To see your power and your glory, so as I have seen you in the sanctuary.
I. HIS DESIRE ITSELF.
1. He desired the ordinances. That which carnal and worldly spirits count a burden and tediousness to them, the children of God look upon as a privilege, and do reckon it as their greatest advantage; and so should we, and rejoice in it, and much desire it, as David here does, who is herein a pattern unto us.
2. He desired the glory and power of the ordinances. There is a double power and glory in the ordinances. The one is as to the performance of them; and the other is as to the success and effect.
(1) As to the performance, when there is a life and vigour and activity, which does put forth itself in them. It is not the mere opus operatum, so many duties performed as a task, and there's an end of it, which makes the ordinances glorious; but when there's a gracious and heavenly spirit, which runs along in them, which accordingly is that that every Christian should especially look after in the undertaking of them. This is obtained especially in this way. Namely, first, by preparation to them. We must be careful to remove all hindrances and impediments from us. Now, these they are of two sorts. First, all sinfulness and defilement. Secondly, all worldliness and earthly entanglement.
(2) The like also as to the effect, when they do work effectually and powerfully afterwards. This is also to be looked after by us; and which David without all doubt did look after, that his heart might not only be warmed by the ordinances in the very time of performance, but even then also when he was gone from them; so as the strength and lustre of them might appear, and show itself forth in his life and conversation.
II. THE LIMITATION OR AMPLIFICATION OF THIS DESIRE. "As I have seen Thee in the sanctuary." Which words may admit of a double reference and interpretation in them. Either thus, That I may see Thy power and Thy glory in the sanctuary, so as I have seen Thee. Or else thus, That I may see Thy power and glory now in the wilderness, as I have seen Thee in the sanctuary. According to the former sense, it is an earnest desire of the restoring of him to the opportunities of the public ordinances which he had formerly enjoyed. According to the latter sense, it is the like desire for a supply of the public ordinances, by God's gracious presence with him in private, now that the public were denied and kept from him. Which way soever we take it, there is matter of observation in it.
1. That I may see Thy power and glory in the sanctuary as I have seen Thee. And so he desires to be restored to the public ordinances, and to his former enjoyment of them. He would have communion with God in public; and he would have that communion which he had formerly with Him.
2. That I may see Thy power and Thy glory here in the wilderness as I have seen it sometimes in the sanctuary. And so it is a desire of a supply of the public ordinances, by God's gracious presence with him in private instead of it; where, supposing his desire (as it was) to be rational and regular in him, there is this exhibited to us in it, that God, in the necessary want and restraint of the public ordinances, is able to make it up to us another way; He can make a wilderness or prison, or sick-chamber, or bed to be a sanctuary, if He so please; yea, He pleases sometimes so to make it; upon which ground David here does desire it as otherwise he could not have done in faith and good assurance of obtaining it. Look, as the presence of a prince is that which makes the court, so the presence of God is that which makes the sanctuary, where God will express Himself after a more full and gracious manner, that is, indeed, His temple, and so to be accounted by us. Now, this He can do, and often does, even in deserts themselves —
(1) By the bringing to our remembrance those truths which we have formerly heard. As it is with some salve or medicine which we lay up and keep by us, we know not the virtue of it till such time as we come to use it, and to stand in need of it; even so it is likewise with many doctrines and truths in religion. This is, therefore, one work of the Holy Ghost, and that whereby he does supply the defect of the public dispensations, by bringing home to our consciences in private those truths which have heretofore in public been imparted and communicated to us.
(2) By the giving of .new experiences occasionally from the present condition, in which we are both of the temper of our own hearts, as also of His own grace, and strength, and assistance of us. In times of freedom we learn what we should be, but in times of restraint we learn what we are.
(3) By working in us a greater longing and desire after the public ordinances.
(4) By His own more immediate applications of Himself to us. The ordinances are nothing else but the conveyances and transmissions of Christ and His Spirit to us in an ordinary way. Now, God, if He please, can do it more immediately, and does in such cases, as He denies them. He expresses His own love, and good-will, and favour, and acceptance of us; stirs up good thoughts, and gracious and holy desires and inclinations in us; sheds abroad His love in your hearts, and becomes all in all unto us; and what He will be one day perfectly in heaven, He is now in part, and imperfectly already here.
(T. Horton, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary.