Intro: Psalm 29 ponders the power and majesty that is the voice of the Lord. It leads David to even command the Angels to praise the Lord.
Ascribe to the Lord Glory
A Psalm of David.
1 Ascribe to the Lord, O 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 holiness.
3 The voice of the Lord is over the waters;
the God of glory thunders,
the Lord, over many waters.
4 The voice of the Lord is powerful;
the voice of the Lord is full of majesty.
5 The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars;
the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon.
6 He makes Lebanon to skip like a calf,
and Sirion like a young wild ox.
7 The voice of the Lord flashes forth flames of fire.
8 The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness;
the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
9 The voice of the Lord makes the deer give birth
and strips the forests bare,
and in his temple all cry, “Glory!”
10 The Lord sits enthroned over the flood;
the Lord sits enthroned as king forever.
11 May the Lord give strength to his people!
May the Lord bless his people with peace!
Main Point: If you missed the central theme of this Psalm, you didn’t read it. This psalm is all about the power and majesty of the voice of the Lord. The Psalmist reminds us of its power displayed in the Lord’s work of creation (v3). David also reminds us of how his voice has control of nature(v. 5, 7, 8, 9). His voice even exerts great control of large geographic regions and features (Vs 5b-6, 8 wilderness is more like desert, and Sirion is Mount Hermon). It even brings forth shouts of Glory from those who gather in his Temple. Its effect is to remind us that the voice of the Lord is in control of everything. The Psalm that starts by asking the Angels and the reader to honor the Lord for his strength, closes by asking the mighty Lord to give his people strength.
Interesting Points: Some look at this Psalm and see the thunderstorm imagery (thunder in v. 3, and the NIV and a couple of translation have v. 7 speaking about lightening. Also the imagery of the flood in v 10) and take notice that these were prominent images in Canaanite worship of Baal. This effect has David saying, “Hey you know all these things the Canaanites said that Baal did, that’s really the Lord” (or at worst they are saying he is just copying them). I have no problem reading the Psalm this way (minus the he is just copying thing). It’s true, and we as Christians do it all the time. A Hindu calls it Karma, and we talk about the Lord working Justice.
Verses 9 in the ESV says “The voice of the Lord makes the Deer give birth.” However, if it is vocalized different(meaning if you put different vowels in there, which ancient hebrew pronounced but didn’t write) it would read “the voice of the Lord shatters the Oak.” Given the context, I like that reading better though I haven’t studied it to give a good answer here.
One can also hear a very distinct cadence in the structure of the psalm. It gives you the impression that it was very well thought out and designed. I read this article that gives some clues to its structure. I didn’t understand it all, but thought it was an interesting analysis of the psalm.
One last thing before I get to my emotions, if lightening bolts spring forth from the voice of the Lord, maybe God just had important messages for those who have been struck by lightening.
Emotional Reaction: Today while I was at work, I got to see a massive thunderstorm come through Maitland, FL. This Psalm reminds me that the power that is on display in those storms is not a force of nature. It is the power of the voice of the Lord.
This humbles me to realize that this is just a small display of his power. It also gives me excitement to see the Lord in His creation.
“Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”