The Lord reigneth; rather, is become King ( ἐβασίλευσεν , LXX .); comp. Psalms 10:16 ; Psalms 47:6 ; Psalms 96:10 ; Psalms 97:1 , etc. God is regarded as having for a time laid aside, or hidden, his sovereignty, but as now at length coming forward and inaugurating the theocracy. The writer may have in his mind some recent manifestation of Divine power, or he may be anticipating the final establishment of the reign of Messiah. He is clothed with majesty; or, " he hath robed himself in majesty " (Cheyne). The Lord is clothed with strength, wherewith he hath girded himself; literally, the Lord is clothed, he hath girded himself, with strength (comp. "Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the Lord," Isaiah 51:9 ). The world also is stablished, that it cannot be moved. When God "takes his kingdom," he firmly establishes his sway over the earth, with its inhabitants, in such sort that "it cannot be moved"—it can suffer no violent agitation or disturbance.
The Lord reigneth.
I. THE PROPOSITION TO BE PROVED —that "the Lord reigneth." The psalmist describes:
1 . The royal robes. "He hath clothed himself with majesty." The sacred writers seem to have drawn their ideas of the regal splendour of God, not so much from the magnificence of Oriental potentates, as from the gorgeous glow of the heavens—the sun by day, the moon and stars by night. Further, "he hath girded himself with strength." This seen in the steady march of the heavenly bodies, never breaking rank, never failing to appear in due course, never wearying by long continuance.
2 . The permanence of his rule. "The world established, that it cannot be moved." The order of his universe cannot be broken. And so it has ever been, "from everlasting."
II. THE PROOF . The psalmist likens the wild tumult of the peoples in rebellion against God to the fury of a storm at sea. The roar of the breakers dashing against the rooks, the thunder of the surf upon the shore, the fierce agitation of the storm-tossed waves as they lift themselves on high,—all this is the vivid picture which suggests to the mind the worse, because the wicked, rage of a rebellious people or of a rebellious soul. And how terribly true the likeness is! The souls of men setting themselves against God, in wrath and rage against him, and scornfully rejecting and renouncing his authority! But as he hushes the storm so that there is a great calm, in like manner doth he still the wrath of man, and makes it to praise him ( Psalms 93:4 ). How often he has done this!
III. THE DEDUCTION . It is twofold.
1 . That God is faithful. Men may utterly rely upon his word. Fools that we are, we often fail thus to trust him, and follow instead the miserable maxims of men of the world. But, nevertheless, God remaineth true.
2 . That holy obedience is our wisdom. We cannot have God on our side if we wander from his ways—it is impossible. Let us, then, be on the side of God. Wisdom, gratitude, duty, love for our fellow men, all urge this.—S.C.
Is God dead?
Mrs. Beecher Stowe relates an incident which once gave to a speech which Frederick Douglas was delivering a startling and almost overwhelming power. Douglas was descanting, in his usual impassioned manner, upon the wrongs and miseries of the negro race. Warming with his subject, and waxing more and more indignant with their persecutors, he seemed to lose all patience, and at last said that they must henceforth trust in the strength of their own right arms, seeing that it was in vain otherwise to hope for deliverance. At this moment there arose a tall, aged negress, who, while perfect silence reigned in the hall, said, in a voice not loud, but deep, "Frederick, is God dead?"—S.C.
The God of vengeance.
To many it seems a strange prayer that God should show himself in this character. Therefore consider—
I. WHAT VENGEANCE IS .
1 . It is not the same as revenge, a human, an evil, and often unjust thing. Revenge is what men delight in when they have received some injury at the hands of their fellow men, and hence is never right, but ever condemned of God. But:
2 . Vengeance is the avenging of public wrong, the upholding of justice and righteousness, and essential to the preservation of society and of all human well being. Therefore it may well be prayed for. See Milton's appeal, "Avenge, O Lord, thy slaughtered saints," etc. Wow, concerning this vengeance of God, note further—
II. ITS REALITY . The history of mankind is marked by it. Again and again has God thus visited guilty men. The Bible, secular history, personal observation, experience, all attest it. Therefore when in the future life the Scriptures warn us of like vengeance, how can any dare so regard it as impossible?
III. ITS ONE AND ONLY EXCITING CAUSE —Human sin. Not a man's circumstances nor anything that he cannot help, but only his sin, conscious, wilful, persisted in sin. In this psalm there are set forth some of these sins, which cry to God for vengeance.
IV. ITS RIGHTEOUSNESS . We confess this now when we see men who have steeped themselves in crime brought to judgment, and just doom passed upon them. And in the future there will be no vengeance that does not command the heartfelt confession from all beholders, that God is righteous who judgeth so.
V. ITS TERRIBLENESS . "Fools make a mock at sin;" did they know its doom, their mockery would soon cease. Even in this world the vengeance of God often utterly overwhelms the sinner. Well may the psalmist ask ( Psalms 90:11 ), "Who knoweth the power of thine anger?" etc. It is immeasurable.
VI. ITS CERTAINTY . It may be delayed, and for a long while seemingly evaded, hut sooner or later it surely comes.
VII. ITS CHOSEN HIGHWAY . It is along the path of little sins. The ungodly falleth by little and little. The mere cobwebs of separate single sins become at length twisted and transformed by the law of habit into the strenuous ligaments which bind the soul over to eternal sin.
VIII. ITS ARREST . Let the sinner repent and flee for shelter to Christ.—S.C.
The King figure for God.
