Sometimes trying to follow the train of thought of a psalmist is hard. One wonders why he went from point A to point B, from talking about God’s majesty to the floods. When faced with such a problem, the best thing to do is to sit back and ask the Holy Spirit to help you get something out of the psalm.
When I think about those floods that lift themselves up, I think that in the Bible, “floods” often represent troubles. In fact, they symbolize troubles coming, wave after wave, one trouble following on to the next. In Psalm 69:1, the psalmist writes, “Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck.” In Isaiah 59:19, Isaiah writes, “So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him.”
The Bible interprets itself and always gives readers clues as to what certain verses mean. In fact the Bible tells readers that line must be compared with line, word with word, and precept with precept. So, floods are definitely troubles. Sometimes the floods even have a voice. Generally the voice of a flood tends to be mocking or triumphing or terrifying. It is as if our troubles mock us with the intention of breeding fear in us. Their voices declare that they will triumph over us. The floods bring despair, and the suffer feels, like David, that he is sinking in deep water where there is no standing.
But the psalmist reminds the reader that God is mightier than the waves. The waves are temporary disruptions in God’s perfect order. As it is written in Psalm 91, “I will say of the Lord He is my refuge! my God! In Him will I trust.” Instead of listening to and fearing the waves, Jesus commands His people to speak to the mountain of troubles. Believers are to tell the waves about the glory of God. They must not affirm the seeming waves’ power to destroy. They must remember that all things are possible with God.
When the woman with the issue of blood heard about Jesus. She determined in her heart that if she touched the hem of his garment (following the word of God in Malachi where the Son of Man rises with healings in his wings. “Wings” was the term for the hem of the garment.) Luke writes that she kept saying, “If I touch the hem of his garment, I will be healed.” She had faith in God’s promise and, without Jesus doing anything, she put into motion the “law” of Christ’s healing.. She knew that God reigns.
The testimonies God has given of Himself in Holy Scripture urges believers to trust that God is able to lead them out of the floods of trouble —undrowned, triumphant, alive.
The psalmist reminds his hearers of God’s power. God’s testimonies are sure. Very sure. Then he states that holiness becomes God’s house. The Hebrew meaning of the word “holy” is otherworldliness. A greatness, a glory, a truth, a beauty, a goodness, a strength, a power, a way of life, that is so outside of our mental realm that it is too-good-to-believe— and too-hard-to-believe.
The world —spiritual, universal— is established. It cannot be moved. Even if the waves seem to be “truth.” We must simply enter into His rest, enter into the peace that God has established. To find that peace is to find the strength that allows the waves to be conquered. The psalmist tells us that holiness becomes God’s house. When we are holy, we understand and fall in line with God’s established spiritual rules, even if those rules seem otherworldly.
All around us, there is evidence of all God has established: his Word, his character, his love, his truth. As it is written in Paul’s letter to the Hebrews, “Through Faith we understand that the worlds were formed by the Word of God and that things which are seen were made from what is invisible.”
1The LORD reigneth, he is clothed with majesty; the LORD is clothed with strength, wherewith he hath girded himself: the world also is stablished, that it cannot be moved.
2Thy throne is established of old: thou art from everlasting.
3The floods have lifted up, O LORD, the floods have lifted up their voice; the floods lift up their waves.
4The LORD on high is mightier than the noise of many waters, yea, than the mighty waves of the sea.
5Thy testimonies are very sure: holiness becometh thine house, O LORD, for ever.