The Lord sits enthroned over the flood;
the Lord is enthroned as King forever.
The Lord gives strength to his people;
the Lord blesses his people with peace.
For the past several months we have been walking through the book of Psalms together. The psalms are an amazing, ancient collection of worship songs for any and every occasion. Some are songs of joy, while others are cries of desperation. Some are prayers for deliverance and others are prayers of thanksgiving. There are words of great comfort and peace, and there are warnings of great calamity and judgment. Bono, the front man for the band U2, once observed that the Psalms are the world’s very first gospel blues album!
But then suddenly today, into this kaleidoscope of worship, enters Psalm 29—and it’s unlike any other song we’ve seen so far. While most of the psalms tell some kind of story arising from our common human experience, Psalm 29 seems to describe a scene of uncommon cosmic significance.
The writer of the song observes three “spiritual voices” that speak (or sing) in different ways to declare God’s glory. The first set of voices is the amazing choir of “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 His holiness.
The next spiritual voice we hear in this song is the voice of God himself. Or rather, we hear about the effects of God’s powerful, majestic voice. The voice of the Lord, “thunders over the waters…breaks the cedars of Lebanon…strikes with flashes of lightning…shakes the desert…twists the oaks and strips the forests bare.” It’s terrifying! With a single word, God’s voice can create or destroy the universe! In the presence of such power and greatness, how can we—inconsequential and insignificant creatures that we are—possibly respond?
And in His temple, all cry “Glory!”
This third group of spiritual voices includes our feeble, awe-struck shouts of praise and worship. Our cries don’t break down the trees or twist the oaks or strip the forests bare, but they do land on gracious and loving ears—the ears of the one who sits enthroned over the flood as King forever—and He responds by giving strength to His people and blessing them with peace.
As I read Psalm 29, I can’t help but think of a similar cosmic scene described in Revelation 5. In this scene, The Lord God is still enthroned over the chaos; the heavenly beings are still ascribing to Him glory and praise, they are still worshiping Him in the splendor of His holiness. To their voices are joined the spectacular, 100-million voiced angel choir:
“Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!”
But the song is still not complete…not until our feeble and awe-struck voices enter the song:
“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!”
No longer are the voices simply recognizing the power of a God who can create and destroy with a single word, but they are acknowledging the power of that same Word made flesh (John 1:14)…the victory of the Lamb of God…the love of Jesus Christ.
“…with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.” (Rev. 5:9-10)
The scene is complete. And what a glorious scene it is! Christ Himself is now at the center of the throne…and He is the focus and the center of our worship. Pastor and martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer called the Psalms “the prayer book of Jesus Christ,” not simply because Jesus was continually pointing to the psalms, but because the psalms are continually pointing to Him.
I invite you to join your voice today, and every day, to the great heavenly choir who live and breathe to worship and glorify Jesus Christ. He is the One who brings victory in your struggle, speaks peace in the chaos, and sings blessing over His people. He is the Living Water of life. Stay thirsty for Him!