Psalm 1-41: 23-41

Psalm 23‑41  •  10 min. read  •  grade level: 6
Psa. 23 Jehovah is the Shepherd, going before the sheep in the path. We cannot say Christ was a sheep; He is Jehovah; but He emptied Himself-went before them-passed through every difficulty and trial, yet more than the sheep.
Psa. 24 The consequence is that He is found to be the very Jehovah; the One who in humiliation was trusting is received on high.
Psa. 25 Here another point comes in. Up to this there is no mention of sin; they are a tried remnant, but there are no sins confessed till now. This is what makes the great difference for any soul. They are sinners, is a farther part of the history. But atonement and grace come out in Psa. 22. The remnant, before they trust in Christ, cry to Jehovah There is not integrity lost, but sins are confessed Christ has combined the expression of confession and trust together. They can look for mercy, expect mercy, and confess their sins. They will be trusting, and yet not knowing how they can trust. The soul is brought into the thorough and deep consciousness of what God is-despairing and hoping (we are the same when under law) alternately. The state of the Jews will be this-not having the application in the conscience of what the cross reaches. All needed is brought out in the cross; but what the cross has done in bringing out to light righteousness and love is not seen all at once. With us it is often by little and little that the blessed picture seen in Christ makes its way into the soul. Then it is all light; but darkness may come in afterward. At first there is only reckoning on the blessedness of Christ. When that reaches the conscience, it brings bitterness: what at first attracted the heart did not reach the elements of good and evil. When it reaches these, it does not minister peace, because the man has not learned the thing to which it applies in his own soul. It is a wonderful thing to see Christ coming, and saying, “My sins.” Christ identified Himself with me, taking all my debts upon Him—my Surety! He has gone down into the depths. “My iniquities;” any one of the remnant might say that. There is the remnant's voice in it, but there is Christ's first. He has taken them. They suffer from them, never for them-it would be eternal condemnation if they did. “He was wounded for our transgressions,” &c.”
In this psalm there is confession of sin, and sense of integrity. (Ver. 5.) “On thee do I wait all the day,” &c. Integrity, coming back with the consciousness of sins, but confidence of pardon: “Pardon mine iniquity, for it is great.” God brings in the question of living righteousness, and therefore gives the consciousness of sins: “For thy name's sake pardon mine iniquity, for it is great.” This is strange reasoning, according to man's thought: men say it is a little sin, but when taught of God we see how great it is.
Another thing is, truth is in the man, because he feels the sin great; he has given up any thought of justifying himself, “My iniquity is great.” If God does not forgive me for His own glory's sake, He cannot do it at all; and not one spot of sin will He leave for the comfort of my own heart, or the glory of His name. So we see for Israel by-and-by in Isa. 44:2222I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee. (Isaiah 44:22), &c. They are made to rest in absolute mercy, in sovereign grace. Grace is perfect in getting rid of the sins.
The psalms following Psa. 25 give details of these experiences, as they are going through this time of trial. Psa. 26 gives the other side of the repentant soul, not confidence, in grace, but integrity. In Psa. 27 Jehovah is the desire and refuge, as He had bid them seek. In Psa. 28 evil is felt, judgment looked for, and in separation of heart to the Lord. In Psa. 29 the mighty are reminded of the Mightiest. In Psa. 30 trust in prosperity is contrasted with Jehovah, who is above the power of death. From Psa. 31 Christ could quote the words of departing confidence in His Father (not Jehovah only), though it be about the godly and redeemed remnant. Psa. 32 is the answer to Psa. 25: “Blessed is the man whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.” “Covered” is an allusion to the mercy-seat covering. Sins are put away, no more to be remembered. This is held out before them as hope. They will have the consciousness of forgiveness when they see Him. “In whose spirit there is no guile;” in known forgiveness the guile is all gone.
Psa. 33 follows this up with the joy of full deliverance by Jehovah's intervention, and Psa. 34 shows the soul praising at all times because of the unchanging God who governs all. Psa. 35 appeals to His judgment against cruel crafty persecutors, as Psa. 36 sees good and evil in His light, followed up by Psa. 37, which exhorts the godly to wait on Jehovah in meekness, undisturbed by the passing prosperity of the wicked. Psa. 38; 39 own Jehovah's chastening because of their sins; but they are open before Himself and silent with man, but cry for His help-the latter going farther, and more deeply than the former, the vanity of man being realized rather than the personal feelings.
