By Henry Law
Notes of thanksgiving introduce this hymn. Resolution is professed to minister right government. Promises of renewed praise are added.
1. "Unto You, O God, do we give thanks, unto You do we give thanks; Your wondrous works declare that Your name is near."
It is a joyful exercise to render thanks unto the Lord. Why is not this our main employ? We rob our souls of much delight when lips are silent and not indulging in this happy work. What cause have we for never-ceasing adoration? God's wondrous works in providence and grace are always loudly speaking. Every moment brings new tokens of His loving-kindness--they tell us that He is always near in manifestation of His name, which is the united display of His wisdom, power, and love. Let us draw near to Him in praise. He will draw near to us and cause His presence to be felt.
2. "When I shall receive the congregation I will judge uprightly."
These words can leave no doubt that they proceed from one invested with supreme authority. A throne was his seat, a scepter was in his hands. David is thus before us, rescued from his many perils, and raised to be the King of Israel. No exaltation is evinced. His one desire is to execute the rule of righteousness. We see, also, our Jesus. The scepter of His kingdom is a right scepter. Righteousness is His rule, both in and for His people.
3-6. "The earth and all the inhabitants thereof are dissolved; I bear up the pillars of it. I said to the fools, Do not deal foolishly; and to the wicked, Do not lift up the horn. Do not lift up your horn on high; speak not with a stiff neck. For promotion comes neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south."
David had seen the kingdom in weakness and confusion, without stability and strength, under the evil sway of Saul. That which should have a sure foundation was shifting and unstable as the sand. He profited by this sad misrule, and he resolved to regulate the empire, so as to sustain it in righteous ways. When will men learn that all wickedness is folly! None are truly wise, but those who seek wisdom in the Word of God, and strive to embody its holy precepts in their daily walk. David exhorted his subjects to depart from evil's ways, and thus to become truly wise. He saw, also, that pride was at the root of all their wrong judgments and wrong conduct. He called on them to walk humbly with their God, and to see clearly that all true honor comes from Him. Let us receive and treasure the sure word, "Those who honor Me I will honor."
7-8. "But God is the judge; He puts down one, and sets up another. For in the hand of the Lord there is a cup, and the wine is red; it is full of mixture; and He pours out of the same; but the dregs thereof all the wicked of the earth shall wring them out, and drink them."
God's mode of dealing is often wrapped in mystery. We fail to understand why one is elevated to the highest rank, while others seem to waste their days in poverty, obscurity, and low estate. But no misgivings should arise. It should be firmly fixed in our persuasions that in all these matters God's hand prevails. Thus, also, afflictions, sorrows, trials are all appointed by the same unerring wisdom. His hand holds a cup which is mixed in accordance with His righteous will. According to His good pleasure He causes the sons of men to drink from it. But what will be the portion of the wicked? Let them tremble. They are forewarned that they must wring out the dregs indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish forever.
9-10. "But I will declare forever; I will sing praises to the God of Jacob. All the horns of the wicked also will I cut off; but the horns of the righteous shall be exalted."
In conclusion, we have the bright resolve of faith to uplift the voice of praise, to discountenance all evil, to proclaim the misery of God's adversaries, and the blessedness of His people. May this be our resolve, this our holy employ, until faith shall end in sight and hope in full reality! Grant it, O our God, for the sake of our beloved Savior, Jesus Christ!