Today’s Lectio Divina: Excerpts from Psalm 93. (MsgB)
God is King, robed and ruling,God is robed and surging with strength. And yes, the world is firm, immovable, Your throne ever firm—you’re Eternal!
Sea storms are up, God, Sea storms wild and roaring. Sea storms with thunderous breakers.Stronger than wild sea storms, Mightier than sea-storm breakers, Mighty God rules from High Heaven.
To ancient societies, the sea was a powerful foe. Before explorers like Columbus set sail, the common thought was that the vast seas of the world were unending. And even if some idiot explorer thought he might sail to the ocean’s edge, certainly he and his ship would fall off the world, lost forever in the eternal abyss of nothingness.
Today, of course, we know better.
But the truth be told, the mighty oceans of the world are still a power to be reckoned with. Hurricanes and tsunamis still occur at alarming rates. Walls of water can still destroy a city and our puny efforts to stop it are fairly laughable.
So while we now know how and why the oceans of the world do what they do, these monsters can still be a force that will not always obey the desires of man.
Most ancient cultures assigned God-like qualities to the sea. The ancient Greeks, for example,had a large number of sea deities. The philosopher Plato once remarked that the Greek people were like frogs sitting around a pond—their many cities hugging close to the Mediterranean coastline. Thus, they venerated a rich variety of aquatic divinities. Greek sea gods ranged from primordial powers and an Olympian on one hand, to heroized mortals, sea nymphs, trickster-figures, and monsters on the other.
Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea, was the chief patron of the city of Corinth. Paul, the New Testament apostle, would have been familiar with this Greek king as he brought the Gospel of Jesus to the people of this ancient city.
Psalm 93 is a short song when compared with many of the others recorded for us in the Bible. But while small in stature, the words are strong in meaning, especially to those who would have looked out over the massive Mediterranean Sea, wondering what lies at the edge of that unending body of water. Even in Jesus’ time, nearly 1,000 years after Psalm 93 was written, a simple boat trip across the much smaller Sea of Galilee could be an adventure that could take your life away!
So when you and I read Psalm 93 today, I’m guessing we just don’t quite get the magnitude of the words offered up here by the psalmist. In our society, the wild and roaring seas just don’t bring the panic to the soul they once did.
But here’s my question today.
Just because the terror of the seas have been largely tamed in our generation, does that necessarily mean that we don’t have unexplainable forces in the universe that scare the poop out of us?
As I see it, while King David’s generation faced overwhelming challenges from the Mediterranean Sea, our generation faces overwhelming challenges from other unanswerable problems as well. Sure, apples to apples, we don’t fear the ocean like past generations did, but go explain away the seemingly overwhelming dangers associated with global terrorism to someone who lost a loved one on 9-11. Or how about calming a child’s fears who just lost his or her parents in the tribal wars of sub-Saharan Africa? Or maybe you’d like to explain the unexplainable to Jewish immigrants from Europe who escaped the horrors of the Holocaust?
You see, we still have powerful surging storms and wild, crashing waves in our society today. And like the psalmist of old, we choose to believe that there is still One True King of the Seas who is robed and ruling, surging with strength. And yes, sea storms are certainly up. Sea storms wild and roaring, sea storms with thunderous breakers. But despite all the noise of the raging waters, there is One stronger than all these overwhelming problems that threaten to take us down. Mightier than sea-storm breakers. The Mighty God rules from High Heaven.
Let’s look to Him and behold His faithfulness in these times of great trouble.
Amen and amen.
My prayer: Father, times change but problems remain. While I don’t fear surging sea storms on a daily basis, I do fear turning on the TV news. Unexplainable horror is still around us. Fearful circumstances yell at us on a daily basis. Like the psalmist, I choose to look at You, my One True King of the Seas. May You rule forever. For Your Name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: So what raging seas are pounding at me today? What gale-force winds are ripping at my sails? What practical steps can I take to re-align myself, like the psalmist in Psalm 93, so that my eyes are fixed on God and not the storms that surround me?
So what is God speaking to you today as you ponder the Psalms?
Over a 50-week period, you and I will take a deeper look at The Psalms: God’s Songbook of Prayers. In order to keep all the blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Contemplating the Psalms home page for ease of use. Keep in mind that one of the best ways to explore the on-going applications of this blog series is to walk alongside a biblically-based, Christ-centered spiritual director who is familiar with how to make material like this part of your overall spiritual formation in God. Many of our directors in our Contemplative Activist network are available to companion you in your journey with Jesus. Click here for more info.
If you like what you’re reading, might we suggest you share this page with others!