The Lord reigns, he is robed in majesty;
the Lord is robed in majesty and armed with strength;
indeed, the world is established, firm and secure.
Your throne was established long ago;
you are from all eternity.
We had booked a short break away in the Estonian capital Tallinn. Helsinki was just a two hour ferry ride away and so we thought we would take the opportunity to visit the Finnish capital as well. The morning we set off was great, although probably a bit earlier a start than you’d ideally like on holiday. There were blue skies, the sun was shining and there were all the comforts of the newest ship in the fleet to enjoy. The way back was different. The ferry wasn’t as new or as plush. The skies grew dark, the rain came down, the windows were coated with spray and the boat began to lurch from side to side buffeted by angry waves.
Sailing isn’t always plain. The Jews were not renowned for their love of the sea. The sea was dark and dangerous (and that was the Mediterranean, goodness knows what they would have made of the Baltic!).
The sea (v. 3) symbolised chaos. Chaos can seem to dominate whether it’s in our own personal lives or in our world. Individually our world can be rocked by storms that seem to come out of nowhere, relationships that break down, (unexpected) problems at work, an unwanted diagnosis. Globally, terrorism, economic collapse, natural disasters, a virus that no one had ever hear of, can all make our world a very unpredictable and scary place.
Chaos threatens our peace but the Psalmist encourages us to lift up our eyes to one who can help us (Matthew 14:22–33). In contrast to the chaos of the world there is the picture of God reigning above the wind and the waves (vv. 1, 2). It is dishonest to downplay the forces of evil, the turbulence of our world, but it is folly to deprive ourselves of the comfort that we have might have by putting our trust in the God who is sovereign over the storm.
The Gospel declares something even more wondrous and awesome than the Psalm. Not only is the Lord sovereign over the flood, but the Son of God laid aside his majesty, robed himself in flesh and blood, set aside his strength for the vulnerability of the human frame, humbled himself and entered into the maelstrom to share the hazardous journey of our lives and to silence the storm of death and sin through his cross and resurrection.