O LORD, how great are your works! and your thoughts are very deep.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Thoughts.—Better, plans, or purposes. (Comp. in addition to references in margin, Psalm 36:6.)Psalm 8:3; Psalm 40:5. See also the notes at Job 11:7. The meaning here is this: The psalmist, on the Sabbath, in giving himself to meditation on the works of God, is overwhelmed with a sense of their vastness, their incomprehensible nature, and the depth of wisdom evinced, far beyond the grasp of man, in what God had done. How soon is man lost; how soon does he get beyond his depth; how soon does he feel that here is greatness which he cannot comprehend, and wisdom which he cannot fathom, and goodness which he cannot appreciate, when he sits down to meditate on the works of God!
And thy thoughts are very deep - Compare Isaiah 28:29; Romans 11:33-34. The meaning is, that the plans or the purposes of God, as evinced in the works of creation and providence, are too profound for man to understand them. Who but God himself can comprehend them?
6 A brutish man knoweth not; neither doth a feel understand this
"O Lord, how great are thy works!" He is lost in wonder. He utters an exclamation of amazement. How vast! How stupendous are the doings of Jehovah! Great for number, extent, and glory and design are all the creations of the Infinite One. "And thy thoughts are very deep." The Lord's plans are as marvellous as his acts; his designs are as profound as his doings are vast. Creation is immeasurable, and the wisdom displayed in it unsearchable. Some men think but cannot work, and others are mere drudges working without thought; in the Eternal the conception and the execution go together. Providence is inexhaustible, and the divine decrees which originate it are inscrutable. Redemption is grand beyond conception, and the thoughts of love which planned it are infinite. Man is superficial, God is inscrutable; man is shallow, God is deep. Dive as we may we shall never fathom the mysterious plan, or exhaust the boundless wisdom of the all-comprehending mind of the Lord. We stand by the fathomless sea of divine wisdom, and exclaim with holy awe, "O the depth!"
"A brutish man knoweth not; neither doth a fool understand this." In this and the following verses the effect of the Psalm is heightened by contrast; the shadows are thrown in to bring out the lights more prominently. What a stoop from Psalm 92:5; from the saint to the brute, from the worshipper to the boor, from the Psalmist to the fool! Yet, alas, the character described here is no uncommon one. The boorish or boarish man, for such is almost the very Hebrew word, sees nothing in nature; and if it be pointed out to him, his foolish mind will not comprehend it. He may be a philosopher, and yet be such a brutish being that he will not own the existence of a Maker for the ten thousand matchless creations around him, which wear, even upon their surface, the evidences of profound design. The unbelieving heart, let it boast as it will, does not know; and with all its parade of intellect, it does not understand. A man must either be a saint or a brute, he has no other choice; his type must be the adoring seraph, or the ungrateful swine. So far from paying respect to great thinkers who will not own the glory or the being of God, we ought to regard them as comparable to the beasts which perish, only vastly lower than mere brutes, because their degrading condition is of their own choosing. O God, how sorrowful a thing it is that men whom thou hast so largely gifted, and made in thine own image, should so brutify themselves that they will neither see nor understand what thou hast made so clear. Well might an eccentric writer say, "God made man a little lower than the angels at first, and he has been trying to get lower ever since."Thy thoughts; thy counsels and methods in the government of the world and of thy church. Psalm 104:24,
and thy thoughts are very deep; his counsels, purposes, and designs, they are unfathomable and unsearchable; see 1 Corinthians 2:10.O LORD, how great are thy works! and thy thoughts are very deep.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)5. How great are thy doings, Jehovah!
Exceeding deep are thy thoughts.
The grandeur and profundity of Jehovah’s designs in the government of the world stir the Psalmist’s admiration. Cp. Psalm 36:6; Psalm 40:5; Psalm 139:17-18; Isaiah 55:8-9; Romans 11:33-34.
“Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never-failing skill
He treasures up His bright designs,
And works His sovereign Will.”Verse 5. - O Lord, how great are thy works! (comp. Psalm 40:5). Mighty and wonderful, i.e., are the ways of Providence. And thy thoughts are very deep (comp. Job 11:8). Proverbs 12:21; Aquila well renders: ου ̓ μεταχθήσεται πρὸς σὲ κακία. לא־יקרב reminds one of Isaiah 54:14, where אל follows; here it is בּ, as in Judges 19:13. The angel guardianship which is apportioned to him who trusts in God appears in Psalm 91:11, Psalm 91:12 as a universal fact, not as a solitary fact and occurring only in extraordinary instances. Haec est vera miraculorum ratio, observes Brentius on this passage, quod semel aut iterum manifeste revelent ea quae Deus semper abscondite operatur. In ישּׂאוּנך the suffix has been combined with the full form of the future. The lxx correctly renders Psalm 91:12: μήποτε προσκόψῃς πρὸς λίθον τὸν πόδα σου, for נגף everywhere else, and therefore surely here too and in Proverbs 3:23, has a transitive signification, not an intransitive (Aquila, Jerome, Symmachus), cf. Jeremiah 13:16. Psalm 91:13 tells what he who trusts in God has power to do by virtue of this divine succour through the medium of angels. The promise calls to mind Mark 16:18, ὄφεις ἀροῦσι, they shall take up serpents, but still more Luke 10:19 : Behold, I give you power to tread ἐπάνω ὄφεων καὶ σκορπίων καὶ ἐπὶ πᾶσαν τὴν δύναμιν τοῦ ἐχθροῦ. They are all kinds of destructive powers belonging to nature, and particularly to the spirit-world, that are meant. They are called lions and fierce lions from the side of their open power, which threatens destruction, and adders and dragons from the side of their venomous secret malice. In Psalm 91:13 it is promised that the man who trusts in God shall walk on over these monsters, these malignant foes, proud in God and unharmed; in Psalm 91:13, that he shall tread them to the ground (cf. Romans 16:20). That which the divine voice of promise now says at the close of the Psalm is, so far as the form is concerned, an echo taken from Psalm 50. Psalm 50:15, Psalm 50:23 of that Psalm sound almost word for word the same. Genesis 46:4, and more especially Isaiah 63:9, are to be compared on Psalm 50:15. In B. Taanith 16a it is inferred from this passage that God compassionates the suffering ones whom He is compelled by reason of His holiness to chasten and prove. The "salvation of Jahve," as in Psalm 50:23, is the full reality of the divine purpose (or counsel) of mercy. To live to see the final glory was the rapturous thought of the Old Testament hope, and in the apostolic age, of the New Testament hope also.
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