Psalm 29: 1-3 & 10-11
Ascribe to the Lord, you heavenly beings, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. 2 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due to his name; worship the Lord in the splendour of his holiness. 3 The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the Lord thunders over the mighty waters. The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord is enthroned as King forever. 11 The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.
It’s been ages since I have witnessed a really good thunder storm; one that filled me with awe. On the rare occasion that does happen all I want to do is stand and watch, from a position of safety of course, amazed at the display and if it is at night so much the better.
David here sets before us the majesty and power of God as he calls the heavenly beings to worship God who is above and separate from his creation; who rules over it in power, power that is seen in his control over the elements. It’s true to say that for the most part we have a small view of God, or at least that’s always the danger and as a result we are inclined to approach him lightly or even carelessly. Yet if the angels are called to worship God in the splendour of his holiness, a splendour that exceeds anything we can comprehend, why is it that we think of God as a we would a mate? Jesus taught us to call God Father but as Christians, we should always do that with the greatest respect for we never find Jesus speaking causally about God.
There were three things that struck me as I read the final verses of the psalm. Linguists tell us that the only other place where the word translated here as flood, is used in the Old Testament is in relation to Noah’s flood which was an act of judgement. So, we can be sure that the one who reveals his power in the storm and flood is the one who is judge of all the earth. Another Psalm, the first, reminds us that “the wicked will not stand in the judgement nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.” The day will come when sin must be faced and we must give account but the wonderful truth of the final verse brings us to the second thought, because in that day we can stand only as we stand in Jesus and in his righteousness and mighty power. The final thing is that the Lord, when all is said and done, and the storm passes, blesses his people with peace; a truth expressed musically in an old popular hymn... “be still my soul the wind and waves still know his voice who ruled them when he dwelt below.” We as a society and a nation are in the eye of a storm the full effects of which are still unknown. We need to remember though that there is one who sits enthroned above all storms, the one who gives both strength and peace to those he has called as his own.