Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary
If the foregoing Psalm prayed for the Mediator's success in his great undertaking of redemption, here we have a thanksgiving Psalm for the answer of Jehovah to that Prayer, in the triumphs of the Lord Jesus. The Church is here blessing the Lord for those victories of her Redeemer and King, and expressing her sure confidence of everlasting triumphs in Jesus.
To the chief Musician. A Psalm of David.
Reader, here is so much of Jesus, our glorious triumphant King, in this Psalm, that I do entreat you to be looking up for grace, and on the lookout through every portion of it, that we may not overlook or miss any of the very precious things which are here recorded concerning him. Observe, immediately on the opening of it, what is said of the Lord Jesus's joy in the salvation of Jehovah. Yes: Jesus is the Christ of God. And the salvation he brought is Jehovah's salvation to the ends of the earth. Isaiah 49:6.
Reader, look here again, and be abundantly comforted in the view. The heart's desire of Jesus was and is for the redemption of his people. And depend upon one certain truth: Never did any poor burthened sin-sick soul long or desire so earnestly for his salvation by Jesus, as Jesus hath for the salvation of that sinner. Sweetly the Church echoed to this desire of Jesus, her husband, when she said, I am my beloved's, and his desire is towards me. Song of Solomon 7:10.
Do observe again here, what a lovely account is given of the Father's grace in the salvation of the Church, outrunning and being beforehand with Jesus in his desire for it. God the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. The Father's hand was first in the blessed work. The Father ordered, planned, appointed, and finally blesseth the rich salvation of Jesus. Of all mercies, going before, and preventing the very wishes or prayers of his people, the gift of God's dear Son is the highest and the best. Reader, I charge it both upon your heart and my own, never forget this. We owe all our blessings in Jesus and by Jesus, nay, Jesus himself, with all the mercies of redemption, to the gift of God, our Father. Hence the Apostle was taught by the Holy Ghost to say, We have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. 1 John 4:14. And hence the redeemed in glory are represented as before the throne chanting the hymn of praise to the Lamb, for the blessings of his great salvation, in that he had redeemed them to God by his blood. Thus testifying that it was from Jehovah as the first cause, and to Jehovah as the final end, all the blessings of redemption by the Lord Jesus Christ are to be ascribed. Revelation 5:9. Sweet thought! also suggested in the latter part of this verse: Jehovah is said to have set a crown of pure gold upon the Mediator's head. Yes: long before the incarnation of Jesus, by the spirit of prophecy, Jehovah is introduced as proclaiming him King in Zion, and crowning him upon his holy hill. Jesus is said to declare this decree. And when was this done but in that glorious event John saw by vision, in order to tell the church, when he saw that book of the divine decrees in Jehovah's hand, who was sitting on the throne, and when none was found worthy to open the book, neither to look thereon, but the Lion of the tribe of Judah? Surely, Reader, if none but this Lamb of God was found worthy to open the book, none but him could declare the contents of it. Compare Psalms 2:6-8 with Revelation 5:1, etc. Reader! you perceive Jehovah hath set a crown of pure gold upon the head of Jesus, and crowned him King in Zion. Do you know of another coronation day of our Lord Jesus? Yes, every poor sinner that puts the crown of his salvation, also, upon the same blessed head of Jesus, doth the same, and, in so doing, proves that the mind of Jehovah, and the mind of that poor sinner, are here fully agreed. Oh, the wonders of redemption!
Now here we have a verse, that if we needed it by way of showing to whom the whole Psalm belongs, and of whom alone it treats, would at once decide it. This king whom Jehovah crowned, is said to have asked life, and the Lord gave it forever. And this silenceth every question that otherwise might arise, whether David, King of Israel, or any other earthly monarch, could be meant. And hence it should act as a guide to every other passage which is not of so plain a nature. It enervates the blessed energy of the scriptures, when we presume to construe them with a double meaning. Jesus, and Jesus only, is the glorious King all along treated of: and therefore I would pray for grace, that I might never lose sight of him, in having my thoughts or affections taken off to the consideration of any other. And, Reader, that you and I may have also a clear apprehension in what sense Jesus is here represented as the King asking life, and Jehovah granting him a long life, even forever and ever, do not forget that in this, and in all other similar passages in the Bible, where Jesus is represented as asking, and Jehovah as granting, it is as our Head and Mediator. The Son of God, as God, one with the Father in his essential power and Godhead, can neither ask nor receive; for all creatures and things are his, in common with the Father and the Holy Ghost.
