Every portion of this beautiful Psalm is gospel. It treats first of Christ, and then of his people in him. Here is the Citizen of Zion described in his per - son, life, and conduct.
A Psalm of David.
The Psalm opens with an interesting question, humbly proposed to the Lord himself, Who shall be the happy person dwelling on the Lord's holy hill? Reader, remark first, that if we desire to know the Lord, that instruction must come from the Lord. Jesus is the way, and the truth, and the life. No man cometh to the Father, but by him. John 14:6. Next, let us attend to what is meant by the holy hill and tabernacle. In the tabernacle in the wilderness, and the church of Zion, the Holy Ghost was shadowing forth the heavenly tabernacle, the Jerusalem which is above, and both the gospel church in grace below, and the celestial temple in glory. This is, as the Apostle saith, the true tabernacle which God hath pitched, and not men. Hebrews 8:2. And when we have thus beheld the true tabernacle of God's pitching, and, not man's, we must then immediately perceive, that He, and he alone, must be the person the inquiry hath in view, who can fix his residence in this holy hill of Zion, who is himself holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens: He who hath an everlasting priesthood, who is a divine Prophet, an almighty King. So that the question is at once answered, in the very description of the place: and we already behold him, whom Jehovah hath set as King upon the hill of Zion, as the glorious One to inhabit there, even the Lord our righteousness.
But as the Holy Ghost delights to set forth the glories of the Redeemer's person, offices, and character, he here enters into a more particular description of some of his features. Now, Reader, do not fail to remark, that this walking uprightly, this working righteousness, and this speaking the truth from the heart, never did, nor ever will belong fully to any but Jesus. Even his people that are renewed in spirit, still carry about with them a body of sin and death, under which they groan, and under which, as long as they are in the body, they must groan, being burdened. I consider this so important a point to be well understood, and thoroughly impressed upon the mind, that I beg the Reader not to pass over the view of it too hastily. It is of Jesus the Psalm wholly treats. And though by virtue of his people being righteous in him, they do fully partake in all that belongs to him, and share in all his blessedness, yet they still feel a heart prone to wander, prone to depart. They desire to be conformed to his lovely image in all things, to be holy as he who hath called them is holy, in all conversation and godliness, yet they are constrained frequently to take up the language of the Apostle, and say as he did, When I would do good, evil is present with me. Hence their ascending now by grace upon God's holy hill, in the ordinances of his church, and partaking of all the privileges of Citizens of Zion, and hereafter their dwelling with him in glory, are blessings wholly derived from their acceptance in Jesus, and being members of his body, in a oneness with him. No inherent holiness in them, no righteousness of theirs, first brought them to God's holy hill, nor becomes the cause of preserving them there. Reader, if you know anything of what passeth in your own heart, there you will find the fullest conviction of these precious truths. If you know anything of the Lord Jesus, let him have all the glory, for it is his most certain due.
Having said so much upon the first account given of the citizen of Zion, less will be necessary to be observed here, in the other different features of character added. But the Reader himself, if he loves to trace the loveliness of the altogether lovely one here drawn, will find throughout the Bible, beautiful repetitions of the same, in every part, to show that it could be only Him the Holy Ghost had in view. And though all his redeemed have fellowship with him, are righteous in his righteousness, and are citizens, in him their glorious Head, of Zion; yet from first to last, while in the body here below, it is by grace alone, and from God's accepting them in the Beloved, that they are considered holy, and without blame before him in love. Reader, pause as you read the several characters given of our Jesus, in these sweet verses, and see how fully they mark his person, and at the same time, how all his saints fall short of him. Who but of Jesus can it be said, that he never slandered his neighbour, nor did evil to him, nor took up a reproach against him? Who but of Jesus could it ever be said, that a vile person is uniformly contemned without respect of persons, and he that feared the Lord, was always honored? Who but of Jesus could it be said, that he never swerved from his kind purposes, though it was to his own hurt, and changed not, however personally he suffered for it? Of none among the fallen sons of Adam, though renewed by grace, could such accounts be strictly given. But of Jesus all these features of character, yea, and a thousand more, mark his divine person. Yes, thou Holy One of God, thou and thou only, when thou wert reviled, reviled not again, but wast led as a lamb to the slaughter. Thou didst show no respect of persons, but didst choose the poor of this world, rich in faith, and heirs of thy kingdom, when sending the rich empty away! Thou didst not change thy blessed purposes, when thou hadst once undertaken the redemption of thy people, though by becoming surety for another, thou didst smart for it, and every joy of theirs, in thy great undertaking, cost thee pangs and blood. Hail! blessed Jesus: thou alone art worthy of ascending, and fixing thy eternal residence upon thy Zion, which thou hast justly earned. Thou alone wert worthy to open the book, and loose the seals thereof; for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood. Revelation 5:9.
READER, here let us sit down, and contemplate our Jesus, the King and Citizen of Zion. First, view his spotless person, in the beauties and loveliness of our nature, holy, harmless, and undefiled, and as such justly entitled to an everlasting residence on the holy hill, in the heavenly tabernacle; and then our right of inheritance also, by virtue of our union with him.
Here is his just and striking, though short description, when he came forth for the salvation of his people. He was to earn the crown before he put it on. He was to manifest the holiness of his nature, before he ascended the holy hill of his everlasting abode: Hence he took upon him our nature, in the purity of that nature, and in that nature was found without guile before God. Not a single thought of his heart was foreign, or in opposition to the law of his Father, Hence he could and did say, I delight to do thy will, O my God; yea, thy law is in my heart. And as he rejoiced to do the will of his Father, by a perfect conformity to all his precepts, so did he become a willing sacrifice to the breaches of the law which its people had committed, by his death; that, both by doing and by dying; he might recover what man had lost, and open the kingdom of heaven to all believers. And thus it became him, in bringing may sons unto glory, to be all this, and infinitely more, that he might be "the Lord our righteousness."
Now then, Reader, here it is, by virtue of his holiness and purity, that our nature hath recovered the original holiness and purity which our first father lost; and by Jesus alone, a better paradise than Adam forfeited, even an heavenly one in the Zion above, whither, his people are entitled to ascend, and eternally dwell with him. United to him in spirit, by virtue of his Spirit's influences, we are quickened and kept alive in grace, and by and by shall be with him in glory. And although while we carry about with us a body still open to corruption, and daily ripening by corruption for the grave, and as such we feel, at times, the sad breakings out of the remaining foes to our peace lurking within, yet the hour is hastening when this corruption shall put on incorruption, and this mortal shall put on immortality. Hail! thou Almighty Lord! in thy light shall we see light. Be thou our portion while below! Help us to ascend by faith now the holy hill of thy dwelling, and in thy righteousness to contemplate thy person and complete work, until thou shalt bring us home to behold thy glory, and dwell with thee forever. Amen.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Psalms 15". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://pro.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29