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Bible Commentaries

The Biblical Illustrator
Psalms 21

 

 

Verses 1-13

Psalms 21:1-13

The king shall Joy in Thy strength, O Lord; and in Thy salvation how greatly shall he rejoice.

The feelings of the good in relation to the subjugation of evil

Take the literal view of this Psalm as a type of the moral one against error and sin, and we have--

I. Thanksgiving for victory. Verses 1-7 are a triumphant declaration of some victory. “Thou settest a crown of pure gold upon his bead.” Now--

1. His conquest was a source of joy. “The king shall joy,” etc.

2. His conquest was of Divine mercy. “Thou hast given him,” etc. That mercy went before him. “Thou preventest him,” etc., and transcended his progress. “He asked life of Thee, and Thou gavest it him, even length of days forever and ever.”

3. His conquest exalted him to honour. “His glory is great,” etc. And--

4. Was connected with his trust in God. “For the king trusteth,” etc.

II. Expectation of yet further victory. “Thine hand shall find out all Thine enemies,” etc. In moral struggles, past victories promise future ones. Because--

1. The opposition is weakened.

2. The weapons cannot be injured. The sword of the Spirit cannot rest nor decay.

3. The resources are inexhaustible--God’s wisdom, love, and power.

4. The enemies already overcome are as great as any remaining; and

5. Each new conquest weakens the foe, but increases the strength of the conqueror.

III. Desire for victory over all enemies. And this shall be. “Be Thou exalted, Lord, in,” etc. (D. Thomas, D. D.)

The Lord Protector of princes

Here is God assisting, and the king trusting; God saving, and the king rejoicing; the king desiring, and God satisfying his desires to the full. In this verse are three remarkable conjugations. God is joined with the king. Strength with confidence. Salvation with exceeding great joy. Thus they depend on each other. The king on God. Confidence on strength. Joy of salvation. God exalteth the king. Strength begetteth confidence. Salvation bringeth with it exceeding joy. God is above the king. Salvation is above strength. Exceeding joy above confidence.

1. The only security of princes and states is in the strength of the Almighty.

2. God holdeth a special hand over sovereign princes.

3. Princes mightily defended and safely preserved by the arm of God must thankfully acknowledge this singular favour, and deliver their deliverances to after ages, that the children yet unborn may praise the Lord as we do this day. (D. Featley, D. D.)

Rejoicing in the strength of God

“Oh, it is good rejoicing in the strength of that arm which shall never wither, and in the shadow of those wings which shall never cast their feathers! In Him that is not there yesterday and here today, but the same yesterday, today, and forever! For as He is, so shall the joy be.” (Launcelot Andrews.)

In Thy salvation how greatly shall he rejoice.

The joy of the heavenly King

I. This joy arose from a consciousness of newly-achieved victory.

1. This victory was achieved by supernatural power. Not by the ordinary tactics of military genius, or by the prowess of a human arm. The salvation of humanity is a Divine work.

2. This victory was granted in answer to earnest prayer (Psalms 21:2). The agony of wrestling prayer is often turned into the rapture of success.

II. This joy was accelerated by possessing an affluence of Divine blessing.

1. He was surrounded with evidences of the Divine beneficence. God’s gifts are God’s love embodied and expressed.

2. He was invested with the most illustrious dignity (Psalms 21:3; Psalms 21:5). Jesus wore a thorn crown, but now He wears the glory crown.

3. He enjoyed the consciousness of an imperishable life (Psalms 21:4). He was raised from the dead to die no more.

4. He became the source of endless blessing to others (Psalms 21:6). In and through Him all nations of the earth are blessed.

5. He exults in the Divine favour (Psalms 21:6). The countenance of God makes the Prince of heaven glad.

III. This joy was intensified by the assurance of the unshakeable permanency of His government.

1. The permanency of Messiah’s throne is secured by the Divine mercy (Psalms 21:7). He who is most high in every sense engages all His infinite perfections to maintain the throne of grace upon which our King in Zion reigns.

2. The assurance of this permanency is strengthened by Messiah’s confidence in God (Psalms 21:7). The joy and confidence of Christ our King is the ground of all our joy and confidence, and the pledge of final conquest over all our foes. (Homiletic Commentary.)

A completed salvation, Messiah’s triumph

I. Look at our King as having accomplished salvation. But few Christians believe in a salvation finished, perfected. The salvation in Christ Jesus is complete; there is not an iota more to pay, not a single act of meritorious obedience left to perform, and not an enemy to combat but He has engaged to vanquish. Look at the manner in which He accomplishes this salvation.

1. By His suretyship and substitution.

2. By His atonement.

3. The entire labour is exclusively His own.

II. Our glorious King invested with kingly power to dispense salvation.

1. By His victories.

2. By application.

III. The King rejoicing in God’s salvation, seeing the trophies of it brought in and brought home. My soul seems in an ecstasy of thought in the contemplation of this. Precious Christ! It is all Thine own--all Thy work from first to last. (Joseph Irons.)


Verses 1-13

Psalms 21:1-13

The king shall Joy in Thy strength, O Lord; and in Thy salvation how greatly shall he rejoice.

The feelings of the good in relation to the subjugation of evil

Take the literal view of this Psalm as a type of the moral one against error and sin, and we have--

I. Thanksgiving for victory. Verses 1-7 are a triumphant declaration of some victory. “Thou settest a crown of pure gold upon his bead.” Now--

1. His conquest was a source of joy. “The king shall joy,” etc.

2. His conquest was of Divine mercy. “Thou hast given him,” etc. That mercy went before him. “Thou preventest him,” etc., and transcended his progress. “He asked life of Thee, and Thou gavest it him, even length of days forever and ever.”

3. His conquest exalted him to honour. “His glory is great,” etc. And--

4. Was connected with his trust in God. “For the king trusteth,” etc.

II. Expectation of yet further victory. “Thine hand shall find out all Thine enemies,” etc. In moral struggles, past victories promise future ones. Because--

1. The opposition is weakened.

2. The weapons cannot be injured. The sword of the Spirit cannot rest nor decay.

3. The resources are inexhaustible--God’s wisdom, love, and power.

4. The enemies already overcome are as great as any remaining; and

5. Each new conquest weakens the foe, but increases the strength of the conqueror.

III. Desire for victory over all enemies. And this shall be. “Be Thou exalted, Lord, in,” etc. (D. Thomas, D. D.)

The Lord Protector of princes

Here is God assisting, and the king trusting; God saving, and the king rejoicing; the king desiring, and God satisfying his desires to the full. In this verse are three remarkable conjugations. God is joined with the king. Strength with confidence. Salvation with exceeding great joy. Thus they depend on each other. The king on God. Confidence on strength. Joy of salvation. God exalteth the king. Strength begetteth confidence. Salvation bringeth with it exceeding joy. God is above the king. Salvation is above strength. Exceeding joy above confidence.

1. The only security of princes and states is in the strength of the Almighty.

2. God holdeth a special hand over sovereign princes.

3. Princes mightily defended and safely preserved by the arm of God must thankfully acknowledge this singular favour, and deliver their deliverances to after ages, that the children yet unborn may praise the Lord as we do this day. (D. Featley, D. D.)

Rejoicing in the strength of God

“Oh, it is good rejoicing in the strength of that arm which shall never wither, and in the shadow of those wings which shall never cast their feathers! In Him that is not there yesterday and here today, but the same yesterday, today, and forever! For as He is, so shall the joy be.” (Launcelot Andrews.)

In Thy salvation how greatly shall he rejoice.

The joy of the heavenly King

I. This joy arose from a consciousness of newly-achieved victory.

1. This victory was achieved by supernatural power. Not by the ordinary tactics of military genius, or by the prowess of a human arm. The salvation of humanity is a Divine work.

2. This victory was granted in answer to earnest prayer (Psalms 21:2). The agony of wrestling prayer is often turned into the rapture of success.

