The Treasury of David

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The Treasury of David is one of several C.H. Spurgeon books in the public domain. If you propose to study the Psalms, I suggest you download this as a companion for your other references.

Psalm 74

Explanatory Notes and Quaint Sayings
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TITLE. Maschil of Asaph. An instructive Psalm by Asaph. The history of the suffering church is always edifying; when we see how the faithful trusted and wrestled with their God in times of dire distress, we are thereby taught how to behave ourselves under similar circumstances; we learn moreover, that when fiery trial befalls us, no strange thing happened unto us, we are following the trail of the host of God.

DIVISION. From Ps 74:1-11 the poet pleads the sorrows of the nation, and the despite done to the assemblies of the Lord; then he urges former displays of divine power as a reason for present deliverance (Ps 74:12-23). Whether it is a prophetic Psalm, intended for use in troubles foreseen, or whether it was written by a later Asaph, after the invasion by Sennacherib or during the Maccabean wars, it would be very hard to determine, but we see no difficulty in the first supposition.


Verse 16. Day. Night. These changes are according to a fixed law. Day and night are the ordinances of heaven upon earth for the growth of earth’s life, and, if we could trace the sunshine and the dark in every follower of God, we should see them arranged with equal wisdom. It is a more complex work, but, be sure of this, there is order in it all, and the hand that rules the world in its orbit, and that makes it fulfill its course through light and shade, is governing our lives for a higher than the earthly end. One feature of the law is presented so far for our guidance. It is a law of alternation. It is day and night, and, let us thank God, it is also in due time night and day. Each has its time and use. John Ker. 1869.

Verse 16. Thou hast prepared the light. It is but recently that we have been able to form any conception of the power of light as an agent in the economy of the globe; the discoveries of Actinism are among the most interesting and marvelous of natural science. The discovery that “no substance can be exposed to the sun’s rays without undergoing a chemical change, “has been described as scarcely less important in its effects than the discovery of the law of gravitation. A sunbeam is one of the most powerful of all the agencies of nature; magical as it is, it breaks up the strongest chemical affinities; it is the author of color, and it is the creator of myriad combinations, which all tend to the harmony of the world. Nor ought we to forget the moral influence of light. We are all aware of the sensible difference produced in our moral natures by a fine day or a dark day. Light gives zest and tone to the spirits; light gives buoyancy and joy to the soul; light crowds the chambers of the mind with ideas; Light is Life: the merest insect could not live without light; and even blind natures receive, in those organs which are not the property of vision, the assurance of its benignant operations. Light is Order: and at its wand and command the separation takes place and dark and light pair off into their separate ranks. Light is Beauty: whether in the refulgence of the moon; the chill sparkle of the stars; the unrivaled play of colors in the attenuated film of the soap bubble, at once the toy of childhood and the tool of the sage; the rich play of tints in the mother of pearl, or the rich gorgeous rays in the plumes of birds. Light is Purity: forms that rankle out of the glance of its clear, steady beam, contract around themselves loathness and disgust, and become the seats of foulness and shame. Light is Growth: where it is, we know that nature pursues her work in life and in vigor; light gives vitality to the sap; light removes obstructions from the pathway of the growing agencies, while, in its absence, forms become stunted, gnarled, and impaired. Light is Health: as it darts its clear and brilliant points to and fro, it brings in its train those blessings of elasticity and energy, which give the fulness of being—which is perfect health to the expanding forms. There is a fine consistency, when Scripture makes light to contain, as it were, the seeds of all things, and when the prelude of all creation is made to be those words, “God said, Let there be light.” This, then, is the part light is made to play in the history of the world; it is used by moral power to become the creator of moral influence. What a long series of creations elapsed before moral causes seemed to operate in the affairs of the globe! But he, whose nature and whose names are Light, had given to light its distinct being and work; and that creative word, “Let there be light, “spoke right forwards to the moral energies which were to be superinduced by its creation. Thus light, it is true, went before all things, and became the cause of moral consequences; but then, this arose from the divine hand, whence darted its benevolent beams. It was God who gave it its divine commission, to divine between light and darkness; it was God who made it the fountain of knowledge and of the day; it was God who gave to it the faculty to become, in turn, a creator, and to warm into life and beauty myriad seeds and shape of loveliness. E. Paxton Hood.


Singing Psalms 74

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