Psalm 115:3
But our God is in the heavens: he has done whatever he has pleased.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Psalm 115:3. But our God — He whom, notwithstanding their reproaches, we are not ashamed to own for our God, is in the heavens — Although he has no visible shape, nor is present with us in a corporeal form, nor have we any image of him, such as they have of their idols, yet he hath a certain and glorious place of peculiar residence, even the highest heavens, where he manifests himself to spiritual and glorious beings, as clothed with infinite power and majesty, and from whence he beholds and governs this lower world, and all the creatures that are in it. He hath done — Or, he doth whatsoever he pleased — Or, pleaseth. By his only will and pleasure all things were at first made, and are still disposed and governed. And, without the appointment or permission of his providence, nothing comes to pass, and therefore your successes against us, and injuries done us, do not proceed from an invincible power in you or in your idols, nor from any defect of power or goodness in our God, but only from hence, that it pleases him, for many wise and good reasons, to afflict us, and give you prosperity for a time.115:1-8 Let no opinion of our own merits have any place in our prayers or in our praises. All the good we do, is done by the power of his grace; and all the good we have, is the gift of his mere mercy, and he must have all the praise. Are we in pursuit of any mercy, and wrestling with God for it, we must take encouragement in prayer from God only. Lord, do so for us; not that we may have the credit and comfort of it, but that they mercy and truth may have the glory of it. The heathen gods are senseless things. They are the works of men's hands: the painter, the carver, the statuary, can put no life into them, therefore no sense. The psalmist hence shows the folly of the worshippers of idols.But our God is in the heavens - The Septuagint adds, "and in the earth." This is not, however, in the Hebrew. The idea is, Our God really exists. He is the true God. He reigns in heaven. His plans are such as are and should be formed in heaven: lofty, vast, incomprehensible. But he is still our God; our Ruler; our Protector. He is not a god of earth - whose origin is earth - who dwells on earth alone - like the idols of the pagan; but the whole vast universe is under his control.

He hath done whatsoever he hath pleased - And, therefore, what has been done is right, and we should be submissive to it. He is a sovereign God; and mysterious as are his doings, and much as there seems to be occasion to ask the question "Where is now your God?" yet we are to feel that what has occurred has been in accordance with his eternal plans, and is to be submitted to as a part of his arrangements. It is, in fact, always a sufficient answer to the objections which are made to the government of God, as if he had forsaken his people in bringing affliction on them, and leaving them, apparently without interposition, to poverty, to persecution, and to tears, that he is "in the heavens;" that he rules there and everywhere; that he has his own eternal purposes; and that all things are ordered in accordance with his will. There must, therefore, be some good reason why events occur as they actually do.

2. Where is now, &c.—"now" is "not a particle of time, but of entreaty," as in our forms of speech, "Come now," "See now," &c.3 But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.

4 Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men's hands.

5 They have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not:

6 They have ears, but they hear not: noses have they, but they smell not:

7 They have hands, but they handle not: feet have they, but they walk not: neither speak they through their throat.

8 They that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusteth in them.

Psalm 115:3

"But our God is in the heavens" - where he should be; above the reach of mortal sneers, over-hearing all the vain janglings of men, but looking down with silent scorn upon the makers of the babel. Supreme above all opposing powers, the Lord reigneth upon a throne high and lifted up. Incomprehensible in essence, he rises above the loftiest thought of the wise; absolute in will and infinite in power, he is superior to the limitations which belong to earth and time. This God is our God, and we are not ashamed to own him, albeit he may not work miracles at the beck and call of every vain-glorious boaster who may choose to challenge him. Once they bade his Son come down from the cross and they would believe in him, now they would have God overstep the ordinary bounds of his providence and come down from heaven to convince them' but other matters occupy his august mind besides the convincement of those who wilfully shut their eyes to the superabundant evidences of his divine power and Godhead, which are all around them. If our God be neither seen nor heard, and is not to be worshipped under any outward symbol, yet is he none the less real and true, for he is where his adversaries can never be - in the heavens, whence he stretches forth his sceptre, and rules with boundless power.

