Verse 6. And men shall speak of the might of thy terrible acts. If unobservant of other matters these acts of judgment shall seize their attention and impress their minds so that they must talk about them. Did not men in our Saviour's day speak of the falling tower of Siloam and the slaughtered Galileans? Are there not rumours of wars, when there are not even whispers of other things? Horrible news is sure to spread: under mercies men may be dumb, but concerning miseries they raise a great outcry. The force of dread is a power which loosens the tongue of the multitude: they are sure to talk of that which makes the ear to tingle and the hair to stand upright.
While they are thus occupied with "fearsome facts", such as the drowning of a world, the destruction of the cities of the plain, the plagues of Egypt, the destruction at the Red Sea, and so forth, David would look at these affairs in another light, and sing another tune. And I will declare thy greatness. Those acts which were terrible deeds to most men were mighty deeds, or greatnesses to our holy poet: these he would publish like a herald, who mentions the titles and honours of his royal master. It is the occupation of every true believer to rehearse the great doings of his great God. We are not to leave this to the common converse of the crowd, but we are personally to make a declaration of what we have seen and known. We are even bound in deep solemnity of manner to warn men of the Lord's greatness in his terrible acts of justice: thus will they be admonished to abstain from provoking him. To fulfil this duty we are already bound by solemn obligations, and we shall do well to bind ourselves further by resolutions, "I will -- God helping me, I will."
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 6. And men shall speak of the might of thy terrible acts. When men do not mark his works of mercy and bounty the Lord will show unto them works of justice, that is, terrible works, and give them matter of talking upon this account. --David Dickson.
Verse 6. (last clause.) To "declare" here means either in speech or song; not merely to predicate as a fact, but to proclaim in praise. The Hebrew word has this width of meaning; not merely to declare in cold utterance, concerning mere history. --Hermann Venema.
Verse 6. Thy greatness. All men are enamoured of greatness. Then they must seek it in God, and get it from God. David did both. All history shows the creature aspiring after this glory. Ahasuerus, Astyages, Cyrus, Cambyses, Nebuchadnezzar, were all called the great. Alexander the Great, when he came to the Ganges, ordered his statue to be made of more than life size, that posterity might believe him to have been of nobler stature. In Christ alone does man attain the greatness his heart yearns for -- the glory of perfect goodness. --Thomas Le Blanc.
Verse 6. Thy greatness. Or, according to the written text, greatnesses. So Aquila and Jerome. The parallelism is decidedly in favour of the plural. --A. S. Aglen.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
- The awe struck talk. Silent as to mercies and promises, men must speak when God's terrible acts are among them.
- The bold avowal. One individual declares God's greatness in power, wisdom, truth and grace. This leads others to the same conclusion, and hence --
- The grateful outpouring. Many bless the Lord's great goodness in a song fresh, free, constant, joyous, refreshing, abundant, like the gush of a spring.
- The select song. They utter goodness but sing of righteousness. This is a noteworthy topic for a discourse.