II. This joy was accelerated by possessing an affluence of Divine blessing.

1. He was surrounded with evidences of the Divine beneficence. God’s gifts are God’s love embodied and expressed.

2. He was invested with the most illustrious dignity (Psalms 21:3; Psalms 21:5). Jesus wore a thorn crown, but now He wears the glory crown.

3. He enjoyed the consciousness of an imperishable life (Psalms 21:4). He was raised from the dead to die no more.

4. He became the source of endless blessing to others (Psalms 21:6). In and through Him all nations of the earth are blessed.

5. He exults in the Divine favour (Psalms 21:6). The countenance of God makes the Prince of heaven glad.

III. This joy was intensified by the assurance of the unshakeable permanency of His government.

1. The permanency of Messiah’s throne is secured by the Divine mercy (Psalms 21:7). He who is most high in every sense engages all His infinite perfections to maintain the throne of grace upon which our King in Zion reigns.

2. The assurance of this permanency is strengthened by Messiah’s confidence in God (Psalms 21:7). The joy and confidence of Christ our King is the ground of all our joy and confidence, and the pledge of final conquest over all our foes. (Homiletic Commentary.)

A completed salvation, Messiah’s triumph

I. Look at our King as having accomplished salvation. But few Christians believe in a salvation finished, perfected. The salvation in Christ Jesus is complete; there is not an iota more to pay, not a single act of meritorious obedience left to perform, and not an enemy to combat but He has engaged to vanquish. Look at the manner in which He accomplishes this salvation.

1. By His suretyship and substitution.

2. By His atonement.

3. The entire labour is exclusively His own.

II. Our glorious King invested with kingly power to dispense salvation.

1. By His victories.

2. By application.

III. The King rejoicing in God’s salvation, seeing the trophies of it brought in and brought home. My soul seems in an ecstasy of thought in the contemplation of this. Precious Christ! It is all Thine own--all Thy work from first to last. (Joseph Irons.)


Verse 2

Psalms 21:2

Thou hast given him his heart’s desire.

The desire granted

In this Psalm the joy bells of praise and thanksgiving are rung, and “Te Deum laudamus” sung, as after a great victory. It follows close on Psalms 20:1-9, celebrating the fulfilment of the petitions there offered.

1. We are reminded of the connection between desire and prayer. Desire is the mainspring of life. Could the infinite multitude of desires be annihilated, hope and effort would die, and the busy drama of life come to a standstill. Desire is therefore the test of character. Not what a man does or says, but what he desires, marks him for what he is, and makes him what he is. Desire, therefore, is the soul of prayer. We see here, perhaps, the deepest reason why God has ordained prayer, namely, that what is deepest, most dominant in man’s nature, should be consecrated to God, and supremely refer to Him.

2. The whole invisible world of human desires (never the same two moments) lies open to God’s eye. God can, if He sees fit, give us our “heart’s desire.” No lawful desire but He has created the means of its satisfaction; and if He disappoints it, this is but for the sake of some nobler end, some richer blessing. Unlawful desires are forbidden, not because He grudges our joy, but because their fulfilment would be our injury and ruin.

3. We have a practical test suggested both of our desires and of our prayers.


Verse 3

Psalms 21:3

For Thou preventest him with the blessings of goodness.

God going before us

The word “prevent” is now generally used to represent the idea of hindrance. “Thou preventest him” would mean commonly, “Thou hinderest him.” But here the word “prevent” means, to go before. Thou goest before him with the blessings of Thy goodness as a pioneer, to make crooked ways straight and rough places smooth; or, as one who strews flowers in the path of another, to render the way beautiful to the eye and pleasant to the tread. God’s anticipation of our necessities by His merciful dispensations. The leading idea of the text is expressed elsewhere. In Isaiah 52:12, “The Lord will go before you, and the God of Israel shall be your reward.” Here is not only the idea of God following a man to shelter him and to protect him; but of God going before a man to make what preparation is necessary for his safety and comfort. God prevents us with the blessings of His goodness--

I. When we come into the world.

II. When we become personal transgressors.

III. When we enter upon the duties and cares of mature life. The word “providence” seems to represent something more passive than that which it is essential God should be to us and do for us. For example, you might make a provision for another, put that provision within his reach, and then leave both him and the provision you have made--and that would be providence. But that is not God’s providence. He leaves nothing. He is with everything--with things great and with things small. God has not, you know, constructed this world as a clockmaker constructs a clock--adapting the machinery to work rightly without his oversight or his interference, but only needing a little attention on the part of the individual who owns it. God has not put this world in such a position as that. Everything that acts, moves, and works--acts, moves, and works under the direct impulse of God. I know that men try to drive God away from His world, by talking of the laws of nature and of the powers and resources of nature. But as I understand the laws of nature, they are God’s usual mode of working. He does a particular work in the same way, month after month, and year after year--that is a law. But then, the law is nothing in itself--the law is no power or force; it is only God’s mode of doing the thing. You might as well talk of the law of carpentering, or the law of cabinetmaking, in terms which would show you do not consider the presence of the carpenter or the cabinetmaker necessary to his work. There are rules of carpentering and rules of cabinet making; but you require the carpenter and the cabinetmaker. Just so with reference to God. He works in the same mode, month after month, and year after year; but pray do not put the mode, the method, in the place of Himself, and speak of the mode of working as though it were the worker. And so God goes before us. He has been busy about that business of ours which we have just taken up as our occupation through life. He has thought of, cared, and provided for us.

IV. When we enter upon new paths.

V. When we enter the dark valley of the shadow of death.

VI. By giving us many mercies without our asking for them. What wretched beings we should be if God limited His gifts to our prayers! I know that sometimes we do ask great things, when our hearts are enlarged and when our lips are open; but I know that, at other times, we ask God nothing, and that our prayers are as poor as ourselves; and if God restrained His giving when we restrained our praying, in what utter destitution we should be!

VII. By opening to us the path of heaven and by storing heaven with every provision for our blessedness. Then let us praise God for His goodness, and let us imitate Him by seeking to prevent others in like manner. (Samuel Martin.)

The goodness of the Creator preceding the history of the creature

I. In the natural provision made for us as men. Let us look a little at this, and see how goodness went before us, worked for us ages before we made our appearance on the stage of life.

1. There was a home exactly fitted for our reception. How exquisitely fitted this earth is to our senses and our wants! Do we crave for beauty? What a gallery of magnificent pictures! Have we an instinct for music? What an orchestra, redolent with every variety of melodious strains! Do we need sustenance? What a rich banquet nature spreads before us! Do we crave for delicious odours? The air is laden with perfumes. Do we need facilities of transit? There is the prancing steed; by our side there grows the timber that will bear us over oceans, and there are the elements ready to our call. Goodness made everything ready here before we came.

2. There was parental love to welcome us. We were not sent into a world of strangers to make acquaintance with those who for us had no sympathy.

3. There were educational elements to develop our powers. Here was the piece of work waiting for us to do it. Here were men and women whose knowledge qualified them to instruct us: schools were here, and libraries.

4. There were wholesome laws to guard our rights. Goodness went before us and made this government.

II. In the spiritual provision made for us as sinners. Pardon and spiritual cleansing were here awaiting us. Redemptive agencies were at full work all about us as we commenced our life.

III. In the heavenly provision made for us as disciples. What this world was to us before we entered it, heaven is to us now.

1. This world was unknown to us. How ignorant is the unborn child of the home into which he is to be introduced! How little we know of heaven! “Eye hath not seen,” etc.

2. This world was exquisitely fitted for us. Its soil, climate, productions.

3. This world has infinitely more than we can enjoy. It is so with heaven,--its provisions are rich, varied, and unbounded.

4. This world welcomed our existence with love. (Homilist.)


Verse 4

Psalms 21:4

He asked life of Thee, and Thou gavest him a long life, even forever and ever.

