The simplicity and confidence of Psalm 93 has struck me with renewed force this week. At a time of lockdown, social restrictions, widespread fear and anxiety, closed schools and businesses, pressurised health services, isolation and Coronavirus, this Psalm has brought strength to my faith.
The psalmist begins with a description of a God who reigns. The Lord is dressed royally in robes of majesty wrapped around by a belt of strength. The grandeur of His attire indicates the status of His throne and of His reign: majestic! The Lord is not just majestic in His appearance, though. Don’t be fooled into thinking this is simply about His startling looks! His majesty is demonstrated in His actions.
The psalmist quickly provides a comparison for us. Our attention is drawn to the earth, that long-established, ever-reliable, permanent and dependable, utterly immovable planet on which we live. That is, in the psalmist’s book, the definition of what it means to be established. It has been in existence from ages past and for ages to come. Nothing can move it. Nothing can change it. Always present. Ever reliable.
That, says the psalmist, is what the Lord’s throne is like. Established. Settled. Dependable throughout the ages. Immovable. A permanent fixture. Unchallengeable.
And not only is His throne secure, but the One who reigns on the throne is also from everlasting. The whole of history is encompassed by the span and scope of His existence and reign. The Lord is even more stable than the earth. He has greater longevity. Nothing can change Him. Nothing can remove Him. The Lord reigns.
But then, in verse 3, it seems as if there is a remembrance from the writer of the purpose for writing. It’s almost as if their thoughts run to, ‘Yes, He does reign, but what about this current trouble?’ For us in the present time of global pandemic, we cannot glibly say ‘He reigns’ without an acknowledgement that today’s circumstances provide a challenge to the concept of God reigning over all. In Hebrew thinking the sea was an unpredictable and dangerous beast. Uncontrollable and powerful in the natural, it became a symbol in their literature, and hence our Scriptures, of danger, trouble and chaos. Verse 3 describes, in increasingly dramatic water-based language, the peril of their current circumstances. The floods are present and rising. The waters are increasing their volume, calling out for victims, and rising to a crescendo where they dominate with their roar. If one were to look around, all that would be in view would be the raging and dangerous waters, dominating sight, sound and thinking.
Immediately, though, the psalmist lifts our eyes from the trouble of present circumstances to the permanence of the established throne! Even though these waters rage, even though these waters rise, there is One who is mightier. Three statements in verse 4 are given to counterbalance the three statements of verse 3. He is mightier than the thunder of the waters. He is mightier than the waves of the sea. He alone, seated on His throne on high, is mightier.
What a word for this time! The Lord is mightier than all of this trouble. He Lord is in control over all of these circumstances, even though it appears that the world is in the grip of something uncontrollable and unpredictable.
His decrees, spoken in centuries beforehand, are still trustworthy (v5) because they are spoken by the One who is mighty.
His house is perfect and decorated in holiness (v5) because the One who reigns in majesty resides there.
He will not be shaken and therefore we will not be overwhelmed.
Look around. Who is on the throne?
The Lord reigns!