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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Psalms 77:13

 

 

Your way, O God, is holy; What god is great like our God?

Adam Clarke Commentary

Thy way - is in the sanctuary - See Psalm 73:17. I must go to the sanctuary now to get comfort, as I went before to get instruction. What a mercy to have the privilege of drawing near to God in his ordinances! How many doubts have been solved, fears dissipated, hearts comforted, darknesses dispelled, and snares broken, while waiting on God in the means of grace!

Some understand the words, Thy way is in holiness - all thy dispensations, words, and works are holy, just and true. And as is thy majesty, so is thy mercy! O, who is so great a God as our God?


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Psalms 77:13". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/psalms-77.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary - Luther renders this, “O God, thy way is holy.” Prof. Alexander, “O God, in holiness is thy way.” DeWette, “O God, holy is thy way.” The word rendered “sanctuary” - קדשׁ qôdesh - means properly “holiness.” It is not the same word which in Psalm 73:17 is rendered “sanctuary” - מקדשׁ miqdâsh The word here employed, however, may mean a holy place, a sanctuary, as the tabernacle Exodus 28:43; Exodus 29:30, or the temple 1 Kings 8:8; 2 Chronicles 29:7. In this passage the word is ambiguous. It means either that the way of God is holy, or in holiness; or, that it is in the sanctuary, or holy place. If the former, it is a statement of the result to which the psalmist came in regard to the divine character, from a contemplation of his doings. If the latter, it means that the way of God - the true principles of the divine administration - are to be learned in the place where he is worshipped, and from the principles which are there set forth. Compare the notes at Psalm 73:17. It seems to me that the former is the correct interpretation, as it accords better with the scope of the passage.

Who is so great a God as our God - In greatness no one can be compared with him. He is supreme over all. This is the first reflection of the psalmist in regard to God - that he is great; that he is superior to all other beings; that no one can be compared with him. The evident inference from this in the mind of the psalmist, as bearing on the subject of his inquiry, is, that it is to be expected that there will be things in his administration which man cannot hope to understand; that a rash and sudden judgment should not be formed in regard to him from his doings; that people should wait for the developments of his plans; that he should not be condemned because there are things which we cannot comprehend, or which seem to be inconsistent with goodness. This is a consideration which ought always to influence us in our views of God and his government.


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Psalms 77:13". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/psalms-77.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Psalms 77:13

Thy, way, O God, is in the sanctuary.

God’s way revealed in the sanctuary

I. God’s way of creation.

II. His way of providence.

III. The way of grace.

IV. The way of human well-being. The light that is run up at the masthead does not require the vessel to stop sailing in order that it may shine. And so a living religion will show the light in the shop, in the street, in the business, in town to-morrow as well as in the sanctuary on the Sabbath day. And so the Church must stand closely related to all that is dear to the interest of humanity. The sanctuary, then, is the way of highest happiness; it is the way of joy and peace. It is the way of consolation, for evil and distress haunt every pathway of life, but God’s house is the house of comfort. Again, it is the way of communion with God. Jehovah says, “There I will meet with thee,” etc. (H. Johnstone, M. A.)

God’s way in the sanctuary

I. Secrecy.

1. In nature.

2. In providence. Pain and misery abounding; virtue suffering; vice triumphant.

3. In grace. God is behind the veil. Your best knowledge is the consciousness of ignorance, and your privilege it is to be sure that he who believes honours more than he who understands.

II. Beauty. The loveliness of nature we all have seen; the bloom of infancy, the fresh flower of the early spring, or the wavings of the yellow corn. And some of us have felt the greater loveliness of grace; the unfoldings of the Christian character; the budding of a soft and tender gentleness; the humility; the chastened love; the hope that soars away to brighter worlds;--but has it ever occurred to you to think, if that is the porch, and this the holy place, what must be the sanctuary of God? What shall be that world which is as far better than grace, as grace is better than nature?

III. Holiness. There never went a prayer from earth fit to be presented before God in the sanctuary--there never passed a thought through your soul to which there was not clinging a sin; for nothing is pleasing before God, not the sanctuary itself, except as He sees it in Christ; and all this is true of our holiest action, were it ten thousand times holier than ever it was.

IV. Refuge. The self-condemning soul flies from the holiness to the love of God, and seeks a shelter from His wrath by throwing himself on His mercy. (J. Vaughan, M. A.)

