1 The Lord reigneth, he is clothed with majesty; the Lord is clothed with strength, wherewith he hath girded himself: the world also is stablished, that it cannot be moved.
It’s clear that this brief Psalm was written to extol the majesty of God. In it we also see at least by implication a marvelous contrast between the majestic God and the rulers of earthly kingdoms. Not only is God majestic, He is clothed (fully covered) in majesty as well as strength, as opposed to earthly rulers who are weak in comparison. Not only does He reign, He has always reigned (cf. Psalm 90:1-2), as opposed to the earthly rulers who would come and go. His words are always sure (sound and faithful) while the words of earthly rulers pass away. He is the very definition of holiness (I Peter 1:16), a trait greatly lacking in, if not completely absent from, the lives of the world’s leaders.
Continuing his praise for the majesty of God, the Psalmist pays tribute to the Lord’s awesome power. To say that God is stronger than literal floods is impressive. Indeed, He is that strong. Recall how Jesus calmed the boisterous sea in Matthew 14:22-33. It appears though that the Psalmist is striving to make a deeper impression. He wants to demonstrate that God is sovereign, that His majesty exceeds all earthly bounds. To that end, he uses the floods and noise of many waters to represent the troubles facing God’s people. In the immediate context, reference is made to those nations who oppressed Israel. “Floods” is used in this manner in other passages (II Samuel 22:5; Psalm 18:4). “Noise” is also used in this fashion in Jeremiah 46:17 where the weeping prophet wrote that Pharaoh, king of Egypt, was only a noise, a temporary source of trouble. These figures are not limited to oppression from ungodly kingdoms though. In Psalm 69:2 David wrote in reference to his troubled life in general, “I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing: I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me.”
There appears to be a progression of danger in these figures. First come the floods, then the waves, then the noise of many waters, then the mighty waves of the sea. The floods are frightening enough, but when the lashing waves and their horrible din are added to the mix, the scene portrayed is one that can lead to fear and distress. Keep in mind though, that regardless of the power of these noisome waves, the Lord is mightier. Those who have ever seen video of or witnessed a tsunami can readily bring to mind a picture of an overpowering wave. Still, God is greater. He is clothed with majesty. He is bigger than any tempest, be it literally produced by the sea or figuratively produced in our lives.
Because God is bigger than our troubles, He is quite capable of leading us through them. Not only that, He is fully acquainted with any difficulties we might face. Solomon wrote, “The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9).
God has witnessed every storm through which His people have passed. What’s more, He was by their side through every potentially perilous flood of trouble. He was with Joseph when the faithful patriarch was nearly murdered, sold by his brothers, mistreated by his master and forgotten by his friend (Genesis 37-50). He was with Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah when they were cast into the fiery furnace for their faith (Daniel 3). He stood by the side of Daniel in the lions’ den (Daniel 6). Joseph was outnumbered and politically overpowered in his difficulties, yet the God who is bigger than our troubles delivered him. The three Hebrews faced the intimidating heat of a furnace that had been elevated to seven times its normal temperature, a temperature so high that the men who led the three to their intended doom perished in the flame (Daniel 3:19,22). In spite of this, the God who is bigger than our troubles delivered them. Daniel stood face to face with not one, but several lions. How many of those ferocious beasts were in that den is unknown to us, but certainly confronting even one of them would be frightening beyond words. Nonetheless, the God who is bigger than our troubles delivered Daniel.
We may never physically be in situations like those experienced by Joseph but emotionally we can feel outnumbered and overpowered by our troubles. We may never physically face the withering heat of a fiery furnace, but in our hearts we can feel the burn of distress and anguish. We may never physically stand among lions, but the fear and anxiety evoked by our troubles could be just as intense. Despite the enormity of the trials in which we may find ourselves, God is bigger.
There is nothing that burdens us that is too large to take to God. For that matter, there is nothing too small either. The familiar hymn says:
O what peace we often forfeit,
It’s been said that if a thing is too small to take to God in prayer, then it is too small to worry about. If it is big enough to take to God in prayer and we have done that, then we should not worry about it.
When we approach God with our troubles, we are going to the One who is above us. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9). Our God is bigger than our troubles. What makes this truth even more comforting is the fact that this great God loves us (I John 4:9), cares for us (I Peter 5:7) and invites us to cast these burdens upon Him. “Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.” (Psalm 55:22).
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