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Bible Commentaries

The Biblical Illustrator

Psalms 110

 

 

Verses 1-7

Psalms 110:1-7

The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit Thou at My right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool

The King who is also Priest

The title ascribes this psalm to David, which is confirmed by its internal character, its laconic energy, its martial tone, its triumphant confidence and its resemblance to other compositions of the son of Jesse.
Besides this is the testimony of our Lord (
Matthew 22:43; Mark 12:36; Luke 20:42). Peter at Pentecost expressly quoted it as David’s (Acts 2:34). It is a counterpart to the second psalm, completing the prophetic picture of the conquering Messiah. The opening word of this spirited lyric indicates its peculiar character. It is the term almost always used to denote an immediate Divine utterance. The utterance here is an oracular address to David’s Lord, i.e. the promised Anointed One on whom his and his people’s hopes were centred. Jehovah bids this personage take His seat at His right hand, not merely as a place of honour, but as implying a participation in His power, of which the right hand is a constant symbol. This exalted position, on the same throne with Jehovah, He is to hold till His enemies are made His footstool, i.e. are completely and for ever subjugated. In the next verse the psalmist addresses the Messiah directly. He tells Him that His strong rod, His rod of discipline and correction, by which foes are to be subdued, shall be sent forth by Jehovah out of Zion, considered as His earthly residence, the seat of the theocracy; thus showing clearly that Jehovah acts not only for Him, but in and through Him, for the overthrow of His enemies. Hence, the poet calls on Him to take the dominion and rule, even though hostile powers surround Him and threaten His dethronement. These will prove no obstacle, nor can there be a doubt of the result. The certainty of it is still further secured by the character and number of Messiah’s followers. It is not an army of mercenaries. There is no need of a conscription; they stream toward the royal banner from every direction. They are free-will offerings. By a spontaneous movement they come to consecrate themselves to service in the day when the host is put in battle array and mustered for the onset. They come, too, not with coat of mail and battle-axe, but in holy attire, with allusion to the sacerdotal dress. They are clad in sacred vestments, because they are servants of a priestly King, and belong to “a kingdom of priests” (Exodus 19:6). Nor are these few in number or worn with age, but in number and character and vigour resemble

“dew-drops which the sun

Impearls on every leaf and every flower.”

From the womb of the dawn there come in perpetual succession youthful warriors who delight to uphold the royal banner. There follows in the next verse the essential point of the whole lyric, the perpetual priesthood of Messiah united with a perpetual kingship, both secured by the oath of Jehovah Himself. This verse is made the subject of elaborate comment in Hebrews 8:1-13, the author of which dwells at length upon the oath which founded the priesthood, upon the perpetuity of the office and upon the want of hierarchical succession. Immediately after the announcement of Messiah’s priesthood, the psalm resumes its martial tone. Before, the might of the king and the character of his army were described; now we see the conflict and the victory. The Lord--who in this case is Jehovah--stands on Messiah’s right hand as His defender and upholder. The consequence of Jehovah’s support is that Messiah crushes not merely ordinary men but kings, and the subjects they represent. He inflicts a mortal blow, one from which there is no recovery. In the 6th verse, by a sudden turn, Messiah is spoken of in the third person. He exercises supreme control, as judge, over nations. If they resist Him they fall in slaughtered heaps over a vast extent of country, heads or princes being overthrown with all the rest. In the closing verse David paints the Conqueror as wearied with the battle and the pursuit, but not suffered to perish through exhaustion. A brook by the way revives Him, and He passes on with uplifted head, continuing His work with new vigour, and pressing forward to a complete and final triumph. The psalm is peculiar in setting forth Messiah as a priest upon His throne. He is s real priest, one that makes atonement, intercedes and blesses, and as such meets all the needs of sinful men, because He is a King, and can give effect to His sacerdotal functions, applying the merits of His sacrifice, and actually bestowing the blessing which He pronounces. And all this for ever. Christ neither has nor needs a successor. He is an unchangeable priesthood. Again, Messiah’s followers are like Himself, wearing holy attire--an emblem of their cause and character. It is not a kingdom of this world to which they belong, but one heavenly and divine. They wear its uniform and seek to express its spirit. Nor are they in any sense hirelings, but rather volunteers, eager to obey and glorify Him whom they call Master and Lord. Napoleon truly said, “My armies have forgetten me even while living, but Christ has left the earth, and at this hour millions of men would die for Him.” The strength of His cause lies in the character of His followers and the fulness and freeness of their consecration. A host made of such materials cannot be overcome, for it is perpetually renewed from the womb of the dawn. Once more, the final result is sure. Messiah leads forth judgment to victory. All foes are to perish. The appurtenances of ancient warfare, captured kings and slaughtered heaps, only indicate the thoroughness of the conflict and its predetermined result. Forward the royal standards go, and the issue is not uncertain. The priestly King must reign till all enemies are made His footstool, and the whole earth acknowledges His rightful supremacy. (T. W. Chambers, D.D.)

Jesus ascended and exalted

In this psalm Jesus is set forth to us as--

I. King and prophet (verses 2, 8). The rod of His strength is His Word, even His preached Gospel, accompanied by the power of the Holy Spirit.

II. King and priest (verse 4). Here the people of Jesus are directed to look to Him as the ground of their hope. For it is what He has done, and what He is still doing, for them as their Priest, that must ever be most important to them, as long as they are in their present imperfect and polluted state.

III. King and judge (verses 5, 6; Psalms 2:9; Daniel 2:31-45; Revelation 19:11-16). (W. Hancock, M.A.)

Christ sitting at the right hand of God

I. His heavenly exaltation.

1. Elevation.

2. Power.

II. The state of our world at the time when Christ was thus exalted to be its King. We are all by nature the enemies of Jesus Christ, as much alienated from Him as we are from His Father. This blessed Jesus was not hated in Jerusalem only where He was crucified, as though there was something peculiar in the men of that place--He was hated wherever He appeared; and had He gone out from Judaea and Galilee into other countries, He would have been hated there also; Rome, with all her boasted admiration of virtue, would have cried out for His destruction, and polished Greece would have cast Him away with scorn.

III. The means employed by Jehovah to overcome the hostility of the world against His Son (verse 2). Has the Gospel proved itself the rod of Christ’s strength? That something produced a mighty effect on the world soon after our Lord’s ascension is quite certain. “Rule Thou in the midst of Thine enemies,” says the text to Him, and in the midst of His most violent enemies Christ did rule. In the inveterate and lately infuriated Jerusalem, thousands bowed at once to His sceptre, and throughout pagan Greece and Rome His name was called on and adored. And what wrought this change? Preaching--the simple preaching of Christ’s Gospel by a few determined, faithful men; holding up Christ on a cross to men, and bidding them look to Him and be saved.

IV. The happy results of this interposition of Jehovah (verse 3). Here is a description, and a beautiful one, of all Christ’s real people in every age of the world.

1. They are a willing people. “Willing,” we may say, “for what?” For anything and everything which Christ desires. The language in the original is stronger than in our translation. It is “willingness,” the noun for the adjective--a Hebrew way of expressing a thing forcibly. This people are eager to receive Christ as their Prince and Saviour; they feel it to be their delight and joy to come under His dominion.

2. This willing people are to be numerous. In the land where the Scriptures were written, the dew is much more abundant than in our country, but even here the drops of dew as they sparkle on the trees and grass, are sometimes countless. As numerous, this psalm says, shall be the people of Christ.

