Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary
The Psalmist is here engaged in praise, and this holy joy and thanks giving is founded upon the consciousness of God's faithfulness, and truth; and mercy. The hymn closeth with a determined trust in God.
A Psalm of David.
There is somewhat very beautiful and gracious in the opening of this Psalm. The man of God cannot be content in blessing Jehovah himself alone, but he calls upon all the redeemed to join in the Hallelujah, And he very properly founds his argument upon the justice of the thing itself, for all the world must confess that the Lord is entitled to the everlasting praises of his creatures. Let all that hath breath praise the Lord; and in an especial manner let the redeemed of the Lord say so, for they have peculiar praises to bring; Psalms 107:2.
I have no doubt but that musical instruments were made use of in the temple service. But still I cannot but think, that somewhat of a higher and more spiritual nature is intended from the frequent account we meet with concerning their use. Surely the stringed instruments of the soul are the only things from whence true melody can be offered to the Lord. And I venture to believe that the only suitable concert under the New Testament dispensation, is the melody which is wholly spiritual, when true worshippers with one mind and one mouth glorify God. Romans 15:6. The new song since David's days hath been published; John heard it in vision; and the Church are enabled to sing it by faith; Revelation 5:9-10.
Here, Reader, is a song, that all the New Testament saints may sing, in which God hath found out a way whereby his justice and mercy harmonize in the redemption by Christ Jesus. Psalms 85:10-11.
Do we not discover Christ, the uncreated Word, and the Holy Ghost, the breath or spirit of every living thing, in this verse? Reader! if it be so in the old creation of nature, think, I pray you, whether it be not so also in the new creation of grace? And what an additional evidence is here found to the same glorious truth through all the Bible, Ephesians 3:9; Genesis 1:2-3. Oh! what an hymn of praise ought to burst forth from every heart to the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, as the joint agents in creation, redemption, and all our mercies, in time and to all eternity!
From the kingdom of God in the works of nature, the Psalmist here turns to the contemplation of his government in the kingdom of his providence. What a sweet thought is suggested here to God's redeemed and exercised family, in the consciousness of the Lord's over-ruling power. No counsel but God's can stand. Think of this, my brother, under any overbearing oppressions of the mighty: They may plan, they may threaten, they may for a while seem to exercise a high hand; but Jesus looks on: and whoso toucheth one of his little ones, toucheth the apple of his eye. Zechariah 2:8.
What a beautiful advance the Psalm makes, in still going on through the courts of nature and of providence, to that of grace. How blessed indeed must be the Church and people, who have the Lord for their God! There is nothing else to give happiness or security. The strength of horses or chariots, the strength of a host or an army, the power of kings or giants, nay, of all mighty men; what can be the whole of creatures, whose breath is in their nostrils? But in Jesus there is everlasting strength, and therefore the prophet sings aloud, Surely shall one say, In the Lord have I righteousness and strength: even to him shall men come, and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed; Isaiah 45:24.
Do not these verses sweetly follow the former, as an application of the blessed doctrine there expressed? If unfolded and explained in a gospel strain, do they not in effect say, Behold and take notice, every individual of you that are the Lord's heritage, the eye of Jesus is always upon you; his arm is stretched forth to your protection, help, and deliverance. In times of temporal and spiritual famine, Jesus will keep both body and soul alive: your bread shall be given, and your water shall be sure. He that is your God, will be, and is all that you can need. Isaiah 33:16.
And do not these verses give back the answer of the Church, and of every individual believer, as if they cried out with one response, Amen, to so much proffered mercy? Yes! the Lord is both a sun and a shield. He that now gives grace, will by and by give glory. And observe, Reader, the joy of the believer is because he trusteth in the holy name of God in Christ. Our safety is in Jesus; and our joy is when we have a believing trust in Jesus. And, indeed, if this would not bring joy, nothing would. This makes the soul of the believer not only assured that heaven is his own, because Jesus is his own: but he rejoiceth now in the hope of, and anticipates by present possession, the glory that shall be revealed , because Jesus is his portion. And this, no doubt, is what Paul the apostle meant, when he prayed for the Church, that the God of hope might fill them with all joy and peace in believing, that they might abound in hope through the power of the Holy Ghost. Romans 15:13.
We never can sufficiently admire the beauty and comprehensiveness of this prayer. It is a prayer of faith, and includes almost every petition that can be offered, because it looks to Jesus, as the mercy looked for, the mercy promised. Luke 1:72. It forms the richest conclusion to the whole hymn of this Psalm. It is as if the Church had said, We know, Lord, that thine eye is always upon us; and we know that thou hast delivered thy people, and thou dost deliver them, and thou wilt still deliver them; and thou wilt be everything to them they need in time, and to all eternity. Now, Lord, in a believing expectation that all these blessings are in him that is the Mercy promised, the Messiah, the Jesus which is to come, thine Old Testament saints will live and die in the full enjoyment, by faith, of this great covenant blessing. Let our God come even as we do wait his coming. Song of Solomon 2:17. Reader! and what ought to be the language of New Testament saints, in closing this hymn of praise, and faith, and dependence, who have seen that mercy promised actually fulfilled, but still increasing bursts of holy joy, adoration, love, and confidence? Hail, Lord Jesus! thou art the Mercy promised. We bless thee in thy first coming with all thy finished work of redemption: and we desire to live and die in the full assurance and expectation of thy second coming, when that hope we have in thy salvation will be swallowed up in absolute enjoyment, and we shall live with thee, and enjoy thee forever!
LET every justified soul rejoice in the Lord, and rejoice alway, for surely the rich redemption of Jesus is enough to fill all hearts that are the partakers of it with praise. But, my soul! what hast thou learned of this sacred and hallowed song? Canst thou go over the several parts of it with an eye to thine own interest in it, and make the responses, as thou goest along, from a real heartfelt and personal enjoyment of it? Thou canst sing indeed of creation, for the Lord in mercy hath called thee into existence, and thou canst testify, as this Psalm of praise records, that by the word of the Lord the heavens were made; and by his Spirit hath he garnished the heavens. Thou canst sing of his providence also, for his counsel must stand, and the Lord will perform all his will. Thou canst sing of grace no less, because thou hast seen how the Lord led out Israel, blessed him as a nation, and chose him as a people for his own inheritance. But, my soul, though these subjects are blessed aids to call forth hymns of continual praise; the question is, what part dost thou thyself bear in it? If, as this Psalm records, the Lord looketh from heaven and beholdeth all the sons of men; if the eye of the Lord is upon them that fear him, and upon them that hope in Jesus, the mercy promised; hast thou a well-grounded hope and assurance that his eye is upon thee in grace, because thou art hoping in Jesus? Pause, my soul! Art thou acquainted with God's mercy in Christ? Hath he delivered thy soul from spiritual death, in having found a ransom for thee to keep thee from going down to the pit? Hath he kept thee alive in famine, both before thou knewest him in grace, and now in the numberless instances since thou hast known him in mercy, when thy fears have been alive, and thy hopes dying from unbelief, and the temptations of the enemy? O then, my soul, if these things be so, and thou canst set to thy seal that God is true, look up to Jesus, look up to thy God and Father in him, and under the continued influences of the Holy Ghost, daily, hourly, adopt this sweet prayer of faith, and tell thy God that thy hope is in him; and never can any wait long for his blessing, who live upon Jesus's mercy. See, Lord, my expectation is alone in Jesus: and therefore, Jesus, be thou with me and upon me, according as my hope is in thee. Amen.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Psalms 33 Overview". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/pmc/psalms-33.html. 1828.
the First Week of Advent