But You, O GOD, the Lord, deal kindly with me for the sake of Your name; deliver me by the goodness of Your loving devotion.
I. A MAN'S PUNISHMENT DOES OFTEN COME IS THIS WAY. See the punishment of those who arranged the den of lions for Daniel. "Owen Feltham delights to recall, from the stores of ancient and mediaeval story, how Bagoas, a Persian nobleman, having poisoned Artaxerxes and Artamenes, was detected by Darius, and forced to drink poison himself; how Diomedes, for the beasts he had fed on human flesh, was by Hercules made food; and how Pope Alexander VI., having designed the poisoning of his friend Cardinal Adrian, by his cup-bearer's mistake of the bottle, took the draught himself, and so died by the same engine which he himself had appointed to kill another." Many other illustrations may be found.
II. STRONG IMPRESSIONS OF A MAN'S SIN ARE MADE BY THIS FORM OF PUNISHMENT. There is something striking and arresting in it; it takes public attention. There is often the element of humor in such judgments. But a sin which would otherwise have been passed over, is shown up in all its baseness when the wrongdoer suffers his own designed wrong. He feels the wrong; and others see it. - R.T.
I. GENERAL REMARKS.
But do Thou for me, O God the Lord, for Thy name's sake.I. IT IS TRUE IN ITS DIRECTION. It is addressed to "God the Lord." There is but One all-suffering Being to whom we can address our prayers. Think what is requisite to be able to answer prayer at all times — infinite intelligence, unlimited goodness, universal sovereignty, etc. The petition of the psalmist indicates his belief that he was approaching such a Being. If he could but secure the help of God he would leave everything else to Him.
II. IT IS PERSONAL IN ITS AIM. "Do Thou for me." Man's first business is to secure the blessing of God for himself. We should not keep the vineyard of another and neglect our own. We should not attempt to lead ethers unto Jesus Christ until we know Him as our own Saviour. This is not selfish, but benevolent.
III. IT IS SUBMISSIVE IN ITS SPIRIT. The wise and good man leaves the means and the manner of blessing to God. He leaves the time also to God. This submission is both wise and pious.
IV. IT IS POWERFUL IN ITS PLEA. "For Thy name's sake." The name represents the character of God. The honour of the Divine name is bound up with His treatment of His people. If any one trusting in God were to perish, the glory of His name would be sullied. Such a plea —
1. Implies great faith in God on the part of Him who urges it.
2. Honours God by the exalted conception of His character which it implies.
3. Prevails with God. The man who honours God by believing greatly in Him is mighty with God in prayer.
1. The petition may be considered as addressed with equal propriety to each of the Persons in the Godhead, who are the joint objects of religious worship, possessed of the same adorable perfections, and equally concerned in carrying on the work, and conveying the blessings of salvation.
2. Though the good man may and should pray for others, yet he is and ought to be principally concerned for himself. "Do Thou for me"; for my body, for my soul, especially the latter. Begin Thy work there in conviction and conversion, carry it on in progressive sanctification, and perfect it in eternal glory. "Say unto my soul, I am thy salvation."
3. The good man desires that what God does may be for him, and not against him; that He would deal by him as a friend, and not as an enemy.
4. When we desire that God should "do for us," it is proper that we should leave the way and manner entirely to Him.
II. WHAT IS IMPLIED.
1. Do that for me which I cannot do for myself. Reduce my wandering heart, direct my feeble steps, teach me both the way in which Thou walkest towards me, and the way in which I ought to walk toward Thee, the way of duty and of peace.
2. Do that for me which no one else either can or will do. They cannot restore case to a distempered body, nor comfort to a discontented mind; cannot reprieve one moment from the demands of death, nor disarm it of its terrors.
3. Do that for me which Thou knowest to be necessary, and without which I must be undone for ever.
4. Do all that for me which Thou hast appointed and promised, and whereby Thou mayest be glorified. In all our prayers it becomes us to have an eye to
(1) (2) (3) III. IMPROVEMENT. 1. The prayer of the psalmist will apply not only to a state of prosperity, but adversity; not only to God's merciful dispensations, but also to those which are afflictive. "Do Thou for me," in wounding as well as healing, in casting down as well as lifting up. 2. The petition is suitable for those who have most to do for God, or their fellow-creatures; such as magistrates, ministers, masters of families and others. There are also peculiar seasons to which it is especially suited; when our path is intricate, and our work difficult, either in the morning of the Sabbath, or in the near approach of death. 3. It is likewise necessary at all seasons, and for all sorts of persons. (B. Beddome, M.A.)
