The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof,
the world and those who dwell therein,
for he has founded it upon the seas
and established it upon the rivers. Psalm 24:1-2, ESV
For the next three days, I am going to consider Psalm 24. Psalm 24 is a song that King David wrote for Israel to sing on her way to the temple for worship. It has three distinct parts:
vv. 1-2) The foundation: The earth belongs to God.
vv. 3-6) The requirement: Presence demands holiness.
vv. 7-10) The provision: The Holy One.
All conversations have to build on a foundation. There must be shared truth that both speaker and listener embrace if there is to be any meaningful exchange. Language itself is an example. If we are talking about baseball and I talk about the player “on the hot corner,” I am assuming that we share a foundational understanding of baseball lingo. I don’t want you to consider temperature variations on the field, but the player who plays third base.
The same is true when it comes to our faith. There are foundational truths upon which everything else builds. In Psalm 24, David reminds Israel of the foundation truth. There is one God whose name is Yahweh (“the LORD” in our English Bibles). He can claim ownership of all of creation and every creature in it because He founded and established it. God the Creator has ownership rights over His creation. Moses said the same, “Behold, to the LORD your God belong heaven and the heaven of heavens, the earth with all that is in it” (Dt 10:14).
As David evokes Genesis 1 imagery with his comments about seas and waters, we are reminded that we cannot have any meaningful conversation about God or the world around us until we agree with the Bible’s account of what happened in the beginning. Genesis 1 matters. Until we acknowledge our place in the world as those who dwell on God’s earth only by His indulgence, we cannot think or speak rightly about anything else.
We are painfully aware that we are not the only members of the “those who dwell therein” club. There is a nasty little virus out there that seems to be claiming more than its fair share of this world. Take heart, this virus is His, too. It only exists by His leave and is constrained by His will. In addition, the world leaders who are directing the response to this virus only exist by His leave and are constrained by His will. Remember, the earth is the Lord’s and all who dwell in it are His as well.
May the sovereignty of God be your comfort and strength today.
A great Psalm 24 song. May it help you hide its words in your heart.