Psalm 93 – The LORD Reigns
There is no title to this Psalm supplied by the Hebrew text. It is a short, bold declaration of God’s might, power, and holiness. G. Campbell Morgan said of Psalm 93, “Interpretation is almost an impertinence. Let it be done reverently.”
“Psalm 93 describes a theocracy, as do the seven psalms that follow it. The words Yahweh melek (‘Jehovah reigns’ or ‘Jehovah is king’) are the watchwords of these theocratic psalms.” (James Montgomery Boice)
A. The majesty of God.
1. (1) God’s majesty expressed by His raiment.
The LORD reigns, He is clothed with majesty;
The LORD is clothed,
He has girded Himself with strength.
Surely the world is established, so that it cannot be moved.
a. The LORD reigns: Psalm 93 begins suddenly and wonderfully, the proclamation of Yahweh’s rule. This lifts the covenant God of Israel over every idol and pretender to sovereignty.
i. The LORD reigns: “The emphatic position of ‘the Lord’ in the Masoretic Text leaves no ambiguity in the affirmation that it is Yahweh, and no other deity, who reigns in glory.” (VanGemeren)
ii. “There is a decisiveness in the Hebrew for The Lord reigns which at least calls for an exclamation mark (as in TEV, ‘The Lord is king!’). It has the ring of a proclamation.” (Kidner)
iii. “What can give greater joy to a loyal subject than a sight of the king in his beauty? Let us repeat the proclamation, ‘the Lord reigneth,’ whispering it in the ears of the desponding, and publishing it in the face of the foe.” (Spurgeon)
iv. “This psalm was written in all likelihood after some deliverance Jehovah wrought for His people, but through the open window the singer, consciously or unconsciously, saw the far distant light of another day in which the Kingdom of God will be set up in His might, and the song of an established order shall be the anthem of His praise.” (Morgan)
b. He is clothed with majesty: God is adorned with the raiment fitting with His sovereignty; He is clothed with majesty and strength. They surround and mark Him like clothing marks the man.
i. Clothed with majesty: “He hath now put off his arms, and put on his robes, he will henceforth rule all wisely and righteously.” (Trapp)
ii. With majesty: “Majesty is a hard idea to define, but it has to do with dignity, authority of sovereign power, stateliness, and grandeur. It is the proper characteristic of earthly monarchs, who have often gone to great lengths to enhance the impression of their majesty by multiplications of trappings of power. But it is supremely the attribute of him who is the Monarch over all and who does not need to multiply the trappings of his power.” (Boice)
iii. “Every verse of this song, except the last, reverberates with doubled or even trebled expressions, a powerful feature which it shares with some of the earliest biblical and Canaanite poetry.” (Kidner)
c. Surely the world is established: God’s strength and majesty are not only displayed by His person, but also by what He does. In his strength, majesty, and genius, He has constructed a world that is firmly established and cannot be moved – unless He moves it.
2. (2) God’s majesty expressed by His throne.
Your throne is established from of old;
You are from everlasting.
a. Your throne is established from of old: Not only is the world established, but so also is the throne of God. His reign is without challenge. There are rebels against His reign, but they do not have the slightest chance of success.
i. “Earthly thrones are temporary; they are set up and cast down against, neither is any trust to be reposed in them. But the throne of Christ is eternal and unchangeable. Constituted before the foundation of the world, it is to endure when no traces of such a system having once existed shall any more be found.” (Horne)
ii. “And this kingdom of thine is no new or upstart kingdom, as it may seem to the ignorant world, but the most ancient of all kingdoms, being from everlasting to everlasting, although it was not always equally manifested in the world.” (Poole)
b. You are from everlasting: God’s eternal authority extends to His very being. He is eternal in a sense none other is; His life is both without beginning and end. In these and in other ways God stands majestically above and beyond His creation.
i. “There never was a time in which God did not reign, in which he was not a supreme and absolute Monarch; for he is from everlasting. There never was a time in which he was not; there never can be a period in which he shall cease to exist.” (Clarke)
ii. “Especially does he teach that from eternity, before the formation of the world, God always remained the same in himself, not needing creation or any creature, thereby to obtain any new perfection.” (Lorinus, cited in Spurgeon)
B. The might of God.
1. (3-4) His might over creation.