Religion a life

In Christ these words are true of all who love our Lord Jesus Christ, as they are supremely true of Him who is the fountain of life. “He asked life of Thee.” Is thin true of us? That depends upon what meaning we attach to the petition, “asking life.” What we should ask for is life given to God here, in the hope of life to be received from God hereafter. We may put out of all hope of this life eternal all who openly reject it. It is the heart given to God which God requires. Religion may only too easily be in any man like the clothes which he so regularly takes off at night and puts on in the morning. It must be the life, the heart, the will, the whole inner man given to God here, through faith and hope of that eternal life which He will bestow upon His true people in the world beyond the grave. Our life in this world must be, as far as we can make it, a resemblance of His pure and blessed life while He was on earth, the perfect example of what every man ought to be who is made in the image and likeness of God. What He was perfectly and altogether, that we must be in part. Then shall we have life from His life. Do not suppose that any Christian can obtain that life without communion with Christ. It is as we live in and for Christ in this world that we shall find life--life from Him here, life with Him hereafter. (W. J. Stracey, M. A.)

Life and life eternal

There is an evident distinction drawn here between what we may term natural life and eternal life; between that life which we are now living outwardly in the flesh, and that life which is of inward consciousness, of spiritual experience. No one would contend that by “life eternal” is meant the indefinite extension and prolonging of this present mode of existence. The very term or condition “eternal” precludes the idea of transitoriness and uncertainty. In what does the distinction between life and life eternal consist? The origin of life is, in a philosophic point of view, involved in inscrutable mystery. Life is that invisible, inscrutable, mysterious, subtle essence which not only animates solid matter, but from the moment of our birth to the day of our death is definitely apportioned us by God. We have each one of us a life rent of this world, and no more. And this life is very dear to us. It is very precious, because of its fond affections, close friendships, many interests, enjoyments, opportunities, and, to some minds, certainties. Say what men will of life in their more sad and desponding moods, we do cling tenaciously to life. The passion for life is the strongest of all our instincts. To ask to die is unnatural. Physical death is not the punishment of sin. The death to which Adam was sentenced was banishment from the presence of God. Viewing life as it really is, immortality here on earth, and an immortality of this life present, would be a curse and not a boon. What, then, is “life eternal,” and how is it to be obtained? It is that hidden, inward, spiritual reality which, as in the ease of natural life, finds its best definition in the language of Scripture--“This is life eternal, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent.” Eternal life is to believe in Jesus, and that eternal life is given us as soon as we do believe. Eternal life is the gift of God in Christ, given for the asking, as much, as truly, as consciously, as natural life is given or restored. It comes by faith, and that faith is a spiritual gift. I do not know that language can describe what eternal life is, any more than it can define natural life. In either case it is a matter of vivid consciousness, not of verbal definition or analysis. But eternal life is of present experience. “He that hath the Son hath life.” There is a present pardon of sin, a present sense of forgiveness, a present joy and peace in believing. Possessed of this eternal life, enjoyed as it may be together with your natural life, it will sweeten its bitter waters with its own healing. It will ennoble, it will sanctify. It will make a life consecrated to God. (Francis Pigou, M. A.)

The Gospel promise of long life

Though it be true that every man is fond of life, yet it is certain that very few appear much concerned about life eternal. The covetous man will not give, though it be but a small portion of what he has, to make his chance better of coaling to everlasting life. Persons thus fond of life would have their expectations raised very high by the beginning of the promise in the text. “Thou gavest him a long life.” But when these persons discovered that the promised life was eternal they would feel disappointed. This sort of message would, indeed, be disappointing to most people; and yet this would be only granting them what they asked, life, in much greater perfection and excellency than they asked for it. Men have got such a liking for the pleasures and profits of this bad world that, without them, the thought even of eternal happiness seems dull and tiresome. How many are there among ourselves who, if they should speak the truth, must needs confess that they care more for the shadows of enjoyment on earth than for the substance of it in heaven! No man in good earnest cares for heaven--has any taste or desire for it--except so far as he has a taste for devotion, and can delight in the thought that he is with God, and God with him. Now, this is what no one can do whose heart is set upon either such pleasure or such profit as are to be had on this side the grave. (Plain Sermons by Contributors to Tracts for the Times. )

Future life.

