PSALM 93 TALK: OUR GOD THE KING WHO REIGNS

PSALM 93 TALK: OUR GOD THE KING WHO REIGNS

(A Psalm, which uses ancient coronation and mythical images of flooded rivers and turbulent seas to express the fact that the God of the bible reigns supreme over everything and everyone.)

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INTRODUCTION

The fury and mighty power of the ocean or the sea has always caused fear and wonder for men and women both ancient and modern. Stories of great sea tragedies and triumphs have been told throughout the ages and they have helped inspire men and women to take on great sea voyages sometimes leading to their deaths at the hands of the oceans principle image in all cultures of “Chaos”.

One story of a great Canadian sea tragedy immortalized by the contemporary folk singer Gordon Lightfoot is the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, which went down in a massive storm in 1975 on lake Superior Canada. All 29 crewman were lost and never found and Lightfoot describes that fact in his song this way,

“They might have split up or they might have capsized

They may have broke deep and took water

And all that remains is the faces and names

Of the wives and the sons and the daughters”.

 Some years ago I had the privilege of visiting the great country of Canada and I stood one day on the shore of that great lake Superior and I marveled at how it did not seem to be like a lake but a vast ocean, such is its size.

The storm that sunk “The Edmund Fitzgerald” is called in Lightfoot’s song “The witch of November” as he writes in his third verse,

“The wind in the wires made a tattle – tale sound

When the wave broke over the railing

And every man knew, as the captain did too

“Twas the witch of November come stealin”.

 As I said all cultures seem to pick up the chaotic and unstoppable power of floods, mighty rivers and the ocean in their myths and legends so it is not surprising that the bible and the particularly its poetry in the Psalms picks up this image as well.

However the image of the chaos of massive waterways being that of powerful uncontrollable chaos in Psalm 93 is used to tell us that there is one who has control over chaos itself and that one is The God of the Bible.

Psalm 93 makes this point very clearly in verse 4,

“Mightier than the thunder of the great waters, mightier than the breakers of the sea- the Lord on high is mighty”.

 Psalm 93 is the first of 7 psalms that speak of the Kingly reign of the God of heaven and earth, Psalm 93, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99.

Why is there such an emphasis on God’s kingly reign in book four of Psalms?

The answer I think lies in the fact that book four of Psalm’s was compiled and often composed after the Jews return from exile in Babylon. Now the Jews have returned to the Promised Land and could and did rebuild their capitol Jerusalem and it’s magnificent Temple but the line of kings from the great King David seemed dead and gone.

The eternal kingdom of David was a promise central to the Psalms of books 1, 2 and 3 yet it seemed lost. However a new insight dawned on the composers and compilers of the Psalms in the final two books of Psalms and that was that this promise of a great eternal kingdom lay in God himself and in fact he is their great eternal king who reigns from heaven above. After all God declared through Samuel in 1 Samuel 8: 7 – 9 that he was there king and he foretold of what would happen if they had a king like the nations around about them,

“And the Lord told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you. Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will claim as his rights.”

Another related theme in these final two books of Psalms is the promise of a David like king who God would send from heaven and who would also be a descendant of David who became known as the Messiah in the future. As we see in Psalm 118: 26 – 27,

“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. From the house of the Lord we bless you.27 The Lord is God, and he has made his light shine on us. With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession up to the horns of the altar”.

As Christians we believe that great David like king, the Messiah was non other than Jesus Christ himself who fulfilled all of the prophecies of the coming of the David like king, the Messiah and in the Psalm 118 prophecy Jesus fulfilled this on the day he triumphantly rode into Jerusalem and was proclaimed as a king with the people waving the boughs of palm trees.

So the first “Our God the king reigns” Psalm is a Psalm that simply states that the God of the bible is the king who reigns from heaven over everything including the chaos of the universe represented by raging waters of floods, rivers and the ocean itself.

