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day 15


Psalm 97:1-6 (NASB)
The Lord reigns, may the earth rejoice;
May the many islands be joyful.
Clouds and thick darkness surround Him;
Righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne.
Fire goes before Him
And burns up His enemies all around.
His lightning lit up the world;
The earth saw it and trembled.
The mountains melted like wax at the presence of the Lord,
At the presence of the Lord of the whole earth.
The heavens declare His righteousness,
And all the peoples have seen His glory.

daily devotional

In today’s culture, authority is often seen as something to resist. We assume that the word “authority” carries with it connotations of dictatorship, naked power, illegitimate control, even abuse. The Bible looks at authority quite differently. Certainly, there can be abuses of power and authority, but authority itself is not always bad. In fact, the nature of authority is set up by God, and God’s authority is always good. The original lie in the Garden of Eden was that obeying God was bad for you. The Gospel of Christ sets us free from sin by setting up Christ on the throne of our hearts so that His Gospel might gradually permeate every corner of our existence and transform us more and more into his likeness. This psalm celebrates the reign of God. “The Lord reigns, let the earth rejoice” (97:1). Our joy comes out of the rule, or authority, of God; the joy that we long for is connected to the increase of His Kingdom in our lives, and all around the world.

Having set this proposition about the goodness of the authority of God, the Psalmist then, from verses 2 to 6 shows this rule is discernible in the natural world all around us. “Clouds and thick darkness are all around Him” (97:2); “Fire goes before Him” (97:3); “His lightnings light up the world” (97:4); “the mountains melt like wax before the Lord” (97:5—perhaps this verse is referring to a volcano). The drama and power of nature is a wonder to behold.  Next time you watch a thunderstorm, think this is just a pale image of the power of God who creates and sustains the universe.

As the Psalmist says in verse 6: “The heavens proclaim his righteousness, and all the peoples see his glory.” The world around us witnesses to the reality of God. As Paul puts it, His invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made” (Romans 1:20). This means that those who worship idols are “put to shame” (97:7).

Once you realize that the visible world witnesses to the invisible power of God, then it is obvious that it is foolish to worship idols. They are objects that are made by the Creator! Why worship money or possessions or sex or power or the sun or having that corner office, when all this is made by the Creator. Then those who trust in God hear this voice of God and rejoice. “Zion hears and is glad” (97:8).

The Psalmist then concludes with an exhortation. Because of these truths—that God’s rule is good, that His rule is proclaimed in the natural created world all around us, that it is therefore foolish to worship idols—you who love the Lord, “hate evil!” (97:10). God, this great God, “preserves” and “delivers” His people. Plus, insight or “light” comes to those who follow God, as well as “joy” (97:11). So finally, verse 12:

Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous, and give thanks to His holy name!

Resource: Josh Moody, God Centered Life ©2022

Come, Lord Jesus. Come take Your rightful place in my life, in my heart, in my mind. Come and move in my home, my family, my job, my church, my city. The Spirit and the Church, Your bride, says COME! I want and need Your presence in every aspect of my lives. May I die to idols. May I abandon altars I bow at before undeserving gods. May You, and You alone, be my sole obsession.

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