When Carlyle and Tennyson were once together “the talk turned upon the immortality of the soul, and Carlyle said, ‘Eh, old Jewish rags; you must clear your mind of all that,’ and likened man’s sojourn on earth to a traveller’s rest at an inn; whereupon Tennyson rejoined that the traveller knew whither he was bound and where he would sleep on the night following.” The future life was a most interesting and most firmly held article of faith with Tennyson. (Christian Commonwealth.)


Verse 5

Psalms 21:5

His glory is great in Thy salvation.

The glory of God

In this Psalm the poet is giving thanks for victory. The soldiers are returning from war, and are met by a chorus of maidens shouting praise to the delivering God. The poetry is not equal to the moral enthusiasm of the occasion. We are called upon to contemplate God’s glory as being great in human salvation. We thus enjoy the basis and the application of the thought. It would seem to be beneath Almighty God to care for a world so small and foolish as ours. It is not for us to estimate even our own worth. It does not become us to say that the world is insignificant, mean, or worthless; it is the work of God. What God has thought it worth His while to make, He may well think it worth His while to redeem. We do not see the whole world, nor do we comprehend all the issues of its discipline and nurture. When Jesus sees the travail of His soul He shall be satisfied. To save one soul is glory enough for any mortal man. What must it be to save the souls of all men, the souls of the ages and centuries incomputable? It is the delight of God to save, to redeem, to construct; the function of the enemy is to overthrow, to weaken, to debase, and to bring all life into dishonour. The course which the enemy has taken is the easier, since it is always easier to destroy than to construct. We glorify God by our goodness. God does not exist to be glorified in any sense of being merely hailed and saluted by songs and rapturous applause. When we are most quiet we are most really glorifying God. By meekness, by pureness, by gentleness, by quiet spiritual wisdom, by accepting the lot of life in a spirit of self-sacrifice, we may be bringing true glory to God. Do not think of the glory of God in any merely magnificent sense. We must change our definition of magnificence. In the sight of heaven it may be magnificent to be poor in spirit, gentle, and meek; and it may be mean and contemptible to own estates and crowns and sceptres. It is upon moral emotion, aspiration, and service that God sets His seal of blessing. (Joseph Parker, D. D.)


Verse 6

Psalms 21:6

For Thou hast made him most blessed forever: Thou hast made him exceeding glad with Thy countenance.

Exceeding gladness

You have heard a great many sermons upon the Man of Sorrows, you cannot have heard too many; but probably you have never listened to a discourse upon the Man of Joys! I venture thus to name the Christ of God. We do not meditate enough upon the happiness of the Lord Jesus Christ. Remember, it was for the joy set before Him that He endured the Cross; and the expectation of joy is joy. The light of that expectation shone on His daily path. Sin is the mother of sorrow, and Jesus knew no sin. He was the Prince of Peace, even when He was despised of men. He had the joy of knowing that His Father heard Him always, and that His every word and act were blessings to fallen men. A man cannot be full of such benevolence as that of Christ and be utterly miserable. Unselfishness necessarily brings with it a measure of joy. The fountain which yields such streams of blessing has its own flash and sparkle; we feel sure of it. As pearls may lie in plenty in caverns over which there rolls a dread tempestuous sea, so there slept in the heart of Jesus treasures of joy even when the ocean of His holy soul was lashed with hurricanes of woe. And what must not His joy be now in heaven! To this the text and the verses preceding primarily refer. As God, as Mediator, He is filled with joy; for His work is finished. “Consummatum est” is written at the foot of His throne. And He is the fountain of priceless, numberless, endless blessings to men. “Thou hast made Him blessings forever,” for so our text may be read. It is ever good to be the channel of blessing to others; what, then, must be the joy of Christ? Think, too, of His joy in the conversion, the comfort, the justification, the salvation of every soul that comes to Him. We read, There is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.” Nearly all readers take this as telling of the angels’ joy. And no doubt they do rejoice. But the Word does not say so. It says, “There is joy in the presence of the angels; that is to say, they are present where there is joy, they look upon the face of Christ, and see the joy which fills His heart. And He has joy in all the deeds of His saved people, and in their patient suffering, and especially in their joy. He is the blessed Leader of a blessed company. And now, turning to His people--

