This week we’ve been looking at seven different types of psalms: wisdom, royal, lament, imprecatory, thanksgiving, pilgrimage and today we look at the 7th type: enthronement.
The enthronement psalms celebrate the important truth that God is king over all of his creation. God cares for his people as a good king/shepherd is supposed to care for his people. Psalm 23 is a kind of enthronement Psalm as David, who is himself the shepherd king of Israel, ultimately looks to God as the true shepherd king.
Psalm 99 is a good example of an enthronement psalm:
1 The Lord reigns,
let the nations tremble;
he sits enthroned between the cherubim,
let the earth shake.
2 Great is the Lord in Zion;
he is exalted over all the nations.
3 Let them praise your great and awesome name—
he is holy.
4 The King is mighty, he loves justice—
you have established equity;
in Jacob you have done
what is just and right.
5 Exalt the Lord our God
and worship at his footstool;
he is holy.
6 Moses and Aaron were among his priests,
Samuel was among those who called on his name;
they called on the Lord
and he answered them.
7 He spoke to them from the pillar of cloud;
they kept his statutes and the decrees he gave them.
8 Lord our God,
you answered them;
you were to Israel a forgiving God,
though you punished their misdeeds.
9 Exalt the Lord our God
and worship at his holy mountain,
for the Lord our God is holy.
This psalms celebrate God as worthy to be worshipped, so it contains elements of worship similar to psalms of thanksgiving, but here the focus is particularly on God’s sovereign rule over all creation.
The Lord reigns. Often we look at our world and see how seriously screwed up our political leaders are and how badly they botch up their duties as leaders. But we must remember that they are mere humans, flawed men and women just like us. There is only one who is truly fit to rule in righteousness over all of creation. There is only one of us both holy and just but also merciful and forgiving even in his judgment. It is the LORD, YHWH. He is God and he alone is fit to rule over all of creation. The enthronement psalms are a joyful way of acknowledging that God is in control of everything. My mom used to have a sign on her refrigerator that said: Relax, God’s in Charge. The enthronement psalms remind us that God is in charge, we are in great hands.
As we close out this week of psalms I hope that you come to appreciate the depth, diversity and richness of the psalms. There is literally a psalm for every occasion. For learning and growing, for giving thanks, for traveling, for worshipping, for complaining and asking for help in times of pain, and even when you’re angry and feel like getting revenge against those who have hurt you. There’s a psalm for every occasion. I hope that you will read them, and pray them (you can also learn how to sing them) and make them seep into your spirit and become a part of your prayer language and your life, just as they were for Jesus, who frequently could be found with the psalms on his tongue as he spoke and prayed.