We have here another hymn, if not to the victories of Jesus in the works of grace, yet to his glory as manifested in the works of creation, and in the gospel of his salvation. In the former part, the wonders of God's power, as displayed in the creation of the heavenly bodies; in the latter, the still more marvellous power as set forth in the new creation of the soul.
To the chief Musician. A Psalm of David.
The book of God in creation, which the heavens open to the world; so full and plainly demonstrates his Godhead, that, as the apostle speaks, the invisible things of God are clearly seen by the things, which he hath made, even his eternal power and Godhead. Romans 1:19. They most evidently prove a first cause, since they could not create themselves, nor have existed from eternity.
In like manner, the regular succession of day and night prove no less his order and government. He maketh the outgoings of the morning and evening to praise him. Psalms 65:8. And so universal are those teachings, that there is no nation under the sun but hath this book of God in creation opened to their view.
Reader, remark by the way the perpetuity of this order and regularity, as a confirmation of God's covenant with Noah. After the deluge the Lord promised, that while the earth remained seed-time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, and day and night, should not cease. And, although this promise was made more than four thousand years since, yet God is as true to his promise as though it was made but yesterday. Mark this, Reader, as a further proof of divine faithfulness, and remember what God commanded by Moses, Know, therefore, that the Lord thy God he is God, the faithful God. Genesis 8:22; Deuteronomy 7:9.
These verses contain a most delightful account of the heavens and the heavenly bodies, in their light and beneficial influence; and particularly with reference to the glorious luminary of the day, which is placed in the centre. Under the striking similitude of a bridegroom, or of a strong man, the sun is represented, as unceasingly issuing forth with renewed vigour from day to day, to enlighten, fertilize, and warm all the varieties of the earth. But much higher views had the inspired writer before him, when thus contemplating the glory, and splendor, and usefulness of this planet; it is of Jesus, the Sun of Righteousness, he speaks, and whose glories he celebrates. This is the tabernacle of our nature, here referred to, which God the Father provided, when a body he prepared for him, and in which God the Son tabernacled, when he became God manifest in the flesh. From whence, as the light and life of the world, he graciously communicates all the blessed rays of spiritual and eternal life. Here Jesus indeed rejoiceth in giving out of his fulness, shining in upon the dark minds of his people, and causing them to rejoice in his light, and to find happiness in his grace here, and glory hereafter. He is, my soul, that Sun of righteousness, which the prophet predicted should arise with healing in his wings. And he is that glorious sun, which another prophet predicted should arise no more to go down. Precious Jesus! be thou my everlasting light, and my God and my glory. Malachi 4:2; Isaiah 60:19-20.
Here the sacred writer makes a beautiful transition from the works of nature to contemplate the works of grace. Having celebrated the praises of Jehovah in his outward courts, he now enters the inner temple to adore him. And if the former preached Christ, still in much higher strains doth the latter. I would have the Reader remark with me, how much the sacred penman dwells upon the glorious and incommunicable name of Jehovah. No less than six times in three verses is that high and lofty name mentioned. And, in like manner, he maketh use of six different terms to denote Christ and his sacred word by. For, I take it for granted, the Reader is apprized that Jesus is all along referred to by what is here said. He is indeed the substance of the law, and the testimony, and the statutes. He converts the soul. He rejoiceth the heart. He is the Alpha and Omega of all God's gracious dealings with men. And, therefore, is more precious than gold, yea, than the golden wedge of Ophir. He causeth them, as he saith himself, that love him to possess substance, yea durable riches and righteousness, Proverbs 8:18-21.
This forms a most beautiful break and interruption to the Psalmist's devout contemplation. It comes in with a striking demand upon the heart, as if under a consciousness that having such discoveries made of Jesus and his preciousness, how inexcusable it must be in any soul to overlook and forget him. And hence he cries out, Who can tell, in the multiplied instances of his own transgressions, these particulars? Reader! recollect, how secret soever or unknown in numberless occasions to ourselves, yet our sins are all open and naked to the eyes of him with whom we have to do. Oh! what a relief to the soul is that scripture, the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth from all sin. 1 John 1:7.
These are sweet prayers, and when offered in faith through Him, who is the Lord our Righteousness, then may we hope that he who is the Sun of Righteousness, and both the substance and the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth, will sweetly accompany, by his blessed Spirit, the song of praise and love in which we celebrate his glories, that we shall praise him here, and ere long unceasingly praise him, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, in the firmament of his glory forevermore. Amen.
READER, as oft as you and I look up and behold the heavenly bodies all ministering in their appointed order, and contemplate God's covenant love, existing and confirmed at this hour as much as when first God promised that seed-time and harvest, summer and winter, day and night should remain; oh! let the view bring home additional proofs of God's faithfulness. I would say to my heart, as Moses the man of God, said to Israel, Know thou, that the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations.
And, Reader, let this confirmation of God's faithfulness in the works of creation, become a blessed testimony to strengthen both our souls, of the faithfulness of Jehovah in the kingdom of his grace. Yes! blessed Jesus! thou art he whom God our Father hath given, as the light and life of thy people. In our nature, at the call of Jehovah, thou hast tabernacled. Thou hast with unceasing brightness, from day to day, been illuminating thy gospel church. Oh Lord! let the law of thy mouth, and thy statutes; thy testimonies, thy judgments, thy commandment, and thy fear, be inwrought by thy grace in our souls. And give us to esteem thee and thy word more than our necessary food. Cause us, under the enjoyment of it, to cry out with thy church of old, thy lips drop as the honeycomb, honey and milk are under thy tongue. Thy love is better than wine. Precious Lord! what shame and confusion of face ought we to feel, in the recollection of our numerous offences, numerous neglects, and forgetfulness of thee. Lord! revive thy work! awaken meditation! Oh thou, who art the hope of Israel and the Saviour thereof! be thou my constant joy, my unceasing delight; and let my meditation of thee be sweet, and all my springs be in thee!
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Psalms 19". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
Second Sunday after Epiphany