Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures throughout all generations.
: — What we admire in these verses is their combining the magnificence of unlimited power with the assiduity of unlimited tenderness. It is of great importance that men be taught to view in God this combination of properties. It is certain that the greatness of God is often turned into an argument by which men would bring doubt on the truths of Redemption and Providence. The unmeasured inferiority of man to his Maker is used in proof that so costly a work as that of Redemption can never have been executed on our behalf; and that so unwearied a watchfulness as that of Providence can never be engaged in our service. Whereas, no reason whatever can be derived from our confessed insignificance, against our being the objects whether of Redemption or of Providence — seeing it is equally characteristic of Deity to attend to the inconsiderable and to the great to extend His dominion throughout all generations, and to lift up those that be bowed down. No one can survey the works of ,Nature and not perceive that God has some regard for the children of men, however fallen and polluted they may be. And if God manifest a regard for us in temporal things, it must be far from incredible that He would do the same in spiritual. There can be nothing fairer than the expectation that He would provide for our well-being as moral and accountable creatures with a care at least equal to that exhibited towards us in our natural capacity. So that it is perfectly credible that God would do something on behalf of the fallen; and then the question is, whether anything less than redemption through Christ would be of worth and of efficacy? But it is in regard to the doctrine of a universal Providence that men are most ready to raise objections, from the greatness of God as contrasted with their own insignificance. They cannot believe that He who is so mighty as to rule the Heavenly Hosts can condescend to notice the wants of the meanest of His creatures; and thus they deny to Him the combination of properties asserted in our text, that, whilst possessed of unlimited empire, He sustains the feeble and raises the prostrate. What would be thought of that man's estimate of greatness who should reckon it derogatory to the statesman that he thus combined attention to the inconsiderable with attention to the stupendous; and who should count it inconsistent with the loftiness of his station that, amid duties as arduous as faithfully discharged, he had an ear for the prattle of his children, and an eye for the interests of the friendless, and a heart for the sufferings of the destitute? Would there not be a feeling mounting almost to veneration towards the ruler who should prove himself equal to the superintending every concern of an empire, and who could yet give a personal attention to the wants of many of the poorest of its families; and who, whilst gathering within the compass of an ample intelligence every question of foreign and home policy, protecting the commerce, maintaining the honour, and fostering the institutions of the State, could minister tenderly at the bedside of sickness, and hearken patiently to the tale of calamity, and be as active for the widow and the orphan as though his whole business were to lighten the pressure of domestic affliction? And if we should rise in our admiration and applause of a statesman in proportion as he showed himself capable of attending to things comparatively petty and insignificant without neglecting the grand and momentous, certainly we are bound to apply the same principle to our Maker — to own it, that is, essential to His greatness that, whilst marshalling planets and ordering the motions of all worlds throughout the sweep of immensity, He should yet feed "the young ravens that call upon Him," and number the very hairs of our heads: essential, in short, that, whilst His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and His dominion endureth throughout all generations, He should uphold all that fall, and raise up those that are bowed down. We would add to this, that objections against the doctrine of God's providence are virtually objections against the great truths of creation. Are we to suppose that this or that ephemeral thing, the tiny tenant of a leaf or a bubble, is too insignificant to be observed by God; and that it is absurd to think that the animated point, whose existence is a second, occupies any portion of those inspections which have to spread themselves over the revolutions of planets and the movements of angels? Then to what authorship are we to refer this ephemeral thing? What it was not unworthy of God to form, it cannot be unworthy of God to preserve. But up to this point we have been rather engaged with removing objections against the doctrine of God's providence than with examining that doctrine as it may be derived from our text. In regard to the doctrine itself, it is evident that nothing can happen in any spot of the universe which is not known to Him who is emphatically the Omniscient. But it is far more than the inspection of an ever vigilant observer which God throws over the concerns of creation. It is not merely that nothing can occur without the knowledge of our Maker; it is that nothing can occur but by either His appointment or permission. We say either His appointment or permission — for we know that, whilst He ordereth all things, both in heaven and earth, there is much which He allows to be done, but which cannot be referred directly to His authorship. It is in this sense that His providence has to do with what is evil, overruling it so that it becomes subservient to the march of His purposes. Oh! it were to take from God all that is most encouraging in His attributes and prerogatives if you could throw doubt on this doctrine of His universal providence. It is an august contemplation, that of the Almighty as the Architect of creation, filling the vast void with magnificent structures. We are presently confounded when bidden to meditate on the eternity of the Most High: for it is an overwhelming truth that He who gave beginning to all besides could have had no beginning Himself. And there are other characteristics and properties of Deity whose very mention excites awe, and on which the best eloquence is silence. But whilst She universal providence of God is to the full as incomprehensible as aught else which appertains to Divinity, there is nothing in it but what commends itself to the warmest feeling of our nature. And we seem to have drawn a picture which is calculated equally to raise astonishment and delight, to produce the deepest reverence and yet fullest confidence when we have represented God as superintending whatever occurs in His infinite domain — guiding the roll of every planet, and the rush of every cataract, and the gathering of every cloud, and the motion of every will — and when, in order that the delineation may have all that exquisiteness which is only to be obtained from those home touches which assure us that we have ourselves an interest in what is so splendid and surprising, we add that He is with the sick man on his pallet, and with the seaman in his danger, and with the widow in her agony. And what, after all, is this combination but that presented by our text? If I would exhibit God as so attending to what is mighty as not to overlook what is mean, what better can I do than declare Him mustering around Him the vast army of suns and constellations, and all the while hearkening to every cry which goes up from an afflicted creation — and is not this the very picture sketched by the psalmist when, after the sublime ascription, "Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and Thy dominion endureth throughout all generations," he adds the comforting words, "the Lord upholdeth all that fall, and lifteth up all those that be bowed down"?
(H. Melvill, B. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and thy dominion endureth throughout all generations.