This psalm dwells upon the same subject, and is set to the same tune,
with the foregoing psalm. Christ is the Alpha and the Omega of both;
they are both penned, and are both to be sung to his honour; and we
make nothing of them if we do not, in them, make melody with our hearts
to the Lord Jesus. He it is that reigns, to the joy of all mankind
and his government speaks,
I. Terror to his enemies; for he is a prince of inflexible justice and
II. Comfort to his friends and loyal subjects, arising from his
sovereign dominion, the care he takes of his people, and the provision
he makes for them,
In singing this psalm we must be affected with the glory of the exalted
Redeemer, must dread the lot of his enemies, and think ourselves happy
if we are of those that "kiss the son."
|Righteousness and Glory of the Divine Government; Establishment of Christ's Kingdom.
1 The LORD reigneth; let the earth rejoice; let the multitude
of isles be glad thereof.
2 Clouds and darkness are round about him: righteousness and
judgment are the habitation of his throne.
3 A fire goeth before him, and burneth up his enemies round
4 His lightnings enlightened the world: the earth saw, and
5 The hills melted like wax at the presence of the LORD, at the
presence of the Lord of the whole earth.
6 The heavens declare his righteousness, and all the people see
7 Confounded be all they that serve graven images, that boast
themselves of idols: worship him, all ye gods.
What was to be said among the heathen in the foregoing psalm
is here said again
and is made the subject of this psalm, and of
The Lord reigns; that is the great truth here laid down. The
Lord Jehovah reigns, he that made the world governs it; he that gave
being gives motion and power, gives law and commission, gives success
and event. Every man's judgment proceeds from the Lord, from his
counsel and providence, and in all affairs, both public and private, he
performs the thing which he himself has appointed. The Lord Jesus
reigns; the providential kingdom is twisted in with the mediatorial and
the administration of both is in the hand of Christ, who therefore is
both the head of the church and head over all things to the
church. The kingdom of Christ is so constituted that,
I. It may be matter of joy to all; and it will be so if it be not their
own fault. Let the earth rejoice, for hereby it is
it is honoured and enriched, and, in part, rescued from the vanity
which by sin it is made subject to. Not only let the people of Israel
rejoice in him as King of the Jews, and the daughter of Zion as her
King, but let all the earth rejoice in his elevation; for the kingdoms
of the world shall, more or less, sooner or later, become his kingdoms:
Let the multitude of isles, the many or great isles, be glad
thereof. This is applicable to our country, which is a great isle,
and has many belonging to it; at least, it speaks comfort in general to
the Gentiles, whose countries are called the isles of the
There is enough in Christ for the multitude of the isles to rejoice in;
for, though many have been made happy in him, yet still there is room.
All have reason to rejoice in Christ's government.
1. In the equity of it. There is an incontestable justice in all the
acts of his government, both legislative and judicial. Sometimes
indeed clouds and darkness are round about him; his
dispensations are altogether unaccountable; his way is in the sea
and his path in the great waters. We are not aware of what he
designs, what he drives at; nor is it fit that we should be let into
the secrets of his government. There is a depth in his counsels, which
we must not pretend to fathom. But still righteousness and judgment
are the habitation of his throne; a golden thread of justice runs
through the whole web of his administration. In this he resides, for it
is his habitation. In this he rules, for it is the habitation of his
throne. His commandments are, and will be, all righteous.
Righteousness and judgment are the basis of his throne (so Dr.
Hammond); for therefore his throne is for ever and ever,
because his sceptre is a right sceptre,
The throne is established in righteousness. Even the heavens
declare his righteousness
it is as conspicuous and as illustrious as the heavens themselves. The
angels of heaven will declare it, who are employed as messengers in the
administration of his government and therefore know more of it than any
of his creatures. His righteousness is incontestable; for who can
contradict or dispute what the heavens declare?
2. In the extent of it in the upper and lower world.
(1.) All the men on earth are under his government; either he is served
by them or he serves himself by them. All the people see his
glory, or may see it. The glory of God, in the face of Christ, was
made to shine in distant countries, among many people, more or less
among all people; the gospel was preached, for aught we know, in all
Miracles were wrought in all nations, and so all the people saw his
glory. Have they not heard?
(2.) All the angels in heaven are so. Perhaps we should not have found
this truth in those words
Worship him, all you gods, if we had not been directed to it by
the inspired apostle, who, from the Septuagint version of those words,
makes the Messiah to be introduced into the upper world at the
ascension with this charge
Let all the angels of God worship him, which helps us to a key
to this whole psalm, and shows us that it must be applied to the
exalted Redeemer, who has gone into heaven, and is on the right hand
of God, which intimates that all power is given him both in heaven
and earth, angels, authorities, and powers, being made subject unto
1 Peter 3:22.
This speaks the honour of Christ, that he has such worshippers, and the
honour of all good Christians, that they have such
II. Christ's government, though it may be matter of joy to all, will
yet be matter of terror to some, and it is their own fault that it is
1. When the kingdom of Christ was to be set up in the world, after his
ascension, it would meet with many enemies, and much opposition would
be given to it. He that reigns, to the joy of the whole earth,
yet, as he has his subjects, so he has his enemies
that not only will not have him to reign over them, but would not have
him to reign at all, that not only will not enter into the kingdom
of heaven themselves, but do all they can to hinder those that
This was fulfilled in the enmity of the unbelieving Jews to the gospel
of Christ, and the violent persecution which in all places they stirred
up against the preachers and professors of it. These enemies are here
for their height, and strength, and immovable obstinacy. It was the
princes of this world that crucified the Lord of glory,
1 Corinthians 2:8,Ps+2:2.
2. The opposition which the Jews gave to the setting up of Christ's
kingdom turned to their own ruin. Their persecuting the apostles, and
forbidding them to speak to the Gentiles, filled up their sin,
and brought wrath upon them to the uttermost,
1 Thessalonians 2:15,16.
That wrath is here compared,
(1.) To consuming fire, which goes before him, and burns up his
enemies, that have made themselves like chaff and stubble, and have
set the briers and thorns before him in battle,
This fire of divine wrath will not only burn the rubbish upon the
hills, but will even melt the hills themselves like wax,
When our God appears as a consuming fire even rocks will be wax before
him. The most resolute and daring opposition will be baffled at the
presence of the Lord. His very presence is enough to shame and sink
it, for he is the Lord of the whole earth, by whom all the
children of men are manageable and to whom they are accountable. Men
hate and persecute God's people, because they think him absent, that
the Lord has forsaken the earth; but, when he manifests his
presence, they melt.
(2.) To amazing lightnings
which strike a terror upon many. The judgments God brought upon the
enemies of Christ's kingdom were such as all the world took notice of
with terror: The earth saw and trembled, and the ears of all
that heard were made to tingle. This was fulfilled in the destruction
of Jerusalem and the Jewish nation by the Romans, about forty years
after Christ's resurrection, which, like fire, wholly destroyed that
people, and, like lightning, astonished all their neighbours
but the heavens declare God's righteousness in it, and all the people,
to this day, see his glory, in those lasting monuments of his justice,
the scattered Jews.
3. Idolaters also would be put to confusion by the setting up of
Confounded be all those who serve graven images, the Gentile
world, who did service to those that by nature are no gods
who boasted themselves of idols as their protectors and benefactors.
Did those that served idols boast of them, and shall the servants of
the living God distrust him, or be ashamed of him? Let those be
ashamed that serve graven images.
(1.) This is a prayer for the conversion of the Gentiles, that those
who have been so long serving dumb idols may be convinced of their
error, ashamed of their folly, and may, by the power of Christ's
gospel, be brought to serve the only living and true God, and may be as
much ashamed of their idols as ever they were proud of them. See
(2.) This is a prophecy of the ruin of those that would not be reformed
and reclaimed from their idolatry; they shall be confounded by the
destruction of Paganism in the Roman empire, which was fulfilled about
300 years after Christ, so much to the terror of idolaters that some
think it was the revolution under Constantine that made even the mighty
men say to the rocks, Fall on us and hide us,
This prayer and prophecy are still in force against antichristian
idolaters, who may here read their doom: Confounded be all those
that worship graven images,
|Zion Rejoicing in the Reign of Christ.
8 Zion heard, and was glad; and the daughters of Judah rejoiced
because of thy judgments, O LORD.
9 For thou, LORD, art high above all the earth: thou art
exalted far above all gods.
10 Ye that love the LORD, hate evil: he preserveth the souls of
his saints; he delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked.
11 Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the
upright in heart.
12 Rejoice in the LORD, ye righteous; and give thanks at the
remembrance of his holiness.
