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In this blog, there will be a variety of material: thoughts on Bible books, book reviews, historical characters, aspects of Scottish church history and other things.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Psalm 93 - God is King

This is the first in a set of psalms (93–100) that focus on the Kingship of God. In the main, the psalm highlights his role as King of creation, with him depicted as having total control of the stormy seas. Even if the storm is a hurricane which moves everything in its path, the Lord’s throne does not shake for even a second of time.

The psalmist highlights two features of God’s rule over creation: his attire and his domain. His attire is not ornate clothes which are lifeless things. Instead his attire is his invincible power which is never threatened even although it is often opposed. Unlike earthly kings who could not wear their robes all the time, the Lord always has on his garment of power.

His domain is the earth and it is the main location where he displays his power. Of course, he rules over the whole universe, but there is a sense in which the earth is the location where he reveals his power in dramatic ways. The earth will never be removed by the mighty seas. Perhaps there is an allusion here to the effects that the waters had on the earth at the time of the Flood. If that allusion is intended, then we can regard the psalmist’s statement that the earth being established as connected to God’s promise to Noah never to use the waters again to destroy the earth (Gen. 9:11).

The rule of God had no beginning. Unlike earthly kings whose rule must have a commencement, the Lord’s throne is eternal. On earth, subjects can overthrow their kings, but with regard to God everything and everyone is subject to him. He brings everything into existence, and he does so as a powerful monarch.

In verse 5, the psalmist moves to another area under God’s control and that is the temple where his rule was acknowledged. The temple was the location where the people received instruction in the things of God. It is obvious that the psalmist has been taught God’s decrees and has found by experience that he is reliable. The psalmist probably has in mind the promises of God which he keeps exactly. Or he may have in mind the commandments of God because they are liberating concerning those who obey them.

Since the temple was a place marked as the dwelling place of God, it is not surprising that holiness is the divine attribute that comes to the psalmist’s mind (v. 5). There is a reminder here that holiness occurs as long as God’s truth is accepted. The temple was the place where worshippers saw and heard real truth, real because it was connected to who God is and what he plans to do. To the degree that a person or church departs from God’s truth they also reduce the reality of holiness in their thinking about God and in their service of him.

In saying that God’s holiness should mark his dwelling place for ever, the psalmist is highlighting the enduring power of the King. The robes of earthly monarchs fade (a picture of their inability to remain in power) whereas the heavenly King’s power retains its lustre forever. Ahead for his people are observation of and participation in awesome occasions of the kingly power of Jesus.

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