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Psalm 29: Power and Majesty of The Voice of the Lord

Assistant Pastor Marcos R Ferreira
Psalms  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  37:48
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Psalm 29

Psalm 29
Psalm 29 ESV
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!

Psalm 29

A Psalm of David
About a month ago as I was praying through this Psalm I had a sense that I must preach this Psalm, now considering the time we are living in I can see how this is fitting and appropriate for us today to look, study Psalm 29.
In the early church when there was a storm they would read this psalm to the children and for the whole congregation.
My experience with storms as a child: attraction to storms, specially the storms that come slowly and you can see from afar, turning a clear day into complete darkness, mix of fear and awe.
Preposition: In the same way that a storm creates fear and awe we should be even greatly fearful and in awe of God’s voice.
This Psalm was composed by David and Inspired by the Holy Spirit, and this psalm is one of the most beautiful and poetic psalm and it has one focus- God himself.
A commentator said calls this Psalm an extraordinary poem, it riches new poetic heights. and he says
Psalms, Volume 1: (Psalms 1–41): An Expositional Commentary An Extraordinary Poem

This psalm has no other elements. It is pure praise. It does not call upon us to do anything, because the psalm is itself doing the only thing it is concerned about. It is praising God

Hebrew poetic forms: repetition and parallelism
Repetition; most striking repetition the name The LORD- YAHWEH; there are 11 verses the LORD appears 18 times; God himself is the focus of this beautiful Psalm
Parallelism is the use of parallel phrases to say the same thing. Parallelism is used in almost every verse. We can see an example of parallelism in verse 5, where almost every word is repeated
The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars; the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon.
Also we see parallelism on v1 and 2 where all four phases say one thing: it is calling the angels to worship God
Beauty of this Psalm is also in the movement
v1,2 starts in heaven, v3-9 storm then v 10,11 ends on earth
MAP v3-9 storm starts overs the waters
v3 over the waters- clouds or the Mediterranean sea
v5 cedars of Lebanon,
v6 Lebanon, Sirion = Mt Hermon
v7 wilderness of Kadesh
Now let’s look at the call to worship, v1-2

The call to worship v 1-2

So we see that there is 3 parts to this psalm the first part is v1,2 is the call to worship.
In the psalms we often see a call to worship, however, this call to worship is different,
Let’s look at verses 1 and 2
Psalm 29:1–2 ESV
Ascribe to the Lord, O heavenly beings, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness.

The call to worship v 1-2

These four phrases are poetically saying one thing: it is calling the angels, the heavenly beings to worship God, that is exactly what the first phrase says:
Ascribe to the Lord, O heavenly beings
Then David says that the angels should praise God for His Glory and strength,
and then that they should praise the LORD because of the glory that He deserves
The last phrase say that they should worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness, or in Holy Garments, or clothed in righteousness
What is different in this Psalm in this call to worship?,
it is that David here is calling for angels to worship God,
James Boice says
Psalms, Volume 1: (Psalms 1–41): An Expositional Commentary Glory in the Highest

Why does David call on the angels, then? As soon as we think of this poetically the reason is obvious. It is because he feels that his praise and that of other mere human beings is not adequate. David is overwhelmed with the majesty of God revealed in the storm that he has witnessed and is now going to describe. He feels that he needs help to praise God properly. To praise God adequately the entire created order must join in, and even then sufficient praise will be lacking.

Application, When we see God’s Holiness and Glory It should humble us, we should recognize our unworthiness to worship our Holy God, only by His grace that we can worship Him. Before we worship Him, we should say Lord I am unworthy to worship you, help me your unworthy servant to worship you in a way that honors you and glorifies you.
We need to have a godly fear of our God, because he is Holy, all powerful and full of majesty,
and that is what we see in verses 3-9 — The storm

The Storm v 3-9

Now let’s look in more details of this storm one verse at a time
English Standard Version Psalm 29

The voice of the LORD is over the waters;

the God of glory thunders,

the LORD, over many waters.

From v3-9 describes the voice of the Lord as a thunderstorm,
v3 starts saying the voice of the Lord is over the waters then it describes what His voice does over the water, the many water it thunders
the waters here could be that is poetically pointing to the waters of the Mediterranean sea, because of the geographical progression in the next verses;
Water could also be pointing to the waters in the sky similarly as it says in Psalm 104:3
Psalm 104:3 ESV
He lays the beams of his chambers on the waters; he makes the clouds his chariot; he rides on the wings of the wind;
In creation in Genesis 1 in the description of the creation of clouds it says