(2) (3) III. IMPROVEMENT. 1. The prayer of the psalmist will apply not only to a state of prosperity, but adversity; not only to God's merciful dispensations, but also to those which are afflictive. "Do Thou for me," in wounding as well as healing, in casting down as well as lifting up. 2. The petition is suitable for those who have most to do for God, or their fellow-creatures; such as magistrates, ministers, masters of families and others. There are also peculiar seasons to which it is especially suited; when our path is intricate, and our work difficult, either in the morning of the Sabbath, or in the near approach of death. 3. It is likewise necessary at all seasons, and for all sorts of persons. (B. Beddome, M.A.)
(3) III. IMPROVEMENT. 1. The prayer of the psalmist will apply not only to a state of prosperity, but adversity; not only to God's merciful dispensations, but also to those which are afflictive. "Do Thou for me," in wounding as well as healing, in casting down as well as lifting up. 2. The petition is suitable for those who have most to do for God, or their fellow-creatures; such as magistrates, ministers, masters of families and others. There are also peculiar seasons to which it is especially suited; when our path is intricate, and our work difficult, either in the morning of the Sabbath, or in the near approach of death. 3. It is likewise necessary at all seasons, and for all sorts of persons. (B. Beddome, M.A.)
3. It is likewise necessary at all seasons, and for all sorts of persons.
(B. Beddome, M.A.)
(H. O. Mackey.).
The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit Thou at My right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstoolMatthew 22:43; Mark 12:36; Luke 20:42). Peter at Pentecost expressly quoted it as David's (Acts 2:34). It is a counterpart to the second psalm, completing the prophetic picture of the conquering Messiah. The opening word of this spirited lyric indicates its peculiar character. It is the term almost always used to denote an immediate Divine utterance. The utterance here is an oracular address to David's Lord, i.e. the promised Anointed One on whom his and his people's hopes were centred. Jehovah bids this personage take His seat at His right hand, not merely as a place of honour, but as implying a participation in His power, of which the right hand is a constant symbol. This exalted position, on the same throne with Jehovah, He is to hold till His enemies are made His footstool, i.e. are completely and for ever subjugated. In the next verse the psalmist addresses the Messiah directly. He tells Him that His strong rod, His rod of discipline and correction, by which foes are to be subdued, shall be sent forth by Jehovah out of Zion, considered as His earthly residence, the seat of the theocracy; thus showing clearly that Jehovah acts not only for Him, but in and through Him, for the overthrow of His enemies. Hence, the poet calls on Him to take the dominion and rule, even though hostile powers surround Him and threaten His dethronement. These will prove no obstacle, nor can there be a doubt of the result. The certainty of it is still further secured by the character and number of Messiah's followers. It is not an army of mercenaries. There is no need of a conscription; they stream toward the royal banner from every direction. They are free-will offerings. By a spontaneous movement they come to consecrate themselves to service in the day when the host is put in battle array and mustered for the onset. They come, too, not with coat of mail and battle-axe, but in holy attire, with allusion to the sacerdotal dress. They are clad in sacred vestments, because they are servants of a priestly King, and belong to "a kingdom of priests" (Exodus 19:6). Nor are these few in number or worn with age, but in number and character and vigour resemble
"dew-drops which the sun
Impearls on every leaf and every flower."From the womb of the dawn there come in perpetual succession youthful warriors who delight to uphold the royal banner. There follows in the next verse the essential point of the whole lyric, the perpetual priesthood of Messiah united with a perpetual kingship, both secured by the oath of Jehovah Himself. This verse is made the subject of elaborate comment in Hebrews 8, the author of which dwells at length upon the oath which founded the priesthood, upon the perpetuity of the office and upon the want of hierarchical succession. Immediately after the announcement of Messiah's priesthood, the psalm resumes its martial tone. Before, the might of the king and the character of his army were described; now we see the conflict and the victory. The Lord — who in this case is Jehovah — stands on Messiah's right hand as His defender and upholder. The consequence of Jehovah's support is that Messiah crushes not merely ordinary men but kings, and the subjects they represent. He inflicts a mortal blow, one from which there is no recovery. In