“The LORD reigns,
—He is robed in majesty…” (Ps 93:1)
“…The LORD is the great God,
—the great King above all gods…” (Ps 95:3)
“The LORD reigns,
—let he earth be glad…” (Ps 97:1)
“…The King is mighty,
—He loves justice…” (Ps 99:4)
These declarations are followed, appropriately enough, with evidences of how God rules with power. He has “established” the world “firm and secure” (Ps 93:1) and everything from the depths of the ocean to the peaks of the mountains are in His hands (Ps 95:4-5). He is “exalted over all the nations” (Ps 99:2). His might is clear as “clouds and think darkness surround Him” and as “fire goes before him and consumes His foes on every side” (Ps 97:2-3). The sky lights up with lightning and the “mountains melt like wax” before Him (Ps 97:4-5). Nothing and no one is greater than God: “Mightier than the thunder of the great waters, mightier than the breakers of the sea – the LORD on high is mighty” (Ps 93:4).
We tremble before the Lord and His power. And rightly so. We even sometimes speak of having “the fear of the Lord” within us.
But God-focused fear is not the only response God wishes his power to evoke in us. In light of God’s great power and glory, the psalmist sings these inviting words: “Let the earth be glad… Let all creation rejoice before the LORD…” (Ps 96:11, 13). We can be glad and rejoice because God uses his limitless might to help us! The psalmist assures us of how God “guards the lives of His faithful ones and delivers them from the hand of the wicked’ (Ps 97:10). The forgiveness God offers is connected with His might (Ps 99:8) and, as New Testament believers, we know His judgment (Ps 96:10, 13; 98:9) is Good News for all who are in Christ.
Having just reread these psalms, what especially strikes me this time through is how the psalmist can seamlessly hold together God’s might and tenderness in one thought:
“Come, let us bow down in worship,
—let us kneel before the LORD our maker;
—for He is our God
and we are the people of His pasture,
—the flock under His care.” (Ps 95:6-7)
God is not mighty and fearsome one moment and then loving and comfy the next. In His might, He is yet caring; in His care, He is yet mighty. God is wondrously and perfectly glorious and gracious. And because He is both, He is good. In His sovereignty, He intends and delivers goodness to us. He is powerful enough to do so and He is loving enough to do so. Our heavenly King is indeed worthy of our worship!
(I found the graphic above on Peggy Ployhar’s blog.)