This Psalm contains the devout breathings of the soul. If we read what is here expressed as the language of Christ, and in him of his church, it will be blessed indeed. David's feelings in the wilderness of Judah, very plainly prove what God the Holy Ghost graciously desires the use of this Psalm to be in the church in all ages, to express the suitable breathings of all the redeemed after a God in Christ, as their only joy.
A Psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah.
The Holy Ghost hath here given us some of those sweet and precious Words which the people of God are commanded to take with them, when they turn unto the Lord; Hosea 14:2. Reader, what words shall you and I take with us, when we come before the Lord, but the very words which God hath furnished us with in his holy word? What can a poor sinner say to the Lord so properly and so profitably, as what the Lord hath first said to that poor sinner, in the person of his dear Son Jesus Christ? Do not fail to remark, what a rich cluster of the most precious things are contained in this short verse. You see, the pious soul doth not think it enough to call God the Elohim, but his soul's chief joy is, that this God is his Elohim. God in covenant, God in engagements; in short, to sum up all in one, God in Christ; for this includes everything the soul can desire, or is capable of enjoying, in time or in eternity. Reader, it is blessed thus to look up to God, and doubly blessed when we know our right of appropriation in him as our God. And, see what a wilderness is capable of producing, when the soul is drawn out in such sweet enjoyments. Who would not wish to be in a wilderness with Jesus alone, when wilderness-frames are capable, through grace, to bring forth such wilderness-enjoyments? Happy David! when Judah's wilderness thus opened such rich communion with thy Lord. So found Paul in his prison; and so felt John at Patmos. See these scriptures, 1 Samuel 22:5; Philippians 1:19, etc.; Revelation 1:9, etc. Reader, do not dismiss this verse, before you have asked your soul, whether you know anything of those thirstings and longings, which are here described, for the sweet enjoyment of God in Christ?
Here is set before us, what is the first and earnest longing of every devout soul, namely, a sight of God in Christ, and the enjoyment of God in Christ; for these two make up the sum total of happiness, both in this life, and that which is to come. This was what Moses so earnestly longed for, when he prayed to see God's glory: and this was what he enjoyed when the Lord made all his goodness pass before him, and proclaimed himself the Lord, the Lord gracious and merciful; for God's glory is his goodness in Christ; Exodus 33:18-19. Reader, have you so seen God's goodness, in the face of Jesus Christ? 2 Corinthians 4:6. My soul! I charge it upon thee, this day, that nothing short of this be ever allowed to satisfy thee. It is delightful to see the power and glory of God in the sanctuary, in the church, in the ordinances, and in the scriptures of truth; but until Christ is seen as that sanctuary, that church, that ordinance, that scripture, in short the marrow of all, we rest in the means without the end. Precious, precious Jesus! it is thou that art the sanctuary, the altar, the sacrifice, and the one ordinance of heaven for poor sinners.
Every verse in this beautiful Psalm is a pearl, because every part and portion of it points to Jesus. Whether we hear Christ during his wilderness-exercises thus express himself, or whether David, as one of his redeemed, during his persecutions, or the Church in any of her afflicted members; in either case, or altogether, how fully do these words convey the universal sentiment which runs through and pervades the whole body! What can satisfy an awakened soul but God, who is the life and portion of the soul? Thy love (saith the church, speaking to Christ) is better than wine. And so it is indeed. For though wine may comfort the afflicted, yet it cannot give life to the dead. But Jesus's love hath given everlasting life to sinners who were dead in trespasses and sins. Song of Solomon 1:2; Ephesians 2:1.
Reader! do not overlook the Lord Jesus here. As the great and almighty Aaron of his people, he lifted up his hands to bless God for the people, and to bless his people in God. And while viewing Christ in this priestly service (which, remember, is an eternal priesthood), let our hands, our hearts, our whole souls be lifted up to bless a covenant God in Christ; and that, not only for the hour, for the day, but for the whole of life. Precious Lord! I would say, for myself and Reader, mercifully grant that our whole lives may be praising lives, and that when the last praise is closing upon our dying lips of the body, the soul may go on and continue the ardent hymn until we arrive to join the hallelujahs before the throne of God and the Lamb! Revelation 7:9-12.
This is a blessed verse, if read with reference to Christ. As God the Father declared himself to be well pleased in his Son's mediation; so Christ is said to be well pleased in finishing the work the Father gave him to do. Nay, Jesus himself said (so delighted was he with the sons of men as their Redeemer sent by the Father,) that the law of God his Father was within his very heart; or, as the margin of our Bibles reads (with the greatest propriety) within his very bowels; that is, incorporated in the very nature of Christ. Proverbs 8:30-31; Psalms 40:8. And as Christ is said to be satisfied in soul when praising God for redemption-work, so all his people feel and enjoy an interest in all that belongs to Christ, and God's favor in Christ. Reader! pardon me, if I entreat you to pause and ponder over the very weighty doctrine contained in this short verse. Are you so satisfied with the full and complete salvation wrought out by the Lord Jesus as to seek no other, nay, to despise every other, and to praise God for this his unspeakable gift by his dear Son, with joyful lips? Oh! it is a blessed thing for the soul of a poor sinner to go to the throne of God in Jesus's name, and to tell God that the one sacrifice of his Son, and his obedience unto death, was, and is, fully equivalent to all the wants of Christ's church. Colossians 2:9-10.
