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This is a lovely Psalm: the sacred writer celebrates God's praise; points out the blessedness of God's chosen; and shows both their temporal and spiritual mercies.
To the chief musician, A Psalm and Song of David.
This Psalm opens with a peculiarity of expression, which merits our attention in a more than ordinary degree, because we do not find any phrase so strong to the great point the Psalmist had in view, in any other part of scripture. Praise waiteth for thee; or as the Chaldee renders it, All praise is silent before thee; meaning that the highest exaltation men or angels can put forth is so low beneath the subject, that it is as if nothing were said. The waiting for God means, no doubt, waiting the Lord's time, the Lord's acceptance, the Lord's mercy, to look graciously upon it. And where is it that this praise waits? In Zion, at Jerusalem. For there alone, in Christ, can either the person, or the offerings of the people be accepted. Sweet and, precious thought! It is only in Jesus, who is the way, and the truth, and the life, that we can come to God. He hath made us accepted in the beloved; John 14:6 ; Ephesians 1:6 . And what an encouraging scripture is that of the prophet, to bring our praises to our God and Father in Christ Jesus, in which the Holy Ghost hath said The people shall dwell in Zion, at Jerusalem: thou shalt weep no more: he will be very gracious unto thee, at the voice of thy cry; when he shall hear it, he will answer thee. Isaiah 30:19 . Reader, do not fail to remark from this sweet verse, how suitable it is in the Lord's people to wait upon him without distraction of thought, and in silence to be prepared for the visits of God's Holy Spirit, before we offer the Lord either our prayers or our praises. How striking is the Lord's direction to this amount! Keep silence before me, O islands, and let the people renew their strength; let them come near - then let them speak. Isaiah 41:1 ; Habakkuk 2:20 .
Here is the immediate act of prayer, and praise in consequence of God's answering. If praise waited! for God, he will not suffer his praying people, or his praising people, to wait long. Well may all flesh come to him, who is the creator of all flesh: and well may all cry unto him, who expressly saith, It shall come to pass, that before my people call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear. Isaiah 65:24 .
But before we dismiss both these verses, I would have the Reader connect them, and then observe, whether the former doth not look with an eye of reference to the Jewish church, and the latter to the Gentile? Jerusalem shalt not be the only spot from whence praise shall ascend; but in every piece (saith the Lord) incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering for my name shall be great among the heathen, saith the Lord of Hosts. Malachi 1:11 .
Here we arrive at the chief subject of this praise, which waited for God in Christ's church at Zion, namely, redemption by Christ's blood. For what shall purge or wash away iniquities, but the blood of the Lamb? Reader! do not fail to remark the blessedness here expressed, that when iniquities prevail, when sin cries for vengeance, the blood of the Lamb cries for mercy. Oh Lord! let praise forever wait in Zion for thee, thou sin-pardoning God, who hast cast away the sins of thy redeemed in the depths of the sea! Well may we cry out under the sense of it, Who is a God like unto thee? Micah 7:18-33.7.19 .
Methinks, I could spend hours on this precious, precious verse, and when I had pondered over the sweet contents of it again and again, it should still be opening new subjects of praise. Reader! who can this man be that is here said to be blessed, but the God-man, the Wisdom man, Christ Jesus? For who but He ever engaged his heart to approach unto Jehovah? Or whom did Jehovah choose to approach unto him, but the man God's fellow? Examine some of those very blessed scriptures, which explain this most glorious doctrine, before you prosecute the other parts of this verse: Psalms 89:19 ; Hebrews 1:6 , etc. Jeremiah 30:21 ; Zechariah 13:7 , etc. And while we thus behold Christ Jesus, as the man of Jehovah's choice, to approach unto him as our surety, our sponsor, our representative; shall we not be satisfied with the greatness of his salvation, and feel the full enjoyment of that unspeakable promise, Men shall be blessed in him, and all nations shall call him blessed? Reader! what saith your heart to these things? Will you not join issue with this precious verse, and say, Blessed is the man, blessed be the Godman, the glory-man, Christ Jesus, the elect, the beloved, the chosen of Jehovah, whom God the Father causeth to approach unto him as the glorious Head, and Redeemer, and Mediator of his people? Yes, we shall be satisfied, yea, abundantly satisfied in him, and with him. Yes, thou Holy One of God! thou, even thou alone, shalt choose our inheritance for us, whom God our Father hath chosen to be our Redeemer. Psalms 47:4 .
