1 The LORD reigns from his throne on high, let all the nations quake; He sits between the cherubim, so let the whole earth shake. 2 Great is the LORD on Zion hill, exalted over all. 3 Upon his great and holy name let all the nations call.
4 The King loves truth and equity, established by his might; In Jacob you have done for us all that is just and right. 5 Exalt the LORD our God with us; let all the world abroad Before his footstool worship him, for holy is the Lord.
6 Moses and Aaron were his priests, Samuel called on his name; They called upon the LORD their God and he replied to them. 7 He spoke to them and gave his law out of the cloud from heaven; They kept the statutes and decrees which he to them had given.
8 O LORD our God, you answered them; you were to Israèl A loving and forgiving God, but judged their sins as well. 9 Exalt and praise the LORD our God; come, worship him alone. The LORD God on the holy mount, he is the Holy One.
This Psalm works well to Kingsfold (I heard the Voice of Jesus Say) which you can hear here Noel (It came upon the Midnight Clear)here .
Zlatan Ibrahimovic, during his brief stint at Manchester United
This is an enthronement Psalm, celebrating God as King (v1). The One who rules the world is none other than God! This is full-blown “shock and awe”: the proper response is to “tremble” (v1); “praise” (v3); “extol and worship” (vv 5,9).
This is dangerous stuff for God’s human subjects: God is “holy” – “separate”; “morally and spiritually excellent” – and we are not. God as King gets to make and enforce the rules that govern our lives. Israel had plenty of experience of bad kings and gods who enslaved them (the Babylonian gods). It was at least possible to check the power of a human king – he will eventually die, or can be killed – but when the King is God, we are utterly at his mercy … forever! So the power question is crucial: how will this power be deployed? Whether or not God’s rule is Good News depends entirely on God’s disposition towards us.
The key is v4. The “Mighty King” is a “lover of justice and equity”. The world under God’s governance is a safe and life-giving place to be – especially for weakest and most vulnerable. The Lord’s holiness does not issue in hostile separation from the world, but in intimate relationship. God’s rule is not about some cosmic-sized ego trip (Zlatan!); it is about ensuring “life in all its abundance” (cf John 10:10).
How does this relationship work? Not by royal diktat! The pattern is clear in v6b: Israel cries, and God answers. The Most High is a God who hears the cries of people in trouble and pain (Exodus 2:23-5). God yearns for Israel in compassionate love; God’s power is deployed for their salvation.
The Psalmist declares that God’s power and rule are Good News. He echoes the words of Graham Kendrick: “This our God, the Servant-King! He calls us now to follow him: to yield our lives as a daily offering of worship to the Servant-King!”
God our Father, may your name be hallowed. Bring your Kingdom: let your will be done here on earth. Give us the food we need to survive another day. Forgive the wrong we do, as we freely forgive the wrongs done to us. Keep us from situations that might destroy our trust in you. Deliver us from all who resist your Kingdom. The Kingdom, the power and all the glory belong to you alone! Amen.
Lawrence Moore, Mission & Discipleship consultant, Worsley Road URC
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