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Bible Commentaries

Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae
Psalms 92

 

 

Verse 4-5

DISCOURSE: 657

GOD ADMIRED IN HIS WORKS

Psalms 92:4-5. Thou, Lord, hast made me glad through thy work: I will triumph in the works of thy hands. O Lord, how great are thy works! and thy thoughts are very deep.

TO man, in this vale of tears, God has opened many sources of happiness; many in his intercourse with his fellow-man, but more and greater in communion with his God. In truth, if it be not his own fault, he may have in a measure the felicity of the Paradisiacal state restored to him: for though, through the weakness of the flesh, “he is in heaviness through manifold temptations,” he has a God to go unto, a God ever at hand, in whom it is his privilege always to rejoice: “Rejoice in the Lord alway,” says the Apostle; and “again,” he adds, “Rejoice.”

The frame of David’s mind, in the psalm before us, (for we can scarcely doubt but that the composition was his,) being that which we should cultivate, we will consider,

I. The works which he contemplated—

It is probable that the writer of this psalm had primarily in his view the wonders of creation; because the psalm was written for the Sabbath-day [Note: See the title to the Psalm.], which was instituted to commemorate God’s rest from his creating work. Yet, in the body of the psalm, much is spoken respecting the dispensations of God in his providence: and David, whom I consider as the author of it, had experienced the most wonderful interpositions in his behalf; so that, amongst all the children of men, there was not one who had more cause than he to sing of “the loving-kindness and the faithfulness of Jehovah;” of his “loving-kindness,” in selecting him to such high destinies; and his “faithfulness,” in accomplishing to him his promises in their full extent. But the language of my text necessarily leads our minds to that greatest and most stupendous of all God’s works, the work of Redemption

[This may be treated either in reference to Redemption generally, as wrought out for us by the incarnation, and death, and resurrection, and ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ; or with a special reference to any one of these topics which may be suited to a particular season. But, in whatever way it be treated, the greatness of the work must be the point chiefly insisted on.]

II. His experience in the contemplation of them—

He was filled,

1. With triumphant joy—

[It is not possible to view these wonders of Redeeming Love, and not feel the reasonableness of that command: “Rejoice in the Lord alway; and again I say, Rejoice [Note: Philippians 4:4.].” Well does the Psalmist say, “It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord.” It is indeed good, at all times [Note: ver. 2.], and in every possible way [Note: ver. 3.]. In this holy exercise should every faculty of our souls be engaged [Note: Psalms 103:1.].]

2. With adoring gratitude—

[This, after all, is the fittest expression of our joy. The wonders of God’s love are so stupendous, that all attempts to celebrate them aright must fail; and silence, the profoundest silence, on such a subject, if proceeding from an overwhelming sense of it, may justly be accounted the sublimest eloquence. The Psalmist’s experience was of this kind [Note: ver. 5,]; as were St. Paul’s also, when he exclaimed, “O the depth [Note: Romans 11:33.]!”]

Address—

1. Those who are strangers to this frame—

[Alas! how little is this state of mind experienced by the generality of Christians! and in what humiliating terms is their insensibility described in the words following my text! I would not speak offensively, or wound the feelings of any: but I would ask you, whether David speaks too strongly, when he characterizes such persons as “brutish and fools [Note: ver. 6.]? You well know that the prophets often speak the same language [Note: Isaiah 1:3 and Jeremiah 8:7.]; and I pray you to repent of your insensibility, that these characters may no longer attach to you.]

2. Those who aspire after it—

[Let your thoughts soar to high and heavenly things; and especially let them be occupied on the works of God, and on his perfections as displayed in the great mystery of Redemption. Surely you shall not long meditate on these things in vain. Your God will cause you to “triumph in Christ Jesus.” But never rest, till you have those overwhelming views of Christ which characterize the worship of heaven. The glorified saints and angels all fall upon their faces before the throne: seek ye the same frame of mind with them; and soon you shall join with them in everlasting hallelujahs to God and to the Lamb.]


Verses 12-15

DISCOURSE: 658

THE BELIEVER’S SECURITY

Psalms 92:12-15. The righteous shall flourish like the palm-tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those that be planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing; to shew that the Lord is upright: he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.

