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  • Writer's picturePastor Mike

September 28 2023

“The Lord of the Whole Earth”

Psalm 97:1-6

1 The LORD reigns; Let the earth rejoice; Let the multitude of isles be glad!

2 Clouds and darkness surround Him; Righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne.

3 A fire goes before Him, And burns up His enemies round about.

4 His lightnings light the world; The earth sees and trembles.

5 The mountains melt like wax at the presence of the LORD, At the presence of the Lord of the whole earth.

6 The heavens declare His righteousness, And all the peoples see His glory.

Psalm 97 was a reminder to the nation of Israel back in the Promise Land after their captivity in Babylon that their God was the “Lord of the whole earth” and He is greatly exalted. We read In verse 9, “For You, LORD, are most high above all the earth; You are exalted far above all gods”. This verse could be considered the theme verse for the whole chapter and reminds God’s people that He has all things under His control. Today we as believers should remember this also and see Jesus as God's exalted King.

The exaltation of Jehovah is the theme of Psalm 97. In verses 1-2, we see the LORD exalted on His throne. “The LORD reigns; Let the earth rejoice… Righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne.” In verses 3-6, the LORD is exalted over His enemies. In verses 7-9, the LORD is exalted over the false gods of the earth. And in verses 10-12, the LORD is exalted among His people.

In verse 3-6, we can be assured that the LORD is exalted and victorious over all His enemies. The enemies of the LORD are all those who do evil and reject His authority over their lives. They are the ones under the influence of the evil one who comes as a thief to steal, to kill, and to destroy God’s people and all that is good. When Paul met Jesus on the road to Damascus, the Lord asked him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?" And Paul answered, "Who are You, Lord?" Then the Lord said, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.” (Acts 9:4-5). God humbled Saul and changed him into a Paul who turned the world upside down for God’s glory! The LORD was exalted over His enemy!!!!!

We are given the picture in verse 3 of the LORD like that of a storm that is sweeping across the land and destroying and burning up everything in its path: “A fire goes before Him, And burns up His enemies round about.” You see this same analogy in Psalm 18:9-12; 29; and in Habakkuk 3:3-15. This image of the storm takes us back to the exodus of Israel from Egypt (68:7-8; 77:15-20) as well as Israel's meeting with God at Sinai (Ex. 19:9, 16-19; 20:21; 24:15-16; Deut. 4:11; 5:22; Heb. 12:18-21). “His lightnings light the world; The earth sees and trembles. The mountains melt like wax…”

The storm also speaks of the future "day of the Lord" when God will judge the nations of the world (Isa. 2:10-21; 8:22; Joel 2:2; Amos 5:16-20; Zeph. 1:7-18). The fire and lightning remind us that God is a consuming fire (Deut. 4:24; 32:22; Heb. 12:29). His judgments bring Him glory and manifest His holiness to a godless world.

The name "Lord of all the whole earth" (v. 5) is found in only a few other places in the Old Testament. Joshua encouraged the people of Israel as they prepared to cross the Jordan River with these words: “Behold, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth is crossing over before you into the Jordan… And it shall come to pass, as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests who bear the ark of the LORD, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of the Jordan, that the waters of the Jordan shall be cut off…” (Josh. 3:11, 13).

The prophets Micah (4:13) and Zechariah (4:14; 6:5) us this same phrase to remind the people of Israel that their God was not just a “territorial” God. From the beginning of Israel's national history, the people knew that Jehovah was not a "tribal god" like the false gods of the neighboring nations, but the Lord of all the earth (Ex. 19:5; Deut. 10:14.

It is interesting that Jesus used this title when speaking to His Father in Luke 10:21: “In that hour Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit and said, "I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight.”

Today, as we face our enemies of the world, the flesh, and the devil, we should also be encouraged that our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, is still “Lord over all the earth”.

God bless!

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