For thou preventest him with the blessings of goodness: thou settest a crown of pure gold on his head. (Psalms 21:3)
Robert Hawker was an English pastor born a few years before the beginning of the Revolutionary War. He was a favorite of King George III who used to attend his popular weekly sermons that drew thousands of other worshipers to his church in Plymouth, England.
Hawker had a real passion for teaching the Bible in a way the common man could easily understand. He wrote a four volume set of commentaries called The Poor Man’s Commentary so titled because it was published to be affordable to the poorest in his congregation. His exposition of scripture is not known for its depth, but for its engaging style that helped poorly educated people understand the word of God. This was Hawker’s gift. He was deeply compassionate about the poor, and the name of his commentaries reflects his personal desire to give the poor bread for their lives, but more importantly the bread of life for their souls.
Hawker’s commentaries have an interesting trait, especially those on the Psalms. He believed Christ could be found in every Psalm, which sometimes led him down strange interpretive paths. However, there is much to commend in his writings when he did correctly see Christ as the Holy Spirit’s main intent. On the 21st Psalm, he wrote, “Reader, here is so much of Jesus, our glorious triumphant King, in this Psalm, that I do entreat you to be looking up for grace, and on the lookout through every portion of it, that we may not overlook or miss any of the precious things which are here recorded concerning him.” To this, we would whole heartedly agree as we see the stamp of the work of Christ in this beautiful Psalm.
As I read this Psalm, I am reminded of the constant parallels between David’s physical experiences and the Saviour’s spiritual experiences. We should not wonder that Christ and David are so closely allied in the Psalms because the Lord Jesus is the final heir to the throne established in David. The scripture says David was a man after God’s own heart, which is testified on many occasions in the Psalms that speak of his deep reverence for God and his desire to be in close fellowship with Him. David’s psalms are considered to be the best examples in scripture of how we may give true acceptable worship to our great God. The last verse of this psalm reads, “Be thou exalted, Lord, in thine own strength: so shall we sing and praise thy power.”
Robert Hawker was truly insightful in seeing Jesus as the real object of this text. In commenting on verse 3, Hawker remarks that Jehovah had set a crown of gold upon the head of Jesus and proclaimed Him as King of Zion. Hawker’s observation is good, as the text is prophetic, but like so many others in scripture the prophecy is so sure it is spoken of as already done. Who can miss the surety of Bible passages that encourage us to wait and look for the coming of Heaven’s King? This is a promise that cannot fail and for which our hearts cannot help but sing praises as David’s did so long ago.
One last comment I want to note concerning Hawker’s interpretation. Verse 4, says Hawker, silences any critic who would argue the psalm applies to any earthly monarch. Jesus asked for the power of an endless life and it was granted when He arose from the grave. Since Jesus is our mediator, He not only asks for life for Himself, but as our representative He asks for us as well. We stand in Christ, so whatever promises are His are also ours. What a wonderful thought this is! When the Father sees His Son, He also sees all of us that were given to the Son as a precious gift.
Read this psalm with Christ in mind. Sing praises to Him and rejoice in His salvation!
Pastor V. Mark Smith