The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders; the Lord is over many waters.Psalm 29:3 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
From our previous excursion, the mighty ones were giving praise and glory to God. Now, the mood of the psalm changes. Some of the commentaries allude to this being a storm that comes over Canaan from north to south. It could be a surface understanding. But let’s check it out.
Our introduction comes to the voice of the Lord. There are lots to be said about the voice of the Lord, it is powerful. It makes and sustains all of creation. It thunders. It sounds like a trumpet. It is even pictured as Jesus with a sword coming out of His mouth. The voice of the Lord can bring comfort. It can also bring judgment. The psalmist is speaking a reassuring word. He repeats the phrase. The voice of the Lord is over the waters.
The idea of waters as we will see a bit later is an allusion to the flood of Noah. It can also be taken as a collective metaphor for the people of earth (not God’s people.) I think it may be both. And the idea of unsaved folks being chaotic intrigues.
The voice of the Lord thunders. Here we have another storm reference. The storm and thunder language aptly describe judgment. God does judge. We know that an approach to God Himself is daunting. Look at how the writer of Hebrews approaches the event at Mount Sinai when God asked the people to come to Him.
You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that burned with fire, and to blackness and darkness and storm, and to the sound of a trumpet and to a voice speaking words, such that those who heard them begged that the word not be spoken to them anymore.Hebrews 12:18–19 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
Their response was fear. They didn’t have intimate personal experience with this God as Moses did. They had seen what He did for them, yet that particular stormy scene was terrifying, even for Moses.
So terrible was the sight that Moses said, “I am terrified and trembling.”Hebrews 12:21 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
I think that is the proper frame of reference for this. There is nothing that is greater than God, not chaos or the whole of humanity.
The voice of the Lord sounds with strength; the voice of the Lord—with majesty.Psalm 29:4 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
Those at Sinai understood the strength. They also knew the majesty, but they weren’t going anywhere near that mountain. (You can read the account in Exodus 19.)
The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars; the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon. He makes them skip like a calf, Lebanon and Sirion like a wild ox. The voice of the Lord flashes like flames of fire. The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness; the Lord shakes the Wilderness of Kadesh.Psalm 29:5–8 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
This is yet more judgment language. He breaks the cedars of Lebanon. These trees had trunks 40 feet in girth. That’s unimaginable. Yet God’s voice breaks them and causes them to skip.
The reference to Sirion and Lebanon adds another interesting insight. Sirion is Mount Hermon. It has significance in that it is the mountain where the gods (mighty ones) came down in sedition. Sirion and Lebanon are mentioned in Baal poetry, too. Baal was the Canaanite storm god.
With those two references and another, we also know there is geography involved. But as is often the case, the named geography is used as an allusion to cosmic geography. (That is, geography from the perspective of God.)
Mount Hermon would be the northern edge of Israel. Mount Hermon would be the north reference point (thnk “sides of the north.) Kadesh would be the southern edge of Israel. The storm would encompass the whole land of God’s people. And cosmically speaking from God’s reference, all people in general.
As I understand, it is prophetic in that way of God’s coming judgment on Israel and the peoples of the world. (We are currently doing verse-by-verse in Revelation.) Reading this psalm connects to Revelation 16, in my mind.
The voice of the Lord makes the deer to give birth, and strips the forests bare; and in His temple everyone says, “Glory!”Psalm 29:9 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
He gives and takes away. The mighty ones in His heavenly temple give Him the glory due His name.
The Lord sits enthroned above the flood, the Lord sits as King forever.Psalm 29:10 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
There is nothing that is going to move God. It is His voice that ensures His will is done.
The Lord will give strength to His people; the Lord will bless His people with peace.Psalm 29:11 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)
The people of God can rest knowing they won’t be moved either. They have peace with the God enthroned above all.
This psalm praises God for things to come… The ultimate storm. That storm will break up seeming unbreakable thrones. Principalities that really have no real power over God’s people. The people of God rest completely at peace.
Glory to God.