It is blessed, at all times, and in all places, to remember God. But many precious souls are so much tossed about by day that they have in their evening meditations frequently to complain, when looking back upon the past, how little they have been occupied in seasons of communion. Reader! do you know what it is to take an hour from the slumbers of the night to think of Jesus, and to commune with him? Do you know what it is sometimes to be as it were awakened by the Lord Jesus for this blessed enjoyment? Do you know what the prophet meant when he said, He wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned? Isaiah 50:4: which, though I confess it is spoken with reference to the Lord Jesus himself, may yet be applied, without violence to the words, to his people in him. And I do not think I should err, if I added my belief is, that many a follower of Christ could bear testimony to the same, in having been awakened in the night season, when no eye seeth but him that seeth in secret, and the whole world hath been gone to rest, that Jesus might give them an opportunity of communion with him, and he with them. See those scriptures, Revelation 3:20; Song of Solomon 2:14.
What are those wings, under the shadow of which the soul of the believer rejoiceth, but Jesus, represented by the cherubim which shadowed the mercy-seat? Was not this representation in the old church the propitiatory? And in the new, is not God said to have set forth Christ as a propitiation, through faith in his blood? Compare Exodus 25:18-22, with Romans 3:25.
There is a delightful connection between this verse and the former. The soul which hath found a God in Christ his help, will certainly follow hard after the same, and indeed desire larger manifestations. Reader! is this your case? Have you tasted that the Lord is gracious? If so, saith the apostle, to whom coming, 1 Peter 2:3-4. (faith is not a single act, but a continued act), always coming, always seeking larger, fuller, greater, deeper enjoyments of the Lord Jesus; hanging upon him, cleaving to him, not letting him go without a blessing; like the apostle Paul, or the patriarch Jacob, or Moses, from well knowing the largeness of Christ's heart and his love to his redeemed; not as though we had already attained, or were already perfect; but forgetting things behind, and reaching forth towards those which are before, to press toward the mark, for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. See Genesis 32:26; Deuteronomy 10:20; John 15:4; Philippians 3:12-14.
Though we may allow a view to be taken of David's own history in those words, for Saul, and the other foes of David, which did perish by the sword, (1 Samuel 31:4) yet we must look farther to behold their full meaning, in the everlasting destruction of the enemies of Jehovah, and of his Christ. The Son of God hath already read the very words which shall be pronounced in the day when he returneth to take possession of his kingdom.: But those mine enemies which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither and slay them before me, Luke 19:27.
But the king shall rejoice in God; everyone that sweareth by him shall glory: but the mouth of them that speak lies shall be stopped.
How very beautifully the Psalm concludes. Jehovah's King, Jehovah's Anointed, must reign: all enemies must be subdued. Jehovah himself is engaged to this, and the Messiah's everlasting kingdom must prevail. And as this will be to the eternal glory of Jehovah, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; so will it be to the joy of the Adonai, the Mediator, the glorious Head of his Church, and to all his people. But the triumphs of the redeemed in Jesus will be accompanied with the final and complete overthrow of all the enemies of God and of his Christ; for they shall fall to rise no more; every mouth of them that speak lies will be stopped while every tongue of the redeemed will confess, that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Amen.
MY soul! do not dismiss thine attention to this precious portion of God's word, until thou hast gathered from it, as the bee from the sweetest flower, the many divine instructions it holds forth to thy meditation. Behold in it what an entertainment of the richest provision the Lord can afford and satisfy his redeemed with, even in a wilderness situation, when he can spread before them so plentiful a table as his own divine presence alone furnisheth. Surely here may be seen to the full the truth of that scripture, that he maketh the wilderness to blossom as a rose. What though thou art in a wilderness state, and surrounded with wilderness dispensations, if Jesus be with thee, and Jesus be thy portion; if thou canst call him thy God, and the God of thy mercies, will he not be to thee all that thou canst need, and all that thou canst desire? Pause, my soul, and count over thy right and claim to this covenant God in Christ. Art thou not his by creation, by redemption, by the conquests of his grace, the purchase of Jesus's blood, and the right of the Father's gift to his dear Son? And is not God the Father thy Father in Christ Jesus, by adoption and by grace? Is not Jesus thine by his betrothing thee to himself, and by the voluntary surrender of thyself to him in a oneness never to be dissolved? Hath not the Holy Ghost given thee the earnest of Jesus's love, and manifested that all he hath is thine, in taking of the things of Jesus and showing them to thee? Oh! then live up to thine high privileges. See to it, day by day, that the devout breathings of this Psalm speak thy very language. Do thou, my soul, be seeding forth an earnest cry for the God of thy life, and of thy salvation. Tell Jesus, that nothing can satisfy thy longings and thy thirstings but himself. Tell him that his ordinances are sweet, and the courts of his house are lovely; but unless the King be there, and unless thou canst hold the King in the galleries, there is nothing can give thee joy. Oh! thou holy One, thou lovely One, thou Lord our righteousness! let my desire be increasing every hour towards thee; let my love be always upon thee; let all my enjoyment be in thee, all my satisfaction from thee; and be thou the all in all to me, while I remain in the present wilderness-state, until thou shalt bring me home to the everlasting enjoyment of thyself forever. Amen.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Psalms 63". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://pro.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 25 / Ordinary 30