Prayer book Version, "The Lord is King." The sentence would be more precisely rendered "has become King," for some particular manifestation of Jehovah's kingly rule was then occupying the psalmist's attention; but what that manifestation was cannot be discovered. Some associate the psalm with the returned captives, who, in some sense at least, re-established the theocracy. It represents the religious joy of the people in the setting up of Jehovah's kingdom, and the realized presence of Jehovah as the spiritual King; but the setting is that of a poet, who has a wider sphere from which to draw his figures than the religious man has. It needs attention that the King figure for God is not altogether satisfactory, because kingship is not a natural relation; it cannot be either a permanent or universal relation. Kingship represents a human expediency. God made families; these naturally organize into tribes. For families and tribes the rulers are fathers and patriarchs. Men made cities and nations, and invented kingships to centralize the governmental systems which they designed. The figure of king should therefore always be applied to God, and to the Messiah, with great care and caution. The actual kings who have ruled over nations, though they may, in some things, fitly represent God, in other things are wholly unworthy of him. And an ideal king is difficult to create mentally. It was the peculiarity of the Jew, that he had no earthly, visible king. Jehovah unseen yet ever present, was to the nation of Israel, all, and more than all, that human kings were to the nations around them. But this high view of the Divine Kingship Israel proved unable to maintain. It is that spiritual theocracy which the Lord Jesus came to restore.
I. THE KING FIGURE FOR GOD DECLARES HIS AUGUST POWER . Take the Eastern, rather than Western, idea of the king. In the East kings are regarded as the embodiment of all kinds of power. At first they were chosen because of bodily size and strength, as was king Saul. Notions of Divine power were connected with them. So Israel's God was thought of as the Omnipotent, All-controlling One.
II. THE KING FIGURE FOR GOD DECLARES HIS ABIDING PRESENCE . A king absent from his kingdom is inconceivable. If he is away, some one must take his place. So God as King is with his people.
III. THE KING FIGURE FOR GOD DECLARES HIS GRACIOUS PURPOSE . For a king ought to be the "father of his people;" supremely concerned for their highest well being. And God reigns with a view to securing righteousness, which is, for man, the supreme blessing.—R.T.
The completeness of Divine Creation.
"The world also is established, that it cannot be moved." It is a remarkable illustration of the mistakes made in explaining the poetical figures of God's Word, that Calvin appealed to this passage as proving that the earth is motionless, which it is not. What the psalmist rejoices in is the completeness of the Divine creation. It needed no one to put to it a finishing touch. Man's handiwork always needs finishing off. We may illustrate by the complicated machine which man may make. However complete it may be, no one thinks of its going alone, without any supervision and attention; and no one thinks of doubting its completeness because it receives such attention. Yet men so often persist that if God's creation is perfect, it must be independent; it must need no attention and no repair, even if self-willed men do interfere with it.
I. COMPLETENESS MEANS THAT THE THINGS MADE ARE PERFECT AND SUFFICIENT . We may not think that God made all he could make. What he made was relative to the particular moral beings he designed. They were to be beings with five senses, and creation was to be fitted to those five senses. Of everything God made it was declared that it was good, not necessarily the best possible to God's thought, but the best possible for God's purpose. Show that man, in all the ages, has never of himself been able to improve a single thing God has made. He has only improved things by bringing out the latent possibilities God put in the things. As with developed flowers, roses, etc.
II. COMPLETENESS MEANS THAT THE LAWS RULING THE RELATIONS OF THINGS ARE ONCE FOR ALL FIXED AND DEFINED . Much is made of the fixity and certainty of the "laws of nature." Too much cannot be made of it. "The law of the Lord," in creation, "is perfect." But in every set of laws it will be found that law qualifies, and limits, and even crosses, law in actual working. It is so with the laws of nature. And the best perfection is seen in the fact that the laws will work with each other harmoniously. Illustrate how the laws of life and of death work into each other throughout creation.
III. COMPLETENESS MEANS THAT A LIVING WILL PRESIDES OVER ALL THINGS AND THE WORKING OF ALL LAWS . Nothing can be moved, in the sense of being changed; but everything is within the Divine adjustment, and the confidence of the psalmist arises from the conviction of the actual present Divine rule.—R.T.
The psalm celbrates the majesty of
Jehovah as Creator and Ruler of the universe.
Three principal thoughts—
I. GOD IS ABLE TO OVERCOME THE FIERCEST OPPOSITION OF HIS FOES . The "floods" and "many waters" and "mighty waves" are figures denoting the angry and turbulent opposition of his foes. But he is mightier than and high above them all.
1 . He is actual King, and reigns over the whole universe. ( Psalms 93:1 .) He hath girded himself with strength for the subjugation of his enemies.
2 . He created man and nature. ( Psalms 93:1 .) "The world is established, that it cannot be moved." It stands fast by his will and power.
3 . His righteous sway and government are of eternal duration. ( Psalms 93:2 , Psalms 93:4 .) And cannot be overthrown by the utmost power of man.
II. GOD IS NOT ONLY ABLE BUT FAITHFUL TO FULFIL THE PROMISES HE HAS MADE . ( Psalms 93:5 .) Promises of deliverance from captivity, and of safety and salvation.
III. BECAUSE GOD IS MIGHTY AND FAITHFUL AND HOLY , HE WILL PRESERVE HIS CHURCH INVIOLATE . ( Psalms 93:5 .) God dwells with his Church and people, and is the guarantee of their holiness and perfection.—S.