This Psalm contains some very gracious breathings of a devout soul; whether, by the spirit of prophecy, the sacred writer penned them as the suited language of Christ in the days of his flesh; or whether, as the pious ejaculations of one of the Lord's people, following the example of Christ, I do not presume to determine; but certainly here is a blessed assemblage of devout expressions, highly becoming the faithful to adopt and use, with their hearts raised upwards to Jesus.
It is a point never to be forgotten, that if we love Christ, it is because he first loved us. 1 John 4:19. Laying this down as the foundation, the superstructure must be proper. It was God the Father's love that first gave us his dear Son; it was Jesus' love that first prompted his infinite mind to love us. Reader! never lose sight of these grand points of faith.
If we compare scripture with scripture, and read that part of Ps 91, which evidently and plainly refers to Christ, I think the likeness between that scripture and this, may allow us to suppose that it is the ever blessed Jesus, as the head and surety of his church, who is here speaking. Psalms 91:14-16.
If Ps 22 be, as it is universally allowed by the church to be, prophetical of Christ, is there not a sufficient agreement between these verses and a certain portion of that Psalm, to believe that the writer here refers to it? Psalms 22:15-21.
I would again explain these verses by others. It is blessed to get a glimpse, if it be but a glimpse only, at Jesus as the sinner's Surety, going before in all the parts of soul exercises: see Psalms 22:6. But while keeping in view the Lord Jesus, as the great Exemplar and Surety of his people, let us also, from a consciousness of our being united to him, and being one with him, take part in all that concerns him. Remember, if the Lord be gracious, and we can adopt the language of these verses, it is in Jesus that that grace is manifested. If the Lord helps us when brought low, it is on Jesus' account.
In every point of view, these are sweet words indeed! Jesus is the rest wherewith he will cause the weary to rest; he is their refreshing; and all the invitations of Jesus are to this effect, that coming to him, we shall find rest to our souls. Isaiah 28:12; Matthew 11:28. But I must not dismiss these verses, without first observing that there seems to be an allusion to the circumstance of the dove in the ark of Noah. She found no place for the sole of her foot, until she returned to the ark. Now as the ark was a type of Christ, and the name of Noah signifies rest; it cannot be a violence to the phrase to consider the soul of the believer returning to Jesus from all the waves and waters of tribulation in the world, as not unaptly represented by that event. Genesis 8:8-9.
The apostle quotes part of what is here said, by way of showing that one and the same spirit of faith actuates all true believers, and though men may be false, yet God abideth true, 2 Corinthians 4:13.
Reader! do observe: The question is, What shall I give unto the Lord? under a sense of his mercies. A strange answer is returned. I will receive the cup of salvation. Yes! Jesus and his gospel are the free unmerited gift of God in Christ; not held forth for our purchase, but for our acceptance. The bountiful Giver needs not the gifts of his creatures. Besides, the things themselves are too costly to be purchased. Precious Jesus! thou drankest the cup of trembling. And thy people are called to take the cup of salvation! Zechariah 12:2; Isaiah 51:17; John 18:11; Luke 22:17.
This verse comes as in a parenthesis. It may serve to comfort the faithful in the recollection. And as the death of the faithful is precious, so their lives are. Matthew 10:29-30. Reader! if such be the preciousness of the death of saints, what must have been, and is, and ever will be, the inestimable valuable price of His death, whose death is the life of the world? Lamb of God! with what a price hast thou redeemed thy people! 1 Peter 1:18-19.
Here again we may safely perceive Christ the mediator, the servant of Jehovah, the son of the handmaid, and lie that was bound for his people. whom Jehovah loosed. See those scriptures, Isaiah 42:1-4, compared with Matthew 12:8-21; Luke 1:38; Luk_1:48; Isaiah 7:14; Acts 2:24; Isaiah 53:6. And secondly and subordinately, we may, in consequence of our union with Christ, take up the same sweet words, and looking up to God in Christ, pay our vows, as being loosed by Jesus' stripes and death from all the bondage of sin, and death, and hell, and brought into the liberty of the children of God. Romans 8:21.
My soul! canst thou say, I love the Lord? Yes! if thou hast seen his loveliness, his beauty, his love to thee, and regard for thee, and that thou hast an interest in him. Pause over the interesting thought! Hast thou seen God in Christ, hearing thy prayers, granting thy request, and giving thee strength and confidence in his salvation? Hast thou seen his suitableness as a Savior, so as not only to discover transcendent excellencies in Jesus, but all those excellencies and perfections as engaged for thee, and in thy salvation? And say, my soul, hast thou seen Christ so as for him to become thy rest? And hast thou returned to him from all the distractions and disquietudes of this waste and howling wilderness? If these are thine experiences, and thou art convinced that the Lord Jesus hath delivered thee from death, thine eyes from tears, and thy feet front falling; then wilt thou indeed receive the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord.
Precious Jesus! thou almighty Author and Finisher of all our happiness! be thou to me all I need, all I wish, all I want! Thou art indeed the rest, the only rest, for weary sin-sick souls. Thy blood is the only fountain to cleanse. Thy righteousness the only robe to clothe. Thy person the only source of happiness, for grace here, and glory to all eternity. Return then, return unto thy rest, O my soul; for the Lord hath dealt bountifully, with thee!
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Psalms 116". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://pro.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29