Verse 19. The LORD has prepared his throne in the heavens. Here is a grand burst of song produced by a view of the boundless power, and glorious sovereignty of Jehovah. His throne is fixed, for that is the word; it is estabhshed, settled, immovable.
"He sits on no precarious throne,
Nor borrows leave to be."
About his government there is no alarm, no disorder, no perturbation, no hurrying to and fro in expedients, no surprises to be met or unexpected catastrophes to be warded off; -- all is prepared and fixed, and he himself has prepared and fixed it. He is no delegated sovereign for whom a throne is set up by another; he is an autocrat, and his dominion arises from himself and is sustained by his own innate power. This matchless sovereignty is the pledge of our security, the pillar upon which our confidence may safely lean.
And his kingdom ruleth over all. Over the whole universe he stretches his sceptre. He now reigns universally, he always has done so, and he always will. To us the world may seem rent with anarchy, but he brings order out of confusion. The warring elements are marching beneath his banner when they most wildly rush onward in furious tempest. Great and small, intelligent and material, willing and unwilling, fierce or gentle, -- all, all are under his sway. His is the only universal monarchy, he is the blessed and only Potentate, King of kings and Lord of lords. A clear view of his ever active, and everywhere supreme providence, is one of the most delightful of spiritual gifts; he who has it cannot do otherwise than bless the Lord with all his soul.
Thus has the sweet singer hymned the varied attributes of the Lord as seen in nature, grace, and providence, and now he gathers up all his energies for one final outburst of adoration, in which he would have all unite, since all are subjects of the Great King.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 19. The Lord hath prepared his Throne. The word signifies establisthed as well as prepared, and might be so rendered. Due preparation is the natural way to the establishment of a thing; hasty resolves break and moulder. This notes,
- The peculiarity of his authority. He prepares it, and none else for him. It is a dominion that originally resides in his nature, not derived from any by birth or commission; he alone prepared it. He is the sole cause of his own kingdom; his authority therefore is unbounded, as infinite as his nature. None can set laws to him, because none but himself prepared his throne for him. As he will not impair his own happiness, so he will not abridge himself of his own authority.
- Readiness to exercise it upon due occasions. He hath prepared his throne, he is not at a loss, he needs not stay for a commission or instructions from any how to act. He hath all things ready for the assistance of his people, he hath rewards and punishments; his treasures trod axes, the great mark of authority lying by him, the one for the good, the other for the wicked. His mercy he keeps by him for thousands, Exodus 34:7 ; his arrows he hath prepared by him for rebels, Psalms 7:13 .
- Wise management of it. It is prepared: preparations imply prudence; the government of God is not a rash and heady authority. A prince upon his throne, a judge upon the bench, manages things with the greatest discretion, or should be supposed so to do.
- Successfulness and duration of it. He hath prepared or established it. It is fixed, not tottering; it is an unmovable dominion; all the strugglings of men and devils cannot overturn it, nor so much as shake it. It is established above the reach of obstinate rebels; he cannot be deposed from it, he cannot be mated in it. His dominion, as himself abides for ever. And as his counsel, so his authority, shall stand; and "he will do all his pleasure," Isaiah 46:10 . Stephen Charnock.
Verse 19. His throne in the heavens, denotes:
- The glory of his dominion. The heavens are the most stately and comely pieces of the creation; his majesty is there most visible, his glory most splendid, Psalms 19:1 . In heaven his dominion is more acknowledged by the angels: his dominion is not disputed there by the angels that attend him, as it is on earth by the rebels that arm themselves against him.
- The supremacy of his empire. The heavens are the loftiest part of the creation, and the only fit palace for him.
- Peculiarity of this dominion. He rules in the heavens alone. His authority is not delegated to any creature, he rules the blessed spirits by himself; but he rules men that are on his footstool by others of the same kind, men of their own nature.