The kingdom of the Messiah, like the pillar of cloud and fire, as it
has a dark side towards the Egyptians, so it has a bright side towards
the Israel of God. It is set up in spite of opposition; and then the
earth saw and trembled
but Zion heard and was glad, very glad, to hear of the
conversion of some and of the confusion of others, that is, the
conquest of all that stood it out against Christ. Rejoice greatly,
O daughter of Zion! for behold thy king comes unto thee,
And not Zion only, where the temple was, but even the daughters of
Judah, rejoiced; the common people, the inhabitants of the
villages, they shall triumph in Christ's victories. The command
is, Let the earth rejoice; but it is only the sons of Zion and
the daughters of Judah that do rejoice. All should bid the kingdom of
the Messiah welcome, but few do. Now here observe,
I. The reasons that are given for Zion's joy in the government of the
Redeemer. The faithful servants of God may well rejoice and be
1. Because God is glorified, and whatever redounds to his honour is
very much his people's pleasure. They rejoice because of thy
judgments, O Lord! which may take in both the judgments of his
mouth and the judgments of his hand, the word of his gospel and his
works wrought for the propagating of it, miracles and marvellous
providences; for in these we must own, "Thou, Lord, art high above
all the earth
thou hast manifested thy sovereignty in the kingdom of nature, and thy
command of all its powers, and thy dominion over all nations, over all
hearts; thou art exalted far above all gods" --all deputed gods,
that is, princes--all counterfeit gods, that is, idols. The exaltation
of Christ, and the advancement of God's glory among men thereby, are
the rejoicing of all the saints.
2. Because care is taken for their safety. Those that pay allegiance
to Christ as a King shall be sure of his protection. Princes are the
shields of the earth; Christ is so to his subjects; they may put their
trust under his shadow and rejoice in it, for
He preserves the souls of the saints; he preserves their lives
as long as he has any work for them to do, and wonderfully delivers
them many a time out of the hand of the wicked, their
persecutors that thirst after their blood; for precious in the sight
of the Lord is the death of his saints. But something more is meant
than their lives; for those that will be his disciples must be willing
to lay down their lives, and not indent for the securing of them. It is
the immortal soul that Christ preserves, the inward man,
which may be renewed more and more when the outward man decays.
He will preserve the souls of his saints from sin, from
apostasy, and despair, under their greatest trials; he will deliver
them out of the hands of the wicked one that seeks to devour
them; he will preserve them safely to his heavenly kingdom,
2 Timothy 4:18.
They have therefore reason to be glad, being thus safe.
3. Because provision is made for their comfort. Those that rejoice in
Christ Jesus, and in his exaltation, have fountains of joy treasured up
for them, which will be opened sooner or later
Light is sown for the righteous, that is, gladness for the
upright in heart. The subjects of Christ's kingdom are told to
expect tribulation in the world. They must suffer by its malice, and
must not share in its mirth; yet let them know, to their comfort, that
light is sown for them; it is designed and prepared for them.
What is sown will come up again in due time; though, like a winter
seedness, it may lie long under the clods, and seem to be lost and
buried, yet it will return in a rich and plentiful increase. God's
goodness shall be sure of a harvest in the appointed weeks.
Those that sow in tears shall, without fail, reap in joy,
Christ told his disciples, at parting
You shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into
joy. Gladness is sure to the upright in heart, to those only
that are sincere in religion. The joy of the hypocrite is but for a
moment. There is no serenity without a lasting sincerity,
II. The rules that are given for Zion's joy.
1. Let it be a pure and holy joy. "You that love the Lord Jesus, that
love his appearing and kingdom, that love his word and his
exaltation, see that you hate evil, the evil of sin, every thing that
is offensive to him and will throw you out of his favour." Note, A true
love to God will show itself in a real hatred of all sin, as that
abominable thing which he hates. The joy of the saints should likewise
confirm their antipathy to sin and divine comforts should put their
mouths out of taste for sensual pleasures.
2. Let the joy terminate in God
Rejoice in the Lord, you righteous. Let all the streams of
comfort, which flow to us in the channel of Christ's kingdom, lead us
to the fountain, and oblige us to rejoice in the Lord. All the
lines of joy must meet in him as in the centre. See
3. Let it express itself in praise and thanksgiving: Give thanks at
the remembrance of his holiness. Whatever is the matter of our
rejoicing ought to be the matter of our thanksgiving, and particularly
the holiness of God. Those that hate sin themselves are glad that God
does so, in hopes that therefore he will not suffer it to have dominion
over them. Note,
(1.) We ought to be much in the remembrance of God's holiness, the
infinite purity, rectitude, and perfection of the divine nature. We
must be ever mindful of his holy covenant, which he has confirmed with
an oath by his holiness.
(2.) We ought to give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness, not
only give him the glory of it as it is an honour to him, but give him
thanks for it as it is a favour to us; and an unspeakable favour it
will be if, through grace, we are partakers of his holiness. It
is God's holiness which, above all his attributes, the angels
Holy, holy, holy. Sinners tremble, but saints rejoice, at the
remembrance of God's holiness,