“The Lord reigns; He is robed in majesty;
The Lord is robed, He has put on strength as His belt.
Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved.
Your throne is established from of old;
You are from everlasting.
The floods have lifted up, O Lord,
The floods have lifted up their voice;
The floods lift up their roaring.
Mightier than the thunders of many waters,
Mightier than the waves of the sea,
The Lord on high is mighty!
Your decrees are very trustworthy;
Holiness befits Your house,
O Lord, forevermore.”
This is how I enter a New Year. This, Psalm 93, is the word that breaks out over it. If I’m honest, I often begin a new year fearful. Maybe that’s something that will change one day, maybe it’s changing right now. The reality is, it’s the honest truth of my heart. He knows it anyway, I might as well be honest. He receives me, even in my frailty and insecurity.
I look back over the past year and I can’t believe the trials that were faced, the things that hit us that we could never have seen coming. And I fear, what is ahead? I know that no one gets through life unscathed, no one gets through a year unscathed by hardship of some kind. I know pain is on its way to me. Loss. Difficulty. And yet, joy is on its way to me, too. Good things are coming. Great joys are coming! We end the year singing hymns of peace on earth + good tidings of great joy, and yet I start the year feeling like the floods are threatening to rise up, they lift their voice and demand to be heard. But over it all, He reigns.
Mightier than the thunders of many waters, mightier than the waves of the sea, the Lord on high is mighty!
No matter what comes, no matter what threatens to come, this is the ground beneath my feet: the Lord reigns.
It is the wonderful thing about being under His rule: it is brim-full of promise. He works all things together for my good. His purpose will stand and no one can thwart it. The good work He began in me He will bring to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. He will perfect that which concerns me. All His promises to me are yes + amen in Jesus Christ. He will never leave me nor forsake me. He gives more grace. He will make me happy by what His hands have done. All that He asks of me, His grace will provide. No weapon formed against me will prosper. That same power that raised Christ from the dead is now living in me. Christ in me, the hope of glory, the greatest mystery of all.
“For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed,
But My kindness shall not depart from you,
Nor shall My covenant of peace be removed,
Says the Lord, who has mercy on you.”
“God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear,
Even though the earth be removed
And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea
Though its waters roar and be troubled
Though the mountains shake with its swelling.
There is a river whose streams
Shall make glad the city of God,
The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High
God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved;
God shall help her, just at the break of dawn.
The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved,
He uttered His voice, the earth melted.
The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our refuge.”
This is the answer to all of my anxieties: the Lord of hosts is with us, the God of Jacob is our refuge. This is the antidote: the Lord reigns.
I don’t have to hold my world up. I don’t have to hold Him on His throne–He establishes it, He is robed in strength + majesty.
Isn’t it, in a world gone mad, in a tumultuous world where bombings, terrorism, murder + rape, earthquakes + hurricanes, failing health, failing finances, failing relationships loom heavy– Isn’t it really the truth?
The world is established; it shall never be moved. (Ps. 93:1)
It feels wild and raging and out of control. But His word says it really is somehow all in His hands. The bedrock beneath all of our quaking and heaving is still the same: His purposes are fixed, they shall never be moved, not even a fraction of an inch by the sinfulness and instability of man and the fallenness of the created order. When it feels senseless, I must remember: It is all ordered by purpose.
So maybe I’m the only one who quakes a bit at the start of a new year. Maybe I’m the only distrusting and fearful child of His that looks back over the last year and sees all the hardship that came and sometimes forgets how His grace saw me through it all. Maybe I’m the only one who felt a bit bowled over by some things that came in 2015. Maybe I’m the only one who feels the enemy of my soul breathing threats and lies at the back of my neck. But I doubt it. For anyone else who quakes a bit at the verge of a new year, for anyone else who feels like they’re standing on shaking ground, for anyone else who is staring certain hardship right in the face:
He is our constant source of stability (Isa. 33:6).
The Lord of hosts is with us. The Immanuel of Christmas, the one who came to be with us as one of us, goes into this new year with us. He goes before. His hand is upon us. He is our rearguard.
Yes, the Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our refuge.
So for you and I, the trembling ones, the quaking and sometimes-unbelieving ones:
May we know in 2016 that His throne is established, that we are His people, that He will establish us, that He will carry us, that His grace will see us through. May He be the security of our times.