A Psalm, a Song of the Dedication of the House; by David. The title refers to the occasion on which the write was moved by the Holy Spirit to take up his harp and touch its plaintively pleasant strings.
It is supposed that "the house of David" means that house or Temple which David wished to have built for the Lord - a house of cedar, a house for my name - 2 Sam 7:7-13.
This house David was not allowed to build; but he was permitted to fix upon the place where it would be built and to dedicate that spot.
This was Ornan's threshing floor on Mount Moriah. The case is recorded in 1 Chron 21:1. The circumstances are altogether such as to furnish a fit occasion for a psalm, whose strains are melancholy intermixed with the gladsome and the bright.
The plague that followed the sin of numbering the people had brought the Psalmist low, to the very gates of death, for the sword was suspended over his head; but the voice that uttered: "it is enough" lifted him up again.
The morning of that day rose in clouds and portentous gloom but its setting sun shed its sweetest rays on Jerusalem from a sapphire sky, and left a forgiven people and a forgiven king reposing in the restored favour of Jehovah.
Our David could take up these strains and adopt them as his own. There was a time when his sacrifice was offered and the temple of his body accepted by the Father.
He too had been low and had been lifted up (v1); had cried and been healed (v2); had been brought up from among the dead (v3). Who could call on men so well as He to sing to Jehovah (v4) and celebrate the memorial of his holiness, that is to celebrate whatever called that holiness to mind, and kept it before men.
Was it not holiness that shone out most brightly in all his suffering? Was it not holiness that shone through the darkness of Calvary? "But you are holy!" was that not the comforting thought that upheld him on the cross? If the Lord's sore judgement on Israel when 70,000 were cut off for one sin showed David how holy the Lord was, surely infinitely more did the outpoured fierceness of wrath manifest on our David, and to all who are his saints.
Yet even as that wrath was not eternal, for the angel put up his sword in its sheath, so that anger poured out on the true David, "endured but a moment," and his resurrection morning was all joy (v5). And once past, it never returns.
Established on the Rock that never changes, He was able to say,
"In my prosperity, I shall never be moved."
"You, Lord, have imparted strength to my mountains by your love" (v6,7).
Once "you did hide your face and I was troubled." and my prayer then was the prayer of one who sought your glory even under gloom, and who pleaded that "your truth" was pledged to deliver me. And you did deliver, with such a deliverance as calls for everlasting praise, and for praise which never has a break in it from this time and for evermore.
At the resurrection morning Christ began to enter into this joy, for it was then that the Father distinctly said: It is enough! Stay your hand - fulfilling the Type given in the angel's sword put up into its scabbard at the sport where "The House" was dedicated. But no one of his members, all of whom have been (v2) headed, can fail to find in this Psalm very much that suits their own experience.
They have had their moment of anger. When the Lord awoke them, and made them know their guilt, and dropped on their conscience a drop of wrath that might make them cry vehemently for deliverance, though He meant soon to wipe it off.
Each of "his holy ones" has known this "Moment of anger," followed by "life in his favour" from the hour when his anger was turned away. From that time forth they have had their "night of weeping" often, but never any more anger.
They have had their sorrows, weeping has lodged in their dwellings often, and they have walked through many a howling wilderness; but it was always followed by a morning of joy, some sweet beams of love and favour making them feel night turning into day.
They are expecting very soon their Resurrection Morning, when unmingled joy comes, joy like that of their Lord's at his resurrection. It is them, that they will, in the highest sense, sit on their Rock of Ages and have their shouting for joy at morning, singing such a song as this:
"I am in peace. I shall never been moved."
"O Lord, you have given strength to my mountain by your love." - Mountain, Zion the seat of royalty.
"Once you did hide your face and I was troubled."
"And I called to you, O Lord."
"And I made more supplication."
"What profit is there in my blood?"
"Shall the dust praise you?"
"Would your faithfulness not be honoured in saving the chief of sinners?"
"And now you have turned for me mourning to dancing;"
"You have put off my sackcloth and girded me with gladness,"
"In order that my glory may sing praise to you, and not be silent."
And with one accord all the holy ones join in the concluding burst of rapturous gratitude, the true David himself leading the song - O Lord, my God, I will give thanks to you for ever!
So comes to a blessed close this song of the righteous, which we may call, not improperly: The Song of the Righteous concerning the Night of Weeping and the Morning of Joy.