WELL may we be filled with gratitude, whilst we contemplate the wonders of creation and of providence [Note: ver. 1–5.]: but deeper far are the wonders of redeeming love, secured as they are to the saints by the immutable perfections of God. “A brutish man, indeed, knows them not; nor does a fool understand them [Note: ver. 6,]:” but those who “are anointed with that heavenly unction which teacheth them all things [Note: 1 John 2:20; 1 John 2:27.]” have an insight into them, and can attest the truth of the assertions of the Psalmist, whilst he declares,

I. The privileges of the righteous—

“The righteous” are indeed highly favoured of the Lord. To them, amidst innumerable other blessings, are secured,

1. Stability—

[“The palm-tree and the cedar” are trees of most majestic growth; the one retaining its foliage all the year, and the other pre-eminent in respect of strength and durability. And like these shall the righteous “flourish:” nothing shall despoil them of their beauty, nothing shall subvert their souls — — — They may indeed be assailed with many storms and tempests; but they shall not be cast down; or, if cast down, shall not be destroyed [Note: Job 5:19. Psalms 34:19. 2 Corinthians 4:8-10.] — — — Being once “planted in the house of the Lord, they shall flourish in the courts of our God,” never withering for want of nourishment [Note: Psalms 1:3 and Jeremiah 17:8.], nor ever decaying by the lapse of years [Note: Isaiah 65:22.].]

2. Fruitfulness—

[The Gospel, wherever it comes, brings forth fruit [Note: Colossians 1:6.]; and all who receive it aright become “fat and flourishing,” “being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God [Note: Philippians 1:11.]. For every season in the year they have appropriate fruit [Note: Ezekiel 47:12.]: and even to “old age,” when other trees decay, these retain their vigour and fertility. There may, indeed, be a difference in the fruits produced by them at the different periods of life; that of youth being more beauteous to the eye; and that of age, more pleasant to the taste, as savouring less of crudity, and as being more richly flavoured through the influence of many ripening suns. “The fruits of the Spirit,” indeed, are seen in both [Note: Galatians 5:22-23.]; but in one, the fruit of activity and zeal; and in the other, a patient waiting for the coming of their Lord [Note: 1 Corinthians 1:7.]. To the latest hour of their existence shall they bring forth fruit unto God [Note: Hosea 14:5-7.], and God shall be “glorified in them [Note: Isaiah 61:3.].” Never shall their leaf wither or their fruit fail, till they are transplanted to the Paradise above.]

The confidence with which David announces to the righteous their privileges, will lead us to consider,

II. Their security for the enjoyment of them—

God has solemnly engaged to confer these blessings upon them—

[From all eternity did he enter into covenant with his dear Son, that “if he would make his soul an offering for sin, he should see a seed, who should prolong their days; and the pleasure of the Lord should prosper in his hand [Note: Isaiah 53:10.].” The terms being accepted by the Lord Jesus, a people were “given to him;” with an assurance that not one of them should ever be lost [Note: John 17:2; John 17:6; John 17:9-12; John 17:24.]. Accordingly, we find innumerable promises made to them, that “God will keep their feet [Note: 1 Samuel 2:9.],” and carry on his work in their hearts [Note: Philippians 1:6.], and “preserve them blameless unto his heavenly kingdom [Note: 1 Corinthians 1:8. 1 Thessalonians 5:23.].”]

From respect to these engagements, he will assuredly fulfil his word—

[Not one jot or tittle of his word shall fail [Note: Isaiah 54:9-10.]. His children may, indeed, by their transgressions, call forth some tokens of his displeasure: yet, though he visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes, his loving-kindness will he not utterly take from them, nor suffer his faithfulness to fail. His covenant will he not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of his lips; for once he has sworn by his holiness, that he will not lie unto David [Note: Psalms 89:30-35.]. Having thus pledged his truth and faithfulness in their behalf [Note: 1 Thessalonians 5:24.], and engaged never to leave them till he has accomplished in them and for them all that he has promised [Note: Hebrews 13:5-6.], he considers his own honour as involved in their happiness [Note: Ezekiel 39:25.]; and would account himself “unrighteous,” if he left so much as one of them to perish [Note: Hebrews 6:10.]. But “he cannot lie [Note: Titus 1:2.]:” and, therefore, all who have fled for refuge to lay hold on the hope set before them, may have the most abundant consolation [Note: Hebrews 6:17-18.],” in an assured expectation that “he will perfect that which concerneth them [Note: Psalms 138:8.],” and “keep them, by his own power, unto everlasting salvation [Note: 1 Peter 1:5.].”]

