A Word for Today | Psalm 97:1
In times of trouble, the attributes of God provide a wonderful comfort to those who rely on Him. Not least of these attributes is God’s sovereignty, by which we know that all things happen according to His holy and perfect will. Psalm 97:1 exclaims: “The Lord reigns, let the earth rejoice.” The psalmist does not mean that God exercises some weak and ineffectual rulership, unable to control the things that happen to His people. He is not a God, as some would tell it, who means well and wants to do good, but simply lacks the power to perform His will. To the contrary, the Bible presents God as an awesome, almighty, and absolute sovereign, who says, “My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose” (Isa. 46:10). A. W. Pink writes of the comfort this truth provides to struggling Christians: “There is no attribute more comforting to His children than that of God’s Sovereignty. Under the most adverse circumstances, in the most severe trials, they believe that Sovereignty has ordained their afflictions, that Sovereignty overrules them, and that Sovereignty will sanctify them all.”
The fact that God is sovereign over your afflictions means that they will not destroy you if you are a child of God. Romans 8:17 says that as God’s children, we are heirs of an eternal glory that can never be lost. God’s sovereignty means that He is completely aware of what is happening to you and that He is working “all things according to the counsel of His will” (Eph. 1:11). This means that whatever happens to us, if we continue in faith we will bring glory to the Lord. God has promised that He will neither slumber nor sleep but “will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life” (Ps. 121:7). Jesus said that “even the hairs on your head are all numbered” (Mt. 10:30), meaning that God knows in minute detail everything that is happening to you, even better than you know yourself. And we know that because God is sovereign, our present afflictions are eternally destined both to sanctify us (1 Pet. 1:7) and to gain for us “an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” (2 Cor. 4:13).
No wonder the psalmist cries, “Let the earth rejoice!” (Ps. 97:1). We rejoice because the God who is sovereign is also supremely good. Charles Spurgeon wrote: “Some people only have an idea of God’s sovereignty, and not of his goodness; such are usually gloomy, harsh, and ill-humored. You must put the two together that God is good, and that God is a sovereign. You must speak of sovereign grace. . . . He is not sovereign alone, but he is graciously sovereign. That is the best idea of God.” May this biblical idea of God sustain you through these troubled times, and fortify you with a joyful resolve to trust our sovereign God and seek to bring Him glory – knowing that He is giving you salvation.
In Christ’s Love,
 A. W. Pink, The Attributes of God (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2006), 32.
 Charles H. Spurgeon, Spurgeon’s Sermons (Peabody, MA: Henrdickson, 2011), 2:212.