The Storm v 3-9

Gen 1:6-8
Genesis 1:6–8 ESV
And God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” And God made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so. And God called the expanse Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.
Moreover in v3 of Psalm 29 it says that the God of glory thunders
This does not mean that every time that God speaks it is a loud thunder, like a parent you don’t only use your loud disciplinary voice.
Elijah heard God’s voice as a low whisper
1 Kings 19:11–12 ESV
And he said, “Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper.
But we also see in Scripture God’s voice being described as a powerful thunder, Psalm 18 says
Psalm 18:13 ESV
The Lord also thundered in the heavens, and the Most High uttered his voice, hailstones and coals of fire.
Then Job says
Job 37:4 ESV
After it his voice roars; he thunders with his majestic voice, and he does not restrain the lightnings when his voice is heard.
Then we see God’s voice described as a thunder with Jesus in John 12
John 12:27–29 ESV
“Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” The crowd that stood there and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.”
The voice of the Lord as thunder was also seen in the OT with Moses in Exodus
Exodus 20:18–19 ESV
Now when all the people saw the thunder and the flashes of lightning and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking, the people were afraid and trembled, and they stood far off and said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, lest we die.”
Lastly we see the voice of the Lord as thunder in Rev
Revelation 14:2 ESV
And I heard a voice from heaven like the roar of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder. The voice I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps,
What all of these quotes point to? As it says in Psalm 29 v 4
Psalm 29:4 ESV
The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is full of majesty.
It points to the majesty and power of God.
As a father of a 2 y old boy I learn to use my voice in a louder tone, that when I speak I need to mean what I say, that I need to say with authority - almost by just calling the name you are saying like this is your last warning.
Here in this Psalm in this thunderstorm we see God’s voice calling people to look at Him and recognize His power, His authority. No wonder that most children are afraid of thunder,
Parents magazine suggests to help kids that are fearful of thunder to encourage them to make loud noise to point that they can also make loud noises.
I would say much better than that is to read this Psalm to them and help them to see that God is powerful and that He is full of majesty, that we should be in awe and fear of God, the one who created the universe.
Then like a storm that we see in the distance this storm is now moving from the clouds or the Mediterranean sea to the north of Israel - to Lebanon
Let’s look now at verse 5
Psalm 29:5 ESV
The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars; the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon.
Here this verse points out the power of the voice of the Lord in the north of Israel in Lebanon
Lebanon
LEBANON (לְבָנוֹן, levanon). The region north of Israel and west of Syria, with Phoenician territory to the west, along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. Consisted of two mountain ranges with a fertile valley in between.
The mountains of Lebanon, especially the western slopes, were well-known for their evergreen trees. The Old Testament refers to Lebanon’s cedars frequently
In the slide you can see the two mountain ranges and the valley in between, also you can see the flag of the modern nation of Lebanon, in the middle of the flag is a tree that represents the cedars of Lebanon.
Psalm 29:5 ESV
5 The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars; the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon.
So Psalm 29 v 5 is pointing out poetically to the strongest highest cedars known during that time. For us today we might think of the giant sequoias in California
then it says that the voice of the Lord breaks them.
Have you ever seen a lighting striking a tree? I have not, I heard from my mom telling me that when she was young there was a lighting that stroke a tree and the tree actually exploded, there were shards of wood everywhere around the area where the tree used to be.
Can you picture the power of God’s voice? striking the tallest tree you know and breaking them down.
Then David in this Psalm escalates this impressive and imposing picture of God’s power in verse 6
Psalm 29:6 ESV
He makes Lebanon to skip like a calf, and Sirion like a young wild ox.
Sirion is the name given by the Sidonians to Mount Hermon Deut 3:9, which is one of the highest mountain of Lebanon
In the map you can see that Mt Hermon or Sirion is north of Israel, south of Lebanon
Here in this photo you can see how big a mountain Mt Hermon is.
So in this verse when is referring to Lebanon is pointing to the mountains of Lebanon, which from all the mountains of Lebanon Mt Hermon is most well known mountain, like for us a well known mountain or mountains may be Rocky mountains.
Psalm 29:6 ESV
6 He makes Lebanon to skip like a calf, and Sirion like a young wild ox.
What does v6 is saying about this mountain or mountains?
That He makes, the voice of the Lord makes these mountains to skip like a calf, like a young wild ox.
That means that the voice of the Lord makes these mountains to shake so much that will look like they are jumping.
Can you image a earthquake that would make the Rocky mountains jump up and down?
that would be a terrifying scene,
This sounds like Exodus 19:16-19 when God appeared to the Israelites at Mount Sinai
English Standard Version Chapter 19

16 On the morning of the third day there were thunders and lightnings and a thick cloud on the mountain and a very loud trumpet blast, so that all the people in the camp trembled. 17 Then Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they took their stand at the foot of the mountain. 18 Now Mount Sinai was wrapped in smoke because the LORD had descended on it in fire. The smoke of it went up like the smoke of a kiln, and the whole mountain trembled greatly. 19 And as the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him in thunder.