With the theme of Our God the king reigns in mind I have broken this Psalm up into three sections:

  1. (1 – 2) Our God the king reigns over all the world
  1. 1   The majesty of the God who reigns
  2. 2   The eternal reign of God
  1. (3 – 4) Our God the king reigns over chaos
  1. vs. 3   The chaos of the universe challenges God’s reign
  2. vs. 4   God reigns over all even chaos
  1. (5)     Our God the king reigns over his people

 Lets look a little closer then as these three sections of Psalm 93,

  1. (1 – 2) Our God the king reigns over all the world

 I have divided this first section of the Psalm into two parts:

  1. 1   The majesty of the God who reigns
  2. 2   The eternal reign of God

 Lets then look at the opening verse of this Psalm, which is the first part of the first section of this Psalm:

  1. 1   The majesty of the God who reigns

The Psalm starts with the triumphant words,

“The Lord reigns”

 It is though someone or something has questioned this vital but well- established biblical fact that God is in charge or is the king of everything. In the context of the return from exile this would make sense as for 70 years it would have appeared to the world that Israel and its God Yahweh was defeated and the chaotic super power of Babylon and its God’s was now in charge.

However as our writer suddenly realizes that Babylon has fallen to the Persians and they had allowed the Jews to return to their rightful Promised Land their God again was clearly in charge.

However this picture of coronation of the God of the bible was not the reality as he had always been this world’s reigning king as we read in verse 2,

“Your throne was established long ago; you are from eternity”

 This is what real faith in the God of the bible is all about, do we believe in God as King or Lord because we can see that he is by the way things are going in our lives and our world or do we believe it no matter what seems to be happening to us?

Paul says this about how we are to live in this life in 2 Corinthians 5: 7,

“We live by faith not by sight”

 Either God is in charge of this world and therefore is our Lord or king or all is lost to the devil and his many forces. No, Paul says clearly in Romans 8: 37,

“No, in all these things we are more than conquers through him who loved us”.

 He goes on in that passage to say that nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. Our God reigns and that is that as Spurgeon puts it,

“Whatever turmoil and rebellion there may be beneath the clouds, the eternal king sits above all in supreme serenity, and everywhere he is really Master, let his foes rage as they may”.

 The poetic image of a Kings coronation continues as maybe the first thing that the Jews would have liked to have done once they returned from exile is crown the new king.

However no successor was really on offer so the image of a coronation of God as their king is spoken of. In verse 1 the concept of the coronation robes that the God of the bible wears is described in two ways:

  1. Majesty
  2. Armed with strength

Lets have a close look at each of these:

  1. Majesty

All coronations of kings or queens are lavish affairs and no expense is spared on the clothing of the King or Queen to be crowned. In the case of God we are told twice that,

“He is robed in majesty” and

 “The Lord is robed in majesty”

 Alfred Barnes writes,

“The word rendered “majesty” means properly “loftiness,” he goes on to explain,

“The idea here is, that God is exalted; and that he appears in such a manner as to indicate his proper dignity”.

 Barnes quotes Isaiah 6: 1- 3, which is the start of Isaiah’s great vision of God in heaven,

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”

This is real exalted majesty that cannot compare to an earthly kings coronation robes, mere rags in comparison. John vision of Jesus on the throne in heaven in Revelation 4: 1 – 6b describes it this way,

“After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and ruby. A rainbow that shone like an emerald encircled the throne. Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders. They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads. From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. In front of the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God. Also in front of the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal”.

All this imagery in Johns vision is speaking of the divine majesty of Jesus the king in heaven sitting on his throne surrounded by a heavenly host of Angels and believers who had died and gone into heaven to be on thrones beside their Lord and king.

Paul says that even in this life we are to be clothed in Christ, Romans 13: 14,

“Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature”.

  1. Armed with strength

Added to the concept of Our God the king being robed in majesty is the concept,

“Armed with strength”

Allan Harman says that this is an image of God as a,

“Divine warrior’

An image the post exile Jews could grasp as the overwhelming might of their Babylonian captors was overthrown so thoroughly by their Persian conquers. God had worked in real time history yet again to defeat his people’s enemies and free them to live again in his Promised Land.

Paul had a clear vision of God leading us in a victory march of faith as we present the Gospel to the world in 2 Corinthians 2: 14,

But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere”.

