Psalm 29

In Awe of Power

A Psalm by David.

1 Ascribe to YHWH, you sons of the mighty,
ascribe to YHWH glory and strength.
2 Ascribe to YHWH the glory due to his name.
Worship YHWH in holy array.
3 YHWH's voice is on the waters.
The God of glory thunders, even YHWH on many waters.
4 YHWH's voice is powerful.
YHWH's voice is full of majesty.
5 The voice of YHWH breaks the cedars.
Yes, YHWH breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon.
6 He makes them also to skip like a calf;
Lebanon and Sirion like a young, wild ox.
7 YHWH's voice strikes with flashes of lightning.
8 YHWH's voice shakes the wilderness.
YHWH shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
9 YHWH's voice makes the deer calve,
and strips the forests bare.
In his temple everything says, "Glory!"
10 YHWH sat enthroned at the Flood.
Yes, YHWH sits as King forever.
11 YHWH will give strength to his people.
YHWH will bless his people with peace.

World English Bible

Who is powerful in your life? How does that person impress you?

Power can be impressive. Physical prowess can gain one fame. Financial might can effect environments, even cultures, depending upon money flows. Political capital can galvanize support and create legal change. Power can awe us, even inspire us to move in its direction.

Who has the most power? Of course, God, the One we call the Almighty. One of the reasons God deserves praise is because of his vast power. Psalm 29 stands as a testament to our need to honor the most powerful being in our lives. It calls the faithful to worship (29:1-2), then gives the reason to worship: God's power (29:3-10); it ends with a hope God will act with power in the life of the people to give them strength and peace (29:11).

In the mind of an ancient arid culture, the Jews perceived the power of God through the violence of a sudden rain storm. In the desert environment demarcated by mountains and deep valleys, rising heat can clash with moist air from the sea to create almost instantaneous storms. Winds blow clouds against the mountains, the rains come and swell dry river beds into floods at a moments notice, then are driven away by the same winds that brought the clouds in the first place. Lightening and thunder accompany these storms. The flashes of light and the boom of the thunder clap, the destructive nature of water torrents, these phenomena speak to the heart of the desert dweller. The sun that bakes day after day is now hidden, replaced by the ravages of the sudden monsoon. It was natural, then, for the believer to see the voice of God in the thunder (29:3b-4, 6-9a), the power of God in the lightening that can destroy (29:5, 9b) and in the control of the waters in the flood (29:3a, 10). The destructive power of these storms impressed the ancient author of the psalm, but he never confused the storm itself with the One who controlled the storm (29:9c-10). YHWH spoke through the storm and caused change (a stampede in 29:6, for example), but, according to his will.

Power can be impressive, but the power of God creates awe. He deserves praise for his power and for the assurance that he will use his power for our good. But, ultimately, he deserves praise because he employs that power to bless us with strength and peace.

How does God show his power in your life? How are you awed by his power?