From this description of Exodus we would think that this psalm is missing the lightnings, but we see that in v7 of Psalm 29
Psalm 29:7 ESV
The voice of the Lord flashes forth flames of fire.
In this terrifying description of the voice of the Lord as a terrifying storm now also includes lightnings.
But v7 is parallel with v8
Psalm 29:8
Psalm 29:8 ESV
The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness; the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
Now beautifully poetically this storm moves rapidly to the most southern part of Israel- the wilderness of Kadesh Barnea.
So in the same way that the Voice of the Lord is shaking the northern mountains in Lebanon, now it is shaking the desert area of the south of Israel, because v7 is parallel with v8 we see that this storm in the desert is terrifying because of the lighting- flashes forth flames of fire.
Have you ever seen a lighting that makes the ground shake? Here is saying that the voice of the Lord is as powerful, or even more that the lighting is making a whole desert to shake.
Then the description of the voice of the LORD as this storms ends with v9
Psalm 29:9 ESV
The voice of the Lord makes the deer give birth and strips the forests bare, and in his temple all cry, “Glory!”
In this last verse of this description ends with the impact of the terrifying power of the voice of the Lord on the animals in the forest, the forest itself and with God’s people
First when it says that it makes the deer give birth, because of the context of this storm it is likely that is referring to the deer giving birth prematurely because of being frighten by the storm
Then it says that it strips the forests bare, it seems to point that this storm is with such power that it makes all the barks of the trees to be removed. This is like seeing the aftermath of a tornado, where you can have a glimpse of the power of that tornado.
Then it says in his temple all cry Glory
there is not a consensus with commentators about what temple David is referring here, but considering the poetic movement of the Psalm, starting in v 1,2 in Heaven, then the movement of the storm around Israel, this temple seems to be the temple on earth, but I think as well that this is referring to the future, the new Jerusalem Rev 21- the end of times when the power of God, of His voice will be seen and all God’s people will cry Glory , which sounds similar to Rev 7
Revelation 7:9–10 ESV
After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”

The Storm v 3-9

In this description of this storm, we see that the voice of the Lord is powerful and full of majesty and it should cause us to be in godly fear in awe of God and His power and holiness
Application: Now take a minute write down three things that you are afraid, or concern or that occupies your mind and might given you a feel of overwhelming.
STOP DRINK SOME WATER
Now how these things compare to what this Psalm is describing and how we should have a godly fear of God.
But how do we put these fears in their place under a much greater fear- fear of a Holy and Righteous God?
This Psalm points that we should be looking at the Voice of God, the less time you spend reading, meditating on God’s word - the more these other things will take over your heart and the fear of God will be less than the fear of other things or people. But the contrary is true, the more we spend time in God’s Word the more we will see the power and majesty of God, and we will see even the highest mountain melt before the Lord and His power.
The more time we spend in God’s word we will not only have a proper fear of God, but we will see that God is in control and we will be able to rely on His strength and His peace.

The Sovereign King v 10-11

Now let’s look at these two last verses of this beautiful Psalm, v10 says
Psalm 29:10 ESV
The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord sits enthroned as king forever.
Twice it says that the LORD sits enthroned. The Holy Spirit here is reminding us that The LORD, God He Is King, He is Sovereign, He is in control.
As we see this Storm, when everything is falling apart we need to remember God is King, He is in control
Then is says that He is enthroned over the flood. Here the Hebrew is very clear that is referring to the Flood with capital F, the flood from Gen 6
Genesis 6:17 ESV
For behold, I will bring a flood of waters upon the earth to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life under heaven. Everything that is on the earth shall die.

The Sovereign King v 10-11

Only Noah and his family were saved, God brought judgment through the flood to all the earth. In the same way God will bring future judgment.
Peter compares the judgment from Noah’s time to a future judgment.
2 Peter 3:5-7
English Standard Version Chapter 3

5 For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, 6 and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. 7 But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.

So besides reminding us that God is in control, here God is telling us He is going to bring a final judgment, that His reign is going to never end,
It says The Lord sits enthroned as king forever,
look at these two passages in Rev that mentions the throne of God
Revelation 4:5 ESV
From the throne came flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder, and before the throne were burning seven torches of fire, which are the seven spirits of God,
Rev 20:11
Revelation 20:11 ESV
Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them.
After having a glimpse of a terrifying view of God’s power and majesty. Now the Psalm ends pointing to the hope that God is King and that in Him we can have strength and peace.
Then Psalm 29 ends with v 11
Psalm 29:11 ESV
May the Lord give strength to his people! May the Lord bless his people with peace!
The Psalm started in heaven with the angels worshipping God then now it ends on earth with a petition for God’s people on earth.

Psalm 29

First it asks the Lord to give strength to us, then it asks to give us peace
These two we already have in Christ, through Him, through Holy Spirit we have his strength
and in Him we are blessed with peace,
My peace I will give it to you
John 14:27 ESV
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
So no matter what the storm that we might face, clouds might get darker but in His strength in His peace, we can face anything- if we keep our eyes on Him, fearing Him more than anything else.
(work on here) Like during the time of Noah and the flood, there was only one ark one safe shelter from the storm; outside of the ark you would be destroyed, so outside of Christ there is no hope.
If you are in Christ you will rejoice that the LORD is king forever and He will strengthen you and bless you.
1 John 2:15–17 ESV
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.
English Standard Version Chapter 2

28 And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming. 29 If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him.

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