11. But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy
Thus, the righteous rejoice for their refuge is God the Son, their Lamb, whose blood has washed them of all stains of guilt and shame. This is to be our constant manner, to be filled with joy and singing to God for the salvation He has wrought by His own arm and has given absolutely freely to His elect. Hence, the Lord Himself elsewhere commands us to “…rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”1 Likewise, throughout the course of our lives of suffering and affliction at the hands of His and our enemies, He commands us again to “rejoice and be glad, for great is your reward in heaven…”2 Moreover, He rejoices over the salvation of His sheep, and He invites His redeemed sheep to rejoice over those who have been brought into the fold by means of the instrument of faith. Hence, He tells us that “…he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’”3 And again, “Abraham rejoiced to see [Christ’s] day,”4 the day of salvation, the day of redemption, the day when God would provide for Himself a Lamb to sacrifice for the sins of His people.
Our sister Mary, the mother of our Lord Jesus, also proclaimed: “My spirit rejoices in God my Savior…”5 And our brother Paul declares that “…we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”6 And again he tells the Romans: “…we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.”7 Salvation has not been given to us grudgingly by God, but freely. Salvation has not been hidden from us, but it has been revealed to His elect people. Salvation is impossible, but with God all things are possible. Thus, David’s words have been and will ever be the Spirit’s cry to His church, to the bride of Christ. He prompts us to rejoice not in ourselves, not because our worthiness has been discovered, but because God has clothed us with the righteousness of His beloved Son. We are covered in the righteousness of God Himself! We who have turned astray, we haggard sheep, and ignored rusting coins, we have been found, redeemed, and this is reason to rejoice!
11a. …and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you.
The prayer of David is not that God’s elect would rejoice only at the moment of their salvation. No! Contrary to the monkery of many in our churches, the Holy Spirit, speaking through David, expresses the fittedness of God’s children always rejoicing. For he says first “spread your protection over them,” and then he gives the reason why, viz, “that those who love your name may exult in you.” But God’s protection is always over His people; hence, from this it follows that God’s people are to “rejoice always…”8 And again, the apostle tells us to “Rejoice in the Lord always…”9
What clearer commands could there be? We are commanded to rejoice in our salvation, in the knowledge that we are children of God! And yet there are an abundance of navel-gazers in our churches and this is somehow taken as a good thing. Those who rejoice in that which has been accomplished outside of themselves in Christ and yet for them are considered heretics, antinomians, lawless ones! David was no such navel-gazer. David did not look into himself for the source of his assurance. He make this evident by pointing to his own wickedness, his own need of a substitutionary sacrifice that will bear his guilt, and his complete and utter safety from divine wrath by faith alone. Does any regenerate man need to deeply inspect his navel to see that he is a vile and wicked sinner? Does any lost religionist not stare long and deep into himself to see if he has become a better person by means of his adherence to rituals and self-abasement? Let us follow the command of Christ: “…rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” And by so doing, we will be the living answer to David’s prayer in this psalm.
3Luke 15:6; cf. Luke 15:9
82 Thess 5:16