"A Psalm of David; a true song," is the import of the title, thus describing the tone that prevails throughout.
Possibly (as some thing) it was composed at Passover time, when the sheaf of first fruits of barley harvest used to be offered.
Every note in this song tells the feeling of a happy soul reviewing the past, and seeing mercy abounding then and now. Messiah and his redeemed ones - the Lamb and his 144,00 - might sing it on their Mount Zion, and we may sing it now.
The Head leads the choice, and this is the substance of the song - "O God, praise is thine!" such praise as leaves the worshipper "silent," because the theme is too great for his harp to handle.
"To you belongs silent-praise;" praise without any tumult (Alexander.) It was been said, "The most intense feeling is the most calm, being condensed by repression." And Hooker says of the prayer, "The very silence which our unworthiness puts us into does itself make request for us, and that in the confidence of his grace. Looking inward, we are stricken dumb; looking upward, we speak and prevail" (v48,4). Horsley renders it, "Upon you is the repose of prayer."
Now is the vow performed to you! "O Hearer of Prayer, to you (yes, even as far as to You), the Holiest of all, all flesh are coming now."
Our iniquities (iniquities which have been imputed to our Head) once prevailed against us (as Gen 7:24) like the waters of the deluge, surmounting the highest hills; but you purge them away, and we sing, "Blessed is the man whom you cause to approach to you as a priest" (Num 16:8). Yes, blessed indeed for he shall dwell in your courts, and there be satisfied with good; your house, your holy place yielding him its heavenly stores.
When we cried to you, terrible things (thing of such surpassing glory and majesty as spread awe around) were your answer.
You were God of salvation, displaying your grace in such a way as to draw the confidence of all ends of earth. Creator, too, setting fast the mountains! And God of providence, stilling the raging waves of the most tumultuous sea, and by your wonderful signs (tokens) causing distant lands, the lands of the setting and rising sun, the east and the west, to fear and to rejoice.
And now let us sing together of the crowning act of all, displaying grace, creation, and providence in one - your dealings with this Earth, which you will renew into paradise.
Once we sang, "What is man that you visited him?" and now we sing "You visit his dwelling place, and make it teem with plenty!" Yes, "You have the earth under your care, and water it."
"The fountain of God has plenty of waters" (Hengstenberg)
You prepare (Horsley, make sure) their corn, for you have prepared!" (v9)
What a table spread with abundance is that once barren earth! It is "thus you deal as God, with infinite liberality." The soaking rain descends on her furrowed fields.
"You lay down its ploughed fields;
You moisten it with showers;
You bless the springing up/
You have crowned the year, so as to make it a year of goodness;
Your chariot-wheels drop fatness.
They drop on the wilderness which has pastures now (meadow-lands);
The hills are girded with gladness."
What a changed world! And every season we see some thing of this exhibited. But the yearly return of spring and summer after winter is an emblem of Earth's summer day, when it shall be renewed. Then, even more than now, it shall be sung:
"The pastures are clad with flocks;
The valleys are covered over with corn.
They shout for job! they break out into song!"
Who does not seem, in reading this majestic Psalm, to hear the very melody that issues from the happy people of that New Earth? Originally it may have been sung as a "Psalm of David, a lively song," at a Feast of Tabernacles, when Israel's happy land and prosperous tribes furnished a scene that naturally suggested the future days of a renewed earth - earth's golden age returned.
It is, however, on a much higher key than this; it is a Song of the Lamb, while he leads his glorified ones to fountains of living water, and shows them their old world presenting at length a counterpart to heaven - all paradise again, and better than paradise.
Is it not then, Prayers exchanged for praises because of blessings showered on Earth!