God’s way in the sanctuary

God designed, in the fulness of time, to gather all things into His Son, and to set Him forth as the alone source or channel of blessing; therefore did He make the temple, which typified that Son, the home of all His operations, the focus into which were condensed, and from which diverged, the various rays of His attributes and dealings. And this suggests to us a point of great importance, the consistency of the several parts of revelation. There is never the point at which we are brought to a pause by the manifest contradiction of one part to another. But we would now observe that, by the sanctuary, we may probably understand the holy of holies; for it was in that veiled and mysterious recess that the Shekinah shone, the visible token of the Almighty’s presence. He who thought on the holy of holies thought on a solitude which was inaccessible to him, though close at hand; inaccessible, even as the remotest depth of infinite space, though a single step might have taken him into its midst; but, at the same time, a solitude where, as he well knew, everything breathed holiness, everything glowed with the lustre of that Being who is of purer eyes than to look upon iniquity. And to say of God that His way was in this sanctuary, what was it but to say that God works in an impenetrable secrecy, but that, nevertheless, in that secrecy He orders everything in righteousness? Certainly it is not the obscurity which there may be round the ways of the Lord which should induce a suspicion that those ways are not righteous. If God work in a place of secrecy, we know that it is equally a place of sanctity; we can be sure, therefore, of whatsoever comes forth from that place, that, if involved in clouds, it is invested with equity. We may not be able to discover God’s reasons: but we can be certain from His attributes, attributes which shine through the veil, though that veil be impenetrable, that we should approve them if discovered. And if it be an evidence of the greatness of God, that His way is hidden, we scarcely need say that it is a further evidence of this greatness, that His way is holy. He contracts no impurity, but keeps travelling, as it were, “in the sanctuary,” even whilst moving to and fro amid those who have defiled themselves and their dwelling-place--what is this but proof that He is immeasurably separated by difference of nature, from all finite being? The veil, whilst it hides, reveals Deity: nay, it reveals by hiding; it teaches the sublimity of God, inapproachable; His independence, none with Him in His workings; and yet His righteousness, for it is the awful purity of the place which warns back all intruders. Then there is enough to make us both discover, and rejoice in, the supremacy of our God. With a tongue of fear, for we are almost staggered by the mysteriousness of His workings, we will confess, “Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary”; but with a tongue of triumph, for His very concealments are tokens of His Almightiness, we will give utterance to the challenge, “Who is so great a God as our God?” But there can be no reason why we should confine the illustrations of our text to the Jewish temple and dispensation. We may bring down the verse to our own day, understand by the sanctuary our own churches, and still found on the confession in the first clause the challenge which is uttered in the second. His “way is in the sanctuary.” It is in buildings devoted to the purposes of His worship, and through the ministrations of His ordained servants, that He commonly carries on His work of turning sinners from the error of their ways, and building up His people in their faith. We are always much struck with the expression of St. Paul to Timothy, “in doing this, thou shelf both save thyself, and them that hear thee.” If God worked by mighty instruments such as angels; if the engines employed were, to all appearance, adequate to the ends to be effected; the honour of success would at least be divided, and the ambassador might be thought to have helped forward, by his own power, the designs of Him by whom he had been sent. But, as the case now stands, the services of the sanctuary all go to the demonstrating the supremacy of God, because, while undoubtedly instrumental to the effecting vast results, they are manifestly insufficient in themselves for any such achievement. And not only does God employ men in preference to angels, but He commonly acts through what is weak in men, and not through what is strong. It is, perhaps, a single sentence in a sermon, a text which is quoted, which makes its way into the soul of an unconverted hearer. God will oftentimes pass by, as it were, and set aside an array of argument which has been constructed with great care, and, seizing on the sentence which the speaker thinks the weakest, or the paragraph, will throw it into the soul as the germ of a genuine and permanent piety. And all this goes to the making good what we are anxious to prove, that the challenge in the second clause of our text is altogether borne out by the assertion in the first. There is no finer proof of the power of an author, than that he can compass great designs by inconsiderable means. Now, we think that in the successive illustrations of our text, which have thus been advanced, there has been much to suggest practical reflections of no common worth. Was God’s way in the Jewish temple of old? Was He passing, in all the sacrifices and ceremonies of the temple, to the completion of the work of our redemption? Then let us not fail to study with all diligence the law: in the law was the germ, or bud of the Gospel; and it will aid us much in understanding the system, when fully laid open, to examine it attentively whilst being gradually unfolded. Is it again true that God’s way was “in the sanctuary,” in the holy of holies, that place of dread secrecy and sanctity? Then let us be satisfied that God’s dealings are righteous, however incomprehensible. And lastly, is God’s way still “in the sanctuary” Is it in the sanctuary, the house devoted to His service, that He specially reveals Himself, and communicates supplies of His grace? Shall we not then learn to set a high worth on the public services of religion? (H. Melvill, B. D.)


