The Treasury of David is one of several C.H. Spurgeon books that are in the public domain. If you propose to study the Psalms, I suggest you download this as a companion for your other references.
Title. A Psalm of David, Maschil. That David wrote this gloriously evangelic Psalm is proved not only by this heading, but by the words of the apostle Paul, in Romans 4:6-8. “Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, “&c. Probably his deep repentance over his great sin was followed by such blissful peace, that he was led to pour out his spirit in the soft music of this choice song. In the order of history it seems to follow the fifty-first. Maschil is a new title to us, and indicates that this is an instructive or didactic Psalm. The experience of one believer affords rich instruction to others, it reveals the footsteps of the flock, and so comforts and directs the weak. Perhaps it was important in this case to prefix the word, that doubting saints might not imagine the Psalm to be the peculiar utterance of a singular individual, but might appropriate it to themselves as a lesson from the Spirit of God. David promised in the fifty-first Psalm to teach transgressors the Lord’s ways, and here he does it most effectually. Grotius thinks that this Psalm was meant to be sung on the annual day of the Jewish expiation, when a general confession of their sins was made.
Division. In our reading we have found it convenient to note the benediction of the pardoned, Psalms 32:1-2; David’s personal confession, Psalms 32:3-5; and the application of the case to others, Psalms 32:6-7. The voice of God is heard by the forgiven one in Psalms 32:8-9; and the Psalm then concludes with a portion for each of the two great classes of men, Psalms 32:10-11.
The Treasury of David.
Thou art my hiding place. Terse, short sentences make up this verse, but they contain a world of meaning. Personal claims upon our God are the joy of spiritual life. To lay our hand upon the Lord with the clasp of a personal “my” is delight at its full. Observe that the same man who in the fourth verse was oppressed by the presence of God, here finds a shelter in him. See what honest confession and full forgiveness will do! The gospel of substitution makes him to be our refuge who otherwise would have been our judge. Thou shalt preserve me from trouble. Trouble shall do me no real harm when the Lord is with me, rather it shall bring me much benefit, like the file which clears away the rust, but does not destroy the metal. Observe the three tenses, we have noticed the sorrowful past, the last sentence was a joyful present, this is a cheerful future. Thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. What a golden sentence! The man is encircled in song, surrounded by dancing mercies, all of them proclaiming the triumphs of grace. There is no breach in the circle, it completely rings him round; on all sides he hears music. Before him hope sounds the cymbals, and behind him gratitude beats the timbrel. Right and left, above and beneath, the air resounds with joy, and all this for the very man who, a few weeks ago, was roaring all the day long. How great a change! What wonders grace has done and still can do! Selah. There was a need of a pause, for love so amazing needs to be pondered, and joy so great demands quiet contemplation, since language fails to express it.
Thou art my hiding place. David does not say, “Thou art a hiding place” merely, as one among many; or the “hiding place, “as the only one; but, “Thou art my hiding place.” There lies all the excellency of the text. “He is mine; I have embraced the offer of his salvation, “says David; “I have applied to him in my own person: I have, as a sinner, taken shelter in his love and compassion; I have placed myself under his wings; I have covered myself with the robe of his righteousness; and now, therefore, I am safe.” “Blessed is the man whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.” This is having a part and a lot in the matter, having the personal and individual benefit of the Saviour’s work of atonement. How different is an appropriating from a speculative faith! Men tell us that they believe the doctrine, that they acknowledge the truth, that they assent to our creed; and they say, that to declare to them the character of Christ as the sinner’s only help and safety, is merely putting before them what they already know. Now, follow up the idea suggested by the figure in our text, and see the folly and danger of acting thus. Suppose a traveller upon a bleak and exposed heath to be alarmed by the approach of a storm. He looks out for shelter. But if his eye discern a place to hide him from the storm, does he stand still and say, “I see there is a shelter, and therefore I may remain where I am”? Does he not betake himself to it? Does he not run, in order to escape the stormy wind and tempest? It was a “hiding place” before; but it was his hiding place only when he ran into it, and was safe. Had he not gone into it, though it might have been a protection to a thousand other travellers who resorted there, to him it would have been as if no such place existed. Who does not see at once, from this simple illustration, that the blessings of the gospel are such only in their being appropriated to the soul? The physician can cure only by being applied to; the medicine can heal only by being taken; money can enrich only by being possessed; and the merchantman in the parable would have been none the wealthier for discovering that there was a “pearl of great price, “had he not made it his. So with the salvation of the gospel: if Christ is the “Balm in Gilead, “apply the remedy; if he is the “physician there, “go to him; if he is the “pearl of great price, “sell all that you have and buy it; and if he is the “hiding place, “run into it and be safe; there will be no solid joy and peace in the mind until he is your “hiding place.” Fountain Elwin, 1842.
