P S A L M S
Some of the psalms of praise are very short,
others very long, to teach us that, in our devotions, we should be
more observant how our hearts work than how the time passes and
neither overstretch ourselves by coveting to be long nor over-stint
ourselves by coveting to be short, but either the one or the other
as we find in our hearts to pray. This is a long psalm; the general
scope is the same with most of the psalms, to set forth the glory
of God, but the subject-matter is particular. Every time we come to
the throne of grace we may, if we please, furnish ourselves out of
the word of God (out of the history of the New Testament, as this
out of the history of the Old) with new songs, with fresh
thoughts—so copious, so various, so inexhaustible is the subject.
In the foregoing psalm we are taught to praise God for his wondrous
works of common providence with reference to the world in general.
In this we are directed to praise him for his special favours to
his church. We find the first eleven verses of this
psalm in the beginning of that psalm which David delivered to Asaph
to be used (as it should seem) in the daily service of the
sanctuary when the ark was fixed in the place he had prepared for
it, by which it appears both who penned it and when and upon what
occasion it was penned, 1 Chron.
xvi. 7, &c. David by it designed to instruct his
people in the obligations they lay under to adhere faithfully to
their holy religion. Here is the preface (ver. 1-7) and the history itself in several
articles. I. God's covenant with the patriarchs, ver. 8-11. II. His care of them while they
were strangers, ver.
12-15. III. His raising up Joseph to be the shepherd and
stone of Israel, ver.
16-22. IV. The increase of Israel in Egypt and their
deliverance out of Egypt, ver.
23-38. V. The care he took of them in the wilderness and
their settlement in Canaan, ver.
39-45. In singing this we must give to God the glory of
his wisdom and power, his goodness and faithfulness, must look upon
ourselves as concerned in the affairs of the Old-Testament church,
both because to it were committed the oracles of God, which are our
treasure, and because out of it Christ arose, and these things
happened to it for ensamples.