May 20, The Lord Reigns

Today’s reading: Psalms 96-100

“The Lord reigns, let the nations tremble; he sits enthroned between the cherubim, let the earth shake. Great is the Lord in Zion; he is exalted over all the nations. Let them praise your great and awesome name—he is holy” - Psalm 99:1-3.

As the psalmists grappled with the state of affairs in Israel and cried out for help and understanding, they always came to the same conclusion. Even though circumstances were not to their liking and were sometimes beyond comprehension, the Lord still ruled and reigned, and ultimately His promises would be fulfilled for His people. That conclusion always led them to one response, and that was praise and worship. It is an easy thing to praise the Lord when you get a raise, a promotion, or a good report from the doctor. It is a bit more challenging when the report or situation is not to your liking. Recognizing this reality, a prophet penned a commitment to praise even when the crops failed: “Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior” (Habakkuk 3:17). Has your fig, grape, or olive harvest failed, so to speak, along with some of your other efforts? Have your flocks disappeared or your work been ruined or lost? If you can praise the Lord in the midst of that, then you have come to the same conclusion that the psalmist did: the Lord reigns!