BIBLE READINGS:     Psalm 93        John 18: 33-37

 

SERMON

The unveiling of royal portraits is always an important event in the life of a nation or kingdom. For the sovereign to allow a painter such intimate access is a great occasion, and for those who are commissioned to make the painting and to compose the picture it is a great honour and privilege, not to speak of the wealth and the prestige that attach to such an occasion.

The Book of Psalms is full of royal portraits. One of these portraits of our great God and King is given us here, in psalm 93. So let us look at this wonderful word-painting of our Lord and King. You can see several aspects of the King's majesty and person in this psalm.

His garments

How does the King dress Himself? It is the Lord who reigns, and he is clothed with majesty and with strength. The kings and queens of this world can dress themselves in pomp and ceremony, in gold, purple and rich embroidery, in ceremony and style. But the King of Heaven clothes Himself with the regal splendour of majesty and of strength.

Before Him, all the inhabitants of Heaven fall, in humble adoration, at his feet. Even the devils believe and tremble before Him. There is no coming short of the glory that belongs to Him. He is arrayed in the most awe-inspiring and in the most moving splendour imaginable.

And whatever weakness attaches to the rulers of this world, none attaches to Him. With him there is strength beyond compare and beyond measure. The power that is his is infinite. He doesn't need to enter into treaties with any other being in order to fortify himself with power and strength. These attributes belong to Him, and are glorious.

And because this is so, his world is safe. We may fear this or that; we have a duty towards the creation, to care for it; but ultimately its security rests upon Him whose name is Yahweh, the God of His covenant people.

His throne

We look closer at the royal portrait, and we see the king seated on a throne. It is an ancient seat - a throne established from all eternity. It is everlasting as He is Himself, and is subject to none of the constraints and limitations of time and space that restrain all our movements and the movements of men and nations.

It is this throne that is brought before us in Scripture as a throne of Majesty (Hebrews 8:1), where the great high priest sits. His work is completed. He has done the reconciling and the atoning and the saving. He has offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, and now He sits in glory.

It is also a throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16). There, grace is dispensed, and power is given in times of need and weakness. All are invited to it who have no strength of their own. The way has been opened, and Heaven's resources are at our fingertips in our times of weakness by the all-powerful occupant of that greatest of all thrones.

It is also a throne of judgement (Rev 20). One day, before it, we must all stand.

His power

See how this portrait captures the authority and the power of the Lord of the Covenant! He stands upon the waves of the sea, with more power and more might than all the forces of nature combined, and all the powers of this world together.

Jesus, our King, walked upon the raging storm-wracked sea and commanded the wind and the waves, and they obeyed him instantly (Mark 4:41). All the forces and powers of nature are answerable to him, and he rules supreme over all the affairs of life.

And even in the storms of life, when troubles rise, and difficulties come our way, there is one who is in Heaven, and whose power is greater than the noise of all the waves and mighty oceans. When we pass through these floods and rivers, he will subdue all under him (Isaiah 43:1-3). We will fear nothing! Our King stands over every storm of life.

His palace

The King has a house, where he dwells. It is from here that he rules and gives his laws to his people. And his house, his palace, is decorated with holiness forever.

Where is the Lord's dwelling place? It is among his people. That is where he delights to be, and where he has made a home for himself. And because that is so, his people are called a holy people, set apart and consecrated to him for ever and for ever.

Has the King made his residence in our lives? Do we know him as our personal Lord and Saviour. Do we recognise the King in the portrait and say with reverence, "My Lord and my God!"?

Acknowledgement: Iain Campbell