Psalm 77:19

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 19. Thy way is in the sea. Far down in secret channels of the deep is thy roadway; when thou wilt thou canst make a sea a highway for thy glorious march.

And thy path in the great waters. There, where the billows surge and swell, thou still dost walk; Lord of each crested wave.

And thy footsteps are not known. None can follow thy tracks by foot or eye. Thou art alone in thy glory, and thy ways are hidden from mortal ken. Thy purposes thou wilt accomplish, but the means are often concealed, yea, they need no concealing, they are in themselves too vast and mysterious for human understanding. Glory be to thee, O Jehovah.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Whole Psalm. See Psalms on "Psalms 77:1" for further information.

Verse 16-19. See Psalms on "Psalms 77:16" for further information.

Verse 19. Thy way is in the sea, and thy path in the great waters, etc. Until lately, not much was known of oceanic currents, nor of their influences on the condition of particular localities and the intercourse of man with man. They are now seen to be the way or path of the Creator in the great waters. Numerous agencies tend to the production of these currents. Amongst them we may reckon the propagation of the tide wave in its progress over the globe, the duration and strength of certain winds, the variations in density which seawater undergoes in different latitudes, and at different depths, by change of temperature, and the quantity of salt it contains, and by the hourly alterations of atmospheric pressure which take place within the tropics. The oceanic currents are nearly constant in breadth, crossing the sea in many directions. Long bands of seaweed carried by the currents shew at once their velocity, and the line of demarcation between the waters at rest and the waters in motion. Between the tropics there is a general movement of the sea from east to west, called the equatorial current, supposed to be due to the trade winds, and the progress of the tide wave. There are narrower currents carrying warm water to higher and cold water to lower latitudes. Edwin Sidney, in "Conversations on the Bible and Science." 1860.

Verse 19. Thy way is in the sea, where no man can wade, except God be before him, but where any man may walk if God take him by the hand and lead him through. David Dickson.

Verse 19. Thy footsteps are not known. He often goeth so much out of our sight, that we are unable to give an account of what he doeth, or what he is about to do. Frequently the pillar of divine providence is dark throughout, to Israelites as well as Egyptians; so that his own people understand not the riddles, till he is pleased to be his own interpreter, and to lead them into his secrets. Samuel Slater (-1704), in "The Morning Exercises."

Verse 19. Thy footsteps are not known. That is, they are not always known; or, they are not known in all things; yea, they are not altogether known in anything. Joseph Caryl.

Verse 19. Thy footsteps are not known. Upon some affair of great consequence which had occurred in some providential dispensation, Luther was very importunate at the throne of grace to know the mind of God in it; and it seemed to him as if he heard God speak to his heart thus: "I am not to be traced." Referring to this incident, one adds, "If he is not to be traced, he may be trusted;" and that religion is of little value which will not enable a man to trust God where he can neither trace nor see him. But there is a time for everything beneath the sun, and the Almighty has his `times and seasons.' It has been frequently with my hopes and desires, in regard to providence, as with my watch and the sun, which has often been ahead of true time; I have gone faster than providence, and have been forced to stand still and wait, or I have been set back painfully. That was a fine sentiment of Flavel, "Some providence, like Hebrew letters, must be read backwards." Quoted in "Christian Treasury," 1849. Author not mentioned.

Verse 19. See also notes on Psalms 77:13 .

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 13,19. In the sea, in the sanctuary. God's way incomprehensible, though undoubtedly right: in his holiness lies the answer to its enigmas.

Verse 19.

  1. The ways of God to men are peculiar: In the sea:
    thy path, etc.
  2. They are uniform, they lie in regular footsteps.
  3. They are inscrutable: like the path of the ship upon
    the waters, not of the ploughshare on the land.

Verse 19. God's way is in the sea. In things changeable, ungovernable, vast, unfathomable, terrible, overwhelming, the Lord has the ruling power.