Amid the terror of the storm Jehovah the Avenger descended, bending beneath his foot the arch of heaven. “_He bowed the heavens also, and came down_.” He came in haste, and spurned everything which impeded his rapidity. The thickest gloom concealed his splendour, “_and darkness was under his feet_;” he fought within the dense vapours, as a warrior in clouds of smoke and dust, and found out the hearts of his enemies with the sharp falchion of his vengeance. Darkness is no impediment to God; its densest gloom he makes his tent and secret pavilion. See how prayer moves earth and heaven, and raises storms to overthrow in a moment the foes of God’s Israel. Things were bad for David before he prayed, but they were much worse for his foes so soon as the petition had gone up to heaven. A trustful heart, by enlisting the divine aid, turns the tables on its enemies. If I must have an enemy let him not be a man of prayer, or he will soon get the better of me by calling in his God into the quarrel.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS.
Verse 9.–“_He bowed the heavens also, and came down_.” As in a tempest the clouds come nearer to the earth, and from the mountains to the valleys, so the Psalmist adopts this figure peculiar to such occasions as described God’s near approach to judgment (#Ps 144:5|, etc.; #Heb 3:6|); “_and darkness was under his feet_.” We have here the increase of the horrors of the tempest, and its still nearer approach, but God is not yet revealed, it is darkness under his feet. Thick darkness was the accompaniment of God’s descent on Mount Sinai (#Ex 20:21; De 4:11|); and it invests his throne, to veil from us the overwhelming majesty of deity. #Ps 97:2|. But this darkness, while it hides his coming judgment, bespeaks sorrow and anguish to the objects of his wrath. #Lu 21:25,26|.–^W. Wilson, in loc. Verses 9-11:– “He also bowed the heavens, And thence he did descend; And thickest clouds of darkness did Under his feet attend. And he upon a cherub rode, And thereon he did fly; Yea, on the swift wings of the wind, His flight was from on high. He darkness made his secret place; About him for his tent Dark waters were, and thickest clouds Of the airy firmament.”
^Scotch Version, 1649. Verses 9-12: “In his descent, bow’d heaven with earth did meet, And gloomy darkness roll’d beneath his feet; A golden winged cherub he bestrid, And on the swiftly-flying tempest rid. He darkness made his secret cabinet; Thick fogs and dropping clouds about him set; The beams of his bright presence these expel, Whence showers of burning coals and hailstones fell.”
^George Sandys, 1577-1643.