Tuesday, June 27, 2023

2023.06.27 Hopewell @Home ▫ Psalm 93

Read Psalm 93

Questions from the Scripture text: What does Yahweh do (Psalm 93:1a)? With what is He clothed? With what else is He clothed/girded (verse 1b–c)? What is established (verse 1d)? So that what cannot be done with it? What has been established longer (Psalm 93:2a)? Why (verse 2b)? What challenger is there to stability and power (Psalm 93:3a)? What have they done? And what have they raised up (verse 3b)? And what else have they raised up (verse 3c)? But Who is mightier than many of them and the strongest of them (Psalm 93:4)? What has this God given to us (Psalm 93:5a)? How reliable are they? What has He formed, and what adorns it (verse 5b)? For how long (verse 5c)?

Upon what may we found proper confidence in God’s Word and about God’s church? Psalm 93 looks forward to the opening portion of morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these five verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that for confidence in God’s Word and about His  church, we should consider God Himself.  

This Psalm takes four verses to consider the LORD himself before considering His Word and His church in the end. Often, people struggle at (or against) believing the Bible as the Word of God. When we look at the church we may have our doubts about whether it is a good idea, or whether it can even last. But when we look at the God Whose Word it is, and the God Whose church it is, we are helped by Him Himself out of our difficulty.

The majestic, strong, reliable, ruling, overruling LORD, Psalm 93:1–4. The LORD is invisible, so what does it mean that He is clothed (2x) and girded? The idea is that His creation and His actions are like clothing hanging upon an invisible body. When we consider all that He has made, and all that He has done, we get an idea of the greatness of His majesty (Psalm 93:1a) and His strength (verse 1c). Considering the heavens causes us to say from the earth, “How majestic is Your Name!” (cf. Psalm 8). Those heavens declare His glory (cf. Psalm 19:1). Also the solidity and reliability of the created world show His faithfulness (Psalm 93:1d).

Even the most powerful events in nature display that God’s ruling (Psalm 93:2) is far superior in power. Tsunamis can wipe away cities and forests. During a great storm, the waves of the ocean can be like literal mountains of water. And yet even the worldwide flood could not wipe away the mountains. Most importantly, it came as fulfillment of His own testimony, and it could not wipe away His household. His fledgling church, down to eight people, was lifted up by God above all the devastation, and protected. Though the flood lifted itself up, and its noise up, and its waves up, it also lifted up God’s servant and his household. The LORD on high was mightier!

The LORD’s sure wordsPsalm 93:5a. When we come to God’s Word, God’s own testimonies, we should consider Whose testimonies they are. There is nothing more reliable or important to believe than whatever He teaches. There is nothing more reliable or important to do than whatever He commands. By His Word He created, by His Word He upholds the worlds. By His Word He told of the flood. By His Word He instructed Noah in the means of being preserved from/in/above the flood. And He has given us His testimonies even in writing as an indication that He wants us to be sure of them. We do not trust them because we can trace the transmission of them. We trust them because we can see the evidence of Him in His world, we know the evidence of Him within us by the work of His Spirit and the knowledge of Christ in saving us, and we can see plainly that it is His Word that tells us about these things. His Word even tells us more things about itself, so that we have good confidence even about the pen-strokes that continue unto us to this day.

The LORD’s forever-holy churchPsalm 93:5b–c. God’s house is sometimes found a state of great disrepair. Just as with the physical temple before the days of Hezekiah or Josiah, so also His church as a people has seen some very low ebbs during Scripture and throughout history. In the time and place in which this devotional is being written, it is heading in that direction again, albeit papered over and white washed by so much manmade, man-centered religion that one might foolishly think that the church is quite large and vigorous. But, the most important thing about God’s church is that it is HIS church. And this is the reason that even if it hangs by a thread, that thread is of infinite tensile strength. The church is separated from the world like the ark that is lifted above the flood. The providence that comes to it comes in the providence of a God whose chastenings, even, are for her good; when she sees calamity, the calamity is not her reward but the reward of the wicked (cf. Psalm 91:7)—even those wicked who may be merely superficial/external members of the visible church. For all that, she is holy because she is HIS. He will build her, and the gates of Hell will not prevail against her. She is forever, because she is HIS. We ought always to have affection for His church and never run out of hope for her. She belongs to the LORD of Psalm 93:1-4.

Why are you sure of God’s Word? How does that sureness come out in your life? How do you feel about the church? Why? How should you? Why? Where do you get your hope for the future of the church?

Sample prayer:  Lord, You reign! You are clothed with majesty and girded with strength. You show Your faithfulness in the reliable world which You have ruled throughout its ages. Even the most powerful and terrifying forces of nature are Your servants to carry out all Your holy will. Grant us to worship You with confidence in Your Holy Word, as those who have gathered unto You as Your Holy house, with a hope that will last forever in Jesus Christ, through Whom we ask it, Amen!

Suggested songs: ARP93 “The LORD Is Crowned as King” or TPH93 “The LORD Reigns Over All”

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