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Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Psalms 77:13". The Biblical Illustrator. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/psalms-77.html. 1905-1909. New York.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary,.... Or "in holiness"F25בקדש "in sanctitate", Pagninus, Montanus, Tigurine version, Junius & Tremellius, Gejerus, Michaelis. ; that is, is holy, so the Syriac version, and to which the Targum agrees.

"O God, how holy are thy ways,'

see Psalm 145:17, or "in the sanctuary", the temple, the church of God, where he takes his walks, and manifests himself, and where the reasons of his providence, and dealing with his people, are opened and made known unto them, see Psalm 68:24,

who is so great a God as our God? the Targum is, as the God of Israel; he is great in his persons, perfections, and works, and is greatly to be loved, feared, and praised.


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Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Psalms 77:13". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/psalms-77.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

Thy way, O God, [is] h in the sanctuary: who [is so] great a i God as [our] God?

(h) That is in heaven, to which we must ascend by faith, if we will know the ways of God.

(i) He condemns all who worship anything save the only true God, whose glory appears through the world.


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Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Psalms 77:13". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/psalms-77.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

in the sanctuary — God‘s ways of grace and providence (Psalm 22:3; Psalm 67:2), ordered on holy principles, as developed in His worship; or implied in His perfections, if “holiness” be used for “sanctuary,” as some prefer translating (compare Exodus 15:11).


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This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Psalms 77:13". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/psalms-77.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary: who is so great a God as our God?

In holiness — God is holy and just, and true in all his works.


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Bibliography
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Psalms 77:13". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/psalms-77.html. 1765.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

13.Thy ways, O God! are in the sanctuary. Some translate in holiness, and they are led to do this, because it seems to them a cold and meagre form of expression to say, that God’s ways are in his sanctuary But as the rules of grammar will not easily admit of this, we must inquire whether a profitable truth may not be drawn from the term sanctuary, which is the proper signification of the original word בקדש, bakkodesh. Some are of opinion that this is an abrupt exclamation, as if it had been said, O God, who art in the sanctuary! O thy ways! but of this I do not approve; for they do violence to the words of the prophet. The clause should be read in one connected sentence, and the word sanctuary is to be taken either for heaven or for the temple. I am rather inclined to refer it to heaven, conceiving the meaning to be, that the ways of God rise high above the world, so that if we are truly desirous to know them, we must ascend above all heavens. Although the works of God are in part manifest to us, yet all our knowledge of them comes far short of their immeasurable height. Besides, it is to be observed, that none enjoy the least taste of his works but those who by faith rise up to heaven. And yet, the utmost point to which we can ever attain is, to contemplate with admiration and reverence the hidden wisdom and power of God, which, while they shine forth in his works, yet far surpass the limited powers of our understanding. If it is objected, that it is wrong to attempt to confine to heaven the ways of God, which are extended through the whole world, the answer is easy; for although there is not a single corner of the globe in which God does not exhibit some proof of his power and operation, yet the wonderful character of his works escapes the eyes of men. If any would rather understand sanctuary as meaning the temple, it may be noticed, that we have met with an almost similar sentence in Psalms 73:16,

“When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me,
until I went into the sanctuary of God.”

The temple, indeed, in which God manifested himself was, as it were, a heaven on earth. (300) It is now obvious that the meaning of the inspired writer is, that as at the commencement he had uttered distressing complaints, so now, having attained to a calm and settled state of mind, he admires and adores the high ways of God, and conscious of his own weakness, quietly and modestly keeps himself within the bounds prescribed to him, not permitting himself to judge or pass sentence upon the secret judgments of God according to the dictates of his carnal understanding. He therefore immediately after exclaims, Who is so great a God as our God? By this comparison, he does not mean that there are many gods, but he indirectly rebukes the deep infatuation of the world who, not contented with the only true God whose glory is so conspicuous, invent for themselves many gods. If men would look upon the works of God with pure eyes, they would be led without much difficulty to rest with satisfaction in him alone.


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Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Psalms 77:13". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/psalms-77.html. 1840-57.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Psalms 77:13 Thy way, O God, [is] in the sanctuary: who [is so] great a God as [our] God?

Ver. 13. Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary] There it is only that I can get satisfaction about thy proceedings, Psalms 73:17. There I am taught, that thou art righteous in all thy ways, and holy in all thy works, Psalms 145:17. Some render this text, Thy way, O God, is in holiness. Some by sanctuary understand heaven; q.d. Thy way is in heaven, far above man’s reach.

Who is so great a God as our God?] And therefore no wonder his ways are so incomprehensible.