In Christ God arms us with his strength as Paul prays for and speaks of in 2 Thessalonians 3: 1 – 5,

“As for other matters, brothers and sisters, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honoured, just as it was with you. And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil people, for not everyone has faith. But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one. We have confidence in the Lord that you are doing and will continue to do the things we command. May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance”.

The strength of God ‘s arm is expressed in terms of his work of creation in the last phrase of verse 1,

“The world is firmly established; it cannot be moved”.

Isaiah picks up the concept of God’s throne in heaven and the creation of the world in Isaiah 66: 1 – 2a,

“This is what the Lord says: “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool.
Where is the house you will build for me? Where will my resting place be?
Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?” declares the Lord”.

So God is armed for battle against anyone who opposes him and this is clear to our writer because the God who sits in heaven and reigns is so strong and powerful that he both created this world and continues to uphold it, which is expressed in the words,

“It cannot be moved”.

Allan Harman points to another “Our God the king Reigns” Psalm, 96 and verse 10 as a good explanation of what this final expression in verse 1 is saying,

Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns.” The world is firmly established, it cannot be moved; he will judge the peoples with equity”.

David Guzik sums up the full idea of this final phrase of verse 1 with these words,

“God’s strength and majesty are not only displayed by his person but also by what He does. In his strength, majesty, and genius. He has constructed a world that is firmly established and cannot be moved – unless He moves it”.

This concept of the will of God being unmoved or something we can rely upon is summed up well by Paul in Romans 8: 28 – 30,

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified”.

  1. vs. 2   The eternal reign of God

 To make sure we don’t think the coronation image is of God being made king at some time in history the writer of Psalm 93 clearly states in verse 2,

“Your throne was established long ago; you are from eternity”

So God’s as King being coronated in verse 1 is only a image of God’s reign in heaven as verse 2 says that there has never been a time that God was not the King who reigns over everything and everyone as the verse says,

“You are from eternity”

 We read in Revelation 1: 8 that Jesus is the,

“Alpha and Omega, says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty”.

 God is God because he is the one and only eternal one from whom all things come and that makes him and him alone the only one who has the right to be called our king or Lord.

Spurgeon sums this concept up well with these words,

“We often hear of ancient dynasties, but what are they when compared with the Lord? Are they not as the bubble on the breaker, born an instant ago and gone as soon as seen? Thou art from everlasting.

The Lord himself is eternal. Let the believer rejoice that the government under which he dwells has an immortal ruler at its heart, has existed from all eternity and will flourish when all created things have for ever passed away”.

 Paul speaks so wonderfully about the supreme eternal nature of Christ and its impact on all who truly trust in him in Colossians 1: 15 – 23,

“The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

 21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of] your evil behaviour. 22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— 23 if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant”.

  1. (3 – 4) Our God the king reigns over chaos

 We come then to the second section of this amazing short but power packed Psalm, which moves into a word about how God is even Our God who is the king who reigns over the forces of chaos, and evil that seems to our puny finite brains impossible to be able to be controlled by anyone or anything.

I have broken this section into two parts:

  1. vs. 3   The chaos of the universe challenges God’s reign
  2. vs. 4   God reigns over all even chaos

Lets look then at the first part a little closer:

  1. vs. 3   The chaos of the universe challenges God’s reign

The first section of this short psalm used imagery of ancient coronation of a King to present the idea that the God of the bible is the God who is the King who reigns over this world with majesty and power. Now the Psalmist uses ancient mythological descriptions of the sea or flooded waterways to present the idea that the God of the bible is the God or king who reigns over the forces of chaos and evil.

Both ancient Canaanite and Babylonian mythology has stories of God’s fighting great battles and one that seems to be used in verses 3 and 4 is explained really well by Trempor Longman 111,

“Ancient Near Eastern myth pitted the God of creation against the forces of chaos, represented by the God of the sea”.

 It seems then that the writer of Psalm 93 utilizes these mythical images to present the idea that The God of the bible who he has clearly presented as the God and king of creation also reigns over chaos and evil represented by the power of the sea or flooded water -ways.

