Nuggets Dug from the Psalms Goldmine

Daily Treasure prepared by James M. Renihan

“Among the godly Israelites the biography of their nation was preserved by oral tradition, with great diligence and accuracy…The main point of the history transmitted from father to son was the work of God; it is the core of history, and therefore no man who is a stranger to the Lord’s work can write history accurately…Those who are taught to see God in history have learned a good lesson from their fathers, and no son of believing parents should be left in ignorance of so holy an art.”  – Charles Spurgeon

Daily Treasure is a collection of daily readings on the Psalms, excerpted from The Treasury of David by Charles Spurgeon. The Treasury of David is a commentary on the Psalms and is a useful resource for pastors and preachers, or a good study aid if you really want to delve into a deep study of the Psalms. Dr. Renihan has done a wonderful job of mining out gems from Spurgeon’s work and editing and compiling them into a collection of daily devotional readings. Renihan observes regarding The Treasury of David,

The whole range of sanctified emotions may be found in the Psalms, and in this work Spurgeon has helped to make them accessible to every believer. Drawing from the vault of his unique wisdom and experience, as well as his superb gifts as an expositor,… he has constructed an almost unending source of benefit for devotional mediation.

Daily Treasure is a great tool for helping the reader to profit from one of the most beloved books of the Bible. Psalms teaches much about David and his God. David was a simple shepherd boy, a mighty warrior, and a great king, but he was also a passionate man and a humble, repentant sinner. Spurgeon observes, “David’s case is not recorded for our imitation, but for our learning,” a subtle but important distinction. Certainly David made some serious mistakes and bad choices in his life, committing worse sins (by man’s estimation) probably than most of us. And yet, remarkably David is said to be a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22). How many of us can honestly say that about ourselves?

One of the things I most appreciate about Spurgeon’s comments on the Psalms is his insight and ability to see Christ depicted there as David’s greater Son and Lord. In some Psalms this is more clearly and readily seen, for instance Psalm 22, which begins with the well-known line, “My God, my God why have you forsaken me?” and contains this passage:

“I am poured out like water, And all my bones are out of joint;
My heart is like wax; It is melted within me.
My strength is dried up like a potsherd, And my tongue cleaves to my jaws;
And You lay me in the dust of death.
For dogs have surrounded me; A band of evildoers has encompassed me;
They pierced my hands and my feet.
I can count all my bones.
They look, they stare at me; They divide my garments among them,
And for my clothing they cast lots.”

Another example is Psalm 69, where we read the following:

“Because of your sake I have borne reproach; dishonor has covered my face.
I have become estranged from my brothers and an alien to my mother’s sons.
For zeal for your house has consumed me, and the reproaches of those who reproach you have fallen on me…”

“Reproach has broken my heart and I am so sick.
And I looked for sympathy but there was none, and for comforters, but I found none.
They also gave me gall for my food, and for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.”

In places such as these David’s Psalms are obvious foreshadowings of Christ, the Man of Sorrows and Suffering Servant who would die to redeem His people. In Psalms such as 2, 21, 61 and 72 we can see reference to Jesus as God’s Anointed One, the only eternal, righteous King, whose throne and name will endure forever. In Psalm 15, Christ is the Perfect Man, and in 45 we see Christ as the bridegroom King, the “royal husband” of his bride, the Church. While in Psalm 23, “the Lord is My Shepherd,” in Psalm 24, He is depicted as both the King of glory and as “the Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle.” Consider these reflections by Spurgeon in his comments on Psalm 24:

“Who shall be permitted to enter into [the King’s] royal presence? God has made all, but he will not save all; there is a chosen company who shall have the singular honor of dwelling with him in his high abode…Certainly none may venture to commune with God upon the footing of the law, but grace can made us fit to behold the vision of the divine presence…We must not suppose that the persons who are described in this way by their inward and outward holiness are saved by the merit of their works; but their works are the evidence by which they are known. The fifth verse shows that in the saints grace reigns and grace alone.”

