Thus said the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that you build to me?…
I. THE STYLE OF THE TEXT. God speaks of Himself. "The heaven is My throne, the earth is My footstool." This style of religious address is especially common in the Scriptures (Psalm 137.; Job 11:7, 8; Job 26:6-14; Isaiah 40:1.). These passages all speak of God in a style which we cannot attempt to analyze. Their aim appears to be twofold.
1. To lead us to make the idea of God Himself the leading idea in religion.
2. To have this idea, which we are to entertain about God, an idea of the utmost grandeur, of the most amazing magnificence, and solemn sublimity.
II. THE DESIGN IN VIEW CANNOT EASILY BE MISTAKEN. They would give us just ideas of God. The impression they aim to make is simply this, that God is incomparably and inconceivably above us — an infinite and awful mystery!
III. THE NECESSITY OF THIS MAY EXIST OH DIFFERENT GROUNDS.
1. Our littleness. In the nature of the case, there can be no comparison betwixt man and God. All is contrast — an infinite contrast.
2. Our sinfulness. Sin never exists aside from the mind's losing a just impression of the Deity; and wherever it exists, there is a tendency to cleave to low and unworthy ideas of Him.
3. Our materiality, the connection of our minds with material and gross bodies. This connection renders it difficult for us to soar beyond matter. We are in danger of introducing the imperfections of our existence into our religion, even into our ideas of God. Consequently, when God speaks to us of Himself, He speaks in a manner designed to guard us from error. He says to us, "The heaven is ,My throne, and the earth is My footstool. Where is the house ye build unto Me? We are limited to the world. We cannot get foothold anywhere else. We are circumscribed within very narrow limits. But God asks, "Where is the place of My rest?" He would elevate our conceptions of Him beyond matter, out of the reach of its bounds.
4. The nature of God. Man is only a creature. He owes his existence to a cause without him. That cause still rules him. That cause allows him to know but little, and often drops the veil of an impenetrable darkness before his eyes just at the point, the very point, where he is most desirous to look further, and it drops the veil there, in order to do him the twofold office of convincing him of the grandeur of God and his own littleness, and of compelling him, under the influence of those convictions, to turn back to a light which concerns him more than the darkness beyond the veil can, to a light where are wrapped up the duties and interests of his immortal soul. God would repress his curiosity, and make him use his conscience. Therefore, He makes darkness preach to him.
1. Let us be admonished to approach the study of religion with a solemnity of mind which belongs to it. It is the study of God. The voice comes from the burning bush, "Draw not nigh hither, put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the ground whereon thou standest is holy ground.' How unlike all other subjects is religion! How differently we should approach it!
2. This mode in which God teaches us — this grandeur and magnificence which belong to Him — ought to remove a very common difficulty from our minds, and prepare us to receive in faith, those deep and dark doctrines, whose mystery is so apt to stagger us. What can we expect?
3. Since God is so vast a being, how deep should be our humility!
4. How deep should be our homage.!
5. The greatness of God should gauge the depth of our repentance. Our sin is against Him.
6. The greatness of God should invite our faith. " If God be for us, who can be against us?"
7. The magnificence of God should be a motive to our service. He is able to turn our smallest services to an infinite account.
8. The greatness of God ought to encourage the timid. Because He is great, His regard reaches to every one of your annoyances. Your enemies cannot hurt you.
9. The grandeur of God ought to rebuke our reliance upon creatures.
(I. S. Spencer, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest?