Clouds and darkness are round about him: righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne.
I. "CLOUDS AND DARKNESS ARE ROUND ABOUT GOD." The appearances of God to the saints in old times are the origin of the figure in the text (Exodus 14:19, 20; Exodus 19:16, 18, 20; 1 Kings 8:10, 11; Matthew 17:5; 2 Peter 1:17). Clouds are emblems of obscurity; darkness of distress. The works of God's providence are often obscure and productive of distress to mankind. In the affairs of nations we see the interference of Divine providence; yet it is surrounded with "clouds and darkness." So it is also in instances of smaller kind; it is thus in the removal of the most eminent, holy, and useful characters, that while we acknowledge the hand of God, we say "clouds and darkness are round about Him." Again, look at Christianity. How little has been done by it compared with what might have been anticipated from its Divine principles, the character of its Author, and from the interest it possesses in the heart of God! Paganism yet strikes deep its roots in various lands. Even in Christendom, how little have the known and blessed effects of the Gospel been manifested!
II. RIGHTEOUSNESS AND JUDGMENT ARE THE HABITATION OF HIS THRONE.
1. The dispensations of God towards man are regulated by the consideration of his being a fallen and disordered creature.
2. The Divine Being was not bound in justice, either to prevent the disordered state of man, or to correct it when it had taken place.
3. The whole of those evils that form clouds and darkness round about God are either the penal or natural effect of moral evil.
4. Those that receive the grace of Jesus Christ are still in such a situation as renders a great part of their trials and miseries necessary.
5. The moral evils of man, and the depravity of human nature, age often, in a great measure, corrected and subdued by the natural evils of life, which thus are made the means of conducting to repentance, reformation, and happiness (2 Corinthians 4:17, 18).
6. The light of prophecy dispels many of those clouds which would otherwise obscure, for the present, the government and the throne of the Deity.
(R. Hall, M.A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Clouds and darkness are round about him: righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne.