“The LORD reigns, let the earth rejoice; let the many coastlands be glad!” God is the great Ruler over all. All of the nations of the earth are called to cast their burdens upon Him and to find the joy that comes from knowing His grace.
What will it be like when the Lord of our salvation comes again? He will return on the divine glory cloud. He will come in “righteousness and justice.” The judgment that comes upon the earth will make all the inhabitants of the nations tremble. “Fire goes before Him and burns up His adversaries all around.” All of the inhabitants of the world will see Him and be afraid. Even the mountains will “melt like wax before the Lord, before the Lord of all the earth.”
Psalm 97 was in Israel’s songbook. The Old Testament people of God sang about future events that are far nearer to us now than they were to them so long ago. Yet the reality of a coming eternal judgment was just as true then as it is now. The worshiping community of Israel—Zion, heard the truth of the coming of the Lord and were glad. They knew that the worthless idols of all the other nations would one day be put in their place.
Today the “Zion” of God includes even Gentiles who have called on the Name of the Jewish Messiah. We know that the final judgment is coming, but we can rejoice already with all who believe. We celebrate the justice of the Lord. We long to see that day when Jesus is exalted and the faithful church is delivered out of the hands of the wicked.
Even now, while we await the Day of the Lord, we can experience a generous taste of the life to come through the gift of the Holy Spirit. “Light is sown for the righteous, and joy for the upright in heart.” How then shall we live in the midst of what may be intense tribulation? We grieve, but not as those who have no hope. We tremble at the coming of the Lord, but with great thanksgiving. We hope in the Lord, and find blessing in the certainty that He will surely rescue us. “Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous, and give thanks to His holy name!”
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Almighty Father, You rule over the earth. You are a mighty God. You should be feared by all men. All the earth should worship You. There is no god that men can make with their own hands. We have been made by You. We love You, O Lord. We turn away from evil. We rejoice in You.