Starting points are important. Things we assume, accept without proof. Form foundation on which we build other things.
Bell tower, begun in 1173, 9 foot thick foundation resting on mud/sand/clay, eight stories tall. 16,000 tons completed weight. Foundation inadequate for weight, problem first evident while building second floor. Kept going anyway, trying to compensate for misalignment. Now, top of tower displaced almost 13 feet. Without intervention to help straighten it up, would continue to lean and eventually collapse. Would be nearly impossible to replace foundation under Leaning Tower of Pisa now.
People just like buildings need proper foundation for their worldview. Unlike buildings, people can change their foundation. Psalmist begins with God as his starting point, then looks at life from that perspective. Foundation on which he builds a worldview is God and his character. He assumes: there is a God and God has spoken to us by his word, the Bible. Goes from there and interprets rest of reality, works to make sense of life through that filter.
Unbeliever starts with experience, newspaper, perhaps opinions of others, then tries to fit details of daily life into that framework. If there is a god, gets defined by worldview. Learned from study in Proverbs – that’s a perverse view of things, an upside-down way of looking at life. It’s also corrupted by sin – like trying to make sense of surroundings, find your way around with someone else’s glasses. Throw in Satan’s deception, like having wrong bifocals on upside-down.
Believer, with right foundation and redeemed sight views life from perspective of God and his splendor, his strength, and his sanctity (holiness).
a. Yahweh reigns
the starting place – the self-existent covenant God is King over his creation, presently actively ruling
not just an honorary title, describes both his authority and his activity – is cause for praise and thanksgiving, comfort and confidence…for his people
pick hot-spot in the world: aggression in Eastern Europe; kidnappings in Africa; saber-rattling in Far East, to name a few – from human perspective, not much hope for good outcome; easy to ask “where is God in all that?”
starting with news, would not likely reach conclusion that God is ruling in that part of his creation – shows how vital it is to begin with God
easy to say “God rules”, bigger challenge to think / act confidently based on that principle
remember, also, song of the church in this age: G F Handel put it to music: 10x Hallelujah, then “For the Lord God omnipotent reigneth” (Rev. 19:6) followed by more Halelujahs, then “And he shall reign forever and ever” – Handel had it right-side up
“I would not exchange the assurance which these two words, “Jehovah reigneth” convey, for all the wisdom, combined with all the power, of this world. Received into my heart, they are the solution of every difficulty, the end of all perplexity.” Alfred Edersheim
A. his splendor v.1-2
clothed with majesty
earthly rulers at whatever level of society have their dignity, trappings of office or position, make us go “wow”
are “like the glimmerings of a glow-worm compared with the brightness of the sun” when next to God
has a robe, splendor, that no earthly power can come close to matching – remember what Daniel and John saw
is a display of glory that awes and overpowers; causes fear and dread in hearts of God’s enemies
Rev. 6:15-16Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb.”
girded with strength
tyrant – one who exercises power without lawful authority to do so; puppet – one who has lawful authority but no power
Yahweh has both authority and power – has all resources necessary to carry out his laws and decrees with respect to his creation
Paul tried, couldn’t come up with anything able to thwart power of God: readRom. 8:31-39
is same power that preserves and sustains his creation: Heb. 1:3“he upholds the universe by the word of his power.”
God didn’t acquire his throne by conquest, defeating / overpowering another ruler and assuming position of king
his authority and power are inherent in who God is, not acquired because of what he has done
since God is eternal, unchanging creator, same is true of his “throne” – has always been, is, will always be King
source of great comfort for his subjects: if he conquered to gain his throne, is possible he could be conquered; think how often that happens in civil government, not always in good way
will never happen to God; means his subjects never have to worry about who is really in charge regardless of appearances; can rest on what Bible teaches, not what things look like
B. his strength v.3-4
“The mighty oceans have roared, O LORD. The mighty oceans roar like thunder; the mighty oceans roar as they pound the shore.But mightier than the violent raging of the seas, mightier than the breakers on the shore – the LORD above is mightier than these!” NLT
context: noise, confusion, chaos, destruction – can be external forces or internal ones – raging of heathen and their leader Satan against Christ and his people; destructive forces of nature that make no distinction between saint and sinner; “tumults that are sometimes in our own bosoms, through prevailing passions and frights, which put the soul into disorder, and are ready to overthrow its graces and comforts” MHC
“Here all the strength of the sea, all the noise of the water, all the currents of the ocean, and so on, serve but a single purpose: to enable the author to say that God is more powerful than the most powerful things known, greater than any greatness one can conceive.” Segal
our God is above all the chaos and confusion, not subject to it in any way; perfect picture – Jesus walking on water
Matt. 14:24-25Meanwhile the boat, already far from land, was taking a beating from the waves because the wind was against it. As the night was ending, Jesus came to them walking on the sea. NET
matters not how overwhelming things appear to us, God has absolute dominion over all things, will direct them according to his purpose
important to remember – God sees all things from “on high” – has perfect vision, not clouded or confused in any way, sees beginning middle and end
both by his position and his power, God exercises perfect rule over all of his creation
God has might and power to direct to his purpose the raging of whatever forces arrayed against him
can redirect force so enemies destroy themselves; can regulate and redirect force to accomplish good for his people; can smother force altogether
can command chaos into silent submission:
external – Mark 4:39Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm.
internal – Isaiah 26:3 You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.
C. his sanctity v.5
worldview curriculum begins with theology; makes point that three important aspects of God that are all necessary – ruler, relational, righteous
important from both sides – precepts and promises – want to count on his promises, need same certainty about precepts; need to be sure we know how to please him in order to receive his blessing
is what inspires confidence in his revealed word – means we can live with certainty, direct others to truth, Gospel with confidence
since God’s laws are reflection / outworking of his character, know with certainty that God will always do right; God isn’t into “do as I say not as I do”
what happens in worship reflects character of one being worshiped; don’t forget, people can claim to worship true God and be wrong
1 Cor. 10:20No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be participants with demons.
holiness of God’s people as of his house always in fashion; not limited to particular period of redemptive history
should expect that since holiness is essential attribute of God; everything associated with him must have same character
two things that Jesus joined together in his high-priestly prayer – John 17:17 “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.”
If this is all true, if you believe it, if belief governs behavior, then what??
“were we well persuaded of his invincible power, that would be to us an invincible support against all the assaults of temptation. All admit in word what the prophet here teaches, That God reigns; but how few are there who oppose this shield to the hostile powers of the world, as it becomes them to do, that they may fear nothing however terrible?” Calvin
So what does that look like in everyday life? Let’s go back for moment to what Paul said, Rom. 8:37 “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” Beginning from foundation that “the Lord reigns”, through strength Christ gives we can have victory over temptation, sin, discouragement, Satan and his allies.
“The whole Psalm is most impressive, and is calculated to comfort the distressed, confirm the timid, and assist the devout. O thou who art so great and gracious a King, reign over us for ever! We do not desire to question or restrain thy power, such is thy character that we rejoice to see thee exercise the rights of an absolute monarch. All power is in thine hands, and we rejoice to have it so. Hosanna! Hosanna!” CHS