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This is not so properly a new psalm, as a continuation of the former: it takes up the subject where the preceding left off in the church's history. The Lord's goodness, and Israel's unworthiness, form the principal contents.
Here is a general call to the praise of Jehovah, for his glories, as he is in himself, and for his mercies, as he is towards his people. And when the believer keeps in view the mercies of redemption by Jesus, and his personal interest in them, how will such contemplation heighten his song!
This is a beautiful breaking off in the hymn of praise, to put up an earnest prayer that the Psalmist may be made a rich partaker of the covenant-mercies he had been blessing God for; and that he might see for himself what the people of God enjoyed, and partake in that rich, covenant-love the Lord bestowed upon his chosen. Reader! in these great and distinguishing blessings, consists the happiness of the soul. To see Christ as he is in himself, is blessed: to see Christ as being interested in him, is yet more blessed: and to see Christ in the souls fellowship and communion with him, from one hour to another, is more blessed still. Lord, I would say, remember me with this favor, and heaven will have begun in my soul!
Here comes in the acknowledgment of Israel's guilt. Was there ever such an history as Israel's, for proofs of divine love? Was there ever such an history as Israel's, for ingratitude and rebellion? Reader! look inward. What hath been manifested to you, and me, of God's love and mercy in Christ? And what hath been our improvement of this grace? Pause, and then say, is there not but too striking a resemblance? There is a vast deal of expression in these words of Israel's provoking the Lord at the sea, even at the Red sea. For there it was the Lord most graciously manifested his love to his people, and his care over them. For when the mountains were on each side, the enemy pursuing behind, and the sea before them, with no probable way of escape; then for the Lord to open a path through the mighty waters, and not only to make a way for their escape, but to make it the very way of destruction to their enemies; oh! what love was shown here. And was it here that Israel afterwards provoked the Lord? Reader! is there nothing in this which suits our case? Look again. When mountains of sin and guilt stood in the way of my soul, ready to fall upon me on every side, and no method in myself of deliverance, the enemy marching on to my destruction behind, and terrors of death before; was it not then that the Lord opened a new and living way, in the red sea of Christ's blood, for my escape? And have I not since caused the gracious hand to serve with my sins, and wearied him with my iniquities? Hebrews 10:19-21 ; Isaiah 43:24 .
I beg the Reader to keep up his attention, not only here, but in every part of scripture, to the many neverthelesses, and buts, and notwithstandings, which are sweetly interspersed, to manifest the covenant-mercy and loving-kindness of God in Christ. See a few in point: Isaiah 42:25 , with Isaiah 43:1 ; Psalms 99:8; Psalms 99:8 . Oh! how blessed it is to see that notwithstanding our unworthiness, the Name's-sake, and the covenant-engagement, of Jehovah, remain! The relation in which God the Father hath put himself to his people in Christ, and the infinite merit of Christ's blood and righteousness, must still come in to the relief of the poor sinner. There is a nevertheless, which is most blessed.
I include all these verses within one reading, though the Reader will recollect that they refer to several very interesting transactions at different periods in the church's history. But it would swell this work to an unsuitable magnitude, to enlarge on each. I rather refer to the Bible itself: Exodus 15:0 ; Numbers 11:0 ; Numbers 16:0 ; Exodus 32:1-4 . But, Reader, while we see and lament the degeneracy of Israel, let us put the solemn question of the Apostle home to our own hearts, and see what answer conscience will give: What then (saith Paul) are we better than they? No, in no wise; for we have before proved, both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin. Reader! this is the way to make the reading of the word of God profitable, when, under the Spirit's teaching, we are all brought to this conclusion, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world become guilty before God! Romans 3:9-19 .
How very delightfully this verse comes in after the former. Who doth not see in this interposition of Moses, a type of the intercession of the ever blessed Jesus? The Holy Ghost (if one may be allowed the expression) seems, upon many occasions, to have taken delight in shadowing forth the Lord Jesus in his high-priestly office and intercession, during the pilgrimage of the Church in the wilderness. This is here mentioned of Moses; so again, in the instance of Korah; and again, in the instance of Manoah and his wife. See Num_11:1-21; Num_16:46-47 ; Judges 13:19-20 .
