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89

The Lord exists forever;

your word is firmly fixed in heaven.


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89 Thy word, O Jehovah I endure for ever. Many explain this verse as if David adduced the stability of the heavens as a proof of God’s truth. According to them the meaning is, that God is proved to be true because the heavens continually remain in the same state. 429429     This is the explanation given by Walford. His translation is —
   “O Jehovah! for ever
Is thy word established in the heavens.”

   Upon which he observes: “The design of these words is by no means obvious, and the interpreters vary greatly in their explications. I have not met with any explanation that is altogether satisfactory, and shall therefore give what appears to me to be the true meaning. The design, in general, of the Psalmist is, to celebrate the immutability of the word of God: whatever He speaks is sure. To illustrate this position, he refers to the creation of the heavens and of the earth; they were alike formed by the word of God, — ‘He spake, and it was done.’ By virtue of that word these vast productions abide through all ages, so that the word of God is established and displayed in heaven and upon earth. As the same word uttered all the precepts and institutions of the law, and all the promises of the covenant of mercy, the unchangeableness of these precepts and promises is verified and manifested by the perpetual conservation of all these instances of physical power and energy.”
Others offer a still more forced interpretation, That God’s truth is more sure than the state of the heavens. But it appears to me that the prophet intended to convey a very different idea. As we see nothing constant or of long continuance upon earth, he elevates our minds to heaven, that they may fix their anchor there. David, no doubt, might have said, as he has done in many other places, that the whole order of the world bears testimony to the steadfastness of God’s word — that word which is most true. But as there is reason to fear that the minds of the godly would hang in uncertainty if they rested the proof of God’s truth upon the state of the world, in which such manifold disorders prevail; by placing God’s truth in the heavens, he allots to it a habitation subject to no changes. That no person then may estimate God’s word from the various vicissitudes which meet his eye in this world, heaven is tacitly set in opposition to the earth. Our salvation, as if it had been said, being shut up in God’s word, is not subject to change, as all earthly things are, but is anchored in a safe and peaceful haven. The same truth the Prophet Isaiah teaches in somewhat different words:

“All flesh is grass, and all the godliness thereof is as the flower of the field,” (Isaiah 40:6.)

He means, according to the Apostle Peter’s exposition, (1 Peter 1:24) that the certainty of salvation is to be sought in the word, and, therefor that they do wrong who settle their minds upon the world; for the steadfastness of God’s word far transcends the stability of the world.




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