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Bible Commentaries

Hamilton Smith's Writings

Psalms 102

Verses 1-28

PSALM 102

Christ, as Man, identified in spirit with the sufferings of His people; as God, identified with the glory of Jehovah.

The psalm presents experiences of the Lord which may have been anticipated in spirit during His life, but were entered into in all their fullness in the garden of Gethsemane only.

The sufferings of this psalm are not those felt by the Lord by reason of His treatment at the hands of men, though this is present to His soul; nor is it suffering in view of His expiatory work - bearing wrath and indignation from the hand of God - though this, too, is before Him. The psalm presents His own personal sufferings as identified with His suffering people.

(vv. 1-11) These verses present the identification of Messiah in spirit with the suffering remnant of His people Israel. It is the cry of “the Man of sorrows” in the day of distress. The great desire of the godly soul in distress is for his cry to be heard by the Lord. In spirit the Lord enters into this trouble, and gives expression of the desire (vv. 1-3).

Under the chastening of the Lord the days of His people are shortened and fade like smoke; their glory withers like grass. Into this trial the Lord enters (vv. 3-5). His people are lonely and desolate like a bird of the desert or a sparrow alone upon the housetop. The Lord enters into this desolation (vv. 6-7). They suffer continual reproach and opposition from men, and the Lord personally bears this reproach (vv. 8-9). Moreover the nation had been lifted up above all nations, and yet, because of God's wrath and indignation, had been cast down: the Lord enters into this trial, for He, who was anointed to be the Messiah was cast down, and His days cut off. He does not say, indeed, “Thy indignation and wrath is upon Me,” for He is not speaking as bearing judgment upon the cross, but rather as entering in spirit into the indignation and wrath that was upon the nation (vv. 9-10).

(vv. 12-22) In contrast with Messiah identified with His suffering people, these verses present the glory of Jehovah and His intervention in grace and power on behalf of His people. The One who in lowly grace has given expression to the sorrows of His people is the One who can equally give expression to the glories of Jehovah. He is the Apostle and High Priest of our confession. He can bear up the sorrows of His people before Jehovah in priestly service: He can present the glories of Jehovah to His people as the Prophet.

Israel may fade and wither, but Jehovah endures for ever. At His “set time” Jehovah will intervene in grace on behalf of Zion. Thus all blessing for Israel rests on the glory and work of Jehovah (vv. 12-14).

When Jehovah thus intervenes on behalf of Israel - when He builds up Zion, and appears in His glory - then the heathen will fear His name and all the kings of the earth acknowledge His glory (vv. 15-16).

Then the prayers of the godly will have their answer, and prayer will be turned to praise (vv. 17-18). The Lord having looked upon His suffering people and heard their groans, and intervened to set them free, the days of persecution will for ever cease (vv. 19-20).

In result there will be a people who will declare the name of the Lord in Zion, and His praise in Jerusalem. All the peoples will gather to Jerusalem as a centre, and all kingdoms serve the Lord (vv. 21-22).

(vv. 23-27) In these closing verses Christ is presented as a divine Person - God - identified with Jehovah. The question arises, How can Jehovah intervene in blessing for His people if the Messiah is cut off? For the Messiah can say, “He weakened my strength in the way: he shortened my days.” How can the kingdom be established if the anointed King is cut off? There cannot be a restored kingdom without the King. The answer is disclosed in the great mystery of His Person. The Messiah who identified Himself with His suffering people and was cut off, is none less than Jehovah Himself. Thus in these verses we find that the Messiah is identified in Person with Jehovah, as before He was identified in suffering with His people.

He is addressed as Jehovah, whose years are throughout all generations. He is the Creator who laid the foundations of the earth; and the heavens are the work of His hands. All created things may perish, but He will endure; all else may change, but He is “the same,” and His years shall not fail (vv. 23-27).

The Spirit of God uses this passage in the Epistle to the Hebrews to prove the Godhead glory of the Son, who, though He became a Man, is addressed as God ( Heb_1:8-12 ).

Thus it is that the Messiah secures the blessing of His people. The One who is Jehovah having become Man and identified Himself with His suffering people, at last brings His suffering people to be identified with Himself in His glory. If He endures they will endure; if He is the Same, they will be “established before him” (v. 28).

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Bibliographical Information
Smith, Hamilton. "Commentary on Psalms 102". "Hamilton Smith's Writings". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/hsw/psalms-102.html. 1832.