Psalm 83:18

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 18. That men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most high over all the earth. Hearing of the Lord's marvellous deeds in defeating such a numerous confederacy, the very heathen would be compelled to acknowledge the greatness of Jehovah. We read in 2 Chronicles 20:30 , that the fear of God was on all the neighbouring kingdoms when they heard that Jehovah fought against the enemies of Israel. Jehovah is essentially the Most High. He who is self existent is infinitely above all creatures, all the earth is but his footstool. The godless race of man disregards this, and yet at times the wonderful works of the Lord compel the most unwilling to adore his majesty. Thus has this soul stirring lyric risen from the words of complaint to those of adoration; let us in our worship always seek to do the same. National trouble called out the nation's poet laureate, and well did he discourse at once of her sorrows, and prayers, and hopes. Sacred literature thus owes much to sorrow and distress. How enriching is the hand of adversity! The following attempt to verify the Psalm, and tune it to gospel purposes, is submitted with great diffidence.


O God, be thou no longer still,

Thy foes are leagued against thy law;

Make bare thine arm on Zion's hill,

Great Captain of our Holy War.
As Amalek and Ishmael

Had war for ever with thy seed,

So all the hosts of Rome and hell

Against the Son their armies led.

Though they are agreed in nought beside,

Against thy truth they all unite;

They rave against the Crucified,

And hate the gospel's growing might.

By Kishon's brook all Jabin's band

At thy rebuke were swept away;

O Lord, display thy mighty hand,

A single stroke shall win the day.

Come, rushing wind, the stubble chase!

Come, sacred fire, the forests burn!

Come, Lord, with all thy conquering grace,

Rebellious hearts to Jesus turn!

That men may know at once that thou,

Jehovah, lovest truth right well;

And that thy church shall never bow

Before the boastful gates of hell.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 18. That men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, etc. Early English History informs us, that some bloodthirsty persecutors were marching on a band of Christians. The Christians, seeing them approaching, marched out towards them, and at the top of their voices, shouted, "Hallelujah, hallelujah!" (Praise Jehovah). The name of the Lord being presented, the rage of the persecutors abated. Josephus says, that the Great Alexander, when on his triumphal march, being met near Jerusalem by the Jewish high priest, on whose mitre was engraved the name of Jehovah, "approached by himself and adored that name," and was disarmed of his hostile intent. There was significance and power in the glorious old name as written by the Jews. But the name of Jesus is now far more mighty in the world than was the name Jehovah in these earlier ages. "The Dictionary of Illustrations," 1872.

Verse 18. JEHOVAH is one of the incommunicable names of God, which signifies his eternal essence. The Jews observe that in God's name Jehovah the Trinity is implied. Je signifies the present tense, ho the preterperfect tense, vah, the future. The Jews also observe that in his name Jehovah all the Hebrew letters are literae quiescentes, that denotes rest, implying that in God and from God is all our rest. Every gracious soul is like Noah's dove, he can find no rest nor satisfaction but in God. God alone is the godly man's ark of rest and safety. Jehovah is the incommunicable name of God, and is never attributed to any but God: Thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH.

Verse 18. The most high. His being the High and lofty One, notes forth the transcendancy and super excellency of his divine being in himself, and that it is utterly of another kind from creatures, and indeed that it only is truly being. When the Psalmist says, That men may know that thou, whose name alone in JEHOVAH art the MOST HIGH over all the earth, he thereby argues his height from his name, that his name is alone Jehovah, and therefore he is most high, and in that very respect. Now Jehovah is the name of his essence, "I AM," and he is MOST HIGH in respect of such a glorious being as is proper alone unto him. Thomas Goodwin.

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 18. The Golden Lesson: how taught, to whom, by whom, through whom?