The Earth is the Lord’s, and the King of Glory is Set on Zion.

Worship leading today. Photo: Brad Stroup

I’m here in Texas! I arrived Wednesday night and have spent the past couple days getting settled in. Today, I was asked to come help fill in for a few hours at The Prayer Room, and so I ushered the 3-5pm and led worship for the 5-7pm.

While I was ushering, God put a verse fragment on my heart: “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.” I looked it up and found it in Psalm 24. I was familiar with the last stanza of this Psalm but forgot how it started.screenshot_20170120-235916

.   The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof,
.        the world and those who dwell therein…
.   Lift up your heads, O gates!
.        And be lifted up, O ancient doors,
.        that the King of glory may come in.
.   Who is this King of glory?
.        The Lord, strong and mighty,
.        the Lord, mighty in battle!
.             Psalm 24:1, 7-8

This was exactly what my heart needed to hear today, on inauguration day of all days. I had spent some time in the morning sharing some thoughts on Facebook regarding President Trump, but on the whole I think praying through this passage today was far more productive.

Whenever I worship lead, I always take around 15 minutes in the middle of my set to sing through a passage and spontaneously sing some devotional thoughts on it. This is a normal part of the harp and bowl model that I learned at IHOPKC and which we use at The Prayer Room. Today, I felt God leading me to sing these verses from Psalm 24.

I had a few cross-references in mind as backdrop, especially Colossians 1:15-18:

[Jesus] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together… He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.
Colossians 1:15-18

God owns everything. He created everything. He is sovereign over everything. Everything exists FOR Him, for His glory. He will be preeminent – in first place, front and centre, completely.

In one sense, this is already true; right now, heaven is His throne and earth is His footstool, and He is absolutely sovereign. But there is coming a Day when His throne will come to Earth–to the city of Jerusalem, to be precise–and He will be fully, actively engaged in personally ruling the nations in perfect righteousness and justice.

The gates and “ancient doors” of Jerusalem will open and the King of Glory will ride in on a white horse and begin to reign like never before.

I couldn’t help also singing a bit of Psalm 2. I only sang a couple of phrases from it, but this was the whole context I had in mind:

.   Why do the nations rage
.        and the peoples plot in vain?
.   The kings of the earth set themselves,
.        and the rulers take counsel together,
.        against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying,
.   “Let us burst their bonds apart
.        and cast away their cords from us.”
.   He who sits in the heavens laughs;
.        the Lord holds them in derision.
.   Then he will speak to them in his wrath,
.        and terrify them in his fury, saying,
.   “As for me, I have set my King
.        on Zion, my holy hill.”
.   I will tell of the decree:
.   The Lord said to me, “You are my Son;
.        today I have begotten you.
.   Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,
.        and the ends of the earth your possession.
.   You shall break them with a rod of iron
.        and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”
.             Psalm 2:1-9

As I sang, “You have set the King on Zion, You have set the King on Zion, He will reign” over and over, I could feel the prophetic declaration going out into the atmosphere. No matter how unrighteous the ruler–no matter how the nations rage–God’s answer is to set Jesus as the King of Glory in Jerusalem. The nations belong to Him. He won’t tolerate injustice forever. Even as we fight to advance to Kingdom inch by inch now, it will one day be absolutely complete and Jesus will rule in perfect righteousness on earth forever. I believe that Day is right around the corner.

I don’t think this means God says, “Oh well, I’ll fix it all eventually, guess it can all just fall to pieces in the meantime.” Oh no! If a man is engaged to be married, he’s not going to just ignore his bride until the wedding day. What’s in his heart for that day very much affects how he treats her on this day. When I get frustrated with the state of our world and feel tempted to say, “God, are you seeing this? Do something!” He would say, “Don’t ever think I don’t care. I have far more zeal for righteousness than you do. I am doing something in response to the prayers of my people, in many ways you don’t even see, and there will be a Day when I stage the ultimate intervention. Keep the faith.”

I’m not swearing off political Facebook posts. I want to continue having these conversations online and in person; I believe keeping our government accountable is important. I don’t want to use “Jesus is still on the throne” as an excuse to sit on my butt the next four years. But on days like today when I feel overwhelmed by how far we have to go, I remember:

The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.


He has set the King of Glory on Zion.


He will reign.


Why Do The Nations Rage? (Or: Window Seat Reflections)


I always get a window seat when I fly. What’s the point of soaring over the landscape if you can’t enjoy the view? From 26,000 feet, all of civilisation looks so small. City blocks, suburban residential tracts, freeways, and farmland all look so flat. On the ground, buildings tower over us as a testament to man’s genius and progress, like the ancient tower of Babel. From the air, the tallest skyscraper looks like a mere speck on the surface of this massive planet.

Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.
Ecclesiastes 2:11

Sure, we’ve covered the ground with our cities and our fields; we’ve spread out as if we own the place. We’ve built our governments, our corporations, and our universities. We’ve chased after educations, careers, and relationships, and we’ve crowed proudly over every goal achieved. We’ve built our tiny little kingdoms, but viewed from far above, it seems so insignificant, like the boasting of ants. Somehow, the ants have the nerve to think that we are the masters of our universe.

How silly that seems from 26,000 feet.

Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves… against the LORD.
Psalm 2:1-2

It’s quite bewildering, really. The ants have rallied together and shake their fists at their Creator. Most days it’s in the hidden thoughts of our own hearts, but some days we see it blatantly on the news, and one day it will become a literal army gathered on the plain of Meggido to war against the One on the white horse, the King of Kings. (Revelation 16:14-16, 19:19)

This is where humanity is going. Who do we think we are?

Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes… As it is, you boast in your arrogance.
James 4:14-16

From God’s perspective, all that arrogance is as absurd as an ant declaring itself president, when tomorrow it could be stepped on and squashed. The truth is that “The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein.” (Psalm 24:1) We do not get to set ourselves up as masters of our own universe. We can’t even control the beating of our own hearts! Every breath is a gift from God, and every scrap of control we think we have is an illusion.

Now therefore, O kings, be wise… Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son…
Psalm 2:10-12

There is only one proper response to this realisation. Humility. Worship. “You are God and I am not.” Bow low. Kiss the Son and swear Him allegiance. Confess the truth that He is Lord.

Yes, tremble, and realise whose presence you are standing in, but rejoice! Because you do get to stand in His presence.

We may be ants, but we are also kings and priests, sons and daughters. Alone, we are nothing, but He is everything, and we are with Him.

When I look out from my window seat, I see the world that my Father owns. I see the planet over which Jesus will one day fully manifest His rule. Right now, it may be full of the vain screams of ants, but it will one day be full of the swelling song of awestruck, adoring worship.

From the ends of the earth we hear songs of praise, of glory to the Righteous One.
Isaiah 24:16