Verse 2. Before the mountains were brought forth. Before those elder giants had struggled forth from nature's womb, as her dread firstborn, the Lord was glorious and self sufficient. Mountains to him, though hoar with the snows of ages, are but new born babes, young things whose birth was but yesterday, mere novelties of an hour.
Or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world. Here too the allusion is to a birth. Earth was born but the other day, and her solid land was delivered from the flood but a short while ago.
Even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God, or, "thou art, O God." God was, when nothing else was. He was God when the earth was not a world but a chaos, when mountains were not upheaved, and the generation of the heavens and the earth had not commenced. In this Eternal One there is a safe abode for the successive generations of men. If God himself were of yesterday, he would not be a suitable refuge for mortal men; if he could change and cease to be God he would be but an uncertain dwelling place for his people. The eternal existence of God is here mentioned to set forth, by contrast, the brevity of human life.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 2. The earth and the world. The word earth here is used to denote the world as distinguished either from heaven ( Genesis 1:1 ), or from the sea ( Genesis 1:10 ). The term "world" in the original is commonly employed to denote the earth considered as inhabited, or as capable of being inhabited, a dwelling place for living beings. --Albert Barnes.
Verse 2. From everlasting to everlasting, thou art God. The everlastingness of which Moses speaks is to be referred not only to the essence of God, but also to his providence, by which he governs the world. He intends not merely that he is, but that he is God. -- John Calvin.
Verse 2. Such a God (he says) have we, such a God do we worship, to such a God do we pray, at whose command all created things sprang into being. Why then should we fear if this God favours us? Why should we tremble at the anger of the whole world? If He is our dwelling place, shall we not be safe though the heavens should go to wrack? For we have a Lord greater than all the world. We have a Lord so mighty that at his word all things sprang into being. And yet we are so fainthearted that if the anger of a single prince or king, nay, even of a single neighbour, is to be borne, we tremble and droop in spirit. Yet in comparison with this King, all things beside in the whole world are but as the lightest dust which a slight breath moves from its place, and suffers not to be still. In this way this description of God is consolatory, and trembling spirits ought to look to this consolation in their temptations and dangers. --Martin Luther.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 2. A Discourse upon the Eternity of God. S. Charnock. Works
- pg 344-373, Nichol's Edition.
Verse 2. (last clause). -- The consideration of God's eternity may serve,
- For the support of our faith; in reference to our own condition for the future; in reference to our posterity; and to the condition of God's church to the end of the world.
- For the encouragement of our obedience. We serve the God who can give us an everlasting reward.
- For the terror of wicked men.
--Tillotson's Sermon on the Eternity of God.