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Meditations on Psalm LI
A Just God and a Saviour (verses 14, 15).
pp. 199, 200
A peculiar feature of Hebrew poetry is the rhyming of thought rather than that of
sound. There is no example in the poetry of the Scriptures where `face' rhymes with
`grace', so far as the actual sound is concerned, but the balancing of thought which is
much deeper is a characteristic of Hebrew poetry. For example as we have picked upon
`face' and `grace' the following will illustrate the point.
"The Lord make His face to shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee;
The Lord lift up His countenance upon thee, and give thee peace."
Examples of this repetition of thought can be found at every turn in Hebrew poetry.
It is before us in Psa. 51::
"Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation;
And uphold me with Thy free spirit.
Then will I teach transgressors Thy ways;
And sinners shall be converted unto Thee.
Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, . . . . .
And my tongue shall sing aloud of Thy righteousness.
O Lord, open Thou my lips;
And my mouth shall shew forth thy praise."
The alternation, correspondence and expansion of thought is evident to all who read,
and too beautiful to spoil by any attempt at dissection. The doctrine contained and
enforced by this means claims our attention and to its consideration we now turn. As a
consequence of being restored and upheld, David could become a teacher of others, who
like himself had fallen by the way. As a consequence of being delivered, his tongue he
said would sing aloud of the Lord's righteousness, or as a consequence of opened lips, his
mouth would declare the praise of the Lord.
"Thy ways . . . . . Thy righteousness . . . . . Thy praise."
"Thy ways", taught to transgressors that they may repent, return and walk therein;
"Thy righteousness", proclaimed that the plan of salvation may be seen in all its glory;
"Thy praise", rendering to such a Saviour and such a God, the glory due to His name.
David who knew the law of Moses, as few men have done since, knew that for murder,
no provision had been made.
"Ye shall take no satisfaction for the life of a murderer, which is guilty of death: but
he shall be surely put to death" (Numb. 35: 31).
His own impetuous judgment and Nathan's denunciation would be in his ears:
"As the Lord liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall surely die"; "And Nathan
said to David, Thou art the man" (II Sam. 12: 5-7).