Psalm 29

Read: Psalm 29:1; 1 Chronicles 16:28 – 29

Rabbi Samuel ben Meir (Troyes, c. 1085 – c. 1158), known by the acronym “Rashbam,” said that Psalm 29 was written in fulfillment of Psalm 28:7  “. . .and with my song I give thanks to Him.” The first two verses of Psalm 29 are very similar to 1 Chronicles 16:28 – 29, part of the psalm which David appointed to be sung by Asaph and his brothers when the Ark of the Covenant was moved from the house of Obed-edom to Jerusalem.  Psalm 29 therefore not only completes the promise of Psalm 28:7, but serves as an introduction to Psalm 30, which was written by David in anticipation of that day when Solomon’s Temple (where the Ark would be housed) would be dedicated.   One narrow escape in David’s life led to a thanksgiving that reverberated for ages to come. God’s word was not put together haphazardly.

Think About It:  What experiences have I had with God’s help and deliverance that have reverberated in my life and have affected the lives of others?

Prayer: Praise God, my help in ages past; my hope for years to come.

 

Read: Psalm 29:1 – 2; John 1:10; Romans 8:14; Galatians 3:26; 1 John 3:1

Psalm 29:1 appeals literally, in the original Hebrew, to the “sons of God” to ascribe glory and strength to God. Commentators differ as to the meaning of the phrase “sons of God.”  Some contemporary English translations, and the ancient Jewish scriptural commentary called the Targum, understand “sons of God” to mean angels, which means that the verse implores angels to do precisely what they do (Isaiah 6:2 – 3). Matthew Henry and Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki (Rashi) both understand “sons of God” to refer to the mighty and powerful of the earth, which means that the verse is an appeal to the mighty, who are often blinded by pride, to humble themselves, open their eyes, and give glory to God.  The sages of the Midrash believed the phrase referred to the Patriarchs, and understood it to be descriptive of what they did in their lives as powerful men of faith: they gave God the glory due to Him. The New Testament brings yet a different perspective to this phrase, because all those who have received Christ as Savior are called “children of God. In light of this, Psalm 29:1 calls upon believers in Christ to ascribe glory and strength to the Lord.

Think About It:  Why is it necessary that I be reminded to ascribe to God glory and strength (e.g. Jeremiah 32:17; Luke 1:36, 18:27)?  How have I experienced the power of God at work in my life?  Where and when have I witnessed His glory?

Prayer: Lord, Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.

 

Read: Psalm 29:2; Isaiah 6:1 – 4;  Hebrews 12:18 – 29; Revelation 4:1 – 11

In 1954 A. W. Tozer said in an interview,In my opinion, the great single need of the moment is that light-hearted superficial religionists be struck down with a vision of God high and lifted up, with His train filling the temple. The holy art of worship seems to have passed away like the Shekinah glory from the tabernacle. As a result, we are left to our own devices and forced to make up the lack of spontaneous worship by bringing in countless cheap and tawdry activities to hold the attention of the church people.”  What Tozer called, using the language of Isaiah, the “vision of God high and lifted up” may be just another way of what Psalm 29:2 calls “the splendor of holiness,” which should be the milieu of our worship.

Think About It:  Read and reflect on the Scripture references above. How should these passages affect my conception of, preparation for, and participation in worship?  In my worship, do I ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name? Am I worshiping Him in the splendor of holiness?

Prayer: Lord, grant me the wisdom and grace to worship You in reverence and awe.

 

Read: Psalm 29:3; Joel 2:11; Romans 1:5; 16:26; Colossians 1:5 – 6; 1 Timothy 3:16

Several Christian commentaries give the opinion that Psalm 29:3- 9 described a violent, awe-inspiring thunderstorm which spoke of the power of God and provoked David to praise. The medieval French Rabbi David Kimhi (known by the acronym Radak) gave the opinion that in Psalm 29:3 David was referring to the voice of God when He gave the Law on Mt. Sinai.  The waters and seas are sometimes symbolic in Scripture of the nations of the world (e.g., Daniel 7:3; Revelation 13:1, 20:8).  The “voice of the Lord over the waters” therefore can be understood symbolically as the revealed Word of God which began with the Law, and includes the words of the Prophets, the books of Wisdom, the writings of the Old Testament historians, and the New Testament Gospels and Epistles; that Word of God which is incarnate in Jesus Christ, and is proclaimed among the nations, and which all the nations are accountable to hear, believe, and obey.

Think About It: “The God of glory thunders” (Psalm 29:3) provides an image of the dominance of God’s revelation over all the competing voices of the world. What makes the Word of God stand apart, and above, other religious writings and human philosophies?

Prayer: Praise the Lord that I have been provided the opportunity to apprehend God’s grace through the Gospel that was proclaimed to me.

 

Read: Psalm 29:4 – 9; Isaiah 2:12 – 13

The voice of the Lord is powerful; Psalm 29:4 – 9 indicates that God’s voice makes things happen. Isaiah used the cedars of Lebanon (Psalm 29:5) as one of the things symbolic of the pride of the world which the Lord will bring down in judgment (Isaiah 2:12 – 13). “Sirion” (Psalm 29:6) is the name the Sidonians gave to Mt. Hermon, a snow-capped mountain with an elevation of 9230 ft. above sea level located on the present-day border between Lebanon and Syria, north of Israel. Snow melt from Mt. Hermon feeds the streams that provide the source of the Jordan River, the vital source of life in a desert land.  Kadesh (Psalm 29:8) was an important location in Israel’s history. The name is formed from the same consonants as the word translated “holy,” but the historical associations of the Israelites with Kadesh are mostly negative.  From Kadesh the Israelites sent the spies into the land of Canaan and disobeyed God’s command to enter the land; from Kadesh they launched the first (failed) attempt to invade the Promised land; at Kadesh they camped during their subsequent wanderings in the wilderness of Zin;  at Kadesh Moses disobeyed God and struck the rock, rather than speaking to it, to provide water for the people; near Kadesh, Miriam and Aaron died and were buried.  Kadesh-barnea is the symbolic of the southern boundary of Israel; whereas Mt. Hermon is visible from the northern reaches of Israel.  Therefore Psalm 29:4 – 9 pictures the voice of the Lord shaking the whole land of Israel from the far north to the far south. The voice of the Lord shakes up the very source of life for a desert land (Mt. Hermon). The voice of the Lord breaks down boastful pride of men (the cedars of Lebanon). The voice of the Lord shakes up man’s failed attempts to live in holiness (Kadesh).

Think About It:  According to Psalm 29:9, what is the response of those in God’s temple to the awesome acts of God recorded in Psalm 29:4 – 9? The word translated “glory” means literally “heavy, weighty”; it can also be translated “Splendid!” Why are these awesome works of God regarded as splendid?

Prayer: Praise God for His power to shake up this wicked world.

 

Read: Psalm 29:10; Genesis 6:17; Psalm 9:7; 10:16 – 17; Revelation 11:15

In Psalm 29:10 David contemplated the nature of the storm that demonstrated the awesome effects of God’s voice, and connected it with the flood. He concluded that this storm, like the flood, was evidence of God’s absolute sovereignty. What appeared to man to be unmanageable chaos was completely under God’s control. He rejoiced that God’s sovereignty is eternal, which means that what He did in the past He can and will do in the future, in bringing the world into judgment.

Think About It: What personal application can I make from the reality of God’s eternal sovereignty, His absolute control over what appears to be unmanageable chaos, and the inevitable judgment He is bringing upon the whole world at the last day? How should I live in light of these truths? What is there in these revelations about God that chastens me? What is there that encourages me?

Prayer:  “We give thanks to You, Lord God Almighty, who is and who was, for You have taken Your great power and begun to reign” (Revelation 11:17).

 

Read: Psalm 29:11; Mark 4:36 – 41

Having reflected on the terrible judgment of God, in Psalm 29:11 David turned to reflect on what God can do for His people.  He prayed for God to give His people strength. Surely the God whose voice flattened the tall cedars has a lot of strength to give. He prayed for God to bless His people with peace. God, who is able to destroy His enemies at a single word, also can be supremely kind to His people, and He is. The God of the storm is also the God of peace; therefore the people of God can be at peace in the storm.

Think About It: Why did Jesus rebuke His disciples after the incident with the storm on Lake Galilee (Mark 4:38)? What should the disciples have done? Why were they afraid during the storm (Mark 4:38)? Why were they afraid after Jesus had calmed the storm (Mark 4:31)?  How do I react to the storms of life? How should I react to the storms of life?

Prayer:  Lord, please help me remember the beneficence of Your awesome power when I am facing the storms of life.

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