Tremble at the Presence of the Lord
1. When Israel went out from Egypt, the house of Jacob from a people of strange language, 2 Judah became his sanctuary, Israel his dominion. 3. The sea looked and fled; Jordan turned back. 4. The mountains skipped like rams, the hills like lambs. 5 What ails you, O sea, that you flee? O Jordan, that you turn back? 6. O mountains, that you skip like rams? O hills, like lambs? 7. Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob, 8. who turns the rock into a pool of water, the flint into a spring of water.
Commentary is taken from Warren W Wiersbe’s Book ‘BE Exultant’
This psalm describes Israel’s exodus from Egypt, God’s provision for their wilderness journey, their entrance into the Promised Land, and their conquest of their enemies….. When Jewish families sing this psalm at Passover, it must be very meaningful to them. But the psalm is about God and reveals His gracious relationship to His own people.
God is for Us (v. 1). The exodus is mentioned frequently in the psalms…….because Israel’s deliverance from Egypt was their “national birthday.” The people were now set free to serve God and accomplish the important tasks He had assigned to them; bearing witness of the true and living God, writing the Scriptures, and bringing the Savior into the world….It was the blood of the lamb applied to the doors that protected the Jewish firstborn from death, just as the blood of Christ, God’s Lamb, saves us from sin and death. God’s power in opening the Red Sea liberated Israel and separated them from cruel taskmasters. This is the picture of the resurrection of Christ and the believer’s participation in it…..In the centuries that followed, each annual celebration of Passover reminded the Jewish people that Jehovah was their God and that He was for them. “If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Rom. 8:31). The prophet Isaiah saw the Jewish exiles’ deliverance from Babylonian captivity as a “second exodus”. (Isa. 43:14-21)……
God is with Us (v.2a). The Lord not only separated Israel ‘from’ Egypt, but He also separated Israel ‘unto’ Himself. They were His people, His treasure, and His inheritance. “Judah” and “Israel” refer to the whole nation and not to the two kingdoms that formed after the death of Solomon. After the tribes conquered the land of Canaan, the sanctuary of God was placed in Judah (Ex 15:17) and that was where Solomon built the temple. The nations around Israel had their temples, but they were empty…..Today, God does not dwell in man-made houses (Acts 7:48-50), but He does dwell with His people, for our bodies are His temples and the church is His sanctuary (1 Cor. 3:16-17……). Jesus is “Emmanuel, “God with us” (Matt 1:23…..).
God is over Us (v. 2b). Not only was God’s sanctuary in Judah but so was his throne……David and his descendants were God’s chosen rulers, but they represented the Lord God and had to obey His law. God made a covenant with David in which he promised him a throne forever and an heir forever on that throne. David’s throne is gone (Hos. 3:4-5), but that covenant is fulfilled in Jesus Christ (Luke 1:30-33….). One day He will sit on David’s throne and rule over His kingdom. Had the people of Israel obeyed the Lord,…… they would have been a great witness to the Gentile nations around them. Instead, they followed the ways of these nations and worshipped false God’s instead of the true and living God.
God is before Us (vv. 3-8). Most of the psalm is devoted to describing the miracles God performed for Israel as they left Egypt and headed for Canaan. The key thought is that God went before His people, and everything in nature trembled at His presence and obeyed His will (v. 7)……God goes before His people and takes them through the hopeless places (Red Sea, Jordan River) and the hard places (mountains, hills), and He even provides water out of rocks!…..
The Lord is not mentioned by name until verse 7, and then the psalmist calls upon the whole world to tremble at his presence! The exodus may have been past history, but the presence of the God of Jacob is a present reality to those who trust Christ and allow Him to lead (John 10:4)……The Jews used this psalm in those difficult postexilic days when the work was hard and the dangers many. This vivid picture of God going before His people must have helped them grow in their faith and trust Him for their needs. It can also help us today. ”If God be for us—and with us—and over us—and before us—who can be against us?”
I wish everyone a very blessed day.