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We met with this Psalm in David's history, 2 Samuel 22:0 and had it referred to David only, I see no reason why it should make a part in this book. Indeed, doth it not seem, by being placed here, to intimate that we are to look beyond David for the highest and best sense of it? The Psalm itself treats of deliverance from enemies, and is an hymn of praise to this effect from beginning to end; and if read with an eye to Christ, is beautiful indeed.
To the Chief Musician, A Psalm of David, the servant of the Lord, who spake unto the Lord the words of this song, in the day that the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul. And he said,
I beseech the Reader to be upon the lookout for the Lord Jesus through every part and portion of this Psalm, in, which the death of Christ, his resurrection, and his kingdom, are by the spirit of prophecy, beautifully set forth. Indeed, is not the very title suited particularly to Jesus more than to David. For though David might sing of his own personal deliverance from the hand of Saul, and the greater part of his enemies, yet none but Jesus could sing of all, for the last enemy that is to be destroyed is death; and none but Jesus conquered death. I beseech the Reader, therefore, to behold Jesus in it, and while, as the servant of Jehovah, he hears the Lord triumphing in his victories over death, hell, and the grave, let him, as I do, beg of God that we may both read it with faith, and feel our own personal interest in all the triumphs of our God and Saviour.
How very sweet and gracious the Psalm opens! Jesus in his manhood had an eye to the Father, and his covenant promises, for help and strength, through all his great undertaking. And having found God faithful, he here recounts it, under all the variety of similitudes, by which the grace, and love; and strength of Jehovah could be set forth. He is a rock indeed, his work is perfect. Deuteronomy 32:4 . I beg the Reader to remark with me, as a confirmation that David spake the words of this song under the spirit of prophecy, and with reference to the person of Christ, that the apostle Paul quotes from this verse a saying of Christ, as the margin of our old Bibles showeth Hebrews 2:13 . which, as well as the verse of Paul's quoting before, Hebrews 2:12 . taken from Psalms 22:22 , evidently refers to the Lord Jesus. Reader, never think it a trouble, but rather a mercy, to be able to turn from one scripture to another, for this is the way which God the Holy Ghost hath blessed, and will bless, in opening his sacred truths, if we delight to compare spiritual things with spiritual. 1 Corinthians 2:12-13 ; Psalms 25:14 .
It is said of Jesus, that, in the days of his flesh, he offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears, and was heard, in that he feared. Hebrews 5:7 .
How beautifully Peter comments upon these sufferings of Jesus, Acts 2:24 . But, while we behold the holy nature of Christ, as incapable of corruption, and therefore incapable of being holden by the cords of death and the grave; let us recollect also, that the sorrows here spoken of as compassing Jesus, were that flood of our sins and transgressions, which so overwhelmed the man Christ Jesus, as to force him to sweat drops of blood in his agony, and filled his soul with amazement and anguish inexpressible. Reader, while we look at Jesus in those seasons as our Surety, oh, think what it cost his love to redeem our souls! Here, surely, the words of the church were solemnly applicable: many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it. Song of Solomon 8:7 .
The sacred writer seems to have had in view the Lord's descent on Mount Sinai, at the giving of the law. But surely we can discover that what he here delivered was under the spirit of prophecy, in reference to the triumphs of Jesus at his resurrection. Then the earthquake, and the other prodigies of that hour, testified the Lord's displeasure at sin, and his perfect approbation of the redemption by Jesus, in raising him from the dead. Matthew 28:2 .
Is here not (for I do not presume to decide) an allusion to the descent of the Holy Ghost, after the return of Jesus to glory? And may we not without violence to the several expressions here set forth, trace the footsteps of that gracious descent, when, by sending forth his preachers, the arrows of conviction in the sinner's heart are manifested, and the illuminating influence of the Holy Spirit, converting, confirming, and establishing his people in the truth as it is in Jesus, may not unaptly be compared to the lightenings shot forth? Surely, in all instances of the display of grace upon the sinner's heart, in turning them from darkness to light, something similar to the great work the Lord wrought at the Red Sea, is manifested in spirituals, as there in things of nature. The channels of the deeps of sin are seen, and the new and living way, which the Lord opens in the blood and righteousness of Christ for his ransomed to pass over, are no less marvelous, than when the Lord led Israel through the deep, as through a wilderness. Exodus 14:22 ; Hebrews 10:19-20 , etc.
How strong are these expressions to point to one particular foe! Not only was Jesus, in the days of his flesh, delivered from the malice of men, but from the malice of Satan. The human nature of Christ, unassisted by his Godhead, would have found Satan too strong, as is here said. How blessed then to see, in the union of the Godhead with the manhood, the stronger than he coming upon him and overcoming him! Luke 11:22 .
