Thy mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens - That is, thou art abundant, infinite in thy mercy; else such transgressors must be immediately cut off; but thy long-suffering is intended to lead them to repentance.
Thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds - שחקים עד ad shechakim, to the eternal regions; above all visible space. God's faithfulness binds him to fulfill the promises and covenants made by his mercy. Blessings from the heavens, from the clouds, from the earth, are promised by God to his followers; and his faithfullness is in all those places, to distribute to his followers the mercies he has promised.
Thy mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens - This commences the second part of the psalm - the description of the character of God in contrast with the character of the wicked man. The meaning here is, evidently, that the mercy of God is very exalted; to the very heavens, as high as the highest object of which man can conceive. Thus, we speak of virtue as “exalted,” or virtue of the “highest kind.” The idea is not that the mercy of God is “manifested” in heaven, for, mercy being favor shown to the guilty, there is no occasion for it in heaven; nor is the idea that mercy, as shown to man, has its “origin” in heaven, which is indeed true in itself; but it is, as above explained, that it is of the most exalted nature; that it is as high as man can conceive.
And thy faithfulness - Thy “truthfulness;” thy fidelity to thy promises and to thy friends.
Reacheth “unto the clouds.” The clouds are among the highest objects. They rise above the loftiest trees, and ascend above the mountains, and seem to lie or roll along the sky. The idea here, therefore, as in the first part of the verse, is, that it is elevated or exalted.
He who has a knowledge of God and His word through personal experience has a settled faith in the divinity of the Holy Scriptures. He has proved that God's word is truth, and he knows that truth can never contradict itself. He does not test the Bible by men's ideas of science; he brings these ideas to the test of the unerring standard. He knows that in true science there can be nothing contrary to the teaching of the word; since both have the same Author, a correct understanding of both will prove them to be in harmony. Whatever in so-called scientific teaching contradicts the testimony of God's word is mere human guesswork. MH 462.1
To such a student, scientific research will open vast fields of thought and information. As he contemplates the things of nature, a new perception of truth comes to him. The book of nature and the written word shed light upon each other. Both make him better acquainted with God by teaching him of His character and of the laws through which He works. MH 462.2
The experience of the psalmist is the experience that all may gain by receiving God's word through nature and through revelation. He says: MH 462.3Read in context »
I have been shown that the false shepherds were drunk, but not with wine; they stagger, but not with strong drink. The truth of God is sealed up to them; they cannot read it. When they are interrogated as to what the seventh-day Sabbath is, whether or not it is the true Sabbath of the Bible, they lead the mind to fables. I saw that these prophets were like the foxes of the desert. They have not gone up into the gaps, they have not made up the hedge that the people of God may stand in the battle in the day of the Lord. When the minds of any get stirred up, and they begin to inquire of these false shepherds about the truth, they take the easiest and best manner to effect their object and quiet the minds of the inquiring ones, even changing their own position to do it. Light has shone on many of these shepherds, but they would not acknowledge it and have changed their position a number of times to evade the truth and get away from the conclusions that they must come to if they continued in their former position. The power of truth tore up their foundation, but instead of yielding to it they would get up another platform that they were not satisfied with themselves. EW 123.1
I saw that many of these shepherds had denied the past teachings of God; they had denied and rejected the glorious truths which they once zealously advocated and had covered themselves with mesmerism and all kinds of delusions. I saw that they were drunken with error and were leading on their flock to death. Many of the opposers of God's truth devise mischief in their heads upon their beds, and in the day they carry out their wicked devices to put down the truth and to get something new to interest the people and divert their minds from the precious, all-important truth. EW 123.2Read in context »