Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary
This is a divine Psalm, in point of sublimity of thought, as well as devotion. It celebrates, like the former, the glories of God: and probably, though not said to be so, was written by the same hand, as the penman of the Holy Ghost.
In the opening of this psalm, I would call upon my soul, as the prophet did on his, to bless Jehovah. And I would desire to have it impressed upon my heart, both in the reading of this scripture, and all others of a like nature, that when Jehovah is blessed and praised, in a review of any of his sovereign acts, whether in creation, providence, or grace, it is Jehovah in his threefold character of person, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost: for as all the persons of the Godhead are in scripture declared to be the joint authors of all these mercies, so are they together properly the united one glorious object of adoration, obedience, love, and praise.
What a sweet and lovely description is given of Jehovah covering himself with light! And, if we construe the expression, as we certainly may, without violence to the general sense of the passage, we may behold in it Jehovah's covering himself with light in the manifestation of himself to our souls, in the person of Jesus Christ. No man hath seen God at any time: the only begotten Son which is the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him; John 1:18. And considered in this point of view, how truly blessed is the passage, In thy light shall we see light; Psalms 36:9. I hope the reader will forgive me, if, while I desire to enter, with him, into the full enjoyment of all the beauties this hymn of praise contains, in adoring Jehovah in the works of his creation and providence; I still look beyond the works of God in nature, to behold, in what is here said, very striking allusions to his works of grace. Jehovah hath indeed laid the beams of his chambers in the waters, and founded his earth upon the floods. But hath he not also founded the everlasting beams of his covenant love in redemption, in the chambers of all his divine perfections; and doth he not call upon his people to enter into them, as a security in Christ against all danger, when the Lord cometh out of his place, to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity? - Isaiah 26:20-21.
Who can read this verse without being struck with the expressions? The apostle to the Hebrews throws a greater light upon the ministry of angels, as unceasingly engaged in the service of the church of Christ; Hebrews 1:14. But while attending to this view of a subject so astonishing; let us contemplate a yet higher in the ministry of Him who is a spirit of judgment, and a spirit of burning; Isaiah 4:4. Yes! thou blessed, holy Spirit! thou, even thou, art the source of all spiritual life to the new creature in Christ Jesus. For what the wind and air are in the natural world, such art thou in the spiritual. So Job sang; and so the Lord's people find, by happy experience. The Spirit of God (saith he) hath made me; and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life; Job 33:4. Oh! for grace to raise an everlasting song of praise to all the Persons of the Godhead, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, for the quickening life imparted by each. For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will. And it is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing; John 5:21; Joh_6:63.
All these are so many beautiful descriptions of the various works of God in creation. They need no comment; but we may scripturalise them in reference to the new creation in Christ Jesus, and find much for the soul to delight in. The foundation-stone which God hath laid in Zion is sure; and never to be moved. All the waters of sin and hell, and the breakings up of the great deep of iniquity, cannot remove it. Though the mountain's depart, and the hills be removed, the word of the Lord, and salvation in that word, even the uncreated word Jesus, standeth forever. Isaiah 28:16; Song of Solomon 8:7; Isaiah 54:10.
Here is a beautiful gradation of the provision God hath made for his creatures in animal life, rising up from the beast to man. The beast of the field, the fowl of the air, all are fed by his bounty; agreeably to that other sweet scripture, Thou openest thine hand, and satisfieth the desire of every living thing; Psalms 114:8. But observe the superiority of the Lord's favorite creature, man. It is wine him is given to him, and oil, and bread. And can we forbear discovering the spiritual sense of these distinguishing mercies? The wine of the gospel; the oil of grace in the light of God's countenance shining upon the soul; and Jesus, the bread of life, that man might indeed be strengthened, and live forever. Say, my soul; say Reader; are not these the glorious things intended by this representation? Was not this the a wine, which cheereth God and man; when God's justice drank of it, and was satisfied; and when the sinner drinks of it, and is made glad? Judges 9:13. Oh! for the anointing of the Spirit, that true oil of grace, to make the face to shine, when beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, we are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord; 2 Corinthians 3:18. And oh! for that bread of God, even Christ's body, of which whosoever that eateth shall live forever. Lord, evermore give us this bread! John 6:33-34.
It is beautiful when from those representations in the works of nature, the Holy Ghost teaches its lessons of grace. There are trees of righteousness also, the scripture tells us, namely, the Lord's heritage, and of the Lord's right-hand planting; and these also are filled with the Spirit, from being united to, and living in Christ Jesus. Isaiah 61:3; John 15:5.
Here again we are taught that as the birds of the air, and the beasts of the field, had food and shelter in those provisions which their bountiful Creator hath made for them; so the souls of the redeemed find every suited grace in Jesus, their rest, their portion, and refuge forever.
As in the natural; set in the spiritual world, there are seasons of light and darkness; and when Jesus, the Sun of righteousness, for a moment withdraws his shining from the soul, and makes darkness there, Satan, the great enemy of souls, comes forth, as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Oh! how sweet, after a dark night of temptation, doubt, and fear, is it to the soul, to behold Jesus arise with healing in his wings! Malachi 4:2; Psalms 130:6.
So, my soul, do thou, morning by morning, go forth in the spiritual work of thy Jesus, in his strength, and his righteousness, until the evening of life be come, and the Lord of the household command his steward to call the laborers, and give them their hire. Oh! for grace to be found at that season in Jesus, and wholly accepted in him. John 9:4; Matthew 20:1-8.
How beautifully is this verse introduced! It should seem as if the sacred writer, while contemplating the Lord's goodness in creation and providence, could no longer contain himself, but leaving the whole of inferior creatures, breaks out in this hymn of praise. Reader! shall not you and I do the same, while contemplating with him the same wonderful subject, and adding to it also the still more wonderful theme of God's goodness in redemption and grace? Yes, indeed, if we know ourselves to be the happy objects of these rich mercies in Jesus! Oh! Lord! may we well say, how manifold are thy works, and thy works to us! Lord! how is it that thou hast manifested thyself to us, and not unto the world? And, Reader! think what wonders will break in upon our souls when redemption work in us is finished; when standing on the sea of glass, with the harps of God in our hands, we sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints! Revelation 15:2-3.
In these verses, from others of the great works of God in the kingdom of nature, the Psalmist finds occasion to raise songs of praise. And most beautiful and expressive is the subject. In the congregated waters of the great deep, the immeasurable expanse of ocean, the innumerable living creatures there dwelling, the great and small inhabitants of all the finny tribe; what a thought does it form in the human mind, in the contemplation of the immensity and omnipotency of God, that all these wait upon him, and are every moment living upon his bounty! But, Reader! is it not doubly improving to spiritualise the subject, and in the kingdom of grace to remark the fulness of Him who filleth all in all; as not only supplying the redeemed in heaven in the church above, but also the whole of his people in the church below, in one and the same moment, by the unceasing communication of himself in an endless perpetuity of supply of grace and mercy, and life, and light, and salvation. Precious Jesus! it hath pleased the Father, that in thee should all fulness dwell. Thou art in the midst of the throne, feeding thy redeemed in glory. And thou art no less attentive to all the wants of thy people below. Of thee, the whole family in heaven and earth is named. And all wait upon thee; for it is thou that satisfieth the desire of every living thing. Ephesians 1:22-23; Revelation 7:17. If, Lord, thou shouldest suspend but for a moment that spiritual life which thou dost impart by the Holy Ghost, how lifeless do our souls become! but when thou renewest thy bounty, oh! how refreshing is the new creation of Jesus! And what will it be, Lord, in that great day when soul and body, forever living to Christ, and in Christ, shall die no more, but arise to all the glories of salvation!
The Psalmist having begun this song of sublime adoration and thanksgiving, knows not how to quit it. Again and again he dwells upon the blessed theme, and in these verses, celebrates afresh Jehovah's glory, greatness, sovereignty, and goodness.
These verses possess a peculiar and personal sweetness; and the Psalmist takes the whole home to himself. As if he had said I know not what others do, or what others may determine; but as, for me, and my house, I will serve the Lord; I will sing of the Lord, and to the Lord, forever and ever. And when life, and strength, and voice shall fail, while my heart can think, or memory remains, Jesus shall be my meditation. His name shall hang upon my lips with my last quivering breath. Oh! precious Jesus! if the mercy be not too great to ask, let this be the dying blessing of both him that now writes, and him that reads. Amen.
MY sold! read, and pause over again and again, this lovely hymn, until thine heart, and every devout affection, go forth in praises to Jehovah, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, for all the blessings here ascribed to Him, who is indeed very great, and glorious, and clothed with honour and majesty. Behold him going forth in acts of creation, providence, goodness, mercy! See the Lord as raising up this magnificent universe, and storing it with inhabitants, not to make himself more glorious, for that is impossible; but to make innumerable beings happy: not that he might receive, but that he might impart; and pour out emanations of himself to communicate life and comfort to myriads. Hail! thou glorious, great, and bountiful Jehovah.
And, my soul, when thou hast duly pondered this wonderful subject, and bent the knee in praise and humbleness before a God of such infinite power and majesty, as he has manifested in the outer works of nature and providence; look up for his leadings, to take thee by the hand, and to bring thee in to his inner courts of grace; and there let thy mind be overwhelmed in contemplating a God in Christ, displaying redemption to a lost world, in the person, and by the offices of Jesus. Oh! thou brightness of the Father's glory, and the express image of his Person! In the glories of thy redemption thou hast gone forth for thy people; making thine Angels spirits, and thy ministers a flaming fire. Thou sendest forth the springs of thy grace into the humble heart, and thou waterest the souls of thy redeemed from above; all, all live upon thee, and in thee, and from thy rich communications. Help me then, Lord, to praise thee, to love thee, to delight in thee, and let my meditation of thee be sweet. Sweet it always must be, most blessed Jesus, for thy very name is as ointment poured forth. And while sinners that despise thee, and will not accept thy salvation, shall be no more; let my unceasing song of love and praise come up before thee from day to day, till I join the redeemed in their hallelujahs before the throne forever. Amen.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Psalms 104 Overview". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/pmc/psalms-104.html. 1828.
the First Week of Advent