Run for Your Lives! On June 1, 1889, newspapers across the United States bore the news that Johnstown, Pennsylvania, had been ravaged by the most devastating flood in our young nation’s history. Johnstown, comprised of German and Welsh immigrants, was a growing and industrious community, well-known for the high quality of steel produced there. After days of non-stop rainy weather, the inhabitants heard a low rumble that grew like a roar of thunder. The poorly maintained South Fork Dam, edging Lake Conemaugh, failed, sending a 36-foot high wall of water crashing down on the defenseless community below. In the wake of the disaster, a town was leveled, and 2,209 lives were lost in a ten-minute deluge. What power!
I have visited that flood sight, located close to my home here in western Pennsylvania. The type of power on display that day is inconceivable. But King David was well-aware of that Source of power, the One Who is “upon the water,” Whose glory “thundereth.” David was acquainted with the voice of the One who is “powerful…full of majesty;” a voice that “breaketh the cedars…of Lebanon.” But with this statement, the shepherd king filled my heart with awe: “The LORD sitteth upon the flood: yea, the LORD sitteth King for ever.”
The Hebrew language has several words that are translated flood, or floodwaters. But David uses an unusual word for flood in this passage, the word mabbol. This word is used only one other time in the Old Testament; the word is used in reference to the worldwide, cataclysmic flood of Noah’s day, when all life, apart from those sheltered in the Ark, was snuffed out. Although the Johnstown Flood was disastrous, it pales in comparison to the food referred to by David. Even the greatest disaster to strike our planet was under the rule and authority of God.
I find it hard to comprehend such power, but what is harder to fathom is that this powerful Kind of kings would “give strength unto his people: the LORD will bless his people with people with peace.” This awesome God, who rides the waves of the waters, is MY God, MY salvation, MY great “I AM.” He looked down from His throne on high and opened the door for me to become His child. Then sings my soul, my Savior, God to Thee; How great Thou art; HOW GREAT THOU ART.
Psalm 29:10 The LORD sitteth upon the flood; yea the LORD sitteth King for ever.
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