Psalm 29: the glory of the LORD in the storm
Psalm 29 A psalm of David. (1) Ascribe to the LORD, you heavenly beings, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength. (2) Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor 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. (4) The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is majestic. (5) The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars; the LORD breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon. (6) He makes Lebanon leap like a calf, Sirion like a young wild ox. (7) The voice of the LORD strikes with flashes of lightning. (8) The voice of the LORD shakes the desert; the LORD shakes the Desert of Kadesh. (9) The voice of the LORD twists the oaks and strips the forests bare. And in his temple all cry, "Glory!" (10) 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.
Praise, praise, praise.
Praise in the storm.
God is in the storm. God, the Creator, is a storm.
And . . . the name the psalm references over and over again is the most holy name for God.
The LORD (all caps) is YHWH, Yahweh or Jehovah. It is used eighteen times in these eleven verses. The name Yahweh is the covenant name of God. In the Old Testament, and even today, Jewish people do not speak this name out of reverence to God. Modern Jews write “G-d,” when referring the Hebrew name for God.
The Lord gave Himself this name:
I am the LORD; that is my name! Isaiah 42:8
The Hebrew word is simply four letters, YHWH.
This is the famous tetragrammaton, or name of four letters, which we write Jehovah, Yehovah, Yehveh, Yeveh, Jhuh, Javah, etc. The letters are YHWH. The Jews never pronounce it, and the true pronunciation is utterly unknown.Adam Clark, English Bible scholar, 1762-1832
Whatever the reason, the context of this psalm is evident. David is praising God.
Praise the LORD! For He is worthy to be praised. Shout for joy for the LORD reigns! Worship the LORD in the storm.
Can you just hear it?
Can you picture? Maybe the people were praising the Lord as a real storm blew around them. Maybe David bowed in a real storm as he wrote these words. Maybe he saw God in this storm or heard His voice.
So often we say, “God is with me in this storm.” But what if God is the storm? What if all we need to do is lift our feet up and ride in His arms? That is a beautiful idea- and scary.
In fact, this psalm speaks so clearly . . . there are storms. Do you walk through a storm right now?
God is not only IN the storm; He is master of the storm.
What do we do? How do we survive? How do we put one foot in front of the other when everyday blends into the next and there seems to be no end? When grief and fear suffocate us?
Look at these different translations for verse 1 and 2:
Give unto the Lord, O ye mighty, give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness. Psalm 29:1-2 KJV Honor the Lord, you heavenly beings; honor the Lord for his glory and strength. Honor the Lord for the glory of his name. Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness. Psalm 29: 1-2 NLT
What can we give to the God of the universe? What do we even have to offer?
Our praise. Our worship. We honor Him with praise.
In the storm, we lift our hands in praise to the glory and strength and might of the Lord.
God’s voice in the storm.
The voice of the LORD is over the waters The voice of the LORD is powerful The voice of the LORD is majestic The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars The voice of the LORD strikes with flashes of lightning The voice of the LORD shakes the desert The voice of the LORD twists the oaks
Storms are scary.
Thunder is not only poetically but also instructively called “the voice of God,” since it peals from on high; it surpasses all other sounds, it inspires awe, it is entirely independent of man, and has been used on some occasions as the grand accompaniment of God’s speech to Adam’s sons.Charles Spurgeon, English preacher, 1834-1892
Below the storm is panic, fear, worry. But above the storm is praise. In the storm . . . is the voice of God.
Immediately after this, Jesus insisted that his disciples get back into the boat and cross to the other side of the lake, while he sent the people home. After sending them home, he went up into the hills by himself to pray. Night fell while he was there alone. Meanwhile, the disciples were in trouble far away from land, for a strong wind had risen, and they were fighting heavy waves. About three o'clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. When the disciples saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. In their fear, they cried out, "it's a ghost!" But Jesus spoke to them at once. "Don't be afraid," he said. "Take courage. I am here!" Then Peter called to him, "Lord, if it's really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water." "Yes, come," Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. "Save me, Lord!" he shouted. Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. "You have so little faith," Jesus said. "Why did you doubt me?" When they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped. Matthew 14:22-32
In the story of Jesus walking on water is such a good reminder as we face storms. Jesus didn’t calm the storm as soon as He saw they were afraid. He didn’t calm the storm before He started walking the distance out to them. He didn’t calm the storm as Peter panicked and began to sink. He didn’t even calm the storm as He took Peter by the hand to stand on the water with Him.
Once He got into the boat with them all, then He calmed the storm.
My friends, Jesus literally walked on water during a storm to show His brothers that He was there WITHIN the storm. That He had control of the storm. That He was not afraid of the storm.
For us, we can take what Jesus was teaching Peter and apply it to our lives when we face storms, as we face storms today. Jesus walks with us. Jesus could calm the storm right then and there. But it’s almost cooler to take hold of his hand and stand on the water during the storm. Right?
Then the storm of that storms ends like this:
When they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped. Then the disciples worshiped him. "You really are the Son of God!" they exclaimed. Matthew 14:32-33
Okay, let’s worship the Lord like the disciples did as they realized Jesus was the Son of God and Master of the Storm. Let’s worship God like David and the Israelites as the Lord’s voice thunders over the water and breaks the trees into pieces and shakes the desert and strips the forests bare.
In the middle of the storm, take Jesus’s hand and praise Him. When the storm is over, praise Him.
Dear reader, is this not a noble psalm to be sung in stormy weather? Can you sing amid the thunder? Will you be able to sing when the last thunders are let loose, and Jesus judges quick and dead? If you are a believer, the last verse is your heritage, and surely that will set you singing.Charles Spurgeon, English preacher, 1834-1892
The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace. Psalm 29:11
As we face storms today, let these last words fill you with hope. God promises strength and peace during the storm. He may not calm it, but He will walk with you through it.
How do we take His hand and walk with Him through the storm? Where do we find the courage?
Seek the Lord every day. Praise Him for His faithfulness throughout time. He was faithful, He will be faithful. Claim it.
When you find yourself at a loss for words, recite a psalm to the Lord.
He hears you, my friends. He truely does.
Father in heaven, as we face storms in our lives help us to lean on you for strength. Help us to remember that you walk beside us; that you are present in the storm. You are master of the storm. And when you calm the storm, may our hearts be filled with praise! When you don’t calm the storm, help us to find the strength to praise you as well. Thank you, Father, for your love, for your promises, for your faithfulness. Please heal our land, protect our loved ones, strengthen your church. Amen.