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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 118

Simeon's Horae HomileticaeHorae Homileticae

Verses 27-28


Psalms 118:27-28. God is the Lord which hath shewed us light. bind the sacrifice with cords, even unto the horns of the altar. Thou art my God, and I will praise thee; thou art my God, I will exalt thee.

HOWEVER plainly this psalm refers to David, we are sure that a greater than David is here. The words as applied to David, convey an exceedingly grand and important meaning. He had met with many obstacles in his advancement to the throne of Israel. Oftentimes had his life been sought by Saul: and since the death of Saul there were many formidable conspiracies against him. No sooner was he made king over Israel, than the Philistines sought, and that repeatedly, to destroy him [Note: 2 Samuel 5:17-18; 2 Samuel 5:22.]; and it was only through the special intervention of God himself that he was able to prevail against them. It appears that many other of the surrounding nations also conspired against him [Note: ver. 10–12. Four times does he repeat, and, in the last, with a very expressive simile, “They compassed me about.”]; but through the same Almighty power he was enabled to subdue them. At last, after more than seven years’ opposition from all the tribes of Israel [Note: 2 Samuel 5:4-5.], he was firmly fixed upon the throne, and “the stone which had been so long rejected of the builders, was made the head of the corner [Note: ver. 22.].” This event reflected great “light” upon all God’s purposes respecting him. Darkness had hung over him for a long period; but it was now dispelled; and he saw clearly these two important truths, That God’s counsel, by whomsoever opposed, shall stand; and, that they who trust in the Lord, however tried they may be, shall never be confounded.

But, as we said, a greater than David is here. It was generally acknowledged amongst the Jews themselves that David was a type of the Messiah, and that this psalm had an especial reference to Him who was in due time to sit upon the throne of David. Hence the acclamations which were used by the people on the occasion of David’s installation, were used by the Jews in reference to Christ [Note: Matthew 21:9.]: and he vindicated their conduct in this particular [Note: Matthew 21:16.]: and afterwards appealed to this very psalm in confirmation of his predictions respecting his rejection by them, and his subsequent elevation to the throne of David [Note: Matthew 21:42.]. In like manner, after the death and resurrection of Christ, St. Peter, “when he was filled with the Holy Ghost,” expressly applied to Christ this very passage, and affirmed in the presence of all the Rulers and Elders of Israel that it was accomplished in the exaltation of that Jesus whom they had crucified [Note: Acts 4:8; Acts 4:11.].

Now in this event, the exaltation of Christ to the throne of glory, God has indeed “shewed us light:” and it will be a profitable subject for our meditation at this time, if we consider,


The light which God has shewn us—

Previous to the resurrection of Christ, all was darkness: the disciples themselves doubted whether they had not been deceived in their expectations respecting him. But from that event, and his consequent ascension to the right hand of God, we learn infallibly,


The efficacy of his atonement—

[Had he not risen, we might have conceived of him as a great Prophet indeed, but as nothing more than a prophet, who, like multitudes who had preceded him, sealed his doctrines with his own blood. But he had spoken of his death as a ransom to be paid for the souls of men: and how could we have known that that ransom was accepted, if his resurrection, which he himself taught his disciples to look forward to as the proof and evidence of his acceptance, had not been effected? But when we see that he did rise from the dead, and did ascend to heaven in the presence of his disciples, and did send down the Holy Spirit according to his word to bear testimony concerning him, there is no room left for doubt: we are perfectly sure that his offering was accepted of the Father, and that by his obedience unto death he has wrought out eternal redemption for us [Note: Romans 1:4; Romans 8:34.].]


The sufficiency of his grace—

[Even when our blessed Lord was on earth, the whole creation, animate and inanimate, terrestrial and infernal, were obedient to his will: how much more therefore, now that he is exalted to the right hand of the Majesty on high, and has all fulness treasured up in him for the benefit of his people, must he be able to “do all things which we call upon him for!” If he says, as he did to St. Paul, “My grace is sufficient for thee,” we may safely adopt St. Paul’s language, and say, “I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me.” If all enemies are put under his feet, they shall assuredly be put under ours also: even “Satan himself shall be bruised under our feet shortly.”]


