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November 6, 2011 / Daniel

The Return of the King (Psalm 98)

Psalm 98 is known as an enthronement psalm.  It celebrates God’s sovereign rule over his creation.  YHWH, the God of Israel, is the King over all the earth.  He is on the throne whether you like it or not.  God reigns as the Supreme Ruler over the cosmos.  God is in charge.

And yet when you look at the world today, sometimes you might feel like questioning that statement.  Is God really in charge?  Is God really the King?  If God is King, then why does so much bad stuff happen?  Why is it that we lived in a world where sin runs rampant and too often nothing is done about it?  The world, as we know it, is characterized by sin and death.  It’s a world filled with injustice, oppression, crime, poverty, disease and all sorts of social problems.  Is this really a world where God is in charge?

Now as Christians, we know that this world is broken.  We live in a fallen world.  On the one hand, we know that God created this world and he called it good.  But on the other hand, God’s creation has been cursed.  When Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden, sin entered in picture.  God told Adam, “When you eat from the fruit of that tree, you will surely die.”  So when sin entered the picture, death entered the picture.  We live in a good world, but it is broken.   This world has been cursed.  And everywhere you look, you see the effects of the curse.   So, the question is, “If God is King, what will he do about the curse?”  How will the Creator fix his creation?

In Psalm 98, we see two themes coincide.   The reign of God and the renewal of creation.  The first theme is the foundation for the second.  Because God reigns, he will renew his creation.  Since God is King, he will restore this fallen world.  So what is our response?  It’s to praise God.  It’s to sing songs of worship to him.  God is in the business of renewing his creation.   And so, we as God’s creation are called to bring worship to Him.

Now to break this psalm down, Psalm 98 is a hymn with three stanzas.  The first stanza is vv. 1-3.  The second stanza is vv. 4-6.  The third stanza is vv. 7-9.   The first stanza focuses on what God has done for his creation.  The second and third stanzas focus on how creation should respond to God.  God renews his creation.  So, creation responds in praise to God.

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