Summary: This is a Thanksgiving sermon.
It was interesting to watch the Chicago Cubs in the baseball playoffs last month. It was noted again and again that they had not won the World Series since 1908. Teddy Roosevelt was president then. We are on our seventeenth president since Teddy Roosevelt. Three presidents have died in office (Warren Harding and Franklin Roosevelt of natural causes and John F. Kennedy by assassination). Richard Nixon resigned. Gerald Ford served as president without being elected either vice-president or president. Several have not been reelected. Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton left after serving the maximum number of terms. Of seventeen presidents since Teddy Roosevelt, only six are still living.
Every four years we choose to either stay with the current president or elect a new one. We are a little less than a year from the next election, and the campaigning is beginning in earnest. There are even talks of certain people positioning themselves for a presidential run in the year 2008. The campaigning for president is non-stop.
We discuss and debate why this person would be better than that person. We follow it. We spend a great deal of time worrying about who will lead our country for the next four years. In 227 years of the United States we have had 43 presidents. That’s an average of 5 ¼ years per president.
Why do we pay so much attention to that? We pay attention because if we don’t, we will wind up paying taxes.
Turn with me to Psalm 93.
Read Psalm 93.
We have here a picture of God that was written somewhere between 2500 and 3000 years ago. It talks about God’s reign as king that had been established “from of old” according to v. 2. At the average of 5 ¼ years of service for a president, we would have over 560 presidents in the last 3000 years. Human rule is so limited and ineffective compared to God’s eternal rule.
God’s rule is forever. It had no beginning and it has no end. We can look back at the history and learn about our past leaders. We can discuss the merits of our current leadership. We can talk about what we want in future leaders. But God is the eternal leader.
I. God is King of the PAST.
As some of you know, I was a history major in college. History has always fascinated me. History tells us where we have been, and, in some ways, where we are headed. I have always liked reading about presidents. How did they get to the position? It seems as though some men pursued the position with great diligence. Others had it thrust upon them. Some presidents are nearly forgotten. Some stand as gigantic larger-than-life figures. They are all unique. Each had a different personality. Some were president at times of peace, and others at times of war. Some piloted the nation through turbulent waters, while others sailed on seas of domestic tranquility.
What about God’s past? Verse 2 tells us, “Your throne is established from of old; you are from everlasting.” God has been king since before the foundation of the earth.
Sometimes it seems as though God moves in and out of human history. Sometimes he seems closer than at other times. A surface reading of the Bible may leave the reader with the impression that God was closer to humanity at certain times than at others. It appears that God moves in and out of dealings with his people. Sometimes it may seem as though God is closer to us than at other times. There are times when God seems like he is so distant. Other times we feel the warmth of God’s embrace so real in our lives.
What the psalmist is saying here is that God has been God since forever. God’s rule is stable because he has always been king. We see the awe here of the psalmist. When we reflect on the fact that God has been God since before the beginning of time, we can’t help but feel a sense of awe.
I remember being a kid and asking my mom and dad what it was like in the olden days. It always left me with a sense of awe that my parents had been around soooooooo long. Stories of walking to a one-room schoolhouse for my mom were mesmerizing. There was this sense of awe that I had. I couldn’t imagine what that was like.
That’s what the psalmist is going through here. He has this sense of awe. He reflects on the enormous scope of history, realizing that God has been around for all of that. He was there when Noah built the ark. He was there during the lives of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the great patriarchs of the Jewish people. He confronted Moses in the burning bush. He crossed the Red Sea and the Jordan River with his people. He was with Gideon and his ragtag army.