We probably have no way of feeling how terrifying the sea was to Old Testament-era writers. Most ancient cultures believed it was ruled by the most destructive and capricious spirits. Even for the Hebrews, the power and unpredictability of the ocean made it the symbol of the most unruly forces on earth.
So when the Psalmist declares “You rule the oceans” he declares “God rules the most unruly powers in the universe.”
Today, I don’t worry about the ocean much. I have a 21st century list of most unruly powers. The economy, for instance. Partisan politics. The job market. Finding a job.
Thanks to Psalm 89, I’ve been reminded that God’s authority extends over all things — even those things I think are completely beyond control.