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Synopsis of the Books of the Bible, by John Nelson Darby, [1857-62], at

Psalms Chapter 23

The following commentary covers Psalms 23 and 24.

Psalms 23, 24 go in a certain sense by themselves, giving the perfect confidence in the Shepherd, Jehovah, founded on the experience of what He is in all circumstances; and, secondly, the character of those who would have a part with Jacob. The two principles we have seen brought out as to Christ in Psalms 16, 17 (and shown in many others); confidence in the faithfulness of Jehovah, and the practical righteousness which characterizes those who will stand in Jehovah's holy place in the time of His millennial glory. But Jehovah Himself takes His place there as King of glory. This gives us the divine side in all its perfectness, of the principle of the path and the result in glory on earth both as to the remnant, Christ, and Jehovah with the blessed witness that on one side He took a place and part with the remnant in' their divinely-given path, and on the other with Jehovah, for He was really a man, but really Jehovah; the daysman that laid his hand upon both.

But we must examine them a little more closely. The comfort of Psalm 23 is not in what Jehovah gives, but in Himself. He does it is the natural fruit of His grace at all times and will be the result make us to lie down in green pastures, and lead us beside the waters of peace: pleasant food where there can be no drought, security in enjoying it, and guidance in divine refreshings in peace. Such is the portion given by His shepherd care; but still it is Himself as that which gives confidence and takes away care. Evil is come in: we have to feel it we in ourselves, Christ in all that was around Him; so that He could be full of sorrow and troubled we alas! more than that. The Good Shepherd (and Christ is such for us) restores the soul, and leads us in paths of righteousness for His name's sake. The blessing depends on what He is, not on what we have got. I have blessing indeed, and learn it in green pastures; but, if troubled or gone astray, He restores. And not only sorrow and evil had come in with sin, but death too. Then He comes and leads me through it and comforts me. But there are enemies to meet. I have a table spread, on which I feast in their very presence. And how comforting this is to the Christian also! Hence, as it is Jehovah Himself, and not our circumstances, the soul has to depend on, it can say "Thou anointest my head with oil: my cup runneth over." When I have contemplated all the pains and difficulties of the way, I have Jehovah Himself more distinctly as the blessing. Hence I can count on it for ever, for He changes not. Experienced in the past, in all the effects of the power of the enemy, and knowing what He Himself has been for me in them, I can reckon on it in the future and at all times. The end of the Lord's dealings will be our dwelling with Him for ever. The blessing thus, though less apparent, is much deeper and more personal, at the close; and, as we have said, the soul rests on Jehovah known in all circumstances, not in the blessing it was natural to Him to give.

An exercised soul thus has in result a far deeper blessing than an outwardly blessed one. So the result for Israel still I more for us entis more than the green pastures, in which originally Jehovah set him. It is the deep knowledge in a tried heart of the faithfulness of Jehovah: and thus, according to the blessing of His own nature, the rest will be His rest. The green pastures were suited to sheep; but the anointed head, and the cup running over, and the house of Jehovah for ever, were what suited Him who dwelt there. Such is the result, for the remnant, of trusting Jehovah, when the green pastures are for the time, at any rate, lost. Such will follow the Lamb. For us Christ is the Shepherd. We suffer with Him, and we have yet better blessing. The Shepherd's care is there meanwhile under another form.

Psalm 24 gives, as we have seen, the other part of the condition of the remnant as to the good that is working in them what grace produced in them. Jehovah was the Shepherd by the way. At the end the earth and the fullness of it are His the world and those who dwell therein. Heaven does not here directly enter into the scene on the road, nor at the end of it; but Jehovah has a special place, a hill more especially His own, in the earth. Who shall ascend into it? We then get their character clean hands, a pure heart. No idol-following heart, no false oath with his neighbor. Such shall be blessed. That is the generation, the real character of those who seek Jacob; for in Jacob is God's seat. They seek Jacob as the blessed people of Jehovah; but, if such ascend into the holy hill, and enter into the holy place, the crowning blessing is that Jehovah Himself enters in at the unfolded gates to dwell there. The victorious Lord Jehovah of hosts enters in. It is Christ Himself who took the place of His sheep to go before them, and has the place of Jehovah, as that which is His by right, and in which He is owned when the fullness of blessing comes in and is revealed.

This closes the development of Christ's place in connection with the remnant, first formally entered upon in Psalm 16. We have now to go through the position of the remnant on a new ground and a different footing.

Next: Psalms Chapter 24