Breakfast with the President
Meeting an important person can make you do funny things. Their presence can be overwhelming. I was invited to the President’s Prayer Breakfast in Washington D.C. a few years ago. Dignitaries, world leaders, politicians, Supreme Court Justices, and prominent business owners filled the Hilton ballroom. At this hotel’s main entrance, a few years earlier, President Regan was shot with a .22 pistol. With the recently elected President, George Bush senior in attendance security was high. Excitement and anticipation were elevated.
Part four of six
Before the breakfast, I was introduced to a mayor from a prominent city on the eastern seaboard. Initially, it was like any other greeting until she looked directly at me. She projected a confidence and composure I had never experienced. While shaking her hand I felt my knees weaken. What was happening to me? My mind was registering how powerful and authoritative she was, my heart sensed I was in the presence of someone important, and my legs couldn’t take the weight of being in the presence of an important person. Her presence had a significant effect on me.
How much more should we be in awe as we enter the presence of God in worship. In talk number three, we discussed the majesty of Christ from the perspective of his quality of eternity. We learned that his authority comes from being eternal. In this talk, we will highlight Jesus’ quality of being triumphant. Remember, to fully grasp his majesty we need to view all six characteristics of his majesty. Only then will we begin to understand how to celebrate the Majestic One.
Next to believing in the existence of God, there is nothing more important than the conviction that the Lord reigns. King Jesus sovereignly rules over his creation. Just as the Psalmist sings, “The Lord reigns,” so the Church’s song is “The Lord reigns” (Rev 19:6). Meeting a famous mayor is merely the glimmering of a lightning bug compared to the brilliance of God’s majesty.
4) Jesus is triumphant
When the Hebrews exited Egypt, they saw the almighty power of God over the Red Sea. God used the waters to destroy Pharaoh’s army (Ex 15:1). As the horse and rider were hurled into the sea, God’s triumph became a testimony of his strength (vs 2). The Hebrews never forgot this demonstration of victory as they celebrate the Passover Feast. Passing through the Red Sea on dry ground contributed to them being a people of the land, as water was a symbol of chaos, violence, and destruction. Water is a biblical metaphor for chaos (Ps 93:3-4).
Even as the seas of chaos and destruction surround us, even as the waters lift their voice in an attempt to drown out God’s words, even as the pounding waves pummel and discourage us, God is mightier. God “sits enthroned over the flood” (Ps 29:10). He is the triumphant God. The chaos and attacks we face don’t disturb his rest or rule. God’s will, design, and purposes for his people cannot be defeated by a flood of evil. He is triumphant over the waters of life because he rules from a position that is higher than waves.
Water was such a powerful image of evil for Israel that their main adversaries could be identified by the rivers running through their kingdoms. The Nile represented Egypt. The Tigris represented Assyria. The Euphrates represented Babylon. But weak Israel was identified by a small, insignificant, river compared to the great rivers of their enemies, the Jordan. John baptized God’s people here to prepare them for one so great that he was unworthy to even carry his sandals (Mt 3:11). John’s sense of inadequacy originated from knowing the coming Messiah possessed great power.
Baptism in the gentle Jordan represented a coming meek Savior who would be anything but weak. He would come and cleanse his people, but not with the mild water of the Jordan River. He would use the Holy Spirit and fire to purify his people from the flood of sin. The contrast of the mild Jordan river to the mighty rivers passing through their enemy’s territories was striking. It taught them to place their faith in the power of the Messiah and not in nature or the pagan gods of their enemies.
The seas might become foreboding, the waves may appear ominous, the waters may pound and thunder, but they are no match for a God who sits high above the noise and chaos. He cannot be overcome by troubled waters. Sin, sickness, and death cannot reach and over take him.
God is often described as delivering his people from the vantage point of being “on high” (2 Sam 22:17-18). God ascends from “on high,” the Spirit at Pentecost gives power from “on high,” and when Jesus returns he will come from above (1 Thess 4:16). This perspective reminds us that God is higher than evil’s reach. He sits above the floods. He resides in the safest place. Mightier than the noise of a flood, God cannot be distressed by evil. The result of God’s superior position to wickedness means that if we are found in him, we too are resting in the safest of places.
The Jews, being a people of the land, most feared uncontrolled water from a destructive overflowing river, a powerful storm, or the raging sea. These things brought death and destruction. God, to them, had shown himself to be greater than their fears. He’s the triumphant one.
He also is greater than our fears. The ultimate fear is death. Jesus triumphed over death and promised those in him would too. “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Rev 21:4 NIV). This is a promise of future safety and a declaration that Jesus prevails. Our worries have no sticky glue to adhere to us because Jesus is mightier than any fear or calamity. His throne is above the waters. He rules from the safest place in the universe, and he invites you and me to join him there. Let us worship him from the safety of his presence. He is the triumphant one.
“The seas have lifted up, O LORD, the seas have lifted up their voice; the seas have lifted up their pounding waves. Mightier than the thunder of the great waters, mightier than the breakers of the sea — the LORD on high is mighty” (Ps 93:3-4 NIV).