Overwhelmed by His Presence

Psalm 97:1-6 “The Lord reigns, let the earth rejoice; let the many islands be glad…Righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne. Fire goes before Him and burns up His adversaries round about. His lightnings lit up the world; the earth saw and trembled. The mountains melted like wax at the presence of the Lord…The heavens declare His righteousness, and all the people have seen His glory.”

Observation: Psalm 97 ascribes emotions to inanimate things: the earth  rejoices, islands are glad, mountains melt at seeing His presence, and the earth trembles. Character attributes are described as having physical substance: righteousness and justice are a “foundation” for His throne. The language is so soaring that it could be easy to conclude the psalmist was simply carried away trying to allegorically describe the impact of the Lord’s appearing.

Application: Something more than allegory is depicted here; these verses are more than mere metaphor. They are a precursor to Christ’s declaration generations later that if we—we who, after all, were made in His own image—fail to give proper praise to God then even rocks themselves would cry out His glory. Then still later, Paul would write in Romans 1:20 that “since the creation of the world, His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so they are without excuse.”

The imagery here is overpowering precisely because it is more than imagery. Does anyone who has truly encountered the creator God who delights in flinging universes off His fingertips, doubt that His presence would cause mountains to melt like wax? Earth trembling, islands rejoicing, rocks crying out—aren’t these perfectly reasonable responses to seeing the God of heaven and earth? Beloved, these expressions are far more than just a quiet, inner “knowing”; these are the wild, abandoned, exuberant outward responses to His presence, responses that must please the Father, else He wouldn’t describe them throughout His Word. 

I long to participate in that! I want to be at least as much in awe of Him as are some remote islands. I want never to be outdone in praise by a pile of rocks!  I desire that every part of my being shout in His presence and give glory to His name. I love that He dances in delight over me, and I want everything within me to respond with irrepressible joy.

Prayer: Father, Creator God, how I praise You. You are glorious and majestic and beautiful beyond words. I celebrate Your power and Your awesomeness, and I delight in being the object of Your love. Help me to see You even more clearly; to have eyes opened even more fully to Your mighty attributes. I want to be a man whose heart is filled with Your glory until the moment I die, and I want everything about me to reflect Your reality until that moment comes.

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