It has been said that there is no phenomenon in nature so awful and beautiful as a thunderstorm. The great gusts of wind, heavy downpour of rain, blinding flashes of lightning, and deafening cracks of thunder can instill fear in the heart of anyone caught outdoors when the storm comes. Yet, even in the midst of the storm, we can see the presence of God, and give Him the glory due His Name.
Psalm 29 is a psalm to be sung in the midst of the storm. Just as Psalm 8 is best read by moonlight when the stars are bright, and Psalm 19 is most meaningful as one watches the rising sun, so Psalm 29 is a psalm of praise that was written in the midst of a thunderstorm, and is given its fullest depth when the storm rages on in the background.
There are three distinct parts of this psalm, all of which are marked by the repetition of a particular phrase. As you read verses 1 and 2, try to see what the first phrase is.
Please read Psalm 29:1-2.
It’s pretty obvious isn’t it? Depending on your translation, the repeating phrase is something like “acknowledge the Lord,” “give unto the Lord,” “honor the Lord,” or, most commonly, “ascribe to the Lord.”
While each of these translations has their own implications, the underlying idea is that the Lord is already worthy of glory. His glory is “due to His name.” If there were no people to witness Him, God would still be just as glorious.
Humans are not actually conferring anything upon God. Rather, we are recognizing the glory that He is due; we are acknowledging that He is worthy of our praise; we are ascribing to Him that which He already is.
That which is objectively true about God, is being made subjectively true in our hearts.
Sometimes it takes something as fearful as a mighty thunderstorm to remind us of how great God truly is. Sometimes we can look at the vastness of space, or the intricacy of a single molecule, or the beauty of a sunrise and see God. Sometimes we can hear the joy of a child’s laughter, or the melodic chirping of birds, or the powerful rush of a waterfall, and hear God. And sometimes, we can see the bright flashes of lightning and hear the terrifying crashes of thunder, and glorify God. All of these events should remind us of the vastness, intricacy, beauty, joy, melody, power, brightness, and terror of our Awesome God.
Even the mighty ones, the kings of the earth and the angels in heaven, will join in the worship of our God. How much more so should we join with their chorus by ascribing to the Lord the glory due to His name!
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