PRAISE FOR THE CHURCH
Now we must go on to Psalm 138. “I will praise thee with my whole heart: before the gods will I sing praise unto thee. I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name” (vv. 1-2). The Psalmist says, “I will worship toward thy holy temple.” At this point, all that was in the Psalmist was the house and the city. In these last few Psalms how many times the Psalmist has referred to Zion and Jerusalem! “Blessed be the Lord out of Zion.” “If I forget thee, O Jerusalem.…” “If I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy.” The Psalmist was fully and thoroughly occupied by the experience of the house and the city. In the entire universe nothing was so precious. In the recovery of the church life you and I will come to such a stage. Day by day we will say, “Oh, the church! Praise the Lord for the church! Oh, look at the church! How much I prefer the church above my chief joy! I worship God for the church.” May the Lord bring us all to such a stage.
Verse 4: “All the kings of the earth shall praise thee, O Lord.” After the house and the city have been established, all the kings of the earth praise the Lord when they hear the words of His mouth. “Yea, they shall sing in the ways of the Lord: for great is the glory of the Lord” (v. 5). That means that they will praise the Lord’s way, the Lord’s doing. They will say, “Great is the glory of the Lord.” This is the reigning of Christ; this is the Kingdom of Christ, with Christ Himself reigning over the entire earth. In that day, all the kings of the earth shall praise Him, they shall sing praises regarding the way of the Lord, and they will say, “Great is the glory of the Lord!”
THE SAINTS CONTINUE TO ENJOY GOD
In the meantime, while the saints were praising concerning the house and city of God, they were still in the enjoyment of God. We have read Psalm 136, verses 1 to 3, concerning giving thanks unto the Lord, the God of gods and the Lord of lords, for His enduring mercy. Undoubtedly that is a kind of enjoyment of God.
Psalm 139:7 says, “Whither shall I go from thy Spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?” The saints here were enjoying the Lord’s presence. It is clear from this verse that the Lord’s presence is simply the Spirit. I just cannot escape from this presence of His. What enjoyment this is! Hence, verses 17 and 18 say, “How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.” Oh, the thoughts of the Lord are so precious to us! We cannot tell how many thoughts the Lord has toward us, and all of them are so exceedingly great and precious. These verses tell us poetically how the saints, while they were praising the Lord for His move through the city to the earth, were still in the enjoyment of God. “When I awake, I am still with thee”—this is the enjoyment of God.
Psalm 140:7, “O God the Lord, the strength of my salvation, thou hast covered my head in the day of battle.” The Psalmist spoke of the Lord as his helmet of salvation, his protection in the battle. We are still in the day of battle, but, praise the Lord, we are under His covering. He Himself is the helmet which covers our head in such a day. This is the enjoyment of God.
Psalm 142:5, “I cried unto thee, O Lord: I said, Thou art my refuge and my portion in the land of the living.” While they were praising the Lord, they were still enjoying the Lord. Don’t wait until you die to praise the Lord. If you praise Him in the land of the dead, I do not think that praise will be so sweet. Praise the Lord, He is our portion today; He is our portion in the land of the living. When I was young, I was taught that today we must suffer a little, we must be patient and wait till we are brought to a wonderful place called heaven. In a sense, that is not wrong; but we must realize that within today’s sufferings there is more enjoyment. In today’s trials the Lord is our sweet portion. O Lord, thou art our portion today in the land of the living. Praise the Lord!
Psalm 143:6, “I stretch forth my hands unto thee: my soul thirsteth after thee, as a thirsty land.” The Psalmist is saying, “I am dry, but I am not in a dry place. I am thirsty, but the place where I am is not thirsty; it is a place full of water.” Then verse 10: “Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy Spirit is good; lead me into a plain country.” The plain country here means an even land, a place where nothing is unbalanced. Praise the Lord, if we are under His good Spirit, He will continually lead us to an even land, a plain country. Even though we may be subjected to some form of suffering on one hand, we will be balanced on the other hand by our enjoyment of God. On one hand we may sense our poverty, but on the other hand we will realize that we are so rich in Christ. If we had only the riches without the poverty, we could not be so even. Praise the Lord, we are in an even land. The land where we are spiritually, under the leading of God’s Spirit, is really a plain country. “Thy Spirit is good; lead me into a plain country.” This is the saint’s enjoyment of God.
Psalm 145:18, “The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth.” This corresponds exactly with Romans 10: “Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:) or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.)… The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach.… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (vv. 6-8, 13). We need not ascend to the heavens to bring Christ down; neither need we descend to hell to bring Him up. He is so near to us, even in our mouth and in our heart. All we need to do is call upon Him in truth, in reality. How good!
(Christ and the Church Revealed and Typified in the Psalms, Chapter 22, by Witness Lee)