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Psalms 77:13". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/psalms-77.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Psalms 77:13. Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary O God, in holiness is thy way. Houbigant and Mudge. That is, "Every thing which thou doest is conformable to thy sanctity, thy divinity: thy doing, thy conduct, is all divine, like thyself."


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Bibliography
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 77:13". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/psalms-77.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Thy way, i.e. thy doings, or the course of thy providence, which is oft called God’s way; the various methods and causes of thy dealings with thy people.

In the sanctuary; is there contained and declared. As the prosperity of wicked men, so also the grievous calamities of God’s people, are great riddles and stumbling-blocks to the ignorant and ungodly world; but a full and satisfactory resolution of them may be had from God’s sanctuary, as is observed in the former case by this same Asaph, Psalms 73:16,17, and here in the latter. Or, is in holiness. So the sense is, God is holy, and just, and true in all his works; yea, even in his judgments upon his own people, as will evidently appear from the issue of them.

Who is so great a God as our God? And although our God at present suspends his power, and doth not put it forth to deliver his people out of the hands of their idolatrous enemies, who thence take occasion to blaspheme his name, and to exalt their idol gods above him; yet he is still infinitely superior in power, both to them and to their gods, and can and will in his due time rescue his people from them.


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Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Psalms 77:13". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/psalms-77.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

13. Thy way—The way of God is his historical path, or mode of dispensation, especially in redemption.

In the sanctuary—The word is rarely used in the abstract for holiness, but almost always in the concrete for holy name, person, or place. So here it is to be understood of the holy place, or sanctuary. God’s way is in his sanctuary, where is the oracle, the living word. See Psalms 73:17


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Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Psalms 77:13". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/psalms-77.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Psalms 77:13. Thy way, O God — That is, thy doings, or, the course of thy providence; the various methods and causes of thy dealings with thy people; is in the sanctuary — Is there contained and declared. As the prosperity of wicked men, so also the afflictions and troubles of God’s people, are great riddles and stumbling-blocks to the ignorant and ungodly world, but a full and satisfactory resolution of them may be had from God’s sanctuary, as is observed in the former case, Psalms 73:16-17, and here in the latter. Or, בקדשׁ, bakkodesh, may be rendered, in holiness; and so the sense is, God is holy, and just, and true in all his works; yea, even in his judgments upon his people, and in the afflictions and troubles wherewith he chastises or tries individuals of them. Who is so great a God as our God — So able to save or to destroy?


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Bibliography
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Psalms 77:13". Joseph Benson's Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/psalms-77.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Vessel. Literally, "bottle," like walls on either side.


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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Psalms 77:13". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/psalms-77.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

the sanctuary. Only here, in God"s presence, is found peace and happiness.

Who . . . ? Figure of speech Erotesis (App-6), for emphasis. This is the cry resulting from occupation with God. Even the cry of His saints. See note on Exodus 15:11.


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Psalms 77:13". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/psalms-77.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary: who is so great a God as our God?

Thy way, O God - i:e., Thy course of action.

Is in the sanctuary - in the heavenly holy place (Habakkuk 2:20; Psalms 11:4; Psalms 18:6; Psalms 29:2 (margin), 9). Thy way is in heaven, exalted far above our ways (Isaiah 55:9). As the people, and even the Levites and the priests themselves, except at times, were not permitted to see the sacred things in the inner sanctuary (Leviticus 16:2; Numbers 4:15; Numbers 4:20) (Ainsworth). Thy way is understood rightly in thy Church, but not among the people of the world (Belgian version) (Psalms 73:17). Or, thy way is always holy, though we do not always comprehend it; and at present thy dealings may seem hard toward us. 'Thy way is in holiness' - i:e., thy doing rests upon holiness: is holy, and elevated far above all that is creaturely, much less sinful. This is favoured by the passage, which may have been before the Psalmist's mind, Exodus 15:11, "Who is like thee, glorious in holiness ... doing wonders!" (cf. Psalms 22:3; but Psalms 73:17 favours the English version).

Who is so great a God as our God? - (Exodus 15:11; Deuteronomy 3:24.)} 'He does not hereby recognize the existence of other gods, but pours contempt upon the foolishness of the world for not being more careful to cultivate the friendship of the One God whose glory is so manifest' (Calvin).


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Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Psalms 77:13". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/psalms-77.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(13) In the sanctuary.—Rather, with the holy, i.e., with “Israel,” the “saint” of God.


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Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Psalms 77:13". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/psalms-77.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary: who is so great a God as our God?
Thy way
27:4; 63:2; 68:25; 73:17
who
89:6-8; Exodus 15:11; Deuteronomy 32:31; Isaiah 40:18,25; 46:5

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Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Psalms 77:13". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/psalms-77.html.

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