You are the most handsome of men; grace has anointed your lips, since God has blessed you forever.
as they were moved by the Holy Ghost;" this fervour of spirit, urging on the worker as by a power beyond himself to write of "the King," is one of the ways in which the sacred writers were "moved." And there is no reason for refusing to acknowledge the far-reachingness of this psalm, as setting forth beforehand, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the grandeur of our victorious Lord To no one, indeed, but Jesus, can we apply the epithets which are herein used. That a King "higher than the kings of the earth" is foretold in Scripture is certain (see 2 Samuel 7:12-16; 2 Samuel 23:2-5; Psalm 2., 72., 79., 110.). So that it is no wonder to find that such is the case in this psalm, The main difficulty in the psalm - in fact, the only serious one to believing critics - is the fact that the entire passage vers. 10-15 is based on a custom which in the psalmist's time was not only familiar to Orientals, but was even honourable in their eyes, though it would not be deemed so in ours. It would be a coveted honour among maidens to be among the well-beloved ones of an honourable king; for though the queen-consort was the principal wife, yet she was by no means the only one on whom the king bestowed his affection. Even David had six wives. He was not thought the worse of for this. The Law of God did not sanction it, but society did. Hence, though this psalm shoots far ahead to a beauty, a glory, and a majesty beyond the sons of men, yet the ground-plan of its symbolism is found in the usages of Oriental courts at their best. If it was then deemed a high honour for maidens to be among the beloved of a king, how much greater would be the honour of those who should be brought in the far-off times to place their whole selves, body, soul, and spirit, at the absolute disposal of him who would be "King of kings, and Lord of lords"! We may gather up under four heads the main features of this sublime prophetic forecast. In doing so, however, it behoves us to take the Christian expositor's standpoint, and to carry forward the dim and suggestive words here given us, to the fuller and clearer setting of New Testament unfoldings.
I. HERE IS A KING FORESEEN, UNIQUE IN HONOUR AND RENOWN. That the sacred writers were familiar with the thought of a King who should come into the world, surpassing all others, we have seen above; this is shown in the passages to which reference has already been made. But even if such passages were fewer and less clear than they are, the amazing combination of expressions in the psalm before us is such, that to none other than the Son of God can they possibly be applied with any semblance of reason. But as we think of him, every term fails in place. Let us take each expression in order. There are no fewer than twelve of them.
1. There is beauty. (Ver. 2.) A beauty beyond that of the sons of men. This points to one who is above the race. And verily the beauty of the Lord Jesus is one of his unnumbered charms. He is the "chief among ten thousand, the altogether lovely."
3. The fullest blessings descend continually upon him (ver. 2; cf. John 3:34).
4. There are the glory and majesty of royal state (ver. 3). For "with" read "even" ('Variorum Bible'). The sword to be girded on his thigh as for war (see Delitzsch) is his glory and his majestic state. With these he will go forth, conquering and to conquer.
5. His cause is that of truth, meekness, and righteousness. (Ver. 4.) No other king ever combined these in perfection, nor even at all. "Meekness is about the very last thought associated with earthly kings (but see Matthew 11:29).
7. His arrows would be sharp in the hearts of his enemies (ver. 5), and the peoples (plural, Revised Version)would fall beneath him. He should have universal sway, and not over Israel only.
8. He should be God, and yet be anointed by God. (Vers. 6, 7.) How enigmatical before fulfilment! How fully realized in our Immanuel, in him who is at once God and man, David's Son, yet David's Lord!
9. His throne should be eternal. (Ver. 6.) Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever" (cf. Hebrews 1:8, 9).
10. His sceptre should be a sceptre of righteousness. (Vers. 6, 7.) This is preeminently true; so much so that even those who acknowledge him as Lord, and who have yet been destitute of righteousness, will be rejected (Matthew 7:22, 23).
11. He would receive a higher anointing than that of others (ver. 7; Acts 4:27; Acts 10:38; Luke 4:18). 12. Associated with his coming would be fragrance, music, and joy (ver. 8, Revised Version). Surely the gladness and song that gather round this King surpass all other gladness and all other songs that earth has ever known. No widow's wail, no orphan's sigh, attend on the conquests of this King. He conquers but to save. And the joy! oh, how great! Joy among the saved (1 Peter 1:8). Joy among the saints (1 John 1:4). Joy among the angels (Luke 20:10). Joy in the heart of the Father and the Son (Luke 15:32). Joy for ever and ever (Isaiah 35:10). What a magnificent forecast, hundreds of years beforehand! Who dares to deny the supernatural with such a fact before him?
II. HERE IS THE KING'S BRIDE. (Ver. 9.) What can the psalmist mean by the bride of such a King, but the Church of his love (see Ephesians 5:23-32)? The following features, if worked out, would greatly exceed the space at our command.
1. She forsakes her Father's house, to be joined to this King, and leaves all her old associates behind her (ver. 10).
2. She is wedded to him (ver. 11, "He is thy Lord").
3. She is devoted to him (ver. 11).
4. She is decorated with finest gold (ver. 9), and is at the place of honour by his side.
5. Her attendants should come from the nations, with their offerings of devotion (ver. 12).
III. HERE IS THE KING'S OFFSPRING. (Ver. 16.) The sacrifice which the bride had made for the sake of the King shall be more than recompensed by her having children, who should gather round her, and who should become "princes in the earth" (1 Peter 2:9; Revelation 1:6; Revelation 5:10; Revelation 20:6).
IV. HERE IS FORETOLD THE KING'S UNIVERSAL AND ENDLESS PRAISE. (Ver. 17.) Though the verse seems to be addressed immediately to the bride, evidently the carrying forward of the name to generation after generation is an honour chiefly of the King, and results from the bridal union. And the praise which shall accrue will be from the peoples (Revised Version), from all the nations; and this praise will be for ever and ever (Psalm 72:17). "Christ's espousing unto himself a Church, and gathering more and more from age to age by his Word and Spirit unto it, his converting of souls, and bringing them into the fellowship of his family, and giving unto them princely minds and affections wherever they live, are large matters of growing and everlasting glory" (Dickson). Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and to the Lamb for ever and ever." - C.
"Thou art fairer," etc.
Hebrews 1:8, 9).
Thou art fairer than the children of men: grace is poured into Thy lips; therefore God hath blessed Thee for ever.I. THE PERSON OF THE KING. The old world valued in a king, personal beauty, and graciousness of speech. Both are ascribed here to the King spoken of. We have to think, not of the outward form, howsoever lovely with the loveliness of meekness and transfigured with the refining patience of suffering it may have been, but of the beauty of a soul that was all radiant with a lustre of loveliness that shames the fragmentary and marred virtues of the rest of us, and stands before the world for ever as the supreme type and high-water mark of the glory that is possible to a human spirit.
II. His WARFARE. He is to put on all His panoply. Thus arrayed, with the weapon by His side and the glittering armour on His limbs, He is called upon to mount His chariot or His warhorse and ride forth. But for what? "On behalf of truth, meekness, righteousness." If He be a warrior these are the purposes for which the true King of men must draw His sword, and these only. No vulgar ambition nor cruel lust of conquest, earth-hunger or "glory" actuates Him. Nothing but the spread through the world of the gracious beauties which are His own can be the end of the King's warfare. In two or three swift touches the psalmist next paints the tumult and hurry of the fight. "Thy right hand shall teach Thee terrible things." There are no armies or allies, none to stand beside Him. The one mighty figure of the kingly warrior stands forth, as in the Assyrian sculptures of conquerors, erect and alone in His chariot, crashing through the ranks of the enemy, and owing victory to His own strong arm alone. Put side by side with this the picture of our Lord's entry into Jerusalem. And yet that lowly procession of the Christ, with tears upon His cheeks, is part fulfilment of this glorious prediction. But it is only part. The psalm waits for its completion still, and shall be filled on that day of the true marriage supper of the Lamb.
