The Greatness of God: Chapter 97
As the Psalm opens, there is a call to rejoice because the LORD reigns! And what a joy that is! He does reign, and we know this. The Psalmist apparently things this is a great place to start as well.
But it goes on immediately to speak about the “clouds and darkness” that surround Him. What does that mean? I think to answer that, we have to think about the way that He revealed Himself to the children of Israel as they came up out of Egypt and traveled through the wilderness.
Remember, that He went in a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. I think it’s very important to remember this, and to remember, as well, the brightness of Moses’ face when he had been in the presence of God. Surely, if God had shown Himself as He IS, it would have destroyed all that were round about him, simply from what we learn in the next couple of verses.
Hot, Melting Fire
Psalm 97:3-5 says this:
A fire goeth before him, and burneth up his enemies round about. His lightenings enlightened the world: the eather saw, and trembled. The hills melted like wax at the presence of the LORD, at the presence of the Lord of the whole earth.
This is the likeness of his presence, this melting fire. Our God is longsuffering, but when it comes right down to it, he can make a short work of those who are unrighteous. However, in the same way that the hills melt like wax, so sin and unrighteousness can melt away in the presence of repentance to God. When we come, repentant, asking for God’s mercy, He gives it so quickly, we hardly know what’s going on! Surely, our sins are “melted like wax” and cast as far as the East is from the West, hallelujah!
Graven Images & Other Absurdities
There is nothing so basic, so heathenish, as a graven image. Unless of course, we consider the idol worship given to such images. They are mere carvings by a man’s hand, and yet they are bowed down to and treated as gods themselves. But the psalmist says even those gods have to worship THE ONE TRUE AND LIVING GOD.
But… when the heathens are called out, then God’s people triumph and rejoice. As Zion hears, and is glad. In fact, every single believers rejoices to see God magnified, worshiped in spirit and in truth. And so, as those that hate evil, we will be delivered from the hand of the wicked!
So, REJOICE, the Psalmist says! Let the righteous rejoice and give thanks, remembering the holiness of our God!
Make a Joyful Noise: Chapter 98
Oh, how I love Psalm 98! (And not just because I’m Apostolic! HA!) The sheer joy that comes from thinking about the magnifying of the Lord is almost beyond words. Let’s just look at the entirety of Psalm 98 right now!
O sing unto the LORD a new song; for he hath done marvellous things: his right hand, and his holy arm, hath gotten him the victory. The LORD hath made known his salvation: his righteousness hath he openly shewed in the sight of the heathen. He hath remembered his mercy and his truth toward the house of Israel: all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.
Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise. Sing unto the LORD with the harp; with the harp, and the voice of a psalm. With the trumpets and the sound of cornet make a joyful noise before the LORD, the King.
Let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. Let the floods clap their hands: let the hills be joyful together. Before the LORD; for he cometh to judge the earth: with righteousness shall he judge the world, and the people with equity.
Just This Of It!
I think the thing that stands out to me the most is the phrase, “Let the sea roar…let the floods clap their hands: let the hills be joyful together…”
I have to admit, I’ve never seen the sea. Or the ocean. The largest body of water I’ve seen is the Green River in Kentucky, and that was raging enough for me! We had hiked along a trail to where a massive, raging waterfall was, and it had recently rained large amounts. So the waterfall was running fast, with curling waves of white at the bottom.
What I remember most, though, was the sound. We could barely speak to one another because we couldn’t hear over the roar! Reading this Psalm makes me think about that, and to think about how these waters don’t have to have a reason to praise God. They just do!
Shouldn’t we be the same?
Have you ever thought about these two verses and what they really mean? So many times, we simply read through the Psalms in a “rote” kind of way, not pausing to really take in what is being said. What about the splendor of God? What about His righteousness burning up His enemies before Him? What about the way the seas roar and clap? I have to admit, it sends a little chill up my spine just thinking about it? What are your thoughts?
Lord Jesus, help us to slow down! Help us slow down and experience Who You really are, especially in the wonders of nature. Help us to see how Your whole creation CRIES OUT to You, and for no other reason than that “THEY ARE.” Why can’t we just as easily do the same, praising You daily, as we should? Why is it so hard for us to give you the glory and the honor and the praise and the worship due Your Holiness and splendor? I ask that the Holy Spirit would quicken our spirits and remind us each day of the newness of Your mercies, and then let us cry out to You accordingly! I ask it in the Blessed and Mighty Name of Jesus! Amen.