Verse 12. Mark the solemn argument for reconciliation and obedience. It is an awful thing to perish in the midst of sin, in the very way of rebellion; and yet how easily could his wrath destroy us suddenly. It needs not that his anger should be heated seven times hotter; let the fuel kindle but a little, and we are consumed. O sinner! Take heed of the terrors of the Lord; for "our God is a consuming fire." Note the benediction with which the Psalm closes: --
Blessed are all they that put their trust in him. Have we a share in this blessedness? Do we trust in him? Our faith may be slender as a spider's thread; but if it be real, we are in our measure blessed. The more we trust, the more fully shall we know this blessedness. We may therefore close the Psalm with the prayer of the apostles: -- "Lord, increase our faith."
The first Psalm was a contrast between the righteous man and the sinner; the second Psalm is a contrast between the tumultuous disobedience of the ungodly world and the sure exaltation of the righteous Son of God. In the first Psalm, we saw the wicked driven away like chaff; in the second Psalm we see them broken in pieces like a potter's vessel. In the first Psalm, we beheld the righteous like a tree planted by the rivers of water; and here, we contemplate Christ the Covenant Head of the righteous, made better than a tree planted by the rivers of water, for he is made king of all the islands, and all the heathen bow before him and kiss the dust; while he himself gives a blessing to all those who put their trust in him. The two Psalms are worthy of the very deepest attention; they are, in fact, the preface to the entire Book of Psalms, and were by some of the ancients, joined into one. They are, however, two Psalms; for Paul speaks of this as the second Psalm. ( Acts 13:33 .) The first shows us the character and lot of the righteous; and the next teaches us that the Psalms are Messianic, and speak of Christ the Messiah -- the Prince who shall reign from the river even unto the ends of the earth. That they have both a far reaching prophetic outlook we are well assured, but we do not feel competent to open up that matter, and must leave it to abler hands.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 12. Kiss, a sign of love among equals: Genesis 33:4 1 Samuel 20:41 ; Romans 16:16 1 Corinthians 16:20 . Of subjection in inferiors: 1 Samuel 10:1 . Of religious adoration in worshippers: 1 Kings 19:18 Job 31:27. John Richardson, Bishop of Ardagh, 1655.
Verse 12. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry. From the Person, the Son, we shall pass to the act (Osculamini, kiss the Son); in which we shall see, that since this is an act which licentious men have depraved (carnal men do it, and treacherous men do it -- Judas betrayed his Master by a kiss), and yet God commands this, and expresses love in this; everything that hath, or may be abused, must not therefore be abandoned; the turning of a thing out of the way, is not a taking of that thing away, but good things deflected to ill uses by some, may be by others reduced to their first goodness. Then let us consider and magnify the goodness of God, that hath brought us into this distance, that we may kiss the Son, that the expressing of this love lies in our hands, and that, whereas the love of the church, in the Old Testament, even in the Canticle, went no farther but to the Osculator me (O that he would kiss me with the kisses of his mouth! Song of Solomon 1:1 ), now, in the Christian church, and in the visitation of a Christian soul, he hath invited us, enables us to kiss him, for he is presently amongst us. This leads us to give an earnest persuasion and exhortation to kiss the Son, with all those affections, which we shall there find to be expressed in the Scriptures, in that testimony of true love, a holy kiss. But then, lest that persuasion by love should not be effectual and powerful enough to us, we shall descend from that duty, to the danger, from love, to fear, "lest he be angry;" and therein see first, that God, who is love, can be angry; and then, that this God who is angry here, is the Son of God, he that hath done so much for us, and therefore in justice may be angry; he that is our Judge, and therefore in reason we are to fear his anger: and then, in a third branch, we shall see how easily this anger departs -- a kiss removes it.
Verse 12. Kiss the Son. That is, embrace him, depend upon him all these ways: as thy kinsman, as thy sovereign; at thy going, at thy coming; at thy reconciliation, in the truth of religion in thyself, in a peaceable unity with the church, in a reverent estimation of those men, and those means, whom he sends. Kiss him, and be not ashamed of kissing him; it is that which the spouse desired, I would kiss thee, and not be despised. Song of Solomon 7:1 . If thou be despised for loving Christ in his Gospel, remember that when David was thought base, for dancing before the ark, his way was to be more base. If thou be thought frivolous for thrusting in at service, in the forenoon, be more frivolous, and come again in the afternoon: Tanto major requies, quanto ab amore Jesu nulla requies; (Gregory) "The more thou troublest thyself, or art troubled by others for Christ, the more peace thou hast in Christ." .... "Lest he be angry." Anger, as it is a passion that troubles, and disorders, and discomposes a man, so it is not in God; but anger, as it is a sensible discerning of foes from friends, and of things that conduce, or disconduce to his glory, so it is in God. In a word, Hilary hath expressed it well: "Poena patientis, ira decernentis"; "Man's suffering is God's anger." When God inflicts such punishments as a king justly incensed would do, then God is thus angry. Now here, our case is heavier; it is not this great, and almighty, and majestical God, that may be angry -- that is like enough; but even the Son, whom we must kiss, may be angry; it is not a person whom we consider merely as God, but as man; may not as man neither, but a a worm, and no man, and he may be angry, and angry to our ruin. "Kiss the Son," and he will not be angry; if he be, kiss the rod, and he will be angry no longer -- love him lest he be: fear him when he is angry: the preservative is easy, and so is the restorative too: the balsamum of this kiss is all, to suck spiritual milk out of the left breast, as well as out of the right, to find mercy in his judgments, reparation in his ruins, feasts in his lents, joy in his anger. From Sermons of John Donne, D.D., Dean of St. Paul's, 1621-1631.
Verse 12. Kiss the Son. To make peace with the Father, kiss the Son. "Let him kiss me," was the church's prayer. Song of Solomon 1:2 . Let us kiss him -- that be our endeavour. Indeed, the Son must first kiss us by his mercy, before we can kiss him by our piety. Lord, grant in these mutual kisses and interchangeable embraces now, that we may come to the plenary wedding supper hereafter; when the choir of heaven, even the voices of angels, shall sing epithalamiums, nuptial songs, at the bridal of the spouse of the Lamb. Thomas Adams.
Verse 12. If his wrath be kindled but a little; the Hebrew is, if his nose or nostril be kindled but a little; the nostril, being an organ of the body in which wrath shows itself, is put for wrath itself. Paleness and snuffling of the nose are symptoms of anger. In our proverbials, to take a thing in snuff, is to take it in anger. Joseph Caryl.
Verse 12. His wrath. Unspeakable must the wrath of God be when it is kindled fully, since perdition may come upon the kindling of it but a little.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 12. An earnest invitation.
- The command.
- The argument.
- The benediction upon the obedient.
"Spurgeon's Sermons," No. 260.
Last clause. -- Nature, object, and blessedness of saving faith.