Dear friend, this study of Psalm 93 and 94 will likely be three or more parts. I am still working on it. I do not know what God is doing with my Bible study times and writing but I know He is working for my good and drawing me closer, though the process of growing is painful. Whatever you are doing and wherever you are, I fervently pray you take time to get alone with God and His Word and let Him draw you closer, directly, you and Him alone. God is getting ready to shake our world, and we must learn to hear Him clearer and clearer.
Topics in Part One: Here is what we will cover in Part One.
- The blessing of discipline and instruction
- Getting the tricycle up the steps—the lesson of Psalm 94:12-13.
- God’s timing is perfect
- The central message of Psalms
- Book IV of Psalms
- Psalm 93 and 94 – the majesty of God
- Calmness conquers fear
- Overall message of Psalm 93 and 94.
- Pondering Psalm 93
- God is eternally sovereign.
- God reigns supreme over all He created.
- Awe leads to holiness.
- Calm for that unseen world within
The blessing of discipline and instruction
12 Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) is the man whom You discipline and instruct, O Lord, and teach out of Your law,
13 That You may give him power to keep himself calm in the days of adversity, until the [inevitable] pit of corruption is dug for the wicked.
14 For the Lord will not cast off nor spurn His people, neither will He abandon His heritage.
15 For justice will return to the [uncompromisingly] righteous, and all the upright in heart will follow it. (Psalm 94:12-15, AMPC, emphasis added)
Getting the tricycle up the steps—the lesson of Psalm 94:12-13. I heard a story about two women sitting in the backyard, watching the young son of one of the women struggling to get his tricycle up the steps to the back porch. Leg braces hindered the four-year-old’s efforts. Thoroughly angry, one woman, not yet a mom, asked the other “How can you sit there and do nothing? Don’t you see your son needs your help? He has braces, for pity sake!”
Tears streaming down her face, the boy’s mother said, “I do see.” She paused to gulp down a sob. “But if I help him now, he will never learn to do it himself.”
Beloved, I believe this is a picture of what God feels as He watches our struggles, each moment, each hour, each day—whether our struggle comes from the evil in our world, from some hard thing in our personal world or from the process of God’s loving discipline.
He could, of course, make our individual troubles and those of this desperately evil world disappear in the blink of an eye. And He can give us peace in a moment. I am sure He has done that countless times for you. However, we will never grow into the strong, brave and courageous person He called us to be in this world – until He grants us the power to keep ourselves calm in times of adversity. (Psalm 94:12-13)
God’s timing is perfect. I began working on “God’s Arsenal for Peace and Security” in September 2020. This is one of the nine Bible passages that are the foundation of that book. While trying to finish writing about those nine verses, God kept leading to other topics. Possibly one reason is that I need Psalms 93 and 94 today even more than two years ago.
Let’s examine these two Psalms, which are the framework for Psalm 94:12-13. They will strengthen, encourage, and equip us to bear up under hardships of our larger world, our personal world and of the discipline process. We can learn to bear up with joy and victory and peace! And, thus, we will delight the heart of our loving, ever-watchful, ever-faithful, ever-present Father in heaven.
Friend, we can learn—yes, we can!!—to calm ourselves like a weaned child (Psalm 131:2) and just rest in the presence of our loving Father. He is watching you and me, you know, each second of each hour, in our good times as well as in our struggles, just like that mom watching her son. And He never sleeps. (Psalm 121). He feels what we feel.
Let’s see what God says about this concept that sometimes He lets us struggle so that we may be strengthened and healed. God wants us strong, and He love us enough to do whatever that takes. Never forget, though, that He feels our hurt more than we ourselves do. God feels what we feel. And He loves us enough to let some small, momentary hurts work a far, far greater and exceeding weight of good and glory! ((2 Corinthians 4:16-18).
The central message of Psalms. According to Halley’s Bible Handbook (2000, Zondervan), the leading ideas in the psalms are trust, praise, rejoicing, and God’s unfailing love, but
“Trust is the foremost idea in the book, repeated over and over. Whatever the occasions, joyous or terrifying, it drove David straight to God. Whatever his weaknesses, David literally lived in God.” (P. 321)
That bears repeating: trust is the foremost idea in the book of Psalms. The AMPC reveals that trust in God means to lean upon, rely on, and hope confidently in God. (Isaiah 26:3-4, AMPC). Beloved, God knows what you and I need and, like the perfect and compassionate and loving and merciful Father He is, He has already abundantly supplied for our every need and that includes discipline and instruction as individualized as our fingerprints. He wants us to train us how to live with confidence and sure hope.
