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As Christ himself quotes a part of this blessed Psalm in reference to himself, we can be under no mistake to be on the look-out for Christ through every part of it. The great scope of it is, to manifest what confidence there is to trust in Jehovah at all times, and upon all occasions.
Here, as in many psalms of a like nature, is an invitation to praise Jehovah; and the several orders of the people are especially called upon to this service. The house of Aaron is mentioned by name; but perhaps this is in accommodation to gospel times also, when Jesus hath made his people kings and priests unto God and the Father. Every man may find in the history of his own life enough to demand the unceasing tribute of praise. Revelation 1:6 .
It is impossible to overlook Jesus in this verse. Surely to none so applicable as to him are these expressions; and to none can we refer them with equal propriety. Who had so large a place, or such freedom, as Jesus, and especially in the triumphs of his resurrection!
I make no pause in these verses, because I think they contain a beautiful subject, in reference to the Lord Jesus in his ministry; and it were a pity to interrupt the reading. Let the Reader, when he hath read them, contemplate the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, and see whether there is not a very plain allusion to our Lord in what is here said. Nay, doth it not strike him that Christ is the speaker? It is said that this patient sufferer doth not fear men nor princes. And how was this manifested, when both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together! Acts 4:27 . Observe, how this patient sufferer speaks of one particular person; and who but Satan could this mean, with whom Christ had a personal conflict, and overcame him by his death, and will shortly-overcome him in all his members? Hebrews 2:14 ; Romans 16:20 . And to whom are the everlasting gates opened, nay, who can demand their opening, but He who is Lord both of quick and dead? Psalms 24:7-8 . In him, and by him indeed his people may, and certainly will, enter. Isaiah 26:2 .
This is a most remarkable passage; and as such the former verse is again and again quoted by the sacred writers. Our Lord himself becomes the authority, and hence his servants follow him. See Matthew 21:42 . Hence the Evangelists Mark and Luke, the Apostles Peter and Paul, refer to the same. See Mark 12:10 ; Luke 20:17 ; Acts 4:11 ; 1 Peter 2:4 ; Ephesians 2:20 . But what I would chiefly desire the Reader to remark is, the doctrine which our Lord founds upon it. Christ is the stone which Jehovah laid in Zion; and which the prophet Daniel described, (Daniel 2:34 ) as a stone cut out without hands. The Jewish builders refused this stone; and now this same rejected stone is become the head of the corner; for salvation is in no other. See Isaiah 28:16 ; Daniel 2:34 ; Acts 4:10-12 . Reader! pause over this most momentous scripture, and while beholding all these grand witnesses to the truth of it; behold Christ most completely answering to this character. Christ is the foundation stone of his church; the fist stone laid in point of order; for every believer is built upon him. Colossians 2:7 ; 1Co 3:11 ; 1 Peter 2:4-5 . Christ also is the foundation stone in point of strength; help is here laid upon one that is mighty, Psalms 89:19 ; Ephesians 2:20 . And Christ is the foundation-stone to knit together, and to keep compact, the whole building. He that is joined to the Lord is one Spirit, 1 Corinthians 6:17 . My soul! what sayest thou to these blessed truths? Art thou founded on this rock? Art thou united personally to Jesus? Art thou growing to a holy temple in the Lord? Bless then the Lord for these distinguishing mercies, and cry out with the Psalmist, This is the Lord's doing; for it is all of Jehovah's ordering, and truly marvellous it is in our eyes!
The day here spoken of, it should seem, is the glorious day of the gospel; to which the eyes of the patriarchs and prophets were unweariedly looking, called in scripture, The day of the Messiah, The day of the Lord's coming. Reader! if the very prospect of that day filled the souls of the faithful, before Christ came, with such joy, with what rapture ought you and I to welcome and celebrate it, in ordinances, in sabbaths, and in every means of grace, which Jesus hath brought in with this day of his coming.
With such hymns of praise should faithful souls be always welcoming Christ. And as the multitude proclaimed Hosannahs at Christ's public entry into Jerusalem, so should every heart meet Jesus, in public and in private, at home and abroad; everywhere, and in all things, we should always be on the look-out for Him, who hath come to us, and is always coming, in the name of Jehovah, to bless and save his people! And, Reader! ought we not, from the daily enjoyment of his presence by faith, to be looking for, and hastening to, the coming of Jesus visibly, to take us home to himself, that we may be forever with the Lord? See those scriptures, Matthew 21:8-9 ; Song of Solomon 2:9-17 .
What is meant by binding the sacrifice, is not so generally understood; for no part of scripture explains it. And certain it is that Jesus, the one, and the only one glorious sacrifice, needed no binding; for his undertaking was perfectly voluntary. Perhaps it might mean, (for no doubt the allusion is to him) the engagement which Jesus, as the Head of his church, entered into, in covenant transactions before all worlds; that he should be led, and as such, bound, as a lamb to the slaughter. Lo I come (saith he) to do thy will, O God! Isaiah 53:7 ; Psalms 40:7-8 . In beholding Jesus thus engaged, let us follow him, present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is our reasonable service, Romans 12:1 .
In the same firm belief with the Psalmist, that this God in Christ is our God in Christ, let us adopt his plan, and end the Psalm, as we began it, in the assurance of his everlasting unchanging love, of all covenant purposes, of redemption in his dear Son; and sing aloud his praises, whose mercy endureth forever.
SURELY this Psalm opens a most blessed view of Jesus; and it is hardly possible to go over the perusal of it, if the soul be at all awakened to the renewed enjoyment of her Lord, without being led by it to follow the footsteps of Him whom we love, through all his eventful ministry, until we see this rejected stone the head of the corner. Blessed Spirit! I would say, do thou, merciful Lord, in thy one gracious work of glorifying Jesus, lead out my heart, while reading this blessed scripture of thine, to trace Him, whom my soul loveth, through every part of it. And in the very opening of it, do I not see my Lord and Saviour assuming my nature for the purpose of salvation, and calling upon the Father, as this Psalm records, in his distress; until the Father heard and answered, and brought him forth into a large place? Do not see the Father on his side, when strong bulls of Basilan beset him around, and when the assembly of the wicked enclosed him? And though all nations compassed him about, and were like bees, so, thick upon him; yet in the name of Jehovah, how did our Lord overcome them! And shall I not with such believing views of the Lord Jesus, feel my whole soul going out after him, in love, and praise, and obedience, and affection; welcoming the coming Saviour, and standing astonished at such stupendous deeds as are connected with salvation, which are marvellous in our eyes?
Precious Jesus! thou foundation-stone, which Jehovah thy Father hath laid in Zion! on thee, Lord, may my soul rest her whole stress, for strength and help, for union and prosperity. Let those who know thee not, like the foolish Jewish builders, go on to reject thee. Alas! on whomsoever ultimately thou shalt fall, thou wilt grind them to powder. But oh! grant me, Lord, to rest wholly on thee, and as a lively stone, to be built up daily upon thee. Be thou to me, the rock of ages! Be thou to me, that blessed mountain, cut out without hands, that is to fill the earth! Fill thou, my soul, my whole heart, and all its affections! And be thou that one stone, upon which are seven eyes, that I may be everlastingly feasting myself with contemplating thy beauties, thy glories, thine excellencies, thy suitableness, and all-sufficiency, until I come to behold thy face in glory; that when I awake in thy likeness, I may be satisfied with thee.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Psalms 118". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany