By Les Henson.
Note that this is the first of three posts on Psalm 24.
Psalm 24:1-2 NRSV
1 The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it,
the world, and those who live in it;
2 for he has founded it on the seas,
and established it on the rivers.
These verses in Psalm 24 prepare us for the grand entry of the King of Glory into the great city of Jerusalem in the latter part of the psalm. We are told that the One coming is the eternal Lord of Hosts. He is the Creator-King and Sustainer of the world. To Him, all the inhabitants of the earth belong. Therefore, everyone and everything is under His dominion. His rule is established because He alone created the world and made it inhabitable (Isa. 45: 18).
Verse 1 makes it prodigiously clear that the Lord is the owner of the earth, the world and everything within it. Thus, the earth and all who live and dwell within it belong to God the Creator-King. As Genesis 1 informs us, God spoke into being, as the Spirit hovered over the deep, darkness and empty, void; and light and darkness; day and night; dry land and sea; heaven and earth; sun and moon and the whole of the created order came into being by the spoken word of God.
The psalmist, David, was correct to praise the Lord and ponder over the glory of His person and plans. He was right to confess the sovereignty of God and the greatness of the Lord. So, we also should not neglect to offer praise to the Lord for the earth and everything within it, for the world and all its inhabitants belong to Him. The Lord is the owner and not us, human beings. Instead, we are to be guardians and stewards taking care of God’s good creation. Therefore, the earth is not to be exploited, but rather enjoyed and looked after.
Let us remember that He was the One who laid the foundation on the seas and established it on the rivers. Thus, in verse 2, we see the Lord, as Creator and Sustainer, is visualised as the cities founder and establisher of the earth. The poetic image is of the solid earth rising up out of the sea and the rivers. Here is no hint of a primitive cosmology with the earth floating on the seas. Instead, the Lord is shown as the One creating an orderly and stable world (cp. Ps. 136: 5-6), over which He exercises His rule.
Let us never forget that the Lord is the immortal, invisible God who created and sustains the earth and all that is. He is our Creator, and Sustainer and Lord of all things and He is worthy of our honour, worship and obedience. Let us also remember that our Creator and Sustainer has bestowed on us all His good gifts upon us: in nature, in our own talents, in the people, that God has placed around us, in the good gifts of the earth. So, we should willingly respond to His gracious provision and love by loving Him in return, reverencing the gifts He has given to us and loving others as God has loved us.