Psalm 136:5

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 5. To him that by wisdom made the heavens. His goodness appears in creating the upper regions. He set his wisdom to the task of fashioning a firmament, or an atmosphere suitable for a world upon which mortal men should dwell. What a mass of wisdom lies hidden in this one creating act! The discoveries of our keenest observers have never searched out all the evidences of design which are crowded together in this work of God's hands. The lives of plants, animals, and men are dependent upon the fashioning of our heavens: had the skies been other than they are we had not been here to praise God. Divine foresight planned the air and the clouds, with a view to the human race.

For his mercy endureth for ever. The Psalmist's details of mercy begin in the loftiest regions, and gradually descend from the heavens to "our low estate" ( Psalms 134:23 ); and this is an ascent, for mercy becomes greater as its objects become less worthy. Mercy is far reaching, long enduring, all encompassing. Nothing is too high for its reach, as nothing is beneath its stoop.

High as heaven his wisdom reigns,
Mercy on the throne remains.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 5. To him that by wisdom made the heavens. We find that God has built the heavens in wisdom, to declare his glory, and to show forth his handiwork. There are no iron tracks, with bars and bolts, to hold the planets in their orbits. Freely in space they move, ever changing, but never changed; poised and balancing; swaying and swayed; disturbing and disturbed, onward they fly, fulfilling with unerring certainty their mighty cycles. The entire system forms one grand complicated piece of celestial machinery; circle within circle, wheel within wheel, cycle within cycle; revolutions go swift as to be completed in a few hours; movements so slow, that their mighty periods are only counted by millions of years. --From "The Orbs of Heaven", 1859.

Verse 5. To him that by wisdom made the heavens. Not only the firmament, but the third heavens, too, where all is felicity, where is the throne of glory. Then, I infer, that if the mercy which visits earth is from the same Jehovah who built that heaven and filled it with glory, there must be in his mercy something of the same "understanding" or "wisdom." It is wise, prudent mercy; not rashly given forth; and it is the mercy of him whose love has filled that heaven with bliss. The same architect, the same skill, the same love! --Andrew A. Bonar.