Psalms, Book 4, Psalms 101-104

Psalm 101‑104  •  11 min. read  •  grade level: 6
The previous group of psalms anticipated, in the Spirit of Christ, the revelation of Jehovah to the joy of His people, and the nations, and indeed all the earth. The last of them witnesses the deep change by divine grace when Israel will welcome the Gentiles to His courts, not only without jealousy but with all their heart. A fresh cluster follows now, the first of which (Psa. 101) introduces the Messiah again; but now, as the true David and Solomon too, singing of mercy and judgment on taking His house and kingdom to be ordered in righteousness unswervingly.
Psalm 101
“A psalm of David. Of mercy and judgment I will sing; unto Thee, Jehovah, I will sing praise. I will behave myself wisely in an upright way: when wilt thou come unto me? I will walk within my house in uprightness of my heart. I will set nothing of Belial before mine eyes; I hate the doing of those that turn aside (or of apostasies); it shall not cleave to me. A froward heart shall depart from me: evil [thing, or person] I will not know. Whoso privily slandereth his neighbor, him I will cut off; the lofty of eyes and wide of heart, him will I not suffer. Mine eyes [shall be] on the faithful of the land to dwell with me; he that walketh in an upright way shall serve me. He that doeth guile shall not, dwell within my house; he that speaketh falsehoods shall not be established before mine eyes. Morning by morning (in the mornings) will I cut off all the wicked of the land, to destroy from the city of Jehovah all doers of iniquity’ (ver. 1-8).
The next psalm is as full of interest as of moment incalculable. It is the scripture quoted in the Epistle to the Hebrews (1:10-12) to prove that the O.T. regards the Son as Jehovah, Psa. 45 having just before been alleged in proof of His Godhead, and in both psalms by the God of Israel Himself. Yet it is Messiah's depth of humiliation which gives occasion to this expression of His divine glory. Out of that depth the Son contrasts His own wasting away in trouble with the permanence of Jehovah, and the certainty of Zion's rise from ruin, and the fulfillment of hope in the glorious morrow when the peoples shall be no longer scattered but gathered to serve Jehovah. But when Messiah renews His cry of sorrow, the Father declares that the Holy Sufferer is, no less than Himself, Jehovah the Creator, Who will change the creature as He made it, and is destined yet to have the sons of His servants abiding and their seed established before Him. The comment of inspiration is as wondrous as the psalm; none but the Holy Spirit could have given either.
Psalm 102
“A prayer of the afflicted one, when he is overwhelmed and before Jehovah poureth out his complaint. Jehovah, hear my prayer, and let my cry come unto thee. Hide not thy face from me; in the day of my distress incline unto ins thine ear; in the day I call, answer me speedily. For my days have ended in smoke, and my bones are burned as a fire-brand. My heart is smitten as the grass and dried up; for 1 forget to eat my bread. From the voice of my groaning my bone cleaveth to my flesh. I am like a pelican of the wilderness, I am become as an owl of desolate places; I watch and become as a sparrow upon a housetop. All the day mine enemies reproach me, and they that are mad against me swear by me. For I have eaten ashes like the bread, and mingled my drink with weeping, because of thine indignation and thy wrath; for thou hast lifted me up and cast me down. My days [are] as a shadow inclined, and for me, I am withered as the grass. But thou, Jehovah, forever abidest, and thy memorial from generation to generation. Thou wilt arise—wilt compassionate Zion, for [it is] time to be gracious to her, for the set time is come. For thy servants take pleasure in her stones and are gracious to her dust. And: Gentiles shall fear Jehovah's name, and all kings of the earth thy glory. For Jehovah hath built Zion, he is seen in his glory, he turned unto the prayer of the destitute one and despised not their prayer. This shall be written for an after generation, and a people to be created shall praise Jah. For he hath looked down from the height of his sanctuary; from the heavens hath Jehovah beheld the earth, to hear the groaning of the prisoner, to loose the sons of death, to declare in Zion Jehovah’s name and his praise in Jerusalem, when nations are gathered together and kingdoms to serve Jehovah. He weakened my strength in the way, he shortened my days. I said, O my God (El), take me not away in half of my days: in generation of generations [are] thy years. Of old hast thou founded the earth, and heavens [are] the work of thy hands. They shall perish, and thou shalt stand; and all of these as the garment shall wax old; as the vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed. But thou, [art] the same (He), and thy years shall have no end. The sons of thy servants shall continue, and their seed shall be established before thee” (vers. 1-29).
The psalm following is the fruit of blessing in the Israel of God in that day. For them, as for us now, Messiah's sufferings produced endless praise. It begins with the individual, as always, “even every one that is written among the living.” It follows up the forgiveness of all iniquities with the healing of all diseases; for the age to come will enjoy the full power of Messiah, of which miracles (when He was here or afterward) were but samples. Then it rises to His ways as well as acts, not as of old partially made known, but attested in all the extent and display of His kingdom. For it is not only Jehovah's mercy from everlasting to everlasting on those that fear Him, but His throne is established in the heavens, and His kingdom rules over all. Hence His angels, His hosts, and all His works are to bless Jehovah everywhere; and as his own soul commenced, so it concludes. Could this psalm be with such propriety anywhere but here, immediately after Psa. 102? Inspiration arranged as well as wrote; the profit of both incredulity loses through vain confidence in man and his thoughts.
