Messiah, Ruler Of The Waves

a brief study of Psalm 93  adapted from PCC Prayer Meeting Exhortation on 6 Nov 2009

Psalm 93 evokes a very powerful feeling in my heart whenever I sing it these days. This is because this psalm brings back poignant memories of 26 December 2004.

On that unforgettable day, the floods literally lifted up their voice. The floods lifted up their waves as in verse 3 of this Psalm. Never in the history of the world, since the great Deluge in Noah’s days, have these words so pierced the hearts of man as on that day.

It was the day that the sea unleashed its mighty power.

Waves, three stories high crashed unto coastal communities and holiday resorts in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia, Maldives, and all the way to Tanzania and Somalia. Entire train-loads of holiday makers were drowned. Families were torn apart. Entire villages were wiped out. Whole beaches of tourists were swept off. Mosques, temples and churches were destroyed. At least one Christian congregation worshipping in the east coast of Sri Lanka was swept off completely. Entire islands were submerged. Coastlines were filled with dead and rotting bodies of men, women and children. In all, more than 230,000 lives were cut off in a matter of minutes.

This is the power of the tidal waves that were unleashed on the Sabbath of 26 December 2004 in the Indian Ocean Tsunami.

We were brought to our knees. We were brought to realize how weak and small we are.  Though we were not touched by the waves, our hearts were swamped with feelings of sympathy.

That week, my family sang Psalm 93 very solemnly every time we gathered for family worship.

Now, the psalmist may perhaps be thinking not just of the floods and the waves. For in the Scriptures, the floods and the waves are given as pictures of the world and the enemies of God. In Isaiah 17:12, for example, we read:

“Woe to the multitude of many people, which make a noise like the noise of the seas; and to the rushing of nations, that make a rushing like the rushing of mighty waters!” (Isa 17:12-13; cf. Isaiah 8:7-8; Jer 46:7-8).

The psalmist would likewise have in mind the multitude that rise up against God and His people.

But I agree with Calvin that we don’t really need to look at the words in this psalm figuratively, for the literal power of the floods and waves are sufficient to illustrate the power of God which this Psalm adduces to. Indeed, the psalmist would, no doubt, have been inspired to write as he did because of his knowledge of the power and destruction of the “mighty waves of the sea.” And it is unlikely that he witnessed anything close to the massive power of the Tsunami!

Therefore, I believe, it is helpful for us to consider this Psalm against the backdrop of the Tsunami and meditate on what God has done and is doing by this display, nay, hint of his great power.

We may entitle this Psalm, “Messiah, Ruler of the Waves!” We are reminded of three things about him in this Psalm.

1. The LORD Reigns

1 The LORD reigneth, he is clothed with majesty; the LORD is clothed with strength, wherewith he hath girded himself: the world also is stablished, that it cannot be moved. 2 Thy throne is established of old: thou art from everlasting. 

Who is this LORD Jehovah who reigns? He is, no doubt Our God and King, the Lord Jesus Christ, the God-Man, the Emmanuel, the King of kings, the Lord of Lords.

Unto Him has been committed the rule of the entire universe whether of things seen or things unseen. He reigns. He is clothed with glory and majesty from all eternity as the eternal Son of God. Then he humbled himself, and took on human flesh. He was born of a virgin of the house of David. He lived as the God-Man.

During his earthly ministry he demonstrated his sovereignty and power by, among other things, walking on the waves as well as commanding the wind and waves to cease.

Then He went to the Cross. He died for the sake of the Church he came to save. But he did not remain in the grave. He rose again. And He ascended up on high. He is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. He is upholding the world by the word of His power. This is what the apostle to the Hebrews reminds us of in Hebrews 1:1-3.

Nothing that happens in the universe, happens by chance. All things happen only by His decree and command.

The greatest stars in the heavens burn and shine only because He commanded and is ensuring that they continue to burn and shine. “He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names” (Ps 147:4) says the Psalmist.

And yet even the hairs on your head are numbered, and not a hair of your head falls to the ground but by His command and providence.

