This is a memorable Psalm, in that it contains some of the very words pronounced by our Lord on the cross. So that here also, as in numberless instances, we may discern somewhat of Jesus. The Psalm opens in prayer, and ends in praise.
To the chief Musician. A Psalm of David.
The last verse of these five becomes a key to open to us the four preceding. Nothing can be more evident than that the whole must have been written by David, under the spirit of prophecy, in direct reference to the Lord Jesus Christ; for Christ closed his ministry on the cross with those very words: Luke 23:46: as if to show to whom this scripture pointed. How delightful is it to view Christ in this scripture! We see him here as our Surety; we behold him at prayer, agreeably to the covenant engagements of support from his Father, through the whole of his great undertaking; and thereby manifesting, that while he was and is the salvation of his people, he was and is Jehovah's salvation, in all the merits of his work. We behold him no less our glorious example, in all the circumstances of our exercises, and are hereby most plainly taught, how, in his name and righteousness, we are to look up to the Rock of our Salvation, and commit our cause into his hands, as Jesus did into the hands of his Father. See Isaiah 49:6; Psalms 89:21-23; Hebrews 2:17-18.
Some of the sweetest views of our Lord, considered as our Redeemer and Surety, are those which represent the unequalled humility of Christ when completing salvation. As the servant of Jehovah, how frequently do we find the meek and lowly Saviour expressing his obedience to the Father, while manifesting his regard to holiness and purity! Who but Christ uniformly set forth a perfect hatred against the doers of iniquity? Who but Christ could say, that he possessed a perfect freedom from the power of the enemy, though so violently assaulted by Satan? Reader, doth not this last verse refer to the subject of Christ's temptations? Matthew 4:1; Luke 22:53.
When we recollect how the sorrows of Jesus wasted his strength, so that the Jews spake of him as supposing him near fifty years of age, when he was but little more than thirty, we may discover very clear references in these words to the person of Christ; John 8:57. These things could never be said of David; for, though persecuted by Saul, yet we find his health and confidence kept him above such wastings. And when Jesus bore our iniquity, which, as our Representative, is said in scripture to be laid on him, and thereby considered as his own, being made sin, and a curse, well do these words apply. Isaiah 53:6; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 3:13.
If the Reader will mark the different expressions here, and turn to the scriptures concerning Christ, he will discover their plain and evident reference to Jesus. David was never so bitterly reproached as Christ: neither so great a fear to his acquaintance, neither did men flee from him so apprehensive of danger, as in the case of Jesus. But we find Jesus indeed reproached as a blasphemer, a deceiver, a wine-bibber, a friend of publicans and sinners, and even a devil. For fear of being involved in the same ruin, all his disciples forsook him, and fled: and at his death, though they had trusted that it was he which should have redeemed Israel, no sooner was he laid in the grave, than they were about to return to their usual occupations. Luke 24:21; John 21:3. And never, surely, did men proceed with more slander, mingled with fear and apprehension, than when the chief priests and the council planned with the traitor Judas against the Lord of life and glory. John 11:47-48; Matthew 27:1-5; Mat_26:59-63.
Nothing can be more lovely, as a token of the unequalled humility of Christ, than the very frequent mention he makes of being the servant of Jehovah. And nothing can be more highly satisfactory to his redeemed, than beholding him as their surety in that character. Jehovah pointed him out to the church as such. Isaiah 42:1. Under the law he was most strikingly represented to come as such. Exodus 21:5. And in the gospel, the Apostle introduces the Lord Jesus, though Lord of all, yet making himself of no reputation, and taking upon him the form of a servant. Philippians 2:6-11. Reader, would you wish to add to these scriptures the Lord Christ's account of himself, and to behold also one lovely view of his unequalled humility, as the servant of his redeemed also; turn to these two passages, Luke 22:27; John 13:3-14, While we view Christ in those scriptures, as especially referring to him, we may by faith, from our interest in him, take the comfort of them also to ourselves. Reader, think what a blessed thing it is, when, from our union with Christ, we can also say, I trusted in thee, O Lord; I said thou art my God; my times are in thy hands. Oh, with what composure may we refer all things, and all times, and all events, into his almighty hands, who is our covenant God and Father in Christ Jesus; times of sickness, times of health, times of trouble, times of joy, life, death, all and every event, for time, and for eternity. Oh, the blessedness of thus having God for our portion!
If we consider the foregoing verses as referring to Christ and his enemies, how striking are these verses, if read with an eye to Judas and the foes of Christ. Acts 1:18. And may we not take the words still further as holding forth a sure prophecy, to all the enemies of Jesus and his church?
These words seem to speak the security of the church, in the chambers of the everlasting covenant, into which she is invited to enter in times of trouble. There is laid up, and there will be brought forth in due season, all the blessings of redemption; for it is a covenant ordered in all things, and sure. Isaiah 26:20; 2 Samuel 23:5.
Here we find again a single person speaking, and, no doubt, by the spirit of prophecy, David spoke of Christ. On the cross Jesus so complained; nevertheless, in that complaint, he spoke his trust in the Father. Matthew 27:46.
These words will come home with double strength and recommendation, if we consider them as the words of our adorable Redeemer, dictated by the spirit of prophecy. And who but must love Father, Son, and Spirit, in such views of covenant love, and grace, and mercy, as are treasured up in his person; and secured to all his faithful, to all his redeemed, sinners made saints, and preserved, and called, in Christ Jesus? 1 Corinthians 1:2.
S TAND still, my soul, and make a solemn pause over the perusal of this most precious Psalm. Did David, indeed, by the spirit of prophecy, here describe Christ? Was the Holy Ghost so graciously attentive to the interests of the church, as to cause such a treasure to be laid up, concerning the Redeemer's exercises, so many ages before his incarnation? Well then mayest thou regard every portion of it as blessed, and while hearing Jesus, in those exercises, thus pleading with the Father, rejoice in contemplating the gracious fruits of his intercession. Yea, my soul, let such views of Christ, as thy Surety, support thee in all the lesser exercises of thy warfare, and give thee comfort in the assurance, that, as Christ was heard in that he feared, thy prayers in him will come up at all times with acceptance, upon that altar.
And oh! thou blessed Lord, didst thou indeed, in thy suretyship engagements, thus smart for it; and wert thou made a reproach and a derision? Was thy life consumed with grief, and thy years with trouble? Oh Lamb of God! cause me to contemplate with increasing earnestness, and increasing delight, at every renewed view, thy marvellous love in thus exposing thyself to evil for the everlasting happiness of thy redeemed.
And do thou, blessed Spirit, impress upon my mind such a deep sense of the infinite preciousness of Jesus and his salvation, that in him and in his righteousness I may go forth from day to day, humbly casting myself upon the covenant faithfulness of Jehovah, as my strong rock and house of defense against all my enemies. May my soul rejoice in the Lord, and triumph in the God of my salvation. And in all the exercises and events of this short pilgrimage state, may it be my joy that my times are in the Lord's hands: and when he shall appoint the time of my departure, may I be enabled from long acquaintance, long proved and well-founded confidence in the merits and righteousness of Jesus for salvation, to make a full and perfect surrender of soul, body, and spirit unto him, humbly adopting the same blessed words: Into thine hand I commit my spirit: thou hast redeemed me, O Lord, thou God of truth.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Psalms 31". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://pro.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29