Here is another gospel Psalm, and from our Lord's own application of a verse in it to himself, and his own circumstances, we are sweetly taught to whom it belongs. The contents are the Lord's attention over him, and man's treachery against him.
To the chief Musician. A Psalm of David.
Reader, where shall we look, or to whom direct our inquiry, to discover of whom the Prophet here speaks, unless we look to the blessed and merciful Jesus? He did indeed consider the poor, even our poor, lost, ruined and undone nature, when he came to seek and save that which was lost. He remembered us (as the hymn tenderly expresses it) in our low estate, for his mercy endureth forever; Psalms 136:23. And Jehovah delivered him who is fairer than the children of men? Grace is poured into his lips, therefore God hath blessed him forever. Psalms 45:2.
Still carrying on the recollection of the blessed Jesus as Christ here primarily and principally considered, do we not find in the whole life of the Mediator, while upon earth, Jehovah supporting him. And though we do not read indeed of Christ's bed of languishing, yet we are told by the Evangelist, that himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses; Matthew 8:17. Hence we are authorized in the general apprehension both of infirmities and sicknesses, to consider his life, like our own, ex posed to all the sorrows and sufferings of it, when he placed himself in our law room, and as our Surety and Representative. While we thus behold Christ in the first and principal sense, as set forth in this Psalm, we may then very safely, as the church in him; and for his sake, be entitled to the same blessings and supports as are here promised. But certainly not else. It is of Christ this scripture treats; and then of his church in him.
Here we find a single person speaking; and from what follows in Psalms 41:9, there can be no hesitation to say it is Christ. Will the Reader pause, and refuse this conclusion, because here is an acknowledgment of sin? I hope not. Jesus had no sin of his own, for he was holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners. But as the sinner's surety, he stood forth with all the sins of his redeemed upon him. He stood, as the high-priest was commanded, on the day of atonement, to lay all the sins of the people upon the scape goat; so Jesus stood with all burden of his people's sins upon him, and as the Prophet said, the Lord hath laid upon him the iniquity of us all. As such Christ might well be supposed, in the name of his redeemed to say, 'Heal my soul, for I have sinned against thee!' Leviticus 16:21; Isaiah 53:6.
These verses, and especially the 9th, serve to throw a light upon the whole Psalm. Reader, pray remark, with me, the several expressions here contained. Christ speaks in the 5th, 7th, and 8th verses, of enemies; and in the 6th 9th of a single one. Now there can be no difficulty to discover to whom these words refer, since Christ himself, at his last supper, expressly declares Judas to be this single person, and, in direct appeal to this very scripture, saith, it was for the fulfillment of it. See John 13:18. And respecting the numberless enemies of Christ, which, as a body, this Psalm hath in view, the gospel is full of proof. Thus the whole council said, If we let him thus alone, all men will believe in him. It is expedient that one man should die for the people. John 11:47-53.
What a lovely example hath the Son of God shown where his people are to go, and from whom to seek a refuge, in all times of need.
These words form a sweet conclusion, not only to this, but all other situations like the one here described. Several Psalms, with a little variation, close the same: Ps 72; 89; 106. And it should seem to be a proper conclusion, both to prayer and praise; for it is becoming at the beginning and close of all our undertakings, in life and death, and to all eternity. Amen.
READER, let us pause over this Psalm. It will be profitable so to do. Surely Jesus may be seen in it. He was blessed in visiting the sick and needy. He was blessed when, in the debased state of sickness and need, he subjected himself to sorrow for our salvation. He was most blessed indeed when oppressed with griefs and sorrows; and he was most blessed when, like the good Samaritan, he rescued us from the thievish, hellish cruelty of Satan, who had left us more than half dead when Jesus passed by. And though in the pursuit of those gracious designs he was betrayed both by false friends and open enemies, yet Jehovah pronounced him blessed, and upheld him and carried him through all, and hath now set him before his face forever. Hail! thou glorious, risen, and exalted Saviour! Men shall be blessed in thee and all nations shall call thee blessed.
Blessed and adored Redeemer! grant thy people grace to follow thy bright example. Lord, cause us to sympathize with all thine exercised and afflicted ones. Make it our delight and our joy to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep ourselves unspotted from the world. Oh for grace to give the cup of cold water, when we have nothing better to offer, in the name of a disciple, and to love all that love, our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity and truth.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Psalms 41". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://pro.studylight.org/
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34