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This Psalms opens with prayer, then an address showing the folly, as well as danger, of pursuing vanity; the close of the Psalm determines that the happiness of man must be alone found in the favor of God.
To the chief Musician on Neginoth. A Psalm of David.
Before I enter upon the Psalm itself I would beg the Reader's attention to the title of it. Some have thought that this Psalm was used in the temple service, and sung there. And they that have drawn this conclusion suppose also, that Neginoth meant stringed instruments, similar to what is said Habakkuk 3:19 . But while I do not presume to say otherwise, I venture to throw out a conjecture, that this Psalm was addressed to an infinitely greater person, than any among the sons of men. The Septuagint read the word which we have rendered in our translation 'chief Musician Lamenetz, instead of Lamenetzoth; the meaning of which is unto the end. From whence the Greek and Latin Fathers imagined, that all the Psalms which bear this inscription refer to the Messiah, the great end. If so, is not this Psalm, and indeed all the Psalms that are so addressed to the chief Musician, directed to Jesus? I ask the question, let the Reader remember; I do not determine it. But if there be any foundation for the idea, surely it is an interesting one, to take with us in our searching for him through the whole book of Psalms, from whence we know, as well as other parts of scripture, the Lord Jesus spake to his disciples concerning himself. Luke 24:44 .
Is not this holy cry to God founded on the plea of him and his merit, who is truly called the Lord our righteousness; and who is made of God to his people, both wisdom and righteousness, sanctification and redemption? If the prayer be thus read with an eye to Jesus, it becomes a blessed argument indeed. And the other part of the motive for redress is also very sweet and important. We take the most effectual method to obtain new mercies, when we remind God of his past favors. What indeed can be more grateful to the Lord, than, by thus acting faith upon what the Lord will give, to tell him what he hath before bestowed upon us? But is there not even a higher sense to be put upon this verse? May we not without violence consider the prayer as the supplication of the God-man Christ Jesus? Hebrews 1:7-8 .
We have here an address, and it is a very affectionate one, to the children of men, for despising Jesus and his salvation. Is not this of all sins the grossest, to think slightingly of that which occupied the mind of Jehovah from all eternity?
What a beautiful view have we in this verse in reference to the person of Jesus, the Father's beloved, the Father's holy one, the Father's only one, in whom his soul delighteth. Yes! God the Father will hear the cry of every poor sinner, that gives honour to God's own appointment in looking unto him, on whom the Father is always looking.
Nothing can be more gracious than what is here recommended. It is as if the Holy Ghost commanded the sinner to pause over the view of his own nothingness, and then to come by faith, with Jesus and his righteousness in his arms, and to say, Lord, here is my sole trust and dependence.
Is not this exhibited in the world every day? While some are sending out their thoughts, and wishes, and expectations, to invite any vanity, any folly; the people of God are looking up to Jesus, and asking for a view of him who is the light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of his people Israel. Precious Jesus! be thou my light, my life, my portion, and I shall need no other.
Is not this an immediate answer to prayer? And doth it not prove t h e truth of that sweet promise, Isaiah 65:24 ?
Happy and gracious conclusion of every truly regenerate soul, convinced of an interest in Christ, and a personal union with him. The beloved of the Lord shall dwell safely. Isaiah 32:18 .
READER! let you and I never lose sight of the Lord Jesus while reading this Psalm. He is the Lord our righteousness. And, therefore, in all our approaches to the mercy-seat, let us go there in a language corresponding to this, which calls Jesus the God of our righteousness. And while men of the world from the world are seeking their chief good, let us desire his favor which infinitely transcends corn and wine, and all the good things which perish in using. Yes! Lord, thy favor is better than life itself. Thou causest them that love thee to inherit substance, and fittest all their treasure, yea thou thyself art their treasure.
And oh! thou gracious God and Father, hast thou in such a wonderful manner set apart one in our nature for thyself? Hast thou indeed chosen one out of thy people? Hast thou beheld him in the purity of his nature, as one in every point godly? Hast thou given him as the covenant of the people? And hast thou declared thyself well pleased in him? Oh! then, well may my soul be well pleased in him also. Now do I know that my God and Father will hear me when I call upon him in Jesus name, and when I look up to him for acceptance for Jesus sake. Yes! my heart is fixed, O Lord, my heart is fixed; Jesus is my hope and righteousness: the Lord will hear me when I call. And henceforth will I both lay me down in peace, and sleep securely in Jesus, accepted in the beloved: for this is the rest wherewith the Lord causeth the weary to rest, and this is their refreshment.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Psalms 4". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the First Week of Advent