the 6th verse, by a sudden turn, Messiah is spoken of in the third person. He exercises supreme control, as judge, over nations. If they resist Him they fall in slaughtered heaps over a vast extent of country, heads or princes being overthrown with all the rest. In the closing verse David paints the Conqueror as wearied with the battle and the pursuit, but not suffered to perish through exhaustion. A brook by the way revives Him, and He passes on with uplifted head, continuing His work with new vigour, and pressing forward to a complete and final triumph. The psalm is peculiar in setting forth Messiah as a priest upon His throne. He is s real priest, one that makes atonement, intercedes and blesses, and as such meets all the needs of sinful men, because He is a King, and can give effect to His sacerdotal functions, applying the merits of His sacrifice, and actually bestowing the blessing which He pronounces. And all this for ever. Christ neither has nor needs a successor. He is an unchangeable priesthood. Again, Messiah's followers are like Himself, wearing holy attire — an emblem of their cause and character. It is not a kingdom of this world to which they belong, but one heavenly and divine. They wear its uniform and seek to express its spirit. Nor are they in any sense hirelings, but rather volunteers, eager to obey and glorify Him whom they call Master and Lord. Napoleon truly said, "My armies have forgetten me even while living, but Christ has left the earth, and at this hour millions of men would die for Him." The strength of His cause lies in the character of His followers and the fulness and freeness of their consecration. A host made of such materials cannot be overcome, for it is perpetually renewed from the womb of the dawn. Once more, the final result is sure. Messiah leads forth judgment to victory. All foes are to perish. The appurtenances of ancient warfare, captured kings and slaughtered heaps, only indicate the thoroughness of the conflict and its predetermined result. Forward the royal standards go, and the issue is not uncertain. The priestly King must reign till all enemies are made His footstool, and the whole earth acknowledges His rightful supremacy.
(T. W. Chambers, D.D.)
I. KING AND PROPHET (vers. 2, 8). The rod of His strength is His Word, even His preached Gospel, accompanied by the power of the Holy Spirit.
II. KING AND PRIEST (ver. 4). Here the people of Jesus are directed to look to Him as the ground of their hope. For it is what He has done, and what He is still doing, for them as their Priest, that must ever be most important to them, as long as they are in their present imperfect and polluted state.
(W. Hancock, M.A.)I. HIS HEAVENLY EXALTATION.
II. THE STATE OF OUR WORLD AT THE TIME WHEN CHRIST WAS THUS EXALTED TO BE ITS KING. We are all by nature the enemies of Jesus Christ, as much alienated from Him as we are from His Father. This blessed Jesus was not hated in Jerusalem only where He was crucified, as though there was something peculiar in the men of that place — He was hated wherever He appeared; and had He gone out from Judaea and Galilee into other countries, He would have been hated there also; Rome, with all her boasted admiration of virtue, would have cried out for His destruction, and polished Greece would have cast Him away with scorn.
III. THE MEANS EMPLOYED BY JEHOVAH TO OVERCOME THE HOSTILITY OF THE WORLD AGAINST HIS SON (ver. 2). Has the Gospel proved itself the rod of Christ's strength? That something produced a mighty effect on the world soon after our Lord's ascension is quite certain. "Rule Thou in the midst of Thine enemies," says the text to Him, and in the midst of His most violent enemies Christ did rule. In the inveterate and lately infuriated Jerusalem, thousands bowed at once to His sceptre, and throughout pagan Greece and Rome His name was called on and adored. And what wrought this change? Preaching — the simple preaching of Christ's Gospel by a few determined, faithful men; holding up Christ on a cross to men, and bidding them look to Him and be saved.
IV. THE HAPPY RESULTS OF THIS INTERPOSITION OF JEHOVAH (ver. 3). Here is a description, and a beautiful one, of all Christ's real people in every age of the world.
1. They are a willing people. "Willing," we may say, "for what?" For anything and everything which Christ desires. The language in the original is stronger than in our translation. It is "willingness," the noun for the adjective — a Hebrew way of expressing a thing forcibly. This people are eager to receive Christ as their Prince and Saviour; they feel it to be their delight and joy to come under His dominion.
2. This willing people are to be numerous. In the land where the Scriptures were written, the dew is much more abundant than in our country, but even here the drops of dew as they sparkle on the trees and grass, are sometimes countless. As numerous, this psalm says, shall be the people of Christ.
