1 The Lord reigns, let the earth be glad;
let the distant shores rejoice.
2 Clouds and thick darkness surround him;
righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.
3 Fire goes before him
and consumes his foes on every side.
4 His lightning lights up the world;
the earth sees and trembles.
5 The mountains melt like wax before the Lord,
before the Lord of all the earth.
6 The heavens proclaim his righteousness,
and all peoples see his glory.
7 All who worship images are put to shame,
those who boast in idols—
worship him, all you gods!
8 Zion hears and rejoices
and the villages of Judah are glad
because of your judgments, Lord.
9 For you, Lord, are the Most High over all the earth;
you are exalted far above all gods.
10 Let those who love the Lord hate evil,
for he guards the lives of his faithful ones
and delivers them from the hand of the wicked.
11 Light shines on the righteous
and joy on the upright in heart.
12 Rejoice in the Lord, you who are righteous,
and praise his holy name.
As I write this Grow Daily, reading and reflecting on this Psalm, there is lightning flashing through my window. There is thunder booming overhead. My dog is trembling before the Lord’s creation! And I need to ask, am I heeding the call of Psalm 97? Am I trembling before the Lord?
This Psalm presents God in all his majesty and awe, as a God who is to be feared and worshipped alone. It’s a long way from the “pussy cat” picture of God presented by posters with fluffy kittens and a nice verse thrown in. It’s more the Aslan picture of God – “he’s good but he’s not safe”.
The Apostle Paul picks up the language of verse 7 in Romans 1 as he explores false worship: “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles” (Romans 1:21-23)
After exploring the gospel for 11 chapters, he says, “Do not be arrogant, but tremble” (Romans 11:20). He calls us to true worship: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:1-2).
The thunder is getting more distant and the lightning has stopped flashing through my window. The dog is calming down. But all creation still trembles before the Lord. And the gospel calls me to do the same. The gospel calls you to do the same. As you look at today’s weather report, know that however it reads, all creation bows and trembles before Jesus. Join in! In view of God’s mercy to you in Jesus, tremble in humility, tremble in joy, and worship Jesus alone.
Head: What have you learnt about Jesus from Psalm 97? What have you learnt about yourself?
Heart: How does it make you feel that you are called to tremble before Jesus and worship him alone?
Hands: “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment” (Romans 12:3). How will being humble before Jesus make you more humble before others today?
Prayer: Heavenly Father, the heavens proclaim your righteousness. You are the Creator and Lord above all things. You are the one who controls all things and even the spread of a virus is in your hands. I can only tremble before you. Thank you for your mercy to me in Jesus. In view of your mercy, help me to walk humbly before him today. In view of your mercy, help me to walk humbly before others today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.