The LORD reigns.

Five years ago, a terrible disaster struck many of our neighboring countries. How did it happen? Did it happen by chance? Did it happen merely because pressure was building up in the earth’s crust, and there was plate tectonic movement? No, no; the fool has said in his heart, ‘there is no God.’ It happened by the decree and providence of God.

Christ our Lord was on the throne. The tidal wave would not have happened without His decree and command.

On 26 December 2004, He issued a command. The earth shook, and the waves roared.

The LORD reigns. He was accomplishing His purpose even through this calamity and all other calamities in this world. We must believe that.

This is the first thing we must remember. But let us also remember, secondly, that…

2. The LORD is Mightier
Than the Waves

Man has become too proud. We live in an era where we assume we can conquer anything. Nothing can overcome us, or so we thought. But in a few minutes the sea took more than 230,000 lives, and left more than 1.5 million people homeless.

Proud men have been brought to the knees in tears. No one dares again to shake his fist at the sea. The waves of the mighty sea have proven once again that they are greater than man.

The waves have also proven that they are mightier than the gods of man. Remember the picture of a Hindu priest sitting with a couple of his gods which have been retrieved from the flood. But the entire temple together with the rest of the idols was washed away. These gods cannot protect themselves, not to mention their temple and their people.

Not so, our LORD.

4 The LORD on high is mightier than the noise of many waters, yea, than the mighty waves of the sea.

How great were the waves, the Lord is greater. How mighty were the waves, the LORD on high is mightier. For the waves had no power, but what is given by the Lord. The waves could not have taken a single life, except the Lord permitted it and yea, ordained it.

The LORD is mightier than the waves of the sea. How humbling it is to know him personally! How comforting it is to have the assurance of His love for us, for He laid down His life for us. For had he not assured us of His love for us, Oh what hope have we when calamity befall us.

But knowing His love for us, and knowing that He is mightier than the mightiest waves, we have the assurance that nothing will happen to us but that which is for our eternal good.

What will the future bring? We don’t know. Our Lord has chosen to hide it from us.


We know there are religious fanatics who hate Singapore. Will we experience war and terrorism?

Many of us felt the tremors of the earthquake at Padang. Will there finally be an earthquake in Singapore?

H1N1 is still spreading. Will there be a repeat of SARS or the 1918 Spanish Flu?

The economy is just recovering. Will it collapse again?

Another Tsunami struck the Samoa island in September this year? Will a huge tidal wave eventually hit us despite the assurance of the experts?

What about the typhoons that have been raging across the Philippines and Cambodia and Vietnam? Will one come this way?

Will we face deaths in our family? Will we experience something terrible in the church?

We don’t know. But we know that the LORD we serve is mightier than the waves. Our Lord who walked upon the waves and commanded the waves and winds to cease is mightier than the waves.

Therefore come what may, let us look to Him. Let us not be distracted by the winds and the waves—whether troubles may afflict us as individuals, as families, as a church or as a nation. Let us constantly look to the Lord, for if we take our eyes away from the Lord, we will sink like Peter.

Remember that our LORD is mightier than the waves! And be sure that as He once laid down His life for us, in order to save us from our greatest enemy, namely sin and death,—he will not allow anything to hurt us. No, not even accidents, natural disasters and death can ultimately hurt God’s children, for our King is the Lord of the heaven and the earth.

But let us be reminded finally that …

3. The LORD is Just and Holy

5 Thy testimonies are very sure: holiness becometh thine house, O LORD, for ever.

The LORD is a holy God. He has given us His testimonies and His laws. We are to be holy as He is holy, for holiness becometh His house. Holiness is the constant adornment of His house. We are His house, for we are the lively stones which make up the temple of God.

But what is it to be holy? To be holy is to be righteous. And only those who are holy can dwell with God and enjoy God.

But the Scriptures teaches us that we are all sinners. How then can we dwell with God and enjoy Him? We can because the Lord Jesus Christ himself paid for our sin and clothed us with His righteousness.