Verse 3 goes then like this,

“The seas have lifted up, O Lord, the seas have lifted up their voice; the seas have lifted up their pounding waves”.

 Leopold points out that the Hebrew word used here for seas is actually the word for “Flood Waters” but this changes to the Hebrew word for sea in verse 4. Leopold goes on to point out that,

“Floodwaters have been used as a simile or metaphor for the agitation of powerful nations when they were rising in hostility against the people of God”.

 Leopold then gives a number of biblical examples of this and I like the reference he gives in Isaiah to demonstrate this, Isaiah 8: 5 – 8,

“The Lord spoke to me again:“Because this people has rejected the gently flowing waters of Shiloah and rejoices over Rezin and the son of Remaliah, therefore the Lord is about to bring against them the mighty floodwaters of the Euphrates— the king of Assyria with all his pomp. It will overflow all its channels, run over all its banks
and sweep on into Judah, swirling over it, passing through it and reaching up to the neck. It outspread wings will cover the breadth of your land, O Immanuel”.

Note how here Isaiah uses the gentle flowing local river to represent relying on the God of the bible and then uses powerful unstoppable flood –waters of the Euphrates river to represent the mighty Assyrian invasion that overrun and destroyed the Northern Kingdom of Israel in 722BC and almost did the same to the southern kingdom of Judah.

Another reference Leupold gives actually uses the sea in one verse and then flood- waters in the next to describe mighty foreign invasion in Psalm 46: 2 – 3,

Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging”.

Psalm 46 starts with brave and very real trust in the God of the bible, verse 1,

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble”.

We think that the trouble Psalm 46 is speaking of is possibly foreign invasion because of verse 6 of that Psalm says,

“Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts”.

So verse 3 of Psalm 93 uses this same image of surging powerful flood – waters to present the image of powerful evil chaos challenging the God who is King. The idea of challenge comes from the simple idea of, the flood waters being “Lifted up” which is used three times and why it is used three times is explained well by Allan Harman,

“The threefold repletion of ‘the seas have lifted up’ highlights the terrifying power of mighty seas”.

This image of flood -waters lifting up on the land is very clear in my mind from the Television images of the tsunami in Japan a few years ago where I saw video images of the ocean waters rushing across large coastal cities picking up trucks and buses like small toys and smashing them into buildings. Many people lost their lives in this chaotic freak act of nature and so this is a brilliant but scary image of the sea or flood- waters lifting up with mankind powerless to stop it.

The other image the chaos of nature challenging God the king who reigns is the term, “their voice” lifting up.

God created the world by his word as we see in Genesis 1 with the constant repeated words, “And God said”. However now the chaotic flood- waters lift up their voice and this seems to be in the sound of “pounding waves”. The raw of the water rushing in the great tsunami wave would be frightening in itself but the out of control power that make all human effort to stop it useless would be even more terrifying.

If this verse is referring to the chaotic and terrifying invasion of an invading foreign army than it to would render a small nation like Israel powerless. Israel had experienced the terror of at least 3 great nations in its long history, Egypt, Assyria and finally Babylon.

Another interesting theory of the significance of verse three is that the rising floodwaters of mighty rivers are speaking of these three invading nations who all had large and famous rivers in them. Gordon Churchyard puts this idea this way,

“These foreign kings came from Assyria, Egypt and Babylon. The rivers in these countries are the Euphrates, the Nile and the Tiggris. Verse 3 says that the rivers rose up and that means this, the countries that would destroy Israel and Judah were attacking them”.

Maybe the choice of the image of rising flood- waters has all of these ideas behind them and this is why the writer chose this most vivid image to say the chaotic forces of nature and evil challenge the reign of the God of the bible, the creator of this world.

  1. vs. 4   God reigns over all even chaos

So chaos and evil raise’s its voice to challenge the God of the bible who is the creator of this world and reigns over it as its King. Now in verse 4 the writer of Psalm 93 makes it clear that this creator God of the bible even reigns over chaos and the forces of evil,

“Mightier than the thunder of the great waters, mightier than the breakers of the sea- the Lord on high is mighty”.

