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The Steadfast Love of the Lord

1Shout for joy in the Lord, O you righteous!
Praise befits the upright.
2Give thanks to the Lord with the lyre;
make melody to him with the harp of ten strings!
3Sing to him a new song;
play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts.

4For the word of the Lord is upright,
and all his work is done in faithfulness.
5He loves righteousness and justice;
the earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord.

6By the word of the Lord the heavens were made,
and by the breath of his mouth all their host.
7He gathers the waters of the sea as a heap;
he puts the deeps in storehouses.

8Let all the earth fear the Lord;
let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him!
9For he spoke, and it came to be;
he commanded, and it stood firm.

10The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing;
he frustrates the plans of the peoples.
11The counsel of the Lord stands forever,
the plans of his heart to all generations.
12Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,
the people whom he has chosen as his heritage!

13The Lord looks down from heaven;
he sees all the children of man;
14from where he sits enthroned he looks out
on all the inhabitants of the earth,
15he who fashions the hearts of them all
and observes all their deeds.
16The king is not saved by his great army;
a warrior is not delivered by his great strength.
17The war horse is a false hope for salvation,
and by its great might it cannot rescue.

18Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him,
on those who hope in his steadfast love,
19that he may deliver their soul from death
and keep them alive in famine.

20Our soul waits for the Lord;
he is our help and our shield.
21For our heart is glad in him,
because we trust in his holy name.
22Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us,
even as we hope in you.


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6. By the word of Jehovah. That he may stir us up to think more closely of God’s works, he brings before us the creation of the world itself; for until God be acknowledged as the Creator and Framer of the world, who will believe that he attends to the affairs of men, and that the state of the world is controlled by his wisdom and power? But the creation of the world leads us by direct consequence to the providence of God. Not that all men reason so justly, or are endued with so sound a judgment, as to conclude that the world is at this day maintained by the same divine power which was once put forth in creating it: on the contrary, the great majority imagine that he is an idle spectator in heaven of whatever is transacted on earth. But no man truly believes that the world was created by God unless he is also firmly persuaded that it is maintained and preserved by him. Wisely and properly, therefore, does the prophet carry us back to the very origin of the world, in order to fix in our minds the certainty of God’s providence in the continual order of nature. By the figure synecdoche, he uses the term heavens for the whole fabric of the world, because, as I have elsewhere remarked, the sight of the heavens more than all the other parts of creation transports us with admiration. He therefore immediately adds, And all the host of them, by which phraseology, according to the usual method of Scripture, he means the stars and planets; for if the heavens were destitute of this ornament, they would in a manner be empty. In saying that the heavens were created by the word of God, he greatly magnifies his power, because by his nod alone, 674674     “Par son simple vouloir et commandement.” — Fr. “Simply by his will and commandment.” without any other aid or means, and without much time or labor, 675675     “Sans aussi y employer beaucoup de temps ou travail.” — Fr. he created so noble and magnificent a work. But although the Psalmist sets the word of God and the breath of his mouth in opposition both to all external means, and to every idea of painful labor on God’s part, yet we may truly and certainly infer from this passage, that the world was framed by God’s Eternal Word, his only begotten Son. Ancient interpreters have, with considerable ingenuity, employed this passage as a proof of the eternal Deity of the Holy Spirit against the Sabellians. But it appears from other places, particularly from Isaiah 11:4, that by the breath of the mouth is meant nothing else but speech. For it is there said concerning Christ, “He shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.” As powerful and effective speech is there allegorically denominated the rod of his mouth; so in like manner, for another purpose it is denominated in the immediately succeeding clause the breath of his mouth, to mark the difference that exists between God’s speech and the empty sounds which proceed from the mouths of men. In proving the Divinity of the Holy Spirit, therefore, I durst not press this text against Sabellius. Let us account it sufficient that God has formed the heavens by his Word in such a manner as to prove the eternal Deity of Christ. Should any object that these divine persons would not appear distinct if the terms Word and Breath are synonymous; I answer, that the term breath is not employed here simply as in other places, in which there is evidently a distinction made between the Word and the Spirit; but the breath of his mouth is used figuratively for the very utterance of speech; as if it had been said, As soon as God uttered the breath of his mouth, or proclaimed in word what he wished to be done, the heavens were instantly brought into existence, and were furnished, too, with an inconceivable number and variety of stars. It is indeed true that this similitude is borrowed from men; but the Scriptures often teach in other places, that the world was created by that Eternal Word, who, being the only begotten Son of God, appeared afterwards in flesh.




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