III. THE ROYALTY OF THE KING. "Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever." In the great mosque of Damascus, which was a Christian church once, there may still be read, deeply cut in the stone, high above the pavement where the Mohammedans bow, these words, "Thy kingdom, O Christ, is an everlasting kingdom." It is true, and yet it shall be known that He is for ever and ever the Monarch of the world.
(A. Maclaren, D. D.)
I. His PERSONAL EXCELLENCES.
1. They are of a moral and mental character. We must bear in mind that this whole psalm contemplates not only a king, but a Teacher-King, a Royal Prophet. He must, consequently, be, in His own person, the perfect exemplification of the Divine wisdom that He taught. Solomon, therefore, does not represent Christ by His outward splendour, of which our Lord had none, but by His spiritual perfections.
2. They are not derived; they are His own, native, meritorious perfections, for the sake of which He is worthy to reign. Now, this cannot be said of any man. If Christ had been any other than a sinless character, it must have been seen and noticed; for He passed His life in public, He was constantly surrounded by a crowd of vigilant and malicious witnesses. The same argument might be drawn from the absolute and unquestioned authority which lie always maintained over them, and which would have been weakened and destroyed if they had ever detected Him in a sin. Nor let it be imagined that all these things are said for the purpose of exhibiting our blessed Lord as a perfect model for admiration merely. The application of the doctrine lies here; that, if He had not been absolutely sinless, He could neither have been an acceptable sacrifice for sin, nor have been the great High Priest of our profession,
II. HIS PECULIAR OFFICIAL QUALIFICATIONS. "Grace is poured into Thy lips."
1. Think of the manner in which this great Teacher-King communicated the knowledge of Himself, and His Father's will. It is not possible for human language to express the kindness, the clearness, the tenderness that accompanied every word which proceeded from His lips.
2. Note the plenitude told of — grace is poured, not sparingly but abundantly. Now, is Christ to us altogether lovely? Did you never feel that you could part with all the world for just one beam, one spark of His infinite love; for just one drop of that heavenly joy which is the foretaste of its full fruition? I tell you plainly, I do not believe in that man's religion at all who has strong affections for all other objects, and nothing but a cold assent, an icy, philosophic calmness to lay at the feet of Jesus. I do not believe in it, because it is not the religion of the psalmist. You have just so much religion as you have love to Christ, and not an atom more!
III. THE BLESSING PRONOUNCED UPON HIM. "God hath blessed Thee for ever." This could not be said of Solomon but of Christ only. And this blessing —
1. Descends through Him upon all who are His.
2. It comprehends perpetual increase. True, the progress seems to us slow, but no important promises in the past have ever been fulfilled without similar delays.
3. Its chief fulfilment will be seen in the latter-day glory. Christ is King; submit to Him, so gracious and gentle in His rule.
I. CHRIST IS SO AS THE SON OF GOD. All others have only a creature nature. He has the nature of God, and all the angels of God are bidden worship Him. Then should not we? And more than they, for He died for us, not for them.
II. As THE SON OF MAN. The children of men are born of sinful fathers; "He was conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost." They are born with a sinful taint, but He was born without sin.
III. IN WORK, SUFFERING AND TEMPTATION, which He shared with the children of men.
1. In work. He knew what it was. Some men never know their work; they spend their whole lives without finding it out, and consequently never do any work worth doing. But Christ knew His work. He made it His meat and His drink.
2. In suffering, too, Christ endured completely all that He was appointed to suffer. There was no putting away from Him that which He ought to bear; no hiding His face from that which He ought to see and confront. "The cup which My Father hath given me, shall I not drink?"
3. In temptation. It could not defile Him as it too often defiles us. Thoughts of wrong-doing were thrown into His mind like firebrands thrown into a house, but they never even proceeded towards the production of a wrong purpose.
IV. IN HIS OFFICIAL CHARACTERS of prophet, King and priest. Contrast the ordinary prophets and Christ. He was ever speaking by the Holy Spirit, ever faithful, ever possessing unlimited knowledge. And as King and priest he was perfect.
V. IN FOUR THINGS IN WHICH MEN NOTABLY FAIL.
1. In the harmony and variety of His excellencies.
2. In the unbroken consistency of His actions.
3. In the perfection of His manifold works.
4. His influence was in all respects superior. We need nobody to tell us that Jesus Christ is better than man. Do you act the things you know best? Do you work out now the things with which you are most familiar? Certainly not. For example, you think of the children of men more than of Him who is "fairer than," etc. And you love them more; and prize them more. They. seem to give you more pleasure. You perhaps also trust "the children of men" more than you trust Him who is "fairer than the children of men." They have often deceived you. Therefore we remind you of the truth of the text, that we may get more thought, more love, more confidence, more service, more honest speech for Him, mark, who is "fairer than the children of men." Let us take care lest any of us, after having professed to account the Lord Jesus Christ "fairer than the children of men" should be condemned for having preferred men to our Saviour.
I. THE EXCELLENCE OF THE BEAUTY OF CHRIST. "Thou art fairer than," etc.
1. It is not the beauty of His person in which the psalmist dwells with such admiration. Scripture is silent on the outward appearance of Christ. What hints there are now to show, that what, ever beauty of this kind there may have been, His sorrow, poverty and hardship had greatly destroyed.
2. But it is the beauty of His character that is told of here. He was unstained by sin, glorious in holiness. To do the will of God was His "meat" — necessary to His very existence.
II. THE GRACE OF HIS COMMUNICATIONS. He dwelt among us: people wondered at His gracious words. The text may refer —
1. To the gracefulness of His address.
2. To the graciousness of His words.
III. THE GLORY OF HIS REWARD. "Therefore God hath blessed Thee for ever" (Philippians 2:9-11). In conclusion, What think ye of Him? What will you ask of Him?
(J. Jowett, M. A.)
I. His APPEARANCE. "Thou art fairer," etc. There He stands, in disposition upright, pure, magnanimous, and the very embodiment of love. The clear light is produced by combination of every possible shade of colour. It is beautiful as broken up in rose, sunflower, and rainbow, but perfect in its whiteness. Christ's soul is the pure white light resulting from the union of all possible excellencies. Every shade of worth and virtue which appears broken up and imperfect in the very best of mortals, glows in fullest splendour in His matchless character.
II. HIS SPEECH. "Grace is poured," etc.
1. His voice must have been wondrously sweet, rich and musical; His accents more entrancing than those tones of fable which calmed the mad passions of men, quieted the ferocity of wild beasts, and charmed the very stocks and stones to listen.
2. We know His manner of speech; as pure literature the utterances of Jesus are beyond praise, and will remain a joy for ever. Nowhere will you find anything which in arrangement of words and sentences seems so exquisitely a work of nature — like the unfolding of the flower, the flow of the river, and the song of the birds.
3. The matter of His teaching was the message and prophecy of grace. He brings God home to men's hearts.
II. His BEATIFIC STATE. "Therefore God hath blessed Thee for ever." We cannot judge of Divine blessing and curse from a superficial survey of present appearances. The thorny path which the Redeemer trod was His only way to the honour He sought. God has now placed Him in a position of supreme honour; He has gained the reverence and warm love of myriads, and is continually attracting more to Himself. Concentrate irate one sublime ideal all imagination can conceive of beauty of form, comprehensiveness of mind, depth and purity of soul; imagine a perfect state where the King reigns in righteousness, midst abounding peace and plenty, and all the good that God has destined human souls to realize in Christ; and you catch a glimpse of the ideal of the text.
(Thomas Pitt.)I. SOME GENERAL OBSERVATIONS.
