29:10 enthroned over the flood. This word for “flood” occurs only in Genesis, in relation to the flood narrative (Gen. 6–11), suggesting by its exclusivity that God’s manifestation in nature, both in Noah’s time and in David’s, was the “supreme example of natural forces,” and that he in both times exercised his dominion over the natural world. This psalm declares in its own lovely way what the psalms of the heavenly King proclaim in their distinctive declaration: “The Lord reigns!” Thus the poem ends where it began, in the heavenly court with Yahweh seated on his throne. See the sidebar in the unit on Psalm 93.
10. What a beautiful thought to quiet every troubled mind, arises out of this view of the Lord. Let what will arise, or what storm soever, Jesus governs all. It is he which sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers. Reader, think of this, in application to all spiritual exercises. Isaiah 40:22, &c.
Ver. 10. The Lord sitteth upon the flood; yea, the Lord sitteth King for ever.—God’s throne upon the flood; or, Divine control:—
There is a well-known line of an English poet, which tells us to “look through Nature up to Nature’s God.” And not a few of our national poets have nobly done this. But the Bible is the supreme example. Its writers did not refuse to look at Nature; they were ever doing so.
- That the course of events on earth is full of changes. Calm to-day, storm to-morrow.
- But “Jehovah sits upon the flood.” The changes of human life do not disturb Him. Yet more, He controls them all, “He sitteth King for ever.” Natural science shows how the smallest and seemingly most insignificant events are all guided by law. Nothing is arbitrary or of chance. God watches over and controls them all.
- Scripture asserts this. There may be seasons when His people seem to be forsaken so that their enemies ask exultingly, “Where is now their God?” And yet, even then, the answer is, “Our God is in the heavens; He hath done whatsoever He hath pleased.”
- Fulfilled prophecies confirm it. For example, the Advent of Christ. That was predicted seven hundred years before He came, and that He should be born at Bethlehem.
- The continuance of true religion in spite of all opposition.
III. The manner in which events are overruled.
- By general laws. See the illustration of the text, “the flood.” That obeys the law of its nature. Now one of God’s general laws is this—that sin is always followed by suffering—and another is—that generation shall be followed by generation: wicked men are removed to make way for better.
- By special interposition. See the miracles.
- Let the Church of Christ be comforted.
- Also each individual Christian. (F. Tucker, B.A.)
King at the flood:—
The king is revealed in the time of the flood. Smaller personalities appear kingly when the waters are smooth; they disappear at the flood. Military officers are very much alike when they are on the parade ground; their genius and quality are revealed on the battlefield. The captain of the boat and the landsmen seem equally efficient when the boat glides over still waters, and the days pass in a long picnic, and games are played on the deck; but when the whirlwind awakes, and the boat staggers like a drunken man, the king is seen enthroned! I will measure and judge any one who seeks the throne of my life by his demeanour and worth amid my crises. Among all the candidates for honour and homage I will yield the crown of my obedience to the one who proves to be king at the flood. Let us look round upon two or three men who have come to one of life’s emergencies, and who are in need of a sovereign helper.
- “I am come unto deep waters where the floods overflow me.” What is the character of this man’s crisis? “Iniquities prevail against me.” He is the victim of unclean desire. The inner rooms of the spirit, the holy place, is defiled. He is unable to contemplate the beautiful and to love it. The floods of carnality overflow him. Or perhaps the victim is overborne by the spirit of envy which too frequently manifest itself in deceit and treachery, or he is possessed by the passion of jealousy which makes him a conspirator against his neighbour’s good. Whatever may be the type of the man’s besetment, the flood is at the gate, and he is overpowered by the invasion of its unclean deeps. What shall we say to him? One would perhaps advise him that the secret of his redemption will consist in “plain living and high thinking.” But the counsel is worthless. We are advising a man who is overborne by appetite to control the appetite, and suggesting that a man who is the victim of his own thought should order it in beautiful regularity. How fares it if we call in the Lord Himself? The Master’s speech is full of healing confidence and hope. He speaks of a clean heart and a right spirit. He not only unfolds an ideal, but He offers the power by which it can be realized. The unclean channels are flushed and cleansed, and all the powers in the life are quickened and revived.