"He hath done whatsoever he hath pleased." Up till this moment his decrees have been fulfilled, and his eternal purposes accomplished; he has not been asleep, nor oblivious of the affairs of men; he has worked, and he has worked effectually, none have been able to thwart, nor even so much as to hinder him. "Whatsoever he hath pleased": however distasteful to his enemies, the Lord has accomplished all his good pleasure without difficulty; even when his adversaries raved and raged against him they have been compelled to carry out his designs against their will. Even proud Pharaoh, when most defiant of the Lord was but as clay upon the potter's wheel, and the Lord's end and design in him were fully answered. We may well endure the jeering question, "Where is now their God?" while we are perfectly sure that his providence is undisturbed, his throne unshaken, and his purposes unchanged. What he hath done he will yet do, his counsel shall stand, and he will do all his pleasure, and at the end of the great drama of human history, the omnipotence of God and his immutability and faithfulness will be more than vindicated to the eternal confusion of his adversaries.

Psalm 115:4

"Their idols are silver and gold." mere dead inert matter; at the best only made of precious metal, but that metal quite as powerless as the commonest wood or clay. The value of the idol shows the folly of the maker in wasting his substance, but certainly does not increase the power of the image, since there is no more life in silver and gold than in brass or iron. "The work of men's hands.". Inasmuch as the maker is always greater than the thing that he has made, these idols are less to be honoured than the artificers, who fashioned them. How irrational that men should adore that which is less than themselves! How strange that a man should think that he can make a god! Can madness go further? Our God is a sprit, and his hands made the heavens and the earth' well may we worship him, and we need not be disturbed at the sneering question of those who are so insane as to refuse to adore the living God, and yet bow their knees before images of their own carving. We may make an application of all this to the times in which we are now living. The god of modern thought is the creation of the thinker himself, evolved out of his own consciousness, or fashioned according to his own notion of what a god should be. Now. it is evident that such a being is no God. It is impossible that there should be a God at all except the God of revelation. A god who can be fashioned by our own thoughts is no more a god than the image manufactured or produced by our own hands. The true God must of necessity be his own revealer. It is clearly impossible that a being who can be excogitated and comprehended by the reason of man should be the infinite and incomprehensible God. Their idols are blinded reason and diseased thought, the product of men's muddled brains, and they will come to nought.

Psalm 115:5

"They have mouths, but they speak not." The idols cannot utter even the faintest sound, they cannot communicate with their worshippers, they can neither promise nor threaten, command nor console, explain the past nor prophesy the future. If they had no mouths they might not be expected to speak, but having mouths and speaking not, they are mere dumb idols, and not worthy to be compared with the Lord God who thundered at Sinai, who in old time spake by his servants the prophets, and whose voice even now breaketh tile cedars of Lebanon. "Eyes have they, but they see not." They cannot tell who their worshippers may be or what they offer. Certain idols have had jewels in their eyes more precious than a king's ransom, but they were as blind as the rest of the fraternity. A god who has eyes, and cannot see, is a blind deity; and blindness is a calamity, and not an attribute of godhead. He must be very blind who worships a blind god: we pity a blind man, it is strange to worship a blind image.

Psalm 115:6

continued...

Our God; whom, notwithstanding your reproaches, we are not ashamed to own for our God.

Is in the heavens; although he have no visible shape nor bodily presence with us here upon earth, as your idols have, which is a certain proof of their baseness and weakness, yet he hath a certain and a glorious place where he resideth, even the highest heavens, where he is clothed with infinite power and majesty, and from whence he beholdeth and governeth this lower world, and all that is in it. He hath done whatsoever he pleased; or,

he doth, & c. By his only will and pleasure all things were at first made, and are still disposed, and without this nothing cometh to pass. And therefore all your insolences, and injuries, and successes against us do not come from an invincible power in you or in your idols, nor from any defect of strength or goodness in our God, but only from hence, that it pleased him for many wise and good reasons to afflict us, and to give you prosperity for a time. But our God is in the heavens,.... His habitation is in the heavens, as the Targum; the Septuagint and Arabic versions add, "and in earth": he is in both, and fills both with his presence; and cannot be contained in either. He is the Maker and Possessor of heaven and earth; the one is his throne, and the other is his footstool: he dwells in the highest heaven, and overlooks all persons and things on earth, and overrules all; he is higher than the highest, and his kingdom ruleth over all.