1. In all our inquiries after the knowledge of Christ, the first thing we ought to know and consider is His person.
2. There is an ineffable glory and beauty in the person of Jesus Christ (Zechariah 9:17).
3. There are some seasons wherein our Lord Jesus is pleased to favour believers with more than ordinary clear and distinct views of His glory and beauty (John 2:11). He ordinarily does so in the day of conversion; the pleasant month of renewed manifestations, after a long and dark night of desertions; when they are called to suffer for His sake; when deeply engaged in secret prayer, meditation, self-examination, etc. And sometimes He gives believers very clear views of His glory about the time of their departure from the present world (2 Samuel 23:5); Simeon, Anna, etc.
4. A believing view of Christ in the beauty and glory of His person throws a veil over all created excellency.
5. Those to whom the Lord Jesus has been pleased to manifest His beauty in a saving manner, may go and tell Him, as the psalmist does, "Thou art fairer than the children of men." Yea, they should do it. They should tell Him in the way of holy gratitude and thankfulness for His amazing condescension in showing them His glory.
II. IN WHAT RESPECTS OUR LORD JESUS IS FAIRER THAN THE CHILDREN OF MEN.
1. In the glory and dignity of His person.
2. In respect of that fulness of grace that is poured into His lips.
5. In a relative capacity. There are many endearing relations in which He stands to His people; and in every one of them He infinitely excels all the children of men. Among fathers, He is the everlasting Father (Isaiah 9:6). Among husbands the most loving and affectionate; for He gave His life for His spouse (Ephesians 5:2). Among brethren He is the first-born. Among friends the Friend that sticketh closer than a brother. Is He prophet? then He is the Interpreter, one among a thousand (Job 33:23). Is He a Priest? then He is the High Priest of our profession (Hebrews 3:1). Is He a King? He is the King of kings and Lord of Lords (Numbers 24:7). Among shepherds He is the Chief (Hebrews 13:20). Is He a Physician? then He is the Physician both of the soul and the body. He heals all manner of soul diseases among the people (Psalm 103:8). And our temporal as well as eternal life is in His hand. He gives the physician his skill, and causes the medicinal herb to spring.
6. There is an incomparable beauty and excellency in His Name. Hence says the spouse (Song of Solomon 1:8). There is safety and protection in His Name; it is a strong tower unto which the righteous run and are safe.
1. For information.(1) We may see and be informed why believers are so much in love with Him. They have seen the King in His beauty (Isaiah 33:17); and when He is seen by the eye of faith, it is impossible not to love Him (1 Peter 2:7).(2) We may see they have great cause and reason to rejoice unto whom God hath revealed Christ (Luke 10:2; John 17:3).(3) We may see one special means of taking our hearts and affections off from the vain, transitory and fading things of a present world; and that is, to be much in the contemplation of the glory and excellency of the person of Christ; the fulness of grace that is in Him, the suitableness of His saving offices to the case of our souls, with the power and authority He has to put them in execution for the good of His Church and people.(4) Is Christ incomparably fair and excellent, and every way suited to fill the hand and heart of faith? Then we may see matter of lamentation, that, though He is set before men in the dispensation of the Gospel, in the glory of His person and riches of His grace, there are but few disposed to put honour upon Him by believing.(5) We may see that we should not content ourselves with a general consideration of the beauty and excellency of Christ; but should enter particularly into the consideration of these things in Him wherein He is fairer than the children of men.
2. For trial. Can you join with the psalmist in saying from the heart, Thou art fairer than the children of men? Is our Lord Jesus a covering of your eyes from every other Lord and lover? Do you confide in Christ, and solely rely upon His most perfect righteousness as the ground of your access to and acceptance with God?
3. For exhortation.(1) We exhort you who have been admitted to behold the matchless beauty and excellency of our glorious Immanuel, to bless and praise a God of infinite love and grace for giving you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Christ.(2) As for you who never saw any beauty nor comeliness in Christ, why you should desire Him. Satan, the god of this world, has blinded your eyes that the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ hath not yet shined unto you.
