He sent redemption to his people;
he has commanded his covenant forever.
Holy and awesome is his name!
Psalm 111:9 ESV
Why turn to a 19th century preacher (Charles Spurgeon) for comments on the Psalms and their application to life in the 21st century? Aren’t there contemporary voices that speak with a better understanding of life as we Christians live it in the here and now? Well, the answer to that second question is, I think, both yes, and no. Of course there are helpful contemporary voices; Tim Keller for instance in My Rock My Refuge; Derek Kidner in his Tyndale Commentary; and, as they used to say in the commercials on late night television, ‘that’s not all; there’s more!’ But is their understanding of the Psalms, is their understanding of the struggles and the joys of life, necessarily better than the understanding of men and women of the past? Well, no, not necessarily (and I am sure they would be the first to agree). So we are blessed to be able to turn to both because, in the end, they all turn back to the one source, the Psalms themselves; the inspired songs of sinners (like ourselves) composed in their own times of deepest distress, and of almost unutterable joy. After all, God, their God and ours, is the same, ‘yesterday, today and forever’, and he has ‘commanded his covenant forever’. Personally (I understand not all will feel this way) I find the older style of Spurgeon a helpful boost to my imagination, to my grasp of this timeless, eternal, aspect of the Psalms and their relevance to me today. So, here are some comments from Charles Spurgeon on Psalm 111:9…
Spurgeon wrote…. “The Lord’s people delight …. to contemplate the antiquity of that covenant, remembering that before the day-star knew its place, or planets ran their round, the interests of the saints were made secure in Christ Jesus. …. They delight to celebrate it as “signed, and sealed, and ratified, in all things ordered well.” …. to think of its immutability, as a covenant which neither time nor eternity, life nor death, shall ever be able to violate–a covenant as old as eternity and as everlasting as the Rock of ages.
“…. for they see in it all things provided for them. God is their portion, Christ their companion, the Spirit their Comforter, earth their lodge, and heaven their home. They see in it an inheritance reserved and entailed to every soul possessing an interest in its ancient and eternal deed of gift. …. bequeathed to them!
“More especially it is the pleasure of God’s people to contemplate the graciousness of this covenant. They see that the law was made void because it was a covenant of works and depended upon merit, but this they perceive to be enduring because grace is the basis, grace the condition, grace the strain, grace the bulwark, grace the foundation, grace the topstone. The covenant is a treasury of wealth, a granary of food, a fountain of life, a store-house of salvation, a charter of peace, and a haven of joy.”
From Charles Spurgeon in Morning and Evening.