He hath done whatsoever he pleased; in creation, in providence, and in grace: he hath made what creatures he pleased, and for his pleasure; and he does according to his will, and after the counsel of it, in heaven and in earth; and is gracious to whom he will be gracious; saves and calls men, not according to their works, but according to his own purpose and will; whose counsel shall stand, and he will do all his pleasure; he is the most high God, and a sovereign Being; all that he wills are possible to him, and easily done by him, and which Heathens themselves own (x).

(x) , Homer. Odyss. 10. v. 306. "Facile est omnia posse Deo", Ovid. de Arte Amandi, l. 1.

But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath {c} pleased.

(c) No impediments can slow his work, but he uses even the impediments to serve his will.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
3. But] Or, Whereas. Though its outward circumstances may seem to give ground for the taunts of the heathen, Israel knows that its God is supremely exalted and omnipotent. If His people suffer, it is because He wills it, not because He lacks power to help them. He does whatsoever He wills in chastisement (Isaiah 53:10) and in redemption (Isaiah 55:11). Cp. Wis 12:18, “Thou, being sovereign over thy strength, judgest in gentleness, and with great forbearance dost thou govern us; for the power is thine whensoever thou hast the will.”Verse 3. - But - rather, and - as though he would say, "and all the while, as the heathen scorn and question" - our God is in the heavens; in his place, where he always is, watching over us. He hath done what soever he hath pleased. He has the will to help us, and he has the power to do whatsoever he pleases. The poet, when he asks, "What aileth thee, O sea, that thou fleest...?" lives and moves in this olden time as a contemporary, or the present and the olden time as it were flow together to his mind; hence the answer he himself gives to the question propounded takes the form of a triumphant mandate. The Lord, the God of Jacob, thus mighty in wondrous works, it is before whom the earth must tremble. אדון does not take the article because it finds its completion in the following יעקב (אלוהּ); it is the same epizeuxis as in Psalm 113:8; Psalm 94:3; Psalm 96:7, Psalm 96:13. ההפכי has the constructive ı̂ out of the genitival relation; and in למעינו in this relation we have the constructive ô, which as a rule occurs only in the genitival combination, with the exception of this passage and בּנו באר, Numbers 24:3, Numbers 24:15 (not, however, in Proverbs 13:4, "his, the sluggard's, soul"), found only in the name for wild animals חיתו־ארץ, which occurs frequently, and first of all in Genesis 1:24. The expression calls to mind Psalm 107:35. הצּוּר is taken from Exodus 17:6; and חלּמישׁ (lxx τὴν ἀκρότομον, that which is rugged, abrupt)

(Note: One usually compares Arab. chlnbûs, chalnabûs the Karaite lexicographer Abraham ben David writes חלמבוס]; but this obsolete word, as a compound from Arab. chls, to be black-grey, and Arab. chnbs, to be hard, may originally signify a hard black-grey stone, whereas חלמישׁ looks like a mingling of the verbal stems Arab. ḥms, to be hard, and Arab. ḥls, to be black-brown (as Arab. jlmûd, a detached block of rock, is of the verbal stems Arab. jld, to be hard, and Arab. jmd, to be massive). In Hauran the doors of the houses and the window-shutters are called Arab. ḥalasat when they consist of a massive slab of dolerite, probably from their blackish hue. Perhaps חלמישׁ is the ancient name for basalt; and in connection with the hardness of this form of rock, which resembles a mass of cast metal, the breaking through of springs is a great miracle. - Wetzstein. For other views vid., on Isaiah 49:21; Isaiah 50:7.)

stands, according to Deuteronomy 8:15, poetically for סלע, Numbers 20:11, for it is these two histories of the giving of water to which the poet points back. But why to these in particular? The causing of water to gush forth out of the flinty rock is a practical proof of unlimited omnipotence and of the grace which converts death into life. Let the earth then tremble before the Lord, the God of Jacob. It has already trembled before Him, and before Him let it tremble. For that which He has been He still ever is; and as He came once, He will come again.

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