Verse 5. And the heavens shall praise thy wonders, O Lord. Looking down upon what God had done, and was about to do, in connection with his covenant of grace, all heaven would be filled with adoring wonder. The sun and moon, which had been made tokens of the covenant, would praise God for such an extraordinary display of mercy, and the angels and redeemed spirits would sing, "as it were, a new song."
Thy faithfulness also in the congregation of the saints. By which is probably intended the holy ones on earth. So that the "whole family in heaven and earth" would join in the praise. Earth and heaven are one in admiring and adoring the covenant God. Saints above see most clearly into the heights and depths of divine love, therefore they praise its wonders; and saints below, being conscious of their many sins and multiplied provocations of the Lord, admire his faithfulness. The heavens broke forth with music at the wonders of mercy contained in the glad tidings concerning Bethlehem, and the saints who came together in the temple magnified the faithfulness of God at the birth of the Son of David. Since that auspicious day, the general assembly on high and the sacred congregation below have not ceased to sing unto Jehovah, the Lord that keepeth covenant with his elect.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 5. The Heavens, etc. Now, for this kingdom of his, the heavens are said to praise his wonders, which is spoken of the angels, who are often called the heavens, from their place; as in Job it is said, "The heavens are not clean in his sight." And these knowing the wonders of that covenant of grace, they, even they are said to praise; "The heavens shall praise thy wonders, O Lord" In the Hebrew it is "thy wonder", or "thy miracle", in the singular number, which, in Ephesians 3:10 , the angels are said to adore: and in
Luke 2:14 , to "sing glory to the Highest"; for his grace to man is that miracle. Now the material heavens do not praise the mercy of God, or the grace of God, or the covenant of grace, or the throne of grace that is established in the heavens. They understand nothing of Christ; no, they do not so much as materially give occasion to man to praise God for these: and therefore this is meant of the angels; and most interpreters understand the next words of them: Thy faithfulness also in the congregation of the saints, angels, and the holy ones made perfect, for there the great congregation is. For even in the heavens, who can be compared to the Lord, where all his angels thus do praise him? Who among the sons of the mighty, of all the powers of the earth, can be likened unto the Lord? for he is the "King of kings, and he is the Lord of lords;" a God above all gods, even angels themselves, as elsewhere the Psalmist hath it. And he says not only, There is none like thee; but, Who is like unto thee? his excellency so exceeds. And in Psalms 89:7 , he is there presented with all his saints and angels round about him, as one that is greatly to be feared, or that is terrible in himself, by reason of his greatness, in this his council and assembly of his saints, and to be had in reverence of all that are about him. For saints and angels, they are of his council in heaven (as might be shewn), and encompass the manifestation of his glory there round about. --Thomas Goodwin.
Verse 5 Thy wonders, etc. As the heavens are a proof of God's power, in respect of his first framing them out of nothing; so are they a pattern of God's faithfulness, in their constant and orderly motion according to his word since their framing: The heavens shall praise thy faithfulness also. However the power and faithfulness of God may be seen and heard in the work and speech of the heavens by all men, yet are they not observed and hearkened unto except in the Church by God's children: therefore saith he, They shall praise thy faithfulness also in the congregation of the saints. --David Dickson.
Verse 5. Thy wonders. Thy wondrousness (literally, wonder), not "Thy wondrous works", but "Thy wonderful mysterious nature and being", as separate and distinct from all created beings. --J.J.S. Perowne.
Verse 5. Thy wonders, etc. It is a wonderful salvation, it is such a salvation as the angels desire to pry into it; and it is such a salvation, that all the prophets desire to pry into it; it is almost six thousand years since all the angels in heaven fell into a sea of wonder at this great salvation; it is almost six thousand years since Abel fell into a sea of wonder at this great salvation; and what think ye is his exercise this day? He is even wondering at this great salvation. --Andrew Gray, 1616.