Psalm 93: The Lord is King – He Reigns: verses 1-2: Part I
A Soothing Balm
The short series: Psalm 93: The Lord is King highlights the truth that God reigns and reigns well. Circumstances do not change the fact. The concept that the Lord is King: embraces the personal reality that God Reign. Psalm 93 is a hymn to the Kingship of God. Psalm 93 is included in book IV of the Psalter (90-106). The theme of book III is devastation and the loss of glory as the Davidic kingdom had collapsed. Psalm 89, the last psalm in book III, addressed the question: can God be trusted? Is He covenantally faithful? The author answers his own questions with a resounding yes (89:30-37, 46-51)!
The organizer of the Psalter begins with Psalm 90, the only psalm authored by Moses (see my two discussions in this series). Moses brought veracity and confidence, what the people in exile needed. The organizer of the Psalter used Psalms 92-100 to remind the people that Yahweh reigns. He is King. Circumstances will never change those facts.
In Psalms 92-100 which are grouped together under the banner of the Lord is King – Yahweh Malak), the psalmist makes a statement about Israel’s form of government: it is a theocracy. Israel has a king – God is their King. The phrase Yahweh reigns focuses on God’s direct rule of Israel.
Psalm 93 is short (only five verses) and highlights the non-negotiable truth that God reigns. He is King and as King He is Creator, Controller, and Redeemer. As king, God has established a theocracy. But unlike the secular usage, God is not simply King over a nation – Israel – but all the nations. The phrase expresses God’s sovereignty, authority, and universal rule.
Yahweh is God’s covenant name and it highlights His powerful and purposeful trustworthiness: I will be your God and you will be my people is a constant refrain: (Exodus 6:7; Deuteronomy 26:17-18). Israel’s God is her personal God. He is holy and otherness, yet He was and is with His people personally.
Psalm 93 captures aspects of God and His Kingly rule in verses 1-2: The Lord reigns; he is robed in majesty; the Lord is robed in majesty and is armed with strength. The world is firmly established; it cannot be moved. These verses highlight four characteristics of God’s rule based on four attributes or perfections of God.
One, the psalmist twice writes that God is robed in majesty. The primary meaning of the root of the word majesty is “to rise.” It refers to God- His Person and His kingdom. It refers to God’s excellence in His Being and what He does. You might say it refers to God’s glory, His grandeur, His dignity, His worthiness. As such, it emphasized God’s holiness and the expected response of mankind especially Israel: awe and reverence. This reality is pictured in Isaiah 6:1-4. God is holy – His otherness; He is unlike other any being.
Two, the psalmist adds to the description of the majesty of the one true God: He is armed with strength. This statement helps explains the two-fold declaration in that God reigns. The God who reigns is not uninvolved, inactive, or impotent (Genesis 1:1-2; Romans 8:28-29; Psalms 29; 121). Rather He is the God of power which He wields for His glory and the benefit of His people. Majesty and power are linked.
The psalmist is emphasizing that God rules actively, comprehensively, and purposefully. The circumstances of the exile seemed to dictate otherwise. This truth and reality corrected the falsehood that someone or something else was “running the world.” Rather, the author emphasized the fact that He gets things done His way for His glory and the benefit of His people (Genesis 50:19-21; Romans 8:28-29). These truths were sources of hope and comfort for Israel and eventually all of God’s people.
Three, as a result of God’s power and control, the world is firmly established; it cannot be moved (v.1). The phrase refers to Yahweh’s unchangeableness in His control of the universe – His world. The psalmist again highlights God’s power, activity, and authority in creation (the physical world) and re-creation (establishing His covenant people whether Israel or the Church, the new Israel through His Spirit). Nothing and no one can undo what God has established.
Moreover, His purposes cannot be thwarted (2 Chronicles 20:6; Job 42:2; Isaiah 14:27; 41:10; 43:10-13). He takes care of His people. God plans His work and works His plan (Proverbs 16:1, 4, 9, 33; 21:1, 30-31). The people were down and many out unlike Paul (2 Corinthians 1:8-10; 4:8-10).
Paul taught the old, old story: Indeed in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God who raises the dead (2 Corinthians 4:9). God’s people will and must stop living the lie. This is God’s world not theirs or Satan’s. Trusting God is a grace freely given. God expects and deserves a return on gifts! The people needed these truths given the exile.
Four, verses 1-2 highlight God’s eternality. The term is usually described as God has always been with no beginning or end. He has always been and will always be. The term refers to time. He created time but fore He did, there was no time. That seems impossible. That may very well be point! It speaks to the greatness, grandeur, splendor, dignity, and magnificence of God. Actuality these words are synonyms such that one word does not do justice to mankind’s limited understanding of who God is.
