This Psalm, like the former, is in the nature of exhortation. It speaks, in the opening of it, as in the person of Jehovah. It reproves the Jews in their mistaken notions of sacrifices; points to the more spiritual services of the gospel; and in the conclusion, shows how the Lord will accept the services of the heart, with an eye to the sacrifice by Christ.
A Psalm of Asaph.
The Speaker here is the Elohim-Jehovah; Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. What a sublime and magnificent account! The whole earth is summoned. And, no doubt, this is in reference to the gospel days, concerning which the Lord said, by Malachi that then incense should be offered to the Lord's name in every place with a pure offering. Malachi 1:11.
Here is evidently the gospel church. The law was given on mount Sinai: the gospel on mount Zion; Hebrews 12:18-22.
In few words, but most striking terms, the vast difference is here pointed out between the righteous and the sinner. But observe how reference is made to the sacrifice. And what is this but Christ the great Sacrifice, the only Sacrifice! Hebrews 10:10; Heb_10:14. And the very inanimate bodies shall be witnesses to the righteousness of Jesus, for God himself gives the decision.
Here is a solemn appeal to God's ancient people, the Jews, on the subject of sacrifices. What language here is, to show in what light sacrifices under the law ought to have been regarded, and with what view they were appointed. How sweetly is the gospel preached here, even from the law. Galatians 3:24-25.
This seems to be a solemn remonstrance and expostulation with the unbelieving and hypocritical Jews, who rested in the means, and totally overlooked and even despised the end: who, as our Lord told them in his days, tithed mint, anise, and cummin, but neglected the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith; Matthew 23:23. The Apostle hath a similar address of charges on his countrymen, the Jews, Romans 2:17, etc.
Is not this a beautiful conclusion, in a general appeal to everyone that hears, from what went before? It forms indeed a solemn and striking inference from the whole Psalm.
If we explain these delightful words with an eye to the gospel church in Christ Jesus, then the sense will be lovely: for this will be to offer God the Father praise, in and through Christ, our great High Priest, our Altar, our Sacrifice. And to such the blessings of the Spirit are here most graciously promised, to lead and to guide into all truth, in beholding, and accepting, and rejoicing in God's rich and free and sovereign salvation by Jesus.
READER! it is always profitable, by making comparative statements between the law and the gospel, to behold the gracious mercy of our God in the one all-sufficient, all-perfect sacrifice of God's dear Son. Not indeed, that any other sacrifice was, or could be intended to take away sin: for neither the blood of bulls, nor of goats, possessed any efficacy to this end; but were shadowy representations of Him, who was the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. But while we here behold the Jews resting in the means, and forgetting the end, taking up with the shadow, and overlooking the substance; let you and I be very jealous over our own hearts as Christians, that we do not fall into the same error. And is there not danger, even now under a gospel dispensation, if we rest in any ordinance, however delightful it may be in itself, and forget the Lord of the ordinance? If I go to the table of the Lord, and in partaking of that feast upon a sacrifice, I forget that it is the sacrifice of Jesus's body and blood, and not the feast upon it, that is the means of my soul's acceptance with God? And are not all unworthy communicants of this kind? Doth not the Lord speak to all profane, to all self-righteous characters, as in this Psalm? Doth he not solemnly remonstrate, in a yet more especial manner, to such as minister in holy things, if they minister with unclean hands, and without an eye wholly to Jesus: What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or that thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth? The Lord impress, both upon minister and people, a due sense of these things, that both may so offer the sacrifice of Christ and his righteousness, as that they may thereby glorify God the Father, who hath set forth his Son as a propitiation through faith in his blood; and in their own souls be so sweetly taught of God, as to have clear views, and rich enjoyments of the salvation of God.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Psalms 50". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://pro.studylight.org/
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34