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Psalm 22:22-24

22. I will declare thy name to my brethren: in the midst of the assembly will I praise thee. 23. [Saying, 519519     “Disant.” Fr. ] Ye who fear Jehovah, praise him: all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify him; and fear him, all ye the seed of Israel. 24. For he hath not despised nor disdained the poor; nor hath he hidden his face from him; and when he cried unto him he heard him.

 

22. I will declare thy name. 520520     The second part of the psalm here commences. There is a transition from language of the deepest anguish to that of exalted joy and gratitude. The suffering Messiah here contemplates the blessed results of his sufferings. David, in promising that when he is delivered he will not be ungrateful, confirms what I have previously stated, that he had never been so cast down by temptation as not to take courage to resist it. How could he be putting himself in readiness, as he is doing here, to offer to God the sacrifice of thanksgiving, if he had not beforehand entertained the assured hope of deliverance? Should we even grant that this psalm was composed after David had actually obtained what he desired, there is no doubt that what he afterwards put into writing formed the meditations and reflections which had passed through his mind during the time of his heavy afflictions. It ought to be particularly noticed, that it is no ordinary token of gratitude which he promises, but such as God required for rare blessings; namely, that the faithful should come into his sanctuary, and there bear solemn testimony to the grace which they had received. The design of public and solemn thanksgiving is, that the faithful may employ themselves in all variety of ways, in serving and honoring God, and that they may encourage one another to act in the same manner. We know that God’s wonderful power shone forth in the protection of David; and that not only by one miracle, but by many. It is, therefore, not wonderful that he brings himself under obligation, by a solemn vow, to make open and public profession of his piety and faithfulness towards God. By his brethren he means the Israelites; and he gives them this appellation, not only because he and they were both descended from the same parentage, but rather because the religion which they had in common, as a sacred bond, kept them united to one another by a spiritual relationship. The apostle, (Hebrews 2:12) in applying this verse to Christ, argues from it, that he was a partaker of the same nature with us, and joined to us by a true fellowship of the flesh, seeing he acknowledges us as his brethren, and vouchsafes to give us a title so honorable. I have already repeatedly stated, (and it is also easy to prove it from the end of this psalms) that under the figure of David, Christ has been here shadowed forth to us. The apostle, therefore, justly deduces from this, that under and by the name of brethren, the right of fraternal alliance with Christ has been confirmed to us. This, no doubt, to a certain extent belongs to all mankind, but the true enjoyment thereof belongs properly to genuine believers alone. For this reason Christ himself, with his own mouth, limits this title to his disciples, saying,

“Go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father and your Father, and to my God and your God,”
(John 20:17.)

The ungodly, by means of their unbelief, break off and dissolve that relationship of the flesh, by which he has allied himself to us, and thus render themselves utter strangers to him by their own fault. As David, while he comprehended under the word brethren all the offspring of Abraham, immediately after (verse 23) particularly addresses his discourse to the true worshippers of God; so Christ, while he has broken down “the middle wall of partition” between Jews and Gentiles, and published the blessings of adoption to all nations, and thereby exhibited himself to them as a brother, retains in the degree of brethren none but true believers.

23. Ye who fear Jehovah. Here, again, the Psalmist expresses more distinctly the fruit of public and solemn thanksgiving, of which I have spoken before, declaring, that by engaging in this exercise, every man in his own place invites and stirs up the church by his example to praise God. He tells us, that the end for which he will praise the name of God in the public assembly is to encourage his brethren to do the same. But as hypocrites commonly thrust themselves into the church, and as on the barn-floor of the Lord the chaff is mingled with the wheat, he addresses himself expressly to the godly, and those who fear God. Impure and wicked men may sing the praises of God with open mouth, but assuredly, they do nothing else than pollute and profane his holy name. It were, indeed, an object much to be desired, that men of all conditions in the world would, with one accord, join in holy melody to the Lord. But as the chief and most essential part of this harmony proceeds from a sincere and pure affection of heart, none will ever, in a right manner, celebrate the glory of God, except the man who worships him under the influence of holy fear. David names, a little after, the seed of Jacob and Israel, having a reference to the common calling of the people; and certainly, he put no obstacle in the way to hinder even all the children of Abraham from praising God with one accord. But as he saw that many of the Israelites were bastard and degenerate, he distinguishes true and sincere Israelites from them; and at the same time shows that God’s name is not duly celebrated, unless where there is true piety and the inward fear of God. Accordingly, in his exhortation he again joins together the praises of God and reverence towards him. — Fear him, ye seed of Israel, says he; for all the fair faces which hypocrites put on in this matter are nothing but pure mockery. The fear which he recommends is not, however, such as would frighten the faithful from approaching God, but that which will bring them truly humbled into his sanctuary, as has been stated in the fifth psalm. Some may be surprised to find David addressing an exhortation to praise God, 521521     It is “praise God,” both in the Latin and French versions; but the train of thought seems to require that it should be “fear God.” to those whom he had previously commended for doing so. But this is easily explained, for even the holiest men in the world are never so thoroughly imbued with the fear of God as not to have need of being continually incited to its exercise. Accordingly, the exhortation is not at all superfluous when, speaking of those who fear God, he exhorts them to stand in awe of him, and to prostrate themselves humbly before him.

24. For he hath not despised. To rejoice in one another’s good, and to give thanks in common for each other’s welfare, is a branch of that communion which ought to exist among the people of God, as Paul also teaches,

“That for the gift bestowed upon us by the means of many persons, thanks may be given by many on our behalf.”
(2 Corinthians 1:11,)

But this statement of David serves another important purpose — it serves to encourage every man to hope that God will exercise the same mercy towards himself. By the way, we are taught from these words that the people of God ought to endure their afflictions patiently, however long it shall please the Lord to keep them in a state of distress, that he may at length succor them, and lend them his aid when they are so severely tried.


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