But when the Son of God condescended, for us and our redemption, to take upon him our nature, and in the union of the two natures, both God and man, he became one person, even Christ; here, as our Head, our Mediator, he hath a kingdom given to him, to reward him for his blessed work of redemption, and to furnish him with all blessings for his people, in time, and to all eternity. Hence those scriptures, like the present, which describe his reign, his sovereignty, and his people, as blessed in him. Psalms 2:6-8; Psa_24:7, etc. Ps 72 throughout, etc.
Language is incompetent to describe all the precious things contained in these verses. How great the Mediator's glory, in the salvation thus planned and executed by Jehovah! How great his own blessedness! How inconceivable the mutual enjoyment of the glorious persons of the Godhead in each other! We must be first qualified to apprehend what kind of joy that is, which the infinite mind of Jehovah is capable of receiving, before we can describe it. And as in the highest perfection of our nature, even in glory, we never can arrive at this, because it belongs only to the incommunicable perfections of the Godhead, it is evident that we never can conceive in time, in what it consists, much less speak of it. So that all attempts to enlarge upon these verses are fruitless. And indeed in their own pure unaltered language, they convey more than when the least addition is made to them. The margin of some of our old Bibles makes a little variety in the phrase, Thou hast made him to be blessed forever; and reads it, Thou hast set him to be blessings forever; intimating, in a sweet manner, that what Jesus, as Mediator, is in himself, he is for his people. None but Jesus can be said to be blessed in himself: but, as the Head of his people, and from their union with him, he is what he is, a blessing, and an eternal one, to all them.
I do not interrupt the reading of these verses, that I may not swell the Commentary unnecessarily: they all refer to one and the same thing. The King Mediator having, by his own personal victories, established his kingdom, and committed his church into the hands of his Father, now being returned to glory (see John 17:11, etc.), is assured that his church and redeemed shall be preserved in the earth, until their time comes to follow him to his kingdom. Hence all the different expressions contained in these verses are directed to one and the same end. The enemies of the cross may and will oppose; but the ultimate termination shall be victory to all the army of Jesus. The kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever. Revelation 11:15.
A beautiful close to this most glorious Psalm is here, in which the Church offers up a joyful acclamation to her Sovereign Redeemer, that being now exalted in his own strength, and having gotten himself the victory, and a name being given to him above every name, all the ransomed of Zion, the whole church of God's redeemed ones, shout aloud his praises, devoutly bend the knee, the heart, the whole soul, before him, and with one heart, and one tongue, confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Amen.
READER, here let us pause, and with holy admiration, love and praise, contemplate the astonishing love of God our Father, in giving his dear Son, and the astonishing love of God the Son, in coming to redeem our nature, and by such a process of grace opening the kingdom of heaven to all believers. Surely never did God display such love, wisdom, and grace, as in the redemption by Jesus. And if the King rejoiceth in such great salvation, well may the happy objects of it, who, by his gracious undertaking, and victory, are made kings and priests to God and the Father.
And oh, thou glorious Mediator! was it thine heart's desire, which God thy Father granted thee, that thou mightest see of the travail of thy soul, that thou mightest have thy church, thy spouse, thy fair one? Didst thou, blessed Lord, from everlasting set thine heart's desire upon thy people? Didst thou, from this desire towards thy people, come and tabernacle among them? And was such thine ardent desire for the working out their redemption, by thy sufferings and death, that thou was straitened until that thy baptism of pain and agonies was accomplished? And as thou didst all along desire everything that had a tendency to bring about those blessed purposes, is it not now, blessed Jesus, thy desire for the time to come, in every individual instance of thy purchased ones, that their conversion may be accomplished? Dost thou not wait to be gracious? Dost thou not count thy people as the excellent of the earth, in whom is all thy desire, all thy delight? And do we not know, that those desires of thine will never be fully gratified, until thou hast gathered all thy redeemed around thee in glory? O thou glorious, thou almighty Shiloh! to thee shall the gathering of the people be. Yes, Lord, thou art the desire of all nations! Thou art the one glorious object of desire in every awakened heart. Lord Jesus, be thou my King, my God! And as the Father hath put a crown of pure gold upon thy head, and declared thee to be his King in Zion, so would my poor withered hand, through thy grace, be stretched forth in faith, to put the crown of my salvation on thy sacred head, declaring thee to be my lawful, rightful Lord, both by the Father's gift, the purchase of thy blood, and the conquests of thy grace. Lord! henceforth make me wholly thine, for I am no longer my own; thou hast bought me with a price, and therefore would I glorify thee with my whole soul and body, and spirit, which I pray thee to sanctify, and to preserve blameless, until the day of thy coming.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Psalms 21 Overview". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/pmc/psalms-21.html. 1828.
the First Week of Advent