I. That gladness is the peculiar privilege of saints. Why should we not be glad?

1. It is all right between us and God. There is no quarrel between the believing soul and God. And--

2. Many are their present solaces. We can count our sorrows, we are quite “au fait” at adding them up. But recapitulate your joys with equal readiness. Why not? Review the shining ranks of your mercies Are they not new every morning? I heard a brother in a prayer meeting say, “The Lord hath done great things for us, whereof we desire to be glad”; and I wanted to jump down that man’s throat, and pull that passage back again, and put it into its natural shape. What business had the brother to mend the Bible and talk such wretched stuff. Whereof we desire to be glad! Why, if the Lord has done great things for us, we are glad.

3. We have a brilliant future before us. And--

4. All blessings secured to them. In the parable it is said, they began to be merry, and it is not said they ever left off. Let us also begin.

II. Their gladness is of a peculiar sort.

1. God has wrought it.

2. It is permanent.

3. Exceeding. Who would think it to see many Christians? I am told that many shopkeepers are so poor that they put the most of their goods in the shop window; but this is a method which few Christians follow, for the opposite is the fact; their window is badly set out, and yet they have a costly stock upon their shelves. The children of this world are wiser in their generation in this as in other things. I would recommend such believers to dress their windows a little, and show some of their better things. Put your ashes into the backyard, but pour out the oil of joy in the parlour. Let people see it.

4. It comes to us in one way--“with Thy countenance.” Have you not sometimes been made very glad with the look of a friend’s face? But what must the countenance of God be to us, when He smiles on us as reconciled, as approving us, when listening to us?

5. But through many channels. Read the Psalm--“The King shall joy in Thy strength,” and “in Thy salvation.” Answers to prayer are told of. Preventing With the blessings of goodness, giving us mercies before we seek them. Then, be glad in the Lord, as we are bound to be.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Saviour, Jesus Christ,

Who hath blessed us with such blessings, all uncounted and unpriced;

Let our high and holy calling, and our strong salvation be

Theme of never-ending praises, God of sovereign grace, to Thee.”

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

The light of God’s favour

Flowers, when deprived of the rays of the sun, lose their bright colours, and become pale and sickly. This is generally seen in the night-blossoming plants, which are, for the most part, pale and unattractive. The soul that has not found God will lose all joy, and the beauty of life will fade without the presence and love of Christ. If it is to flourish, it must be ever basking in the healing rays of the Sun of Righteousness.


Verse 8-9

Psalms 21:8-9

Thine hand shall find out all Thine enemies.

The exposure and punishment of sin

I. The exposure of sin is inevitable. Iniquity delights in cunning, and is itself a masterpiece of cunning. It may succeed in deluding its victims, and for a time escape detection. But there is One to whom every detail of the plot is fully known. Sin is often its own detective. An unguarded word, a suspicious sign, an unconscious oversight, will unmask the most skilfully disguised plans, and lead to exposure and misery. It is the theme of many a ballad, how the cranes aided in the discovery of the assassins of Idycus, the poet. Recently the house of the Caliph of the Ben Oreazen in Algeria was entered by a band of robbers, and a box containing 25,000 francs stolen. In their haste to escape the thieves left behind them an Arab cake bearing a particular mark, which one of the bakers of the town recognised as the sign used by Ben Xerafas, it being the custom for each family, in sending their bread to the oven, to mark it so as to distinguish the loaves. The police acted on the information, and, descending on a certain hut, caught the robbers asleep, with a portion of the plunder still in their possession. A simple Arab cake was the insignificant agent of discovery and exposure.

II. The exposure of sin will extend to the inmost feelings of the heart. “Those that hate Thee.” That sin is not always the worst which is most apparent.