Then we have the introduction of One who changes all in Psa. 40 “I waited patiently,” &c. Here is the reason why the remnant should trust Jehovah. He has been delivered from the horrible pit and the miry clay (showing resurrection).
There are some special psalms connected with Christ round which others seem clustered; this is one of them. Here is Christ's actual connection with the people on earth, not only in their sorrows, but bearing their sins, so that all who looked to Him might be blessed with Him. “I, poor and needy, the Lord thinketh upon me.” “Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee.” Christ did not take one step to save Himself. He might have had twelve legions of angels, but He was waiting upon God.
He appeals to God as Jehovah, not Father, because that relationship had not been brought out as now it is. The Jew did not know the Father as He is now revealed, end Christ was taking the place of a godly Jew among them; therefore He takes up the relationship known to them. One or two verses often bring out the subject of the psalm, and the rest are the development of that. What He did in the position He was in is the great point here-what He went through-what He felt. The grand principle is that He waited on Jehovah. He is undertaking the cause of the poor remnant, goes through all their sorrows, and bears their sin. In the last it is for them, not with them; and He gives them the comfort of being taken up to the same position of praising with Himself. “Many shalt see it, and fear, and shall trust in Jehovah.”
Then there is the great central truth: “Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire:” “Mine ears hast thou digged!” “He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.” Christ came to do God's will. Everything centers in Christ. All blessing is connected with relationship to Christ, whether outcast reprobates (Gentiles), or God's people who had broken the covenant. All is set aside; and Christ, who says, “Lo, I come to do thy will,” becomes everything.
“Mine ears hast thou digged” is not the same thing as is spoken of in Isa. 50, “He wakeneth mine ear.” It has a peculiar character. He is offering Himself before He came. In Phil. 2 we read, He becomes a man, taking the form of a servant, having ears, doing nothing but what He was told, listening to every word that came out of God's month. “By every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God doth man live.” He had ears to receive it. Christ had no desire to do anything different from God's will. God's will was His motive. Never to stir but as another will guide you in perfectness as a man. Christ waited for the expression of His Father's will before doing anything. Christ on earth was in the form of a servant. How did He get there? By putting off all the glory of having a will-offering Himself before He came. It was His will to come: His love brought Him. “Lo, I come to do thy will.” That was will, but it was the Father's will. He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. He told His disciples, in going forth, to say, “Peace; and if the Son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon it; if not, it shall turn to you again.” So it was with Him. He was obedient, because He offered Himself to obey. There was nothing but obedience (power, of course, in Him); He is in the place of perfect obedience. The first word is not from God, “Do you go,” but from Christ, “Lo, I come.” In the counsels of God it was written in the book. This gives us a knowledge of Christ, His intercourse with God before He came. Here is Christ, the divine person, the source of all the blessing, taking the place of obedience. He is the Servant now! What is He doing for us? Bringing out God to us, to our eye; yea, He has brought God right down to our heart.
“I have preached righteousness in the great congregation.” He made perfectly good God's character in the world, and that cost Him His life. He went out to all the people—declared God's faithfulness—was not hindered—did not hide, got into “miry clay” in consequence, under all that could press a man down. Christ has not failed to bring all that God is to us. How we want it in a world that has got away as far as it can from God, with its artifices, &c., like Cain! Others talked about the thing, but Christ was the thing. In every word and act they might have seen the Father, if they had had eyes to see. Christ can say, I know the world, what it is! I have gone through it all, like Noah's dove, and never found an echo: now you come to me! I will give you rest. There is never any rest for a human soul but in Him. One then learns of Him in the meekness and submission of His soul.
Psa. 41 closes the book with the blessedness of him who considers the poor not the proud, but poor of the flock as having God's mind. This Christ fully understood, and, as He was it perfectly, availed Himself of a sentence in it about one who was as far from this mind as could be. But as the wicked do not triumph in the end, so Jehovah favors, even upon the earth, the despised for whom plots are laid, upholds them in integrity, and sets them before his face forever.