In these verses, there is affirmed to be an analogy between the Word of God and the works of God. It is said, of His Word, that it is “settled in Heaven” and that it sustains its faithfulness from one generation to another. It is said, of His works – and, more especially, of those that are immediately around us, even of the earth which we inhabit – that, as it was established at the first, so it abides afterwards. And then, as if to perfect the assimilation between them, it is said of both in the 91st verse: “By Your appointment they stand this day, for all things are Your servants,” thereby identifying the sureness of that Word which proceeded from His lips with the unfailing constancy of that nature which was formed and is upheld by His hands.
The constancy of nature is taught by universal experience and even strikes the popular eye as the most characteristic of those features which have been impressed upon her. It may need the aid of philosophy to learn how unvarying nature is in all her processes – how even the seeming anomalies can be traced to a law that is inflexible – how what appears, at first, to be the caprices of her waywardness are, in fact, the evolutions of a mechanism that never changes – and that the more thoroughly she is sifted and put to the test by the interrogations of the curious, the more certainly they will find that she walks by a rule which knows no abatement and perseveres with obedient footstep in that even course from which the eye of strictest scrutiny has never yet detected one hair-breadth of deviation. It is no longer doubted by men of science that every remaining semblance of irregularity in the universe is due not to the fickleness of nature but to the ignorance of man – that her most hidden movements are conducted with a uniformity as rigorous as fate – that even the fitful agitations of the weather have their law and their principle – that the intensity of every breeze and the number of drops in every shower and the formation of every cloud and all the occurring alternations of storm and sunshine and the endless shiftings of temperature and those tremulous varieties of the air which our instruments have enabled us to discover but have not enabled us to explain – that still they follow each other by a method of succession which, though greatly more intricate, is yet as absolute in itself as the order of the seasons or the mathematical courses of astronomy. This is the impression of every philosophical mind with regard to nature, and it is strengthened by each new accession that is made to science. . .
But, there is enough of patent and palpable regularity in nature to give also to the popular mind the same impression of her constancy. There is a gross and general experience that teaches the same lesson and that has lodged, in every bosom, a kind of secure and steadfast confidence in the uniformity of her processes. The very child knows and proceeds upon it. He is aware of an abiding character and property in the elements around him and has already learned as much of the fire and the water and the food that he eats, and the firm ground that he treads upon, and even of the gravitation by which he must regulate his postures and his movements as to prove that, infant though he be, he is fully initiated in the doctrine that nature has her laws and her ordinances, and that she continues therein, and the proofs of this are ever multiplying along the journey of human observation, insomuch that, when we come to manhood, we read of nature’s constancy throughout every department of the visible world. It meets us wherever we turn our eyes. . .
God has so framed the machinery of my perceptions as that I am led irresistibly to expect that, everywhere, events will follow each other in the very train in which I have ever been accustomed to observe them. And, when God so sustains the uniformity of nature that, in every instance, it is rigidly so, He is just manifesting the faithfulness of His character. Were it otherwise, He would be practicing a mockery of the expectation which He Himself had inspired. God may be said to have promised to every human being that nature will be constant – if not by the whisper of an inward voice to every heart, at least by the force of an uncontrollable bias which He has impressed on every constitution. So that, when we behold nature keeping up its constancy, we behold the God of nature keeping up His faithfulness. And the system of visible things, with its general laws and its successions which are invariable, instead of an opaque materialism to intercept from the view of mortals the face of the Deity, becomes the mirror which reflects upon the truth that is unchangeable, the ordination that never fails. . .
And so it is that, in our text, there are presented together, as if there were a tie of likeness between them – that the same God who is fixed as to the ordinances of nature is faithful as to the declarations of His Word. And, as all experience proves how firmly He may be trusted for the one, so is there an argument as strong as experience to prove how firmly He may be trusted for the other. By His work in us, He has awakened the expectation of a constancy in nature, which He never disappoints. By His Word to us, should He awaken the expectation of a certainty in His declarations, this He will never disappoint. It is because nature is so fixed that we apprehend the God of nature to be so faithful. He who never falsifies the hope that has arisen in every bosom from the instinct which He Himself has communicated will never falsify the hope that shall arise in any bosom from the express utterance of His voice. Were He a God in whose hand the processes of nature were ever shifting, then might we conceive Him a God from whose mouth the proclamations of grace had the like characters of variance and vacillation. But, it is just because of our reliance on the one that we feel so much of repose in our dependence on the other. And the same God who is so unfailing in the ordinances of His creation we hold to be equally unfailing in the ordinances of His Word. – Thomas Chalmers (1780-1847), commenting on Psalm 119.89, 91, in Charles Spurgeon’s “The Treasure of David.”