Saturday, October 10, 2009

10-10 Psalm 89:19-37 David and the Haters

[David the Shepherd boy]
Devotional using scripture, quote from John Calvin and thoughts for the day each day- on the 500th anniversary of Calvin's birth.

19. Then thou spakest in vision to thy meek ones. The Psalmist now
declares at greater length why he said that the king, set over the chosen
people for the preservation of the public good, was given them from
heaven; namely, because he was not chosen by the suffrages of men, nor
usurped at his own hand the supreme power, nor insinuated himself into it
by corrupt arts, but was elected by God to be the instrument of
maintaining the public good, and performed the duties of his office under
the auspices and conduct of God. The design of the prophet, as we shall
shortly see more clearly, is to distinguish this Divinely-appointed king
from all other kings. Although what Paul teaches in <451301>Romans 13:1, is
true, “There is no power but of God;” yet there was a great difference
between David and all earthly kings who have acquired sovereign power
by worldly means. God had delivered the scepter to his servant David
immediately with his own hand, so to speak, and had seated him on the
royal throne by his own authority. The particle za, az, which properly
signifies then, is taken also for long since, or in old time. The meaning,
therefore, is, that whereas some are born kings, succeeding their fathers by
right of inheritance, and some are elevated to the royal dignity by election,
while others acquire it for themselves by violence and force of arms, God
was the founder of this kingdom, having chosen David to the throne by his
own voice. Farther, although he revealed his purpose to Samuel, yet as the
plural number is here used, implying, that the same oracle had been
delivered to others, we may certainly conclude that it had been
communicated to other prophets that they might be able, with one
consent, to bear testimony that David was created king by the Divine
appointment. And, indeed, as other distinguished and celebrated prophets
lived at that time, it is not very probable that a matter of so great
importance was concealed from them. But Samuel alone is named in this
business, because he was the publisher of the Divine oracle and the
minister of the royal anointing. As God in those days spake to his
prophets either by dreams or by visions, this last mode of revelation is
here mentioned.
There next follows the substance or amount of the Divine oracle, That
God had furnished with help the strong or mighty one whom he had
chosen to be the supreme head and governor of the kingdom. David is
called strong, not because naturally and in himself he excelled in strength,
(for, as is well known, he was of small stature, and despised among his
brethren, so that even Samuel passed him over with neglects) but because
God, after having chosen him, endued him with new strength, and other
distinguished qualities suitable for a king; even as in a parallel case, when
Christ chose his apostles, he not only honored them with the title, but at
the same time bestowed the gifts which were necessary for executing their
office. And at the present day he imparts to his ministers the same grace
of his Spirit. The strength of David, then, of which mention is here made,
was the effect of his election; for God, in creating him king, furnished him
at the same time with strength adequate for the preservation of the people.
This appears still more distinctly from the second clause, where this
invincible strength is traced to its source: I have exalted one chosen from
among the people. All the words are emphatic. When God declares that he
exalted him, it is to intimate the low and mean condition in which David
lived, unknown and obscure, before God stretched out his hand to him. To
the same effect is the expression which follows, from among the people.
The meaning is, that he was at that time unnoted, and belonged to the
lowest class of the people, and gave no indications of superior excellence,
being the least esteemed of his father’s children, in whose country cottage
he held the humble office of a herdsman. fc541 By the word chosen, God
calls us back to the consideration of his own free will, as if he forbade us
to seek for any other cause of David’s exaltation than his own good
20. I have found David my servant. The prophet confirms the same
proposition, That there was nothing of royalty in David, who owed all to
the sovereignty of God in preventing him by his grace. Such is the import
of the word found, as if God had said, When I took him to elevate him, this
proceeded entirely from my free goodness. The name servant, therefore,
does not denote any merit, but is to be referred to the divine call. It is as if
God had said, that he confirmed and ratified by his authority the sovereign
power of David; and if He approved it, its legitimacy is placed beyond all
doubt. The second clause of the verse affords an additional confirmation of
God’s free election: With my holy oil have I anointed him. This anointing,
which was not the fruit of David’s own policy, but which he obtained
contrary to all expectation, was the cause of his elevation to the estate of
royalty. God then having of himself, and according to his mere good
pleasure, anticipated David, that he might anoint him king by the hand of
Samuel, he justly declares that he found him. It is afterwards added, that he
will be the guardian and protector of this kingdom of which he was the
founder; for it is not his usual way to abandon his works after having
commenced them, but, on the contrary, to carry them forward by a
continued process of improvement to their completion.
22. The enemy shall not exact upon him. fc542 Here it is declared in express
terms, that although David may not be without enemies, the power of God
will be always ready to maintain and defend him, that he may not be
oppressed with unrighteous violence. It is accordingly affirmed, that David
will not be tributary to his enemies, as he who is vanquished in battle is
constrained to grant such conditions of peace as his conqueror may dictate,
however injurious to himself these may be. When his enemies are called
sons of iniquity, it is tacitly intimated, that this government will be so
exempt from tyranny and extortion, that whoever shall attempt to
overthrow it will be involved in the perpetration of wrong and wickedness.
The amount is, that David and his successors will be so secure and
strongly fortified by the divine protection, that it will be impossible for
their enemies to treat them as they would wish. In regard to the fact, that
God suffered this kingdom to be greatly afflicted, so that David’s
successors were constrained to pay a vast amount of tribute to foreign and
heathen kings, it is not at variance with this promise; for, although the
power of the kingdom was reduced, it was enough that the root still
remained, until Christ came, in whose hand the kingdom was at length
firmly established. As both the king and the people wickedly rejected this
singular blessing of God, the kingdom was often shaken through their own
default, afterwards impaired, and finally ruined. Yet God, to confirm his
oracle concerning the perpetuity of this kingdom, ceased not all along to
cherish and preserve some hope, by contending against their ingratitude.
Besides, when mention is made of David’s haters and oppressors, it is
intimated, that this throne will not be privileged with exemption from
annoyances and troubles, inasmuch as there will be always some who will
rise up in hostility against it, unless God set himself in opposition to

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