The Psalmist is still at the mercy-seat, praying for strength against his enemies; and for strength and grace in his own soul. Here are some sweet things in this Psalm, typically considered, which refer to Christ, David's Lord, and also of the enemies of God's Anointed.
To the chief musician on Neginoth, Maschil, A Psalm of David.
This beautiful Psalm will be rendered exceedingly profitable to our souls in the reading, if the Holy Ghost, who hath given it by inspiration for the church's profit, shall, by his divine teaching, give us to see the many blessed things contained in it. As it refers to the personal exercises of the writer, David, it will be profitable; and as it becomes from his instance an example to all the church of Jesus, it will be no less so; and yet, more particularly than either, as it represents Jesus himself in some of the most interesting seasons of his ministry, concerning which there can be but one opinion, that David here was eminently his type. Reader, do observe the expressions in this prayer; and then recollect Christ's cries in the garden, when his soul was so convulsed with agony, that the Lamb of God declared he was sorrowful even unto death. Mark 14:34.
If we consider David's history, it will appear probable that he had an eye to his son, Absalom, as this enemy. If we look at Christ, probably Judas was the foe here intended, with the Scribes and Pharisees.
We shall have a lively apprehension of this history of David, if we connect with what is here said of him, his flight from Absalom, when he went up the hill of mount Olivet; 2 Samuel 15:14-30. But who that reads the account there given of David going over the brook Kidron, and ascending the Mount, can overlook, or want to be reminded of the Son of God, in the days of his flesh, passing the same place in the night before his sufferings and death. Reader! think of the view the Holy Ghost had of this part of the Redeemer's history, when, so many ages before, he represented it in type by David. Think of what Jesus felt in that season, when he was entering the garden to grapple with the powers of darkness! Can any words more strikingly display Jesus's agony, than what is here said under the spirit of prophecy; fearfulness, horror, and trembling? David was in great distress, no doubt, when he fled from his son; but nothing, to a man of his courage, could make such strong expressions suitable to him. I therefore am inclined to think it was of Jesus the words were spoken.
Beautiful similitude of the dove's flight, to describe the soul's earnestness for quiet! Not to fly as a bird of prey, but as a bird of peace. Blessed Jesus! how suited is this to thee, thou meek and lowly Lamb of God, in all thy dove-like deportment! My soul! dost thou not long to flee away also to Jesus, as thy rest, thy Noah, thine ark, in whom alone thou canst find rest or peace? Genesis 8:9; Psalms 116:7; Isaiah 28:12; Matthew 11:28.
If we look at David in these verses, we see how the distressed monarch pleaded with God to prosper the plan he had laid with his friend Hushai, to defeat the counsel of his foes. He had sent back this man to be with his unnatural son for that purpose. And the prayer here used is followed with another in the history, to turn the counsel of Ahitophel, an enemy of his, but held in great reputation, into foolishness. 2 Samuel 15:31-34.
We must of necessity drop David's history in these verses, to attend to an infinitely greater; for surely what is here said by the Spirit of Christ, which was in the holy men of old, is said in prophecy concerning the Lord Jesus. Of Judas, Jesus might truly be supposed thus to speak. Christ had chosen him, as well as the rest, for a disciple, though from everlasting he knew him for the son of perdition. Admitted as he was into the same familiarity as the rest of the disciples, what could more strikingly mark his character? And his death how sudden, how awful! John 17:12; Joh_6:70-71; Luke 22:3-6; Acts 1:16-18.
How precious are these words, whether considered as the language of our Lord in the days of his flesh, or of any of his believing people. They suit all. The evening, the morning, the noon; all seasons, all hours are free for a soul to have access to the mercy-seat of God in Christ. Daniel is eminently spoken of by the Holy Ghost on this account, Daniel 6:10; Peter's house-top was his proseuche, his prayer-house, Acts 10:9. Reader, what a sweet thought it is for you, and for me, to keep alive in the soul, that the Lamb is in the midst of the throne? Revelation 7:17. No doubt teaching believers, that all around, in every direction, and by every way, there is an avenue open for them. And oh! that our hearts were more alive to go. Lord! quicken us to this service, which is perfect freedom, that, like him of old, we may say, seven times a day will I praise thee, because of thy righteous judgments. Psalms 119:164.
Here is another view of the enemies of David; and still more so of the enemies of David's Lord. How smooth were the words of Judas when he said, Hail, Master! and kissed him. But how was the prophecy fulfilled in his end, as a bloody and deceitful man?
MY soul! leave every other subject, and every other consideration, in the perusal of this Psalm, to ponder over the several parts of it, and to contemplate thy God and Saviour as here typically set forth, and prophetically represented. David, king of Israel, was indeed betrayed by false friends, and persecuted by his unnatural son: and good men in all ages have been exercised with similar trials in their pilgrimage state. But what were David's trials, or the afflictions of others, compared to thee, thou patient Lamb of God, when bulls of Bashan compassed thee about, and all thy disciples forsook thee, and fled; when one denied thee, and another betrayed thee?
But chiefly, while I behold David going over the brook Kidron, and walking up barefoot, with his head covered, the ascent of Mount Olivet, let my soul call to mind how thou, my adored Redeemer, didst pass over the same memorable spot in the dolorous night of thy conflict in the garden. Oh! for my soul to take the wing of faith, and fly thither to behold thy sufferings! Was there ever sorrow like unto thy sorrow, wherewith the Lord afflicted thee in the day of his fierce anger? And chiefly, precious Jesus, let me connect with this view the interest I have in it. Let me recollect that in all this, thou wast the surety, the sponsor, the representative of thy people: thou didst bear the whole for thy redeemed. And did Judas betray thee? did Peter deny thee? did all forsake thee? And so have I. - Didst thou drink of the brook in the way? And shall not I? And as into this brook the filth of the temple sacrifices emptied itself; so, Lord, all my guilt and defilement emptied upon thee; and through all thou madest a way for the salvation of thy redeemed. Precious Jesus! let me have grace to behold thee in all this as my surety, and may my soul pass on through all the trifling persecutions I meet with in this pilgrimage state, with a wise indifference, losing sight of all in the contemplation of thy unequalled sorrows, and reading in everyone of them the Holy Ghost's declaration, by his servant the apostle, Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Psalms 55". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://pro.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 25 / Ordinary 30