Oh! how very precious are these expressions, read with an eye to Christ. The predictions of the Prophets of the Old Testament Scripture, from the Spirit of Christ which was in them, were all directed to those two grand branches in the life of Jesus, of his sufferings which were first to take place, and then of the glory, which should follow. Hence we find, for the most part, these distinct views, as in these verses so in many other places, beautifully blended together. 1 Peter 1:11 .
If there was no other passage in this Psalm to imply that David delivered this song of praise under the spirit of prophecy, in reference to the Lord Jesus Christ, than what these verses contain, what is here said would be enough to determine the point. For David, in no part of his life, ever could make use of such expressions. It would be straining the language too far, to suppose that he meant to say such things of himself, considered in his being kept from idolatry, and his attachment to the true God of Israel. Clean hands, free from sin, and no wicked departures from God, would even then be too strong expressions, consistent with the many sins of David's life. But reading these blessed truths in reference to Jesus, oh! what very delightful features do they give of him and his pure nature, who was holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens. Hebrews 7:26 . Neither is this all. For the recompense of this holiness and obedience of Jesus, we are interested in so very highly, that everyone would be very cautious how he parted with a single portion respecting Christ, his glorious Surety, to adorn David with what never could belong to him.
All these verses become doubly precious and blessed to the people of Christ, from their personal concern in all that is his. The promise of Jehovah is to the seed of Christ, in Christ as well as to Christ himself. And, as if no child of his should ever find cause to question or doubt it, the Lord himself, in the close of his ministry; left behind him, in that blessed prayer he offered up to the Father concerning his church, so decided a proof as forever silenceth all fears. The glory (saith Jesus) which thou gavest me I have given them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them as thou hast loved me. John 17:22-23 .
Reader, while we contemplate the Lord Jesus, as here celebrating the ways and works of Jehovah in redemption, as altogether finished and complete, it will be a sweet note in this song, if you and I can say the same, from our own personal interest in Jesus. He indeed is our Rock, our Jesus, our Salvation. And he is Jehovah's salvation for the people to the ends of the earth. Psalms 95:1 ; Isaiah 49:6 .
These are all glorious triumphs of our risen and exalted Saviour. And He who hath thus conquered for us, can and will conquer sin in us. Like another Joshua, our Almighty Leader and Commander, which Jehovah hath given to his people, he will put our feet upon the neck of all our enemies. Isaiah 55:4 ; Joshua 10:24 ; Romans 16:20 .
How beautiful are these verses, in reference to the conversion of the Gentiles. Here surely, as before, David's history falls far short of celebrating such victories. But seen with an eye to Christ, how are the promises of Jehovah fulfilled, and the words of Christ confirmed! Isa_49:18-23; Isa_65:1 .
How delightfully the Psalm ends! By the spirit of prophecy, Christ is described as declaring his love to Jehovah, for all his promised strength imparted, and now, having sat down on the seat of the Conqueror, he finisheth his hymn of praise in again celebrating his glory. The Lord Jehovah liveth an everlasting and eternal I AM. And as Jehovah liveth, so hath he exalted and crowned his anointed. And, Reader, do not fail to ob serve, how Christ includes the blessedness of his seed forevermore. Yes! precious Lord, thou and thy seed are one. In thee they are beheld, by thee they are made victorious, and through thee they are blessed forevermore. Amen.
Now, Lord, having beheld thy victories and the triumphs of thy redemption-work, let my soul pause over the same, and look up to thee in all those endearing characters, in which thou hast manifested thy grace and glory, when thou camest forth for the salvation of thy people. Do I not behold, in all that is here so sweetly expressed of thee and thy great undertaking, how graciously the Father's hand was with thee, in and through the whole of the work the Father gave thee to do? And shall I not by faith, while remembering thy victories this day, follow thee in the praises of Jehovah, and call God my Father in thee, my Rock, and my strong Salvation? Oh! precious, precious Jesus, how inexpressibly sweet and refreshing to my soul is it to see that, from the intimate connection in which all thy redeemed stand to thee, what thou rejoicest in, we also rejoice, thy triumphs are our triumphs, and thy victories our victories. Thou art our glorious Head, and thy church is thy body; thou art the fulness of all fulness, to fill all in all.
And now, Lord, lead all thy redeemed forth to the same victory, in the casting down all the strong holds of sin and Satan. Subdue in us, blessed Jesus, as thou hast subdued for us, every remaining lust within or foe without, and hasten the glorious hour, when all that would now oppose our everlasting enjoyment of thee shall be destroyed; and, like Israel on the shore of the Red Sea, beholding their foes destroyed before their eyes, may we see their faces no more again forever. Oh! for grace to begin the song of redeeming love, and to chant every verse of it daily, as we travel home to our Father's house: Salvation to God and the Lamb! And oh! for glory to break in upon our souls, when the pilgrimage is ended, and when we shall sing aloud that glorious song: Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ, and he shall reign forever. Amen.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Psalms 18". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/