For the same reason as before, I include the whole of what is here rehearsed in one reading. But let not the Reader be as brief upon the interesting things here recorded. Let him consult the several parts of the Jewish history in the Bible, to which they refer. See Numbers 13:0 ; Numbers 14:0 . And let him recollect that despising Christ and his salvation in the present day, becomes a parallel history, only with ten thousand more aggravated circumstances of guilt and ingratitude, than what here marked Israel's conduct, in their despising the promised land. The mingling with the idolatrous nations, which marked Israel's behaviour; we find in their history, Numbers 25:1-3 ; and the lively zeal of Phinehas, recorded in Numbers 25:7-13 , cannot fail to remind the Reader of Him, concerning whom it is said, that his zeal consumed him. Psalms 119:139 ; John 2:17 .
Still prosecuting the same history, the Psalmist records in these verses the perpetual ingratitude of Israel, and the unceasing loving-kindness of the Lord. And although the Lord chastened them, and gave them into the hands of their enemies, yet here also, as before, there is a nevertheless, in the account. God's covenant-mercies, and Jesus's great salvation, stood and pleaded hard for poor, wretched, unworthy Israel. Reader! pray do not overlook the vast concern both you and I have in this history. Oh! how precious ought the same covenant love of God, and the infinitely meritorious blood of Christ, to be to us also! Oh! how loathsome in our own view is sin, when seen, as it is, exceedingly sinful. And oh! how must it appear in the eyes of infinite purity and holiness! And shall we not, under a deep sense of it, fall down to the dust of the earth, and like Ezra cry out, O my God, I am ashamed, and blush to lift up my face to thee, my God! What but the covenant-engagements of God the Father, and the invaluable and never to be fully recompensed merits of God the Son, brought home and manifested to the heart by God the Holy Ghost, can give comfort under the alarms of a condemning conscience? Ezra 9:6 .
How suitably does the Psalm conclude in prayer and praise? Surely every reader cannot but make the same conclusion, whose mind is properly affected by the perusal of such an interesting view as is here afforded of the Church's unworthiness, and the Lord's grace towards her. Whether, as hath been supposed by some, the church was in the captivity of Babylon at the time this Psalm was written, or whether it refers to the general captivity of sin and Satan; yet, the cry of every awakened soul must be, to be gathered from men, from sin, from self, from the world; and to live to God in Christ in the love and delight of Jesus, from day to day. Reader! the Lord grant these mercies to you, to me, to all his people: and then we shall join the redeemed in every place, both above and below, in the same song of Hallelujah. Amen and Amen.
READER! let us prosecute the same delightful subject as the Psalmist; and since he goes on from one psalm so another, adoring the name of the Lord, we will follow the example; and never grow tired of the grateful employment. Surely, we may well say, It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High: to show forth his loving kindness in the morning, and his faithfulness every night. And oh! what an endless subject is opened for the everlasting praises of Jehovah, in the review of his love to his church and people! Was it not the Father's love which gave rise to the church, which prompted his infinite mind to form it; giving his only begotten Son to be her Head and Mediator; and giving the church to Christ as a bride adorned for her husband? Was it not the love of Jesus which at the call of God the Father, induced him to go forth for the salvation of his elect people? And was it not the love and favor of God the Holy Ghost, who from everlasting undertook, and hath all along been accomplishing the gracious purpose, and will go on to accomplish it, until grace is summed up in glory, to bring the church acquainted, and in love with, all the covenant purposes of Jehovah in the salvation of Jesus? And in such views of divine goodness, must not every heart feel constrained to exclaim, who can utter the mighty acts of the Lord; who can show forth all his praise?
But what a contrast to this rich mercy of the God of Israel doth the Israel of God manifest in their ingratitude and rebellion! Is it possible, while the Lord is so gracious, for man to be so unworthy? Oh! Reader! what is man, after all divine mercies, and all divine grace manifested towards him? Bend the knee with me, I beseech you, before the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named. Let us seek grace to profit by Israel's history. We may all well join the expressions used in this psalm, and say, We also have sinned with our fathers; we have committed iniquity. Yes! precious Jesus, at the sea, even the red sea of thy blood, how have we provoked the Lord to anger! Yet, Lord! remember thy covenant, and save us for thy name's sake. Thou art a God of pardons. Though there be nothing but sin and wretchedness in us; in the Lord our righteousness there is redemption. Accept us in him; and for his sake cause us yet to triumph in our God. Blessed be the Lord God of Israel from everlasting to everlasting; and let all the people say, Amen. Praise ye the Lord.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Psalms 106". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany