The Invisible God
  The Lord reigns
Psalm 99:1a


When you read those three words, what is your reaction?  Biblical phrases sometimes cause different reactions depending on your religious persuasion.  In this case, however, we all might be in the same boat.  Christians long not to ride this boat, but we too often find ourselves enjoying long cruises upon it.  It freely sails through our culture, and most of its passengers ride it from the day they're born until they're six feet under.  It's a boat called Numbness.  Some like to call it Dullness or Indifference or Nothing. 


There are all sorts of reasons we respond with numbness to Yahweh's sovereign, glorious reign over all existence.  For some it's simple: they don't believe in Yahweh.  Others of us reduce the phrase to a Christian cliche and our ears become dull to it.  And still others of us are so satisfied in the world that the Lord's reign has no impact on our comfortable kingdoms.  We could fill books with more reasons, but we're not here to write those books.  We're here to rescue people out of the boat!  Let's look at the whole verse:


The Lord reigns, let the peoples tremble; He is enthroned above the cherubim, let the earth shake
Psalm 99:1


Surely these reactions are anything but numb!  Let the peoples tremble!  Let the earth shake!  Let us respond to His reign with fear and awe and acceptance that He is God and we are not.  We suppress this obvious truth, and whether we say it or do it, we live as if nobody reigns over us or any circumstances that befall us.  Instead of trembling before Him, we mock God through strutting and walking in the arrogance that we have control over our destinies.  Oh the arrogance!  The Lord reigns, enthroned above the cherubim over all nature and events and politics and love and cancer and disaster and war and dreams and sports and every last detail of your life.  This is not an intellectual idea.  It's a reality that, if properly examined, will shake every fiber of your being.
The Psalmist continues:


The Lord is great in Zion, And He is exalted above all the peoples.  Let them praise Your great and awesome name; Holy is He
Psalm 99:2-3

The Lord is great.  He is exalted!  Let us praise His great and awesome name!  God calls all peoples to respond to Him in worship and praise.  If you're a Christian, you hear these words, and your soul cries out, "Yes!"  It is good and right and good when God calls us to exalt Him above all.  It's a right, sure and wonderful calling!  He's your Maker and He reigns and forgives and works for the afflicted.  He extends grace to His enemies and, in His Son, He freely declares sinners to be saints and makes dead people live!  God is King, and He deserves countless eons of heartfelt, joy-filled, soul-reaching praise!


If you're anything like me, you're probably not always feeling up to falling at God's feet in delightful worship.  Some of you hate or avoid or want nothing to do with God.  Others find yourselves longing to joyfully praise Him, but instead you battle indifference only to muster a trickle of response.  How does Biblical praise happen?  At what point do we change from numbness to happily exalting His name?


Nobody teaches us how to praise.  We don't learn how to wonder, and we don't learn how to awe.  We just do it!  When we marvel at a sunset, we don't force ourselves to respond.  We see the glorious array of color and what we see ignites wonder, and the wonder ignites praise.  When we raise children, one of the few things we don't have to teach them is how to wonder.  They'll find mundane objects and examine them for hours.  They wonder at everything they see! 


With God it's the same way.  This might be exactly what Jesus meant when He said in Luke 18:17 "I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it".  A child wonders at everything he sees, and we should wonder at God in the same way.  But, as we've established, the path to wonder starts with seeing.  We see, then we wonder, then we praise.  If we are to praise God in the way He calls us, we must see God for who He is.  He's infinitely more glorious than a thousand sunsets, so when we see Him, we will wonder at Him, and then we will praise Him.  When we're not praising God as we ought, it means we're not seeing God.


How do we see God if He's invisible?  Isn't that impossible?  The best way to see God is to look at Jesus.  Hebrews 1:3 calls Jesus "the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature".  If you want to see God's nature, glory, character, and heart, look to Jesus.  Consider Jesus and get to know Jesus.  You can see God's hatred for your sin as you look at Jesus' bloody corpse on the cross.  You continue your gaze, and your heart sings when it sees God, in His mercy and grace, placing your sin on perfect Jesus and freely giving you Jesus' righteousness.  And then, when you see Jesus rise from death into His glorified self, you come right back to where we started: Jesus reigns over Satan, sin, and death!  He reigns!  And we tremble in thankful exaltation.


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