Raising Up a Roar

Coastal storms (often called ”Nor’easters”) in the Outer Banks are a very present reminder of the power of the water. Certainly during storms and hurricanes, we see extraordinary and damaging tides, waves, and flooding. I had a conversation with an Atlanta friend last week about the precariousness of living on a small island off a small island, and explained that sometimes the road connecting us to the main road gets so flooded that it becomes impassable. Of course it is usually a matter of waiting about 12 hours for the wind to shift, but even as I was saying it, I had a renewed appreciation for the majestic and dangerous power of water.

During a recent off-shore storm, I could hear the roar of the ocean from the front steps of my church. Given the fact that the church is located three miles inland, that is saying something.

The 93rd Psalm uses imagery of robes, thrones, floods, and waves to describe the power of God. Even with the first line, we see the psalmist taking a stand against all of the earthly powers and pretender idols:

Psalm 93 (Common English Bible)

The Lord rules!

Right out of the gate, the psalmist makes his position clear … the Lord reigns over everything. Substitutions and fakes need not apply. Then the writer goes on to describe how the Lord is clothed:

He is robed in majesty—
    the Lord is robed,
    clothed with strength.

The word majesty conveys a sense of dignity, sovereign power, and grandeur. The first listeners to this psalm would have had a beautiful word-picture of God that could stand in contrast to the wooden or metal false gods of their neighbors.

Yes, he set the world firmly in place;
    it won’t be shaken.
Your throne is set firm for a very long time.
    You are eternal!

This invites the listener to compare the temporary thrones of the earthly kings to the permanent throne of God. The psalmist contends that there was never a time when God’s throne didn’t exist. What a comforting thought!

Lord, the floods have raised up—
    the floods have raised up their voices;
    the floods raise up a roar!
But mightier than the sound of much water,
    mightier than the sea’s waves,
    mighty on high is the Lord!

Hurricane Irene hit the Outer Banks during the first year that we lived here. The flooding and winds caused $25,000 worth of damage to our home. We lost a chimney, followed by two days of rain water that poured into two rooms of our house. We lost a dock, and the canal water flooded the entire back yard up to the house, where it took out our HVAC system. And we lost a car. When you live through something like that, you understand the power of water and floods. But God’s power is far greater, thanks be to God!

Your laws are so faithful.
    Holiness decorates your house, Lord, for all time.

This short but impactful Psalm is a great reminder today of the strength of the God we serve. There is nothing in this life that has more power than God. There is no earthly power, no force of evil, no demon or antagonist that can ever threaten or harm those who are children of God. Even death bows in obeisance to the eternal throne of the Lord.

No matter what you are up against today, take heart. God rules! His covenant lasts forever! And he is mightier than the storm that you are in. Thanks be to God.

Water’s Power by Michelle Robertson

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