Let us now turn our eyes from the wicked council-chamber and raging tumult of man, to the secret place of the majesty of the Most High. What doth God say? What will the King do unto the men who reject his only-begotten Son, the Heir of all things?
Mark the quiet dignity of the Omnipotent One, and the contempt which he pours upon the princes and their raging people. He has not taken the trouble to rise up and do battle with them–he despises them, he knows how absurd, how irrational, how futile are their attempts against him–he therefore _laughs_ at them.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS.
Verse 4.–“_He that sitteth in the heavens_.” Hereby it is clearly intimated, (1) that the Lord is far above all their malice and power, (2) that he seeth all their plots, looking down on all; (3) that he is of omnipotent power, and so can do with his enemies as he lists. “Our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he pleased.” #Ps 115:3|.–^Arthur Jackson, 1643.
Verse 4.–“_He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh_,” etc. Sinners’ follies are the just sport of God’s infinite wisdom and power; and those attempts of the kingdom of Satan, which in our eyes are formidable, in his are despicable.–^Matthew Henry.
Verse 4.–“_He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh_.” They scoff at us, God laughs at them. Laugh? This seems a hard word at the first view: are the injuries of his saints, the cruelties of their enemies, the derision, the persecution of all that are round about us, no more but matter of laughter? Severe Cato thought that laughter did not become the gravity of Roman consuls; that it is a diminution of states, as another told princes; and is it attributed to the Majesty of heaven? According to our capacities, the prophet describes God, as ourselves would be in a merry disposition, deriding vain attempts. He laughs, but it is in scorn; he scorns, but it is with vengeance. Pharaoh imagined that by drowning the Israelite males, he had found a way to root their name from the earth; but when at the same time, his own daughter, in his own court, gave princely education to Moses, their deliverer, did not God laugh?
Short is the joy of the wicked. Is Dagon put up to his place again? God’s smile shall take off his head and his hands, and leave him neither wit to guide nor power to subsist … We may not judge of God’s works until the fifth act: the case, deplorable and desperate in outward appearance, may with one smile from heaven find a blessed issue. He permitted his temple to be sacked and rifled, the holy vessels to be profaned and caroused in; but did not God’s smile make Belshazzar to tremble at the handwriting on the wall? Oh, what are his frowns, if his smiles be so terrible!–^Thomas Adams.
Verse 4.–The expression, “_He that sitteth in the heavens_,” at once fixes our thoughts on a being infinitely exalted above man, who is of the earth, earthly. And when it is said, “_HE shall laugh_,” this word is designed to convey to our minds the idea, that the greatest confederacies amongst kings and peoples, and their most extensive and vigorous preparations, to defeat HIS purposes or to injure HIS servants, are in HIS sight altogether insignificant and worthless. HE looks upon their poor and puny efforts, not only without uneasiness or fear, but HE laughs at their folly; HE treats their impotency with derision. He knows how HE can crush them like a moth when HE pleases, or consume them in a moment with the breath of HIS mouth. How profitable it is for us to be reminded of truths such as these! Ah! it is indeed “_a vain thing_” for the potsherds of the earth to strive with the glorious Majesty of Heaven.–^David Pitcairn.
Verse 4.–“_The Lord_,” in Hebrew, Adonai, mystically signifieth my stays, or my sustainers–my pillars. Our English word “Lord” hath much the same force, being contracted of the old Saxon word “Llaford,” or “Hlafford,” which cometh from “Laef,” to sustain, refresh, cherish.–^Henry Ainsworth.
Verse 4.–“_He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh at them: the Lord shall have them in derision_.” This tautology or repetition of the same thing, which is frequent in the Scriptures, is a sign of the thing being established: according to the authority of the patriarch Joseph (#Ge 41:32|), where, having interpreted the dreams of Pharaoh he said, “And for that the dream was doubled unto Pharaoh twice; it is because the thing is established by God, and God will shortly bring it to pass.” And therefore, here also, “_shall laugh at them_,” and “_shall have them in derision_,” is a repetition to show that there is not a doubt to be entertained that all these things will most surely come to pass. And the gracious Spirit does all this for our comfort and consolation, that we may not faint under temptation, but lift up our heads with the most certain hope; because “he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.” #Heb 10:37|.–^Martin Luther.
HINTS TO PREACHERS.
Verse 4.–God’s derision of the rebellious, both now and hereafter.