“Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures throughout all generations” (Ps. 145:13).
Empires inevitably come to an end. Rome conquered the known world, but it eventually fell to barbarian invasions. About a thousand years later, the Byzantine Empire was overrun by Muslim armies and its capital, Byzantium, was renamed Istanbul. The sun never set on the British Empire until it was broken up in the aftermath of World War II. Today, some are claiming that we might be living in the closing years of American hegemony.
Unlike the kingdoms of men, however, the reign of the great divine King is everlasting. Apart from the work of the Holy Spirit, human beings do not acknowledge the sovereignty of God; nevertheless, the Lord’s throne does not depend on a rebellious creature’s willingness to bow to His reign. The psalmist is clear in today’s passage — God’s kingdom is eternal, His dominion from generation to generation (Ps. 145:13).
Psalm 145 also plainly reveals that the Almighty’s reign is universal. Scripture typically speaks of the kingdom of God in two ways. First, God’s kingdom may refer to that realm where His will is followed spontaneously and joyfully. This is what Jesus typically means when He refers to the kingdom of God or the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 6:9–10). Presently, this kingdom is in the process of being manifested to the whole world through the witness of the church, and it will be consummated upon the return of Christ. Scripture also speaks of the kingdom of God as that universal reign of the Creator over His creation. When referring to the kingdom in this way, the Bible is clear that God is now reigning, even when His rule goes unacknowledged. This is the sense in which Psalm 145 refers to the kingdom.
God’s universal rule over His creation is remarkable for its beneficence. David recognizes in the psalm that the Lord shows His goodness and mercy to all, even the rebellious, for He is slow to anger and does not immediately strike people down for sinning against Him (vv. 8–9). He feeds His creatures and even satisfies many of their desires (vv. 15–16). But even though He does this for the whole world, believers enjoy the special privilege of knowing the salvation of God and having Him hear our prayers. As John Newton wrote in one hymn, “You are coming to a king/large petitions with you bring/for his grace and power are such/none can ever ask too much.”
Coram DeoLiving before the face of God
Because God’s kingdom is everlasting, we can be confident that He will overcome all of His and our enemies. No foe can outlast Him, and nothing will ever cause His throne to fall. We should therefore be unafraid that our service to Him will ever be in vain. He will never be displaced and will therefore never lose the ability to reward His faithful servants. That should motivate us to follow Him wherever He leads.