It is good to trust in the Lord. (1-18) The coming of Christ in his kingdom. (19-29)
Verses 1-18 The account the psalmist here gives of his troubles is very applicable to Christ: many hated him without a cause; nay, the Lord himself chastened him sorely, bruised him, and put him to grief, that by his stripes we might be healed. God is sometimes the strength of his people, when he is not their song; they have spiritual supports, though they want spiritual delights. Whether the believer traces back his comfort to the everlasting goodness and mercy of God, or whether he looks forward to the blessing secured to him, he will find abundant cause for joy and praise. Every answer to our prayers is an evidence that the Lord is on our side; and then we need not fear what man can do unto us; we should conscientiously do our duty to all, and trust in him alone to accept and bless us. Let us seek to live to declare the works of God, and to encourage others to serve him and trust in him. Such were the triumphs of the Son of David, in the assurance that the good pleasure of the Lord should prosper in his hand.
Verses 19-29 Those who saw Christ's day at so great a distance, saw cause to praise God for the prospect. The prophecy, ver. ( psalms 118:22-23 ) Christ. 1. His humiliation; he is the Stone which the builders refused: they would go on in their building without him. This proved the ruin of those who thus made light of him. Rejecters of Christ are rejected of God. 2. His exaltation; he is the chief Cornerstone in the foundation. He is the chief Top-stone, in whom the building is completed, who must, in all things, have the pre-eminence. Christ's name is Wonderful; and the redemption he wrought out is the most amazing of all God's wondrous works. We will rejoice and be glad in the Lord's day; not only that such a day is appointed, but in the occasion of it, Christ's becoming the Head. Sabbath days ought to be rejoicing days, then they are to us as the days of heaven. Let this Saviour be my Saviour, my Ruler. Let my soul prosper and be in health, in that peace and righteousness which his government brings. Let me have victory over the lusts that war against my soul; and let Divine grace subdue my heart. The duty which the Lord has made, brings light with it, true light. The duty this privilege calls for, is here set forth; the sacrifices we are to offer to God in gratitude for redeeming love, are ourselves; not to be slain upon the altar, but living sacrifices, to be bound to the altar; spiritual sacrifices of prayer and praise, in which our hearts must be engaged. The psalmist praises God, and calls upon all about him to give thanks to God for the glad tidings of great joy to all people, that there is a Redeemer, even Christ the Lord. In him the covenant of grace is made sure and everlasting.
Psalms 118:1-29 . After invoking others to unite in praise, the writer celebrates God's protecting and delivering care towards him, and then represents himself and the people of God as entering the sanctuary and uniting in solemn praise, with prayer for a continued blessing. Whether composed by David on his accession to power, or by some later writer in memory of the restoration from Babylon, its tone is joyful and trusting, and, in describing the fortune and destiny of the Jewish Church and its visible head, it is typically prophetical of the Christian Church and her greater and invisible Head.
1-4. The trine repetitions are emphatic (compare Psalms 118:10-12 Psalms 118:15 Psalms 118:16 , Psalms 115:12 Psalms 115:13 ).
Let . . . say--Oh! that Israel may say.
now--as in Psalms 115:2 ; so in Psalms 118:3 Psalms 118:4 . After "now say" supply "give thanks."
that his mercy--or, "for His mercy."
5. distress--literally, "straits," to which "large place" corresponds, as in Psalms 4:1 , 31:8 .
6, 7. Men are helpless to hurt him, if God be with him ( Psalms 56:9 ), and, if enemies, they will be vanquished ( Psalms 54:7 ).
8, 9. Even the most powerful men are less to be trusted than God.
10-12. Though as numerous and irritating as bees ( Psalms 118:12 ), by God's help his enemies would be destroyed.
12. as the fire of thorns--suddenly.
in the name, &c.--by the power ( Psalms 20:5 , 124:8 ).
13-16. The enemy is triumphantly addressed as if present.
15. rejoicing and salvation--the latter as cause of the former.
16. right hand . . . is exalted--His power greatly exerted.
17, 18. He would live, because confident his life would be for God's glory.
19-21. Whether an actual or figurative entrance into God's house be meant, the purpose of solemn praise is intimated, in which only the righteous would or could engage.
22, 23. These words are applied by Christ ( Matthew 21:42 ) to Himself, as the foundation of the Church (compare Acts 4:11 , Ephesians 2:20 , 1 Peter 2:4 1 Peter 2:7 ). It may here denote God's wondrous exaltation to power and influence of him whom the rulers of the nation despised. Whether David or Zerubbabel (compare Haggai 2:2 , Zechariah 4:7-10 ) be primarily meant, there is here typically represented God's more wonderful doings in exalting Christ, crucified as an impostor, to be the Prince and Saviour and Head of His Church.
24. This is the day--or period distinguished by God's favor of all others.
25. Save now--Hebrew, "Hosanna" (compare Psalms 115:2 , &c., as to now) a form of prayer ( Psalms 20:9 ), since, in our use, of praise.
26. he that cometh . . . Lord--As above intimated, this may be applied to the visible head of the Jewish Church entering the sanctuary, as leading the procession; typically it belongs to Him of whom the phrase became an epithet ( Malachi 3:1 , Matthew 21:9 ).
27-29. showed us light--or favor ( Psalms 27:1 , 97:11 ). With the sacrificial victim brought bound to the altar is united the more spiritual offering of praise ( Psalms 50:14 Psalms 50:23 ), expressed in the terms with which the Psalm opened.