Yahweh Reigns

Chaos. Disorder. Upheaval. Disaster. Turbulence. When a large body of water shows up in the Bible, it’s probably safe to associate it with these things. While the flood of Noah’s day may be the easiest example, it’s hardly the only one. Consider the Red Sea thrashing the Egyptians after God made a way for the Israelites to cross (Ex. 14:27–28). Or think of the beasts of Daniel 7 coming up out of the sea (vv. 2–3), a vision of four world rulers emerging from the midst of the animus of the world. Then there’s the Sea of Galilee, which Scripture usually portrays as the antagonist in the accounts involving the disciples and Jesus, who shows Himself Lord of the tempest. Don’t forget Paul and his shipwreck accounted in Acts 27 and the puzzling verse in Revelation 21, which says that in John’s vision of the new heaven and the new earth, “the sea was no more.”

Finally, consider these verses in the middle of Psalm 93: 

The floods have lifted up, Lord,
the floods have lifted up their voice;
the floods lift up their pounding waves.
Greater than the roar of a huge torrent—
the mighty breakers of the sea—
the Lord on high is majestic. (Psalm 93:3–4)

When floods lift up their voices, it’s not in praise to God but in rebellion. The psalmist here describes an insurrection against the reigning King, using the image of flood waters. These floods lift their voices in hubris, as if their noise could outdo and somehow usurp the majesty of the King. 

Are you listening to the floodwaters? Their roar comes with many messages. The messages of our culture proclaiming the death of truth. The messages of social media declaring self as divine and feelings as ultimate. The messages of politicians throwing mud, pointing fingers, and hiding their own corruption. The messages of apostates urging you to deconstruct your faith and embrace a god of your own making. The messages of your own past failures echoing in your head, reminding you of your worst mistakes. The messages of your shortcomings and questions of your suitability to service. 

“The floods lift up their voice;
the floods lift up their pounding waves.” 




Mightier Than the Flood

While the rushing waves may echo in our ears, their noise is not absolute. Their insurrection will fail. Their defiance will fall flat. The boasts of the floodwaters are empty because they cannot dethrone the true King. 

The Lord reigns! He is robed in majesty;
the Lord is robed, enveloped in strength.
The world is firmly established; 
it cannot be shaken. (Psalm 93:1)

Yahweh reigns. Period. End of story. His battle clothes—His suit of armor—is strength itself. He cannot add anything to His arsenal because He cannot become stronger. The strength of the floodwaters—given by and derived from Yahweh—absolutely cannot stand against their Creator. They may seem impressive now as they wreak havoc all over the world, but they will shrivel to nothing in the presence of the King.

Thanks in part to the Star Wars franchise, the erroneous philosophy of dualism has crept unnoticed into the waters of popular culture. Dualism is the concept that the “light side” and the “dark side” are equal and opposite forces (or opposing sides of the same force, in the case of Star Wars). But Satan, the greatest and most powerful enemy we could ever face, is a creature himself, his every power derived from the Creator. Satan cannot and will not succeed in his coup because the King is “girded with strength,” and He has no equals. 

Yahweh reigns because He is stronger than the floodwaters.

Impervious to the Flood

Early in the morning of August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina made landfall in Buras, Louisiana. However, the damage that she would unleash had already begun as the levees protecting New Orleans had been breached. Ultimately, eighty percent of the city would be flooded because of fifty failed levees, making this storm the costliest and one of the deadliest in American history. Had those floodwalls held their ground as they were designed to do, the downpours would not have devastated the city—at least not to the same extent.

The boastful floods—symbolic of the arrogance of the world system—believe that, like Hurricane Katrina, they will be able to overwhelm the levees and gain the city. 

But unlike New Orleans’ faulty levees twenty years ago, our King cannot be daunted by the floods. His throne is established forever. His sovereign rule has no beginning. Never was there a time when Yahweh was not reigning. He brought the world into existence as a King that had already been reigning forever. 

Your throne has been established from the beginning; you are from eternity. (Psalm 93:2)

His kingdom has withstood all that the world has hurled against it. Plagues. Revolutions. Holocausts. Scientific discoveries. Tyrants. Despots. Genocide. Wars. Famines. Disasters. Terrorism. None of these have successfully dethroned the King. He continues to reign, with His sovereignty still entirely intact.

He cannot be shaken. 

When the mockery and scorn of the floods call out, take hold of this truth. The King cannot and will not ever be shaken. His throne cannot totter. His sovereignty cannot wane. He is only ever always ruling and reigning in majesty, wisdom, and holiness. 

Yahweh reigns eternally, undaunted by the floodwaters.

Above the Flood

Perhaps you’ve had the experience of flying above a storm. Maybe, like me, you check the weather compulsively in the days before you fly, looking for any sign that weather could impede your trip. Or maybe you’ve sat at the gate watching some ominous clouds and thought, There’s no way we can fly through that. Yet you’ve boarded the plane, stowed your carry-on, turned off your phone, and taken off. Before you know it, you look out your window and see that the clouds that made you so nervous are now below the plane. Their power no longer threatens you because you’re above them. 

Yahweh reigns from above the storm. Psalm 93 ends with these lines: 

The Lord on high is majestic.

Lord, your testimonies are completely reliable;
holiness adorns your house
for all the days to come. (vv. 4–5)

The attribute in view here is holiness. Yahweh transcends His creation; He is not part of it. Though the floodwaters do all they can to intimidate and ridicule the King, they are ultimately powerless because they cannot touch His throne. He is on high, completely set apart from His creatures. 

Isaiah gets a view of this in chapter 6 of his book. He sees Yahweh seated on a “high and lofty throne” (v. 1) and watches seraphim worship him while putting on repeat their famous refrain: 

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Armies;
His glory fills the whole earth” (Isaiah 6:3)

John, the beloved Apostle, had a similar vision of heaven’s throne room. He describes it this way: 

Flashes of lightning and rumblings and peals of thunder came from the throne. Seven fiery torches were burning before the throne, which are the seven spirits of God. . . . Each of the four living creatures had six wings; they were covered with eyes around and inside. Day and night they never stop, saying,

          Holy, holy, holy,
          Lord God, the Almighty,
          who was, who is, and who is to come. (Revelation 4:5, 8)

The thrice-holy King, high and exalted, cannot be touched by the arrogant boasting of the floods because He is above them, not part of them. 

The transcendent King reigns in holiness. 

Have you been listening to the voice of the floodwaters? Has your heart wondered if the floods could be right? Listen to the psalmist. He has just two simple words for you to remember, to anchor you in the middle of the chaotic sea: 

Yahweh reigns. 

Yahweh reigns. Does that phrase sound like another you’ve heard around here? Heaven rules, perhaps? The message is tested and proven. It was true in the days of Daniel, and it will remain true for all eternity. But do you really believe it? And do you live like it’s true?

Using the timeless book and example of Daniel as a guide, Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth reveals how seeing our lives and world through the lens of Heaven’s rule can shield us from panic and give us renewed hope and perspective. We would love to send you a copy of Nancy’s book Heaven Rules plus a bonus discussion guide when you make a donation of any amount to Revive Our Hearts this month. 

“How Levee Failures Made Hurricane Katrina a Bigger Disaster,” History.com, accessed September 6, 2023, https://www.history.com/news/hurricane-katrina-levee-failures.

About the Author

Cindy Matson

Cindy Matson

Cindy Matson lives in a small Minnesota town with her husband, son and daughter, and ridiculous black dog. She enjoys reading books, drinking coffee, and coaching basketball. You can read more of her musings about God's Word at biblestudynerd.com.

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