Comforting as this Scripture is, it needs to be very carefully guarded from abuse. Permit me, then, to address myself,

1. To those who are indulging in undue security—

[Is there any one that will dare to say, ‘I cannot fall; or, if I fall, I cannot but rise again: for, if God were to leave me to perish, he would be unfaithful and unjust?’ I must reply to such an one, ‘Thou art on the very border and precipice of hell.’ Who art thou, that thou shouldst not fall, when David, and Solomon, and Peter fell? Or, who art thou, that thou must be raised again, when Demas, as far as we know, fell for ever? Hast thou been up to heaven, and seen thy name written in the Book of Life? Hast thou inspected that covenant which was made between the Father and the Son, and seen that thou wast among the number of those who were given to Christ before the foundation of the world? “The Lord knoweth them that are his;” but who besides him possesses that knowledge? What knowest thou, except as far as causes can be discerned by their effects? Thou hast experienced what appears to be a work of grace in thy soul. Be thankful: but be not over confident: thousands have deceived themselves: and thou mayest have done the same. Could it be infallibly ascertained that thou wast given to Christ before the foundation of the world, and, in consequence of God’s engagement with him, wast effectually called to a state of union with him, we will acknowledge that none should ever pluck thee out of the Father’s hands [Note: John 10:27-29.]: for “his gifts and calling are without repentance [Note: Romans 11:29.].” But, as this can never be ascertained but by a special revelation from God, I must say to thee, and would say, if thou wert the most eminent Christian upon earth, “Be not high-minded, but fear [Note: Romans 11:20.].” It is certain that multitudes of most distinguished professors have apostatized from their faith: and such may be thine end; yea, and will, if thy confidence be so daring and presumptuous: and, if this should be thine unhappy fate, we shall not for one moment question the fidelity of God; but shall say of you, as St. John did of the apostates in his day, “They went out from us; but they were not of us: for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us [Note: 1 John 2:19.].”]

2. To those who have actually backslidden from God—

[Are there none of this character amongst us? Would to God there were not! But look back, I pray you, and see whether it is still with you as it was in “the day of your espousals [Note: Jeremiah 2:2.].” Have none of you “left your first love [Note: Revelation 2:4.]?” Time was, perhaps, when the concerns of your souls were of such importance in your eyes, that you thought you could never do enough to promote their eternal interests. The word of God and prayer were then, as it were, your daily food: you walked with God all the day long. To maintain communion with him was your highest delight: you dreaded every thing that might draw you from him: your bodies and souls were, like living sacrifices, offered to him daily upon his altar. But how is it with you now? Perhaps at this time any formal service will suffice to satisfy the conscience: the duties of the closet are become irksome to you; the world has regained an ascendant over your minds; and evil tempers, which once appeared subdued and mortified, display themselves on every occasion, to the destruction of your own peace, and to the annoyance of all around you. Ah! think what dishonour you do to God, and what cause of triumph you give to his enemies. Through your misconduct, “the way of truth is evil spoken of,” and “the very name of God is blasphemed.” But His word is true, whether men stumble over it or not: and, whatever a profane world may imagine, “He is a Rock; and there is no unrighteousness in him.” But delude not yourselves with notions about electing love, or God’s faithfulness to his promises. The only promises in which ye have any part, are those which are made to weeping penitents: “Repent ye, then, without delay, and do your first works [Note: Revelation 2:5.]:” else “you shall be filled with your own ways [Note: Proverbs 14:14.],” and reap for ever the bitter fruit of your own devices [Note: Proverbs 1:31; Proverbs 22:8.].]

2. To those who are holding on in the good way—

[You are living witnesses for God, that he is both merciful and “upright.” You know whence it is that you have been preserved. You know that you would have fallen, even as others, if he had not upheld you in his everlasting arms. Give Him the glory, then; and cast yourselves altogether upon him. Beg of him to water your roots, and to make you “fruitful in every good work.” Entreat him, not only “not to turn away from you, but to put his fear in your hearts, that you may never depart from him [Note: Jeremiah 32:40.].” So may you look forward to all the occurrences of life with a joyful hope, that you shall be preserved even to the end, and be “more than conquerors through Him that loved you [Note: Romans 8:35-39.].” The proper medium to be observed, is that between presumptuous hope and servile fear. A filial confidence is your high privilege: and you may go forward with joy, knowing in whom you have believed, that He is both able and willing to keep that which you have committed to him [Note: 2 Timothy 1:12.],” and that he will be eternally glorified in the salvation of your souls.]

 


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Bibliography Information
Simeon, Charles. "Commentary on Psalms 92:4". Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/shh/psalms-92.html. 1832.

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