Psalm 89:15

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 15. Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound. It is a blessed God of whom the Psalmist has been singing, and therefore they are a blessed people who partake of his bounty, and know how to exult in his favour. Praise is a peculiarly joyful sound, and blessed are those who are familiar with its strains. The covenant promises have also a sound beyond measure precious, and they are highly favoured who understand their meaning and recognise their own personal interest in them. There may also be a reference here to the blowing of trumpets and other glad noises which attended the worship of Jehovah, who, unlike the gods of the heathen was not adored by the shrieks of wretched victims, or the yells and outcries of terror stricken crowds, but by the joyful shouts of his happy people.

They shall walk, O LORD, in the light of thy countenance. For them it is joy enough that Jehovah is favourable to them; all day long this contents them and enables them with rigour to pursue their pilgrimage. Only a covenant God could look with favour upon men, and those who have known him in that relationship learn to rejoice in him, yea, to walk with him in fellowship, and to continue in communion with him. If we give God our ear and hear the joyful sound, he will shew us his face and make us glad. While the sun shines, men walk without stumbling as to their feet, and when the Lord smiles on us we live without grief as to our souls.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 15. Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound. Not that hear, for then the blessing were cheap indeed. Thousands hear the Gospel sound, but sometimes not ten of a thousand know it. --Thomas James Judkin, 1841.

Verse 15. Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound -- viz., of the trumpets sounded in token of joy at the great festivals, and chiefly on the first day of the seventh month, the feast of trumpets ( Leviticus 23:24 ), and on extraordinary occasions, especially after the yearly atonement, on the day of jubilee, the tenth day of the seventh month of the fiftieth year, proclaiming liberty to bondmen, and restoration of their inheritance to them that had forfeited it ( Leviticus 25:8-10 ). As the jubilee joy did not come till after the atonement, so no Gospel joy and liberty are ours till first we know Christ as our atonement. "In the day of the people's gladness" they blew the trumpets over their sacrifices, "that they might be to them for a memorial before God" ( Numbers 10:10 ). David and Israel brought up the ark of the Lord to Zion "with shouting, and with the sound of the trumpet" ( 2 Samuel 6:15 ). In Numbers 23:21 , Balaam makes it the distinguishing glory of Israel, "The Lord his God is with him, and the shout of a king is among them", (Compare Psalms 98:6 27:6 margin) --A.R. Fausset.

Verse 15. People that know the joyful sound. Here it is supposed that we have intelligence in respect of "the joyful sound." For there is knowledge not merely of the utterances and intonations, but of the sense and substance, of the thought aud feeling, which they convey. And I suppose this to be the meaning of Christ when he says, "My sheep hear my voice, and they follow me; and a stranger will they not follow, for they know not the voice of strangers." And I have often been surprised, to note the accuracy with which persons otherwise not very intelligent, not largely informed, not of critical acumen, will yet, when they hear a discourse, judge, discriminate, determine; will be able to say at once -- "Truth, clear, unmixed, without a cloud upon it;" or -- "Doctrine clouded, statements confused, not the lucid Gospel:" or be able to say, if it be so -- "No Gospel at all; contradiction to the truth of Christ." They "Know the joyful sound", as it rolls from the plenitude of God's own voice and bosom in his august and blessed revelations; as it is confirmed, authenticated and sealed by the precious blood of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; as it is witnessed to by the eternal Spirit: "the joyful sound", that there is salvation for lost and ruined men by faith in the blood and in the obedience of him who died upon the tree, and is now enthroned in the highest place in heaven. --James Stratten, 1845.

Verse 15. They shall walk in the light of thy countenance. Surely, next to the love of God's heart, believers value the smiles of his face; from which, as from the agency of the sun, arise the budding of conscious joy, the leaves of unsullied profession, the variegated blossom of holy tempers, and the beneficent fruits of moral righteousness. They are totally mistaken who suppose that the light of God's countenance, and the privileges of the gospel, and the comforts of the Spirit, conduce to make us indolent and inactive in the way of duty. The text cuts up this surmise by the roots. For, it does not say, they shall sit down in the light of thy countenance; or, they shall lie down in the light of thy countenance; but "they shall WALK in the light of thy countenance." What is walking? It is a progressive motion from one point of space to another. And what is that holy walking which God's Spirit enables all his people to observe? It is a continued, progressive motion from sin to holiness; from all that is evil, to every good word and work. And the self same "light of God's countenance" in which you, O believer, are enabled to walk, and which at first gave you spiritual feet wherewith to walk, will keep you in a walking and in a working state, to the end of your warfare. -- Augustus Montague Toplady.

Verse 15. -- There is the dreadful and there is the joyful sound. The dreadful sound was at Mount Sinai. The joyful sound is from Mount Sion. When the people heard the former they were far from beholding the glory of God's face. Moses only was admitted to see His "back parts"; the people were kept at a distance, and the light of God's glory that they saw was so terrible to them, that they could not abide it. But they that know the "joyful sound." they shall be admitted near, nearer than Moses, so as to see the glory of God's face or brightness of his countenance, and that not only transiently, as Moses saw God's back parts, but continually. The light of God's glory shall not be terrible to them, but easy and sweet, so that they may dwell in it and walk in it; and it shall be to them instead of the light of the sun; for the sun shall no more be their light by day, nor the moon by night, but God shall be their everlasting light, Compare this with Isaiah 2:5 Revelation 21:23-24 Revelation 22:4-5 -- Jonathan Edwards

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 15. --

  1. The gospel is a joyful sound. Good tidings, etc.
  2. It is a joyful sound to those who know it, hear it, believe it, love it, obey it.
  3. They to whom it is a joyful sound are blessed. "They shall walk", etc.

Verse 15. --

  1. There is a theoretical knowledge of the gospel.
  2. An experimental knowledge, and,
  3. A practical knowledge

--W. Drasfield, 1859.