Broyles suggests that Psalm 93, a “psalm of Yahweh’s kingship, speaks in a foreign language… [so] here we must enter the thought world of the ancient Near East…” (# ). Particularly relevant is the use of language concerning the seas… pounding waves… great waters… breakers of the sea. (Verses 3-4) These being a picture of chaos and an overwhelming and irresistible force of danger.
Although news of ships sinking is relatively uncommon these days, according to UNESCO, “An estimated 3 million shipwrecks are spread across ocean floors around the planet. Some of these wrecks are thousands of years old…” (www.unesco.org) So, it is no wonder, in the days of small ocean vessels and lots of unknowns concerning the seas, except just how dangerous they could be, that people back in the psalmist’s days generally had a great and healthy fear of the great waters.
But this psalm is using the imagery of the great waters as a depiction of the forces that are threatening and chaotic and evil in the world. Basically, all that which stands against God and his purposes in our world. He does this to reassure his readers (and us) that there is One even greater that these forces of evil, so we need not fear. Read what he has to say, taking note of the descriptive words (in bold) concerning God:
The Lord reigns, he is robed in majesty;
the Lord is robed in majesty and armed with strength;
indeed, the world is established, firm and secure.
2 Your throne was established long ago; you are from all eternity.
3 The seas have lifted up, Lord,
the seas have lifted up their voice;
the seas have lifted up their pounding waves.
4 Mightier than the thunder of the great waters,
mightier than the breakers of the sea—
the Lord on high is mighty.
“First the Lord is acclaimed, with his majesty and strength and his unshakeable throne. The created world is unshakeable too, though not in the same sense… it stands firm only because its Creator has made it so. Certainly, it has been there for uncountable ages; but he is from all eternity… It is the power of the waters in any form that so perturbed most people in Bible times… [but] like the earth… [they] are contained within the all-embracing control of the mighty Lord.” (# 5)
“God is mightier than the waters of chaos (see also Psalm 46). The seas represent the threatening forces of chaos, but God is mightier, and can defeat and control the sea.” (# 30)
But there is one other thing that is “unshakeable” and that is God’s Word. The psalmist proclaims:
5 Your statutes, Lord, stand firm;
holiness adorns your house
for endless days.
“This psalm presents two thing that are established (v. 2) or firm (v. 5) by virtue of Yahweh’s established throne (v. 2): the world and his ‘testimonies’ [statutes]… [and this being from] long ago (v. 2) … and for endless days. His creation and his word exhibit his stable throne.” (# 4)
As Isaiah wrote:
“Your God reigns!” (Isa 52:7)
And John in the book of Revelation tells us:
“Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. (Rev. 19:6)
What a reassuring truth to hold on to in these turbulent and unpredictable days in the history of our world, particularly in the light of the stories of Jesus also confirming these truths and his true identity. Consider the following:
23 Then he [Jesus] got into the boat and his disciples followed him. 24 Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”
26 He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.
27 The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!” (Matthew 8:23-27)
Later they understood what kind of man Jesus was, and proclaimed concerning him:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. (John 1:1-3)
Thank you our great God and King that we need not fear because you are sovereign over all the earth and mightier that all the forces of evil that surround us. In you we trust. Amen.