Verse 29. Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled. So dependent are all living things upon God's smile, that a frown fills them with terror, as though convulsed with anguish. This is so in the natural world, and certainly not less so in the spiritual: saints when the Lord hides his face are in terrible perplexity.
Thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust. The breath appears to be a trifling matter, and the air an impalpable substance of but small importance, yet, once withdrawn, the body loses all vitality, and crumbles back to the earth from which it was originally taken. All animals come under this law, and even the dwellers in the sea are not exempt from it. Thus dependent is all nature upon the will of the Eternal. Note here that death is caused by the act of God, "thou takest away their breath"; we are immortal till he bids us die, and so are even the little sparrows, who fall not to the ground without our Father.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 29. -- They are troubled. They are confounded; they are overwhelmed with terror and amazement. The word "troubled" by no means conveys the sense of the original word -- !ab, bahal -- which means properly to tremble; to be in trepidation; to be filled with terror; to be amazed; to be confounded. It is that kind of consternation which one has when all support and protection are withdrawn, and when inevitable ruin stares one in the face. So when God turns away, all their support is gone, all their resources fail, and they must die. They are represented as conscious of this; or this is what would occur if they were conscious. --Albert Barnes.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 29. --
- The commencement of life is from God: "Thou sendest forth thy Spirit," etc.
- The continuance of life is from God: "Thou renewest," etc.
- The decline of life is from God: "Thou hidest thy face," etc.
- The cessation of life is from God: "Thou takest away their breath," etc.
- The resurrection of life is from God: "Thou renewest," etc. --G.R.