 If this was written in the days after the return from exile in Babylon then these words have even greater significance as for a time Babylon raised its voice against God and his people and they were defeated by them and locked them up in exile in Babylon but now Babylon was defeated by the Persians and God’s people returned to God’s Promised Land.

Recently I watched a movie about some Jews who escaped Nazi Germanys forces in Belarus by hiding out in the forest there. One character was an older orthodox Jewish man who throughout the movie struggled with the terrible death and torture of his people at the hands of the Nazis and his faith in the God of the bible. Towards the end of the movie as he was dying he says that he almost lost his faith but the brave leadership of the man who led this group and their often miraculous escape from German attacks helped him keep his faith in the God of the bible.

Many ask why does it seem evil goes unchecked in this world?

The answer to this question is very complex but part of it is that for reasons often only clear to God himself evil is allowed in this world but over and over again evil does get defeated and of course we see this in modern history by the fall and destruction of Nazi Germany and the return of the Jews to what is now modern Israel.

God rules over chaos and evil and verse 4 speaks of this in the image of the chaotic sea with the words,

“Mightier than the thunder of the great waters, mightier than the breakers of the sea- the Lord on high is mighty”.

Spurgeon writes,

“When men combine to overthrow the kingdom of Jesus. Plot secretly, and by and by rage, openly the Lord thinks of it than of so much noise upon the sea beach”.

 Jesus showed us his might and power over the chaos of nature in the stilling of the storm recorded Matthew, Luke and Mark’s gospels. I like Marks account of this in Mark 4: 35 – 40,

“That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”

 39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.

 40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”

I want to note two amazing things from this passage:

  1. Jesus mighty powerful word
  2. The disciples reaction to Jesus mighty powerful word

Lets have a quick look at these two amazing things”

  1. Jesus mighty powerful word

The first amazing thing in this passage for me is how mighty and powerful is the word of Christ. A powerful storm is raging on lake Galilee and I read this about storms on The Sea or lake Galilee in a internet site called Christiananswers . net,

“Such storms result from differences in temperatures between the seacoast and the mountains beyond. The Sea of Galilee lies 680 feet below sea level. It is bounded by hills, especially on the east side where they reach 2000 feet high. These heights are a source of cool, dry air. In contrast, directly around the sea, the climate is semi-tropical with warm, moist air. The large difference in height between surrounding land and the sea causes large temperature and pressure changes. This results in strong winds dropping to the sea, funneling through the hills.

 The Sea of Galilee is small, and these winds may descend directly to the center of the lake with violent results. When the contrasting air masses meet, a storm can arise quickly and without warning. Small boats caught out on the sea are in immediate danger”.

 So in the midst of this kind of mighty storm Jesus is awakened and he stands up looking directly at the raging storm and simply says,

“Quiet! Be still”

 Immediately the storm dies down and there is a complete calm. Jesus therefore demonstrates his word is mighty and powerful just as verse 4 of Psalm 93 says,

“Mightier than the thunder of the great waters”

 Note how Jesus allows the disciple to get into a mighty storm but at the same time he deals with the storm with his mighty word. When I was studying Psalm 61 almost two years ago I had in that week four close relatives suffer serious illness and three of them went to hospital in a serious state. I felt like I was going through a sudden and mighty storm of life.

Both my wife and I prayed to God for help and within a week three of my close relatives recovered their health but unfortunately my dear mother in law passed away at the age of 87. This experience got caught up in my poem that became a song for Psalm 61 that contains David’s desperate cry for help in his life in verse 2b.

“I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I”

 This verse and my experience of four close relatives falling seriously ill at the time led me to compose my chorus for my poem / song for Psalm 61, which simply says,

“Lead me, Lead me

Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

Help me, Help me,

Help me stand the storms of life I cry”.

 The same Jesus who stilled the storm on lake Galilee with his mighty powerful word can, if he wills, still the storms of our lives as well if we but call on him to do so. Or he will help us cope with the storms of life and be our shelter or protector in them.

