Tom Lowe


Psalm 93

(An enthronement psalm; the others in this group are 47, 95-99.)


Title: None.

Theme: This Psalm contains an assertion or declaration of God’s sovereign and universal dominion in and over the whole world.




1 The Lord reigneth, he is clothed with majesty; the Lord is clothed with strength, wherewith he hath girded himself: the world also is stablished, that it cannot be moved.

2 Thy throne is established of old: thou art from everlasting.

3 The floods have lifted up, O Lord, the floods have lifted up their voice; the floods lift up their waves.

4 The Lord on high is mightier than the noise of many waters, yea, than the mighty waves of the sea.

5 Thy testimonies are very sure: holiness becometh thine house, O Lord, for ever.



This psalm does not have a title which has led some to link it with Psalm 92.  Actually, it is the first of a series of remarkable theocratic psalms (the others are Psalms 95 through 100).  These are psalms which magnify Israel’s theocracy.  Although the writer of this psalm is unknown, several versions of the Old Testament ascribe it to David as author.


You may be familiar with the standard forms of government we have on earth.  First, there is autocratic government (governments headed by a strong man or a dictator); we have monarchic government (headed by a king with more or less absolute power); third, we have democratic governments (governments in which the people rule).  In all the history of the world only Israel has had a true theocratic form of government—a government in which there is no man-appointed or self-appointed ruler but rather a government directed by God.


From the beginning of its history until the time of Samuel this was Israel’s sole form of government.  It failed, not because God failed, but because Israel failed.  When the people demanded that Samuel give them a king so that they might be like the other nations around them, he wept.  God said to him “ . . . hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them.” (1 Samuel 8:7).


There is, of course, a sense in which the monarchy, as it existed under Israel’s constitution, was still essentially theocratic in character.  The ideal king viewed the throne of David as the Lords throne; the king was merely God’s temporary vice-regent.  His character and calling were to be that of a shepherd, pastoring the people of God.  Certainly David viewed the throne in that way.  The nation was not a private preserve upon which the king could prey, but a pasture to be kept and cultivated for the flock of God.


The theocracy in Israel was merely a shadow of what God intended for His people.  It has been shelved for the time being, but God is not through with it.  He intends to restore the theocracy during the millennial reign when the Lord Jesus, the second person of the Godhead, will reign directly over Israel and through Israel over all the earth. This psalm anticipates that day.  It is theocratic in character and content and it is prophetic.


It is in that light we are going to examine it.  Short as it is, it pulsates with tremendous truth.  The Jewish people will sing just such a psalm when Jesus comes to rescue beleaguered Israel from the beast and the massed might of the world.




God Is Still On The Throne (93:1-2). We can understand how a “restoration” Jew would believe that.  There had been a two-fold miracle.  There had been a providential miracle.  A great world power had arisen on the international scene.  It had overthrown Babylon, the nation which had deported the Jews into captivity.  Then, contrary to what every one might have expected, the new regime proved itself astonishingly liberal, especially to the Jewish people.  Its king, flushed with victory, magnanimously signed a mandate for their return to Palestine and backed it with the arm of imperial power.


There had been a prophetic miracle—an even greater wonder.  All this had been prophesized.  Isaiah, well over a century before, had actually named this great liberator.  And Jeremiah had given the date when it all would happen.  So no wonder this Singer could see that “God is still On the Throne.”


This psalm is one of several (47, 96-99) which are marked by the repeated words, “The Lord Reigns,” or, “The Lord is King.” It is probably best to recognize in these psalms the conviction that God is eternally sovereign over nature and man.


We are going to examine the psalm while looking forward to its fulfillment in the reestablishment of the theocratic kingdom at the coming of Christ.  The Jews, those who are left at the end of the great tribulation, will see both the providential and the prophetic in their miraculous deliverance by a king far greater than Cyrus, the Persian.


There is, however, another way to view this psalm, which is, that it celebrates the kingship of God over the chaos which existed prior to creation and is thus the theological starting point for the psalms that speak of God’s kingship. We will touch on this viewpoint as we move through this wonderful little psalm.


1 The Lord reigneth{7], he is clothed with majesty; the Lord is clothed with strength, wherewith he hath girded himself: the world also is stablished, that it cannot be moved.


“The Lord reigneth (“Jehovah reigneth”—this is the Lord Jesus.), he is clothed with majesty; the Lord is clothed with strength, wherewith he hath girded himself” (93:1a) is an expression of the full sovereignty of God.  It is expressing not just a fact, but an act.  God has visibly stepped down into the arena of human affairs in the person of the Lord Jesus and deliberately taken the administration of earth’s affairs into His own hands.  At a time when men and nations looked upon His cause as languishing in defeat through the Exile{8], the Lord asserted His power to bring a remnant back to their promised land again. 


Self-coronation is rare.  It is an expression of self-created and self-manifested power.  There is one arrogant example of it in European history.  In 1799 Napoleon abolished what was left of the government of France derived from the French Revolution.  He set up a new government of three members, called the Consulate, and had himself proclaimed First Consul. Not satisfied with that, he began to undermine all governmental powers which did not lie in his own hand.  In 1804 the French Senate voted him the title of emperor.  “When I see an empty throne,” he said, “I feel the urge to sit on it.”


One of these days JESUS IS COMING AGAIN!  He is going to overthrow what is left of the great world revolution and its monstrous tyrant, the beast; by sovereign right, He will proclaim Himself King and robe Himself with majesty.  The Lord wears the garb of royalty because He is, and intends to act as, king.  He will do that because He owes His world empire to nobody but Himself, and because no human authority can be set over Him to crown Him.  He will crown Himself and robe Himself, then turn to His beloved, the Church, and invest her with the rank and robes of royalty, as well.


Next to the existence of God there is nothing that we are more anxious to believe and contemplate than God’s dominion, that Jehovah is God, and that this God reigns. He is King of all creation, and is the owner and proprietor of all persons and things; He is King in fact, and does direct and dispose of all the creatures and all their actions according to the counsel of His own will.  This is celebrated here, and in many other psalms: THE LORD REIGNS!  It is the song of the gospel church, of the glorified church (Revelation 19:6{9]), Hallelujah; the Lord God omnipotent reigns.  Here we are told how he reigns.

  1. The Lord reigns gloriously:He is clothed with majesty.” The majesty of earthly princes, compared with God’s terrible majesty, is like the glow from a lightning-bug’s tail, compared with the brightness of the sun when it goes forth in its strength. Aren’t the enemies of God’s kingdom great and formidable?  Yet let us not fear them, for God’s majesty will eclipse theirs.
  2. He reigns powerfully: He is not only clothed with majesty, like a king in his court, but He is “clothed with strength,” like the president at a news conference. He has resources to support His greatness and to make it truly formidable.  Envision Him not only dressed in robes, but fully clad in armor.  Both strength and honor are His clothing.  He can do everything, and with Him nothing is impossible. Human Kings can be identified by their clothing; God’s royal clothing is His majesty.  He needs no weapon other than his strength.  He will in His due time set up His Empire over all nations, in the hands of His Son, the Messiah.


He has girded himself with this power; it is not derived from any other, nor does the executing of it depend upon any other, for He has it within Himself and does whatsoever he pleases with it.  Let us not fear the power of man which is borrowed and bounded, but fear Him who has power to kill and cast into hell.


“The world also is stablished, that it cannot be moved” (93:1b).  It is due to this “power” that the world exists to this day.  The world was established by the creating power of God, when He founded it upon the seas; it still survives by that providence which upholds all things and is a continual creation. It is established so that although He has hanged the earth upon nothing (Job 26:7{10]), yet it cannot be moved.  There is no power on earth or in the universe that can wrench control of the earth from God.  All things continue to this day according to His ordinances.  Note, it is for the preserving of the powers of nature and the course of nature that the God of nature must have the glory; but we who benefit daily are very careless and ungrateful if we do not give Him the Glory for it.


At the beginning of the millennium, moral order, which has been seen as tottering and on the edge of falling will be restored and replace the chaos on earth, for Jesus will reign with a rod of iron and a firm, unfaltering hand.  The tiny remnant of Jews and Gentiles who will enter into the millennial kingdom will heave a sigh of relief.  At last—there is a strong, stable government on earth! Jesus will bring fresh stability to earth.  He will found an empire which will stretch from pole to pole and from sea to sea; it will last unchallenged for a thousand years—a thousand years of peace and prosperity and progress.


2 Thy throne is established of old: thou art from everlasting.


He reigns eternally: “Thy throne is established of old.” God’s right to rule the world is founded in His making it; He that fashioned it, no doubt, may give law to it, and so His title to the government is incontestable.  “Thy throne is established” is a title without a flaw in it.  And it is ancient: it is established of old, from the beginning of time, before any other rule, principality, or power was in existence, and it will continue when all other rule, principality, and power shall be put down. The whole administration of His government was settled in His eternal counsels before all worlds were created; for He does everything according to the purpose which is conceived in Him.


The communists have marched for years under the slogan, “time is on our side.” They are wrong, for time is on God’s side.  He has all the time in the world at His disposal.  He works to His own faultless timetable.  He is never in a hurry.  He is never late.  He has outlived other empires; he will outlive the Russian Empire, too.


“Thou art from everlasting{6],” and therefore “Thy throne is established of old”; because God Himself was from everlasting, His throne and all the determinations of it were too; for in an eternal mind there must exist eternal thoughts.


God’s empire is older than the stars.  The universe is thought to be about 20 billion years old by some and 6,000-8,000 years old by conservative, fundamental Christians.  When we go back to that cataclysmic moment in time (the big bang), or when we go back to the time when the universe was created by God, and the galaxies began their awesome rush through space, we find that God was there then.  Satan has always sought to thwart the plans of God and to usurp His throne, but God has always been King, both in heaven and in earth.  Time is on His side; His throne is forever.


3 The floods{2] have lifted up, O Lord, the floods have lifted up their voice; the floods lift up their waves{2].


Now the psalmist looks toward the end of the age at the awesome power of the nations.  He sees the nation’s rise, hears them roar, watches them rage.  He sees the nations as they have been throughout the long reach of history, but particularly as they will be at the end of the age.


“The floods have lifted up, O Lord,” (the complaint is made to God Himself) “the floods have lifted up their voice,” which speaks words of terror; they have “lifted up their waves” which speaks of real danger.  It alludes to a tempestuous sea, such as the wicked are compared to (Isaiah 57:20{12]).  The heathen rage (Psalms 2:1{11]) and are resolved to ruin the church, to overwhelm it like a deluge, to sink it like a ship at sea.  The church is said to be tossed by tempests (Isaiah 54:11), and the floods of ungodly men make the saints afraid (Psalms 18:4{13]).


The raging seas and the pounding waves are often used as symbols of the rise and fall of the nations and the great noise that rulers make as they try to impress people.  (see 46:1-3, 6; 60:5; 65:6-7; 74:13-14).  God used the Euphrates River to illustrate the Assyrians (Isaiah 8:7-8), and He connected Egypt with the Nile River (Jeremiah 46:7-8).  No matter how stormy the nations on earth may become, God is still on His throne and is not frustrated by the foolish words and deeds of “great leaders” who are only made of clay.  Do not focus on the threats around you; focus on the throne above you (see Psalm 29; Isaiah 6; Revelation 4-5).


Just prior to the time of Christ’s return, the nations will rise in one final, seething cauldron of hate—hatred of each other, hatred of Israel, hatred of God.  The beast’s global empire will begin to disintegrate.  The armies of the East will mobilize against him, march westward to destroy Babylon, cross the Euphrates, and move toward Megiddo.  The armies of the West will mobilize as well. Like the frustrated Antiochus Epiphanes of old, the Antichrist of tomorrow will seize Jerusalem and begin a systematic program to exterminate the Jews before marching on to Megiddo to settle accounts with the East.  Not even an impending crisis in his affairs will stop him from this last act of anti-Semantic hate.


The nations will rise like the storm-tossed sea.  There is a reason why Israel is seen as the land in the symbolism of Scripture and the nations as the troubled sea.  There is a reason why Isaiah said: “Woe to the multitude of many people, which make a noise{5] like the noise of the seas{1]; and to the rushing of nations that make a rushing like the rushing of mighty waters!” (Isaiah 17:12).


“The floods” represent all the forces arrayed against the righteous rule of the Lord—nations such as Egypt, Assyria, Babylon; and the unseen hosts of evil that compose the kingdom of darkness, the “principalities and powers” of which the New Testament speaks (Romans 8:38; Ephesians 1:21{14]; 6:12; Colossians 2:15).


Poet and psalmist see it alike.  They see the final rising of the Gentile seas against the headland of Israel in one last, furious attempt to swamp and submerged God’s ancient people forever.


But it is all in vain!  The nations, in single waves or in one vast heaving tide, can no more swamp Israel than the ocean waves can triumph over the rocky cliffs of the shore.  The flood tide of sin is over.  Satan’s head has been crushed.


Psalm 93 could also be ascribed to the creation account at the beginning of the Bible, which is the view taken by some commentators. From that point of view, the psalmist recalls the rising onrush of the chaotic waters which God brought under control and from which He fashioned an orderly creation in the beginning.  These floods,” (great rivers or oceans) raised up their roar, raised up their pounding surf.  God’s great power as Creator is vividly depicted by the reference to “the floods,” “the waves,” (lit., “the breakers”) and in verse four, “many waters” and “mighty waves.” These four words symbolize the unstoppable and overwhelming power of creation as perceived by humankind (2 Samuel 22:5{15]; Jonah 2:3-5).


4 The Lord on high is mightier than the noise of many waters, yea, than the mighty waves of the sea.


“The Lord on high is mightier.” Let us keep these things in mind:

  1. That God is on high, above them, which denotes His safety (They cannot reach Him, 29:10) and His sovereignty; they are ruled by Him, they are overruled by Him, and when they rebel, they are overcome by Him (Exodus 18:11).
  2. That He is “mightier” and does more wondrous things “than the noise of many waters;” they cannot disturb His rest or rule; they cannot defeat His plans and purposes. Observe, the power of the church’s enemies is like the noise of many waters; there is more sound than substance to it  God is mightier than this noise; He is mighty enough to preserve His people’s interests from being ruined by these many waters and His people’s spirits from being terrified by the noise they make.  He can, when he pleases, command peace to come to the church (65:7), peace in the soul (Isaiah 26:3{16]).


Note that the unlimited sovereignty and irresistible power of the great Jehovah are very encouraging to the people of God, because of all the opposition and adversities they meet with in this world (Psalms 46:1-2{17]).


Though it is absolutely true that God has unlimited sovereignty and irresistible power, it does not always look that way.  It often seems that God has lost control.  In actual fact, He is working to a plan—a plan revealed to us in the Bible.  It is there that we find the blueprints of the great Architect for the final well-being of mankind.  Man in his blindness, refuses to look at the plans and accuses God of being a blunderer.


God certainly has not mixed up His plans.  He is marching down the ages of history in great strides toward Megiddo and the millennium.  Since today is the age of grace, God is not answering back to man for their insults.  But when He finally does, “The Lord on high is mightier than the noise of many waters, yea, than the mighty waves of the sea.”


The psalmist has almost finished.  He turns his eyes away from the threatening nations to the house of God which, in His day, had probably just been rebuilt.



The Temple Is Home To Him (93:5).  There it stood in Jerusalem, a shadow of the once magnificent building erected by Solomon.  But, just the same, there it stood.  The psalmist has two words to say to his own heart, to the Hebrew people, to the heathen nations all around them, to all people on earth.

  1. Trust! The Law is there (93:5a).
  2. Tremble! The Lord is there (93:5b).


5 Thy testimonies{3] are very sure: holiness becometh thine house, O Lord, for ever.


He reigns in TRUTH and HOLINESS{4].  All His promises are no doubt faithful: “Thy testimonies are very sure.”  Just as God is able to protect His church, so He is true to the promises he has made of its safety and victory.  His word is given, and all the saints may rely upon it.  Whatever was foretold concerning the kingdom of the Messiah would certainly be accomplished in due time.  Those testimonies, upon which the faith and hope of the Old Testament saints were built were very sure, and would not fail them.


“Thy testimonies are very sure.” (93:5a). He reigns in truth and holiness.  All His promises are no doubt faithful: “Thy testimonies are very sure.”  Just as God is able to protect His church, so He is true to the promises he has made of its safety and victory.  His word is given, and all the saints may rely upon it.  Whatever was foretold concerning the kingdom of the Messiah would certainly be accomplished in due time.  Those testimonies, upon which the faith and hope of the Old Testament saints were built were very sure, and would not fail them.


The Bible often speaks of God’s law (that is, the law which bears witness to God’s will and man’s duty) as “His testimonies,” because it was the function of the law to bear witness to God’s demands and to man’s duties.  In Solomon’s temple, those testimonies, was kept in the sacred ark in the holy of holies.  Copies of these testimonies were in circulation so that the people might know just what it was that God expected of them.


Nehemiah tells us that when he was temporary governor of Jerusalem Ezra the scribe read that law to the assembled people in Jerusalem.  The reading of that law produced a revival.  The people wept because of their national sins which had left them a mere dependency, a tiny and insignificant province in the mighty empire of Persia.  They “separated themselves . . . unto the law of God,” was the way Nehemiah put it (Nehemiah 10:28).


That was the first thing then; it should be the first thing now.  It will be the first thing in a coming millennial day when Ezekiel’s temple is built and the nations of the earth are constituted “ONE NATION UNDER GOD WITH LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL.” The American dream will become a reality for all the nations of mankind.  All will be ruled by the testimonies of the Lord, that is, the specific revelation of His Word, and the law in particular (Deuteronomy 4:45; 6:20; Nehemiah 9:34; Psalm 78:56; 119:22, 24, 59, 79). People learn to trust those testimonies because they point to paths of happiness for the children of men; the people honor God as their holy King by following His commands. The law clearly testifies both to God’s universal rule as the Creator of heaven and earth (Exodus 20:11; 31:17) and to the holiness that resides exclusively in Him (10:3), and distinguishes Him perhaps more than anything else from His creation. 


Holiness becometh thine house, O Lord, for ever” (93:5b).  The temple was His house! The Lord has returned!  He has taken up residence in His house!  Neither the temple nor the land will be defiled again.  His holiness will ensure that. Let it never be forgotten that while God is love, He is also HOLY.  This part of the verse suggests both separating God’s house from the secular and profane and setting apart the people who worship there.  This is rightly made the motto of many churches whose purpose is to preach a gospel bigger than the deepest needs of the human heart.


All His people ought to be conscientiously pure: Holiness becometh thine house, O Lord, for ever.” God’s church is his house; it is a holy house, cleansed from sin, consecrated by God and employed in His service.  The holiness of it is its beauty (nothing better becomes the saints than conformity to God’s image and an entire devotedness to His honor), and it is its strength and safety; it is the holiness of God’s house that secures it against the many waters and their noise.  Where there is purity there shall be peace.  Fashions change, and that which is becoming at one time is not so at another; but holiness always becomes God’s house and family, and those who belong to it; it is perpetually decent; and nothing so unpleasant becomes the worshippers of the holy God as unholiness.


Thus ends this anonymous little hymn.  It begins with His royal highness; it ends with His impeccable holiness.





When the Jews set up the liturgy for their New Temple in Jerusalem, they selected a special psalm to be sung each day of the week.  One of the seven was this one, Psalm 93.  They selected this psalm to be sung on Friday, the day before the Sabbath.  The Talmud explains why.  “It was on the sixth day that the Lord finished the work of creation.  After that He entered upon His Sabbath rest, and began His reign over the earth.” So then, this little psalm is truly a prelude to the millennium itself.


The God who intends to set up His millennial Sabbath of rest on this planet wants to set up a miniature millennium in our hearts.  He would like us to acknowledge Him as His royal majesty and let Him still the storms of rebellion and sin.  Let Him come into His house, these bodies in which we live, so that He might make of them His temple.  He would like us then to acknowledge His impeccable holiness as the continuing law of our lives.  What a wonderful time of rejoicing this will be!




[1} “Seas” symbolize the people and nations of the earth.
[2} “Floods” (and “waves”) symbolize the enemies (heathen nations) of God’s kingdom, who are often compared to floods because of their numbers, force, rage, etc. (Isaiah 8:7-8; 17:12-13; Jeremiah 46:7-8).  They have both by their words and actions opposed His kingdom.
[3} “Testimonies,” that is, thy words; are either:
1.     “Thy precepts,” which are commonly called God’s testimonies.
2.    “Thy promises,” as may be understood from the following words, are sure, or true, or faithful; which attribute properly belongs, and everywhere in Scripture is properly ascribed to promises rather than to precepts.  And the promises no less than the precepts are God’s testimonies, or the witnesses or declarations of His mind and will, to mankind.  God does not change, in any degree, so His precepts remain completely consistent.
[4} “Holiness” seems to be used here to represent God’s faithfulness, as it is in Psalm 60:6; 89:35; or, which amounts to the same thing, His justice or righteousness, by which He is obliged to make good all His promises, as that word is very commonly used.  God is king, and He is majestic and holy in sovereignty.  Thus nothing can alter his decrees, and the place of His Presence, like himself, is holy (see Isaiah 6).
[5} “Noise” is translated “voices” in some translations.
[6} “Everlasting” means literally, “from eternity.  The word everlasting signifies no ending, whereas “eternity” signifies both no ending and no beginning, spanning eternity past to eternity future.
[7} “The Lord reigneth.” These opening words can better be translated; Yahweh is King or has become king.
[8} The Babylonian captivity or Babylonian exile is the period in Jewish history during which a number of people from the ancient Kingdom of Judah were captives in Babylonia. After the Battle of Carchemish in 605 BCE, Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, besieged Jerusalem, resulting in tribute being paid by King Jehoiakim. Jehoiakim refused to pay tribute in Nebuchadnezzar's fourth year, which led to another siege in Nebuchadnezzar's seventh year, culminating with the death of Jehoiakim and the exile of King Jeconiah, his court and many others; Jeconiah's successor Zedekiah and others were exiled in Nebuchadnezzar's eighteenth year; a later deportation occurred in Nebuchadnezzar's twenty-third year. The dates, numbers of deportations, and numbers of deportees given in the biblical accounts vary. These deportations are dated to 597 BCE for the first, with others dated at 587/586 BCE, and 582/581 BCE respectively.  After the fall of Babylon to the Persian king Cyrus the Great in 539 BCE, exiled Judeans were permitted to return to Judah.  According to the biblical book of Ezra, construction of the second temple in Jerusalem began around 537 BCE. All these events are considered significant in Jewish history and culture, and had a far-reaching impact on the development of Judaism.
[9} “And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.” (Rev. 19:6)
[10} “He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing.” (Job 26:7)
[11} “Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?” (Psalms 2:1).
[12} “But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt.” (Isaiah 57.20)
[13} “The sorrows of death compassed me, and the floods of ungodly men made me afraid.” (Psalm 18:4)
[14} “Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world but also in that which is to come.” (Ephesians 1:21)
[15} “When the waves of death compassed me, the floods of ungodly men made me afraid.” (2 Samuel 22:5)
[16} “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” (Psalms 26:3)
[17} God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea.” (“Psalm 46:1-2)