1 The Lord reigns; let the peoples tremble!
He sits enthroned upon the cherubim; let the earth quake!
2 The Lord is great in Zion;
he is exalted over all the peoples.
3 Let them praise your great and awesome name!
Holy is he!
4 The King in his might loves justice.
You have established equity;
you have executed justice
and righteousness in Jacob.
5 Exalt the Lord our God;
worship at his footstool!
Holy is he!
6 Moses and Aaron were among his priests,
Samuel also was among those who called upon his name.
They called to the Lord, and he answered them.
7 In the pillar of the cloud he spoke to them;
they kept his testimonies
and the statute that he gave them.
8 O Lord our God, you answered them;
you were a forgiving God to them,
but an avenger of their wrongdoings.
9 Exalt the Lord our God,
and worship at his holy mountain;
for the Lord our God is holy!
This psalm magnifies the Lord and all that He is. The Lord’s reign is powerful to the degree that no one stands straight when before the reign of the Lord. We see this when John sees the risen Lord in Revelation 1 where he falls as though dead. We also see in Philippians where every knee will bow before the Lord: they either bow out of adoration to God or that their knees are so unsteady before the glorious presence and reign of God, they are undone. Not only do the people tremble, but the whole earth shakes. What an awesome God we serve! And so we worship God!
God is exalted among His people, and so they praise His name because He is holy, separate, sacred, and far removed from anything in heaven or on earth. And the actions that He does for his people in verse demonstrate our absolute need to praise God: He is just and His righteous reign brings upon equality. The rule of God is way better than anything mankind can bring. God’s established reign in Revelation reveal a life with God, no more tears, pain, sadness, worry, fears. It’s the ideal vision of a society and it’s only made possible with the perfect rule of Christ.
Verses 6-8 are a reminder to the history of Israel: God spoke through Moses and Aaron with the plagues of Egypt, the deliverance and redemption of God’s people, the formation of the covenant, and the establishment of the bountiful and beautiful laws and commands of God for our good. Samuel delivered Israel in some of the worst times in Israel’s history, the corruption of the priesthood of Eli, and bringing forth God’s established reign with David - the foreshadow of Christ the King. During Israel’s time in the wilderness and through God’s prophets, God spoke to His people. He answered them, looked after them, and sought for them no matter how great their rebellion and sin was. And so we worship God and exalt Him, knowing that we as sinners have much reason to worship and praise Him forever and ever.