  1. The disciples reaction to Jesus mighty powerful word

The second amazing thing I see in the Mark 4: 35 – 40 passage is the reaction of the disciples to Jesus mighty powerful word that stilled the storm on lake Galilee that day and we find that in last verse of that passage, verse 41,

41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”

Most of the men in the boat that day were seasoned Galilee fishermen who knew the lake and its violent storms intimately and they knew what Jesus did, stilling the storm with just a word was humanly impossible. Their reaction reflects this with the words,

“Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”

They like most of us took time to realise that Jesus Christ was not just a man who had wonderful teachings but he was God the king become a man. At this stage of their development their response to who Jesus appeared to be was “fear”,

“They were terrified”

Later their response was faith in Jesus as their Savior and Lord or King as we see in one of those Galilee fisherman who was in the boat that day first sermon on the day of Pentecost, Acts 2: 36,

“Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.”

 Jesus then is what the end of verse 4 calls God the King,

“The Lord on high is mighty”

 Jesus is the Lord on high become a man so that he could, as Peter declared, be crucified so that he can be the Messiah, the promised suffering King who would save his people from their sins as the great prophet Isaiah predicted in Isaiah 53: 4 – 6,

“Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted.But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him,  and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all”.

This is the amazing way God beat the forces of chaos and evil and through Christ resurrection and later ascension into heaven he proved that he was,

“Mightier than the thunder of the great waters, mightier than the breakers of the sea- the Lord on high is mighty”.

  1. (5)     Our God the king reigns over his people

 We come then to the third and final section of this Psalm and it is simply the final verse of this amazing little Psalm. It presents the final way in which God the king reigns in our universe and that is he reigns over his people.

The verse reads,

“Your statutes stand firm; holiness adorns your house for endless days, O Lord.

 I see that God reigns over his people, those who have come to faith in him, in three ways:

  1. He rules his people by his word
  2. He rules his people by his holy presence
  3. He rules his people by his eternal reign in heaven and on earth

Lets have a look at each of these three ways God’s reign is seen over his people.

  1. He rules his people by his word

 The God of the bible is unique because he is a God that has not left himself in the dark, as he revealed himself through his word, which we find in what we call the bible.

The first part of this final verse declares God’s revelation of himself in his word in Old Testament terminology,

“Your statutes stand firm”

In the Old Testament God reveals himself and his desired will for his people through the revealed law of God given to Moses. Once God saved his people out of slavery in Egypt, led them across the red sea and destroyed a large army of their captures by rejoining the parted waters of the red sea over them and then he led them to Mount Sinai.

Moses ascends Mount Sinai and meets with God and there gives Moses his law for his people to follow and obey. These are the first recorded words of God to Moses on Mount Sinai, Exodus 19: 3 – 6,

“Then Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain and said, “This is what you are to say to the descendants of Jacob and what you are to tell the people of Israel: ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.”

Note how God is telling Moses and the people of Israel how he has revealed himself through both what he did for them and through his covenant, which in Moses time was expressed in the law or statutes given to Moses on Mount Sinai. If they obey God’s law or statutes he will bless them as a nation of priests to the rest of the world.

Israel’s job was to act as priests and a priest was someone who represented God and acted as a go between God and man or others. This is what Peter tells us, the church of Jesus Christ is, a community of priests in 1 Peter 2: 9 – 10,

 “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy”.

Note we are all priests and so in New Testament terms the role of being God’s go between who presents God’s message to the world is for all believers not just a special priestly few.

Psalm 119 is a Psalm that teaches us about the importance of God’s laws or statutes, which we can clearly see, are God’s word to us. The Psalm is a massive praise for God’s word and its value in our every day life.

Right from the start of Psalm 119 we read of the value and importance of God’s word to us, which as I said in Old Testament terminology is God’s law or statutes. Let me show you that by quoting the first eight verses of that wonderful Psalm, Psalm 119: 1 – 8,

“Blessed are those whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the Lord.Blessed are those who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart—they do no wrong but follow his ways. You have laid down precepts that are to be fully obeyed. Oh, that my ways were steadfast in obeying your decrees! Then I would not be put to shame when I consider all your commands.I will praise you with an upright heart as I learn your righteous laws. I will obey your decrees; do not utterly forsake me”.

