Psalm 97: Mountains Melting Like Wax


Sunset at Boyne Mountain, by Erin Bartells

Sunrises over a mountain, the changing seasons, a baby’s laugh, some things never get old. No matter how many times we see the sun rise, it still inspires awe. No matter how many times we watch the changing seasons come and go, they remain a wonder. No matter how many times we hear a baby laugh, the sound still echoes like angel voices in our ears.

Such are the psalms. We hear the same passages over and over again, yet they are never old, never tedious. They tell the continuing story of our God as found in creation and history.

I never tire of the beautiful images taken from nature. The image of mountains melting like wax in Psalm 97 brings to mind molten lava pouring down a mountain side like streams, or a tree-covered hill in autumn, red with fall foliage. “The mountains melt like wax before the Lord, before the Lord of all the earth.” (5)

Psalm 97 is an enthronement psalm in honor of God the King. God rules. All of earth is under God’s command, which is reason for rejoicing. “The Lord reigns; let the earth rejoice; let the many coastlands be glad!” (1)

God’s power is proclaimed through images in nature, “Clouds and thick darkness are round about him; righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne. Fire goes before him, and burns up his adversaries round about.” (2-3) God is great in his glory and power, “The heaven proclaim his righteousness; and all the peoples behold his glory.” (6)

Anyone who worships false idols is put to shame before the one true king of the universe, “All worshipers of images are put to shame, who make their boast in worthless idols, all gods bow down before him.” (7)

In the end, light dawns for those who follow the ways of the Lord. “Light dawns for the righteous, and joy for the upright in heart. Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous, and give thanks to his holy name.” (11-12)

God is Lord of the universe. If God can melt the mountains like wax, God’s power can melt the hardest heart. No matter how hard, no matter the offense, in our Creator’s hands, we are like putty.

And so I pray that God will melt that which is hard within me, melt, mold and fashion me in line with God’s gracious Word.

What needs to be softened within you today?

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