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The prophet David is evidently here typifying Christ and speaking of him. The Psalm, is a subject of prayer, with strong faith and assurance. In the close a song of thanksgiving is added.
A Psalm of David.
The Psalm opens with powerful pleadings: Christ may be plainly seen here as in the garden. The church, and every individual of it beholding their interest in Christ, and union with Christ, are authorized to adopt this language. But let the believer always keep in remembrance, that this calling upon the Lord's strength to appear for us, is only so far, and no further than as it is for his cause and his glory; and that it is not as our own personal resentment against our enemies, that such petitions are suitable or becoming. I pray the Reader, as I desire grace for myself, ever to keep this in view. And then, with an eye to Christ, or David, or any other of his church, we shall enter into the full apprehension of the truths here contained, and our concern in them.
The last clause in these verses shows the blessedness in what goeth before. If the Lord speak pardon and peace to my soul, he will speak ruin and slaughter unto all mine enemies. Reader! what a precious thought is it that the Lord not only gives salvation, but is himself the soul's salvation.
When the prayer is thus expressed in faith, let the opposers of Christ and his church be confounded, and ashamed, and turned back; it is in other words, they shall be so brought to ruin and confusion. And who will not recollect in this place how exactly this prediction was fulfilled in the garden, when the band came to apprehend Christ, and fell to the ground backward? John 18:5-6 .
Who can be at a loss to discover the blessed Jesus here pointed out, of him it might be strictly said, it was indeed causeless when the enemies of God's Christ sought his destruction: John 15:25 . And what an awful visitation soon after followed upon Jerusalem. Lord! how slow soever may seem to some men the just judgment of God, yet it doth not slumber. 2 Peter 2:3 ; Ecclesiastes 8:11 .
Is there not an allusion here to the whole body of Christ, who will all rejoice at length in his great salvation?
I do not think it enough to prove that these words were spoken in a spirit of prophecy, wholly referring to Christ; but I would desire the Reader to remark, with me, the gracious love of the Holy Ghost to the church, in thus keeping up the faith of Old Testament saints, and confirming the faith of New Testament believers, by such continued references to the person and sufferings of their Redeemer. Matthew 26:59-63 ; John 10:32 .
Literally this is true of Christ. For our sickness was unto death. And to recover us did not Jesus clothe himself with the sackcloth of mortality? Did he not fast forty days and forty nights? Did he not both fast and pray, and mourn over us as though we had been friends or brethren, when we were all enemies to God by wicked works? Oh, thou compassionate Lord! Yes! thou wert a brother indeed born for adversity! Thou wert and art a friend at all times, and thou didst, and still thou dost comfort us, as one whom his mother comforted. Proverbs 17:7 ; Isaiah 66:13 ; John 15:13-15 .
Look at the cross, and behold this most strikingly fulfilled. Where indeed shall we look for it in the affliction of any other? Matthew 27:39-44 .
We have a similar cry delivered concerning Christ, by the spirit of prophecy, Psalms 22:20-21 .
Reader! do not overlook, I pray you, the tenderness of the blessed Jesus, and his love to his people, even in the deepest sufferings. And do not forget that this congregation is his brethren. For confirmation, see Psalms 22:22-25 . Precious, kind Redeemer! still thou wilt keep up the remembrance of thy relationship, and still thou wilt own thy brethren, though many of them were among thy murderers, and all by nature enemies to thee. Hebrews 2:11 , to the end.
Reader! recollect the peaceable temper and meekness of Jesus: recollect the temper of his apostles and followers: recollect in all ages, and even now ask, what is the temper and pursuit of God's people: is it not that of following peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord? And yet is not hell up in arms against them, and are they not considered as the filth of the world, and the offscouring of all things? 1 Corinthians 4:13 .
Christ is frequently in scripture represented as longing for the year of his redeemed, before his coming; and both Christ and the Church longing also for his second coming to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe. In that day he will root out of his kingdom all things that offend; and songs of everlasting salvation and joy will then be heard among all his redeemed in glory.
READER! methinks I would pass by every other consideration while going over this precious Psalm, and overlook all other persons and characters, to contemplate Him, and Him only, who here, under the prophetical inspiration given by God the Holy Ghost to his servant David, is so strikingly set forth! Let us behold him here as our surety; sustaining every indignity, reproach, and suffering which we merited, and he endured: and as the holy, harmless Jesus, who had done no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth, appealing for the justice of his cause to his most righteous Father. And while you and I read the sorrowful account, oh! for grace so to take interest - in what we read of Jesus, as the Christ of God, as to feel our whole souls drawn out in love and affection to him. Yea, blessed Jesus! I would say, did false witnesses arise up against thee; did they nail thee to the cross, and insult over thy sacred person in those unequalled seasons of sorrow! Did they add cruelty to injustice, and bid defiance to thy sovereignty, grace, and love; and wert thou thus oppressed, detested, and despised for me and for my salvation? Didst thou indeed give thy back to the smiters, and thy cheeks to them that plucked off the hair, and hid not thy face from shame and spitting? And all this for me! Oh! love inexpressible, in comprehensible, and passing knowledge! Henceforth, dear Lord, let me never, never lose sight of thee, and thy patience under sufferings. Give me, I beseech thee, grace in all the little provocations which I meet with in life in following thee and thy glorious cause; give me grace to consider at all times Him who endured such a contradiction of sinners against himself, that I may never be weary nor faint in mind. Lord! let me esteem it my highest honour, my most distinguishing privilege, to be conformed to thee and to thy likeness in all things; that I may know the power of thy resurrection and the fellowship of thy sufferings. And oh! let my tongue speak of thy righteousness, and of thy praise all the day long.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Psalms 35". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24