The rest of this massively long Psalm continues the wonderful message of the value and application of God’s word for our lives.

It is his word that our God the King who reigns has given us. Christians are people who recognize that the God of the bible is the God who reigns and we should seek to live out his revealed word in our daily lives.

This word is said to be,

“Firm”

What does it mean to say that God’s statutes or word is firm?

I think the answer to this becomes even clearer when we consider what has been said already that this world can often seem chaotic or out of control as the image of the sea or ocean conjures up but in the midst of the chaos of life we have a anchor or something that is sure and immovable and that is the word of God because it stands firm.

The New Testament and the teaching of Jesus and his inspired disciples speak of the sure and firm foundations of Jesus and his word to us.

As we see in Jesus teaching of the parable of the house built on sand compared to the house built on rock. We read this in Matthew 7: 24 – 27,

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

And Peter, one of the disciples of Jesus writes this about the importance of the word of God and particularly the words of Christ in 1 Peter 1: 22 – 25,

“Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart. 23 For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. 24 For “All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, 25 but the word of the Lord endures forever.” And this is the word that was preached to you”.

So God our God who reigns does this over his people, those who recognize his reign by giving us his statutes or word for us to live our lives by and that word in the changing and often chaotic world we live in, stands firm or is our sure anchor for our daily lives.

  1. He rules his people by his holy presence

The second way God rules his people is bound up in the phrase in verse 5 that says,

“Holiness adorns your house”

 This also is an Old Testament terminology for the special presence of God in the midst of those who obey and follow God as their king.

The two key words or terms we need to understand are:

  1. Holiness
  2. Your house

Lets have a close look at these two key words or terms:

  1. Holiness

All through the Old Testament God is seen or presented as a holy God.

“Gotquestion?org says this about the holiness of God,

“God’s holiness is more than just His perfection or sinless purity; it is the essence of His “other-ness,” His transcendence. God’s holiness embodies the mystery of His awesomeness and causes us to gaze in wonder at Him as we begin to comprehend just a little of His majesty”.

 We see this transcendent majesty of God, his holiness in Isaiah’s vision of God in heaven in Isaiah 6: 3,

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory”.

 The actual word “Holy” literally means, “to separate or to cut off” (Don Stewart, Blue letter bible) and again gives the idea that God is very different than us and is not like us in that we have been badly affected by sin.

This is why the New Testament makes such a deal about us having to be given “Righteousness” or “Holiness” as a gift which we receive from God by faith as Paul writes in Romans 1: 17,

“For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written; ‘The righteous will live by Faith”.

 I like how Alfred Barnes links this idea of holiness here in verse 5 to what has been said in the previous verses with these words,

“Perhaps there may be here, also, the idea that in all the convulsions of the world; in all that threatens to overthrow truth and righteousness; in all the attacks which are made on the divine government; in all the efforts of the defenders of error, and in the midst of abounding iniquity, the church should maintain a firm adherence to the principles of “holiness,” to that which is right and true”.

 I refer back to those wonderful words of Peter who spoke of us as being all priests in 1 Peter 2: 9 – 10, for here he also says we are to be a ‘holy nation”,

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy”.

We have been called out of “darkness’ or “Chaos” to be God’s light in this dark sinful world so we are to show the world what it means to belong to God who is holy.

  1. Your house

Verse 5 actually says,

‘Holiness adorns your house”.

 What is “your house” he referring to?

We have seen many times in the Psalms so far that “your house” generally refers to God’s sanctuary in the Temple as we see in Psalm 84: 10,

“Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked”.

Even though this speaks of the Temple as God’s house or dwelling it must mean more as the writer cannot live his life locked up in the building called the Temple. No “God’s house” is the representative term for “God dwelling with his people” and for the Psalmist to say he wants to live in God’s house or as Psalm 84: 10 says, be a doorkeeper in God’s house, is to say he wants to live his life in God’s presence.

This is what our God who is King wants, he wants to rule in our hearts and in doing so he wants to be present with us in our very day to day lives. As the aging John taught in 1 John 4: 12,

“No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us”.

 And Paul taught over and over again that if we have faith in Christ he is in us no matter what chaos or darkness we face as he teaches clearly in a passage like 2 Corinthians 4: 5 – 12,

For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,”[ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.

 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you”.

God’s house, we have seen in previous Psalms also represents God’s eternal home in heaven as we see in Psalm 23: 6,

“Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever”.

Jesus promises those who bow to the reign of the God who is king a special room in God’s eternal home in heaven in John 14: 1 – 3,

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God]; believe also in me.

My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am”.

  1. He rules his people by his eternal reign in heaven and on earth

The Psalm started with the words,

“The Lord reigns”

 And finishes with the words,

“For endless days, O Lord”.

 The Psalm also spoke of God’s eternal reign in verse 2 with the words,

“You are from all eternity”

 So as those who bow to or pay homage to this God who reigns as king we are now part of his endless days when we put that final verse 5 back together,

“Your statutes stand firm; holiness adorns your house for endless days, O Lord”.

 The New Testament makes it much clearer that God gives to those who turn to him through faith in his Son eternal life as Paul makes it clear in Romans 6: 23,

“For the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”.

 King could easily replace the term Lord as Jesus being Lord of our lives means that he now rules our life and we now live for him.

We live for him by submitting to his word, statutes and living in his presence both in this life by faith and in the life to come by sight.

The start of the last chapter of Revelation, chapter 22 verses 1 – 5 has an interesting reflection on the concept in Psalm 93 verses 3 and 4 of chaotic water- ways like flooded rivers in verse 3 and the violent untamed sea and surf in verse 4. For Revelation 22: 1 – 5 uses the image of a crystal peaceful flowing river called, “The River of the water of life. This river is an image along with the city it flows through as a picture of God’s eternal home and our place as true believers in it,

“Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever”.

 The contrast of the turbulent chaotic waters of this life in Psalm 93 stands in complete contrast to the vision of the river of life in heaven. From this calm and beautiful river comes much fruit and life rather than death and destruction and why is this so?

 The answer lies in the fact that this river flows from the very throne of God and that throne is also the throne of the lamb which is of course God’s Son, Jesus Christ who was the sacrificial lamb of God offered up on the cross for our sins.

Finally who will enjoy this magnificent river?

Verse 3 simply says,

“His servants will serve him”

 Or might I say, God’s servants who seek to serve him as their God who reigns in heaven and on earth.

 I close as usual with an original poem and a prayer.

 

COME SERVE THE KING

(Based on Psalm 93)

 Our God the King does reign on high

Clothed in his majesty and power.

He is armed with strength

For he created all

And now this world cannot be moved

And it will never fall.

 

Refrain:

Come serve the king

For he made everything.

Come serve the king

And now bow to him.

God’s throne was established long ago

It has always been and now we know.

He has reigned on high

For all eternity.

His strength and power and might

Now gives us certainty,

 

Refrain:

Come serve the king

For he has always been,

Come serve the king

And now bow to him.

 

The raging waters lift up now against the Lord.

The pounding surf seeks to destroy God’s word.

But God is mightier

Than those great waters

For he is the Lord of all this world

And he never falter’s.

 

Refrain:

Come serve the king

Who’s in charge of everything.

Come serve the king

And now bow to him.

 

God’s given us his word, which stands firm.

It has the power to change and transform.

Our God is a Holy God

We can know him in our lives today.

His eternal home is in heaven above

Which you can see one day.

 

Refrain:

Come serve the king

And one day you’ll live with him.

Come serve the king

And now bow to him.

 

By: Jim Wenman

 

PRAYER:

 I thank you Father in heaven above for you are the God who is the eternal king of everything. I acknowledge you to be my Lord and Savoir Jesus Christ and I seek now to serve you in your world knowing that you must reign in the hearts of men if they want to one day go to your eternal home in heaven. Help me to trust in and obey your word as I seek serve you in this world today. In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.

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