Saturday, September 5, 2009

Psalm 97 – The LORD Reigns! Let the Earth Rejoice

When planning to get married we inevitably have the fun task of choosing readings and special things to personalise our ceremonies—it’s perhaps the coolest thing to do in the lead up to one of the three most important days of life. Getting my then 12 year old daughter to read Psalm 97 at our wedding was a huge thrill for me; besides Zoe reading it, the psalm propounds the kingship of God over the whole earth.

Whether the atheist or non-believer likes it or not, the facts related in this psalm cannot be disputed. They’re simply irrefutable. For example, “His lightning lights up the world; the earth sees and trembles. The mountains melt like wax before the LORD, before the Lord of all the earth” –Psalm 97:4-5 (TNIV).

This is never more noticeable than after a natural disaster like earthquake, tsunami or flood. We’re all so vulnerable; much more vulnerable than our everyday lives would have us typically or normally realise.

“Righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne” (v. 2b). In this, God is no overt respecter of persons—he cannot be partial. His nature and law are unchangeable and the good news in that for us is simply this: we can rely on him in faith. When life appears unjust to us as it does from time to time, God simply wishes for us to continue on in faith until he reveals his blessing in and through us. If we wait he will come.

“All peoples see his glory,” says verse 6. Everyone who can visibly see does. Even the blind can hear his glory. The deaf can see it. His glory is in a sunset, or in a bird that performs before you. His glory is manifest in all created things, human-made and God-made. His glory is never more resplendent than in a hurricane, a thunderstorm or during teeming rain.

This God is above all other gods of spirituality—bar none (vs. 7, 9). He is the one and only true living God who has the sweeping power to change and transform life—in truth, in wisdom, in love... glorious realities.

The underpinning deference of the psalm is in its final three verses which speak of God’s provision of protection, light and joy.[1] For those who taste life and see the essence of its truth, recognising and worshipping the Creator aright, these will be the blessed ones—kept eternally safe, blessed with light their whole lives, and imbued with joy.

[1] Craig C. Broyles, Psalms – New International Biblical Commentary (Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers/Paternoster Press, 1999), p. 378.

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