“The Lord of hosts, Lord of men and angels Lord of the Universe, Lord of the Worlds, is the King of glory. All true glory is concentrated upon the true God, for all other glory is but a passing pageant, the painted pomp of an hour. The ascended Savior is here declared to be the Head and Crown of the universe, the King of glory.”

The Psalms also bring out other attributes and roles of Christ as well as God the Father: He is the Sovereign Maker and Sustainer of all creation (8, 24, 65, 100, 104); our Rock, Refuge, Fortress, Deliverer, and Hiding Place (18, 32, 46); the one who provides for our physical needs, forgives our sins, and heals our souls (51, 103); our Great Prophet, who instructs His people in wisdom and truth (19, 25, 94, 119); the Righteous Judge, who will vindicate His people and execute judgment on the wicked (2, 58, 82, 94).

In bringing out these many aspects and deeds of the Lord, Spurgeon’s purpose is focused on exalting the glories of God and inspiring his readers to humble repentance, to sincere worship, and to godly living. Consider a few more gems taken from Daily Treasure:

“David’s sorrow makes him view the Lord as a judge who had left the judgement-seat and retired into his rest…He never slumbers, yet he often seems to do so; for the wicked prevail, and the saints are trodden in the dust. God’s silence is the patience of long-suffering and if wearisome to the saints, they should bear it cheerfully in the hope that sinners may be led by that means to repentance.”

“There is no self-righteousness in an honest man knowing that he is honest, nor even in his believing that God rewards him in providence because of his honesty…but it would be self-righteousness indeed if we transferred such thoughts from the region of providential government into the spiritual kingdom, for there grace reigns not only supreme but also alone in the distribution of divine favors…A godly man has a clear conscience, and knows he is upright…A godly man prizes his integrity very highly, or else he would not be a godly man at all. A godly man can see that, in divine providence, uprightness and truth are sure to bring their own reward in the long run. May he not, when he sees that reward bestowed upon him, praise the Lord for it?”

“Worship must not be rendered to God in a slovenly, sinful, superficial manner; we must be reverent, sincere, earnest, and pure in heart both in our prayers and praises…The sight of the King in his beauty caused no alarm to John in Patmos, and yet it made him fall at his feet as dead. Oh, to behold him and worship him with prostrate awe and sacred fear!”

“Under the most terrible aspect the Lord is still to be praised…we are bound to praise a terrible God and worship the one who casts the wicked down to hell. The terrible Avenger is to be praised, as well as the loving Redeemer. Against this the sympathy of man’s evil heart with sin rebels; it cries out for an effeminate God in whom pity has strangled justice. The well-instructed servants of Jehovah praise him in all the aspects of his character, whether terrible or tender.”

“David does not pray to be indulged with his own way, but to be informed as to the path in which the righteous Jehovah would have him walk. This prayer evinces a humble sense of personal ignorance, great teachableness of spirit, and cheerful obedience of heart…Wait at the Lord’s door with prayer; wait at his foot with humility; wait at his table with service; wait at his window with expectancy…Wait on the Lord.”

Making your way through Spurgeon’s Treasury of David is a wonderful goal, but it’s quite an undertaking, and for that reason I recommend Daily Treasure as an alternative. Reading through the Psalms in one year accompanied by Daily Treasure will provide encouragement, comfort, hope, and conviction, and will inspire the reader to know, love, trust, and worship with a greater sense of awe, fervency, gratitude and humiliation.

P.S. In searching for a resource for Daily Treasure I discovered a similar book entitled Spurgeon’s Daily Treasures in the Psalms by Roger Campbell which seems to be more readily available from several sources. As I’m not familiar with that text, I can’t speak to the selections, but it appears to be the same in concept and approach as Dr. Renihan’s compilation.

What’s your favorite Psalm and how do you see Christ depicted there?

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