In Part 1 we saw that Yahweh is the only true God, the one worthy of worship. He is the true storm god, and Baal is nowhere to be found. The LORD is the great King over all things, and his voice is heard in the power of the storm. How is this good news for us, though? That is what we will see in the rest of Psalm 29.
The Voice of the LORD
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!”
By showing us that God is the LORD over all nature, Psalm 29 is also showing us that he is the God of all power. The deep waters represented chaos and death to the ancient Israelites. God’s voice, indeed God himself, dominates these waters (v. 3). Beyond that, there are flashes of fire (lightning) and thunder that shake the wilderness. What is the result of this mighty display? In verse 9 we see that there is worship on earth to match the worship in heaven. Worship is the reason God created angels and humans, and the glorious one will receive the praise of his creatures. How can such a mighty God not receive the honor and praise due his name?
That is what makes a familiar New Testament account so intriguing. In Mark 4:37–41 we read these words:
37 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. 38 But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” 39 And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” 41 And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”
Yahweh rules the storm in Psalm 29; and Jesus is Yahweh. This psalm would have been on the minds of the disciples in this situation. In fact, there is an implied answer to the disciples’ question: “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” This is the LORD, the creator of heaven and earth. That is the only possible answer. If Yahweh is the LORD of the sea and storm, then he is the LORD of all power. If Jesus calmed the storm, then he also had all power resting in him. This is our Savior, Christian. This is the one in whom we trust. The next time you experience a powerful storm, remember that the one speaking through it is the same one who saved you. How can this powerful God not preserve you to the end and keep you in the meantime? He will not be overpowered. He is King.
The Rule of the LORD
10 The Lord sits enthroned over the flood;
the Lord sits enthroned as king forever.
When the storm ends, God still rules over all things. The mighty cedars have been shattered and the impressive mountains have skipped like calves, but the LORD remains undisturbed on his throne. This is not a weak God. David is the second-most powerful king in the history of Israel, yet he is nothing compared to the King described in this psalm of David. Do we see something different in the New Testament? No, we see Christ the King. Not only does he quiet the waters in Mark 4, but in Matthew 14 he also walks on the water. Then in Revelation 13 Jesus defeats the beast that came of the sea.1
This is not a tame God. He sits enthroned over the flood. The only other time this Hebrew word for “flood” is used is in Genesis 6–11.2 This is a clear reference to judgment. This powerful God is not domesticated. He is not at our beck and call as if he is our servant. Every storm reminds us of the strength and glory of our God as well as the judgment of the last day. The ultimate storm is coming, and no one will be able to stand against it; unless God is gracious, that is.
The Grace of the LORD
11 May the Lord give strength to his people!
May the Lord bless his people with peace!
We have moved from heaven to earth, where the great God blesses his people.3 How does God do this? How does he give us strength and bless us with peace? Ultimately, he does it in a way we would never expect: this God took on flesh and died on a cross for his people. This very same Jesus who calmed the storm in Mark 4 also nailed our debt of sin to a cross and triumphed over it (Colossians 2:14). There is another reference in the New Testament that comes into play here. The Talmud assigned Psalm 29 to be sung at Pentecost, and in Acts 2 there is fire, a mighty wind, and the voice of the LORD.4 The LORD who sits enthroned in the heavens spoke in a different way that day, and he brought the message of the gospel through his apostle (Acts 2:14–40).
The gospel is something we never would have invented, but that is to be expected. Throughout the Bible we see time after time that God works in a way that his people do not foresee. Reading Psalm 29, you would never expect this God to take on flesh as the God-man, be born of a virgin, live life as a poor carpenter and rabbi, and die on a cross. Nevertheless, this is how he has saved his people, and this is why, on the last day as the storm is breaking on all creation, those who trust in Christ will be safe. They will be worshiping God in safety, in the refuge of the Temple—Jesus Christ himself. What is our place of refuge? The Temple. On that last day, will you be standing before this God trusting in yourself or clothed in the righteousness of Christ? One day we will all hear the creation-shattering voice of the LORD. Will you hear the voice of your Father through Christ, or will you hear the voice of your Judge outside of Christ? The only one who can save us from the wrath of Yahweh is Yahweh himself—Psalm 29 makes it clear that nothing in all creation is a match for the Creator. Look to him! Trust in Christ and know that the LORD of the storm will give you strength and peace not only in this life, but especially on the last day.
In the meantime, how do we worship the LORD? We ought to worship him with the awe and reverence due his glory, might, and goodness. Calling out “Glory!” back in verse 9 is a response of humility and joy. That is our response, Christian!
As we close, we have seen that God is the only one worthy of worship. He is the ultimate power, and nothing in creation compares to him. This God, the King of Kings, came to earth, took on flesh, and died on a cross for his people. It surprises us. It surprises us with the power of our LORD, and it also surprises us that this God is gracious to us in Christ. Because God is Creator, Preserver, and Redeemer, we can confidently and sincerely worship him in the splendor of holiness. He is the only God, and therefore the only one who deserves our worship. To him, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, one God from all eternity and to all eternity, are glory, wisdom, power, and dominion both now and forevermore. Amen.
- Tremper Longman III, Psalms (Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2014), 157.
- Derek Kidner, Psalms 1–72 (Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 1973), 145.
- Kidner, Psalms 1–72, 142.
- Kidner, Psalms 1–72, 142n87, 144.
©Christopher Smith. All Rights Reserved.
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