by David Virts

Scripture Text: Psalm 113:4-5 Title: Up and Down

Question of the Day: In terms of perspective, where is up and where is down in the universe?

We human beings do some strange things: when we want to watch a sporting event like a football game, a soccer game, a car race, or any other huge event, we built it in an oval shape so that all of the spectators can “look down on the event” and enjoy it. And from our perspective, it does give us a good view of the event—though the further away from “courtside” that we sit, the further we feel from the action. But in the universe everything is quite different. We feel like we are on the court or the field and the whole universe is looking down at us.

To get our perspective changed, the psalmist gave us these words: “The LORD is to be exalted high above all the nations of the world and His glory towers over the whole universe! Who is like the LORD, the God that we worship? He is firmly enthroned high above all else and He looks down on the earth.”

This psalm is another in the series that tells man how to worship the LORD, the God of the universe in the way He demands that we worship. To accomplish that he tells us that the LORD is “high above all nations.” The nations of this world seem so high, so important, so far above all that we are or can imagine in our world, but the psalmist tells us that the LORD is high above all nations. There is no other being in the universe higher than He. There is no place higher than His throne to exalt anyone!

Then we are told that His glory is higher than the heavens. This same phrase is repeated in Psalm 8:1; 57:5, 11; 148:13, and they emphasize that when the LORD is properly exalted by His children here on earth, His glory outshines all—in fact, when we get a glimpse of the LORD when exalted by His special chosen people on earth, He is seen and He is portrayed to be far above all else that earthbound man knows anything about. So does the world around us see the glory of the LORD? Do we bring the presence and the plan of God into our world so that they see the glory of the LORD?

And then who is the LORD? We are told here that there is no one like Him. Our God is so unique, so awesome, so powerful, so full of love, so compassionate, and most of all so holy and full of love and grace that there is none other to compare with Him. Any other creature that He has created is so far inferior to Him that there is no comparison. If we compare Him with an angel, or man, or a seraphim or any other created being that we know about, He is infinitely higher and greater than all.

And He is seated on high. His throne is far above all else in the universe. He has no rivals—on earth or in heaven. In Isaiah 6 the prophet saw the LORD high and lifted up above all in the temple [by the way, the LORD is always spoken of in the Scriptures as “in His holy temple”]; He looks far down on the entire universe—the heavens and the earth. To mankind God is always “UP”, and from His perspective, everything in the entire universe is “down”! In fact, in His temple, we are all “down” on the playing field, and we are all looking “UP” to see Him on His throne. Here is the main point of this psalm: the LORD is “UP”, that is, He is high above all, and everyone and everything else is “down”. In fact the next verse says this, “He raises up the poor from the dust and the needs from the garbage dump.” So He is UP and we are down, yet He raises us up out of the dirt and scum of this world and sets us on high with His Son! WOW!

Prayer: O God, we look up to You and then bow down in humility and brokenness. Teach us to exalt You to the position where You really are—on Your throne high and lifted up above all in heaven and on earth. We look up to You and bow down! Amen!

David B. Virts has written a book called “Knowing, Seeking Worshiping — a study of the character of God.” It is available by calling 615-945-0611.