Verse 2. God looked down from heaven upon the children of men. He did so in ages past, and he has continued his steadfast gaze from his all surveying observatory.
To see if there were any that did understand, that did seek God. Had there been one understanding man, one true lover of his God, the divine eye would have discovered him. Those pure heathens and admirable savages that men talk so much of, do not appear to have been visible to the eye of Omniscience, the fact being that they live nowhere but in the realm of fiction. The Lord did not look for great grace, but only for sincerity and right desire, but these he found not. He saw all nations, and all men in all nations, and all hearts in all men, and all motions of all hearts, but he saw neither a clear head nor a clean heart among them all. Where God's eyes see no favourable sign we may rest assured there is none.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 2. That did seek God. Although all things are full of God, yet is he to be sought for of godly men, by reason of the darkness which compasseth our minds through original sin. For both the flesh, and the senses, and earthly affections do hinder us from knowing of him, yea, though he be present. Peter Martyr, 1500-1562.
Verse 2-3. Their sin is described in gradation. They do not understand, because a true knowledge of things divine forms the basis of proper conduct towards God; they do not ask for God, because they only care for him whose clear and sure insight apprehends him as their highest possession; they are gone aside, because he who cares not for him is sure to get estranged from him, and to deviate from his paths; and they are altogether become filthy (i.e., worthless), because man's proper strength and fitness for virtue must well from the fountain of communion with God. Agustus F. Tholuck.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
- God has not left the world to itself.
- He takes particular notice of all that is in it.
- The only thing he values in it is the knowledge of
himself. G. R.