Many joyous expressions of praise to God are found in the Psalms which properly belong first to Him, who is the leader of the praises of His people (Heb. ii:12). One of these sweet outbursts of praise is contained in the opening verses of the xl Psalm. The first three verses may be called "the resurrection song of Christ":
"I waited patiently for the Lord,
It is the experience of our Saviour, which must here first of all be considered. Patiently He had waited for Jehovah. Himself Jehovah He had taken the place of dependence under God His Father and patiently He endured. He was obedient unto death, the death of the cross. He endured the cross, despising the shame. He cried to God. "Who in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and fears unto Him that was able to save Him from death, and was heard in that he feared; though He were Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered" (Heb. v:7-8). The place of death is given in this Psalm: "the horrible pit and the miry clay." Who can describe all what is meant by these words! "Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem Him stricken and smitten of God and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed" (Isa. liii:45). He went into the horrible pit, or as it reads literally, the pit of destruction, the place which belongs to fallen man by nature, so that we might be taken out of it. He went into the jaws of death and there the billows and waves, yea all the billows and waves of the judgment of the holy God passed over Him. In another Psalm the Holy Spirit describes His agony. (Ps. lxix). There we read His cry "Save me, O God; for the waters are come in unto my soul. I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing; I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me. I am weary of my crying, my throat is dried; mine eyes fail while I wait for my God." And deeper He went for our sakes. The miry clay has a special meaning. Any one who sinks into a pit filled with miry clay cannot help himself. All his struggling does not help; the more he labors the deeper he sinks. One who is in the miry clay cannot save himself. And does this not remind us of the Lord and of what was said of Him "He saved others, Himself He cannot save." He was in the miry clay. He might have saved Himself but He would not. His mighty love it was, that love which passeth knowledge, which brought Him from Heaven's Glory down to the horrible pit, the miry clay.
But the sufferings of our adorable Lord are not so much before us in this Psalm as the fact of His resurrection. His cry was heard. The prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears were answered; His resurrection from the dead was God's blessed answer. While in other Scriptures it is stated that Christ Himself arose, here His resurrection is seen as an act of God. "He brought me up." This act of God bears witness to the completeness and perfection of the accomplished salvation. "We believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead. Who was delivered for our offences and was raised again for our justification" (Rom. iv:24-25). But we read also that His feet were set upon a rock. "And set my feet upon a rock." He is the first born from the dead. Sin and death are abolished by His mighty work. "Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over Him. For in that He died, He died unto sin once, but in that He liveth, He liveth unto God" (Rom. vi:9-10). Upon that rock the feet of every believing sinner securely rest.
But His ascension is likewise mentioned in this resurrection song. "And established my goings." He "whose goings forth have been from old, from everlasting" (Micah v:2) and who came from everlasting glory to walk in obedience to the cross and the grave has gone back into heaven. He was received up into glory; He ascended on high and led captivity captive.
And the mighty victor sings now a new song. It is the triumphant song of redemption, to the praise of God. On account of Him, what He has accomplished in His death on the cross and Who is raised from the dead and in glory "many shall see it and fear and shall trust in the Lord." But this wonderful resurrection song the Lord sings not alone. We, who have trusted in Him and know Him have part in this song. Believing in Him we are taken out, yea forever, from the terrible pit and the miry clay. There is no more death and no more wrath for us. We are also risen with Him, our feet are planted upon the rock, our goings are established. We belong to the heavenlies where He is. We sing praises in His name unto our God, His God and our God, His Father and our Father, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Oh! that our hearts may enter deeper into this song of accomplished redemption "praise unto our God;" the loving God who spared not His only Begotten.
And indeed "many shall see and fear and trust in the Lord." This reaches into the future. Israel too will be taken from the place of spiritual and national death, and raised to life to join the new song. Nations will see it and fear and trust Jehovah. At last the great new song of resurrection and the new creation will swell in its divinely revealed length and breadth, heighth and depth. Now He sings the song, and His co-heirs sing it too in feebleness, yet by His Grace and through His Spirit. Ere long in His presence all the Redeemed will praise in Glory with glorified lips. Heavenly beings will utter their praise and in a wider circle down on earth, every creature will join in.
"And they sung a new song saying, Thou art worthy to take the book and to open the seals thereof; for thou was slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood, out of every kindred and tongue, and people, and nation. And hast made us unto our God, Kings and priests, and we shall reign over the earth. And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands. Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength and honor, and glory and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, blessing, and honor, and glory and power, be unto Him that sitteth on the throne, and unto the lamb forever and ever" (Revel. v:9-13). That song will never end. Oh may we learn to sing it now, and in His Name sing praises unto our God.
May we follow the great leader of Praise, Him who is anointed with the oil of gladness above His fellows. May the path He followed down here become more and more ours. May we serve, be obedient, give up, wait patiently for the Lord, after His own pattern, suffer with Him, be rejected with Him, bear His reproach and through it all rejoice in Him and sing "the new song." How happy we ought to be as linked with Him, the blessed Christ of God. And as we walk in His fellowship the heart longs to see Him as He is. Even so; come Lord Jesus.