Between the Times
(1) Yahweh reigns. Let the peoples tremble! He sits enthroned among the Cherubim. Let the earth quake! (2) Yahweh (is) great in Zion. He (is) exalted over all the peoples. (3) Let them praise your great and awesome name! He (is) holy. (4) The king in his strength loves justice. You have established equity. You have acted with justice and righteousness in Jacob. (5) Exalt Yahweh, our God, and worship at his footstool! He (is) holy. (6) Moses and Aaron (were) among his priests, and Samuel was among those who called on his name. They called to Yahweh, and he answered them. (7) In the pillar of cloud he spoke to them. They kept his testimonies and the law which he gave to them. (8) O Yahweh, our God, you answered them. You were a forgiving God to them while punishing their wrongdoings. (9) Exalt Yahweh, our God, and worship at his holy mountain! He (is) holy.
A striking feature of this psalm is the exhortation to “exalt Yahweh, our God and worship” found twice (vss. 5 & 9). Each occurs at the conclusion of one of the two major segments of the psalm. The first segment exults in Yahweh’s future reign over all the earth through his king enthroned in Zion (vss. 1-5). The second looks back to the formation of the nation under Moses, Aaron, and Samuel when God was visibly present with his covenant nation (vss. 6-9).
Three other repetitions should be noted. “Peoples,” found twice (vss. 1 & 2), sets forth the universality of Messiah’s coming rule over the earth. The phrase, “he (is) holy,” found three times (vss. 3, 5, & 9) echoes the threefold refrain, “Holy! Holy! Holy!” chanted by the Seraphim in Yahweh’s throne room (Is. 6:3). This emphasizes the glory of God’s exalted person. “Called,” found twice (vs. 6), speaks of Yahweh’s readiness to hear and answer the prayers of his people.
Let us exalt Yahweh [present]
- because he will rule over all peoples [future] (1-5)
- just as he ruled over Israel [past]. (6-9)
Let us praise Yahweh who will one day rule over all the earth just as he ruled over Israel in the past.
We live between the times. We look back to the events described in the Old Testament when Yahweh was visibly and powerfully at work in Israel’s Exodus from Egypt and her history as a nation. We also look back to the events described in the New Testament including the earthly ministry of our Savior and the establishment of his church. At the same time, we look forward to the time when Yahweh will once again work visibly and powerfully to establish the kingdom of his messianic ruler. Meanwhile, we patiently wait with great anticipation between the times.
When Messiah first came, he demonstrated God’s power in many obvious ways through miracles, healings, deliverances, and unsurpassed wisdom. However, as John tells us, “He came unto his own, but his own did not receive him” (Jn. 1:11). Looking back, we now know that this rejection was part of God’s plan to provide a redeemer whose death on the cross would serve as the atoning sacrifice for the sins of all humanity. Now we wait, confident that the Messiah who was once rejected will surely return to reign over the earth. We trust that the God who worked visibly and powerfully in the days of old will once again work in these latter days to establish the universal rule of his Anointed One. With the saints of all ages we cry out in anticipation of that great day, “Maranatha! Even so come, Lord Jesus!”