Agreeably to the title, this Psalm is full of praise. God's glory, greatness, majesty, grace, goodness, in short, all the divine perfections, are here set forth, in a most lovely and interesting manner; and if we consider the chief Musician, the first singer in our nature, thus leading the heavenly song, when he had finished redemption-work, and the Lord give us grace to follow him through it, that we may sing it with the spirit and the understanding also; it will become a blessed hymn of praise indeed.
David's Psalm of praise.
I be g the Reader to observe the different method with which the title of this Psalm is marked from every other. We have several marked as the michtams of David, and several marked maschil; some Prayers of David, and some Songs of David; but this is the only one in the book of Psalms which bears the title, David's Psalm of praise. And as the five following (with which the book of Psalms concludes) have no title, I am rather inclined to think that this was meant to answer for all. This Psalm is the more remarkable, as it is composed in alphabetical order; the first verse beginning with the letter Aleph; the second with Beth; and so on to the end. It is said that the Jews had a tradition, that whosoever among them sung this hymn three times in a day, would infallibly go to heaven. Certain it is, that it is a most blessed hymn of praise; and by it the Holy Ghost put into the mouth of his people, most precious words, wherewith to come before the Lord. I venture to think that it will aid the minds of true believers in Jesus, if, while reading it, that blessed Spirit should lead our souls to see Christ in the hymn; as if, when the Lord Jesus had finished redemption-work, which the Father gave him to do, and contemplating the whole now in the end of his labours, he begins this lovely song, and calls upon his church to follow him in the daily use of it, that their minds may be more and more engaged towards the close of this life in praises, until they arrive at the enjoyment of the everlasting praises of heaven. In this sense, I hope, I do no violence to the title of David's Psalm of praise. The Son of David opens the hymn with looking up to Jehovah, whom he calls his God and King, and declares his resolution to bless his name forever and ever. It is Jehovah's name; Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, that is blessed in all redemption-work. See Psalms 89:26; Isaiah 49:5-6.
I do not think it necessary to enlarge upon the several perfections of Jehovah, which the prophet celebrates through this Psalm; for in this case I should amplify the subject to an extent very great indeed. And moreover the hymn itself so beautifully and plainly sets forth these perfections of our God, that I cannot but conclude the Holy Ghost intimates, from the manner and method in which they are spoken of, as if his gracious intention were, while the people are reading or singing them, to draw nigh with his sweet teachings, to make them life and spirit to the heart. Great God! cause both the Reader and the Writer to look up to thee for this mercy, and humbly to wait thy blessing upon It! I only detain the Reader to observe the different effects which the contemplation of these perfections of Jehovah are said to induce: If it be Jesus who is the speaker by the spirit of prophecy, he saith, that while one generation to another shall praise Jehovah's works, I will speak of thy glorious honour. And then it is added, Men shall speak also. A sweet thought ariseth out of this distinction: if Jesus, as the great head of his church, makes known to his people his Father's love, and mercy, and goodness; they shall then take up the wondrous theme, and from generation to generation proclaim it to their children. Even so, Lord, I would say, do thou bless thy church with thy divine teaching.
Reader! do not fail to connect with the view of this verse, the first relation of it in the holy mount, Exodus 34:5-7. And do not fail also to connect with it the grand cause. What is the Lord's goodness, mercy, and compassion to poor fallen sinners, but Christ and his salvation? In Jesus hath not Jehovah proclaimed his name, and made all his goodness pass before us? Exodus 33:13, to the end. Numbers 14:17-18; Psalms 86:5; Psa_86:15; Psa_103:8-9.
All these are so many delightful relations of the grace and glory of Jehovah, with the blessings connected with his government, in the kingdoms of nature and providence, and of redemption.
Here again I only detain the Reader to remark, that while we read these scriptures, which point out Jehovah as the universal parent of nature; what a glorious addition to the subject doth it become, to take into the contemplation Jehovah under those endearing characters, as the Father of mercies, and the God of all grace. What titles are these! And what a blessed thing, when we know him under those characters in our own experience. Reader! think of God the Father under those precious titles. As a Father of mercies, he begets mercies as his people need them. And as the God of all grace, he hath all sorts of grace, and all degrees of grace; large, full, great, unceasing. God is able (saith the apostle) to make all grace abound towards you, 2 Corinthians 9:8; 1 Peter 5:10. What a blessed consideration to every poor sinner, conscious of his need, whatever his need be, that God hath pardoning grace, quickening grace, strengthening grace, restraining and preventing grace; yea, all grace.
Every verse is full of the same assurances of divine goodness, mercy, and love. God in Christ is righteous, is nigh to his people, is attentive to them, knows them, loves them, guards them, blesses them, and will bless them to the end. Well may the Psalm conclude with praises. And if we hear Jesus's voice, in blessing Jehovah for the redemption of his people in him, and by him, every mouth and heart will join in the song, and bless a God in Christ forever. Amen.
READER! have you been looking up to God in Christ while passing over the several portions of this hymn of praise? Was this indeed our David's Psalm of praise? And is it ours also? Oh! for grace to follow him, in the regeneration, and to look up to him as, God the Father's salvation to the ends of the earth! Yes! blessed Jesus! I would bless thee, I would adore thee, I would love thee! In thy obedience and death, I behold all the greatness, goodness, and glory of Jehovah manifested to poor sinners. Thou hath spoken of it, blessed Lord, in the days of thy flesh. I would be among the men that shall speak of thy mighty acts, now thou art in glory. I would tell every poor sinner, day by day, how gracious the Lord is! I would tell them that the Lord Jesus upholdeth them that fall; and raiseth up those that are bowed down. I would strive to encourage every poor broken-hearted sinner to make experiment of this mercy, by assuring them that the Lord is nigh unto all that call upon him; yea, unto all that call upon him in truth. I would again and again repeat the blessed subject of encouragement, and assure them that Jesus will fulfil the desire of them that fear him; he will hear their cry, and save them. Precious Lord! fill my soul with thyself; and let it be the one earnest desire of my heart, living and dying, and to all eternity, that my mouth shall speak the praises of the Lord, and bless thee now; and bless thee forever!
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Psalms 145". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://pro.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 25 / Ordinary 30