Psalm 115:3

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 3. But our God is in the heavens -- where he should be; above the reach of mortal sneers, over hearing all the vain jangling of men, but looking down with silent scorn upon the makers of the babel. Supreme above all opposing powers, the Lord reigneth upon a throne high and lifted up. Incomprehensible in essence, he rises above the loftiest thought of the wise; absolute in will and infinite in power, he is superior to the limitations which belong to earth and time. This God is our God, and we are not ashamed to own him, albeit he may not work miracles at the beck and call of every vain glorious boaster who may choose to challenge him. Once they bade his Son come down from the cross and they would believe in him, now they would have God overstep the ordinary bounds of his providence and come down from heaven to convince them: but other matters occupy his august mind besides the convincement of those who wilfully shut their eyes to the superabundant evidences of his divine power and Godhead, which are all around them. If our God be neither seen nor heard, and is not to be worshipped under any outward symbol, yet is he none the less real and true, for he is where his adversaries can never be -- in the heavens, whence he stretches forth his sceptre, and rules with boundless power.

He hath done whatsoever he hath pleased. Up till this moment his decrees have been fulfilled, and his eternal purposes accomplished; he has not been asleep, nor oblivious of the affairs of men; he has worked, and he has worked effectually, none have been able to thwart, nor even so much as to hinder him. "Whatsoever he hath pleased": however distasteful to his enemies, the Lord has accomplished all his good pleasure without difficulty; even when his adversaries raved and raged against him they have been compelled to carry out his designs against their will. Even proud Pharaoh, when most defiant of the Lord was but as clay upon the potter's wheel, and the Lord's end and design in him were fully answered. We may well endure the jeering question, "Where is now their God?" while we are perfectly sure that his providence is undisturbed, his throne unshaken, and his purposes unchanged. What he hath done he will yet do, his counsel shall stand, and he will do all his pleasure, and at the end of the great drama of human history, the omnipotence of God and his immutability and faithfulness will be more than vindicated to the eternal confusion of his adversaries.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 3 And our God (is) in heaven; all that he pleased he has done. The "and," though foreign from our idiom, adds sensibly to the force of the expression. They ask thus, as if our God were absent or had no existence; and yet all the while our God is in heaven, in his exalted and glorious dwelling place. Joseph Addison Alexander.

Verse 3 (first clause). It would be folly to assert the like concerning idols; therefore, if the heathen say, Where is your God? we reply, He is in heaven, &c.: but where are your idols? In the earth, not making the earth, but made from the earth, &c. Martin Geier.

Verse 3. But our God is in the heavens. When they place God in heaven, they do not confine him to a certain locality, nor set limits to his infinite essence; but on the contrary they deny the limitation of his power, its being shut up to human instrumentality only, or its being subject to fate or fortune. In short, they put the universe under his control; and teach us that, being superior to every obstruction, he does freely everything that may seem good to him. This truth is still more plainly asserted in the subsequent clause, he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased. God then may be said to dwell in heaven, as the world is subject to his will, and nothing can prevent his accomplishing his purposes. John Calvin.

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 3.

  1. His position betokens absolute dominion.
  2. His actions prove it.
  3. Yet he condescends to be "our God."

Verse 3. (second clause). The sovereignty of God. Establish and improve the great scriptural doctrine, that the glorious God has a right to exercise dominion over all his creatures; and to do, in all respects, as he pleases. This right naturally results from his being the Former and the Possessor of heaven and earth. Consider

  1. He is infinitely wise; he perfectly knows all his creatures, all their actions, and all their tendencies.
  2. He is infinitely righteous.
  3. He is infinitely good. George Burder.