How excellent is thy loving-kindness - He asks the question in the way of admiration; but expects no answer from angels or men. It is indescribably excellent, abundant, and free; and, "therefore, the children of Adam put their trust under the shadow of thy wings." They trust in thy good providence for the supply of their bodies; they trust in thy mercy for the salvation of their souls. These, speaking after the figure, are the two wings of the Divine goodness, under which the children of men take refuge. The allusion may be to the wings of the cherubim, above the mercy-seat.
How excellent - Margin, as in Hebrew: “precious.” The word used here is one that would be applicable to precious stones 1 Kings 10:2, 1 Kings 10:10-11; or to the more costly kind of stones employed in building, as marble 2 Chronicles 3:6; and then, anything that is “costly” or “valuable.” The meaning is, that the loving-kindness of God is to be estimated only by the value set on the most rare and costly objects.
Is “thy loving-kindness - Thy mercy. The same word is used here which occurs in Psalm 36:5, and which is there rendered “mercy.” It is not a new attribute of God which is here celebrated or brought into view, but the same characteristic which is referred to in Psalm 36:5. The repetition of the word indicates the state of mind of the writer of the psalm, and shows that he delights to dwell on this; he naturally turns to this; his meditations begin and end with this. While he is deeply impressed by the “faithfulness,” the “righteousness,” and the “judgment” of God, still it is His “mercy” or His “loving-kindness” that is the beginning and the ending of his thoughts; to this the soul turns with ever new delight and wonder when reflecting on the character and the doings of God. Here our hope begins; and to this attribute of the Almighty, when we have learned all else that we can learn about God, the soul turns with ever new delight.
Therefore - In view of that mercy; or because God is a merciful God. It is not in his “justice” that we can take refuge, for we are sinners, but the foundation of all our hope is his mercy. A holy creature could fly to a holy Creator for refuge and defense; he who has given himself to Him, and who has been pardoned, can appeal to his “faithfulness;” but the refuge of a sinner, as such, is only his “mercy;” and it is only to that mercy that he can flee.
The children of men - literally, “the sons of man;” that is, the human race, considered as descended from their great ancestor, or as one family. The meaning is not that all the children of men actually do thus put their trust in the mercy of God - for that is not true; but:
(a) all may do it as the children of men, or as men; and
(b) all who do “put their trust under the shadow of his wings” confide in His mercy alone, as the ground of their hope.
The mechanism of the human body cannot be fully understood; it presents mysteries that baffle the most intelligent. It is not as the result of a mechanism, which, once set in motion, continues its work, that the pulse beats and breath follows breath. In God we live and move and have our being. The beating heart, the throbbing pulse, every nerve and muscle in the living organism, is kept in order and activity by the power of an ever-present God. MH 417.1
The Bible shows us God in His high and holy place, not in a state of inactivity, not in silence and solitude, but surrounded by ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands of holy beings, all waiting to do His will. Through these messengers He is in active communication with every part of His dominion. By His Spirit He is everywhere present. Through the agency of His Spirit and His angels He ministers to the children of men. MH 417.2
Above the distractions of the earth He sits enthroned; all things are open to His divine survey; and from His great and calm eternity He orders that which His providence sees best. MH 417.3Read in context »
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 »
“Thou, Lord, hast made me glad through Thy work:
I will triumph in the works of Thy hands.”
“Thy mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens;
And Thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds.
Thy righteousness is like the great mountains;
Thy judgments are a great deep.... MH 463.1
“How excellent is Thy loving-kindness, O God!”
“The children of men take refuge under the
shadow of Thy wings....
And Thou wilt make them drink of the river of
For with Thee is the fountain of life:
In Thy light shall we see light.” MH 463.2
“Blessed are they that are upright in way,
Who walk in the law of Jehovah.
Blessed are they that keep His testimonies,
That seek Him with the whole heart.” MH 463.3
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 »