Psalm 97:5

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 5. The hills melted like wax at the presence of the LORD. Inanimate nature knows its Creator, and worships him in its own fashion. States and kingdoms which stand out upon the world like mountains are utterly dissolved when he decrees their end. Systems as ancient and firmly rooted as the hills pass away when he does but look upon them. In the Pentecostal era, and its subsequent age, this was seen on all hands, heathenism yielded at the glance of Jehovah Jesus, and the tyrannies based upon it dissolved like melted wax.

At the presence of the Lord of the whole earth. His dominion is universal, and his power is everywhere felt. Men cannot move the hills, with difficulty do they climb them, with incredible toil do they pierce their way through their fastnesses, but it is not so with the Lord, his presence makes a clear pathway, obstacles disappear, a highway is made, and that not by his hand as though it cost him pains, but by his mere presence, for power goes forth from him with a word or a glance. O for the presence of the Lord after this sort with his church at this hour! It is our one and only need. With it the mountains of difficulty would flee away, and all obstacles would disappear. O that thou wouldest rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains might flow down at thy presence, O Lord.

In the little world of our nature the presence of Jesus in reigning power is as a fire to consume our lusts and melt our souls to obedience. Sometimes we doubt the presence of the Lord within, for he is concealed with clouds, but we are again assured that he is within us when his light shines in and fills us with holy fear, while at the same time the warmth of grace softens us to penitence, resignation and obedience, even as wax becomes soft in the presence of fire.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 5. The hills melted like wax at the presence of the LORD. For a parallel passage see Micah 1:4 . There the words are applied to the judgment of God about to fall on the people of the covenant: here they are applied to the judgment on the God opposing world. The fact that judgment has begun at the house of God is a token that judgments of a far more destructive kind will overtake the (openly) ungodly and sinners ( 1 Peter 4:7 ). "The hills" symbolize the heights or man's self exalting pride of intellect, wealth, and power. --A.R. Faussett.

Verse 5. The Lord of the whole earth. In this title lies concealed the reason for the liquefaction of the hills, for the God who here manifests himself is he who created the earth, and is able therefore to reduce it to nothing. --Martin Geier.

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 5. The presence of God in the church her invincible power.