These verses give glory to God both as King of nations and as King of saints.
I. As King of nations, ruling the world by his power and providence, and overruling all the affairs of the children of men to his own glory; he does according to his will among the inhabitants of the earth, and none may say, What doest thou? 1. He checks the rage and breaks the power of the nations that oppose him and his interests in the world (Ps. 46:6): The heathen raged at David’s coming to the throne, and at the setting up of the kingdom of the Son of David; compare Ps. 2:1, 2. The kingdoms were moved with indignation, and rose in a tumultuous furious manner to oppose it; but God uttered his voice, spoke to them in his wrath, and they were moved in another sense, they were struck into confusion and consternation, put into disorder, and all their measures broken; the earth itself melted under them, so that they found no firm footing; their earthly hearts failed them for fear, and dissolved like snow before the sun. Such a melting of the spirits of the enemies is described, Jdg. 5:4, 5; and see Luke 21:25, 26. 2. When he pleases to draw his sword, and give it commission, he can make great havoc among the nations and lay all waste (Ps. 46:8): Come, behold the works of the Lord; they are to be observed (Ps. 66:5), and to be sought out, Ps. 111:2. All the operations of Providence must be considered as the works of the Lord, and his attributes and purposes must be taken notice of in them. Particularly take notice of the desolations he has made in the earth, among the enemies of his church, who thought to lay the land of Israel desolate. The destruction they designed to bring upon the church has been turned upon themselves. War is a tragedy which commonly destroys the stage it is acted on; David carried the war into the enemies’ country; and O what desolations did it make there! Cities were burnt, countries laid waste, and armies of men cut off and laid in heaps upon heaps. Come and see the effects of desolating judgments, and stand in awe of God; say, How terrible art thou in thy works! Ps. 66:3. Let all that oppose him see this with terror, and expect the same cup of trembling to be put into their hands; let all that fear him and trust in him see it with pleasure, and not be afraid of the most formidable powers armed against the church. Let them gird themselves, but they shall be broken to pieces. 3. When he pleases to sheathe his sword, he puts an end to the wars of the nations and crowns them with peace, Ps. 46:9. War and peace depend on his word and will, as much as storms and calms at sea do, Ps. 107:25, 29. He makes wars to cease unto the end of the earth, sometimes in pity to the nations, that they may have a breathing-time, when, by long wars with each other, they have run themselves out of breadth. Both sides perhaps are weary of the war, and willing to let it fall; expedients are found out for accommodation; martial princes are removed, and peace-makers set in their room; and then the bow is broken by consent, the spear cut asunder and turned into a pruning-hook, the sword beaten into a ploughshare, and the chariots of war are burned, there being no more occasion for them; or, rather, it may be meant of what he does, at other times, in favour of his own people. He makes those wars to cease that were waged against them and designed for their ruin. He breaks the enemies’ bow that was drawn against them. No weapon formed against Zion shall prosper, Isa. 54:17. The total destruction of Gog and Magog is prophetically described by the burning of their weapons of war (Ezek. 39:9, 10), which intimates likewise the church’s perfect security and assurance of lasting peace, which made it needless to lay up those weapons of war for their own service. The bringing of a long war to a good issue is a work of the Lord, which we ought to behold with wonder and thankfulness.
II. As King of saints, and as such we must own that great and marvellous are his works, Rev. 15:3. He does and will do great things,
1. For his own glory (Ps. 46:10): Be still, and know that I am God. (1.) Let his enemies be still, and threaten no more, but know it, to their terror, that he is God, one infinitely above them, and that will certainly be too hard for them; let them rage no more, for it is all in vain: he that sits in heaven, laughs at them; and, in spite of all their impotent malice against his name and honour, he will be exalted among the heathen and not merely among his own people, he will be exalted in the earth and not merely in the church. Men will set up themselves, will have their own way and do their own will; but let them know that God will be exalted, he will have his way will do his own will, will glorify his own name, and wherein they deal proudly he will be above them, and make them know that he is so. (2.) Let his own people be still; let them be calm and sedate, and tremble no more, but know, to their comfort, that the Lord is God, he is God alone, and will be exalted above the heathen; let him alone to maintain his honour, to fulfil his own counsels and to support his own interest in the world. Though we be depressed, yet let us not be dejected, for we are sure that God will be exalted, and that may satisfy us; he will work for his great name, and then no matter what becomes of our little names. When we pray, Father, glorify thy name, we ought to exercise faith upon the answer given to that prayer when Christ himself prayed it, I have both glorified it and I will glorify it yet again. Amen, Lord, so be it.
2. For his people’s safety and protection. He triumphs in the former: I will be exalted; they triumph in this, Ps. 46:7 and again Ps. 46:11. It is the burden of the song, “The Lord of hosts is with us; he is on our side, he takes our part, is present with us and president over us; the God of Jacob is our refuge, to whom we may flee, and in whom we may confide and be sure of safety.” Let all believers triumph in this. (1.) They have the presence of a God of power, of all power: The Lord of hosts is with us. God is the Lord of hosts, for he has all the creatures which are called the hosts of heaven and earth at his beck and command, and he makes what use he pleases of them, as the instruments either of his justice or of his mercy. This sovereign Lord is with us, sides with us, acts with us, and has promised he will never leave us. Hosts may be against us, but we need not fear them if the Lord of hosts be with us. (2.) They are under the protection of a God in covenant, who not only is able to help them, but is engaged in honour and faithfulness to help them. He is the God of Jacob, not only Jacob the person, but Jacob the people; nay, and of all praying people, the spiritual seed of wrestling Jacob; and he is our refuge, by whom we are sheltered and in whom we are satisfied, who by his providence secures our welfare when without are fightings, and who by his grace quiets our minds, and establishes them, when within are fears. The Lord of hosts, the God of Jacob, has been, is, and will be with us—has been, is and will be our refuge: the original includes all; and well may Selah be added to it. Mark this, and take the comfort of it, and say, If God be for us, who can be against us?