(The following texts highlighted in this color of blue is taken from
The Treasury of David by Charles Haddon Spurgeon) "Excerpted text
Copyright AGES Library, LLC. All rights reserved. Materials are reproduced
Title. To the Chief Musician. Many songs were dedicated to this leader of
the chorus, but he was not overloaded thereby. God's service is such
delight that it cannot weary us; and that choicest part of it, the singing of
His praises, is so pleasurable that we cannot have too much of it. Doubtless,
the chief musician, as he was commissioned with so many sacred songs,
felt that the more the merrier. A Psalm for the Sons of Korah. We cannot
agree with those who think that the sons of Korah were the authors of
these Psalms; they have all the indications of David's authorship that one
could expect to see. Our ear has grown accustomed to the ring of David's
compositions, and we are morally certain that we hear it in this Psalm.
Every expert would detect here the autography of the Son of Jesse, or we
are greatly mistaken. The Sons of Korah sang these Psalms, but we believe
they did not write them. Fit singers were they whose origin reminded them
of sin, whose existence was a proof of sovereign grace, and whose name
has a close connection with the name of
Subject. Whether the immediate subject of this Psalm be the carrying up of
the ark from the house of Obededom
some memorable victory, it would be hard to decide. As even the doctors
differ, who should dogmatise? But it is very clear that both the present
sovereignty of Jehovah, and the final victories of our Lord, are here fitly
hymned, while His ascension, as the prophecy of them, is sweetly gloried in.
Division. In so short a Psalm, there is no need of any other division than
that indicated by the musical pause at the end of v. 4.
1 “O clap your hands,” - The most natural and most enthusiastic tokens
of exultation are to be used in view of the victories of the Lord, and His
universal reign. Our joy in God may be demonstrative, and yet He will not
censure it - “all ye
people;” - The
joy is to extend to all nations;
lead the van, but all the Gentiles are to follow in the march of triumph, for they
have an equal share in that kingdom where there is neither Greek nor Jew, but
Christ is all and in all. Even now if they did but know it, it is the best hope
of all nations that Jehovah ruleth over them. If they cannot all speak the
same tongue, the symbolic language of the hands they can all use. All
people will be ruled by the Lord in the latter days, and all will exult in that
rule; were they wise they would submit to it now, and rejoice to do so; yea,
they would clap their hands in rapture at the thought - “shout” - let your
voices keep tune with your hands - “unto God” - let Him have
all the honors of the day, and let them be loud, joyous, universal, and
undivided - “with the voice of triumph.” With happy sounds, consonant with
such splendid victories, so great a King, so excellent a rule, and such happy
subjects. Many are human languages, and yet the nations may triumph as
with one voice. Faith's view of God's government is full of transport. The
prospect of the universal reign of the Prince of Peace is enough to make
the tongue of the dumb sing; what will the reality be? Well might the poet
of the seasons bid mountains and valleys raise their joyous hymn:
"For the GREAT SHEPHERD reigns,
And His unsuffering kingdom yet will come."
2 “For the Lord” or JEHOVAH, the self existent and only God; “most
High” - most great in power, lofty in dominion, eminent in wisdom, elevated
in glory - “is terrible;” - none can resist His power or stand before His
vengeance; yet as these terrors are wielded on the behalf of His subjects,
they are fit reasons for rejoicing. Omnipotence, which is terrible to crush, is
almighty to protect. At a grand review of the troops of a great prince, all
his loyal subjects are filled with triumph, because their liege lord is so able
to defend his own, and so much dreaded by his foes - “He is a great King
over all the earth.” Not over
reign extends. Our God is no local deity, no petty ruler of a tribe; in infinite
majesty He rules the mightiest realm as absolute arbiter of destiny, sole
monarch of all lands, King of kings, and Lord of lords. Not a hamlet or an
islet is excluded from His dominion. How glorious will that era be when
this is seen and known of all; when in the person of Jesus all flesh shall
behold the glory of the Lord!
3 “He” - with whom is infinite power, “shall subdue the people under us,”
The battle is not ours but the Lord's. He will take His own time, but He will
certainly achieve victory for His church. Truth and righteousness shall
through grace climb to the ascendant. We wage no doubtful warfare.
Hearts the most rebellious, and wills the most stubborn, shall submit to all
conquering grace. All the Lord's people, whether Jews or Gentiles, may
clap their hands at this, for God's victory will be theirs; but surely apostles,
prophets, ministers, and those who suffer and labor the most, may take
the largest share in the joy. Idolatry, infidelity, superstition, we shall yet
tread upon, as men tread down the stones of the street -“and the nations
under our feet.”
her victory shall be signal and decisive. Christ shall take to Himself His great
power and reign, and all the tribes of men shall own at once His glory and
the glory of His people in Him. How changed will be the position of affairs
in coming ages! The people of God have been under the feet of men in long
and cruel persecutions, and in daily contempt; but God will reverse the position,
and the best in character shall be first in honor.
4 While as yet we see not all things put under Him, we are glad to put ourselves
and our fortunes at His disposal. “He shall choose our inheritance for us,” –
We feel His reign to be so gracious that we even now ask to be in the fullest
degree the subjects of it. We submit our will, our choice, our desire, wholly to Him.
Our heritage here and hereafter we leave to Him, let Him do with us as seemeth
Him good - “the excellency of Jacob whom He loved.” He gave His ancient
people their portion, He will give us ours, and we ask nothing better; this is the most
spiritual and real manner of clapping our hands because of His sovereignty,
namely, to leave all our affairs in His hands, for then our hands are empty of
all care for self, and free to be used in His honor. He was the boast and
their greatest glory; He loves us, and He shall be our exceeding joy. As for
the latter days, we ask nothing better than to stand in our appointed lot, for
if we have but a portion in our Lord Jesus, it is enough for our largest
desires. Our beauty, our boast, our best treasure, lies in having such a God
to trust in, such a God to love us. “Selah.” Yes, pause, ye faithful songsters.
Here is abundant room for holy meditation:
"Muse awhile, obedient thought,
Lo, the theme's with rapture fraught;
See thy King whose realm extends
Even to earth's remotest ends.
Gladly shall the nations own
Him their God and Lord alone;
Clap their hands with holy mirth,
Hail Him MONARCH OF THE EARTH.
Come, my soul, before Him bow,
Gladdest of His subjects thou;
Leave thy portion to His choice,
In His sovereign will rejoice,
This thy purest, deepest bliss,
He is thine and thou art His."
5 “God is gone up with a shout,” - Faith hears the people already
shouting. The command of the first verse is here regarded as a fact. The
fight is over, the conqueror ascends to His triumphant chariot, and rides up
to the gates of the city which is made resplendent with the joy of His return.
The words are fully applicable to the ascension of the Redeemer. We doubt
not that angels and glorified spirits welcomed Him with acclamations. He
came not without song, shall we imagine that He returned in silence? -
“the Lord with the sound of a trumpet.” Jesus is Jehovah. The joyful
strain of the trumpet betokens the splendor of His triumph. It was meet to
welcome one returning from the wars with martial music. Fresh from
Bozrah, with His garments all red from the winepress, He ascended, leading
captivity captive, and well might the clarion ring out the tidings of
Immanuel's victorious return.
6 “Sing praises to God” - What jubilation is here, when five times over the
whole earth is called upon to sing to God! He is worthy, He is Creator, He
is goodness itself. Sing praises, keep on with the glad work. Never let the
music pause. He never ceases to be good, let us never cease to be grateful.
Strange that we should need so much urging to attend to so heavenly an
exercise - “sing praises unto our King, sing praises.” Let Him have all our
praise; no one ought to have even a particle of it. Jesus shall have it all. Let
His sovereignty be the fount of gladness. It is a sublime attribute, but full of bliss
to the faithful. Let our homage be paid not in groans but songs. He asks not slaves
to grace His throne; He is no despot; singing is fit homage for a monarch so
blessed and gracious. Let all hearts that own His scepter sing and sing on
for ever, for there is everlasting reason for thanksgiving while we dwell
under the shadow of such a throne.
7 “For God is the King of all the earth:” - The Jews of our Savior's
time resented this truth, but had their hearts been right they would have
rejoiced in it. They would have kept their God to themselves, and not even
have allowed the Gentile dogs to eat the crumbs from under His table. Alas!
how selfishness turns honey into wormwood. Jehovah is not the God of the
Jews only, all the nations of the earth are, through the Messiah, yet to
own Him Lord. Meanwhile His providential throne governs all events beneath the
sky - “sing ye praises with understanding. Sing a didactic Psalm. Sound doctrine
praises God. Even under the economy of types and ceremonies, it is clear
that the Lord had regard to the spirituality of worship, and would be
praised thoughtfully, intelligently, and with deep appreciation of the reason
for song. It is to be feared from the slovenly way in which some make a
noise in singing, that they fancy any sound will do. On the other hand, from
the great attention paid by some to the mere music, we feel sadly sure that
the sense has no effect upon them. Is it not a sin to be tickling men's ears
with sounds when we profess to be adoring the Lord? What has a sensuous
delight in organs, anthems, etc., to do with devotion? Do not men mistake
physical effects for spiritual impulses? Do they not often offer to God strains far
more calculated for human amusement than for divine acceptance? An
understanding enlightened of the Holy Spirit is then and then only fully capable
of offering worthy praise.
8 “God reigneth over the heathen:” - Now at this moment, over the most
debased idolaters, God holds a secret rule; here is work for faith. How we ought
to long for the day when this truth shall be changed in its aspect, and the rule now
unrecognized shall be delighted in! The great truth that God reigneth in providence
is the guarantee that in a gracious gospel sense His promises shall be fulfilled,
and His kingdom shall come! (“The Day of the Lord will come” – II Peter
3:10) – “God sitteth upon the throne of His holiness.” Unmoved He occupies
an undisputed throne, whose decrees, acts, and commands are holiness itself.
What other throne is like this? Never was it stained with injustice, or defiled
with sin. Neither is He who sits upon it dismayed, or in a dilemma. He sits in
serenity, for He knows His own power, and sees that His purposes will not
miscarry. Here is reason enough for holy song.
9 “The princes of the people are gathered together,” - The prophetic eye
of the psalmist sees the willing subjects of the great King assembled to
celebrate His glory. Not only the poor and the men of low estate are there,
but nobles bow their willing necks to His sway. "All kings shall bow down
before Him." No people shall be unrepresented; their great men shall be
good men, their royal ones regenerate ones. How august will be the
parliament where the Lord Jesus shall open the court, and princes shall rise
up to do Him honor - “even the people of the God of Abraham:”
That same God, who was known only to here and there a patriarch like the
father of the faithful, shall be adored by a seed as many as the stars of heaven.
The covenant promise shall be fulfilled, "In thee and in thy seed shall all
the nations of the earth be blessed" (Genesis 12:3) -
"to Him shall the gathering of the
people be" (Ibid. 49:10).
shall be obliterated by the gathering arm of the Great Shepherd King - “for the
shields of the earth belong unto God:” - The insignia of pomp, the
emblems of rank, the weapons of war, all must pay loyal homage to the
King of all. Right honorables must honor Jesus, and majesties must own
Him to be far more majestic. Those who are earth's protectors, the shields
of the commonwealth, derive their might from Him, and are His. All
principalities and powers must be subject unto Jehovah and His Christ, for
“He is greatly exalted.” In nature, in power, in character, in glory, there is
none to compare with Him. Oh, glorious vision of a coming era! Make
haste, ye wheels of time! Meanwhile, ye saints, "Be ye steadfast,
unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye
know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord." (I Corinthians 15:58)
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