The LORD reigns; let the people tremble: he sits between the cherubim; let the earth be moved.
The text states not only a truth, but a necessity also. It is not only absolutely true — that is, true without any restriction whatever — that God reigns; but it is also equally true, that He must reign; and that He must reign everywhere — throughout His entire universe, and over all His creatures.
I. CONSIDER THE FACT, THAT "THE LORD REIGNETH."
1. And in doing so, let it be understood, that nothing whatever is intended to be said by way of proof. That would be both useless and impertinent; for God has declared the fact. And when God speaks, it is the duty of men to believe, not to dispute or argue.
2. But though it is not necessary to prove the truth of what God has said, or to explain its reasonableness, ere we receive it, it is of the utmost advantage to obtain suitable illustrations; as thereby, not only is a more sensible impression made upon the mind, but our faith also is greatly strengthened.
3. The first idea suggested arises from a consideration of the person who is said to reign — "The Lord reigneth" — that is, the Almighty, Omniscient, Omnipresent God. Now, if such attributes belong to God, then all difficulties as to the ability of God to reign supremely at once vanish.
4. Having thus glanced at some of the attributes of God, we next observe that the idea of "reigning" implies permission of every thing which occurs. We must not, therefore, be staggered at those strange transactions, which ever and anon fill the world with wonder and alarm, as though they indicated the absence of a supreme sovereignty.
5. But this idea of "permission," when applied to God, necessitates the thought of control also. For to say that He permits only because He cannot resist is to deny His power altogether.
6. But if God reigns supremely, then all things must be reader His direction, as well as control. Otherwise, there may be another will in operation before the will of God, and independent of Him.
7. But, in thus endeavouring to show the absolute supremacy of God, we may not forget that His glory will be the sure result of His reign, whatever efforts may be made by men or others to frustrate it.
8. It has sometimes been argued, that as no creature can do anything except by the permission of God, add as the glory of God is the necessary result of whatever He permits, so men are justified in all their actions; and the well-known sentiment "whatever is, is right," has become a very favourite maxim with many, who plead for a licentious and irresponsible course of life. Such reasoning, however, is of no weight, since it totally overlooks the Word of God, which is our only rule of action.
II. CONSIDER THE DUTY OF THOSE WHO BELIEVE THAT "THE LORD REIGNETH." "Let the people tremble."
1. It is a fearfully solemn and overwhelming thought, that an almighty and infinitely holy God is the ruler of this ungodly world, and that " He has appointed a day in the which He will judge the world in righteousness" (Acts 17:31). Surely, then, those who believe the Word of God ought to take every opportunity to "let their light shine"; not only that they may bear a testimony in favour of His truth, but likewise that, "knowing the terror of the Lord," they may persuade men to "flee from the wrath to come."
2. This consideration is strengthened by remembering, how utterly impotent and vain are all our efforts to withstand the Most High.
3. It is not a man that reigns, nor any creature, however great in intelligence or power. It is the eternal God, "with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." However much men may repine at His dispensations and strive to alter His purposes, and whatever wickedness may fill the earth while the nations are resisting His authority and His laws, the wisdom of His government is unimpeachable, and demands our unreserved and cheerful submission.
4. But not less are we called to rejoice in the goodness, than in the wisdom of God. Is the law to be vindicated? Is justice to be satisfied? Is holiness to be enforced? All this is done, so as clearly to discover that "God is love."
5. But are not other duties imperative, besides those already referred to? It is not enough that we should "tremble" and "rejoice," while we remember that God reigns. He requires us also to be co-workers with Him in establishing His kingdom.
Parallel VersesKJV: The LORD reigneth; let the people tremble: he sitteth between the cherubims; let the earth be moved.