Verse 6. Who humbleth himself to behold the things that are in heaven, and in the earth! He dwells so far on high that even to observe heavenly things he must humble himself. He must stoop to view the skies, and bow to see what angels do. What, then, must be his condescension, seeing that he observes the humblest of his servants upon earth, and makes them sing for joy like Mary when she said, "Thou hast regarded the low estate of thine handmaiden." How wonderful are those words of Isaiah, "For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones." Heathen philosophers could not believe that the great God was observant of the small events of human history; they pictured him as abiding in serene indifference to all the wants and woes of his creatures. "Our Rock is not as their rock"; we have a God who is high above all gods, and yet who is our Father, knowing what we have need of before we ask him; our Shepherd, who supplies our needs; our Guardian, who counts the hairs of our heads; our tender and considerate Friend, who sympathizes in all our griefs. Truly the name of our condescending God should be praised wherever it is known.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 6. Who humbleth himself. Whatever may be affirmed of God, may be affirmed of him infinitely, and whatever he is, he is infinitely. So the psalmist, in this place, does not speak of God as humble, but as infinitely and superlatively so, humble beyond all conception and comparison; he challenges the whole universe of created nature, from the highest immortal spirit in heaven to the lowest mortal on earth, to show a being endued with so much humility, as the adorable majesty of the great God of Heaven and earth ... If some instances of the Divine humility surprise, the following may amaze us: To see the great King of heaven stooping from his height, and condescending himself to offer terms of reconciliation to his rebellious creatures! To see offended majesty courting the offenders to accept of pardon! To see God persuading, entreating and beseeching men to return to him with such earnestness and importunity, as if his very life were bound up in them, and his own happiness depended upon theirs! To see the adorable Spirit of God, with infinite long suffering and gentleness, submitting to the contempt and insults of such miserable, despicable wretches as sinful mortals are! Is not this amazing? -- Valentine Nalson, 1641-1724.
Verse 6. Who humbleth himself to behold. If it be such condescension for God to behold things in heaven and earth, what an amazing condescension was it for the Son of God to come from heaven to earth and take our nature upon him, that he might seek and save them that were lost! Here indeed he humbled himself. --Matthew Henry.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
- The same God rules in heaven and earth.
- Both spheres are dependent for happiness upon his beholding them.
- They both enjoy his consideration.
- All things done in them are equally under his inspection.