Book IV of Psalms. Psalm 94, which is linked with Psalm 93, is in Book IV of Psalms. Here is how Halley labels these 16 psalms (Halley’s Bible Handbook, Zondervan, 2000, p.342-343)
- Ps 90 The Eternity of God
- Ps 91 A Hymn of Trust
- Ps 92 A Sabbath Hymn of Praise
- Ps 93-94 The Majesty of God
- Ps 95-97 The Reign of God
- Ps 98 A Song of Jubilant Joy
- Ps 99-100 God Reigns—Worship Him
- Ps 101 A Psalm for Rulers
- Ps 102 A Prayer of Penitence
- Ps 103 A Psalm of God’s Mercy
- Ps 104 A Nature Psalm
- Ps 105-106 Two Historical Psalms.”
Psalm 93 and 94 – the majesty of God. This collection of 16 psalms in Book IV teaches about God’s nature, why we can trust Him, and what our response must be. Part of why we can trust God is His majesty, His royal power. Halley commented that Psalm 93 and 94 speak of:
“God’s majesty and the destruction of the wicked and the power, holiness, and eternity of God’s throne. From everlasting, God reigns forevermore. Wickedness is prevalent in this world, but in the end, God’s justice prevails: the doom of the wicked is certain. This is one of the most frequent themes of Scripture.” (p.340, emphasis added)
Halley wrote this comment in 1961, when Halley’s Handbook was first published. What reassurance and comfort it gives us in 2022!
God obviously wants us to keep this truth in mind or He would not have made it such a central theme in the tapestry of Scripture. I believe one reason is because HE knows our frame (Psalm 103). He understands and—through Jesus—actually is “touched with the feeling of our infirmities” (Hebrews 4:15). He knows our human weaknesses. He knows how easily we become discouraged in the face of difficulties and wickedness. He knows what Satan wants to do and how he operates.
Calmness conquers fear. God also knows Satan’s principal weapon is fear. It is said that fear appears 365 times in God’s Word. He tells us repeatedly how to conquer fear. Part of conquering fear is learning how to keep ourselves calm. That requires knowing truth and it also requires practice walking in truth.
What truths held in consciousness calm fear?
- God is sovereign–far, far, far greater than whatever troubles us (Psalm 93).
- God loves us (John 3:16).
God has good plans for us (Jeremiah 29:11).
- God promises to make everything turn out for our good if we love Him (which includes obeying Him) and if we are called, or living, according to His purpose, being “conformed to the image of His Son (Romans 8:28-29). That includes everything. Period.
These truths deliver us from fear and the mistakes fear causes us to make in three circumstances we face today. In each circumstance, the doom of the wicked is certain and the defeat of Satan is just as certain.
- In distressing times for the world at large,
- In distressing personal times, and
- In distressing seasons of personal chastening and discipline
Let’s strengthen our hearts by studying more about His supreme power so that He can become, as the psalmist said, “. . . my High Tower and Defense, and my God, the Rock of my refuge. “(Psalm 94:22, AMPC)
Overall message of Psalm 93 and 94. These are the main ideas I see.
(1-2) God is King, majestic and immovable because of His strength and power.
(3-4) He has reigned from everlasting, and is mightier than humanity and wicked nations.
(5) It is appropriate for His people to be holy – separated from sin and heartily obeying Him.
(1-2) (The psalmist cries) Rise up, O Lord, You Who owns vengeance!
(3-7) Look at what the wicked are doing and they mock You.
(8-10) People are stupid if they do not know that God, Who created seeing and hearing, hears and sees them. This God Who teaches man knowledge also disciplines AND instructs AND punishes nations.
(11-15) God knows that man, with his worthless thoughts, needs discipline and instruction from God’s law IN ORDER TO learn to keep himself calm while God is preparing judgement for the wicked BECAUSE God will not abandon His people. God will treat the righteous justly.
(16-19) (David knows that, SO he says) I know God will be my help against evil doers and will comfort me while He is working.
(20-21) Those evil ones temporarily in power have no part in God.
(22-23) BUT I have fellowship with God, who is covering me, and my God will, in His vengeance, wipe out the wicked by their own wickedness.
Thus, we see why we can keep ourselves calm no matter what. We can learn to keep ourselves calm whether Satan’s evil is manifesting itself through national and world leaders, someone or some circumstance in our personal sphere or through our flesh as we undergo discipline or chastening.
Pondering Psalm 93. In the first of these two psalms about God’s majesty the psalmist praises God and blesses God. The psalmist is perceiving how and who God really is, and he is speaking to God about what He has perceived. He is telling God that he is aware of, that he has perceived, His sovereign power and dignity, the grandeur of His kingship, the splendor of His very being – His royal nature.
We are privileged to see into a sacred, intimate moment between God and the writer of this psalm, a moment of reverent worship. The psalmist is adoring God, worshipping Him with words of awe and respect and love as he ponders and gazes upon God, as surely as any lover ever adored his beloved. Aware of God’s omnipotence and His faithful love, in deep reverence the psalmist might have whispered, “It is fitting that Your people, oh God, be holy, separate from sin and trusting in you and heartily obeying You.”