- “Save me, O Lord! for the waters are come into my soul.” What is the type of this man’s sorrow? It is a flood of trouble, perhaps arising from common circumstances such as we are familiar with in our own life.
(1) Here is a case of slow cancer. The growth is eating its way, but, oh, so slowly! Day after day, and night after night, the wolf gnaws at the vitals. Let us speak to the victim. What shall we say to her? Matthew Arnold once said:—“In poetry our race will find an ever sure and surer stay.” What kind of poetry can we give to the cancer-ridden? If God be gone and the Man of Nazareth is only a pleasing fiction, and immortality only a winsome dream, whatever we offer will be only as dead ashes; gravel where the soul is pining for bread. Let us call in the Lord God. The very thought of His appearing is comforting. “What I do thou knowest not now.” “When thou passest through the waters I will be with thee.”
(2) Here are a father and mother whose son is in the far country. Their hopes are blighted, their ambition is overthrown. They are overwhelmed, and the waters have come into their souls. What says the world about their child? “He is too far gone; “he is a hopeless case;” “he is too old to mend;” “there is no remedy for a bad heart.” The world has no ministry to offer in the time of the flood. Let us call in the Lord God. Here is His speech: “What man of you having a hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine and go after that which is lost until he find it?” What a hopeful and uplifting word to speak to a broken-hearted father!
- All Thy waves and Thy billows have gone over me.” “The sorrows of death compass me.” This type of overwhelming sorrow is one of the most familiar sights in the common way. Here is a beautiful wedded life. The early intimacy was like a spring day. The wedding was only the welding of ties already sanctified. The home was a haunt of love and peace. Then a storm came, and the billows rolled against the little sanctuary. The sorrows of death compassed it, and the wife is gone! Now, leave God outside, and let us go inside. What shall we say to the bereaved husband? Shall we tell him that “other friends remain,” that “loss is common to the race”? Let us call in Jesus. “Thy brother shall rise again.” “I go to prepare a place for you, that where I am there ye shall be also.” “There remaineth therefore a rest for the people of God.” “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” “He that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.” Who is King? “The Lord sat as King at the flood.” (J. H. Jowett, M.A.)
A turbulent scene and a tranquil God:—
This psalm shows the influence of Godliness upon the intellectual faculties, the social sympathies, and the religious instincts of human nature. The text gives us:—
- A turbulent scene. “A flood.” A flood suggests—
- Commotion. The moral domain is all commotion. Look at it spiritually: “There is no peace, saith my God,” etc. Look at it socially,—nationally. Souls are all in commotion here.
- Innovation. It was broken down barriers, etc. So have souls.
- Distress. It is furious and violent, etc. The moral world is not like a river, flowing on peacefully in its channel. Nor like the ocean, moving, even when most tumultuous, within its own proper boundaries. It is a “flood.”
- A tranquil God. “The Lord sitteth.” This implies on His part—
- A consciousness of His right to reign. If He had any moral misgivings He would not be at ease. An usurper could not be tranquil over such a tumultuous empire.
- A consciousness of a supremacy of power to reign. He has no feeling of incapacity. He can control with consummate ease the whole. We rejoice in His supremacy over the flood. (Homilist.)
10. “The Lord sitteth upon the flood.” Flood follows tempest, but Jehovah is ready for the emergency. No deluge can undermine the foundation of his throne. He is calm and unmoved, however much the deep may roar and be troubled: his government rules the most unstable and boisterous of created things. Far out on the wild waste of waters, Jehovah “plants his footsteps in the sea, and rides upon the storm,” “Yea, the Lord sitteth King for ever.” Jesus has the government upon his shoulders eternally: our interests in the most stormy times are safe in his hands. Satan is not king, but Jehovah Jesus is; therefore let us worship him, and rejoice evermore.