The excellency of his salvation—

[Behold what has taken place with respect to him! He is exalted to the throne of God, and possessed of all the glory which he had with the Father before the worlds were made. The same glory is reserved for us also [Note: Luke 22:29.], and a participation of that very throne which his Father has given to him [Note: Revelation 3:21.]. Believer, contemplate all the glory and felicity of your exalted Head; and then see what is prepared for all his members: “your body shall be like unto his glorious body;” your soul shall be transformed into his perfect image; and all the glory which his Father has given him, shall be your inalienable and everlasting inheritance [Note: John 17:22. 1 Peter 1:4.].]

What a glorious light is this! Let it lead us to contemplate,


The returns which it calls for at our hands—

Surely such discoveries as are here made to us should call forth our devoutest affections: they should lead us,


To surrender up ourselves entirely to God—

[The sacrifices which David and Solomon offered unto God were almost without number [Note: 1 Chronicles 29:21. 1 Kings 8:62-63.]: but the sacrifice of a broken and contrite spirit, or of a devout and grateful heart, outweighs them all [Note: Psalms 50:13-14; Psalms 51:16-17.]. Whether the sacrifices were ever “bound to the horns of the altar,” we are not informed: but sure enough our hearts need to be bound; for they are ever ready to “start aside as a broken bow,” and “to backslide from God as a backsliding heifer: “and we should labour incessantly to say with David, “O God, my heart is fixed, my heart is fixed; I will sing and give praise.” The example of Abraham may assist us in this particular. The offering of his son was a dark dispensation: but, when God arrested the arm of Abraham, and forbad him to inflict the fatal wound, a light beamed in upon his soul; he saw a risen Saviour presented to him under the image of his restored son: and instantly “he took the ram which was caught in the thicket, and offered him up for burnt-offering in the stead of his son [Note: Genesis 22:13.].” Let the sight of a risen Saviour operate in like manner upon us; let us take the offering which all of us have at hand, and which we know will be pleasing to the Lord, even “the offering of a free heart,” and let us present it a living sacrifice to God, as our reasonable and most delightful service [Note: Romans 12:1. with Hebrews 13:15.].]


To rejoice and glory in God as our portion for ever—

[Like Paul, we may say of Christ, “He has loved me, and given himself for me.” Indeed, without this appropriation of God and his blessings to our own souls, we can never attain to a joyful and thankful spirit: but it is the privilege of every believer to say of Christ, “He is my friend, He is my beloved.” God approves of this language, by whomsoever used, provided only it be used in sincerity and truth; “Thou art my God, and I will praise thee; thou art my God, I will exalt thee.” If under the Old Testament, believers could say, “My beloved is mine, and I am his,” much more may we regard him as “the strength of our heart, and our portion for ever.”]


To those who are yet in darkness—

[Long was the night with which David was enclosed, insomuch that he sometimes feared he should “one day perish by the hands of Saul:” yet at last the day dawned upon him, and “God shewed him light.” Dark also were the dispensations towards our blessed Lord, till in his resurrection and ascension the true light was made to shine. Let not any of us then indulge desponding fears: let us know assuredly, that “the counsel of God shall stand,” and that “they who trust in him shall never be confounded.” Indeed even “in our darkness the Lord will be a light unto us;” and soon “our light shall rise in obscurity, and our darkness be as the noon-day.”


To those who have been “brought out of darkness into God’s marvellous light”—

[Happy, happy ye, who behold a risen Saviour, and see the fulness which ye have in him! Ye may be sweetly assured, that, as he is able, so also he is engaged, to “save your souls to the uttermost, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for you.” But let this light have its proper influence upon your minds. “Walk as children of the light” and of the day: yea, “walk in the light, as he is in the light.” If you do indeed “behold the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ,” “it is God the Lord who hath shewn it to you;” and “ye, as his peculiar people, are called to shew forth his praises [Note: 1 Peter 2:9.].” Do this then in the way before prescribed: give up yourselves wholly unto him; and take him as your only, your everlasting, portion.]

Bibliographical Information
Simeon, Charles. "Commentary on Psalms 118". Simeon's Horae Homileticae. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/shh/psalms-118.html. 1832.
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