Psalm 103
Of David. Bless Jehovah, my soul, and all within me, [bless] his holy name. Bless Jehovah, my soul, and forget not all his benefits: who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; who redeemeth thy life from the pit; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; who satisfieth thine adornment (soul?) with the good: thy youth is renewed like the eagle. Jehovah doeth righteousnesses and judgments for all oppressed. He maketh, known his ways unto Moses,— his acts unto the sons of Israel. Jehovah [is] merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abundant in lovingkindness. Not always will he chide, nor retain [anger] forever. He hath not dealt with us according to our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For, as height of heavens above the earth, his lovingkindness is mighty over those that fear them. As far as east from west, he hath put far from us our transgressions. As a father's pity on children (sons), so hath Jehovah pity on those that fear him. For he knoweth our frame, mindful that we [are] dust. Man! his days [are] like grass; as a flower of the field, so doth he flourish. For a breath passeth over him, and he is not, and the place thereof shall know him no more. But the mercy of Jehovah [is] from everlasting to everlasting upon those that fear him; and his righteousness [is] to sons of sons, to those that keep his covenant, and to those that remember his precepts to do them. Jehovah hath established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom ruleth over the whole. Bless Jehovah, ye his angels, mighty in strength, doing his word, hearkening to the voice of his word. Bless Jehovah, all ye his hosts, ministers of his that do his pleasure. Bless Jehovah, all his works in all places of his realm. Bless Jehovah, my soul” (vers. 1-22).
Lastly, comes the connected and dependent outburst of praise, with a precisely similar preface, and here therefore in due place. The theme is Jehovah supreme over creation, the chiefdom in Col. 1:1515Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: (Colossians 1:15) asserted of Christ, and this on evident and conclusive ground, because by (4) Him were created all things (τὰ π.), those in the heavens and those on the earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones, the whole of them has been created through Him and for Him; and He is before all things, and the universe by Him subsists together. As the preceding psalm celebrates what Jehovah-Messiah is to Israel, from the individual widening out and upward, so this definitely views creation blessed after long bondage and groaning vanity through sin, but now delivered through the Second man. So the scriptures show, when sinners shall be consumed out of the earth and wicked persons be no more: a result which rationalism, abusing the gospel of grace, deprecates irreverently and unintelligently as a “glow of passion"; for man, not God, fills their mind to the exclusion of His glory. But in the end of the age the tares shall be rooted out, instead of growing together with the righteous as now. And this is most just and due to God: even those punished will own it in that day.
Psalm 104
“Bless Jehovah, my soul. Jehovah my God, thou art very great. Honor and majesty hast thou put on, wearing light as the robe, spreading heavens as the curtains; who frameth his chambers in the waters, who maketh clouds his chariot (vehicle), who walketh on wings of wind; making his angels spirits, his ministers a flaming fire. He founded earth on its bases: it shall not be removed ever and ever. With the deep as the garment thou didst cover it; upon the mountains stood waters; at thy rebuke they fled, at the voice of thy thunder they hasted away—mountains rose, valleys sank, unto a place which thou hast founded for them: thou hast set a bound that they may not pass, that they return not to cover the earth. He sendeth springs into the valleys: between mountains they go; they give drink to every beast of the field: wild asses quench their thirst. By them birds of the heavens dwell; from among branches they give voice. He watereth mountains from his chambers; from fruit of thy works is the earth satisfied. He causeth to grow grass for the cattle and herb for service of man, to bring forth bread from the earth and wine that gladdeneth man's heart, to make face shine with oil; and bread upholdeth man's heart. Satisfied are Jehovah's trees, cedars of Lebanon which he planted, where small birds nestle: [for] stork, firs [are] her house. The high mountains [are] for the wild goats, crags a refuge for the rock-badgers. He made moon for seasons; sun knoweth its down-going. Thou settest darkness, and it is night, wherein every beast of the forest moveth forth: the young lions roar for the prey, and for seeking their food from God (El). The sun ariseth, they retire and lie down in their lairs. Man goeth forth unto his work and unto his service until evening. How manifold are thy works, O Jehovah! in wisdom hast thou wrought them all; the earth is full of thy riches. Yonder [is] the sea, great and wide (of hands), moving things there and without number, living creatures small and great. There ship go; this Leviathan thou hast made to play therein. All of them wait on thee to give them food in its season. Thou givest to them, they gather; thou openest thy hand, they are satisfied with good; thou hidest thy face, they are troubled; thou withdrawest their breath, they expire and return unto their dust; thou sendest thy spirit, they are created, and thou renewest the face of the ground. Let Jehovah's glory be forever; let Jehovah rejoice in his works. He looketh on the earth, and it trembleth, he toucheth mountains, and they smoke. I will sing unto Jehovah while I live, I will sing psalms unto my God while I have being. My meditation on him will be sweet; I will rejoice in Jehovah. Sinners shall be consumed out of the earth, and wicked men shall be no more. Bless Jehovah, my soul. Hallelujah (praise ye Jah)” (vers. 1-35).