Theme: God’s Majesty and Power
In this week’s lessons we see what it means for God to reign over all.
Scripture: Psalm 93:1-5
The first two verses of the psalm speak of the nature of God’s reign, introducing four characteristics of God’s kingly rule which are at the same time four important attributes of God. These are stated in strong poetic language, involving blatant repetitions in nearly every case, a particularly bold form of Hebrew parallelism.
1. The majesty of God. The first characteristic of God’s kingdom and indeed of God himself is majesty. Majesty is a hard idea to define, but it has to do with dignity, authority of sovereign power, stateliness and grandeur. It is the proper characteristic of earthly monarchs, who have often gone to great lengths to enhance the impression of their majesty by multiplications of what we call the trappings of power. However, it is supremely the attribute of him who is the Monarch over all and who does not need to multiply the trappings of his power.
Majesty is the dominant element in the visions of God in his glory seen in both the Old Testament and the New. It inspires awe in mere human beings and often leaves them speechless or nearly dead. Isaiah saw the majesty of God in the vision recorded in chapter six of his prophecy:
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: with two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke (Isa. 6:1-4).
Isaiah was so overcome with a sense of God’s majesty that he cried out, “Woe to me! I am ruined. For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty” (v. 5). Majesty is an attribute that links God’s holiness and God’s sovereignty.
2. The power of God. The author of Psalm 93 was so impressed with majesty as a characteristic of God’s kingdom that he repeated the idea twice: first, “the LORD reigns, he is robed in majesty,” and second, “the LORD is robed in majesty.” But even that did not seem to satisfy him; so he adds in a third parallel statement in this verse, “and is armed with strength.” He means that the majesty of God is also a majesty of power. It is not a mere show of sovereignty, as has often been the case with human rulers. It is an actual sovereignty, as the psalmist will show more completely in the next stanza.
What two characteristics of God’s rule does the beginning of Psalm 93 introduce?
Define God’s majesty, both as characteristic of him and his reign. How is God’s majesty seen in both the Old and New Testaments?
What is the difference between a monarch’s reign and the Lord’s reign?
Explain what it means to be “armed with strength.”
Reflection: Is there anything you are experiencing right now that is particularly difficult? How does the reality of God’s majesty and power specifically help you?