III. The punishment of sin will be terrible and complete.

1. It will be terrible. The sins of the impenitent wicked will supply fuel to the fire of their own sufferings, and perhaps be used as an instrument for punishing others.

2. It will be complete. “Swallow them up in His wrath.” Nations are an example--Antediluvians, Sodomites, Jews. Individuals are an example--Korah, Dathan, Abiram, Saul, and Judas. (Homiletic Commentary.)

Enemies found out by God

Oh, what a wonderful prophecy that is! Christ’s hand shall find out all His enemies. If they hide themselves, He shall discover them. If they cover themselves with chain armour, yet still His hand will find out their vulnerable parts, and touch their very souls until they melt with fear. (C. H. Spurgeon.)


Verse 9

Psalms 21:9

Thou shalt make them as a fiery oven in the time of Thine anger.

The deluge of fire

How, then, shall it fare with sinners when, after all, shall come that general fire so often foretold, which shall either fall from heaven or ascend out of hell, or (according to Albertus Magnus) proceed from both, and shall devour and consume all it meets with? Whither shall the miserable fly when that river of flames or (to say better) that inundation and deluge of fire shall so encompass them, as no place of surety shall be left; where nothing can avail but a holy life; when all besides shall perish in that universal ruin of the whole world? What lamentations were in Rome when it burnt for seven days together! What shrieks were heard in Troy when it was wholly consumed with flames! What howling and astonishment in Pentapolis when those cities were destroyed with fire from heaven! What weeping was there in Jerusalem when they beheld the house of God, the glory of their kingdom, the wonder of the world, involved in fire and smoke! Imagine what these people felt; they saw their houses and goods on fire, and no possibility of saving them: when the husband heard the shrieks and cries of his dying wife; the father, of his little children, and, unawares, perceived himself so encompassed with flames that he could neither relieve them nor free himself. (Jeremy Taylor.)

God’s anger

I have read that a frown of Queen Elizabeth killed Sir Christopher Hatton, the Lord Chancellor of England. What, then, shall the frowns of the King of nations do? If the rocks rend, the mountains melt, and the foundations of the earth tremble under His wrath, how will the ungodly sinner appear when He comes in all His royal glory to take vengeance on all that knew Him not, and that obeyed not His glorious Gospel? (Charles Bradbury.)


Verse 11

Psalms 21:11

For they intended evil against Thee . . . which they are not able to perform.

A memorable instance of intended evil that the wicked were not able to perform

At Rome the news of this great blow (given by the massacre on St. Bartholomew’s Day) was hailed with extravagant manifestations of joy; the Pope (Gregory XII) and cardinals went in state to return thanks to heaven for this signal mercy, and medals were struck in its honour. Philip II. extolled it as one of the most memorable triumphs of Christianity, compared it to the splendid victory of Lepanto, and boasted that the total ruin of Protestantism was now finally assured. Nevertheless, this great wickedness, like all state crimes, was quite ineffectual for the purpose toward which it was directed. The Huguenots had lost their ablest leaders: they were stunned, confounded, scattered, weakened, but they were by no means wholly crushed. As soon as they recovered from their consternation they once more rushed to arms . . . The persecuted party once more raised their heads, and within a year from the date of the great massacre were in a position to address the king in bolder and more importunate language than at any former period of the contest . . . The full and public exercise of the reformed religion was authorised throughout the kingdom; the parliaments were to consist of an equal number of Protestant and Catholic judges; all sentences passed against the Huguenots were annulled, and the insurgents were pronounced to have acted for the good of the king and kingdom; eight towns were placed in their hands for an unlimited period; and the States-General were to be convoked within six months. Such were the conditions of the “Peace of Monsieur,” as it was termed, which was signed on the 6th of May 1576--less than four years after that frightful massacre by which it was hoped that the Huguenot faction would be finally extirpated from France. (Students France.)
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Psalms 22:1-31

 


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Bibliography Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Psalms 21:4". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/psalms-21.html. 1905-1909. New York.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, December 8th, 2019
the Second Week of Advent
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