By Henry Law
The Ark foreshadowed the Church. As such it was the object of pious care. This ode proceeds to enumerate God's promises.
1. "Lord, remember David, and all his afflictions."
It is a gracious privilege to be permitted to be God's remembrancers. Faith is encouraged to remind Him of His covenant and of His precious promises. There is, indeed, no forgetfulness with Him. The past, as also the future, is a present page before His eye. But by this exercise we impress on our own minds invaluable lessons. Thus God is implored to bear in mind the story of the suffering David. In him we have a type of the blessed Jesus. Thus the deep import of this prayer awakens God's attention to the expiatory sufferings of the Lamb of God.
David was especially a man of sorrows. All believers drink the same cup. The afflictions of Christ's followers are salutary discipline. They wean from the world and quicken the growth of grace. We shall pray God to accomplish His purposes. The furnace of affliction should never be heated in vain.
2-5. "How he swore to the Lord, and vowed to the mighty God of Jacob; Surely I will not come into the tabernacle of my house, nor go up into my bed; I will not give sleep to my eyes, or slumber to my eyelids, until I find a place for the Lord, a habitation for the mighty God of Jacob."
The especial object of this prayer is that David's zeal for the Ark should not be forgotten. Deep and fervent was this zeal. It was the constant inhabitant of his heart. He longed to conduct the Ark to its resting place in Zion. He cast away all thought of rest and quiet, until success should crown his efforts. We should learn therefore that zeal for the prosperity of God's Church should be foremost among our desires. For this we should incessantly toil. For this we should regard all sacrifices as light. Can we truly say, each one, The zeal of Your house has eaten me up?
6. "Lo, we heard of it at Ephratah; we found it in the fields of the wood."
The Church is often in depressed condition. The Ark was carried into the Philistines' country, and after its return, it remained obscure and unnoticed. At Bethlehem David could only gather some reports concerning it. At last he found it in the fields of Kirjath-jearim. The Church can never be hidden for long. The sun reappears after a short eclipse.
7-9. "We will go into His tabernacles; we will worship at His footstool. Arise, O Lord, into Your rest; You, and the ark of Your strength. Let Your priests be clothed with righteousness; and let Your saints shout for joy."
It is the joy of joys to join the company of true worshipers. Prayer should be earnest that God would manifest Himself in His sanctuary and cause His presence to diffuse hallowed delight. Especially should we pray that His ministers be conspicuous for holiness and pre-eminent as men of God. Then exuberant gladness will fill God's courts with praise.
10. "For Your servant David's sake turn not away the face of Your anointed."
The idea is not a vain fancy that Solomon, now established as Israel's anointed king, thus prayed. He beseeches God not to forget the promises to David. In faith of their performance the youthful king is encouraged to persevere in prayer. Let us therefore gather cheering support. Believers may thus personally supplicate. By the Spirit's unction they are priests unto God. They may implore, for the sake of the true David, that they may be welcomed at the mercy-seat. May we persist in prayer, looking upwards in the name of Jesus!
11-14. "The Lord has sworn in truth to David; He will not turn from it; of the fruit of your body will I set upon Your throne. If your children will keep My covenant and My testimony that I shall teach them, their children shall also sit upon Your throne forevermore. For the Lord has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His habitation. This is my rest forever; here will I dwell; for I have desired it."
Remembrance is called to a notable prediction. The throne of David descends in unbroken line to his offspring. The suppliant pleads for its fulfillment with undoubting faith. It is precious thus to grasp the promises of God. God chose Zion as a type of His Church. He gives assurance that He will maintain forever the seed of grace. We may rejoice that this God is our God forever and ever. He will uphold His people to the end. He will rest in His love. He will make the Church the abode of His continual presence.
15-16. "I will abundantly bless her provision; I will satisfy her poor with bread. I will also clothe her priests with salvation; and her saints shall shout aloud for joy."
Glorious promises enrich the treasures of the Church. No good thing shall be withheld. All mercies shall abound. Her faithful ministers shall shine brightly in the robes of salvation. Her true servants shall testify their joy with exuberant thanksgiving. Can we give sufficient thanks if we have been called to fellowship with this blessed company?
17-18. "There will I make the horn of David to bud; I have ordained a lamp for My Anointed. His enemies will I clothe with shame; but upon Himself shall His crown flourish."
The power of the Lord shall be displayed in the perpetual preservation of the Church. It shall be armed with might as the strongest animals are endued with power. Heavenly rays shall be its unfading lamp. While shame will bring contempt upon their enemies, the crown of glory shall rest on the true sons of David. May we study these abundant promises! May we embrace them with thanksgiving! May we live undoubtingly relying on their fulfillment! May we lift up the head as faithful citizens of Zion!