Here is another of those blessed portions of the divine word, in which the Prophet speaketh much of Christ. The whole Psalm is a continued petition, in which Jehovah is appealed to for compassion.
A Psalm of David to bring to remembrance.
In the very opening of this Psalm, I beg the Reader's particular regard to the title of it, and that with an eye to Christ. A Psalm to bring to remembrance. What is worthy to be so done, but what concerns the Lord Jesus? Is not the Holy Ghost said by Christ himself to be his remembrancer? John 14:26. And is not this act of bringing to remembrance among the sweetest and most blessed offices of the Holy Ghost? If we therefore look to the Holy Ghost as the Author and Giver of his own scripture, and this Psalm among the rest; and if we can clearly trace Christ as set forth in this Psalm; do we not then enter into a full apprehension of the gracious purpose for which it was written, and for what special design the object of it is intended, in bringing to the remembrance of the church all things which refer to the person and work of the Lord Jesus, as well as all things whatsoever Jesus himself hath said unto us? I do not presume to decide upon this point; but I venture to throw out the views I have of it in this light. And if I do not greatly err, I humbly conceive we shall find, as we prosecute the perusal of this Psalm, much indeed to bring to remembrance concerning the Lord Christ, if the Holy Ghost graciously condescends here, as in numberless other instances, to be the kind remembrancer in our hearts of what is here recorded in relation to him. If we consider the prophet describing in this first verse the Lord Christ, we may behold him as our Surety, bearing our sins, and carrying our sorrows; and as such the apostle represents him in the days of his flesh, offering up prayers and supplications, with strong crying and tears. Hebrews 5:7. Reader! we shall be so far from lessening the interest we have in what is here said, in our cries and groans under the conscious sin of our nature from thus looking unto Jesus, that, under God's grace, it will call forth a more awakened concern at every petition, when we behold what sin hath done in calling forth the agonies of the Son of God. And a conscious interest in him, and union with him as our Surety, will give energy to all our prayers upon this and every other occasion. And how truly interesting is it to behold Christ with an eye of faith thus praying; and to hear him with the ear of faith thus pleading; when enduring that curse which the law denounced against the sinner, and thus redeeming us from the curse by becoming both sin and a curse for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. Galatians 3:13; 2 Corinthians 5:21.
Let any man read these verses, and then turn to the gospel, and his mind must be led out to remark the striking similarity between what is here said by the spirit of prophecy, and the history of the sorrows and sufferings of Jesus. Reader, turn to some few passages, and then pause over both, in comparing spiritual things with spiritual, and say whether David spake these things of himself, or of some other man? Luke 22:41-44; Mark 14:32-34: then read the Holy Ghost's own comment of one servant's writings by another servant's expounding, and all with an express reference to Jesus, Acts 8:32-35.
Look at the cross, and behold Jesus's relations and disciples indeed standing afar off. Angels might well have done the same, for none but the arm of God could bear up the burden of sin. Matthew 26:56.
Here again look at the gospel. Mark 14:12; Luke 22:3-6.
Who that ever read the prophet's account of Him, that as a sheep before her shearers was dumb, so he opened not his mouth; or who that ever read the relation of Jesus standing before Pilate, when, amidst all the blasphemy poured upon him, he remained silent, until the unjust judge himself marveled; or who that ever attended to what the apostle hath said of Jesus, that when he was reviled, he reviled not again; who, I say, that ever attended to these things, could hesitate for a moment to behold the Lord Christ in this prophetic description of him? Surely no one that knows anything of David's history, will give him credit for this dumbness and insensibility to the reproaches of his enemies. No! thou patient suffering Lamb of God, it is thou, and thou only, who wert able to endure such a contradiction of sinners against thyself. Isaiah 53:7; Matthew 27:12-14; 1 Peter 2:23; Hebrews 12:3.
It is blessed, and it is precious to see Christ thus rolling himself, if I may so say, upon God the Father in his trials, because it comes in as a confirmation of all the covenant-engagements concerning redemption, between the Persons of the Godhead. Isaiah 42:4; Psalms 89:20-26. Hence Psalms 22:18-19.
Let not these words stagger the faith of the believer in considering them as spoken by Christ. As the sinner's Surety, he was truly made sin for his people, so the scripture declares, yea, also a curse for them. Hence, in the eye of the law, Christ and his seed are one. Galatians 3:13; 2 Corinthians 5:21.
I need not enlarge on these verses, they all express the same blessed truths, and bear a gracious correspondence to the whole tenor of this Psalm. Jehovah is the salvation of his people, and Christ is the salvation of Jehovah's appointment to the ends of the earth. Psalms 27:1; Isaiah 49:6.
READER! how blessed is it to behold the attention of God the Holy Ghost to the interests and happiness of the Church in all ages, in thus keeping alive the grand and leading points of redemption by the Lord Jesus in the minds of the people. Well might this Psalm be called a Psalm of remembrance, since it treasureth up so many tender and affectionate particulars concerning the Lord Christ. I would say for myself as I peruse it, to God the Holy Ghost: Blessed Lord, I thank thee for so precious a record in the Old Testament scripture concerning my Lord. And I would add, Do thou, blessed Lord, be the frequent remembrancer to my poor forgetful soul, of all the precious things which relate to my God and Saviour.
Reader, is Jesus here set forth! Is it indeed He of whom the prophet speaks? Oh! then for faith in this blessed surety to find deliverance from all the sins, sorrows, and punishments due, and justly due, to God's broken law. Oh! for grace and faith in lively exercise to believe the record which God hath given of his dear Son. Oh! for faith so to receive the blood and righteousness of Christ, and plead it at all times, and upon all occasions before the throne, as the very righteousness in which my soul now lives, in which my body will die, and in which both soul and body shall appear before God, and be clothed in, to all eternity.
Precious blessed Jesus! now I see how it is, and why it is, that thou art, as the Christ of God, so suited and so desirable to every poor, awakened, convinced, and broken-hearted sinner. Thou hast stood in our stead. Thou hast borne our sins in thine own body on the tree. Thou hast died, the just for the unjust, to bring us to God. Oh! the beauties, the glories, the loveliness of Jesus! Let others glory in what they may; let others boast in what they will; be thou all my rejoicing, all my confidence, all my hope, my righteousness, my joy! This is the sum and substance of all my happiness here and forever. The Lord is my strength and my song, and he also is become my salvation.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Psalms 38". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://pro.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29