Verse 2. Therefore. How fond the psalmist is of therefores! his poetry is no poetic rapture without reason, it is as logical as a mathematical demonstration. The next words are a necessary inference from these. Will not we fear. With God on our side, how irrational would fear be! Where he is all power is, and all love, why therefore should we quail? Though the earth be removed, though the basis of all visible things should be so convulsed as to be entirely changed. And though the mountains be carried into the middle of the sea; though the firmest of created objects should fall to headlong ruin, and be submerged in utter destruction. The two phrases set forth the most terrible commotions within the range of imagination, and include the overthrow of dynasties, the destruction of nations, the ruin of families, the persecutions of the church, the reign of heresy, and whatever else may at any time try the faith of believers. Let the worst come to the worst, the child of God should never give way to mistrust; since God remaineth faithful there can be no danger to his cause or people. When the elements shall melt with fervent heat, and the heavens and the earth shall pass away in the last general conflagration, we shall serenely behold "the wreck of matter, and the crash of worlds," for even then our refuge shall preserve us from all evil, our strength shall prepare us for all good.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 2. Though the earth be removed. John Wesley preached in Hyde park, on the occasion of the earthquake felt in London, March 8, 1750, and repeated these words. Charles Wesley composed Hymn 67, Wesley's Collection, the following lines of which illustrate this verse: --
How happy then are we,
Who build, O Lord, on thee!
What can our foundation shock?
Though the shattered earth remove,
Stands our city on a rock,
On the rock of heavenly love.
Verse 2-3. The earth thrown into a state of wild confusion, the mountains hurled into the mighty deep, the sea tossed into a tempest, and the everlasting hills drifting on its foaming billows, are the vivid images by which the divine judgments on wicked and persecuting nations are described in the language of the prophets. John Morison.
Verse 2-3,5. Palestine was frequently subject to earthquakes, as might have been expected from its physical character and situation; and it is a remarkable circumstance, that although all other parts of the land seem to have been occasionally the scene of those terrible convulsions, the capital was almost wholly free from them. Mount Moriah, or the hill of vision, was so called from its towering height, which made it a conspicuous object in the distance. It stands in the centre of a group of hills, which surround it in the form of an amphitheatre, and it was chiefly to this position, under the special blessing of God, that it stood firm and immoveable amid the frequent earthquakes that agitated and ravaged the Holy Land. Paxton's Illustrations of Scripture.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 2. The reasons, advantages, and glory of holy courage.
- The great and many causes for fear.
- What might come -- mountains, waters, etc., persecution, pestilence, etc.
- What must come -- afflictions, death, judgment.
- The great and one cause for not fearing. Fearlessness under such circumstances should be well grounded. God himself is our refuge, and we confiding in him are fearless. G. Rogers.