- The vastness of his empire. The earth is but a spot to the heavens. What is England in a map to the whole earth, but a spot you may cover with your finger; much less must the whole earth be to the extended heavens. You cannot conceive the many millions of little particles that are in the earth; and if all put together be but one point: to that place where the throne of God is seated, how vast must his empire be! He rules there ovcr the angels, which excel in strength, those hosts of his which do his pleasure, in comparison of whom all the men in the world, and the power of the greatest potentates, is no more than the strength of an ant or fly. And since his throne is in the heavens, it will follow that all things under the heaven are part of his dominion; the inferior things of earth cannot but be subject to him; and it necessarily includes his influence on all things below, because the heavens arc the cause of all the motion in the world. See Hosea 2:21-22 .
- The easiness of managing this government. His throne being placed on high, he cannot but behold all things that are done below; the height of a place gives advantage to a clear eye to behold things below it. "The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand," Psalms 14:2 . He looks not down from heaven as if his presence were confined there, but he looks down majestically, and by way of authority.
- Duration of it. The heavens are incorruptible, his throne is placed there in an incorruptible state. The throne of God outlives the dissolution of the world. Condensed from Charnock.
Verse 19. His kingdom ruleth over all. His Lordship is universal. First, over all time: other lords die, but he is eternal. Eternity is properly the duration of an uncreated Ens. It is improperly taken, either for things that have both beginning and end, as everlasting mountains; divers such phrases in Scripture; or for things that have a beginning but shall have no end; so are angels and men's souls eternal; so, eternal life, eternal fire. But God calls himself, "I AM," Exodus 3:14 : I am what I have been, I have been what I am, what I am and have been I shall be. This attribute is incommunicable: all other things had a non esse preceding their esse; and they have a mutation tending to nothing. "They that war against thee shall be as nothing," Isaiah 41:12 : all come to nothing unless they be upheld by the manutency of God: but "Thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end," Psalms 102:27 . Thou turnest man to destruction, and again sayest, Return: "even from everlasting to everlasting thou art God," Psalms 90:2 ; the sole umpire and measurer of beginning and ending.
Secondly, over all places, heaven, earth, hell, Psalms 135:6 . Kings are limited, and cannot do many things they desire: they cannot command the sun to stand still, nor the wind to blow which way they would: in the lofty air, in the depths of the sea no king reigns. They fondly flatter the pope with his long arms that they reach to purgatory; (but indeed both power and place are alike imaginary;) it is Christ alone that hath the keys of all places.
Thirdly, over all creatures; binding the influences of Pleiades, and loosing the bands of Orion, Job 38:31 ; commanding the fire against the nature of it, to descend, 2 Kings 1:12 ; creating and ruling the stars, Amos 5:8 ; overruling the lions, Daniel 6:22 , sending the meteors, Psalms 148:8 , hedging in the sea, lapping it up like a child in swaddling-clothes, Job 38:8, dividing, diverting, filling it. In both fire and water, those two raging elements that have no mercy, he shows mercy; delivers us from both in both. He calls the fowls, and they come; the beasts, and they hear: the trees, and they spring to obey him. He hath a raven for Elijah, a gourd for Jonah, a dog for Lazarus. Makes the leviathan, the hugest living creature, preserve his prophet. That a terrible lion should be killed, as was by Samson; or not kill, as they forbore Daniel; or kill and not eat, as that prophet, 1 Kings 13:1 - 29: here was the Lord. Over metals; he makes iron to swim, stones to cleave asunder. Over the devils; they must obey him though unwillingly. But they continually rebel against him, and break his will? They do indeed against his complacency, not against his permission. There is then no time, not the hour of death; no place, not the sorest torment; no creature, not the devil; but the Lord can deliver us from them. Therefore at all times, in all places, and against all creatures, let us trust in him for deliverance. Thomas Adams.
Verse 19. His kingdom ruleth over all. When Melancthon was extremely solicitous about the affairs of the church in his days, Luther would have him admonished in these terms, Monendus est Philippus ut desinat esse rector mundi: Let not Philip make himself any longer governor of the world. David Clarkson.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 19. "A Discourse upon God's Dominion." See Charnock's Works Nicol's Edition, Vol. II., pp. 400-499.
- The nature of the throne.
- The extent of the dominion.
- The character of the monarch.
- The consequent joy of the subjects: "Bless the Lord."