3. The people of Christ are to be beautiful, and beautiful because holy — "willing in the beauties of holiness." The drops of' the early dew are beautiful. The rising sun not only discovers them, it brightens and gilds them, makes them the glittering ornaments in the early morning of our gardens and fields. And what were the early Christians? Their very enemies were constrained to do them honour. They hated but they admired them. As they led them forth to persecution and to death, they wondered at their lofty and splendid characters. But their graces were not their own. The dew does not sparkle when the sun does not shine on it. Even a Christian man has no beauty, no holiness, but as Christ imparts it to him. And what is his highest beauty and holiness? It is only a faint reflection of his Lord's beauty and holiness — a dew-drop reflecting the sun. But still that dew-drop does reflect the sun; and so does every real believer in Christ Jesus reflect in some measure his Redeemer's likeness.
(C. Bradley, M.A.)
Homilist.I. INVESTED WITH DIVINE AUTHORITY (ver. 1). Christ is represented as God manifest in the flesh, as One with God, as the beloved Son of Jehovah, as sitting down at the right hand of God, as exalted above all dominion and power, as King of kings and Lord of lords. His history when on earth confirms this illustrious distinction. How grand were the doctrines He propounded, how stupendous the miracles He wrought, how unexampled the moral character He exhibited, how unearthly and transcendent the spirit which He breathed.
II. ENDOWED WITH DIVINE POWER (ver. 2). This is a far mightier rod than that which Moses wielded, it is a rod that breaks rocky hearts, and makes clear for human souls the way to Canaan.
III. POSSESSED OF A SPLENDID ARMY (ver. 3). The words suggest that His army is distinguished —
1. By willingness. "Shall be willing." Their services will not be compulsory, they throw themselves into the spirit of the campaign.
2. By purity. "In the beauty of holiness." They coruscate with holiness.
3. By youthfulness. "Thou hast the dew of Thy youth." They are not old and worn out, they are as fresh as the dew "from the womb of the morning."
4. By abundance, How numerous are drops of "dew." Such is the army of this Hero. Such a Chieftain with such soldiers must win victories the most brilliant.
IV. INVESTED WITH A PRIESTLY CHARACTER (ver. 4). He is a Priest by the solemn and unalterable promise of God. Melchizedek was a wonderful priest — original, final, beneficent, and royal. Christ is a Priest-King. As a Priest He is at once the Sacrifice, the Sacrificer, and the Offering. He is the Mediator, He Himself is the Atonement, the Reconciliation.
V. ACHIEVES MAGNIFICENT TRIUMPHS (vers. 5, 6). They are won not by force, but by love, they do not destroy or injure the conquered, but bless and save them.
(Homilist.)I. THE PERSON TO WHOM UNIVERSAL DOMINION IS ASSIGNED.
II. HIS SOLEMN INAUGURATION TO HIS REGAL DIGNITY (ver.1; Psalm 24:7-10).
III. THE ENEMIES ARRAYED AGAINST HIS RIGHTFUL CLAIMS (ver. 1). How strange a collocation of words is "enmity against God," and God in Christ! Behold His purity, His meekness, His wisdom, His kind teachings, His generous sufferings for men; the freeness and copiousness of the blessings which He has to bestow upon all who will ask of Him; and say, is there a stigma upon human nature so deep, so dark, as this, — that it is enmity to God!
IV. THE MEANS OF THEIR SUBJUGATION.
1. The rod of His power.
2. Granting days of power.
3. The willing co-operation of His people.
V. THE GLORIOUS RESULT (ver. 3).
1. Behold this beauty of holiness among the nations. Wars, oppressions, injuries, cease. The earth, tossed and swept for ages by the storms of night, is quiet, imbibes the vivifying dew of Divine influence, and catches the glory of the brightening truth of revelation.
2. Behold it in civil society; in the beautiful order and harmony of pious families; in the charity and kind offices of Christian neighbourhoods; in the reciprocal reverence and confidence of rulers and their subjects.
3. Behold it especially in the Church. There, indeed, it is eminently appropriate; for, "holiness becometh Thine house, O Lord, for ever." It is seen in her ministry; for her Priests are clothed with salvation," and their "lips keep knowledge." In her doctrine; for the compass, the depth, the height, the harmony, of the whole system of the Gospel being understood and professed, errors and partial views are banished. In her members; those are truly elect according to the foreknowledge of God, through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.
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