The earth is the Lord and the fullness thereof
The world and those who dwell therin
For he has founded it upon the seas
And established it upon the rivers
I’ve been reading Robert Alter’s wonderful translation of the Torah – especially spending time with the explanatory notes, which usually get short shrift in my devotions. One thing they remind me is that much of the Old Testament is written as polemic: a major concern was to establish the God of Israel as the only god of all the nations. Monotheism wasn’t assumed, so how do we get there?
David does this in Psalm 24 by claiming God’s authority through creation and redemption.
Creation is clear: the earth is the Lord’s because he founded it.
Redemption is more complicated: the earth is the Lord’s because he founded it upon the seas. Think back to Genesis. Before any creation there was a “deep” and the Spirit of God was “over the face of the waters.” These waters were primordial chaos – a nightmarish, destructive rush of power which God rescues the earth from. The waters return to the earth in the judgement of the Flood. After this, God makes a covenant with Noah that water will never again destroy the earth.
That promise is a covenant which we are all included in: Jew and Gentile. God rescued the whole earth from the waters. God redeemed everyone, in a primordial rescue, from the chaos of non-being.
Likewise, Jesus’ redemption is for the whole earth. That is why he is the Lord of the Earth: he redeemed it from bondage to the chaos of sin as surely as God established the earth upon the rivers.
Note: As always, this is a Psnippet. I am not a real exegete, just playing at being one in a tight 250 words.