Psalm 93: A Prayer for Confidence in Troubled Times
Reading: Psalm 93
1 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.
Is this a prayer of confidence, or a prayer for confidence? The question may miss the point. Prayers, or psalms, of confidence were not designed only for those times when we are confident, but for those times we gather with God’s people in times of trouble and our confidence is shaken. They are for those times when we know we should remain confident and we need reminding, or the people of God gathered with us need reminding, why we can be confident. It is a declaration of confidence, yes; not because our confidence is unassailable, but because we know we must cling to it, and help each other cling to it.
The settings of the psalms are purposely vague. They were used in various ways at various times. The point is that they are inherently flexible from one generation to the next, and from one culture to the next. The psalms are applicable in a “if the shoe fits, wear it” way. Verse 3 of this psalm tells us when the shoe fits.
3 The seas have lifted up, LORD, the seas have lifted up their voice;
the seas have lifted up their pounding waves.
I love living in the sub-tropical, beach-surrounded city of St. Petersburg. For all the concerns our out-of-state relatives have about hurricanes, in my 22 years of living here, I’ve had but a few occasions in which I have even been remotely concerned about the potential danger of weather to me personally. The worst was the one time we actually left town and headed inland because Hurricane Charley was set to hit us dead on and, with each passing day, the projected target put St. Petersburg in the worst position possible for that storm. So when the “hunker down or evacuate” decision deadline came, we opted to head a couple hours inland to our friends’ house who happened to be out of town.
As soon as we got there, just hours before the storm was supposed to hit Tampa Bay, begin flooding St. Petersburg, and pelting it with 100 mph plus winds, it took an immediate right turn to… guess where. That’s right, to where we were now staying. So we waited out the storm hunkered down in our friends’ home. The winds were loud, the trampoline which was tied down in the back yard, was wrapped around the tree next to it. It sounded as if all the glass in the house were going to come crashing in.
The seas, in biblical language, are most often representative of the forces of chaos and darkness that wreak havoc in the world, of times when it seems creation itself is being undone (ref. Genesis 1:2). Their lifted up voice and pounding waves are ways of describing our experience when chaos seems to be controlling our lives and threatens to undo everything good. In the noise of those storms, the truth of God can be hard to hear.
It is good and necessary, in times like these, for the people of God to gather and declare together the reign of God. To recall the truth that Yahweh, the Lord, Who reigns on high is more powerful than the loudest clashes of thunder which the seas and all its chaos can muster up.
4 Mightier than the thunder of the great waters,
mightier than the breakers of the sea
—the LORD on high is mighty.
We must also remember that the Lord’s reign is not just a visualized spiritual reality which we simply must believe is there in order to have this confidence. No. It has a very tangible and unwavering manifestation in the world.
5 Your statutes, LORD, stand firm; holiness adorns your house for endless days.
When all around us is shaking, the Lord’s decrees, His statutes, His word, remains steadfast. These all find their fullest expression in Jesus Christ through the Gospel. They are not shaken. The winds will come and go, but the Lord’s statutes remain the same as a constant demonstration of YHWH’s reign over the world which, just like His statutes, is unassailable.
May the Grace of Christ be with you,