Let’s consider the details of what was said in Psalm 93.
God is eternally sovereign. V. 1 “The Lord reigns, He is clothed with majesty; the Lord is robed, He has girded Himself with strength and power; the world also is established, that it cannot be moved. 2 Your throne is established from of old; You are from everlasting.”
God is “King of kings and Lord of lords” (Revelations 17:14; 19:16). He is the ultimate king of all that is. Nothing and no one is, ever has been, or ever will be above Him. As Moses said in Psalm 90:2b “. . . from everlasting to everlasting You are God.” Think about Psalm 104:2 that says “God wraps Himself with light.” God is light – yet He wraps Himself in light. In Psalm 93:1, God, Who is majestic, clothes Himself in majesty. Selah!
God reigns supreme over all He created. V. 3 The floods have lifted up, O Lord, the floods have lifted up their voice; the floods lift up the roaring of their waves. 4 The Lord on high is mightier and more glorious than the noise of many waters, yes, than the mighty breakers and waves of the sea.
The ocean seems—and is—powerful, especially so when its waves roar. But in verse 38:11 in the book of Job (also often attributed to Moses), God says He specified just how far the proud waves of the sea could come. In Job 38:8-11, God asked Job: ““Who shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb, when I made the clouds its garment and wrapped it in thick darkness, when I fixed limits for it and set its doors and bars in place, when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt.” (NIV).
Throughout the Bible, God often reminds us that He “stretched out the heavens”, that He is the creator and sustainer of the ends of the earth and all that is in and on it. He reminds us of this again here. This One, this all powerful One Who loves us and watches our every step, He is the One who tenderly told Old Testament saints not to fear for He was with them and not to be afraid for He was their God (Isaiah 41:10). This One told His storm-tossed disciples not to fear when they saw a figure walking on water moving toward them. (John 6:20)
Awe leads to holiness. V5. Your testimonies are very sure; holiness [apparent in separation from sin, with simple trust and hearty obedience] is becoming to Your house, O Lord, forever.
With the truths of the first four verses in his consciousness, the psalmist is filled with reverent awe. He is more aware of Who God is and His power. Unstated, I believe is his awareness that he is but dust, a passing vaper in comparison. Filled with awe, he says it is right that he should separate himself from the world and worship and serve this mighty sovereign Ruler of the world. He perceives it is the right thing to be holy.
The clarifying phrases in the AMPC here show us that holiness will be obvious when we do three things:
- separate ourselves from sin,
- have child-like trust toward God and
- vigorously and cheerfully obey Him. This is proper and pleasing.
Reread this psalm slowly. Pause and ponder as God guides your heart. If we imprint the truth of God’s sovereignty on our spirit it will guard and garrison our thoughts and feelings. Truth will completely encircle us with peace, no matter the outward circumstances.
Calm for that unseen world within. God’s truths are an impenetrable shield. We need that shield for today, for the world at large, for our personal world, and for the world of our hearts, for that unseen world within each of us, that place where God tenderly works each day . . .
- That place where He faithfully speaks the light of His truth into our darkness as regularly as He commands the dawn,
- That place where He calms the storms of our soul as easily as He calms the roiled waters of the vast oceans,
- That inner world where He commands violent winds to settle to gentle zephyrs.
Yes, this great and high and Holy One, this One
- Who watches over each creature He has lovingly made,
- Who clothes His flowers with splendor beyond that of kings,
- Who carefully paints each individual sparrow with shades of brown and white and black according to its kind, and then feeds each one until its little body falls to the ground and, I believe, then takes it back home to be with Him eternally.
Let us consider His works and His love and stand in awe. (Job 38:1-42:6).
So, therefore, with all that in mind, I ask myself: If that is how this mighty Sovereign, our all-powerful King, cares for His beloved earth and each creature in it, how much more does He care for you and me? How much more does He long to strengthen our faith so that we can keep ourselves calm?
Friend, if we seek Him today, with all our heart, we will find Him. (Jeremiah 29:13)
When we are with Him, He is with us (2 Chronicles 15:2) and His presence will bring His peace, for He Himself is our peace. (Ephesians 2:14)
“He is calm who believes God is sovereign.”
The One Who commands the eagles to soar
loves you forever, forever more,
Therefore, take heart! Be strong in your trust!
For the One Who has made you
is mindful you’re dust.
Yes, He knows your frame,
knows just how you’re made
and He longs that you know —
the price has been paid.
In Part Two we will explore Psalm 94. Until then, may the truths in both these psalms calm our troubled hearts and minds, for He Who made us cares for us far, far, far more than we can know.