Thou art my hiding place. An allusion, probably, to the city of refuge. Adam Clarke.
Hiding place. Kirke White has a beautiful hymn upon this word, beginning, “Awake, sweet harp of Judah, wake.” We have no room to quote it, but it will be found in “Our Own Hymn Book,” No. 381.
Thou shalt preserve me from trouble. If we content ourselves with that word which our translators have chosen here, trouble, we must rest in one of these two senses; either that God shall arm, and indue those that are his with such a constancy, as those things that trouble others shall not trouble them; but, “As the sufferings of Christ abound in them, so their consolation also aboundeth by Christ:” “As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold we live; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things” 2 Corinthians 1:5, 6:9; for God uses both these ways in the behalf of his servants—sometimes to suspend the working of that that should work their torment, as he suspended the rage of the lions for Daniel, and the heat of the fire in the furnace for the others; sometimes by imprinting a holy stupefaction and insensibleness in the person that suffers; so St. Lawrence was not only patient, but merry and facetious when he lay broiling upon the fire, and so we read of many other martyrs that have been less moved, less affected with their torments than their executioners or their persecutors have been. That which troubled others never troubled them; or else the phrase must have this sense, that though they be troubled with their troubles, though God submit them so far to the common condition of men, that they be sensible of them, yet he shall preserve them from that trouble so as that it shall never overthrow them, never sink them into a dejection of spirit, or diffidence in his mercy! they shall find storms, but a stout and strong ship under foot; they shall feel thunder and lightning, but garlands of triumphant bays shall preserve them; they shall be trodden into earth with scorns and contempt, but yet as seed is buried, to multiply to more. So far this word of our translators assists our devotion, Thou shalt preserve me from trouble, thou shalt make me insensible of it, or thou shalt make me victorious in it. John Donne.
Thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. In these words the prophet David riseth up by a gradation, and goeth beyond that which he had formerly said concerning his confidence in God. First, he had said that God was his hiding place; secondly, that he would preserve him in trouble; and now, thirdly, that the Lord would make him joyful, and to triumph over his troubles and enemies, by compassing him, instead of troubles, with mercies… Learn to acknowledge God’s goodness to thyself with particular application, as David saith here, “Thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance.” Not only confess his goodness to others, as to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob; nor only his deliverance of Noah, Daniel, Lot; but also his mercies to and deliverance of thyself, as Paul did: “Christ gave himself for me, and died for me.” Galatians 2:20. This will exceedingly whet up thankfulness; whereas only to acknowledge God good in himself, or to others, and not to thyself, will make thee murmur and repine. Thomas Taylor.
Thou shalt compass me about. This word imports, that as we are besieged on every side with troubles, so we are compassed with as many comforts and deliverances; as our crosses grow daily, so our consolations are augmented day by day. We are on every side offended and on every side defended; therefore we ought on every side to sound God’s praise, as David saith, “Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me.” Psalms 103:1. Archibald Symson.
Songs of deliverance. In that he will not be content only with thanks, but also will have them conjoined with songs, he letteth us see how high all the strings of his heart are bent that he cannot contain himself for the mercies of God to his church, and for his manifold deliverances for the same. Many sing praises to God with an half open mouth; and, albeit, they can sing aloud any filthy ballad in their house, they make the mean, I warrant you, in the church, that scarce can they hear the sound of their own voice. I think they be ashamed to proclaim and show forth God’s praises, or they fear to deafen God by their loud singing; but David bent all his forces within and without to praise his God. Archibald Symson.
Danger felt, refuge known, possession claimed, joy experienced.
(first sentence).—Christ, a hiding place from sin, Satan, and sorrow, in death and at judgment.
(second sentence).—Troubles from which saints shall be preserved.
(last sentence).—The circle of song—who draws the circle, what is the circumference, who is in the centre.
Songs of deliverance. From guilt, hell, death, enemies, doubts, temptations, accidents, plots, etc.
The divine schoolmaster, his pupils, their lessons, their chastisements and their rewards.
The Treasury of David.
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