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This Psalm is one continued hymn of praise, and includes a comprehensive view of the goodness of Jehovah, in all the great works of creation and redemption, providence and grace.
A Psalm of David.
How beautifully does the psalm begin, in calling upon the soul to this most pleasing service, of praising God! Reader, do remark it, that it is with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; while with the mouth, confession is made unto salvation. Unless the heart be engaged in any service, there is nothing truly valuable in that service. Hence it was an ancient custom in the church, at the opening of the service, to call upon the people, Lift up your hearts! Romans 10:10 .
Observe what motives the sacred writer adopts to awaken the soul to the praise and love of God: as if he had said, My soul, hast thou sinned? God in Christ pardons thy sins. Art thou diseased in body and soul, by reason of sin? God in Christ healeth all thy diseases. Art thou ruined and undone in all the circumstances of nature, by reason of the fall? It is God, in Christ, that redeemeth thy life from destruction, and crowneth thee with all that is needful for thee in grace. Art thou feeling decays, and is the - event of mortality hastening upon thee? God in Christ will renew thee, as the eagle is renewed in old age. Precious, precious salvation! And all eternally secured, and made certain, from a God in Christ. See, in confirmation, those scriptures: Isaiah 43:25 ; Exodus 15:26 ; Isaiah 33:24 ; Exodus 19:4 ; Isaiah 40:31 .
If we read these verses as we ought, with a view to Christ, here most eminently hath Jehovah manifested those sovereign acts of mercy and judgment, by redemption in his dear Son. And, surely, it was not without reference to this, in a most eminent manner, that the Lord did, at the request of Moses, make all his goodness pass before his servant in the holy mount. For what is God's glory, but his goodness in Christ Jesus? and to a soul that is regenerated, and made one in Christ, God's justice and righteousness are as dear as his mercy and his love; evidently because the believer is thereby convinced, that God's justice and righteousness have both been satisfied and magnified by the death of Christ. Consult those passages, and compare them, and behold in them the most blessed proof, in confirmation, that it is a glorious part of Jehovah's character, He will by no means clear the guilty, Without a sacrifice; which sacrifice Jehovah himself hath provided, and accepted and approved, when Christ offered himself upon the cross. Exodus 34:5-7 ; Romans 3:25 .
The Psalmist in these verses, under various representations, sets forth the mercy of redeeming grace; and, in order to heighten the representation, he borroweth his language from images in the works of nature, and the feelings of the human heart. He takes a resemblance from. the heavens, to demonstrate that God's grace, his superabundant grace, as far transcends our conceptions of it, as God's thoughts are above our thoughts; and his ways above our ways. Isaiah 45:8 . He borrows another figure from the extensiveness of the earth, and the total impossibility for the distant points of the east and west ever to join, by way of setting forth the vast and immeasurable distance between the sinner and his sins, when they are taken away by the hand of that fit man, Christ Jesus, into the land of everlasting forgetfulness. Leviticus 16:21-22 . He takes a third very sweet and endearing resemblance from the feelings of the human heart, to set forth the tender compassion of the Father of mercies, and God of all comfort, by showing that God's love is a fatherly love, full of pity, and full of compassion. See those scriptures, Isaiah 49:13-15 ; Micah 7:18-19 .
Nothing can he more beautiful and interesting than the striking contrast the Psalmist hath drawn in these verses between the frail, perishing, dying nature of man, and the strength and eternity of God. And what endears it to our view, is, that amidst all our dying circumstances in Adam, our everlasting existence, is secured in Christ. The oneness between Jesus and his people, gives a right of interest in all that belongs to Him, as the head and Mediator of his redeemed. He hath said himself, Because I live, ye shall live also. John 14:19 . Reader, I pray you, do not overlook this, for in this consists the whole beauty and loveliness of the passage. It is our union with, and our interest in Christ Jesus, that brings with it these unspeakable mercies. It is the covenant relation in which believers stand to God in Christ which secures the peace of this life, and the everlasting happiness of that which is to come. Oh! for grace to enter into the hearty, cordial belief, and perfect enjoyment of those blessed words of Jesus: At that day ye shall know, that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. John 14:20 .
The Psalmist, having thus stirred up himself to bless God in Christ, here breaks out into a fervour of holy devotion, and calls upon all intelligent creation to join in the hymn of praise, that the acknowledgment of divine goodness may be universal. Put forth all your strength, ye angels of his (elect angels, as Paul calls them), preserved in Christ Jesus: do ye praise Him. 1 Timothy 5:21 . Ye ministers and hosts, whether employed in the upper or in the lower world, do ye join in the song. Yea, let all the works of our God in Christ, in all places, join in the same. And do thou, my soul, unceasingly do so; and set a hearty response of Amen to the notes of all creation, which praise our God and Saviour. Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb, forever and ever.
THINK, my soul, while thou art perusing this psalm, if such were the calls of the Old Testament saints to bless Jehovah, what demands are now upon New Testament believers, to live in a frame of everlasting praise and thanksgiving for Jehovah's unspeakable mercies in Jesus Christ. The highest knowledge those holy men of old had, concerning the mercies of redemption, were but shadows of good things to come, compared with what the souls of the redeemed have now to enjoy in substance in Christ Jesus. Abraham, who saw the day of Christ, saw it but afar off; and David, though by the eye of faith, he beheld his Son after the flesh, that should arise to sit upon his throne, and reign forever; yet, what could both, or all indeed, of those heroes of antiquity, who died in faith, not having received the promises, know of the Lord Jesus Christ, in comparison with the humblest of regenerated believers now, who know Christ, and are convinced of their union and interest in him, and live in him, and to him , as the Lord our righteousness?
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Psalms 103". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 15 / Ordinary 20