Verse 2. The LORD shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion. It is in and through the church that for the present the power of the Messiah is known. Jehovah has given to Jesus all authority in the midst of his people, whom he rules with his royal sceptre, and this power goes forth with divine energy from the church for the ingathering of the elect, and the subduing of all evil. We have need to pray for the sending out of the rod of divine strength. It was by his rod that Moses smote the Egyptians, and wrought wonders for Israel, and even so whenever the Lord Jesus sends forth the rod of his strength, our spiritual enemies are overcome. There may be an allusion here to Aaron's rod which budded and so proved his power; this was laid up in the ark, but our Lord's rod is sent forth to subdue his foes. This promise began to be fulfilled at Pentecost, and it continues even to this day, and shall yet have a grander fulfilment. O God of eternal might, let the strength of our Lord Jesus be more clearly seen, and let the nations see it as coming forth out of the midst of thy feeble people, even from Zion, the place of thine abode.
Rule thou in the midst of thine enemies as he does whenever his mighty sceptre of grace is stretched forth to renew and save them. Moses' rod brought water out of the flinty rock, and the gospel of Jesus soon causes repentance to flow in rivers from the once hardened heart of man. Or the text may mean that though the church is situated in the midst of a hostile world, yet it exerts a great influence, it continues to manifest an inward majesty, and is after all the ruling power among the nations because the shout of a king is in her midst. Jesus, however hated by men, is still the King of kings. His rule is over even the most unwilling, so as to overrule their fiercest opposition to the advancement of Iris cause. Jesus, it appears from this text, is not inactive during his session at Jehovah's right hand, but in his own way proves the abiding nature of his kingdom both in Zion and from Zion, both among his friends and his foes. We look for the clearer manifestation of his almighty power in the latter days; but even in these waiting times we rejoice that to the Lord all power is given in heaven and in earth.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 2. -- The rod of thy strength, or rather, "The sceptre of thy might", i.e., of "Thy kingly majesty," as in Jeremiah 48:17 ; Ezekiel 19:14 . Chrysostom plays upon the word rabdoj (LXX) as a rod of strength and consolation, as in Psalms 23:4 ; a rod of chastisement, as in Ps 4:21 1 Corinthians 2:9 ; a symbol of kingly rule, as in Isaiah 11:1 , Psalms 45:6 . It was by this rod, he says, that the disciples wrought when they subdued the world, in obedience to the command, "Go and make disciples of all nations"; a rod far more powerful than that of Moses, "for that divided rivers, this brake in pieces the ungodliness of the world." And then with profound truth he adds, "Nor would one err who should call the Cross the rod of power; for this rod converted sea and land, and filled them with a vast power. Armed with this rod, the Apostles went forth throughout the world, and accomplished ali that they did, beginning at Jerusalem." The Cross, which to men seemed the very emblem of shame and weakness, was, in truth, the power of God. --J.J. Stewart Perowne.
Verse 2. -- The rod of thy strength. The power of this sceptre and word of Christ appeareth greatly in the saving of his elect... So mightily hath it prevailed and overruled the minds of men against nature, and reason, and learning, and wisdom, and custom, and whatsoever else is strong to hold men in the liking of those things which they have once received and followed, as that they have been content to renounce the devotions which their forefathers had so long embraced; to cast away the gods which themselves had devoutly served; to stop their ears against the contrary motives and persuasions of father and mother; to harden their hearts against the kneeling and weeping and embracing of wife and children; to forego their honours, and inheritances, yea, and their lives also, rather than lose that peace and joy of heart which the same word of Christ had ministered unto them. Yea, how strange is it, and how greatly doth it commend the power of this word, to see weakness hereby prevailing against strength, simplicity against policy; to see the lamb standing without fear before the lion, the gentle turtle before the devouring kite; women and children and weaklings before the great monarchs and potentates of the world, not fearing their threatening words, nor dreading their tormenting hands, but boldly uttering the word of their testimony ( Revelation 12:11 ), in despite of all their fury, and never yielding to shrink from it, by anything that could be devised against them. The word of God in their hearts gave them courage and resolution and strength to go through fire and water, to bear all adventures of wind and weather, and howsoever they seemed to be beaten against the rocks, yet they escaped shipwreck, and arrived safe at the haven of their desire. -- Robert Abbot.
Verse 2. -- Out of Zion. We need not say much about how the omniscience of God is displayed in the wonderful fact, that in the very land of the covenant -- in the very midst of that people who rejected and crucified the Saviour, the first church of Christ on earth was established. What would cavillers and blasphemers have said, had it been otherwise? had the Christian community been formed in any of the heathen countries? Would it not have been considered as a fiction of the idolatrous priests? Israel scattered among the nations, and the Church of Christ having begun in Zion at Jerusalem, are the most wonderful and enduring monuments, and incontestable witnesses of the truth of Christianity. --Benjamin Weiss.
Verse 2. -- From his ruling in the midst of enemies we learn that the kingdom of Christ in this life is the kingdom of the Cross, of persecutions, and of dangers. Enemies are never wanting, not only external adversaries, but also spiritual and eternal; and therefore great sorrow is always awaiting the godly. In this most terrible conflict, however, their minds are lifted up by this consolation, viz., that the rod of the kingdom is strong, and cannot be overcome by any force or power; yea, more, albeit assailed with contendings and all kinds of storms, it will continue stable, firm, and perpetual: and there will always be a Church among men, which will fear and worship this King; because the experience of all the ages teaches, that this kingdom has the more grown and increased the more it has been opposed, according to that saying of Basil, en taij qliyesi mallon qallei h ekklhsia, the Church flourishes more by tribulation. --Rivetus.
Verse 2. -- Rule thou in the midst of thine enemies. Set up thy power over them and reign in them. This is a commission to set up a kingdom in the very midst of those who were his enemies; in the hearts of those who had been and were rebellious. His kingdom is set up not by destroying them, but by subduing them, so that they become his willing servants. They yield to him, and he rules over them. It is not here a commission to cut them off, but one much more difficult of execution, -- to make them his friends, and to dispose them to submit to his authority. Mere power may crush men; It requires more than that to make rebels willingly submissive, and to dispose them voluntarily to obey. --Albert Barnes.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 2. --
- What is that rod? The gospel (Illustrated by Moses' rod).
- Who sends it? "The Lord."
- Whence it comes? Out of the church of God.
- What is the result? Jesus reigns.