The floods have lifted up, O LORD,
The floods have lifted up their voice;
The floods lift up their waves.
The LORD on high is mightier
Than the noise of many waters,
Than the mighty waves of the sea.
a. The floods have lifted up, O LORD: There are strong things that seem to oppose God. A flood of water seems unstoppable and unsparing in its destruction. Like the mighty waves of the ocean, they raise up against God with their voice.
i. “The figure of the storm-tossed sea is made use of to indicate the strength of this opposition.” (Morgan)
ii. “Observe that the Psalmist turns to the Lord when he sees the billows foam, and hears the breakers roar; he does not waste his breath by talking to the waves, or to violent men.” (Spurgeon)
b. The LORD on high is mightier than the noise of many waters: As fearsome and powerful as the mighty waves of the sea are, they are not higher or stronger than God. He reigns over all that might challenge or oppose, and over the mightiest things of this earth.
i. “The sea with its mighty mass of waters, with the constant unrest of its waves, with its ceaseless pressing against the solid land and foaming against the rocks, is an emblem of the Gentile world alienated from and at enmity with God.” (Delitzsch, cited in Boice)
ii. Mightier than the noise of many waters: “He defeats tyrants and persecutors, be they never so terrible for noise and number. If he but thunder they are hushed, and glad to wriggle, as worms, into their holes.” (Trapp)
iii. “He sits as King, higher than the spray is tossed, deeper than the fathomless depths, mightier than the strongest billow. Let Him but say, ‘Peace, be still!’ and the greatest storm that ever swept the waves with wild fury sinks into the tranquil sleep of childhood.” (Meyer)
iv. “The danger may exceed thy resistance, but not God’s assistance; the enemies’ power may surpass thy strength, their subtlety outwit thy prudence, but neither can excel the wisdom and might of God that is with thee.” (Wright, cited in Spurgeon)
2. (5) The might of His holiness.
Your testimonies are very sure;
Holiness adorns Your house,
O LORD, forever.
a. Your testimonies are very sure: As in other places in the Psalms, testimonies is a poetic reference to God’s Word. The Psalmist understood that the might, sovereignty, and strength of God was powerfully expressed in and through His word.
i. Testimonies is used 13 times in Psalm 119 in reference to God’s Word.
ii. “His reign, has its way is revealed in His testimonies — that is, His law, His word to men, is sure.” (Morgan)
iii. “As in providence the throne of God is fixed beyond all risk, so in revelation his truth is beyond all question. Other teachings are uncertain, but the revelations of heaven are infallible.” (Spurgeon)
b. Holiness adorns Your house: This mighty God is holy, different from any man or woman. His power is holy power and His sovereignty is a holy sovereignty. His holiness is connected to all He is and does, and could be said to adorn His very house. This is true both for the representation of His house on earth (the temple under the Old Covenant) and His ultimate house in heaven.
i. If taken in the sense as an exhortation to God’s people to display holiness as His inheritance, His house, this idea has parallels in the New Testament:
· If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are (1 Corinthians 3:17).
· But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9).
ii. “If we are not holy, how can we adorn the house of God? We cannot! We do the very opposite. We dishonor it — and the God we profess to serve.” (Boice)
iii. “Thy nature is holy, all thy works are holy, and thy word is holy; therefore, thy house — thy Church, should be holy. The building itself should be sanctified-should be so consecrated to thy worship alone, that it shall never be employed in any other service. The ministers of this Church should be holy, the members holy, the ordinances holy; its faith, its discipline, and its practice holy. And this at all times, and in all circumstances; for holiness becometh thine house — for ever.” (Clarke)
c. O LORD, forever: God’s great being and character – His might, sovereignty, strength, and holiness – are His eternally. He is from everlasting (Psalm 93:2) and unchanging; He is forever. He will not diminish or degrade with time.
i. Forever: “For evermore is literally ‘to length of days’, as in the final phrase of Psalm 23. Here, as there, the length is undefined, and it is left to the New Testament to explore it further and find it as eternal as God himself (Rev. 21:22–22:5).” (Kidner)
ii. “Is all this so? Does Jehovah reign? Then let us offer the sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving. He is worthy to receive; and in our giving, there is also the receiving of the benefits of His reign which enrich and glorify our lives.” (Morgan)
©2018 David Guzik – No distribution beyond personal use without permission