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David, in the wilderness of Judah, expresses his long
ing desire after the presence of God, and the divine pleasures of the sanctuary; he blesses and praises God both day and night, in the midst of affliction, and declares his faith to be immoveable; he predicts the fate of the wicked, with the exaltation, triumph, and glory of Messiah, to be exhibited in his own. The whole Psalm is applicable to the circumstances of Christ in the flesh, and to those of his people in the world.
1. O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee; my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee, in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is : 2. To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary.
After the example of the persecuted David in the wilderness of Judah, and that of the afflicted Jesus upon earth, the true Christian dedicates to God “ the sweet hour of prime;" he opens the eyes of his understanding, together with those of his body, and awakes, each morning, to righteousness. He arises, with an inextinguishable thirst after those comforts which the world cannot give; and has immediate recourse, by prayer, to the fountain of the water of life ; ever long.
ing to behold the divine power and glory, in the sanctuary above, of which he has been favoured with some glimpse in the services of the church below.
3. Because thy loving kindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee.
Life is the greatest of earthly blessings, all others being included in it: “ all that a man hath,” saith Satan, “ will he give for his life :" Not so the Psalmist. He knew a pearl of far greater price, namely, the loving kindness of Jehovah, on which is suspended not only the life which now is, but that which is to come. The sense of this loving kindness tuned the harp of the son of Jesse, and now tunes those of the spirits before the throne.
4. Thus, will I bless thee while I live ; I will lift up my hands in thy name.
While we live, however wretched our condition may be, we have an opportunity of obtaining pardon, grace, and glory; for which we ought, at all times, to bless God, lifting up pure hands in prayer, employing them in every good work, and all in the name of Jesus.
5. My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips: 6. When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches.
Solitude and stillness render the night watches a fit season for meditation on the so often experienced mercies of God; which, when thus called to remembrance, become a delicious repast to the spirit, filling it with all joy, and peace, and consolation; giving songs in the
night, and making darkness itself cheerful. How cheerful, then, will be that last morning, when the righteous, awaking up after the divine likeness, shall be satisfied with all the fulness of God, and praise him with joyful lips, in those eternal courts, where there is no night, and from whence sorrow and sighing fly far away!
7. Because thou hast been my help, therefore under the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice. 8. My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth
Recollection of past mercies inclines the soul to put herself under the wing of an all-shadowing Providence. Should her Redeemer, for a time, seem to be deserting her, faith constrains her to follow hard after him, as a child does after the father; and not to let go the hand which has so often upheld her from falling.
9. But those that seek my soul to destroy it, shall go into the lower parts of the earth. 10. They shall fall by the sword: they shall be a portion for foxes.
The enemies of Jehovah, and his Anointed, if they come not to a violent death, an early grave, or to have their carcasses devoured by the beasts of the field, (as hath sometimes been the case,) yet, in an after-state, their condition will certainly be deplorable. Their habitation must be in the pit; their punishment, the flaming sword of Almighty justice; and their companions, those crafty and malicious ones, who, having contributed to seduce, will help to torment them.
11. But the king shall rejoice in God; every one that sweareth by him shall glory: but the mouth of theme that speak lies shall be stopped.
If David found cause to rejoice in God, who gave him the victory over all his enemies; if the subjects of David might well glory in their king; if the slanderers of David were put to silence, at beholding him exalted to the throne of Israel; how much greater is the joy of Messiah in the Godhead, giving the manhood victory over his enemies, sin, death, and hell; how much rather may his subjects and worshippers glory in their triumphant King; and how much more shall the blasphemers of such a Saviour be everlastingly confounded, when they shall behold him invested with all the power and majesty of the Father, and seated on the throne of judgment! Surely, THEN “ the mouth of them that speak lies shall be stopped.”
The person speaking in this Psalm relates the pro
cess of a temptation, occasioned by his beholding the prosperity of wicked men upon earth, which he describes, with the suggestions of nature on the occasion ; but, in opposition to these, grace urges the examples of saints, the difficulty of judging concerning God's dispensations, and, above all, the final issue of things at the last day, and the end of that prosperity, which had excited his envy. Perfectly satisfied with these considerations, he owns his uneasiness to have sprung from his ignorance; and closes the Psalm with the most affectionate expressions of his full trust and confidence in the divine mercy and goodness. No temptation is more common, or more formidable than that above-mentioned. A more powerful and effectual antidote to it cannot be devised, than this most instructive and beautiful Psalm affords.
1. Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart.
This declaration seems to be the result of a long struggle in the mind of the Psalmist, between nature and grace, in which the latter proves victorious, and, notwithstanding all appearances to the contrary, deter