Though the Lord be high - This might be rendered “For lofty is Yahweh - and the humble he sees - and the proud he knows from afar.” The idea is, that God - so high and exalted - sees and knows all of every rank among people. The mind of the psalmist had been impressed with a sense of the greatness and majesty of God, but (as if it might be said that one so great could not regard man, so humble and insignificant) he adds, that the fact of God‘s exaltation does not prevent his noticing the affairs of people: that the lowly in life need not fear lest they should be overlooked; the proud need not hope that they will escape the notice of his eye.
Yet hath he respect unto the lowly - Those in humble life; the obscure; the unknown. It does not mean here that he has any special favor toward them, but merely that he sees them. Their low and obscure condition does not prevent his observing them, and they need have no fear that he will overlook them, or that they will be forgotten. Compare the notes at James 4:6; notes at 1 Peter 5:5.
But the proud - Those of lofty rank, and of lofty feelings; the haughty.
He knoweth afar off - From afar. Though he is exalted - though he is in heaven - yet he is not so far removed but that he sees them, and knows them altogether. Distance from him is no protection for them; nor can the wicked hope to escape notice from the fact that God reigns over distant worlds.
And for those also who mourn in trial and sorrow there is comfort. The bitterness of grief and humiliation is better than the indulgences of sin. Through affliction God reveals to us the plague spots in our characters, that by His grace we may overcome our faults. Unknown chapters in regard to ourselves are opened to us, and the test comes, whether we will accept the reproof and the counsel of God. When brought into trial, we are not to fret and complain. We should not rebel, or worry ourselves out of the hand of Christ. We are to humble the soul before God. The ways of the Lord are obscure to him who desires to see things in a light pleasing to himself. They appear dark and joyless to our human nature. But God's ways are ways of mercy and the end is salvation. Elijah knew not what he was doing when in the desert he said that he had had enough of life, and prayed that he might die. The Lord in His mercy did not take him at his word. There was yet a great work for Elijah to do; and when his work was done, he was not to perish in discouragement and solitude in the wilderness. Not for him the descent into the dust of death, but the ascent in glory, with the convoy of celestial chariots, to the throne on high. DA 301.1
God's word for the sorrowing is, “I have seen his ways, and will heal him: I will lead him also, and restore comforts unto him and to his mourners.” “I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them, and make them rejoice from their sorrow.” Isaiah 57:18; Jeremiah 31:13. DA 301.2
“Blessed are the meek.” The difficulties we have to encounter may be very much lessened by that meekness which hides itself in Christ. If we possess the humility of our Master, we shall rise above the slights, the rebuffs, the annoyances, to which we are daily exposed, and they will cease to cast a gloom over the spirit. The highest evidence of nobility in a Christian is self-control. He who under abuse or cruelty fails to maintain a calm and trustful spirit robs God of His right to reveal in him His own perfection of character. Lowliness of heart is the strength that gives victory to the followers of Christ; it is the token of their connection with the courts above. DA 301.3Read in context »
How precious are the lessons of this psalm. We might well devote study to the last four psalms of David. The words also of the prophet are very precious: “Will a man leave the snow of Lebanon which cometh from the rock of the field? or shall the cold flowing waters that come from another place be forsaken? Because my people hath forgotten Me, they have burned incense to vanity, and they have caused them to stumble in their ways from the ancient paths, to walk in paths, in a way not cast up.” “Thus saith the Lord; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord. For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited. Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.”—Special Testimonies On Education, April 22, 1895. FE 371.1
No movement should be made to lower the standard of education in our school at Battle Creek. The students should tax the mental powers; every faculty should reach the highest possible development. Many students come to the college with intellectual habits partially formed that are a hindrance to them. The most difficult to manage is the habit of performing their work as a matter of routine, instead of bringing to their studies thoughtful, determined effort to master difficulties, and to grasp the principles at the foundation of every subject under consideration. Through the grace of Christ it is in their power to change this habit of routine, and it is for their best interest and future usefulness rightly to direct the mental faculties, training them to do service for the wisest Teacher, whose power they may claim by faith. This will give them success in their intellectual efforts, in accordance with the laws of God. Each student should feel that, under God, he is to have special training, individual culture; and he should realize that the Lord requires of him to make all of himself that he possibly can, that he may teach others also. Indolence, apathy, irregularity, are to be dreaded, and the binding of one's self to routine is just as much to be dreaded. FE 373.1Read in context »
“Though the Lord be high, yet hath he respect unto the lowly: but the proud he knoweth afar off.” “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise” (Psalm 138:6; 51:17). Those who reveal the meek and lowly spirit of Christ are tenderly regarded by God. Nothing is unnoticed by Him. He marks their self-denial, their effort to uplift Christ before the world. Though these humble workers may be looked upon with scorn by the world, they are of great value in the sight of God. Not only the wise, the great, the beneficent, will gain a passport into the heavenly courts—not only the busy worker, full of zeal and restless activity. No; the pure in heart, in whose lips there is found no guile; the poor in spirit, who are actuated by the Spirit of an abiding Christ; the peacemaker, whose highest ambition is to do God's will—these will gain an abundant entrance. They are God's jewels, and will be among that number of whom John writes, “I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, ... saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth” (Revelation 19:6). They have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. “Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them” (Revelation 7:15).40 TMK 123.3Read in context »