The Bible several non-negotiable truths: God is trustworthy. The issue was not God’s faithfulness and trustworthiness but Israel’s – and the Church’s and individual’s – trusting God. So the question remains then and today: how are you trusting God? Secondly, God is inescapable. God cannot be ignored. There is a day of reckoning. It was for Israel and it is for every person.
- Psalm 93:1, 97:1, 99:1 include the phrase God reigns (The Lord is King) Write out your view of a king and his reign and how God fits that picture.
- Next write out how you know that the Lord is King/God reigns. Begin with creation, move to providence (God’s daily control) and then move to redemption including your own salvation. Then move to glorification.
- Looking at passage such as Romans 8:28-29 what do you learn about God and His control. Based on that information, how will you incorporate the truth that God is King and that God reigns into your life?
- Lastly, write out how the cross and the resurrection demonstrate that God reigns.
Psalm 93: The Lord is King: He reigns: verses 3-5: Part II
A Sobering and Satisfying Reality
This is second and last in the short series: Psalm 93: The Lord is King: He reigns. The concept is simple, satisfying, and comforting.
v.3: The seas have lifted up O Lord; the seas have lifted up their voices; the seas have lifted up their pounding waves;
v.4: Mightier than thunder at the great waters, mightier than the breakers of the sea – the Lord on high is mighty.
v.5: Your statues stood firm; holiness adorns your house for endless days O Lord.
The final three verses add to the psalmist’s description of God as King. Verse 3 describes seems to be in stark contrast to God’s unchangeableness. Nature – the world including the world order – seems to be in flux. This fact is depicted in Psalm 2: the nations, their kings and people rage and wage war against the King and Creator.
We normally associate this raging with Gentile nations but Israel for much of her history has been at war with God. God has made one man out of two – the true Jew (Ephesians 2:11-15; Romans 2:28-29; Galatians 3:27-29)
Nature does groan – this may be a type of raging but not against God (Romans 8:19-22). Nature is wiser than man! God is sovereign over the world, its people, and creation. He is the Lord of history because history is His-Story! Change is never random. God rules for His glory and the good of His people. God has given power to believers and to the Church. But it is God’s power entrusted to them with an expected return! The Kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of Christ which He rules by His Spirit and Word (Revelation 11:15).
God’s rule is by law: He is the Lawmaker and Lawgiver. Law is good (Romans 7:12; 1 Timothy 1:8-10). It expresses the essence of God – love (Romans 13:8-10). The law is an expression of His holiness, justice, and righteousness. He has written the law in the hearts of every person and the law is and in His Word. The Lord is King and He rightly expects obedience as His Son did. When that happens, heaven has come to earth! God is glorified!
As we close, ponder the simple phrases, The Lord is King and God reigns: what is your first thought? What is the significance of that simple fact for you daily, 24-7? Based on what you know about God as the reigning One and King of kings and Lord of lords, how has your thinking, wanting, and actions changed? They should as you rejoice in your God who happens to be the God of the universe.
Put yourself in Israel’s place – in exile. Many Israelites had rebelled and snubbed God. All Israel but especially true Israel – the remnant – wondered what was going on. The reminder that God is King and that He reigns was good medicine for the latter group! We know from the post-exilic prophets (Zechariah, Haggai, and Malachi) taught that Israel as a nation did not learn well or even at all. I think that partially accounted for God’s silence for some 400 years during the intertestamental period. There was to be a famine of the Word – God’s silence (Amos 8:11; Micah 3:3-4, 7). When God did speak though Jesus (Hebrews 1:1-3), John wrote that Jesus came to His own and they rejected Him (John 1:9-11). They loved the darkness rather than the light (John 3:17-21).
Here are some ways to help you bring your professed faith based on God’s Kingship (I believe God is trustworthy and I am a trusting person) in line with your functional faith that God is King. When you are tempted to respond to God and His providence to sinfully fear, to worry, to be depressed, and or to be sinfully angry when God’s providence seems to be a burden what are your first thoughts and desires? What are the reasons for each? Here are two points of application.
First, Psalm 46:10 calls for the psalmist, and his readers, to be still and know that I am God. The Psalms gives credence to the reasons you should not attempt to wrest control from God. God is not calling for you to be inactive and passive. Rather the verse is a call for you to act on the truth that God is God and you are not. Worry, depression, sinful anger and sinful fear are composed of two elements: control (God’s or yours?) and resources (what you can generate or what God has given you?). God is King and He reigns.
Therefore the issues of control and resources are solved. You don’t take things into your own hands. Instead of living reactively by feelings, you apply biblical principles to your thoughts, desires, and actions. You please God rather than self. Victory comes as you do and not before (John 13:17; James 1:25).
Second, Psalm 56:3-4 gives the Holy Spirit’s and David’s antidote for fear: when he was afraid he trusted God. Why should he trust God? At least one reason is the fact God is King, He reigns – He has demonstrated that He is trustworthy. The only logical recourse is for you to function as a trusting person (Romans 12:1-2).