Here every child of God can join issue in attesting the truth of this scripture in his own experience. Say, what was the heart occupied in, when God the Spirit first visited the soul? Not in seeking God; not in desiring God; not in thinking of God. Not by works of righteousness (saith the apostle) which we have done, but according to his mercy, he saved us. Titus 3:5-56.3.6 . And when the Lord first awakened the soul, and all the terrors of God's broken law stood open to the sinner's view, how terrible then appeared the apprehension of the wrath to come. But all this was in righteousness, even in the display of the righteousness of Christ Jesus. Wonderful things indeed, my soul! when, by such a gracious process of mercy, the Lord Jesus Christ was brought home to thine heart, and formed there the hope of glory! Wonderful also indeed in the destruction of all those enemies which would have opposed thy salvation. Isaiah 64:3 . And, my soul! never lose sight of the assurance such past testimonies of divine favor afford for all future expectations of the fulfillment of divine promises in Jesus. The God of thy salvation was, and is, and ever will be, the confidence of all the redeemed to the ends of the earth, and their everlasting joy in heaven forever. Oh! for faith in lively exercise, to make use of this well-grounded hope in Jesus upon all occasions of trial.
While we accept these scriptures as continuations of God's sovereign power in the kingdom of nature, let us read them also, as the Holy Ghost hath graciously given them, in this and other passages of his blessed word, as confirmations of the same in the kingdom of grace. How sweet to this purpose (to mention no other) is that precious passage of the prophet, wherein the Lord saith the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but neither Jehovah's kindness, nor his covenant of peace, shall be removed from Jesus, and his people in him. Isaiah 54:10 .
This is a sweet verse, if read with reference to Christ: looking at him as the morning and evening sacrifice set forth under the law, and reading God's covenant of the perpetuity of morning and evening, seed-time and harvest; these things become very refreshing to the soul. Well might the church, therefore, under these impressions, record the faithfulness of the Lord. Pray look at those scriptures in proof: Numbers 28:3-4.28.8 ; Genesis 8:20-1.8.22 ; Lamentations 3:22-25.3.23 . And what are the tokens at which those that dwell in the uttermost parts of the earth are said to be afraid, but the manifestations of salvation by Jesus? When sinners are awakened, and saints refreshed, these tokens excite in every looker-on astonishment and surprise: so said the prophet should be the effect, Isaiah 41:5 .
I have not broken the thread of the subject in these verses, because the whole, taken together, forms a most beautiful description of the divine bounty in those several productions of nature. The blessings of the Lord in fruitful gifts and seasons to the earth, and to the inhabitants of it, are delightfully set forth. And as Moses taught Israel to expect the perpetual return of those things, so the continued enjoyment of them should call forth blessings and praises to the almighty Giver. Exodus 23:16 . But the subject is heightened to a more sublime degree of enjoyment, if, looking beyond the gifts of God in the natural world, we accept those scriptures as descriptive of his spiritual bounty in the world of grace: and we meet with numberless passages in the word of God, to prove that the Holy Ghost evidently intended that the church should so receive them. The wilderness of our nature is said to blossom as the rose, when the Lord visited our earthly minds with the dew of his blessing; and when Jesus comes down, like rain upon the mown grass, on the dry and thirsty souls of his people. The year is indeed crowned with the Lord's goodness, when the year of his redeemed is come, and the Lord pours out of the effusion of his Spirit from that river whose streams make glad the city of God. Oh! the blessedness of looking up to a covenant God in Christ, when the clouds drop fatness, to see all our mercies from whence they flow, through whom they come, and in whom they are indeed blessed. Yes, blessed Jesus! men shall be blessed in thee, and all nations shall call thee blessed. Isaiah 35:0 throughout; Psalms 46:4 ; Psalms 46:7 throughout.
MY soul, I charge it upon thee, by the outgoings of the morning and the evening, that in those constant recurrences of day and night, thou wait in the silence of the most awakened meditation, for goings forth in praise and prayer, in humblings and rejoicings, before the mercy-seat of God in Christ. Say, my soul, canst thou really, truly, heartily, sincerely, adopt this language - praise waited for thee, my God, in Zion? Canst thou look up to thy Jesus, and say, Oh! thou that hearest prayer, to thee do I come?
Blessed God and Father, help me to adore thee, to love thee, to praise thee, for thy gracious choice of Jesus as my Surety. Never, surely, heavenly Lord, didst thou manifest thy grace and love to our poor fallen nature by any act of mercy equal to that, in which thou didst set up thine Holy One to approach unto thee as our glorious Mediator. Oh! for grace to choose him whom God hath chosen, to love him whom God hath loved, and to trust him with our salvation, into whose almighty hands God the Father hath committed all his glory. Lord, make this, I beseech thee, a daily evidence of my interest in Jesus, and of my walking with him. Then, Lord, shall I be satisfied with the goodness of thine house. Precious will be thy sabbaths, thy word, thine ordinances, thy people; all, all that belong to Jesus, will be precious to my soul. Yes, my soul will sit down at the fountain-head of enjoyment, in feasting upon the body and blood of my Lord; thy covenant grace, thy love, thy righteousness, will be a perpetual feast of fat things while here below, until thou shalt call me from the church below to the church above, to the everlasting enjoyment of thy presence in glory forever.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Psalms 65". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany