the
whole book, which is entitled by the Jews, the book of D^nri.
Bythner has this note on the word — " So called because it is
throughout nothing but the celebration of God ; so that the
ancient Jews used to say, that the man was already enjoying
the felicity of the age to come who daily recited it three times
with the mouth and heart," We are getting now beyond the
region of former themes ; all in the remaining Psalms is praise,
praise ; and this title is an appropriate introduction to the
closing group of praise-psalms. Nor is its burden less appro-
priate ; for, being a song of the kingdom, it ushers us into the
region of eternal praise.

It is a song for all saints. But we may say also. What a The speaker,
song in the lips of Christ for the Father's ear ! What a song
to soothe his own soul, when still " man of sorrows ! " For the
jDrospect is presented here of the kingdom made manifest, so
that all see the glory of the Lord. It is a Psalm that gathers The theme.
up much of the excellency of former Psalms ; and so truly is
the style of royalty and the manner of a kingdom in it, that
we find, in after days, the writer of the Book of Esther using
expressions regarding the king and kingdom of Media and
Persia, that bear a striking resemblance to the terms employed
by the Psalmist — only the one speaks of an earthly, and the
other of the heavenly throne.

1. The harp extols Jehovah for what He is, in verses 1-3, Ti,ppian.
" My God, King !" — rather, " My God, who art The King."
It is much more emphatic than Psa. v. 8, " My God, and my
King ;" here he is sung of as the only King. We are reminded
at once of Psa. xlv. 2, " My words concern the King." Of this
God and King the Psalmist sings, that he is unlike all idols.


He is self-existent, and infinite, and so the greatness of any
of his perfections cannot be told. He is eternal and unchange-
able ; for he must be celebrated " For ever and ever." And
all this he is in his very being or essence, for he is " Jehovah."
All he does is so wisely done, that for all he is to be praised.
And his deeds display such power ! Righteous too, is He, and
yet abounding in love, kindness, and grace.

" Yes, let me bless (^D■)2^i'l) ^% name for ever and ever," (comp. 1 Pet.

i. 3, &c.)." """
Every day will I bless tJiee (comp. Psa. xix. 2) ;
Yes, let me praise CrnbTM^') — q- d., let me Hallelujah) thy name for

ever and ever!"
Great is Jehovah; and OvTllJ) worthy to be praised !" (ver. 1-3.)

How many terms of adoration and honour ! Praise, praise,
is on his lips ; the harp-strings will utter nothing but praise ;
for " of his greatness there is no searching out," (comp. Job
V. 9).

2. The harp extols the deeds that shew Jehovah's name, in
verses 4-6, or what He is.

" Generation to generation shall commend his works.
Yea, they shall declare his mighty acts." (Ver. 4.)

Compare Psa. xix. 2, " day unto day" uttering the Lord's praise
in creation. But here it is both creation-works and redemp-
tion-wonders that are shewn ; for nill^^ cannot fail to remind
us of the acts of Him who overthrew Israel's foes, and of Him
whose name is liHJ, "Mighty One" (Psa. xlv. 3), and "Mighty
God," (Isa. ix. 6). His mighty acts, in establishing his kingdom
on earth upon the ruins of Antichrist's dominion, shall form
part of the theme. And that is the time when, in a special
sense, the next clause shall be understood, though it may ap-
ply in some degree to his creation-works :

" Of the majesty of glory (which is), thy beauty.
And of the chronicles of thy wondrous acts, let me speak." (Ver. 5.)

O how his beauty shall burst forth when the King appears with
his many crowns ! And if Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, amid
gorgeous splendour, suggested to his people to cry, " A god,
not a man ! " what shall creation feel at this sight ? The Lord's


beauty, liH (a word applied to creature-beauty in Hos. xiv. 6,
Zech. X. 8), is here emphatically exalted beyond comparison by
the addition of " the glory of thy beauty ;" aye, and " the ma-
jesty of the gloi^y." And then the "Chronicles 0^117) (rf t^^V
wondrous acts" is a term applied in 1 Chron. xxvii. 24, 1 Kings
xi. 41, to the acts of Solomon and David, the journals or re-
cords made of their deeds ; even as it is in Esther vi. 1, to the
king of Persia. The terms all bear reference to royalty and
government. Then he adds that in all these coming ages there
will be a company of those who delight to record the manifes-
tation of his name in his deeds.

" They shall speak of the overwhelming might (m^) of thy terrible acts,"
(Ver. 6)
done in past days, such as Israel has delighted to tell to their
children (Psa. Ixxviii. 4), even such as He did at the Red Sea
(Exod. XV. 11, ^

Online LibraryAndrew A. (Andrew Alexander) BonarChrist and His Church in the Book of Psalms → online text (page 40 of 42)