Our Lord was punished for our sin that He might make us His saints—i.e. His holy ones. By why must our Lord suffer? It is because God is not just holy but perfectly just.

As a just God, He cannot leave sin unpunished. He took the punishment upon himself in order that we may enjoy His friendship.

But what about those who remain impenitent—who refuse to believe Him or to walk in His ways? As a holy and just God, He must and will punish them.

Therefore, He warned through Jeremiah (Jer 5:22):

“Fear ye not me?  saith the LORD: will ye not tremble at my presence, which have placed the sand for the bound of the sea by a perpetual decree, that it cannot pass it: and though the waves thereof toss themselves, yet can they not prevail; though they roar, yet can they not pass over it?”

Why does the mighty sea keep its bounds? Why does it not normally sweep across the land? Because the LORD has forbidden it to transgress its sandy bounds.

But on the 26th of December 2004, the LORD lifted the ban upon the waves, and they broke their bounds.

It was a day of the LORD. It was a day of judgement for the wickedness, lawlessness, drunkenness, immorality and ungodliness that the sea has been witnessing for centuries.

But the tsunami was just a ripple by God’s standard. It certainly did not unleash the power and destruction that the great deluge in Noah’s days unleashed.

And the scale of destruction is nothing in comparison to what God will bring upon the ungodly in the Great Day of the LORD. On 26 December 2009, 230,000, women and children perished; but in that day we will be talking about billions perishing.

God is just and holy. He has poured out a trickle of his wrath. He will pour out the full bowl of His wrath the Great Day of the LORD.

Knowing this, what shall we do? Shall we weep only for those whose opportunity of repentance has been cut off? Shall we not weep also for ourselves? Shall we not remember that those who perished are no more wicked than we are? Shall we not repent, lest we too perish?

Remember the occasion recorded in Luke 13 of the Galilaean worshippers who were slaughtered by Pilate and the 18 who were crushed by the tower of Siloam. Many thought that they must be wicked and therefore calamity befell them. But what does our Lord say? “I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” (Lk 18:3, 5).

We know that the tsunami came by the judgement of God. But we must not think that the people who perished were more wicked than us.  We must take the event as a merciful warning of God to us, lest we too perish.

Our LORD is a just and holy God. The tsunami was but a little reminder of what He will do at the Great Day of Judgement. Let us not forget the 2004 tsunami. Let us not forget that there is a greater judgement to come.

Shall we not, therefore, resolve to walk before the LORD in the fear of His name, and with love and gratitude? The day of the wrath of the Lamb is coming. In that day, the wicked shall call upon the rocks and the mountains to fall upon them to hide them from the face of him that sitteth on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb (Rev 6:16).

The gentle Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world will be sitting upon the throne of judgement in that day! And He will be full of wrath against the impenitent.

Are we so hardened in our hearts that we cannot see that the day is coming? Has there not been major disasters every year for the last decade—September 11; Iraq War; SARS; earthquake at Bam; tornadoes and forest fires in the States; the Indian Ocean Tsunami; the financial crisis; the earthquakes in China, Pakistan and Indonesia; the typhoons; the floods? More than a million people have died in natural disasters in the last decade. What will the next decade hold?

I don’t know when the LORD is coming. For the Lord tells us that the end is not yet. But this one thing I know: 2005 is nearer to His coming than 2004. And the LORD has been sending us days of Locust like in the days of Joel to awake us out of our slumber.

Shall we continue to slumber? Shall we not repent of our sloth and sin? Shall we not see how God is in his mercy warning us that we may repent lest we perish.

Oh beloved brethren and youths, shall we not awake out of our slumber and resolve to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. Let us resolve today to get our priorities right.


The floods have lifted up their waves. The floods have lifted up their voice. But it is the Lord that has spoken. He has spoken very loudly. Oh beloved brethren, youths and children, do you hear his voice? Oh harden not your hearts as in the day of the provocation, for the day of the wrath of the Lamb is not far off. Amen. Ω