By Henry Law
Probably some illustrious victory was the occasion of this ode. It especially celebrates God's glory in the preservation of His Church. For this all praise is due. Unto Him all service should be rendered. Exhortations call to be earnest in such exercise. May we obey!
1-2. "In Judah is God known; His name is great in Israel. In Salem also is His tabernacle, and His dwelling-place in Zion."
Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, was Mount Zion. Its super-eminent glory was the tabernacle, in which God's presence resided. This sanctuary was the type of Christ. He is the revelation of God. He testifies--"He who has seen Me has seen the Father."
It represents, also, God's people. In them the glories of His name conspicuously shine. In them His perfections are revealed. They manifest Him as the God of grace and goodness, whose love from everlasting is love to everlasting. It is a grand word, "Unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places is known by the Church the manifold wisdom of God." In Christ is God known. His name is great in His Church. May His dwelling-place be in our hearts!
3. "There He broke the arrows of the bow, the shield, and the sword, and the weapons of war."
Many foes at various times assailed the favored city. But God arose, and all their might was shattered. Arrows might fly, shields might glitter, swords might be brandished, and the battle might rage fiercely, but all was vain when God protected. Thus, also, Satan and all his legion use mighty weapons to destroy the Church. Fiery darts fall terribly. Incessant warfare rages. But God is a sure defense. No fatal wound is given. His people are all safe. They are wrapped in victory.
4. "You are more glorious and excellent than the mountains of prey."
Zion is here extolled as grandly surpassing the mountain-tops in which ravenous beasts mangle the prey. So God's people, in whose hearts dwell the beauties of celestial grace, exceed in excellence all wild and savage powers who use their strength in cruelty and plunder.
5-6. "The stout-hearted are plundered, they have slept their sleep; and none of the men of might can lift their hands. At Your rebuke, O God of Jacob, both the chariot and horse are cast into a dead sleep."
The enemy may come on fearless in courage, stout in resolve, but at God's word their prowess quickly dwindles. In vain they look for conquest from their own hands. Their arms hang down as broken reeds. They may command the chariot and the horse, but the God of Jacob speaks. The chariot and horse become weak as sleeping impotency.
7-9. "You, even You, are to be feared; and who may stand in Your sight when once You are angry? You caused judgment to be heard from heaven; the earth feared, and was still, when God arose to judgment, to save all the meek of the earth."
Let us stand in awe of God. Who will not tremble at His wrath? Who among earth's sons can stand when His anger kindles? His eyes are on the madness of His foes. He will arise to save His meek and lowly servants. Then vengeance shall descend from heaven, and the trembling earth shall cease its proud resistance.
10. "Surely the wrath of man shall praise You; the remainder of wrath shall You restrain."
Man may rage, but God will use the raging hand. Persecution enlarges the Church. The threatening hurricane purifies the air. If wrath still lingers in the heart, His curb will check it.
11-12. "Vow, and pay unto the Lord your God; let all that be round about Him bring presents to Him who ought to be feared. He shall cut off the spirit of princes. He is dreadful to the kings of the earth."
Great is the Lord's glory in humbling the loftiest potentates. Let us be wise, and vow allegiance to the King of kings. Let us present to Him, as a willing offering, our bodies, souls, and spirits. He justly claims all reverence. His service is the luxury of life.