Psalms 1 - 50by Mike Raiter
My wife loves storms. When the lightning flashes, the thunder crashes, and the rain batters the roof, Sarah's heart leaps with joy and wonder. Yet storms can also be terrifying. At the crash of thunder, children run to their parents for safety, and animals howl in fear. Psalm 29 is a majestic invitation to worship the powerful God of creation.
David begins by calling on the heavenly beings to ″worship the Lord in the splendour of his holiness″ (v. 2). He then takes us on a tour of the awesome character of God's world (vv. 3-9). As you read this psalm, try to picture in your mind's eye what David describes. See the mighty oceans, the trees of Lebanon which were famous in the ancient world for their size and strength, the mountains of Lebanon and Sirion (which is Mount Hermon), the storm, the desert, the animals (verse 9 is sometimes translated as ″the voice of the Lord made the deer give birth″), and the forests.
Above all this, Psalm 29 is a psalm in praise of God's voice, which rules His world. Seven times David describes the power of God's voice (vv. 3-9). From the seven days of creation to the cycles of seven throughout the book of Revelation, seven in the Bible is the number of completeness or perfection. In other words, all power is found in the voice of God. The cedars of Lebanon are imposing and majestic, but they crumble at God's voice (v. 5). God's voice sends the thunder and the desert storm, and ″strips the forests bare″ (vv. 7-9).
The natural response to seeing the power of God over creation is fear. Yet, that is not the note on which the psalm concludes. We, as God's people, take comfort from knowing that the Lord uses all this power for our good. He gives us His strength and blesses us with peace (vv. 10-11).
Psalm 29 invites us to open our eyes and behold God's power all around us. Look at a mighty river or sea. Stand in wonder at a storm. Gaze up at a towering mountain. Behold the vastness of a forest. Then rejoice, that the same power that controls them blesses you with peace, ″and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus″ (Philippians 4:7).
How can we, both as individuals and as a church, ″ascribe to the Lord glory and strength″ (Psalm 29:1)?
Can you recall times in your life when you were struck by the power of God in creation? How did they lead you to ″ascribe to the Lord the glory due to his name″ (v. 2)?