Verse 5. Great is our Lord. Our Lord and King is great -- magnanimous, infinite, inconceivably glorious. None can describe his majesty, or reckon up the number of his excellencies. And of great power. Doing as he wills, and willing to do mighty deeds. His acts reveal something of his might, but the mass of his power is hidden, for all things are possible with God, even the things impossible with men. His understanding is infinite. There is no fathoming his wisdom, or measuring his knowledge. He is infinite in existence, in power, and in knowledge; as these three phrases plainly teach us. The gods of the heathen are nothing, but our God filleth all things. And yet how condescending! For this is he who so tenderly nurses sick souls, and waist to be gracious to sinful men. He brings his boundless power and infinite understanding to bear upon human distress for its assuagement and sanctification. For all these reasons let his praise be great: even could it be infinite, it would not exceed his due. In the building of his church and the salvation of souls, his greatness, power, and wisdom are all displayed: let him be extolled because of each of these attributes.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 5. His understanding is infinite. Hebrew: "Of his understanding there is no number." God is incomprehensible. In place; in time; in understanding; in love. First, in place; because no place, no space, can be imagined so great, but God exceeds it, and may be found beyond it. Secondly, in time; because he exceeds all time: for be was before all time that can be conceived, and shall be after all lime. Time is a created thing, to attend upon the creation and continuance of all things created and continued by God. Thirdly, in understanding; because no created understanding can comprehend him so that nothing of God may be hid from it. Fourthly, in love because God doth exceed all love: no creature can love God according to his worth. All these ways of incomprehensibleness follow upon his infiniteness. --Thomas Larkham, in "The Attributes of God Unfolded, and Applied", 1656.
Verse 5. His understanding is infinite. The Divine wisdom is said to be "without number"; that is, the objects of which this wisdom of God can take cognisance are innumerable. --Simon de Muis.
Verse 5. In this verse we have three of God's attributes, his greatness, his power, and his knowledge; and though only the last of these be expressly said to be infinite, yet is the same implied also of the two former; for all the perfections of God being essential to him, must need be infinite as he himself is; and therefore what is affirmed of one must, by a parity of reason, be extended to the rest. --John Conant, 1608-1693.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 5. A contemplation of God's greatness.
- Great in his essential nature.
- Great in Power.
- Great in wisdom. Let us draw inferences concerning the insignificance of man, & c.