Tag Archives: Psalms

A Throne or Throne Equivalent

One of the most ridiculed of all religious ideas is the image of God as a bearded man sitting on a throne. We sense that an all-powerful Creator would have to be something much more than that. So let’s use the Bible passages in Monday’s lesson to think differently about God’s throne.

What a Throne Meant to Ancient People

Psalm 47:6-9. The throne in verse 8 doesn’t have to be a literal throne. This first verse seems to emphasize the fact that God rules over all kings and owns all kings — a fact difficult to understand for ancient people who had a god or three for every tent. A throne up in the sky is a great symbol for the idea of a single Entity ruling over all other authorities.

Kingship From Before Time

Psalm 93:1,2. The thrust of this second passage seems to be that God is from eternity, beyond time, so again this verse doesn’t have to be teaching a literal throne but rather teaching kingship over all time from before time. Since His “throne was established long ago,” back before literal thrones even existed, it seems like the word “throne” is a symbol of authority rather than a real, physical object. Besides, God is not physical, so He wouldn’t need something physical to sit on.

A Throne Built of Virtue

Psalm 89:14. Righteousness, justice, love, and faithfulness are the foundation of God’s throne in this verse. Again, rather than thinking of a literal throne made of wood and gold, the throne here represents God’s rulership that is always based on values such as righteousness. His power is always guided by love, so we can trust that He won’t abuse it.

Also, His authority is supported by the fact that He rules with justice, righteousness, and faithfulness: that inspires His people to want to obey Him, in contrast to human rulers who control people through power, strength, and fear.

This is the opposite of what people often think of God. Those who are opposed to the idea of God think of Him as a bully, a tyrant, an unfair ruler, an angry or vengeful God. They think He rules on power alone. He certainly could.

But we’re told He is adored and worshipped by angels and other beings. And you know from your own experience that adoration is not something that can be forced by violence or fear. Adoration is spontaneous, and it’s a response to kindness, love, and integrity.

What’s This “Human Spirit” You Speak of?

More than just having all these good qualities Himself, He also created us to reflect His righteousness and love. And He didn’t set up the world so that we’re forced to act like Him with no choice. No. He set it up so that we perform loving acts if we observe Him. Why?

Because He’s the example of love. The Bible says that He is love. And as we contemplate Him, our innermost thoughts are transformed to be more like His thoughts. And new actions flow from new thoughts.

We know that God is loving, because the best things that human beings do, the things that we really admire, are loving and fair and full of integrity. It wouldn’t make sense for us to be better than God. The good things we do must be reflections of His goodness.

Some people trust in the power of “the human spirit.” But the good things humans do are just reflections of God’s goodness. And they’re only possible because His Spirit is working in us.

~Lemuel Bach
(Praise Team Leader at New Horizons SDA Church in Republic, MO)

P.S. God does seem to maintain a literal location where He interacts with His created beings. See the previous blog post.


King David’s Love of the Creation Week

Some quotes from the Psalms are similar to the creation story in Genesis 1. Psalm 104 is especially interesting, because it actually parallels Genesis 1 in its topics. (This is a reaction to the January 21 bible study lesson at http://ssnet.org/lessons/13a/less04.html.) You can follow along in Psalm 104 here: http://biblia.com/bible/nkjv/Psalm%20104 .

The Psalmist writes that God wraps Himself in light in verse 2. Then, verse 3 talks about the sky, the clouds and the wind. Finally, verses 5–10 give a beautiful description of the land being under the water and then bursting out at God’s command. So far the beginning of this Psalm parallels the first three days of the Creation story: light and darkness, sky and ocean, and land and plants.

Then from there through verse 18, the Psalmist talks about the land providing water and food for the animals. The animals weren’t created in the Genesis story until day five and day six, but it seems like he’s still talking here about the creation of plants and streams on the land that happened on the third day and simply saying how they provide for the animals later.

If he is really following Genesis 1, what should he write about next? Day four, the creation of the celestial bodies. Well, in verses 19–23, he writes about how the sun and moon create the seasons and control the cycles of animal and human life.

What’s next? Day five is the creation of the animals of the sea and sky, so in verses 25 and 26, he writes about the amazing life forms in the oceans. He doesn’t talk about the sixth day of creation specifically, but talks about land creatures and man from verse 11 through to the end. He finishes this psalm simply praising God for His constant care for the Earth He created and then didn’t leave to fend for itself.

One of the main points of this is that the writers in the Bible took the Genesis Creation story literally, with its seven literal days. Many people today don’t want to do that, and they have understandable reasons for their beliefs. But it’s obvious that Biblical writers such as this Psalmist knew and loved the literal Creation story.

~Lemuel Bach
(Praise Team Leader at New Horizons SDA Church in Republic, MO)

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