3. The people of Christ are to be beautiful, and beautiful because holy--“willing in the beauties of holiness.” The drops of’ the early dew are beautiful. The rising sun not only discovers them, it brightens and gilds them, makes them the glittering ornaments in the early morning of our gardens and fields. And what were the early Christians? Their very enemies were constrained to do them honour. They hated but they admired them. As they led them forth to persecution and to death, they wondered at their lofty and splendid characters. But their graces were not their own. The dew does not sparkle when the sun does not shine on it. Even a Christian man has no beauty, no holiness, but as Christ imparts it to him. And what is his highest beauty and holiness? It is only a faint reflection of his Lord’s beauty and holiness--a dew-drop reflecting the sun. But still that dew-drop does reflect the sun; and so does every real believer in Christ Jesus reflect in some measure his Redeemer’s likeness. (C. Bradley, M.A.)

A picture of Christ as the Moral Conqueror of mankind

I. Invested with Divine authority (verse 1). Christ is represented as God manifest in the flesh, as One with God, as the beloved Son of Jehovah, as sitting down at the right hand of God, as exalted above all dominion and power, as King of kings and Lord of lords. His history when on earth confirms this illustrious distinction. How grand were the doctrines He propounded, how stupendous the miracles He wrought, how unexampled the moral character He exhibited, how unearthly and transcendent the spirit which He breathed.

II. Endowed with Divine power (verse 2). This is a far mightier rod than that which Moses wielded, it is a rod that breaks rocky hearts, and makes clear for human souls the way to Canaan.

III. Possessed of a splendid army (verse 3). The words suggest that His army is distinguished--

1. By willingness. “Shall be willing.” Their services will not be compulsory, they throw themselves into the spirit of the campaign.

2. By purity. “In the beauty of holiness.” They coruscate with holiness.

3. By youthfulness. “Thou hast the dew of Thy youth.” They are not old and worn out, they are as fresh as the dew “from the womb of the morning.”

4. By abundance, How numerous are drops of “dew.” Such is the army of this Hero. Such a Chieftain with such soldiers must win victories the most brilliant.

IV. Invested with a priestly character (verse 4). He is a Priest by the solemn and unalterable promise of God. Melchizedek was a wonderful priest--original, final, beneficent, and royal. Christ is a Priest-King. As a Priest He is at once the Sacrifice, the Sacrificer, and the Offering. He is the Mediator, He Himself is the Atonement, the Reconciliation.

V. Achieves magnificent triumphs (verses 5, 6). They are won not by force, but by love, they do not destroy or injure the conquered, but bless and save them. (Homilist.)

The enemies of Christ vanquished

I. The person to whom universal dominion is assigned.

II. His solemn inauguration to His regal dignity (verse 1; Psalms 24:7-10).

III. The enemies arrayed against His rightful claims (verse 1). How strange a collocation of words is “enmity against God,” and God in Christ! Behold His purity, His meekness, His wisdom, His kind teachings, His generous sufferings for men; the freeness and copiousness of the blessings which He has to bestow upon all who will ask of Him; and say, is there a stigma upon human nature so deep, so dark, as this,--that it is enmity to God!

IV. The means of their subjugation.

1. The rod of His power.

2. Granting days of power.

3. The willing co-operation of His people.

V. The glorious result (verse 3).

1. Behold this beauty of holiness among the nations. Wars, oppressions, injuries, cease. The earth, tossed and swept for ages by the storms of night, is quiet, imbibes the vivifying dew of Divine influence, and catches the glory of the brightening truth of revelation.

2. Behold it in civil society; in the beautiful order and harmony of pious families; in the charity and kind offices of Christian neighbourhoods; in the reciprocal reverence and confidence of rulers and their subjects.

3. Behold it especially in the Church. There, indeed, it is eminently appropriate; for, “holiness becometh Thine house, O Lord, for ever.” It is seen in her ministry; for her Priests are clothed with salvation,” and their “lips keep knowledge.” In her doctrine; for the compass, the depth, the height, the harmony, of the whole system of the Gospel being understood and professed, errors and partial views are banished. In her members; those are truly elect according to the foreknowledge of God, through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth. (R Watson.)


Verses 1-7

Psalms 110:1-7

The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit Thou at My right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool

The King who is also Priest

The title ascribes this psalm to David, which is confirmed by its internal character, its laconic energy, its martial tone, its triumphant confidence and its resemblance to other compositions of the son of Jesse.
Besides this is the testimony of our Lord (
Matthew 22:43; Mark 12:36; Luke 20:42). Peter at Pentecost expressly quoted it as David’s (Acts 2:34). It is a counterpart to the second psalm, completing the prophetic picture of the conquering Messiah. The opening word of this spirited lyric indicates its peculiar character. It is the term almost always used to denote an immediate Divine utterance. The utterance here is an oracular address to David’s Lord, i.e. the promised Anointed One on whom his and his people’s hopes were centred. Jehovah bids this personage take His seat at His right hand, not merely as a place of honour, but as implying a participation in His power, of which the right hand is a constant symbol. This exalted position, on the same throne with Jehovah, He is to hold till His enemies are made His footstool, i.e. are completely and for ever subjugated. In the next verse the psalmist addresses the Messiah directly. He tells Him that His strong rod, His rod of discipline and correction, by which foes are to be subdued, shall be sent forth by Jehovah out of Zion, considered as His earthly residence, the seat of the theocracy; thus showing clearly that Jehovah acts not only for Him, but in and through Him, for the overthrow of His enemies. Hence, the poet calls on Him to take the dominion and rule, even though hostile powers surround Him and threaten His dethronement. These will prove no obstacle, nor can there be a doubt of the result. The certainty of it is still further secured by the character and number of Messiah’s followers. It is not an army of mercenaries. There is no need of a conscription; they stream toward the royal banner from every direction. They are free-will offerings. By a spontaneous movement they come to consecrate themselves to service in the day when the host is put in battle array and mustered for the onset. They come, too, not with coat of mail and battle-axe, but in holy attire, with allusion to the sacerdotal dress. They are clad in sacred vestments, because they are servants of a priestly King, and belong to “a kingdom of priests” (Exodus 19:6). Nor are these few in number or worn with age, but in number and character and vigour resemble

“dew-drops which the sun

Impearls on every leaf and every flower.”

From the womb of the dawn there come in perpetual succession youthful warriors who delight to uphold the royal banner. There follows in the next verse the essential point of the whole lyric, the perpetual priesthood of Messiah united with a perpetual kingship, both secured by the oath of Jehovah Himself. This verse is made the subject of elaborate comment in Hebrews 8:1-13, the author of which dwells at length upon the oath which founded the priesthood, upon the perpetuity of the office and upon the want of hierarchical succession. Immediately after the announcement of Messiah’s priesthood, the psalm resumes its martial tone. Before, the might of the king and the character of his army were described; now we see the conflict and the victory. The Lord--who in this case is Jehovah--stands on Messiah’s right hand as His defender and upholder. The consequence of Jehovah’s support is that Messiah crushes not merely ordinary men but kings, and the subjects they represent. He inflicts a mortal blow, one from which there is no recovery. In the 6th verse, by a sudden turn, Messiah is spoken of in the third person. He exercises supreme control, as judge, over nations. If they resist Him they fall in slaughtered heaps over a vast extent of country, heads or princes being overthrown with all the rest. In the closing verse David paints the Conqueror as wearied with the battle and the pursuit, but not suffered to perish through exhaustion. A brook by the way revives Him, and He passes on with uplifted head, continuing His work with new vigour, and pressing forward to a complete and final triumph. The psalm is peculiar in setting forth Messiah as a priest upon His throne. He is s real priest, one that makes atonement, intercedes and blesses, and as such meets all the needs of sinful men, because He is a King, and can give effect to His sacerdotal functions, applying the merits of His sacrifice, and actually bestowing the blessing which He pronounces. And all this for ever. Christ neither has nor needs a successor. He is an unchangeable priesthood. Again, Messiah’s followers are like Himself, wearing holy attire--an emblem of their cause and character. It is not a kingdom of this world to which they belong, but one heavenly and divine. They wear its uniform and seek to express its spirit. Nor are they in any sense hirelings, but rather volunteers, eager to obey and glorify Him whom they call Master and Lord. Napoleon truly said, “My armies have forgetten me even while living, but Christ has left the earth, and at this hour millions of men would die for Him.” The strength of His cause lies in the character of His followers and the fulness and freeness of their consecration. A host made of such materials cannot be overcome, for it is perpetually renewed from the womb of the dawn. Once more, the final result is sure. Messiah leads forth judgment to victory. All foes are to perish. The appurtenances of ancient warfare, captured kings and slaughtered heaps, only indicate the thoroughness of the conflict and its predetermined result. Forward the royal standards go, and the issue is not uncertain. The priestly King must reign till all enemies are made His footstool, and the whole earth acknowledges His rightful supremacy. (T. W. Chambers, D.D.)

Jesus ascended and exalted

In this psalm Jesus is set forth to us as--

I. King and prophet (verses 2, 8). The rod of His strength is His Word, even His preached Gospel, accompanied by the power of the Holy Spirit.

II. King and priest (verse 4). Here the people of Jesus are directed to look to Him as the ground of their hope. For it is what He has done, and what He is still doing, for them as their Priest, that must ever be most important to them, as long as they are in their present imperfect and polluted state.

III. King and judge (verses 5, 6; Psalms 2:9; Daniel 2:31-45; Revelation 19:11-16). (W. Hancock, M.A.)

Christ sitting at the right hand of God

I. His heavenly exaltation.

1. Elevation.

2. Power.

II. The state of our world at the time when Christ was thus exalted to be its King. We are all by nature the enemies of Jesus Christ, as much alienated from Him as we are from His Father. This blessed Jesus was not hated in Jerusalem only where He was crucified, as though there was something peculiar in the men of that place--He was hated wherever He appeared; and had He gone out from Judaea and Galilee into other countries, He would have been hated there also; Rome, with all her boasted admiration of virtue, would have cried out for His destruction, and polished Greece would have cast Him away with scorn.

III. The means employed by Jehovah to overcome the hostility of the world against His Son (verse 2). Has the Gospel proved itself the rod of Christ’s strength? That something produced a mighty effect on the world soon after our Lord’s ascension is quite certain. “Rule Thou in the midst of Thine enemies,” says the text to Him, and in the midst of His most violent enemies Christ did rule. In the inveterate and lately infuriated Jerusalem, thousands bowed at once to His sceptre, and throughout pagan Greece and Rome His name was called on and adored. And what wrought this change? Preaching--the simple preaching of Christ’s Gospel by a few determined, faithful men; holding up Christ on a cross to men, and bidding them look to Him and be saved.

IV. The happy results of this interposition of Jehovah (verse 3). Here is a description, and a beautiful one, of all Christ’s real people in every age of the world.

1. They are a willing people. “Willing,” we may say, “for what?” For anything and everything which Christ desires. The language in the original is stronger than in our translation. It is “willingness,” the noun for the adjective--a Hebrew way of expressing a thing forcibly. This people are eager to receive Christ as their Prince and Saviour; they feel it to be their delight and joy to come under His dominion.

2. This willing people are to be numerous. In the land where the Scriptures were written, the dew is much more abundant than in our country, but even here the drops of dew as they sparkle on the trees and grass, are sometimes countless. As numerous, this psalm says, shall be the people of Christ.

3. The people of Christ are to be beautiful, and beautiful because holy--“willing in the beauties of holiness.” The drops of’ the early dew are beautiful. The rising sun not only discovers them, it brightens and gilds them, makes them the glittering ornaments in the early morning of our gardens and fields. And what were the early Christians? Their very enemies were constrained to do them honour. They hated but they admired them. As they led them forth to persecution and to death, they wondered at their lofty and splendid characters. But their graces were not their own. The dew does not sparkle when the sun does not shine on it. Even a Christian man has no beauty, no holiness, but as Christ imparts it to him. And what is his highest beauty and holiness? It is only a faint reflection of his Lord’s beauty and holiness--a dew-drop reflecting the sun. But still that dew-drop does reflect the sun; and so does every real believer in Christ Jesus reflect in some measure his Redeemer’s likeness. (C. Bradley, M.A.)

A picture of Christ as the Moral Conqueror of mankind

I. Invested with Divine authority (verse 1). Christ is represented as God manifest in the flesh, as One with God, as the beloved Son of Jehovah, as sitting down at the right hand of God, as exalted above all dominion and power, as King of kings and Lord of lords. His history when on earth confirms this illustrious distinction. How grand were the doctrines He propounded, how stupendous the miracles He wrought, how unexampled the moral character He exhibited, how unearthly and transcendent the spirit which He breathed.

II. Endowed with Divine power (verse 2). This is a far mightier rod than that which Moses wielded, it is a rod that breaks rocky hearts, and makes clear for human souls the way to Canaan.

III. Possessed of a splendid army (verse 3). The words suggest that His army is distinguished--

1. By willingness. “Shall be willing.” Their services will not be compulsory, they throw themselves into the spirit of the campaign.

2. By purity. “In the beauty of holiness.” They coruscate with holiness.

3. By youthfulness. “Thou hast the dew of Thy youth.” They are not old and worn out, they are as fresh as the dew “from the womb of the morning.”

4. By abundance, How numerous are drops of “dew.” Such is the army of this Hero. Such a Chieftain with such soldiers must win victories the most brilliant.

IV. Invested with a priestly character (verse 4). He is a Priest by the solemn and unalterable promise of God. Melchizedek was a wonderful priest--original, final, beneficent, and royal. Christ is a Priest-King. As a Priest He is at once the Sacrifice, the Sacrificer, and the Offering. He is the Mediator, He Himself is the Atonement, the Reconciliation.

V. Achieves magnificent triumphs (verses 5, 6). They are won not by force, but by love, they do not destroy or injure the conquered, but bless and save them. (Homilist.)

The enemies of Christ vanquished

I. The person to whom universal dominion is assigned.

II. His solemn inauguration to His regal dignity (verse 1; Psalms 24:7-10).

III. The enemies arrayed against His rightful claims (verse 1). How strange a collocation of words is “enmity against God,” and God in Christ! Behold His purity, His meekness, His wisdom, His kind teachings, His generous sufferings for men; the freeness and copiousness of the blessings which He has to bestow upon all who will ask of Him; and say, is there a stigma upon human nature so deep, so dark, as this,--that it is enmity to God!

IV. The means of their subjugation.

1. The rod of His power.

2. Granting days of power.

3. The willing co-operation of His people.

V. The glorious result (verse 3).

1. Behold this beauty of holiness among the nations. Wars, oppressions, injuries, cease. The earth, tossed and swept for ages by the storms of night, is quiet, imbibes the vivifying dew of Divine influence, and catches the glory of the brightening truth of revelation.

2. Behold it in civil society; in the beautiful order and harmony of pious families; in the charity and kind offices of Christian neighbourhoods; in the reciprocal reverence and confidence of rulers and their subjects.

3. Behold it especially in the Church. There, indeed, it is eminently appropriate; for, “holiness becometh Thine house, O Lord, for ever.” It is seen in her ministry; for her Priests are clothed with salvation,” and their “lips keep knowledge.” In her doctrine; for the compass, the depth, the height, the harmony, of the whole system of the Gospel being understood and professed, errors and partial views are banished. In her members; those are truly elect according to the foreknowledge of God, through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth. (R Watson.)


Verse 2-3

Psalms 110:2-3

The Lord shall send the rod of Thy strength out of Zion: rule Thou in the midst of Thine enemies.

Messiah’s sceptre and kingdom

The kingship of Christ is a twofold kingship. It is essential and it is hereditary. The one belongs to Him as God, the other belongs to Him as Mediator. The first is founded upon the Divinity of His Person, the second upon the dignity of His work. Hence the first is eternal, the second conferred.

I. The sceptre of Christ, the power which wields it, and the place of its appearing.

1. The sceptre is the symbol of royalty and is of even greater antiquity than the crown. Homer speaks of it as “that sacred rod of kings.” Christ’s sceptre is His Gospel. It is the Word of the Lord which is powerful, a Gospel which is the power of God unto salvation, Jehovah’s rod of strength, mighty for the pulling down of Satan’s strongholds.

2. This sceptre is wielded by no feeble hand. To subdue the will of an alien world required an agency yet more powerful than that which created the universe and will raise the dead. Its sentiments, prejudices, habits, interests, pleasures, sins, form a positive quantity of antagonism. Hence the conversion of a soul from Satan to God is a miracle of miracles. The humanly impossible becomes the Divinely accomplished. The Holy Ghost wields the sceptre.

3. This sceptre was to appear out of Zion, and from thence by gradual conquests extend its influence over the entire earth. On Zion the apostles received their commission to preach; there they remained until power came upon them; there the first Gospel sermon was preached, and at the first swaying of this sceptre three thousand souls were added to the Lord; there the first Gospel Church was founded, almost under the shadow of the recent cross, and from thence this mystical sceptre went forth into all lands.

II. The establishment of His kingdom. The psalmist describes its position and its people.

1. Its position.

2. Its people.


Verse 3

Psalms 110:3

Thy people shall be willing in the day of Thy power.

Christ subdues a people to Himself

The glory of a king consists in the multitude of his people. Messiah is a king, but He is described as ruling in the midst of His enemies. Has He, then, none but these over whom He is to reign--none that willingly do Him service? Was He to spend His labour in vain, His time and strength for that which profiteth nothing? No! He should see of the travail of His soul and be satisfied, and the pleasure of the Lord should prosper in His hand. Jehovah promises to Him, “Thy people shall be willing in the day of Thy power.”

I. The character and condition of Messiah’s subjects. They are His people--

1. Because they are given to Him by the Father.

2. Because they are bought with a price, even with His own precious blood.

3. Because they are created anew by His Holy Spirit, and so fitted for His service here, and for the full enjoyment of heaven hereafter.

II. The prediction regarding them. They “shall be willing.” Worldly kingdoms have often been established by violence--they rule over the body only, they govern by fear and terror. In all these respects, Christ’s kingdom is not of this world. His people are willing to enter into His kingdom in the way of His own appointment, they are willing to obey the laws of His kingdom, and they are willing to submit to that discipline which His infinite wisdom sees meet for them.

III. The time when, and the means by which, they shall be made willing. “In the day of Thy power.” The exertion of Messiah’s power is requisite to bring the most amiable of the human race cordially to submit to Him as their rightful Lord; and by the exertion of this power, the most hardened rebel may be transformed into a willing subject. (C. Greig, M. A.)

Christ’s triumph and our glory

I. Christ’s triumph.

1. Christ triumphs through us, manifesting His power to destroy sin in the flesh, and to restore the God-like image. He works in us, enabling us to will and to do His good pleasure.

2. His triumph waits upon us. Because He lives, His people shall live for ever.

3. There will come a day when we shall be willing--

II. Our glory. We have a victorious Leader. Our King will come forth in the beauties of holiness. His reign will be refreshing and quickening as dew, every drop reflecting all heaven. He will lead His people gloriously, while they shout their song of triumph. Christ is also our royal priest, the mystery of His birth and succession being prefigured in the person of Melchizedek. His Word is our battle-axe, which strikes devastating blows in the ranks of the enemy. We read of the triumphal entrance of Pompey into Rome, when for two days the procession moved along the Via Sacra. At the head of the procession were carried the brazen tablets, engraven with the names of the conquered nations, the record of the wealth amassed, and the vast increase in the revenues of the empire. The captives followed the triumphal chariot, and as many trophies were displayed as there had been victories gained, either by Pompey or his officers. But how vastly more magnificent and dazzling will be the procession of the heavenly hosts of the redeemed of all nations and kindreds and people and tongues as they enter the New Jerusalem with their King of kings, to crown Him Lord of all. (J. B. Donaldson, D.D.)

Soldier priests

We have here the very heart of the Christian character set forth as being willing consecration; then we have the work which Christian men have to do, and the spirit in which they are to do it, expressed in that metaphor of their priestly attire; and then we have their refreshing and quickening influence upon the world.

I. The subjects of the Priest-King are willing soldiers. We are all soldiers, and He only has to determine our work. We are responsible for the spirit of it, He for its success. Again, there are no mercenaries in these ranks, no pressed men. The soldiers are all volunteers. “Thy people shall be willing.” Constrained obedience is no obedience. The word here rendered “willing” is employed throughout the Levitical law for “freewill offerings.” This glad submission comes from self-consecration and surrender.

II. The soldiers are priests. “The beauties of holiness” is a frequent phrase for the sacerdotal garments, the holy festal attire of the priests of the Lord. So considered, how beautifully it comes in here. The conquering King whom the psalm hymns is a Priest for ever; and He is followed by an army of priests. The soldiers are gathered in the day of the muster, with high courage and willing devotion, ready to fling away their lives; but they are clad not in mail, but in priestly robes, like those who wait before the altar rather than like those who plunge into the fight, like those who encompassed Jericho with the ark for their standard and the trumpets for all their weapons. “The servant of the Lord must not strive.” We cannot scold nor dragoon men to love Jesus Christ. We are to be gentle, long-suffering, not doing our work with passion and self-will, but remembering that gentleness is mightiest, and that we shall best adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour when we go among men with the light caught in the inner sanctuary still irradiating our faces, and our hands full of blessings to bestow on our brethren.

III. The soldier-priests are as dew upon the earth. There are two points in this last clause which may occupy us--that picture of the army as a band of youthful warriors; and that lovely emblem of the dew as applied to Christ’s servants. As to the former--there are many other words of Scripture which carry the same thought, that he who has fellowship with God, and lives in the constant reception of the supernatural life and grace which come from Jesus Christ, possesses the secret of perpetual youth. If we live near Christ, and draw our life from Him, then we may blend the hopes of youth with the experience and memory of age; be at once calm and joyous, wise and strong, preserving the blessedness of each stage of life into that which follows, and thus at last possessing the sweetness and the good of all at once. We may not only bear fruit in old age, but have blossoms, fruit, and flowers--the varying product and adornment of every stage of life united in our characters. Then, with regard to the other point in this final clause--that emblem of the dew comes into view here, I suppose, mainly for the sake of its effect upon the earth. It is as a symbol of the refreshing which a weary world will receive from the conquests and presence of the King and His host, that they are likened to the glittering morning dew. We are meant to gladden, to adorn, to refresh this parched, prosaic world, with a freshness brought from the chambers of the sunrise. (A. Maclaren, D. D.)

A willing people and an immutable Leader

I. A promise made to Christ’s people. Here is a promise of time: “in the day of Thy power.” Here is a promise of people: “Thy people.” Here is a promise of disposition: “Thy people shall be willing.” Here is a promise of character: “Thy people shall be willing in the beauties of holiness.” And here is a majestic figure to show the manner in which they shall be brought forth. By a very bold metaphor, they are said to come out as mysteriously as the dew-drops from the womb of the morning. We know not how, but they are produced by God. Philosophy has laboured to discover the origin of dew, and perhaps has guessed it; but to the Eastern, one of the greatest riddles was, out of whose womb came the dew? Who is the mother of those pearly drops? Now, so will God’s people come mysteriously. It will be said by the bystander, “There was nothing in that man’s preaching; I thought I should hear an orator; this man has been made the means of salvation to thousands, and I thought I should hear an eloquent man, but I have heard a great many preachers far more intelligent and intellectual than he; how were these souls converted?” Why, they have come from the womb of the morning, mysterously. Again, the dew-drops--who made them? God speaks; He whispers in the ears of nature, and it weeps for joy at the glad news that the morning is coming. That is how God’s people shall be saved; they come forth from the “womb of the morning” divinely called, divinely brought, divinely blessed, divinely numbered, divinely scattered over the entire surface of the globe, divinely refreshing to the world, they proceed from the “womb of the morning.”

II. A promise made to Christ. “Thou hast the dew of Thy youth.” Ah! believer, this is the great source of Gospel success, that Christ has the dew of His youth. Jesus Christ, personally, has the dew of His youth. Certain leaders in their young days have led their troops to battle, and by the loudness of their voice, and the strength of their bodies, they have inspired their men with courage; but the old warrior hath his hair sown with grey; he begins to be decrepit, and no longer can lead men to battle. It is not so with Jesus Christ. He has still the dew of His youth. The same Christ who led His troops to battle in His early youth leads them now. The arm which smote the sinner with His Word smites now; it is as unpalsied as it was before. The eye which looked upon His friends with gladness, and upon his foemen with a glance most stern and high--that same eye is regarding us now, undimmed, like that of Moses. He has the dew of His youth. So also doctrinally, Christ hath the dew of His youth. Usually, when a religion starts it is very rampant, but it afterwards decays. Look at the religion of Mahommed. For one hundred years or more it threatened to subvert kingdoms, and overturn the whole world, but where are the blades that flashed then? Where are now the willing hands that smote down the foes of Mahommed? Why, his religion has become an old worn-out thing; no one cares about it; and the Turk, sitting on his divan, with his legs crossed, smoking his pipe, is the best image of the Mahommedan religion--old, infirm, effete. But the Christian religion,--ah, it is as fresh as when it shafted from its cradle at Jerusalem; it is as hale, and hearty, and mighty, as when Paul preached it at Athens, or Peter at Jerusalem. (C. H. Spurgeon.)

Christ’s people, a willing people

There is here--

1. Something supposed. Namely, that Christ hath a people in the world where He erects His standard, that He hath a special relation to, and interest in. “Thy people,” even His people (Matthew 1:21). He hath bought them with His blood (John 10:15). It is supposed also, that He finds these unwilling to submit to Him, as well as the rest of the world. The corruption of the will is common to them with others.

2. Something ensured to the Mediator, respecting this people of His; namely, that these unwilling people shall be willing, Hebrew, “willingnesses”; which imports that they shall submit to Him, and give away themselves to Him; acknowledge the right which Christ hath to them, and be His people by their own consent (Isaiah 49:18; Isaiah 55:5).

3. The time when, and the way how this shall be done. “In the day of Thy power.” That is, in a day of the Gospel’s coming with power. “For the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation.”

I. That corruption of the will, with which Christ finds His people, as well as others, possessed.

1. There is a weakness in their will; they cannot will what is spiritually good and acceptable to God.

2. An aversion to good.

3. A proneness to evil, a woful bent of the will carrying it to sin.

4. A contrariety in the will, to the will of God.

5. Contumacy: the will is wilful or obstinate in evil.

II. The willingness of the soul submitting to Christ. What makes the change? They are made, they do not make themselves willing. The Lord changes their wills, takes away the evil qualities of their will, and gives new qualities.

1. They are willing to part with sin.

2. They are willing to go out of themselves; to cast off all confidence in their attainments and duties; to come to Christ empty, with nothing in them or on them to recommend them to Him but misery.

3. They are willing to take Christ as their Saviour, and to submit to His righteousness.

4. They are willing to take on the yoke of Christ’s commandments.

5. Willing to bear Christ’s Cross, to cleave to Him and His ways, and to follow Him through fire and water.

6. Willing to go away with Christ, for altogether, home to His Father’s house.

III. The day of power.

1. Though the Gospel may be long preached unto a people, yet there are some special seasons that may be looked on as days of power. Days when the Gospel is new to a people, days of persecution, days when there is a spirit of prayer poured out, and times of sealing ordinances, these are more likely than others to be days of power.

2. There is an appointed time for the inbringing of all the elect of God, and that is the particular day of power to them.

3. A dark night usually goes before this day of power.

4. Whenever this day of power comes, the soul is made willing, the fort of the heart is taken, and the King of glory enters in state, turns out the old inhabitants, and puts in new. (T. Boston, D.D.)

The necessity and claims of the missionary enterprise

I. The nature of the work itself. The Gospel is just a voice from heaven calling on the Church to evangelize the world.

II. The necessity of this work. Ill. The prospects of this work.

IV. The relation in which Christians stand to this work. (D. Young.)

The willingness of God’s people

I. God has a people in the world, and there never was a period when He had not.

II. There is a day of His power that shall pass on them for their regeneration and conversion.

1. It is a day, not a natural day of twenty-four hours, that is interrupted by night, but I conceive it means three things--

2. It is the day of His power. To the perishing sinner the Gospel comes, “not in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance.” It is an arresting power; it meets the sinner, and stays his mad career, as in the case of Saul of Tarsus. It is a convincing power; it teaches the sinner that he is ruined in every respect, and leads him to cry out, “What shall I do to be saved?” It is a life-giving power; it quickens dead souls, and will eventually bring the dead bodies from their graves.

III. The result; that they shall be brought to Him, made willing to part with all things, and to be His voluntary subjects and followers in the world. The power of God does not do away with the liberty of the will, nor does the liberty of the will render unnecessary the exercise of the power of God. (J. Jones.)

The law of least resistance

I. The day of Christ’s power. The day of our Lord’s power was the day when, like Samson, He burst the green withes of death, and carried the gates of the grave up the hill of God. The day of His power was proclaimed to all the world when He ascended up on high and sat down at the right hand of God; and the day of Pentecost witnessed, by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the assembled thousands, that, the work of Christ was finished and accepted, and had achieved all the mighty results for which it was undertaken. Ever since then, the day of Christ’s power has continued. All power on earth and in heaven has been given to Him for the purpose of carrying on His mediatorial work.

II. The willingness of the people in the day of the Lord’s power. What a world of meaning is there in that word “willing”! It denotes the condition of one who offers the least resistance to the saving power of Jesus, and in whom, therefore, that power finds it easiest to work and to carry on its gracious purposes. Such a person has no self-will, giving it freely up to be moulded by the Divine will; willing to give up all--to give first the heart and then the life, a living sacrifice.. Such a person is not compelled by law, but impelled by love. “Not my will, but Thine be done,” is his rule not only in regard to the salvation of his soul, but also in regard to all the duties and relations of life. Christ will bless such an one up to the fulness of His own loving heart, because there is nothing in his heart to prevent it.

III. What will the day of power do for them? It will adorn them with the beauty of holiness, and it will renew their youth. The will of God is our sanctification. The dearest wish of His heart is that the fair image in which He created us, and which we have marred by our sin, should be restored. He wishes us to place ourselves unreservedly in His hands, that He may create us anew in Christ Jesus. The glory of the Godhead shines in Him who assumed our nature; and all power is given to Him in order that He may make us conformable to His image. Who would not accept a king to reign over them who could thus make them what they were meant to be--sons of God and heirs of heaven; who could fulfil here and hereafter, to the fullest extent, their prayer, “Let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us”? But, besides the beauties of holiness, perpetual youthfulness is also what the grace of Christ will produce in those who are willing in the day of His power. In His service the dew of their youth, the brightness of life’s morning, will be ever upon them. He who has the power of an endless life, who is the same yesterday, today, and for ever, will renew their strength from day to day from the fountainhead of His own strength. Eternal life is eternal youth; and He who takes away the old nature of sin and gives the new nature of grace, with it makes all things new. (H. Macmillan, D.D.)

The increase of the Messiah’s kingdom prophetically anticipated

I. The prospect which the text affords.

1. Its nature. Light pours in upon his understanding--Divine influence renews his heart. The kingdom of God is within him, and he is swayed by the sceptre of redeeming love.

2. Its effects. True holiness is, in strict propriety of expression, the holiness of truth--it is excellence of character, produced by excellence of principle. Its moral influence is Divinely designed to be, and actually has been in every age, for the healing of the nations.

3. Its extent. The subjects of the Redeemer’s kingdom shall be numerous as the drops of morning dew, which sparkle upon the grass in countless profusion when the day breaks, and the glory of the rising sun is poured over the earth. Sinners of every class will perceive so much beauty and evidence in Divine truth, that they will have no more power to resist its illumination, to elude its force, and to remain longer in subjection to their errors, their vices, and their prejudices.

II. The certainty of its accomplishment.

1. The immutability of Jehovah’s counsel.

2. The perfection of the Redeemer’s atonement.

3. The invincibility of Divine grace. (W. Hutchings.)

The Gospel dispensation one of power

I. Look at its extent. Superstitions the most powerful and beloved,--systems of philosophy the most specious and plausible,--opinions which are congenial to the human heart, and have been entertained for ages,--and habits, strengthened not merely by personal indulgence, but by the influence of the most remote antiquity,--all give way before the Cross. Conversion of the most degraded and ignorant tribes takes place,--the change effected, and the contrast furnished by it, being more visible, and, therefore, more impressive than former dispensations have witnessed. And the most glorious displays are yet future. The close of this day of power is to be most excessive in its brightness,--at eventide there is to be the purest and the fullest light.

II. The production and increase of piety in men’s souls is more natural to this dispensation than the preceding ones. What was made known under them is not to be compared with what has been made known since, for explicitness and fulness.

III. It is the dispensation of the Spirit. He is the official agent in the conversion and sanctification of men. (A. J. Morris.)

When God marshals His forces

The word rendered “power” has the same ambiguity which that word has in the English of the date of our translation, and for a century later, as you may find in Shakespeare and Milton, who both used it in the sense of “army.” We do not employ “powers” in that meaning, but we do another word which means the same thing, and talk of “forces,” meaning thereby “troops.” “The day of thy power” is not a mere synonym for “the time of thy might,” but means specifically “the day of thine army”; that is, the day when thou dost muster thy forces, and set them in array for the war. The King is going forth to conquest. (A. Maclaren, D.D.)

In the beauties of holiness.

The excellence of Christian morality

The words of the text evidently describe the subjects of the Messiah They illustrate the most distinguishing features of their character and principles. They display the predicted, expected, and now realized superiority of the morality of the Gospel.

I. Its principles. Strictly speaking, religion and true morality are in substance the same. In the Scriptures, the application of religion to practice is expressed by the term “holiness,” and the maturity or perfection of its principles, appearing in the demeanour and actions of men, is elegantly called “the beauties of holiness.” Religion refuses not the aid of reason, when unsophisticated; of the moral sense, when enlightened; or of the eternal distinctions of things, when rightly understood. Nay, religion requires, employs, and retains them all in her service. But above these she exalts, as her peculiar principles of morality.

1. The authority of an all-perfect Being.

2. The operation of faith. True faith is the offspring of light, and the parent of purity. It originates in knowledge and in reason. It is cherished by inquiry and research. It is perfected in the free and full assent of the will, communicated by the Spirit of God, when men are “made willing in the day of His power.”

3. Supreme love to God.

4. To live to the glory of God.

II. Its extent. Social and relative duties are unquestionably of high importance in morality, and politicians and legislators will ever regard them as the most valuable part of religion, because they are most immediately conducive to the external peace and order of states. But shall philosophers, admirers of wisdom, and students of virtue, pious and aspiring inquirers, extend no farther their conceptions of morality? Let persons of this character prosecute their researches with candour and fidelity, and in the Scriptures of truth they shall soon attain to many new and elevating discoveries. In that sacred volume, does not the great God and our Saviour demand assent, not merely to the common position, that He exists, but require that the conviction of His perfections and presence should affect all our actions? Does He not reveal, not merely His counsels, but challenge an active and universal obedience to His will? Does He not claim, not merely respect for His laws, but zeal for His glory? not merely the homage of the body, but fervour of the spirit in serving Him; not merely submission, but confidence; not merely gratitude, but joy; not merely hope, but assurance; not merely desire, but delight in His communion?

III. Its efficacy. The Gospel is, in more respects than one, like the principle of light to which it has been so justly compared. It may be distorted by a false medium, or obscured by the intervention of clouds, yet still it assists vision, still it may be beneficial, still it is light, and preferable, in every case, to darkness. Or it is like the element of heat, which, even though unseen, may latently support and invigorate life. Thus even the worst corruptions of the Christian religion have not utterly extinguished its beneficial tendency. To what but the influence of the Gospel is Europe indebted for her boasted superiority of civilization? What has exalted the whole female sex to respectability, to deference and to love? Without a question it was Christianity. What has mitigated the horrors of war, civilized the manners of nations, attempered the power of the great, and exalted the condition of the poor? It was the same cause. And no system of philosophy, before its appearance, ever produced any similar effects, or ever even attempted such designs.

IV. Its consequences.

1. Exemption from the power of sin and the practice of vice (Romans 6:14; John 8:36).

2. A willing mind in the performance of every duty, with its attendant satisfaction and delight, follows this exemption from the dominion of sin.

3. The evidence thus established, that we are in a state of grace and acceptance with God, is a new consequence and fruit of this invaluable morality. Upon no other presumption can the persuasion of this opinion be founded, than the evidence of our conformity to the standards and precepts of the Gospel, the palpable and genuine proof that we are actually redeemed from sin, exempted from its dominion, habituated to holiness, active in virtue, and made willing in a favoured time of power.

4. The true enjoyment of life results from these principles. Without them all is dark, cheerless, and uncertain. With their support, all is light, joyous, and secure.

5. How delightful a talk would it be to describe the peculiar resources in affliction, which flow from these principles, and the triumph in the arms of death, to which they lead!

6. The preparation for heaven, which they confer, the anticipation of its joys, and consequently the proof of its assured existence, which they afford, is their last and most important consequence. (W. Bennet.)

The secret of moral beauty

If you would make your life truly graceful, truly beautiful, you must go back to conscience, principle, conviction; there must be within you reality, a true godliness and a true consecration to God and to man. You often meet with people whose beauty disappoints you--I mean their moral beauty. They are excellent people, charming people, but somehow or other you are not satisfied with them. What is the matter? There is more amiability than energy. You never like to speak discouragingly about nice people, because there are so few of them; but really some people who are exceedingly amiable are exceedingly unsatisfying. What is the matter with them? It is this--lack of depth, reality, force. They have got more graciousness than they have grit. They make a great many gracious concessions that at last question their conscientiousness. They have a supply of amiability about them that makes you suspect a flabbiness within. No amiability is really satisfactory to men except as it springs from deep, radical, organic conscientiousness, conviction, and devotion. To see lilywork upon a pillar is admirable, but frosted work on a bride-cake is another thing altogether. And I say to you that if you would make your character as you are anxious to make it--graceful, noble, beautiful--there is no way for you but to go back to the roots and foundations of life. If you wish to make yourself right, I say to you: Don’t paint your face; see to it that there is health in the central organs. Don’t revise your etiquette; see to it that you are transformed in the spirit of your mind. Out of the heart are the issues of life, and out of the love of God and the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit spring at last the real majesty and sweetness of human character. (W. L. Watkinson.)

Thou hast the dew of thy youth.--

The youth of Godhead

Everything young and fresh, everything bright and smiling, everything buoyant and happy, may be traced to the perpetual youth of Godhead, which streams forth for ever and ever, impregnating all receptive souls and substances with its own quality; and it is owing to the unchangeable youth of the Son of God, that every new-born babe, after thousands of years, preserves the freshness and the beauteous innocence of the first-born child of Adam. The fulness of life which rises and dances in every young heart, and the living sunbeams which play upon the face of youth, are from the same one and only eternal source. And after myriads of springtimes in myriads of planets, each succeeding spring is as fresh and full of young vigour and beauty as were the springs before the flood. Every babe, and every spring, and every new morning, are world-types of the everlasting youth of our God. There is no light like the early morning light, there is no air like the early morning air, there is no water like the dew of early morning, and when do the birds sing as they sing in the opening day? Every morning is a new sermon on the youth of Jesus. And the new life that rises with us in the morning, after our nightly death in sleep, is a daily demonstration that life continues young and fresh in its fountain-head. (John Pulsford.)

The dew of Christ’s youth

I. Christ has the dew of His youth.

1. Let me speak first of Christ personally; has He not all the freshness, all the vigour, all the strength of ancient times?

2. It is the same if you think of Him as revealed in His doctrine. The Gospel is always fresh.

3. Our text is also specially true of Christ as revealed in the Bible. There are many other valuable books that have been written; but, as a rule, however valuable they may be, when you have read them half-a-dozen times, you may be quite satisfied that you need not read them any more. You can get to the bottom of all other books; you dive into them, and at first they seem to be very deep; but every time you plunge, they appear to get shallower and shallower, until at last you can see the bottom at a glance. But in God’s Word, every time you dive, the depths grow deeper.

4. Everything that has to do with Christ is always young. Everything lives where He is; for He is life, and in Him there is no death at all; and because lie is life, He is always full of freshness, and therefore doth He scatter living force wheresoever He goeth.

II. What is the reason for this freshness?

1. No man, who understands what it is to have Christ in his heart, will ever get tired of Him through want of variety. You may look at Christ a thousand times, and you shall have, if you please, a thousand different aspects of His beauty.

2. Christ has the dew of His youth because of His excellence. Ah, you thought Christ was sweet when first you tasted Him; but you will know Him to be sweeter still when you know more of Him, and taste and see that He is good; but you can never know all His sweetness, for you can eat, and eat, and yet not discover it all; possibly, scarcely in heaven itself will you know all the sweetness of Christ.

3. Christ will never lose His freshness to us, because He is Divine, and therefore inexhaustible.

4. Another reason why Christ will always have the dew of His youth is, because He meets all the cravings of our nature. When we really have Christ, we feel that we have nothing else that we can wish for.

5. We shall never be tired of Christ, because the need we have of Christ can never cease. “But,” says one, “we shall not need Him in heaven.” Who told you that? Not need Christ in heaven! Why, if you could take Christ away from heaven, you would take heaven away altogether. If I shall not need Christ to cleanse me in heaven, yet I shall want Christ to commune with Him. If I shall not need to pray to Him, I shall want to praise Him. If I shall not need Him as a Shepherd, I shall need Him as a Priest, as a King, that I may for ever serve Him with joy and gladness.

III. What are the lessons we should learn from this truth?

1. For the pulpit, a lesson of admonition. We who occupy the pulpit must take care that we never entertain the idea that the Gospel has become worn out. It still has the dew of its youth.

2. A lesson of self-examination to each one here present. What you should ask yourself is, “Have I found the right Christ?”If the Christ I have found has lost His freshness, is it not very likely that I have found a wrong Christ, one of my own making, one of my own conception? For the real Christ is always fresh, always interesting, always new. Have I not either laid hold of the wrong truth, or held it in the wrong way?

3. A word of aspiration, if Christ has the dew of His youth upon Him, let us, my dear friends who serve the Lord Jesus Christ, aspire to show the world that we do so. (C. H. Spurgeon.)

The dew of youth

1. Make sure that your life’s morning is fresh as the dew. The first thing which strikes us in the dew is its transparency. Is your soul transparently clear? Is your conscience without offence toward God and toward men? How is this purity and beauty of soul to be had? Look at the dew-drop again and ask whence comes its jewelled brightness. It is all the sun’s doing. Now, Christ is the Sun of Righteousness. He is wooing you now from all that is low and unworthy, even as the sun woos the vapour from the murky pool. It cannot resists--you can; but will you?

2. Make sure that you keep the freshness of the dew. First by never allowing a stain to remain on your conscience and in your life. That stains will come is inevitable. But let them not remain. But it is not enough to keep clear of stains, or when stains are contracted to have them at once washed away; there must also be a constant renewal of life. You cannot live on the strength of yesterday; you must have the strength of to-day for the work of to-day. Live in time, and for time, and your morning will soon change to sultry noon, to sad afternoon, darkening down to the blackness of night. But accept the eternal life which God gives you in His Son Christ Jesus, and lo! the freshness of the morning is about you all through life. (J. M. Gibson.)

The dew

I. The dew descends from heaven.

1. Every moral production of the earth is impure. Man--systems--institutions--maxims.

2. The productions of the earth may be known by their distinguishing characteristics. The naturalist knows the country of an animal. The botanist, of a plant. The moralist, of a sentiment, or action, or character.

3. The character of the believer proves him not of the world. “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.”

4. The Bible tells his native country.

5. Do you feel heaven-born and home affections towards heaven?

II. The dew descends during the night.

1. The present is to the heavenly state as night to day. It is now that the believer is regenerated and sanctified.

2. A season of suffering is to one of personal joy, as night is to day. It is in suffering that the believer is most effectually purified.

III. The dew-drops are very plentiful.

1. Believers are a little flock, in any past time--at present--at any one given time.

2. They shall be more numerous during the latter-day glory.

3. They shall be very numerous in heaven.

IV. The dew-drops refresh the vegetable world.

1. Believers, being themselves refreshed, refresh others.

2. Are you to your neighbourhood as a dew from the Lord?

V. Each dew-drop reflects the sun’s image.

1. Man originally bore God’s image.

2. When renewed he again bears it.

3. What is it to have God’s image?

4. When the believer thinks of God, how high is the attainment of bearing His image!

5. Do you love His law--doings--designs--character--fellowship--people?

VI. The dew reascends to heaven when it has refreshed the earth.

1. Even now the believer soars aloft--in thought--desire--conversation--hope--confident anticipation.

2. At death, his soul ascends--a constant ascension.

3. At the resurrection, his body ascends.

4. Are your tendencies heavenward?

VII. When the dew ascends, it is in perfect purity, freed from any mixture of earth. (James Stewart.)


Verse 4

Psalms 110:4

Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.

Christ, our Priest

I. Divine authorization to priesthood.

1. The Divine oath has a reference to Christ, for it is the Divine authorization of His priestly office. What spiritual power resides in this mandate of God! It not only creates this office, with all its heavy duties and responsibilities, but it gives it full and free scope for the play of its functions.

2. The oath has also a reference to the sinner, the warrant for his approach to God. What stronger assurance of God’s willingness to pardon, nay, rather, heart yearning anxiety to bring us into a justified state?

II. The office to which the Son was called--Priesthood. Christ, in His struggle with the powers of hell and darkness, was not an overborne subject, He was not a conquered victim, but He was in very truth an active, official, priestly agent), working out and bringing in, amidst sweat and agony and blood, that righteousness which is “unto all and upon all them that believe.”

III. The duration of Christ’s Priesthood.

1. Christ was Priest on earth. His whole life, from the manger to the cross, was an offering--a sacrificial oblation of sweet-smelling savour to God.

2. He is now a Priest in heaven. (S. McComb.)

The order of Melchizedek

I. Christ is a priest after the order of Melchizedek.

1. That order was unique.

2. That order was righteous. His very name, “King of righteousness,” is significant of that. But in a far more real and valuable sense is this so with Christ.

3. That order was peaceful. He was “King of Salem which is King of peace.” Christ is

4. That order was royal. He was king as well as priest. So is Christ a “priest upon His throne.” Christ rules from His Cross: “I, if I be lifted up,” etc. And adoring Christendom says, “Thou art the King of glory, O Christ,” because “when Thou hadst overcome the sharpness of death Thou didst open the kingdom of heaven to all believers.”

5. That order was superior.

II. Christ’s appointment to this priesthood is held under Divine authority, “The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent.” Persons occupying important offices must show their credentials. (J. W. Burn.)


Verse 7

Psalms 110:7

He shall drink of the brook in the way: therefore shall he lift up the head.

Refreshment through suffering

The words place before us two pictures. The one is that of want, and the other is that of its supply. He that drinks of the brook is he who needs its refreshment. He lifts up his head, when he has drunk of the running stream: it was drooping before; he had been faintly pursuing his object, but now he goes on his way with head erect, and with elastic tread.

I. The similarity between the features of nature and of grace.

II. The meaning of the text as spoken by David. In some of his sharp encounters with Saul, in some of those hot persecutions which he suffered in such number, there might have been some occasion in which the taste of water was the renovation of his strength; or perhaps he had special reference to the river Jordan, or the brook of Siloa, and coupled them with the holy city, and thought of them as typical streams, and looked at their waters, when tasted, as declaring that the city was nigh at hand, and that he that should drink it would be approaching its shining gates.

III. The application of the words to Christ. When we first read them, we deem them to speak of the refreshment of exhausted nature; and perhaps, in their primary application they do so. But surely the life of the Son of Man was not one of refreshment or relaxation, at least to Himself. We must remember, then, that water has another meaning, and it is that of distress and the overwhelming of the soul. And was this His refreshment? How could it be so?

1. Because it was the greatest of actions, the crucifixion of self in man.

2. Because it was the performance of the Father’s will, and, through this, the way of the redemption of the world. To these waters Jesus stooped down; of these He drank, and after drinking them, He lifted up His head, where now He sits above the clouds in the exaltation of the highest heaven.

IV. The application of the words to ourselves.

1. We must be partners in the fortune of our Head: what He endured, that,--it is a law of our union with Him--we must look to endure also; if His bark went through stormy seas, so surely must ours.

2. We are suffering now, and our reign is not until hereafter. But while we suffer we recruit; we derive immortal vigour from mortal woe; we live through our very death. (C. E. Kennaway, M.A.)

The brook by the way

We march with a Captain who makes common cause with the humblest. The contrast in this verse between a splendid destiny and the simplest life was never so true of any as of Him (Galatians 4:4; Hebrews 4:15).

1. See how true this is of the lowest part of human life, the life of the body. For thirty years Jesus lived the frugal and simple life of a carpenter’s son in a quiet village among the hills of Galilee. His first recorded temptation was to break His fellowship with us by claiming miraculous supplies, at least of bread; but this help, which He gave to others, He would not Himself employ.

2. Observe, however, that He does drink. You will not find one innocent pleasure, which came “in the way” to Jesus, and which He sourly or wilfully refused. He would leave a feast at once, if called by Jairus to a sick-bed; but He would not refuse the feast of His friends in Bethany, though He knew that He was reproached for eating and drinking. How does His example affect us? We may have to refuse pleasures because we are weak, because temptations must be avoided. Or, like St. Paul, we may deny ourselves for our weak brother’s sake, which is an honour, and a Christ-like thing; but the rule, apart from special cases, is that the best and truest life is such as welcomes and is refreshed by all simple pleasures.

3. It is still more wonderful to think of the spiritual life of Jesus nourished by the same means of grace which are available for us all. As if we saw Him rise from the throne of heaven to stoop by our waysides and drink from the rills of earth, so should our heart burn within us, when we observe our Master’s constant use of the very means of grace which men neglect. Our prayers are formal, and easily interrupted; but He once rose up a long while before day, and again continued all night in prayer. We easily absolve ourselves from public worship; but He was careful to frequent the synagogues, and attended the festivals in Jerusalem. We neglect the Supper of our Lord, concerning which He said, “Do this in remembrance of Me”; but with desire He desired to eat the Passover with His disciples. We rely on our own judgment and conscience, and but few of us feel it a duty to instruct our conscience and keep it sensitive by a constant study of God’s Word, which is as a lamp to the feet. But He was never at a loss for spiritual guidance from the Old Testament, saying, in every emergency, “It is written.” It is surely a bitter reproach to us every one, that a stranger who watched our Master and His followers might easily suppose that He it was who needed help most, that we could better afford to dispense with it. The brooks which refreshed Him on His march are not dried up; neither are they, like Solomon’s fountain, sealed. (C. A. Chadwick, D.D.)

Christ invigorated in the prosecution of His redemptive work

I. Christ in the prosecution of His redemptive work is refreshed and invigorated because He drinks from the inexhaustible fountain of His own love. He still prosecutes His work of mercy, because “He drinks of the brook in the way--the brook of His eternal inexhaustible love!”

II. Christ may he said to drink of the brook in the way, because of the perfectly righteous work in which He is engaged. “All His victories are righteous in their end, and in their means.” The consciousness of the rectitude of His entire work is a “brook from which He drinks in the way.”

III. The joy in prospect of the final salvation of all the subjects of His kingdom is another “brook from which He drinks in the way.”

IV. Christ may be said to “drink of the brook in the way,” from the certainty He has of a final victory over all His foes. “He must reign.” All enemies shall be vanquished. Christ is “expecting” this. (John Lewis, B.A.)

Refreshment supplied by the way

The promises are fruits laid up to ripen in time to come, and as most fruits become ripest and sweetest in the winter, so have we found that God’s promises have a peculiar mellowness in our times of distress and affliction, such a sweetness as we did not perceive in the summer days of our prosperity. The train which starts from London to go to the North continues to traverse the distance day by day--how is it supplied with water? Why, there are trenches between the rails in several different places, and from these the engine drinks as it rushes along its iron pathway; it is supplied as it runs. That is just what our Heavenly Father has done for you. You are just like an engine on the road to heaven, and between here and heaven there are many stores of grace awaiting you; you will take up fresh water without slacking your speed, and so will be able to keep on to your journey’s end. To use another illustration, when the Eastern nations used to trade across the desert in the olden times, in Solomon’s days for instance, there were stations built, wells sunk, and provisions stored at convenient halting-places, so that the caravans might pause and take in fresh provisions. The caravans reached their journey’s end because the long way was broken up by a series of resting-places. Now, the promises are resting-places for us between here and heaven. There is a long line of them at well-ordered intervals, and as we journey through this desert world we shall be constantly coming, first to one, and then another, and then another, and another, and so we shall find fresh provision stored up, that we may not fail. The manna will fall daily till we come to Canaan. (C. H. Spurgeon.)
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Psalms 111:1-10

 


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Bibliography Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Psalms 110:4". The Biblical Illustrator. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/psalms-110.html. 1905-1909. New York.

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