Grace is poured into Thy lips.I. THE GRACE WHICH IS POURED INTO CHRIST'S LIPS.
1. The Spirit of the Lord rested upon Him as a spirit of wisdom, counsel and understanding (Isaiah 11:2, 3). Wisdom and knowledge discovered themselves in Him, to the astonishment of His greatest enemies (Mark 6:2).
2. The Spirit of the Lord rested upon Him as the spirit of faith and trust in God (Matthew 27:46).
7. Our Lord Jesus is full of love; love to God, and love to the souls of men was the golden weight which engaged and carried Him forward in every part of the work Jehovah gave Him to do; so we find Him entering upon the crowning piece of the work of our redemption as to purchase, in the highest exercise of love to His, and our heavenly Father (John 14:31).
8. He was full of zeal for God and the advancement of His declarative glory (John 2:13-18).
II. IN WHAT CAPACITY OUR LORD JESUS HAS THIS GRACE POURED INTO HIS LIPS.
1. As the second Adam, the Surety of the New Covenant, the Head and Representative of His mystical body the Church.
2. As the Trustee of the New Covenant.
4. As sustaining the character of our Head and Husband, our Father, our elder Brother, our best Friend, and the Steward set over the family of God, to give every one his portion in due season.
III. WHENCE IT IS THAT THE GRACE THAT IS POURED INTO THE LIPS OF OUR GLORIOUS REDEEMER IS CONDESCENDED ON AS SUCH A LEADING PART OF HIS GLORY AND BEAUTY.
1. Grace is here considered as the glory of Christ, "because in this internal grace the reparation of the image of God doth consist."
2. This grace is the glory of Christ, "because it is that which inclines the heart of Jesus Christ unto all that goodness and kindness that He hath showed unto us."
3. Grace is the glory of Christ, "as He is, in respect of it, the great example and pattern whereunto we ought to labour after conformity."
4. Because grace being poured into His lips, and poured into His lips for our special benefit, it renders Him in every respect a fit match for us.
5. Because Jesus Christ is made an everlasting blessing to the sons of men in virtue of this grace that is poured into His lips; God having poured grace into His lips, hath set Him to be blessings for ever (Psalm 21:6). Men shall be blessed in Him.
1. Inferences.(1) If it be so as has been said, that grace and holiness is that which renders our Lord Jesus so very fair and beautiful; then we may see how much grace Should be prized by us. Grace is the ornament that adorns the soul.(2) We may see what reason we have to admire the wisdom and goodness of God, which are so richly manifested towards fallen men, in His providing such a suitable help for them.(3) We may see matter of comfort to believers amidst all their wants.(4) We may see grounds of encouragement to those who are yet destitute of grace to come to Christ for it.
2. Use of trial. Do you believe in God as your God through our Lord Jesus Christ? And do you endeavour to maintain the claim of faith to Him as your God and Father, even when clouds and darkness are round about Him? Do you study, through grace, to yield a cheerful and ready obedience to all God's commandments from love to Him and a tender regard to His authority? Are you humble and self-denied?
3. Exhortation.(1) As to you who have been admitted to behold the beauty and glory of Christ by the eye of faith, and have been made partakers of His grace.(a) We exhort you to be much taken up in the believing contemplation of the person and glory of Christ.(b) We exhort you to use and improve the grace that is in Christ. Remember that it is poured into His lips for your behoof; that you may daily come to His fulness in the exercise of faith, and receive out of it grace for grace.(c) We exhort you to be humble and thankful to God for the grace you have already received.(2) As for you who are yet strangers to Christ and so destitute of saving grace. We exhort you to believe the misery of your present condition. To believe that you stand in absolute need of Christ and the grace that is poured into His lips. To believe there is grace in Christ answering to all your wants, and that He makes you heartily welcome to come to Him, and be enriched out of His fulness for time and eternity. To consider that the day of grace will not always last with you. It is a limited day, and may be shorter than you are aware of.
(M. G. Pearse.)
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