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The subject of this Psalm is very similar to the last. The soul of David is in distress from the persecution of foes. No doubt it was prophetically delivered, in reference to the Son of David. David's Lord; and the royal prophet certainly has an eye to Christ, in what he here saith of acceptance with God; for it can only be in him.
A Psalm of David.
That the writer of this Psalm was offering up these cries and prayers in the faith of a Redeemer, is most evident from what he here saith of the incense in the evening sacrifice. The Lamb of the morning and the Lamb of the evening, in the Jewish church, were clearly understood by every believing Israelite, to refer to Him, the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. David therefore well knew that the lifting up of his hands could be no worthy offering, void of faith in that one all sufficient atonement; neither could the incense of his prayers be otherwise than offensive, unless perfumed with the incense of the Redeemer's merits. Reader! how refreshing and encouraging ought it to be to the souls of the faithful now, that only one and the same plan of acceptance forms the service both in the Old Testament dispensation and in the New. Exo_29:33; Exo_29:39 ; Revelation 13:8 ; Leviticus 16:11-12 ; Revelation 8:3-4 . But, while looking at David is his devotions, do not overlook the Lord Jesus at his, which are here strikingly set forth. Behold Christ in the days of his flesh, thus offering his holy person, lifting up his holy hands, presenting himself in the incense of his own merits, and giving himself a sacrifice, in the evening of the world, for the salvation of his people! Oh! how lovely thus to behold him! How truly blessed thus to come under the incense of his righteousness!
How earnest is a child of God, that he should act and live as becometh a child of God. He knows full well, that unless the Lord keep the heart, the lips will utter foolishness. And when the Lord disposeth the soul, the lips will praise him. Job 23:4-6 .
Some read this verse very differently froth our present translation. They render it thus: Reproach will bruise me that am righteous, and rebuke but that poisonous oil shall not break my head, that is, shall not hurt me; for yet my prayer shall be in their mischiefs. Supposing that this be the construction of the words (I do not presume to determine that it is) nothing can be more beautiful or expressive in pointing to Christ; to none else can the expression of being righteous be applicable. See Luk_22:63-64; Luk_23:34 .
If these words be the words of Christ, delivered by David in the spirit of prophecy (and as they are spoken of one person, they should seem to be so) perhaps the sense is, "when the great ones of the earth are brought down by affliction; the words of Jesus and his salvation shall then be considered dear, though now despised."
In the first of these verses we have more speakers than one; but the Psalmist, turning from the calamities there described, finds comfort in looking to the Lord; and takes sure confidence in the perfect conviction, that it shall be well with the righteous, and ill with the wicked. Isaiah 3:10-11 .
BLESSED Jesus! under the incense of thy merits, and with a steady unwearied eye looking to thee and thy one all-sufficient sacrifice, would my soul desire, morning by morning, and evening by evening, to come before thy mercy-seat; and in language like this sweet Psalm, would I pray that my poor prayer, and my uplifted hands, should set forth my only hope, my only dependence on thee. Oh! for grace, blessed Lord, to be always habitually prepared for this employment, in being forever clothed with thy righteousness, and having all the ascension-gifts of thy Spirit implanted in my heart! Then would the actual exercises of grace upon thee, and to thee, be manifested in the going forth of my soul in faith and supplication, in love and praise. Then should I cry out with the church: Because of the savour of thy good ointment, thy name is as ointment poured forth, therefore do the virgins love thee. And while my soul is looking unto thee, hanging upon thee, and longing for thee with an earnestness that nothing but enjoyment can satisfy, I shall praise thee with joyful lips. Jesus will then bring me into his banqueting house, and his banner over me will be love. Then the noise without, and even the smiting of those that would reproach me within, will only tend to make Jesus more precious. Mine eyes shalt be looking unto the Lord, who will keep me from every snare, and at length bring me home to his heavenly kingdom!
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Psalms 141". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany