Verse 13. "Be thou exalted " - Exalt thyself. O Lord-thy creatures cannot exalt thee. Lift thyself up, and discomfit thy foes by thine own strength! Thou canst give a victory to thy people over the most formidable enemies, though they strike not one blow in their own defense. God's right hand has often given the victory to his followers, while they stood still to see the salvation of God. How little can the strength of man avail when the Lord raiseth up himself to the battle! His children, therefore, may safely trust in him, for the name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous flee into it, and are safe.
Praise thy power. ] God is to receive praise in reference to that attribute which he has exhibited most in the defense or salvation of his followers.
Sometimes he manifests his power, his mercy, his wisdom, his longsuffering, his fatherly care, his good providence, his holiness, his justice, his truth, &c. Whatever attribute or perfection he exhibits most, that should be the chief subject of his children's praise. One wants teaching, prays for it, and is deeply instructed: he will naturally celebrate the wisdom of God. Another feels himself beset with the most powerful adversaries, with the weakest of whom he is not able to cope: he cries to the Almighty God for strength; he is heard, and strengthened with strength in his soul. He therefore will naturally magnify the all-conquering power of the Lord. Another feels himself lost, condemned, on the brink of hell; he calls for mercy, is heard and saved: mercy, therefore, will be the chief subject of his praise, and the burden of his song.
The old Anglo-Scottish Psalter says, We sal make knowen thi wordes in gude wil and gude werk, for he synges well that wirkes well. For thi, sais he twise, we sal syng; ane tyme for the luf of hert; another, for the schewyng of ryghtwisness, til ensampil.
ANALYSIS OF THE TWENTY-FIRST PSALM
This is the people's epinikion, Or triumphal song, after the victory which they prayed for in the former Psalm, when David went out to war.
In this they praise God for the conquest which he gave him over his enemies, and for the singular mercies bestowed on himself. It consists of three parts: - I. The general proposition, ver. 1.
II. The narration, which is twofold, from ver. 1-4. 1. An enumeration of the blessings bestowed on David, ver. 1-6. 2. An account how God would deal with his enemies, ver. 6-12.
III. A vows or acclamations ver. 13, which is the epilogue of the piece.
I. The sum of the Psalms is contained in the first verse: "The king shall joy; the king shall be exceeding glad." Joy is the affection with which the king and people were transported; for all that follows shows but the rise and causes of it.
I. The rise and object of it: "The strength of God; the salvation of God." 1. His strength, by which he subdued his enemies, and contemned dangers. 2. His salvation, by which he escaped dangers, and fell not in battle.
II. 1. The narration of the goodness of God to David's person, the particulars of which are the following: - 1. God granted to him what his heart desired: "Thou hast given him his heart's desire," and what his lips requested: "and hast not withholden the request of his lips." 2. He granted him more than he asked: "Thou preventest him with the blessings of goodness." 3. He chose him to be king: "Thou hast set a crown of pure gold upon his head." In which God prevented him, and chose him when he thought not of it.
4. When David went to war, "he asked life, and thou gavest him even length of days for ever and ever:" which is most true of Christ, the Son of David. In him his life and kingdom are immortal.
5. A great accession of glory, honour, and majesty. Though his glory was great, it was in God's salvation; "Honour and majesty did God lay upon him." All which are summed up under the word blessing in the next verse. "For thou hast made him most blessed for ever;" and God had added the crown of all, a heart to rejoice in it: "Thou hast made him exceeding glad with thy countenance." 6. The continuance of these blessings, which is another favour, with the cause of it: "For the king trusteth in the Lord, and through the mercy of the Most High he shall not be moved.'' Thus far the first part of the narrative, which concerned David's person particularly.
2. The effects of God's goodness to David in outward things, and to the whole kingdom, in the overthrow of his enemies, (for without God's protection what kingdom is safe?) form the second part.
1. God would make David his instrument in delivering Israel by the overthrow of his enemies: "Thine hand." 2. He would certainly do it, for he could find them out wheresoever they were: "Thine hand shall find out thine enemies." 3. This was easy to be done, as easy as for fire to consume stubble: "Thou shalt make them as a fiery oven." 4. This destruction should be universal; it should reach even to their posterity: "Their fruit shalt thou destroy, and their seed." 5. Their judgment should be fearful and unavoidable. God would set them up as a mark to shoot at: "Thou shalt make them turn their back, when thou shalt make ready thine arrows." At last the cause is added for these judgments; of the succour he will afford his afflicted, oppressed people; and the revenge he will take upon their enemies: "They intended evil against thee; they imagined a mischievous device." III. The vow or acclamation. This is properly the epilogue, and has two parts:
1. A petition-"Save the king and the people." 2. A profession: "And we will give thanks to thee." I. "Be thou exalted, O Lord, in thine own strength." Show thyself more powerful in defending thy Church than men and devils are in their attempts to destroy it. 2. We will be a thankful people; we will show that we have not received this grace of God in vain: "So will we sing, and praise thy power."