Verse 3. Praise ye him, sun and moon: praise him, all ye stars of light. The Psalmist enters into detail as to the heavenly hosts. As all, so each, must praise the God of each and all. The sun and moon, as joint rulers of day and night, are paired in praise: the one is the complement of the other, and so they are closely associated in the summons to worship. The sun has his peculiar mode of glorifying the Great Father of lights, and the moon has her own special method of reflecting his brightness. There is a perpetual adoration of the Lord in the skies: it varies with night and day, but it ever continues while sun and moon endure. There is ever a lamp burning before the high altar of the Lord. Nor are the greater luminaries allowed to drown with their floods of light the glory of the lesser brilliants, for all the stars are bidden to the banquet of praise. Stars are many, so many that no one can count the host included under the words, "all ye stars"; yet no one of them refuses to praise its Maker. From their extreme brilliance they are fitly named "stars of light"; and this light is praise in a visible form twinkling to true music. Light is song glittering before the eye instead of resounding in the ear. Stars without light would render no praise, and Christians without light rob the Lord of his glory. However small our beam, we must not hide it: if we cannot be sun or moon we must aim to be one of the "stars of light", and our every twinkling must be to the honour of our Lord.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 3. Praise ye him, sun and moon, etc. How does the sun specially praise Jehovah?
- By its beauty. Jesus son of Sirach calls it the "globe of beauty."
- By its fulness. Dion calls it "the image of the Divine capacity."
- By its exaltation. Pliny calls it caeli rector, "the ruler of heaven."
- By its perfect brightness. Pliny adds that it is "the mind and soul of the whole universe."
- By its velocity and constancy of motion. Martian calls it "the Guide of Nature."
God the Supreme was depicted by the ancients holding in his hand a wreath of stars, to show the double conception, that they both obey and adorn him. --Thomas Le Blanc.
Verse 3-4. Let the sun, the fount of light, and warmth, and gladness, the greater light which rules the day, the visible emblem of the Uncreated Wisdom, the Light which lighteth every man, the centre round whom all our hopes and fears, our wants and prayers, our faith and love, are ever moving, -- let the moon, the lesser light which rules the night, the type of the Church, which giveth to the world the light she gains from the Sun of Righteousness, -- let the stars, so vast in their number, so lovely in their arrangement and their brightness, which God hath appointed in the heavens, even as he hath appointed his elect to shine for ever and ever, -- let all the heavens with all their wonders and their worlds, the depths of space above, and the waters which are above the firmament, the images of God's Holy Scripture and of the glories and the mysteries contained therein, -- let these ever praise him who made and blessed them in the beginning of the creation. -- J.W. Burgon.
Praise him, thou golden tressed sun;
Praise him thou fair and silver moon,
And ye bright orbs of streaming light;
Ye floods that float above the skies,
Ye heav'ns, that vault o'er vault arise,
Praise him, who sits above all height. --Richard Mant.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
- God's praise continual both day and night.
- Light the leading fountain of this praise.
- Life behind all, calling for the praise.